Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year Holidays and change of IP

So we are approaching new year and the craze that comes along with it. Polly is taking a few days vacation going out with friends and will be returning on Tuesday, which means that users in the server will have to put up exclusively with me the next few days :).

I will try to delivery a few new features by myself (like sound) and do some overall clean up.

One big thing i changed yesterday was ip for the alpha server. This happened several times since the server started, and yesterday i put up a front address so even if we change the server, you can log in with the same ip.

Eventually there will be one more change o nit, when i associate it with the domain. There are some decisions left to do before that in the matter.

So if you ever have a doubt on the server status go to and check the link. If there server is down, the link will be blacked out and with a tooltip (with an explanation) otherwise, clicking it will take you to the server.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Security, emails , authentication and otherthings

As founders know, the "authentication" we used at the Alpha was light, due to the inconvenience of gathering emails for me and the convenience of letting all founders join easily.

However a post at life19 exposed the matter even more, which forces me to use passwords right now, while i still havent gotten all the emails to send the passwords to.

So new instructions to get into Alpha:

1-Founders that dont have a nickname should still email me so i can create your accounts. After that, you will be sent a password by email.

2-Its possible some founders have sent me pm's, messages to the hotmail account, or have difficult to find nicknames and i couldnt find your appropiate email. In such case, you will have not received your password. In that case, just email me again. Sorry for the inconvenience.

3-If you received your email, you now have your password. You wont be able to change the password in the server, because Alpha is very unstable and im not doing a periodic backup of the data generated there. As such, you will be having to put ur password over and over again every time we restart (which is has happened often this past week).

Remember to check your trash/spam folders as you might have never received an email from before.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Updates on Alpha

The past week has been CRAAZY. With capital letters and an extra A. I have put on over 70 hours, playing even at X-mas in the server :).

Many things happened at once. Coming out is really a totally new phase of a software project, and with the milestone comes a lot of new responsibilities.

To set some surprises straight, we use an Amazon Free Tier server, which is free, but also has very low reliability and other issues. Sometimes, Amazon practically shuts down our server completely. This is what happened today.

Some other days, our server can crash, just because we have things to improve.

We are fairly aware with what happens on the server most of the time, and when its down, we will negate the link in, often with a short explanation. At that moment the server is officially down.
When you can click on it(it would be orange) the server is officially up. Fear not that if thats the case, we will know very soon, so dont panic :).

Given those disclaimers there are many other great things to talk about.

Overall the experience seems quite good and many people are very happy with what they are seeing. You can play, and watch pro games, and chat with delicious features. 99% of the time the server move really quickly, even though its in a very poor server setting.
One thing completely normal for a milestone like this is that Pato and I had a way to test thing completely natural to us, but foreign to new people. This made users find a plethora of issues in the past weekend, most of them are fixed by today, including styling, minor functionality, a few mischievious exploits.

Unfortunately Pato got sick yesterday and i've been working like hell. And i met him IRL and he transfered that bug to me, so now im sick :). I , however, am a total boss-man and will keep working till friday .
Normally the server is meant to be updated on fridays, but heavy crashes mean that uploading the latest things is just as easy as not doing it. So users have enjoyed daily updates this week :).

I am super happy with peoples response, im really glad people are enjoying and discovering it, and looking at it in ways we havent. was conceived as an idea 9 months ago, and today it really feels like a child. A baby we have to take care 24/7, and help it become better and bigger.

This is one of the most beautiful milestones of the project, one we will look back on in the future.

I hope founders keep being excited as they have shown in the chat in the past few days, and lets help Kaya become better.

Regards, Gabriel.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Alpha is released! (Part 2)

Today Alpha was released! and many players eager to try it out logged in, played some.

We have found a plethora of bugs, and we have our hands full for some time to polish things :).

But even after all the errors (several of whom i fixed while people where reporting them to me) its still habitable and playable. Games were played and organised, lots of chatter (lots).
It was funny how i told Pavol Lisy to join in to play, he logged in, in 5 seconds we where playing. we finished the game and he left. He didnt even have time to consider where he was playing, it was that accesible :).

I(Gabriel) will be online probably as much as possible during the weekend. Of course its the holidays which means lots of time i wont be around.
We will be working on ironing out all of the issues in the next few weeks, while we work on the next steps.

Attached are some pictures of todays activity.

Alpha is released!

Checkout to get access to the server :) or directly click here

I remind founders to review the previous post about instructions on how to get in.

In the past 2 weeks that we announced the release, lots of non-founders have requested access to check it out. After thinking about it, we chose to keep them out. Founder assistance was crutial to us and they deserve all the exclusivity we can give them :). Non-founders and non-supporters will have to wait to the public release, which is not so bad. We estimate a month and a half around for that, and that verison will be prettier, and more robust.

Founders, however, get to see the baby take its first steps :).

After log-in you will see a couple of links of feedback in the top side of the pages. They include a survey and a link to the feedback tab. All your experience (good&bad) and any idea you get, write it! it will help us make a better server.

Founder accounts will be very soon stop being offered. We will replace the donation with a supporter account that will eventually have a different marker and perks.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Notice for Founders(Still not released, but important!)

Alpha is almost ready and we are soon to publish it. It is working and operational and we are giving it the finishing touches.

That said the release of it might happen tomorrow or during X-mas and people founders should get ready for it. For over 100 founders, i have about 30 accounts set-up on the server.

To access alpha server you need to have a nickname registered(by me). If you never gave me your nickname, or if you did and cant log-in, send me an email at

To log-in to alpha, your password will be the same as your nickname. I cannot provide a more secure option because i dont have your emails in an organized and reliable fashion.

So after you log in, you should visit your own profile and set your email. Then i will save them and will provide a mechanism for a secure password option later on.

1- To log in, user nickname/pass nickname

2- If you are a founder and can't, contact Kaya to set up the account

3- After log in , set up your email in your profile

4- When the release is done, we will add an access point to the server from the website.

I just played a game with someone else remotely and its working pretty neat, however...


An Alpha release is a version of the project which is unstable, unreliable, with little real-life testing.

