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2011
Jan
25

New Year Updates

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

I’ve mentioned in my last post that there were only a few remaining items in my to-do list, but as usual, the list ends up being longer as I encounter new issues/bugs to fix. Below are all the changes since the last update.

Game server stress testing application:

  • Fixed a bug where the data decoder was incorrectly being immediately terminated upon sign in (though the bug doesn’t seem to affect the application at all)
  • Policy data can now be sent, also support stress testing the Flash policy server
  • Now reads data from a configuration file, so all the bingo games can be tested without the need to recompile codes

Flash policy server application:

  • Added support for HB data, since this will be hosted in the same servers
  • Bingo game server (in case master policy server is down) will not send HB data since it’s unnecessary
  • The application has been combined with the main bingo game application, this way the same server scripts can be used

Ping application (tests whether the bingo game servers are running ok):

  • Now reads all necessary data from the configuration files, so rooms and corresponding groups can be modified easily (and without code recompile)
  • Related server scripts now completed (codes based on HB, still need testing on the live servers)
  • Flash policy server is now included in the list of servers to monitor

Others:

  • Best Win in user profile now shows the related date and bingo game, depending on the current view selection
  • Security/efficiency codes added (e.g. kicking out players who have been idle for a long time), lots of additions in this area actually but will not write in detail anymore
  • Fixed a bug when a player (who has an active, unfinished game) can not re-enter any other bingo game anymore, when the game server has been restarted
  • Some minor changes and checks in the sign up process (wording, e-mail etc)
  • Fixed a bug in the sign up area: registration code notes were not being shown
  • Registration codes have been changed from a 9-letter code to a 5-digit code: this should make it easier to enter the code and avoid some reading confusions (e.g. some players misread one W as two V’s)
  • Highlighted intermission winner: stats have been fixed, also changed to view monthly stats instead
  • Bounced e-mails now better handled in the codes and the new servers (some settings have been affected due to the change of hosts and new control panel)
  • Web site pages will now properly catch database related errors, so the pages are still displayed (with blank data, previously a blank page is being shown whenever there’s any database issue)

As of this writing, I only have 5 remaining items in my to-do list, some of which are really just “research” items (things to consider, not stuff that need to be implemented now).

I will likely put the Flash policy server live on HB first, afterwards the games can already be launched. Seriously, the game launch has been delayed for so long, there’s really no excuse for me not to launch this within the first quarter of this year. This should be a good way to start the new year. 🙂

Happy new year everyone!!

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2010
Dec
12

Summary Of Latest Bingo Game Updates

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

A couple of weeks ago, I started keeping a list of all the items I still need to work on before the game launch. It makes it easier for me to keep track of my progress, as well as see at a glance all the issues/items that still need attention.

My “Done” list is getting long, so I thought it’s time to post it on the blog already. Some of the details I already forgot most likely, so this also serves as a refresher. I tend to go back to my old blog posts sometimes e.g. when I need to refresh my memory if a certain issue has already been worked on before.

Anyway, here are the changes since the last blog update:

  • Multiple simultaneous client log outs/disconnects were causing too many unnecessary chat player list updates, which in turn causes a slowdown in the processing of incoming packets (like a new bingo ball being called). One way to solve this was to increase the game’s frame rate (so the Flash bingo games can process more packets per second), but it’s not really an efficient solution. So instead, the bingo games now check for multiple player list packet updates, keeping and processing one packet only (the latest update), which avoids the slowdown completely.
  • I made an application before to aid in stress testing, which has been very useful in detecting potential issues like the one above. However, it was throwing some unexpected errors. I am still unsure why the error was happening in the first place, but it is now being handled properly such that it doesn’t abruptly terminate the application.
  • Additional safety checks for incoming chat messages, since an empty message may potentially break things (technically this shouldn’t happen if messaging specs are properly followed, so this is just a safeguard).
  • If a player is in your ignore list, you are now allowed to add him as friend (removing him from your ignore list automatically). The reverse is also allowed. This removes one extra step for the said situations.
  • Duplicate player names were appearing in the chat’s player list. When logging in normally via the browser, this shouldn’t really happen. However, during stress testing (which skips the sign in scripts), the duplicate names issue pops up once in awhile, so I made additional tests for safety.
  • Avoid overlapping sounds when the player is still allowed to buy, and the game is already in progress (i.e. balls are being called).
  • Removing players from your friends or ignore list was not immediately updating the icon chat display beside the player names. The visual update now happens instantly, instead of waiting for a new player list packet.
  • In 90-ball bingo, fixed a bug that announces the pattern being played more than once (I think it was happening for each call, after the first pattern was finished).
  • When a player has a winning bingo card, and he scrolls the card list, there was a mix up and the proper winning card may no longer be highlighted (it may actually highlight a non-winning card sometimes).
  • Flash game cache version system has been finalized and has been more thoroughly tested.
  • If the filenames of the Flash bingo games change, shared object variables are now kept properly, previously it was being erased and reset to defaults. This is important if the current Flash game cache version system I incorporated will be kept, since filenames are bound to be changed whenever there are updates to the Flash bingo games.
  • For Spin Bingo, XP (Experience Points) winner computations for 1st/2nd placers have been changed. I think I might still do some changes with XP allotments overall in all the bingo games.
  • Help pages have been updated to synchronize it with the XP changes, since some old features were already dropped (e.g. player privileges being dependent on XP now, instead of the number of games).
  • The stress testing application has been improved so it now uses actual multiple accounts generating proper individual game stats, which is needed to generate test data for the best players lists as well.
  • Minimum balance checks have been changed/corrected, the minimum is now 25 points, equivalent to 1 Spin Bingo game. If your game point balance falls below the minimum, the game will give you more free game points automatically (ain’t that nice?) 😉
  • Re-check the proper ApplicationDomain to use in the Flash bingo games. This affects the way duplicate objects are loaded. I am still not 100% sure I am using the right one, but it is in my “Done” list, so I’ve probably done enough tests in that area already, for me to keep whatever the current setting is.
  • Some configuration variables were needed to be set first before the buy event, otherwise some things don’t work as planned.
  • The Flash bingo games now show the disconnection error, even if it happens during the game intermission. Previously, it was only being caught when it happens while a game is in progress.
  • Related to above, better clean-up routines have been added in case of disconnections (all cases).
  • Flash policy server has been re-tested to make sure it still works, since it may have been affected by all the game server changes.
  • Game resumes have been broken due to some recent game changes. All the Flash bingo games have been re-tested and corrected for any related issue.

Well, that’s quite a long list! That’s because I haven’t posted an update for like 2 months now. So far, I only have 9 remaining items in my to-do list, although the list still gets bigger from time to time when I encounter new issues. Once my list is cleared, game launch will be next.

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2010
Dec
08

Server Migration

Categories: Site Updates

I am in the process of migrating the HB site to a new host, which is being done in stages. For the time being, since the BingoGems site is still new, it is still being hosted on the same dedicated servers as HB. So the BingoGems site is one of the things being migrated to the new servers.

The migration has generally been hassle-free so far. Since you are now able to read this post, it means the migration of the entire BingoGems site has now been completed.

This server migration has also been done in preparation for the launch of the BingoGems games. I haven’t posted an update for a long time now, but progress is still being made (though not as fast as I wanted it to be), and I am now closer than ever to the eventual completion of the bingo games.

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