Experience Points (XP) Revisions

Categories: Flash Bingo Games, Site Updates

I have made some changes to the XP ranges, so there are more available levels and also to make it easier to attain the next level (i.e. less XP required). The corresponding game benefits (number of smileys, bingo dabbers and card colors) have also been adjusted accordingly.

I also thought of adding a player level stat (based on the accumulated XP), then have it displayed in the game (e.g. chat list), but I figured it’s better to just add this later on, so I can concentrate on launching the games first. Additional features shouldn’t be a priority right now, so I don’t end up trying to accomplish too many things, which delays the launch further.

I’ve also made the following revisions:

  • fixed XP check bug in the chat area (not reading the proper XP value)
  • added some XP checks in the bingo options (make sure selections are valid based on the player’s XP)
  • minor game room listing updates so a room can be listed as “closed”, also disabling further entry into the bingo room

The Flash bingo games have been updated so the codes are also easier to adapt in case there are changes to the XP ranges again, since previously the values are hard-coded and I have to update several files (very easy to make a typo or miss things).

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Obscenity Filter

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

There has been a couple of changes made to detect obscene words being used in screen name registrations as well as chat messages. Compared to HB, there is now just one list being used for both purposes.

Screen name filter is now a bit more strict, capturing more invalid registrations. Detection of invalid words in chat, however, is now a lot less strict. This has been improved before and working already, but it has been refined even further. Using data collected from HB, the new detection now allows about 45.50% more messages that would have normally been tagged as invalid. I think this is a very big improvement.

Other updates:

  • Updated some PHP pages replacing the use of some deprecated functions.
  • Chat flood detection has been added, and make some actions accordingly.
  • Minor updates in the bingo game server kick functions.
  • Updated WordPress to the latest version.
  • Some database logging functions have been added to the bingo game server.

The filter codes will just be updated when the site goes live and I am able to collect more test data.

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Flash Chat Revisions

Categories: Bingo Game Server, Flash Bingo Games

A few changes in the chat component:

  • when old chat history is purged, messages are now cut off per sender (not per line), this way a chat message is not unnecessarily cut off in the middle
  • text is made smaller, to accommodate longer screen names and more chat messages
  • computation of chat smiley locations is now more accurate, previously I just made some manual adjustments to account for some pixel differences (which I understand more clearly now)
  • fixed character computation of breaking down a message into lines, since I was using a slightly incorrect set of values (due to Flash anti-aliasing variations)

UPDATE: Upon further testing, I find that the chat message functions (breaking down a message into lines, encoding and placement of smileys) are not 100% accurate. It has something to do with anti-aliasing. I prefer to optimize anti-aliasing of text for readability, however determining the widths of texts (for proper placement of chat smileys/emoticons) becomes unreliable.

It looks like the only way to do this accurately was to move the functions to the Flash side (away from server side). I did some quick research and found out that there are actually some new classes supported in Flash 10 to make this a lot easier, but while Flash 10 now has 91.7% market penetration in the UK (based on current Flash player version penetration stats as I write this), I still prefer to just target Flash 9 which already has 99.3% market penetration.

In the end, I found a suitable compromise, without having to rewrite the chat functions and still keep the lower Flash 9 requirement. I’d say it’s about 99.5% accurate. There will a few instances (depending on the chat message) where e.g. a smiley will be 1-2 pixels away from its intended location, however I think this is a good enough implementation for the time being.

When it’s time for me to update the codes again (when the site and the bingo games are already stable), I will likely take a pure Flash approach already, and that’s the time I will shoot for the 100% accuracy. By then, Flash CS5 is probably released already, and a new Flash player version as well, which will surely support more things.

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