1- Dont hold your data too dearly. i.e. don't put too much work into your profile, karma, etc , because this server is likely to get erased on a regular basis, once we find heavy inconsistencies or issues.
2- Its not working AAA fast. Its in a small server development and lots of tuning and detail work is left before it loads like a modern established site.
3- Don't panic if something breaks, which is likely. For the most serious errors we have automatic reporting. For things that "look funny" or "just arent quite right" we probably dont, so don't be afraid to tell us :).

Known surprises
1- Kaya is now utilizing Glicko as a rating system, which is similar to what Wbaduk and Tygem use. Because there is no account creation right now, ranks are set up automatically at 7d.
Soon(as in this week) handicap will be arranged to affect the rating system correctly, and to set up the proper handicap on games you play. Enjoy the 7d'hood while it lasts :)
2- Clocks. Right now all games are absolute time, and because some things are left, the clock is permanently running. That is, if you disconnect, the clock is still going on and you will lose by time eventually. So pay attention to your clock :)

Your help

1- Please fill out the survey :). I will put some survey somewhere to rate the experience and to give feedback. Its how we will measure the improvements we make on the server, specially regarding the flow of things , more than the lack of features or candy.
Your feedback has direct impact on what we do, as it was proven in the feedback section from our current site, where several suggestions where implemented.

2- Sharing pictures: be our guests. More people looking at what we are doing means more support from every angle. You are encouraged to share and if you do, tell us, so we can follow it up if appropiate.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Deployment, designing the main window, and more bunches of fixes.

Pato has been working really hard into making sense from the main page of the server.
His work is truly amazing and detailed, cleaning up after the funcitonal-yet-visually brain-damaging things i did on the server.

In spirit of making a release soon and with great quality, we have put on hold many great features that are already implemented but need designing, improving adn thinking, and we will gradually add them as things look sturdy and the users are ready to lose brain-mass from the awesomeness explosion it will cause. Examples of that are in the final chat lines of the attached pictures :).

I could finish deployment in an hour or so, but some assumptions i had went wrong. When we tried the server last sunday, the 2 users took a looong while to log in to the server. Since development servers run in our own computers,it always runs super fast, and i attributed their slowness to my bandwith.

But after deployment...oh boy its slow. We hadnt put a single sec of work into minifying javascript, compressing images and stylesheets, ordering things to get a better experience, etc.So when a user logs in, its downloads the pictures and stuff and it takes a while. It works like a charm afterwards of course, but loading is dissapointing.
And that working on that is what im actually doing. As expected and feared, more and more things pile up, so its very unlikely we release the Alpha this friday ,and we will do so next week.
Speed, however, has improved greatly in the last 50 minutes :). I have reduced download requirements by over 80%, and still working on that. And after putting cache, after the first download the site will go super fast.

Stay tuned, we are soon to release :).

The Alpha release will come with several disclaimers, and with instructions on how Founders (that now rise up to over 100, counting people that havent asked for their nicknames on the board of fame yet) can log in to the server.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Loading, testing, Alpha, and a bunch o' fixes

This week was great for development. As expected, as we were trying things out many things surfaced, tweaks and bugs, improvements and realizations of better solutions.
And we were able to solve all of those issues while still being able to keep the schedule. We are aiming at having the alpha out next friday, and it looks possible, although there is a real posibility of pushing back that for another week.

The experience of playing in Kaya has improved so much so quickly we are both proud and amazed. I was telling our #1 Fan Jean-Sebastien today that i played a game with Patricio. While testing out the latest things, we started a game and we couldn't help ourselves and had to play to finish it.

Its working fast, neat and nice, and the experience as a whole is amazing.
Included in the picture is our game :) . Be gentle with Polly, that he is a beginner and we played an even game :).

There is a special comment on the right side, in red, which will remain half-secret for now on. It is a very special and spectacular feature we have and we enjoyed it greatly.

Every day is filling us with extra excitement as the date for Alpha approaches.

Keep in tune as i Alpha coming out will have new notices, changes in prizes, disclaimers and a lot more :).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Score agreement and Social actions

Back again with more teasers :). This time, i want to show you guys how Score agreement and results look like.

It is a very standard way to visually design it, what we made a little more clear is the result: its automatically being calculated as you click living and dead groups, as opposed to showing both territories like KGS does, or Wbaduks extremely confusing lack of komi in the calculation.

Also, i want to show the Context menu where you can perform actions on users. It has now 4 items:

Private chat: which doesn't work :). Its not yet implemented. Originally i was going to add a Chatbox like Gmail/Facebook. Its not so difficult to do, but in the end i saw a much better solution from a third party software. Which one? secret yet, it will be a surprise later on. It blew my mind off, because its really slick, fast, modern and all. But we are probably a few months away from that becoming a priority.

User info: it simply opens a new tab with the user profile page

Muzzle: This is a community asked feature :). It was proposed in the feedback section and it is now implemented. People can muzzle one guy at a time, and if 5 people muzzle someone, he cannot send more messages. He is not disconnected from the server, but he cannot chat.

Give Karma: our own +1. When we roll out into production, we will make karma a big deal. Many people contribute to the community in many ways, even if they are not strong or wealthy, and karma is the right way to recognize their efforts. As users get more karma, they will get special marks and recognitions, and who knows ,maybe even some benefits.

Even though we are wrapping up 3-4 features a day, they spawn like never-ending zombies. Our private development log went from 15 features before my arrival, and now it has 46. For every 3 i put down, i put 5 new ones.

Polishing is really the hardest and most laborious part of games. It is tricky to think that the ability to play is just enough to make a good service. That way you calculate a fraction of the work.
But now, that has turned fully playable (including a rating system) a zillioni pending things have sprung out. Details that look like little work like showing move numbers on the chat, or hiding kibitzer chat from the users playing end up being part of a swarm.

And we are battling the swarm, and killing it like bosses :).
This week we have to finish the time systems, and some more details. After that, polly will work on design and i will do the deployment. If we dont find any big surprise, we estimate that next week's friday we might have the server up for an Alpha.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Move Markers in the chat, Score agreement , Timestamps and Mailer

Hey guys!. Getting back to you guys with some more updates.

Remember the list of things we had to do before going out? (check out the previous post).

