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IfThen Software

Development log for IfThen Software. IfThen Software is a family owned and operated indie game development company. http://www.ifthensoftware.net/

Author: InvisibleLf

Newsletter #10 - Installer and Fixed Progress Page

Posted by InvisibleLf Tuesday November 25 2008 at 7:19PM
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Cross-posted from members.gamedev.net/ifthensoftware/journal/

News

Stick Adventures Online is now packaged into an installer rather then inside of a .zip file. Some players would install the game incorrectly, so this should make getting into the game a lot easier and error free.

Overall progress on the Loradon 3.0 Preview has reached 55%!
Loradon 3.0 Preview Progress Page


From the Programmer
Written by Invisible

After describing the problem I was having with Webkit and the progress page last week, sprite_hound was kind enough to show me a solution that used divs for layout instead of tables. Thanks for the help!

Unfortunately, I can't say much about what I am currently working on since we are trying to keep it under wraps. Hopefully I can make this article more interesting in the next issue!


Community Spotlight
Written by Jay

Thanks to Invisible's new SAO Installer, players will no longer need to extract the files manually in order to play the game. This rids players from an unexpected error that occasionally occurred with the game before and during extraction. Since no more errors will present themselves, players are expected to be more populous because none will be turned away from the game due to install errors.

Bomboms0, a Loradon player, has recently decided that he will host a Loradon 2.1 Christmas event. Bomboms0 is currently raising funds and prizes by asking players to donate gold and items. The event will consist of many games that will create a competition between players. Winners of the games will be rewarded with a prize (gold or items). Bomboms0 is hoping several players will log on to join in the festivities, so he can provide fun and a merry Christmas for all those who attend.

Newsletter #9 - SAO Update, SVN, and Filters

Posted by InvisibleLf Tuesday November 18 2008 at 1:35PM
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Cross-posted from members.gamedev.net/ifthensoftware/journal/

News

Stick Adventures Online version 1.1.8 has been released! This new version features a chat filter and a few chat related bug fixes. Head on over to the downloads page to check it out!


From the Programmer
Written by Invisible

Last week, I was looking for a program to compare two source code files. I asked for recommendations in the #gamedev IRC channel, and was directed towards TortoiseMerge. One thing led to another, and I ended up installing Subversion and setting up a repository for some of the projects I am working on. I have been considering doing this for a while, and am happy I finally did it.

I also created a new chat filter system. It's my second attempt at creating one, and I think it's definitely better then my first. The server has a list of words that have a "strict" flag attached to them. If a word is strict, it is filtered no matter where it appears in the message. If a word is lenient (the strict flag is not set), it is only filtered out if it appears by itself as a whole word. The previous filter I created was designed to filter everything using the strict model only. This caused problems if someone said "assassin", "titan", or "class" since the word would be partially filtered out.

I plan to package the filter system into a self contained class so that I can easily plug it into any project that needs it. I try to do this with most of the systems I create, and it has worked great so far. I also plan to add in support for multiple file types for the filter data, since I might want to use an encrypted .dat file or XML file instead of an INI file.

In other news, using some advice I gained from a web developer friend, I attempted to fix the columns going up and down the side of the Loradon 3.0 Progress Page. They display correctly in FireFox and IE, but not in web browsers that use of Webkit. Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful. His advice was to create a 3x3 table to contain the page, and use rowspan="2" to extend the content area down to the bottom of the columns. Unfortunately, the browser assumed I wanted the height of the column middle and bottom cells to each get 50% of the content area's height. Setting a fixed height fixed this problem in every browser except Safari and Google Chrome (they both make use of Webkit), so I am right back to where I started. If anyone has advice on how to fix the problem, please let me know. Thanks!


Art Sneak Peek
As a reward for making it through that long (and possibly boring) wall of text, here is a sneak peek at what our artist is currently working on. Deciphering what these are for and represent is left up to you!

Art sneak peek

 

 

Community Spotlight
Written by Jay and pifreak

The SAO community, thriving as it usually is, recently had some of it's older mods (game modifications) redistributed. During the movement of the SAO forums, several mods were lost in the process; however, thanks to Lee, some of those mods have been resurrected on the new forum. Many of the mods were created by different people and they all have a different style, so the SAO community has been overjoyed to see these masterpieces once again.

