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2009
Aug
31

Miscellaneous Updates: Game Server, Database, Player Stats

Categories: Bingo Game Server, Flash Bingo Games

Intermission now displays some player stats of the first winning player (along with the avatar display). The scrolling message bar (shown in the game screen) now displays the top players for the month. These required some game server database code changes, to support loading of the relevant stats.

Since the top player lists are updated real time, I have to make sure that unnecessary reading and update of the tables are avoided (e.g. upon start-up, since there are multiple game rooms per game server, the list is populated just once to initialize things).

I am still unsure if the current top players implementation is efficient and/or ideal. The tables get updated after every game, and then a sort is needed as well to get the top list. With multiple game rooms, this may be too taxing to the database. I’ll have to do some benchmarks later, see if this will be needing some optimizations.

There were also other game server table-related changes, such that some game-specific variables are no longer being passed from one object  to another and just saved properly in the relevant class.

Some end-game functions have also been consolidated in one area. The order of some events have been affected by this, but so far, I don’t notice any side-effects. The new setup may actually be better, since table changes are now saved immediately after a game. The Spin Bingo game also now shares more of these end-game functions with the other bingo games.

I also had to downgrade mySQL from 5.1 to 5.0, as there has been some compatibility issues with the HB tables (which have been created with 4.x). I still need to do maintenance/updates to HB once in awhile, so the downgrade has been necessary. Fortunately, this downgrade is only for my development PC, since the production servers still run on 4.1 and 5.0. This is a major issue though, as eventually the production servers may have to be upgraded to 5.1 or later.

Somehow, I’m glad I came across this problem now. I still haven’t found a definite fix, but at least I am already aware of potential issues and may be better prepared when a 5.1+ upgrade is already inevitable.

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2009
Aug
27

Bingo Game XP Levels

Categories: Flash Bingo Games

The bingo games now make use of the XP levels properly i.e. as the XP increases, more bingo dabbers and bingo card color choices become available. Like the chat smileys/emoticons, all items are displayed but some items will be dimmed until the required XP level is reached.

I have updated the affected help pages to reflect the changes. I’ve also added a few more dabber choices as well card color choices. This will likely be the final set already (until there is a need to add more later).

The dabber/card color active selection has also been changed to a blue outline, which is being used in the bingo games as well to highlight some things. I was previously using a check mark for the card color selection and a square outline for the dabber selection. By using the same blue outline, it should make the interface more consistent. A new class has also been made since there are some repeated functions which are also useful in the smiley pop-up.

The Options button (in all bingo games) is also now disabled initially, and only gets enabled after the player has successfully signed in. This is because the game needs to know the player’s XP level in order to display the right number of dabber and card color choices, and the XP level only gets known after signing in.

The Flash chat is also now displaying the XP level of the player (along with the usual name and points). This required some visual changes. Eventually I settled for a smaller player avatar to accommodate an extra line for the XP info, the upside is it allowed more horizontal space for the chat player list.

Intermission has also been adjusted because of above changes. A display bug has also been fixed (some extra info not being erased in the Spin Bingo game when scrolling). It’s also been optimized a bit, such that the table information is no longer recreated every game intermission since this only needs to be done once.

All the Flash components have been updated because of all these changes. I’ve done some minor testings of all areas, and so far, nothing seems to be broken.

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2009
Aug
22

Chat XP Levels

Categories: Bingo Game Server, Flash Bingo Games

The bingo game servers now send the player XP stats to the Flash games. It has yet to be displayed properly, but the Flash chat now decodes it, so some smileys will be unusable until the player reached the proper XP levels required. There also some checks being made server-side to make sure smiley XP levels are enforced properly.

Unlike in HB where a game reload is needed before the chat levels take in effect, this time chat level changes are detected real time. As soon as a player levels up, the smiley list will get updated/unlocked immediately.

I’ve also noticed a nagging font issue that appeared after I moved to Windows 7. The modified game font I am using keeps getting reset to another system font. This has now been fixed.

Now, I am finalizing the Flash file structure. I am still having problems preloading runtime assets, so I might implement a new approach. This meant file sizes may increase, and some components may get merged. If this results to more efficient and reliable file structure, I guess it’s a safe compromise.

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