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2011
Mar
31

Flash Policy Server

Categories: Bingo Game Server

The Flash policy server is now live. I’ve done some initial tests yesterday, and no major issues so far. This removes the 3-seconds or so initial delay of connection to the game servers, and hopefully prevent issues with some players having intermittent issues connecting to the bingo games.

Along with the policy server, the stats monitoring codes are also live now. Since this is the first time I placed the new game servers in the production machines, I encountered some minor issues in the shell scripts (and 1 area in the chat encoder), which have all been fixed now.

The stability of the policy server will be a good indicator if the bingo game servers are also ready for production. I have noted some potential issues, which are being worked on now. However, these are non-critical, so I went ahead and enabled the Flash policy servers in all the HB bingo game rooms already.

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2011
Mar
30

Latest Game/Site Revisions

Categories: Bingo Game Server, Flash Bingo Games, Site Updates

Looking at my last post, I was very confident I would be able to wrap up everything within the first quarter of this year. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m good at meeting self-imposed deadlines or target dates. 🙁

Anyway, here are the latest updates:

  • On the game pages, if the room is full, it now indicates “Full” and the number of players instead of just saying “Closed”. This is to avoid ambiguities: a “Full” room is still online (except it can no longer let any more players inside), while a “Closed” room is really down for maintenance.
  • When buying bingo cards, client data is now checked to make sure it is within valid values.
  • Changes in socket data encoding, as well as chat parsing (empty names, out of bounds characters), to avoid server-side errors.
  • Fixed timed events (tied to ping codes) which may not be fired on time properly unless some socket connections are made (stumbled upon this issue while doing changes in the policy server).
  • Traffic collection codes added to the policy server. Since this is a timed event, it’s also a way to detect potential database errors.
  • Flash policy server now saving how many clients have been served. This is a way for me to monitor if it is working as intended, as there is otherwise no indicator if the policy server is indeed taking over its functions.
  • Intermission display has been re-arranged a bit. I find the XP bonus display taking up too much space. Now things look less crowded.
  • Added pop-up help messages for the player stats bar. This will hopefully make it easier for new players to understand better how the main stats work.
  • Fixed a bug when leveling up (e.g. if XP is exactly 25/25 you should level up already and not wait for XP to be more than 25).
  • Player profile is now showing the individual game levels. Active referrals count also linked to a pop-up help for easier reference.
  • The bingo games now detect a “Complete” game. The Top Players list is now based on complete games instead. So for bingo games, if you join mid-game, it’s not a complete game anymore. For Spin Bingo, you must use all spins for the game to be considered complete. This is just a way to discourage players from jumping rooms just to increase game counts and be on the top list (this happened on HB).
  • Message bar now displays last month’s top players, in addition to the current month’s list. The welcome message is also displayed only when there aren’t any other available data.
  • Added/changed a couple of event sounds (mostly for Spin Bingo), since some previous ones don’t really blend very well (e.g. voice over a sound effect). Also finalized the callers, not particularly happy with the male voice, but hopefully I’ll get volunteers later so I can make use of real voice recordings (with the proper UK English accents).
  • Changed color of some blue text that are not really clickable (best practice: blue texts online are normally clickable links).
  • Fixed banner ads domain still pointing to old servers.
  • Fixed chat level bug which affects the # of smileys a player is allowed to use.

The Flash policy server is ready (I think). I hope to start testing it on the production servers anytime this week. It will be a good gauge to see any early problem with the bingo game servers itself.

Once the policy server is live without issues for a couple of days, the bingo games can be launched next. However, I will be taking a much-deserved one week vacation soon, so realistically, I can only start working on this again after the second week of April.

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