Tuesday, December 10, 2013

seven new avatars, options panel is larger, and robots will go alone in Euchre

A few changes were applied to World of Card Games this morning. Seven new avatars have been added! There's a snowboarder, a skier, and more... Check them out by clicking on the "Avatar" link in the upper left corner.

In addition, the "Options" panel has been made a bit larger and is now contained within its own dialog. Previously, it was confined to the space reserved for each game panel. You can see the old "Options" panel in my post about the "no robots" option. Here's a screenshot of the new "Options" panel:
I hope this makes it easier to change options for those with small screen sizes. Please let me know if you have any trouble with the new dialog.

Finally, a bug fix was applied to Euchre. Several players noticed that robots never "go alone," and pointed that out to me. This has now been fixed.

Thanks to everyone who sends me feedback! I'll keep working to fine-tune the site so that it's easier to use for everyone.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

bug fix update - game panels should appear now

Over the last couple days, a few players at World of Card Games told me that they were unable to play a game there. They'd get to the main page, and the game panels were not displayed. It was sporadic - in my case, it only happened a couple times. Turns out it was caused by a bug that was introduced in my previous update. I fixed it and the site should be working fine now! I'm sorry I had to shut down the site again - I hate to chase people away when they're playing a long game of Hearts or Spades!

Another player told me that starting last week, they were unable to play the game because their "Custom Cursor" (the green pointer) had disappeared. It turns out that there's a new version of the Windows browser out, Internet Explorer 11, and this version does not handle animated cursors like the site's "Custom Cursor." I've also solved this problem. I didn't actually fix it; I just set the cursor to the default (little white pointer) in all browsers except for Chrome, where it's working reliably.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

don't leave the table by mistake!

A player at World of Card Games reported that some people were accidentally leaving tables. They would sit at a table, try to click the "chat log" link to see what had been going on, and then accidentally hit the nearby "leave table" link.

I've moved the links around in the lower left corner, so hopefully this will not happen anymore! As you can see in the screenshot above, the "chat log" link is now far away from the "leave table" link.

In addition, you can now view the chat log without it scrolling down constantly as more players chat. To do so, you will need to open the chat log, and hold onto the scrollbar with your mouse. As long as you've got your mouse down on the scrollbar, the chat log will stay where you've got it.

Finally, there was a bug which caused the screen to appear blank if the zoom level had been set low. It looked as though the site was gone! This has been fixed now.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

server was down briefly for bug fixes this morning

The server was down for about 10 minutes this morning, during which time I applied some bug fixes. If you've been noticing a message about your browser "zoom" level not being set correctly, that was probably a bug. Zoom detection has been removed, since it's not working reliably in all browsers.

The site looks better if your browser zoom level is set to 100% (the default). If the zoom level is set too low (less than 75% zoom), the web page does not show up at all - you'll just see a blank page. I will look into developing a warning for such situations. Meantime, if you see a blank page when you hit the site, you should check your browser's zoom level. If you don't know how to do this, feel free to write me. My email address is marya@worldofcardgames.com.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Euchre - stick the dealer

At World of Card Games, we follow the "Stick the Dealer" variation of Euchre. It goes like this: After the cards are dealt, a card is turned up, and each player in turn is allowed to accept this card as the trump suit. If no one chooses it, then each player in turn is allowed to name an alternate trump suit. It can happen that no one has a strong hand, so they don't want to risk naming the trump suit, and being required to take three tricks to score a point. In that case, no one names a trump suit, and the dealer is "stuck" with naming it. This can work out fine if the dealer has a strong hand, but it can be annoying, otherwise.

Today, a player wrote me that when he had played Euchre in the past, they had the custom of "throwing in a hand and passing the deal when all the players pass twice around the table." This is sometimes called a "misdeal."

This appears to be a common way of playing Euchre. However, it does make the game last a little longer. Each time there's a misdeal, no points are scored, and you have to go through the whole deal-and-choose procedure again before any cards can be played.

I'm curious to hear from Euchre players what they'd prefer. At this point, I wouldn't want to change any rules to the games, since I'm more focused on bug-fixing and adding a few new features. But for the future, I'd consider adding more variations to the rules, or even changing them if the majority prefer a specific variation.

Finally, variations in the rules of each game fragment the players onto different tables - 4 different players can be sitting at 2 different tables, waiting for a game to start, but without the variations they'd all be sitting at one table actually playing a game! That's another reason I'd rather not add more variations, now. If and when the site gets more players, more variations won't be such a problem.

[Edit Dec 8 2015: There is now an Option to turn off the "Stick the Dealer" rule.]

Thursday, November 14, 2013

new feature - 'dislike player', new avatars

World of Card Games was unavailable for about 30 minutes this morning while some updates were applied. Here's a summary of the changes.

1) The "Kick Player" button is gone. No more kicking! In its place is the "Dislike Player" icon, a round red button with a white "x" in it. If you hover your mouse over this button, you will see the label "Dislike Player" appear (see screenshots below).

Clicking on this button will put the associated player on your "disliked players" list. My blog post about how to kick players tells you how to edit this list.

Once you have "disliked" a player, you will not be seated with them again. But other than that, they will not be affected.

2) There are five new avatars!

3) The robot strategy for Hearts has been modified (hopefully for the better). Changing the robot strategy is a "work in progress" - I'll be making small changes over time, with the goal of improving it overall.

4) Finally, there was a bug in Hearts that has been fixed. Normally, when shooting the Moon, 26 points should be added to all other players' scores. If this would cause the game to end with the shooter losing, only then should points be subtracted from the shooter's score. But there were some cases where points were deducted from the shooter's score even if the game was in no danger of ending. This led to some very long games! The bug has been fixed, and I am grateful to the person who pointed this problem out to me.

Here's wishing everyone an early Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

server glitch - site was rebooted

The server suffered a glitch last night, and the site was malfunctioning for a few hours. It's back up and running this morning! Sorry for the inconvenience.