InvisibleMan has been kind enough (or was it bored enough?) to program and implement a swear-word filter into SAO! It has been great because it lifts a burden off the moderators, as people can now see that swearing is blocked, and it doesn't have to be said repeatedly that swearing is not allowed in Stick Adventures Online. It also makes the community look a lot nicer, and friendlier.

All of the chat should now be rated "G", as to look more professional and to welcome all ages into the world of SAO. We should not have the problem of players quitting the game because of offensive or foul language, and hopefully this will make the gaming experience more enjoyable for everyone!

Newsletter #8 - Secret Feature

Posted by InvisibleLf Monday November 10 2008 at 7:43PM
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Cross-posted from members.gamedev.net/ifthensoftware/journal/

News

We are happy to announce that the overall progress for the Loradon 3.0 Preview release has reached 50%!

Loradon 3.0 Progress Page


From the Programmer
Written by Invisible

"Secret Feature #2" has turned into more of a project then I was expecting. The difficulty rating on the progress page has even been increased from "Medium" to "Hard". The actual feature isn't that difficult, but I need to refactor a bunch of code to ensure that it works. Naturally, this is a good thing.

I have made a few of the much used structures a lot safer to use by adding a Clear() member function. This prevents me from accidentally setting a member pointer to NULL with memset(), and it also makes the clearing code a lot shorter since I no longer have to clear each member one by one.

On an unrelated note; passing 123 variables to a variable argument function is somewhat ugly.


Community Spotlight
Written by Jay, Lee, and pifreak

As the progress of Loradon 3.0 comes closer to its finish (currently at 50%), the players are becoming very excited. Some are viewing the progress page a few times a day to see if any progress has been made, while others wait for news to be posted on the forum. Of course, there are also those who have other viewing habits when it comes to the progress, but that's beside the point.

Clans are a popular part of the SAO community, with many people creating and disbanding them every week. Of these created clans, very few of them are successful and actually last longer than a couple of weeks. The three main clans in Stick Adventures Online are:

  • Sexy Sticks (SS) created by Lee
  • Stick Network (SN) created by AbyssalPhoenix
  • Bandits created by CraterZ

All three of these clans have been around for quite a long time. Most of the active players and those who have been around for a long time are in one of these top three.

As well as clans, some players have also been discussing arranging a pvp tournament within the game, and setting up a time which everyone can be online. This is understandably taking quite a while, but it will help out the community and activeness of the game. Some of the older players are starting to leave, so hopefully this will pose a reason for them to stay.

Newsletter #7 - Back to Loradon 3.0

Posted by InvisibleLf Tuesday November 4 2008 at 7:47PM
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Cross-posted from members.gamedev.net/ifthensoftware/journal/

News

Due to a lack of time, we have dropped the chess project and have resumed work on Loradon 3.0. The overall progress is now at 46%.

Loradon 3.0 Progress Page (www.ifthensoftware.net/loradon_online/progress/)


From the Programmer
Written by Invisible

Nothing much to say other then it feels good to be working on Loradon 3.0 again. Starting a new project can be fun, but there's a lot to be said for working with code that you have 3 years of familiarity with.

Since last Friday I've been working to fix all of the currently known bugs so that nothing can sneak up on me while coding the upcoming features. So far I have wiped out all but 1 of the them, and that last bug should be fairly simple to fix.


Community Spotlight
Written by Jay and pifreak

As the Loradon Online and Stick Adventures Online communities continue to merge, more members have begun to be active on the merged forum. As time passes, many members of both communities have begun to feel more relaxed with one another and are continuing to flourish. Also, as more active members accumulate on the forum, the members have started to play the game which they did not try before (SAO players began to play Loradon and Loradon players began playing SAO). This joint community is becoming more active, and once Loradon 3.0 is released, the community will begin to vehemently thrive with many more members.

As the IRC channel, #HAL, accumulates more members, the SAO community is experiencing less abusive language as members begin to feel the need to report bad language and poor playing (such as SKing). Also, the Portuguese-speaking players have decreased their playing and have virtually disappeared from the community. Due to a Brazilian free-ware site, those Brazilian members had been inhabiting the game for quite some time, so Pifreak, an SAO moderator, prompted Invisible to create a new version of SAO to inhibit these players from downloading the game from a non-official SAO website. This new version would force players to go to the official site by prompting them with a message as they attempt to log on to the game; if they cannot speak English, the site will be difficult for them to move around in, creating a mostly English-speaking community. We don't wish to discriminate, but the overflow of foreign language chat was driving away English-speaking players.