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.


  1. Supporter accounts are a good idea. Thank you for the detailed update!

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  3. Great news :)

    I agree on the supporter accounts. There should be a way for everyone to enter the betaserver.

  4. Yes, please let everybody join the betaserver. I gave you as much as I could afford at the time, even if it wasn't 35 dollars.

  5. I'm all for supporter accounts. Maybe a beta pass account which is cheaper (or free) and just gives users the ability to try out the new software. The more people to try it out, the more players we can try it out on.