We finished 2 of them:

- The mailing system, which funnily now warns us everytime we make a development mistake or a blunder in the server :).
- Score agreement!. It is working awesome. Games now can be finished, scored, and the scoring works pretty much like in KGS: players interactively work with the board to settle the final result.
It gave another huge feeling of completion for us, it looks really good. However its not 100% done, as it still needs some polishing.

Also, we have advanced on another features. Today we pretty much finished Move marking in the chat, thats when you see by which move each comment was made. Its working pretty neat and it again gives it this feeling of completion.

Lastly i finished a feature asked in the Feedback section of our site: Timestamps. Timestamps right now are shown in the users local time zone, so you can tell how long ago someone made a comment.

Included is a screenshow showing th e timestamp and the moves.

Score agreement showing is for a later time :)

The past week we made amazing progress but also some stinks are coming up, which means soon we will spend a week mainly polishing the tools and making sure the health of the software project is good. We are here for the long haul, so doing things the right way is a priority.

Regards! and keep in touch.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Getting closer and closer to the Beta release. Founder accounts will soon stop to be offered.

Polly finished something AMAZZZZING with the board. Something i asked him to do long time ago and it wasnt easy at all. What is it? Surprise for the founders :). Its really one of those features that once you use them, you know you cannot go back to not using it. Its really a fundamental piece on a Go server and I proudly believe everyone will go nuts on it.

Polly and I are working really hard on polishing the first server version. Although all the core features are almost done, pending only score agreement ( which we are working on right now) I 've been polishing and smoothing rough edges of functionality. Today i fixed and improved several ways to interact with the server, such as opening games, resigning, openin other games, going to games through a players history, etc.

So what are we missing for the Dev server? This is our private todo-list for it :

Score agreement: Today we wanted to work full time on this, but between Polly's variation work, and me polishing the tools to test it, we dont know yet how long it will take us.
First we are going to do a "disconnected" score agreement, pretty much many servers do, which means both plyers select stones, and then try to agree with the server that they have the same results.
After that, we want to make it work simultaneously (players share the board and dispute during scoring, like KGS does it). This is the single biggest programmatic challenge before Dev server.

Email Notifications: i have been putting it off because it was a cumbersome choice. There are several options to solve this problem, but we need to have it running well for Dev server : when the server registers bugs, it should send an email to us so we can fix things without requiring users to report most issues. This includes Front-End notifications, as users hitting problems on their browsers should automatically report it to us, as many errors that happen dont go through the server.

Styling and design work: Since Kaya will have a complete make-over soon, we dont want to spend much energy in this for the dev server, but the main window (where the channels and rooms are) is a disaster today and looks awful. Less worse but still bad is the user profile page, which is pretty raw. So Pato will spend some work on that making it decent. After Development server is up&running, i will work mostly on bug-fixes, improvements on usability and more, as the users test the first version of the server that will be very unstable. While the server increases techincal quality , Patricio will start with the 100% makeover with our top notch designer. That matter deserves an entire post of its own :).

Authentication&Failure pages: right now as pages fail to load, we hand out a pretty ugly page which shows the raw program's error. It is practical for us, but disgusting for users :). Also, because its comfortable for us not to log in, the site needs some authentication work around the edges to prevent some future issues. This is 50% designer work, 50% framework to process different time of errors, templates and more. Its not a lot of work, but it will be a couple of days.
Finally deployment: a few months back i worked on deploying kaya to see how it worked remotely. I had thought it would take me a week to understand the tools and to make it work. It took me 3 days, and we could test it out and play a game online :). Unfortunately also many months passed since that, and it will not be easy to update that old code to current's code.

We are VERY confident to make it before next year. This goes in hand to another announcement, once i have mentinoed in previous communications in other means.
When the Dev server is finally concluded, we want to stop handing out Founder accounts. Its not fair to our eyes that people that put their faith for us several months ago, when a picture was all we could show, than to do it when there is a video and a server running. The difference of the leap of faith has to be rewarded.

We still need to fund our operations so we will not stop donations altogether. And i bet many people will want to get into the dev server.
This gives us two options: either we raise the price on founder accounts, or we change the name of founder to 'Supporter' account. Although they would get the same benefit, the account would be flagged differently and it will be evident who where the supporters in the first phase of the project, in its infancy.

Stay tuned guys :) And always remember to visit the Feedback section, we check it regularly to see which features to implement.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Heading to Development Server + Canvas Board + Facebook disclaimer

Vectorial resizable anime-like Go board.
Hey guys. With Gabriel back in the city, our agenda is being renewed and we're running fast towards the Development Server where founders will be able to enjoy our features like playing games, watching replays and testing the sandbox. We'll be sharing some info about dates and details soon.

This time I would like to show you a picture about the actual state of my research in Canvas and the board I've designed inspired in the anime Hikaru No Go. As you can see in the picture, it's fully re-sizable.

It would be useful for me if those who like this kind of details comment down about the board style and what do you like or dislike. Of course it's not even near to be definitive, and we're planning to support many themes for the board, but there will be a default theme and that one must be really beautiful :)

Oh, I nearly forgot. For the relief of all the Go players out there without a Facebook account, let me tell you that I'm one of yours. I hate those sites all covered with blueish panels full of don't-touch-me-because-i-will-ask-you-to-sign-up-into-facebook buttons. So... believe me that integration -if we decide to do so- will be as less intrusive as it can be.

There are a lot of things to do and we are full of enthusiasm, power and will. We can't wait to have the server out there with all of you playing and commenting.

I hope you like the board. Stay online, we're working on some big news!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Facebook Login: do we want it?

Hey guys. A recent comment on Facebook reminded me that i haven't made up my mind around the subject of including Facebook into Kaya.

There are a few things Facebook does that it gives some conveniences so any site that integrates part of its funcitonality.

The first and foremost is the log-in. Traditionally any site where you are required to make an account, has some email validation, password and so on. It is a current trend that many sites allow you to log-in with your Facebook(or Google, MSN or even Yahoo ID). Normally you can still choose a nickname or such.

It has a big advantage: people with facebook accounts can log in very quickly, without email-validation.

