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!