Tuesday, September 12, 2006

WeBoggle

2005-10-22 There are two changes to the game, one visible, one not so much. First, using the customization page you can now add a box containing the words that you found last game that others also found. These words interact with the score list in the same way that words you missed do, lighting up when you point at a player who guessed that word and causing all players who guessed the word to light up when you point at the word. Second, I have eliminated the "team effect" except for players who deliberately choose to play as a team. Players who choose the same game name will now have separate score entries unless they choose a name that starts with "team", such as "Team Green Jeans" or "tEAm:p0w3r". Enjoy!

2005-7-27 The good news is that the server transition is finally done, and the community area is back up. The bad news is that the game still gets stuck from time to time. I've finished my first two quarters of law school, and have a break during which I'll have slightly more time to work on WEBoggle. New features may get added, but then again they may not. I appreciate your patience, and the generosity of those of you who have donated.

2005-5-7 Transition to the new server has begun! In an attempt to keep things running with as little interruption as possible, all server access is being redirected temporarily to "weboggletmp.shackworks.com", so you'll need to re-enter your game name, and re-customize if you've done that. Don't change your bookmarks! After a few hours, we'll be switching back to the old name and removing the temporary one. Here's hoping this fixes things.

2005-3-8 There is some sort of problem with the current server setup that causes it to choke several times a day. It isn't directly related to the number of players, since the server will be merrily handling over a hundred players with little or no effort just minutes before choking.
When you see the system slow down, chances are that my monitoring program is about to notice a choke in progress and reset everything. Sadly, it takes a minute or so of slowness before the monitor sees the problem, then all of the guesses that have stacked up become "too late". I'd really like to fix the problem, but I cannot find any clue that would explain what's going on. I may be moving to a different server next week, which may fix the problem. In the meantime, all I can do is shrug and look sheepish. Baa :-(

2005-2-13 Two whole months? Wow. I regret that I am likely to be even more scarce in the coming months than I have been recently. You see, I am now officially a Law Student. I've had my first week, met Pennoyer v. Neff and Pierson v. Post, and learned for certain that I will be among the busiest of beavers for at least the next nine months. Fear not for the game, however! I will continue to host and watch over it. Within the past few days, I have set up a monitor system that should kick the server whenever it gets into one of its little moods. Good luck, and good guessing to you all!

2004-12-13 Many of you should now have seen the server-update push code in action. The most recent change links the "Last round scores" to the "Words you missed last round" -- mouse over a player to highlight the words they found, or mouse over a word to see who found it. You can also "lock in on" a player's words by clicking on the player. Click on the player again to "unlock" and go back to mouse-hover mode.

2004-12-11 The server code, and the way that it communicates with the client, is completely changed. Among other things, this allowed me to implement the much-requested "words only I got" feature. If you've customized your board layout, you'll need to go back to the customizing page if you want to see this. I can now push code updates without waiting for players to reload the game page. There should no longer be repeating boards or zero-score boards.

2004-11-11 In the process of trying to squish the "my score goes down after the round ends" bug, I managed to break the game for people behind Squid proxies (and possibly other kinds of proxy/firewall). Both problems should now be gone. This probably won't mean anything to 99.9% of you, but it makes a big difference whether you use .send(null) or .send("") with a POST XMLHTTPRequest. The former breaks proxies.

2004-10-19 I'm still intimidated by the project of trimming the word list, but I've been keeping my hand in with minor fixes. Games in which all words have been found no longer break the scoreboard. Customizations should now be retained from session to session. Pefect scores are now correct. To stem further reporting of this as a bug, I hereby announce the "Team Effect" as a feature: if more than one person plays using the same game name, they will be treated as a single person (or team, if you like) by the server. This happens whether or not you intended it, or even were aware that someone else chose the name, so make sure that your name isn't too likely to be chosen by a new player.

2004-10-06 Hurrah! The long month is over, my project has gone to production, and I've taken the LSAT. Time at last for updates: totally revamped client code now allows you to completely customize your game page layout and "disemvowel" player names, among other changes. Force-reload your game chooser and game pages if you don't see the changes or have other problems. Next up is dictionary whittling and server-side changes to improve debugging and allow features such as subgames. Stay tuned!

2004-09-06 Dictionarygeddon! After several excellent recommendations, I've settled on a new word list for WEBoggle. It's called YAWL 0.3 and contains more than three times as many words as the old one. It contains quite a few words that I had rejected under the old system (due to words in the non-free section of m-w.com, or words like "zoic"), so experiment! I still accept word suggestions, but I'll be checking them against Dictionary.com instead of Merriam-Webster. Given the size and comprehensiveness of YAWL, I don't expect to be adding many words.

2004-09-02 WEBoggle players now have somewhere to go to hook up with each other and talk about their crippling addiction. For now, there's just a few threaded discussion forums and the same old news items. Check it out!

2004-08-31 Oy, a brown-bag-over-the-head day for me. A bug in the server's fault recovery code caused the 5x5 board to stall shortly after I set out in the car on a four-hour errand. I fixed it as soon as I got back, then broke the chooser screen while updating it. Sigh. Thank you all for your patience.Oh, and for those of you using solvers, a request: please prefix your game name with "SOLV:" so that others don't become too discouraged.

2004-08-29 Massive, stupendous, painstaking refactoring of the JavaScript code is now complete. Of course, if I did it correctly, you folks should only see minor changes (such as the scoring countdown). Also, I believe I have squashed the evil "Not on board" bug. I've tested the new code in Mozilla and IE, and am crossing my fingers that the Safari and Opera folks don't get hosed. By the way, if your game seems to get "stuck", try clicking on the status message just below the guess area to give the game a kick-start.

The Url is http://weboggle.shackworks.com/

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