From that, there are a few more things that can be done. Potentially, many people would like to share things that happen on the server on Facebook, like a cool game, or a tournament result, etc. So while logged in with your facebook account, we could potentially give some buttons so people can do a quick post on their own wall .

I don't have much interest in the next step, which is kaya directly posting on people's walls. I think its tacky so thats out of the question :).

There are 2 reasons for not wanting to have facebook integrated.

1- Many people loathe facebook. Since FB is so easy to integrate, even really crappy sites have it. Personally i feel more friction when i read a FB login or buttons or whatever than making a new account with e-mail validation. But on the other hand, i have used FB login in places where supplying my name and picture was appropiate. For example, own uservoice page, where we handle community feedback.

2- Go Players love being anonymous. Many people dont play on KGS due to the strain of people watching and commenting their games. Many people have secret-hidden accounts. I believe that is not actually natural of go players, but it is caused by how KGS is done. I don't think Asians go through the same pressure , except maybe pros.
It would be better for Kaya if users were identified through FB. Each account would have more identity and we would have more information. This means people wont make new accounts all the time, and they would feel more connected to the server, as people know who they are.

You can vote/comment on it there!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Game Listings, GoLibrary and my return

Hey guys!

I havent updated in a while, i really owe some news :). Had a crazy time last week between tournaments, but i made a great new feature on . I was so psyched that i worked until 7am on friday giving it the finishing touches.

Its not styled so it looks a little messy but you can get a glimpse on how it will look.

All go servers i know of show the on-going/open games in a text-like list. Although its obviously practical (and supports it, you can see the "switch view button") we believe something better can be achieved. Hence we have a chart!

Games will be categorized by number of observers and the rating of the strongest player of the match, plus colors to distinguish different types of games (Replays, Sandboxes, Matches, etc), You can click on the dot and get a dialog with some information to watch the game, or start it if its an open game. In the future, the very tooltip or popup will show a preview of the game, so you know if you want to look at it before joining.

Otherwise i dont have much more to show for in the past week for myself: i've been working on the problem solving software. Its looking better and better. I am currently making it possible to create tests by hand: the idea behind tests is to check how much you know of a given subject, making it better to test for fuseki/joseki knowledge. Here at BIBA (Blackie's Baduk Academy) we have to study a whole fuseki each day, and i think they are missing tests on it.

With this feature they will probably create a daily test, which means we will get some nice non-tsumego problems soon. Then we will add Cho Chikuns Tsumego library, and make a widget to put on :). We really want to show the power of internalizing software outside the server, and that is our goal by making a first GoLibrary version right now.

However, part of me suffers for this delays. Had i stay in Argentina in October, we would have a playable server already. After so many events i attended i could get into the rythm of working, but because i have opposite times to Argentina, polly and I agreed on working things that dont require collaboration: GoLibrary, some GoSpeed(the board) details, and things here and there.

What we are missing specifically to get the first server version is score-agreement. Its kind of done but has to be polished and tested.

After that, we have to stylize some remaining parts of the server and we can launch, which we expect to happen before new year.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Correspondence Go (A.K.A "Turn Based") and GoLibrary

So the video working frenzy is over now,and we can focus on the next tasks at hand.

I did some clean-up and implemented some features people suggested at the Feedback section of the site. Now im implementing another suggesstion which is allowing "Turn Based " Games, like DGS/OGS and other servers like them.

First of all, i hate the phrase "Turn Based". Its always turn based. Or with a clock, u can actually play twice? . Truly silly name :)

In the Feedback section some suggestions were made and i think the one that is more appropriate is Correspondence Go. The word is a little uncomfortable but its the most accurate.

For those that dont know, Correspondence Go is basically a game with a very large clock setting (as in, main time 30 days, byo-yomi 1 day). This leads to a very relaxed kind of game, with no real time pressure. You can devote very little time in a day to play a move, which is as easy as checking your email.
Also , games with this settings are more studied: its more common to check at pattern variations, study the joseki, which is a good study and makes the players be able to reach the best decision they can make. Due to time pressure, we often fear or skip variations, or are forced to make rush decisions.

Usually Correspondence Go is much easier to do than real time go, because there are no strong time constrains on the software system. Thats why "Turn Based" servers are usually smaller in features , as they are a much easier problem to solve.

In our case, we have solved Real time games already, so allowing for Correspondence games is trivial: After all, they are a subset of real-time games. (just large clock settings).
They are a little different in other aspects. Because there are games where you play 1 move a day, usually you get more games going at the same time.

So we are going hybrid and allowing both types of games. The core solution is already done, but this brought to me the challenge on how to present the different type of games for the users. So i've been working on the UI.

Novelties? you can see which games are players playing and join them through their profile, just like its done on CGoban. Correspondence games are now supported and i will polish them a little before closing this feature. It will not be as rich as DGS/OGS, with vacation time and other minorities, certainly not now, but this might be a very good way to get initial games going on on the server.

Ill be back soon with updates!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The supporter blog is open. We published the video! and muzzling...

Exciting news everyone! We finished the demo video we planned long ago. Its now in the home page of our site . Due to the fact that we are over 130 supporters, i decided to open up the blog for anyone to read.

I really wanted to keep it private but blogger restrictions made it impossible to do so, so right now everyone will be able to read it.

So everyone check out the video and share it with your friends :). It shows about 60% of what we have in the server (we are not showing the match creation and challenging, the rooms/channels, private messagings and profile sections).

Right now i am also finishing to implement the first idea brought to me by the community: muzzling. Normally admin's have to take care of obnoxious users, spammers and other type. Personally i was struck with this inconvienience on kgs, trying to find and admin, and by the time he comes in the damage is done.

Muzzling is about the users of the server "voting" to silence someone. They cant kick him out of the server, if a given number of users choose to muzzle another one, he will not be able to publish messages for some time.

I thought this was a great idea for the community to self regulate itself. For this exact purpose, it will work faster and more on-demand than calling an admin.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Glicko Rating system is done.

Today i finished merging yoyoma's implementation of Glicko into the server. It was a good learning experience for me to work on Open source code (OpenKaya).

I had to make several tweaks on his code which i should propagate to OpenKaya soon. But besides that, it seems to work very well, and we have now a rating system on Kaya, which includes ranks.

