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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Slow Game of RealmSpeak

A couple of weeks ago, Kyle, a Magic Realm enthusiast, presented an open invitation to join in a "Slow Game" of RealmSpeak. Basically, it's an online game of RealmSpeak, but setup in a way that you can jump on, do your turn, and then jump off.

Of course, this wasn't how I intended RealmSpeak to be played, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized its actually fairly well suited to do this. It was designed to handle lost connections with grace, and so it just kinda works.

Anyway, myself and five others (including Kyle) are currently playing a game. We're on day 3, and though there hasn't been much action yet, its getting rolling pretty quick. With the exception of an initial problem with connection handling due to a rogue internet process, everything has been running smoothly, and I'm having a blast. Thanks Kyle for the great idea, and providing the host server!!

As you have probably noticed, I've been out of the RealmSpeak coding mood for nearly four months. I think I burned out on it, and just needed a LONG break. Thanks to Kyle, I'm seeing RealmSpeak in a new light, and starting work on it again in earnest. Because of the SlowGame idea, I decided to focus on some things to make that type of game more workable. For example, I've improved the connection handling a bit, so that rogue processes can't eat up the RealmSpeak connection pool. I've changed how the display shows offline users, so that you can still see what they are doing.

The biggest thing I've added, however, is a new tool to allow you (or the host) to export a set of HTML pages to describe the current state of the game. The idea is that others who are not participating, can still follow the progress of things by looking at the status page. For our current game, I've generated these pages out of RealmSpeak:

SlowGame - Host Kyle

There is still an issue with the detail log, because this is lost every time you log out (this will be fixed in the new version coming soon), but mostly everything else is there. A complete summary of the game rules are available, and you can check out the game map. You can even click on map clearings to see the contents of any clearing with chits in it. I'll try to keep this page up to date as things progress, in case you are interested.

The next question you'll ask: when will there be a new version available? I was hoping to get one out by the end of April, but it's looking to slip a bit into May. If I get time on Sunday, I may put version 0.60 out, but no promises. If you are curious what is in store, check out the Bug Tracker Change Log for details.

Hope you are all enjoying a great year so far!


Josh said...

Welcome back! Glad you had a restful break from RealmSpeak. I'm very excited about the 'slow game' feature, I will definitely use that!

DewKid said...

Thanks Josh! I should point out that the new version of RealmSpeak merely enhances slow-game play by adding some basic enhancements. Otherwise, you can already do this with version 0.59.1.

MWrynn said...

Looks sweet Robin. I'd be more able to get into some games if they were of the "slow" variety!

Does it sometimes happen that you wait a bit too long just for someone to input something simple, such as the next button?

I wonder if it would it be possible to send out some kind of notification (email/IM/beep?) when its a player's turn to provide input...Just an idea. :)

DewKid said...

So far, its moved pretty smoothly, and there haven't been any multi-character combats. Usually, I either have nothing to do, or I need to record my turn, play my turn, or resolve combat.

When a multi-character combat comes into play, I imagine the hitting "Next" will be a pain. I figure when that happens, the players involved could simply plan a time to get online at the same time, and take care of business.

Regarding notification: I was planning on adding something to do that. Interestingly enough, however, Kyle has rigged some kind of script to do this already. Anytime there is a change in the log, the script e-mail's everyone in the group, and announces the changes.

Josh said...

I've tried to implement a script like the one you describe, but the log doesn't seem to get updated (or even touched) every time someone does something, in particular if they execute their evening turn without combat.

I'm running 0.60, does Kyle's script work in this version? If so, could I possibly get a copy of it?

DewKid said...

I'm not familiar with what Kyle has done, except for the e-mails I get from his script.

I am planning on having RealmSpeak handle the e-mails automatically in the next release, so at least when that one comes out, you wont need a script.