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2007
Nov
30

More Chat Features

Categories: Flash Bingo Games

The chat component is now even more functional. I’ve added the ability to click on a name, either from the chat history or from the player list, and from there you will be able to e.g. view another player’s profile, add the player as a friend, mute/ignore the player, or report offending players. The actual implementations of said functions still need to be written, but the interface is working.

All of these need to be available from the site as well (most likely the Friends page), but the ability to have it optionally done from inside the chat should make things more accessible to the player. For example, on HB, the only way to mute players is via chat commands, which most players are unaware of. Some players also usually commit mistakes (mistyping the command name, or the player name itself).

The interface also allows everyone to view each other’s avatar easily, without exiting the game window. This is equally important, since the avatars will be one of the major features of the site.

I think the next thing I need to work on is already the sign in/registration process. I am still doing some additional research, since I plan to change the entire process again to prevent some issues that I have noted from previous sites that I worked on, while at the same time making it easier for the end-user.

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2007
Nov
26

Functional Chat, New Target Schedule

Categories: Flash Bingo Games

I have made some significant progress in the chat component of the game. Unfortunately, even with the latest version, Flash still doesn’t natively support embedding images within text components (well technically it does, but you can’t change its location). So in order to support smileys (or emoticons), I had to use a similar workaround that I implemented on HB. The fundamental technique remains the same, however I also needed to rewrite the chat Flash codes (to get it AS3-compliant) and the server codes (so it uses built-in classes/functions as much as possible).

On HB there has been some rare occurrences when the smiley list gets messed up and the only way to fix it is to refresh the game window. I expect this issue to be resolved now, although I am sure there may still be some remaining issues that I will discover later on. However, the server code is now simpler, cleaner and easier to maintain so this should be easier to debug.

What’s still missing in the chat component: room support, player lists (and related functionalities), avatar display (still thinking whether this should be in the chat or game area).

I have also noted some potential issues with the game server. It looks like it’s prone to some unexpected freeze-ups. I thought I have already covered this major issue when I was doing the initial crash-testing, but I probably introduced new bugs somewhere. This should be solved before the site goes live.

When I started this project, I was bent on using a particular domain name, but I have been registering other domain names the last couple of weeks. I now prefer a new one, it’s 1 letter longer than the initial plan, but I think this new domain name will be more usable (in terms of having e.g. the game themes actually reflect the domain name). I am not mentioning any names yet, since this might still change in the future.

Time really flies so fast, it’s almost Christmas time again! I am not really making more progress than I want to with this project. So my next target is to launch the site in 2008 already, hopefully January… but if not, then definitely sometime during the first quarter. I am working on 6 major components before release (site, chat, 3 games, avatar) and I don’t want to launch the site without all of these ready.

Since I’ll be sub-contracting the graphic materials, assuming it would take 2 weeks per component to design and create, this would require an additional 3 full months! And this is just the work for the graphic artist, that’s not even counting the time it would take me to actually integrate these into the games. So my plan is to do the site launch using whatever graphics I have now (which don’t really look bad), and then update the site later on after launch (i.e. games will all have alternate skins).

As usual, lots of plans, too little time…

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