Glicko is an improvement on ELO taking into account mainly the confidence of the players rank, as if he doesnt play for a long time, his rating will move faster for the next games. It is not , however, like KGS's decayed history algorithm that takes past games into account.

This is much closer to my initial idea of how it should be done but after much discussion Whole history rating seems interesting to try. Definitely if someone makes it for OpenKaya we will have a showdown of rating systems.

For now its not our biggest concern because we need a good player base and regular playing for a rating system to have any meaning and building that has higher priority.
Things are still going good. It is unfortunate that we will not be able to make the beta this november. Its not impossible ,but because now i am in korea, some things that require simultaneous work are inefficient and uncomfortable.

However we are moving along well and working on manythings, so even though the minimum work required for the Beta is taking longer than expected, we will have other cool features sooner, like problem solving on the site.

Hope everyone is as excited as we are :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Overdue Posting.Blog will go open and Tygem knows.

Hey guys! I haven't posted in a while. I've been so packed with things to do here in Korea and talking to people and working on GoLibrary and other details.

Polly is wrapping up the video and we should have it anytime soon. It's taking a lot more than expected, due to Polly's appreciation for details. But it will come soon and this blog will go public. Blogger unfortunately only allows 100 private readers, and as you all know we have way more than 100 supporters. Most people that arent included havent accepted their invitations, which is why we didn't hit this problem before.

But now, newcomers are asking for the blog and i have no solution but to open up the blog. Other options that would allow me such a thing involve work and maintenance we are not willing to give it. So as soon as we get the video, this blog will go open.

On another news, i was contacted by both WBaduk and Tygem while in Samsung Cup. A guy from Wbaduk just recognized me in person, and someone in Tygem casually looked at the list of students at BIBA and asked Kim Seung-Jun if i was the Kaya guy. (they recognized me by name). They asked for a meeting also.

Last year, i went to the Tygem main offices in Seoul. I gave them some recommendations on how to open up to the westerners, and they were very good listeners i think. They gave me a set of books as a present for my advice. However, they did not succeed in accomplishing a western community nor any of the suggestions i made for them. This happened 3 months before i started to toy around with the idea of building a server.

Now the positions are different and interesting. Tygem is part of a bigger company network of games. In a way, they race Wbaduk to get a stronghold in the west, so i think both sides are interested in Kaya as a means to do that, somehow.

On the other hand Wbaduk is a different company. It is also big, and profitable, but it doesnt have as good a technical team as Tygem has. And more, they get some government sponsorship, which they must spend. So they have money burning their pockets.

Last but not least, as i was discussing with Polly, if there is a way to help them get into the west, but we get into the East, which is a bigger and more profitable market, then we might also find something. Due to our architecture, we have an expanded flexibility to do things that dont compromise our vision, yet allow for inter-server relationships.

WARNING: All this is pure speculation. I have no way of knowing what will happen, what they want, or anything. We are at least very happy on how Kaya spread over the world, and that people can see a glimpse of our vision.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kaya's first design is applied to the server. KPMC & K-Baduk crazyness

Hey guys. Notices have been pretty slow because i am very busy these days with tournaments. This past week i finished participating in the KPMC (with awful results by the way) and now im playing a televised team championship, which is also pretty cool.

Polly has been working a lot on applying the design to the server, which is the first one we are making until we go full pro on it.

I think maybe it would have been better to put off the design and focus on some other things first, considering th eeffort it took us to achieve it and where that effort could have gone .

That said, we are soon making the video which hopefully will make it easier for us to get more contributors and maybe even future customers.

Also we are very close to a beta version as the only true thing we have to polish is scoring (actually agreeing on the score). It is done but we should test it.

But even though we are so close, im staying in korea to do research and work on GoLibrary (the go problem solving section of the site) so full server development is a little stalled, maybe until i get back. So we will make the video showing how you interact with Kaya, to quelch the hunger for news, and then work on go problems.

Hope everyone is eager :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In Korea

Hey Guys! I haven't updated in a while because i was travelling to Korea.

I am not staying at BIBA along many other players like Ali Jabarin, Ron Lavi, Fredrik Blombak, Dusan, Lucien Corlan, and soon even more.

While Patricio is merging the designers work into Kaya and we prepare to make the demo video, y started working on Go Library, the problem solving branch of the server. There is some basic mock-up functionality, and i will be working on it while on the school, and see if i can make all the students use it, and trial run it. That is my main objective while here at BIBA plus do some reasearch on what pros like.

There are many schools here in korea and originally with GoLibrary i wanted to target them. If all korean schools use our problem solving system we could get a lot of leverage to get users and more.

In a couple of days KPMC starts and i will be very busy for a week, while Patricio will work on the board related features of GoLibrary (mainly adapting GoSpeed to be used to solve problems, or just using eidogo as goproblems does).

Guys here have seen a peep on how Kaya is looking while i was working at it. As soon as the video is out all founders will get access to it ASAP.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

ReplayBot + Scoring + Design + Tournaments

Guys! Exciting news.

Along with polly, we just watched the full replay a of a professional game on Yes. You heard right. We saw a professional game being played a 2, 5 and 10 seconds a move, and enjoyed watching each stone getting broadcasted for all users to see.

It was amazing. It worked really good. What we do is fetch games from GoKifu, which means we have a never ending stream of "just-played" professional games, working automatically. By artificially spacing the moves as it gets replayed, users have the option to chat and comment the very game.

In the longer term, we want to save and screen all those commentaries, so only go related ones remain, and the game can be saved and published as a " commented game".

Polly is hectic this week working on the last details of the board for the demo. He finished adopting the scoring algorithm from kaya, and worked on some functions and features to do the score counting. Now he is going to work on a VERY cool way to share variations.

Last but not least, we have a designer working on Kaya right now, on the home page and the board screen. The short-term goal is to have a fancy design for the demo.

After the demo, i will be in Korea and some features will be put on hold in favour of GoLibrary : the oficial training-site/tool of Kaya. Back at the beginning of september i started prototyping it and liked the results. So polly will work on making Gospeed problem-able (or maybe we will use modified eidogo) and i will work on a fast prototype first version and test it out at BIBA with the other students, and see it work in real life.

