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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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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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