Problem solving and training is one of the core activities of go players, and i think no-one ever did an honest effort to find a solution. I want to tackle that problem asap.

Also the mentor of this project (and maker of many of the software tools we use) might be tempted to work on a Tournament organizer site. The idea is that any tournaemnt can be organized from there, and games can be scheduled on Kaya, thus giving the option for anyone to start a tournament online, which automatic verification of asistance, results, scoring, tables and more (Inspired by KGS lack of automatization , which prevented me from organizing an Atsumi Cup back in the day)

Friday, October 7, 2011

KPMC comes soon..

Hey guys! I have some delicious updates :)

Next friday i will start the journey to Korea to participate on the KPMC. After that tournament i will be staying at BIBA , mostly trying to do some research on what would be awesome for professionals to get into the server, and also work on GoLibrary: the problem solving/training tool of Kaya.

We are ecstatic about all the work we did in the past month. Even ourselves cannot believe how different things look and feel and work, after this first full-time month.

I want to take advantage of the KPMC to get more coverage on Kaya , and making sure everyone in the world knows about, and hopefull, more volunteers, contributors and developers aid us in the building of this server.

To make a showcase we decided on making a video instead of a live demonstration. The advantages are plentiful: such a video can be broadcasted, put on the site and more. It is also a safer way to make a demonstration, as we can re-tape if something goes wrong or breaks. The server is working pretty well but week by week we change many things and its not in a reliable phase still.

This week we are wrapping up a lot of features :timing, score, owner-ship, editing tools, etc. We are still improving and expanding the Sandbox (a.k.a. known as a Demonstration). It is the toughest game window of all, as many things can change and be edited, and control can be passed around. By cracking the toughest nut, we know that the rest of the game modes are downhill.

This week we hired a designer to work on Kaya to get it to a presentable state for the demonstration. Unfortunately the prototype designer is on vacation, so until november we wont start working on the "final" look&feel.

Check out the latest screenshot on the Sandbox:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Timers & Licenses

Today OpenKaya published yet another library to build go related applications, specifically a library to use Timers.

One thing frequenly asked for is Fischer or Bronstein timing, and I'm sure different uses of timers for different situations is possible (like problem solving, rengo, etc).

So going fancy and pro, we made a lib. With awesome testing. Right now it has only Absolute Time, and we(or an eager contributor) will progressively add other time systems.
What other time systems are there?

Canadian Byo-yomi
Japanese Byo-yomi
Simple Delay
Hour Glass(Found out about this one today. It sounds really fun)

You can check out the details of these systems here :
If you like any in particular, suggest it in the feedback section! or comment the suggestion to build different time systems.

Because this is something many other sites might we, we added it to OpenKaya and finally put in a License: CreativeCommons. The only requirements are Attribution and the share-alike for derived work from it (that is, people that branch out and do their own must also have a CC license). Commercial use is permitted for anyone.

Today we are working hard to build the demo for October. Because our star designer is on vacation the next to weeks, we decided to make a compromise on how much we are going to show by October. We plan on showing the main page and the ability to create games in a very fancy video, possibly with my beautiful voice bring up the experience a few notches :) .

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Succesful Deployment and OpenKaya is on fire!

Yesterday we achieved a new landmark. We were succesful in the deployment of the application in Amazon, and we were able to chat&play over the internet.

It worked really fast and nice, we are very happy for the results. However its still not in alpha phase: it has no serious account validations, you still can't finish a game and several other features missing. It is still a moment of great joy for us, knowing that we are so close to having a first stable version.

Not only we were succesful on deployment, but yesterday Emiliano a.k.a. eMancu did a first version of the scoring algorithm, which is one of the key missing pieces of the board, to be able to count correctly. Also yoyoma improved Glicko system to take into account handicap&komi.

Im really happy about the results of OpenKaya so far. Even though I contacted these contributors directly, their work has helped us advance faster and better, by producing a better end product in less time.

That is why yoyoma is also now on the board of fame. eMancu, however, was payed in gummy bears.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Almost there! Need your founder accounts nicknames!

As i said before, i am working on the deployment of the application which is almost done. I could connect to the server! create accounts and more!

This server does not qualify for beta, not even for alpha. Its merely a dev-server. Unfortunately one of our biggest technical dependencies had a sudden bug which until backtracked or fixed, doesnt allow us to run games or a chat!

Very upsetting :). But deployment is way ahead of schedule, as if that were fixed the server would already be up.

I did re-learn a lesson on humility working with sysadmin ship these days. I learnt a lot, and as usual, the more you learn the more you know you have left to learn.

Polly is working on timers right now so we can add clocks promptly. I will be switching to other features today and probably tomorrow until the owner of the library we use fixes its issue.

I will start adding the Founder accounts by nickname to reserve them. User creation will probably be disabled at first so we can control who gets in precisely. So those that haven't picked a nickname on the board, comment right here whats your desired nickname!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Open Kaya

Short post this time.

On a my-friends-stood-me-up-to-go-out Saturday rage i wrote the code to run and compare different rating systems.

You can see some guidelines and the code here :

Anyone that desires to try out and implement a rating system and compare it to others can do so. I am contacting some mathematicians and programmers that enjoy the rating systems problem, and if anyone here wants to get involved he can. Im available for questions and even aid.
If you know someone that would be interested in doing such a thing, tell them! the more rating systems we have, the better.

By the time we lanuch i will implement a simple Elo based system which will be sufficient considering we wont have many players, but afterwards i want to make the best community-oriented decision on which rating system will be used in Kaya.

Tell your geek friends!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Kaya Open-sourced?. Deployment soon.

One thing frequently asked is if we are going to be open sourced.

Just to clarify for anyone what that usually means, Open-source is that the code used to run the server is readily available for anyone to read it. It doesnt necesarily mean its licensed to be used, or that it would make any sense to do so.

There are many degrees on open-sourcedness, and releasing the code has ups and downs.

The main advantage with open-source code is visible and hence improvable by foreign developers. That means that someone other than the core Kaya development team can fix bugs, add features, and increase overall functionality. This is the biggest upside to open-source as it can vastly increase the development power of the team.

However that advantage doesn't come for free. The code-controllers (Polly and I) have to review everything outside developers do with scrutiny. We have to set out a system and guidelines and policies to make such a thing work, which take time & effort that would otherwise go directly to development.

There is always the fear that "someone else" will copy the code and run their own version of the system. That, however, is not a big fear for us. There arent many players outhere with the will and capacity to do such a thing, which would be very disadvantageous, because we will probably move faster than any single other person can do.
My main concern with releasing all code is security. People being able to read the code directly can find vulnerabilities much easier and hence exploit them systematically in a vicious manner.

That is why in our plans, we are most likely going to open source client-side features which dont hold this security concerns at all. When? not soon, because before that happens, a lot of milestones have to be achieved: a moderately stable version, production/development servers have to be set up, and more.

However before that stage is reached, something before can be achieved regarding this matter. We are in the latest stages of Board design, and the key missing component right now are the counting algorithms. A friend of mine, Emiliano, (ex-coworker) had done an algorithm and i wanted to give Polly a helping hand on the remaining Board features so i wanted to ask Emiliano for the algorithm.

He didn't have it anymore but wanted to write it again. So i asked him what is a vital question for me as the CTO of Kaya. Was the algorithm tested?. In development, tested doesn't really mean it was "checked out by hand" but systematically verified by another piece of code.
He hadn't done that so i opened up a github project ( ) and wrote a first series of tests in Javascript for what will be the counting algorithm for Kaya.

Emiliano might do a first version, or in the end we will do it from scratch. In anycase, it felt really good for me to write test cases, and let someone foreign to us give it a try and see if it passes. We consider this a good practice for when the real thing happens :).

This brought to my attention something i had neglected lately in favour of delicious features, which was the rating system. I will soon upload something similar , albeit its a much harder test case to build, and make some public announcement looking for implementatinos of different rating systems. The point of building a test case is that we will be able to compare different systems by accuracy and performance.

On the other hand, great news today, Polly finally got his credit-card. Next week i will start working emphatically on deploying Kaya in Amazon, the biggest roadblock so far to make the first beta for Founders to check it out.
Beware! After that happens, Founder Accounts will not be given anymore! so if you know hesitating friends, tell them about that :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

#100 supporters + 4300U$S raised!

We achieved a new milestone yesterday! Yes, we have now exactly 100 supporters in the project.

We are so excited and energized by the support the community has been giving us. Over a dozen programmers have offered a helping hand, and the funds raised so far will give us a little more than 2 months to work on this project without the impending pression of finding investor money.

I want to say a few things about this whole crowd-sourcing venture, and also where its heading to.

First of all im very glad about the faith all of you supporters have been giving us. We are confident and we are going to make a great place out of Kaya, and having people telling us right from the start that they like what we are doing gives us a lot of energy.

With this project we dont want to only give one more thing to the community: we want to change the mentality of the community and how its used to do things. We want to raise the availability and quality standards for Go projects and ventures. We want to make people used to contribute and help all those that put a lot of effort and energy into providing a new experience for Go players.

Right from the start many players privately told me that i wouldnt be able to get any money, because Go players are cheap. I've always resented that comment, and knew it was not true. And Kaya is the first living proof that it isn't.

Our original goal with Crowd-funding was 4k U$S, which we achieved and for that, we are profoundly satisfied. We are not going to "push" this matter much, although it will be open for newcomers. We have achieved our goal of funding the first 2 months of the project, which should be enough, by our estimations, to create a first version.

Our overall strategy is to get a first version to show to potential investors and have more leverage to both convince and negotiate terms. If we are able to get more serious money, (30-50k) we are most likely going to expand the team with 1 or 2 developers.

But even if that happens things are on schedule. I want both Polly and I to deal with all foreign matters as soon as possible so we can develop 100% and reach our goal for a demo for October 15,which is getting close really really fast.

So what are we working on right now? SGF. GoSpeed is reading Sgfs and we are converting the server protocol to process and write SGF file formats.
Once that is done, Polly has to finish scoring on the board. After scoring, we will work on design and deployment. Polly has to make it look pretty, and i have to deploy this application into Amazon, so it becomes easily accessible for everyone :).

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

AQJG, AGA E-Journal and GO Library

Hey everyone!. Back from an awful weekened that i spent in bed with food intoxication : (.

Fortunately i'm quite ok today and will be getting back to work immediately. The first news is that our friends from the Quebec Go Association have been starting to make their contributions. Polly finished the new board yesterday and we will publish it today.

The stones will be arranged as a made-up 9x9 game, although if some Quebecois would like to challenge me to a 9x9 (or if they have one of their own) i can easily change it.

The other news i woke up with this morning is being included in the AGA E-Journal. That's a strange story to me.

I've been trying to contact them through their only official channel, an email address, for over a month.  They never responded any of the several emails i sent. This is something that happened to me years ago when i wanted to publish a series of articles - "The spirit of play"-, and i could hardly get any feedback.

However, somehow Bob Gilman made a note and made it to the AGA E-J, without my notice or consent, and what really throws me back, without collaboration. He made a compact and news-like article without any opinion so i don't have much to complain but he could have gotten a lot more information if he contacted me.

Anyway, at least the first note is made and we will check how it affects the traffic tomorrow by looking at the Google Analytics report.
So far, what we have noticed is that most vistors are american & canadian. I think we should make some statistics on who the supporters are to get an idea of which community is more interested, the american or european.

Of course, that only feeds our curiosity, as the go server aims to satisfy both right off the bat.

This week, we will be focusing on making GoSpeed read SGF files (which it does, but not completely featured yet)and being able to finish a game.  The most pressing tasks so far are on Polly's hands (poor guy) because i got a week head-start when i quit my job. There is a lot of styling and ordering to do, plus picking out the logo, and Polly is after all the Chief Design Officer :).

Feel free to put the heat on him on the comments.

My most urgent task is deployment: making the server run remotely easily. Unfortunately i have a road-block: we are waiting for Polly's credit-card to arrive to be able to use Amazon and start using a remote computer there.

If i dont find other immediate tasks i will go back to the GoLibrary prototype.

GoLibrary is a rather old aspiration of mine of making a site that offers a motivating training system. It is meant to be both a problem solving environment and a go book publisher. I frown when i read about the SmartGo Books, getting deals with editorials before we do.

This time, GoLibrary will start thinking only on solving problems. Its not only about selecting and keeping track of which problems you solved, but also about using a system that makes it very easy and trasnparent to know how you are doing. Details? secret so far :).
The whole point of devoting some time to GoLibrary these days is for november. I will be staying at BIBA(Blackie's international Baduk Academy) along many other strong european players and some professionals and i want to do some prototyping to see how they feel and like the new ideas, both on Kaya and Go Library. (they will be staying there to train, so GoLibrary is a perfect fit).

The power i want to show with GoLibrary, is that its being developed as a 100% independent site. And it will connect to Kaya, use its user accounts and some other information, and it will be widgetized and shown in the main page of Kaya.
It is an example of what it means to integrate a site into the server.

Our consultant has expressed interest in making another site to integrate to Kaya: the tournament organizer. So hopefully we will be able to work actively on both side projects by november.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The new BoF, the logo and the AQJG

As many of you might have noticed, we have re-arranged the Board of Fame according to a Go Match.

We had debated right from the start what would be our way to add supporters to the Board. I used to place them with a simple criteria which was that as more important the support, closer to the center. So 5$ support would go near the edges, while features would get hoshis, and so on.

However, after the 50 supporters mark stones were just randomly placed, because there was really no place to put them. So we decided finally to make a Go Match with each stone and we picked the Game of the Century.

On the other hand, there are some great news for Kaya this week :). Jean-Sebastian Lechasseur, probably's first hardcore fan , saw that we had added a new reward, the Meijin.

The Meijin is a prize of special recognition and mainly, about getting T-Shirts and other things with the Kaya logo. Originally, we really wanted to make a reward with a T-shirt but considering we get donors from all over the world, the logistics and shipping would have been a nightmare.
So instead of made it so we send a bulk of shirts , whether to a group of people or a single donor.

As soon as Jean-Sebastian saw that reward, he started recruiting in the AQJG(Association quebecoise des joueurs de go) .Yesterday he completed the 20 player mark, each getting a T-shirt, stone in the BoF and access to the Documentary for 25$.

Because what he did was awesome i really wanted to do something special for these guys, so with Polly we decided that we would make another BoF, a 9x9 board to put all these donations together, and the board itself will be called after the AQJG.

This great notice also brings us to the following matter: the Kaya Logo. Our current logo was done by Polly himself. It's pretty nice, and specially i like the concept. For those that don't know, Kaya is the tree used to make the most expensive Gobans in the world.
Its a very old kind of tree, they can have thousands of years which makes it scarce and expensive. The leaf coming out of the stones is a Kaya leaf.
Although i like the current logo quite a bit, we can definitely do something more pro, by the hands of a professional logo designer. One of our concerns is that the logo should probably include the name in itself.
We are contacting independent designers from logopond, a site that groups work from logo designers,  and see what can we find out. Polly is fully in charge with that ,as he is the Chief Design Officer of Kaya.

So until we have the new logo we are not going to make the T-shirts. I wouldn't like sending out T-shirts with a logo that is most likely to expire. This very week im going to nag Polly constantly so he deals with the matter quickly :).

I also want to make a set of T-Shirts to bring to KPMC,  Korean Prime Minister Cup, to get further funding and exposure.

Thats it :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Our current development tasks

So what are we actually working on these days, im sure many of you are asking.

There is a long development schedule that will remain private (and it is obviously very volatile) however we can give you guys a glimpse on what we are working on.

The picture you see here is GoSpeed,'s board.

Right as you see it, the board is connected to the server, and if another user were in the same place, he would see the stones being placed.

The chat is fully functional, and it already has some special-functionality: it marks messages with your own name in bold and it has a command interface: in the picture /help describes all the commands.

What you see is a sandbox, which is the closest thing to a Demonstration in KGS. The owner of the game can change who the players are, and can even change the size of the board dinamically (no need to refresh or recreate another demo.). We want to make this super configurable so its super easy and practical to share a board with someone remotely, and change the size, or rules, etc.

Even more, the URL is editable. You can name your demo, for example "my_lesson" and then, you will be able to locate the match doing "domain/game/sandbox/my_lesson".

The sandbox is our core workplace right now, because if its finished, there is a clear and definite functionality for any user. As you might guess, there is no pass/ resign button, and there are other things missing yet which are less important than those two.

The sandbox didnt exist on Monday, and it looks like this today. We are really happy with the progress we did this last week. Soon, we will have the tools necesary to deploy this application to Amazon, and we will be able to share it with founders.

One last thing, all material inside this blog is officially confidential. Do NOT share this picture or any other without our consent. We are not being hard-asses, but this is far away from how we want it to look : it doesnt have all the styling we demo-ed in the prototype, and we wouldn't want people to get the wrong idea about the execution of our project.

I hope you guys like it :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 private Supporter blog is launched!

After debating for weeks on the best way to communicate with founders, we decided to make a private blog.

We considered making a forum, or at least a proper section in L19, but we thought that many founders might feel uneasy with a forum. However, if we want to keep a different private channel of communication in the future, a forum will most likely be the most suitable solution.

People given access to this blog are supporters and can be found on the board of fame, or close helpers to the project.

We will pimp up the blog and use it to deliver news that are of special interest to the closest helpers of the project. Eventually, this blog will go public, probably when the server makes an official launch.

So we will be updating the blog regularly to keep everyone posted on our advancements, our obstacles and how we go around them, even pictures and more.

This week we are working very hard, and yesterday, after several hours of polishing, we were able to play a game on and disconnecting and reconnecting. The current state of the server is interesting :)

It has almost no styling, so all the beauty you can see from the prototype is non-existant. However it already has some exciting functionalities: you can, in the same window you can find/open games, and chat, see a list of videos (currently 2 videos from GoCommentary) without leaving the page. Also the chat has some basic IRC commands. The chat gets bold if your nickname is mentioned in a conversation.

We dont show pictures (only the Kisei has seen the latest) because even though it works, its just not put pretty yet. After that, we might start releasing some images as we work towards the first demo/beta version.