Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Killer feature: Correspondence games

A few versions back we finally release the Killer Feature.

Over the course of Kaya we noticed that many users are very busy and use the server at Work or visiting friends, so they have a small window of opportunity to play a few moves and then come back.

Thats why we implemented correspondence games, becoming the First Hybrid server of live/correspondence games out there.

Over 100 correspondence games are ongoing right now and it is extremely easy to get a game on Kaya.
Furthermore you can also play the game live just as any other if your opponent is online.

We also gave correspondence games the ability to use the score estimator and also being able to use the edit-offline feature giving the players absolute ease of study and time to produce and think the best move possible.

Try it out! Get on kaya and get a correspondence game, and play at your own pace :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Meijin, Open Kaya and Sports Accord.

As promised on the last post, i was going to talk more about OpenKaya.

Part of our original plan and strategy for Kaya is to be a open platform. The go community has a high degree of computer scientists and mathematicians, including famous Ruby programmer Ryan Bates (who did the GovsGo site).

And thus we opened the OpenKaya Github Repository.

There are many features and independent projects to be run from OpenKaya and that will get into the server.
Actually Kaya has many things done by collaborators: The scoring algorithm, the Score Estimator, the rating system.
Ideas for the rank graph, the gtp bot client and more came from there. And there are a big number of things to do to.

All work done on OpenKaya is open-sourced: anyone can use code made available from there , thus enriching the community.

We help out by providing an outline, tests and code for contributors to hack into problems directly and provide a solution that we assess and decide to put on the server later.

Right now there are a few collaborators with tasks, such as JQ and crodgers (Yes guys, im totally burning you. If you dont commit soon this post will be your shame :) ) and Enders.

This brings us to one huge collaborator of the project: Enders. He has provided high quality code on the covert-ops projects of Kaya, and the scoring algorithm. And this week he became a Meijin of the project, helping us out even further.

Kaya is run thanks to the donations of the users, that had not been here, we would not be able to dedicate all the time we do to the project.

Last but not least, programming is not the only way to collaborate or do something for the Go community. Kaya has the unique broadcast system and next week there is an awesome opportunity: The SportsAccord tournament.
Several users have contacted me about broadcasting them, but the more the merrier, as there is a game every day and we should not strain collaborators :).
IF you want to get the collaborator kanji and a load of karma, contact us at the server and we will show you how to make broadcasts.

Next week i will be around surely to comment the games and make sure all goes smoothly.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

More UI changes on 1.17

On the last release we finally removed the footer, and we used a Kongregate-style menu to organize different links.

We are happy with the practicality of the new location, although we are sure to ask a designer for extra tips on how to make it look best.

This week we also had several adjustment because of a big server improvement regarding game saving. The process is not always foolproof in the sense that our storage db does not always answer quickly. 
So I improved the way storing is handled to make sure data is saved properly and it does not affect the server itself when there are delays or inconveniences.

December also started now and we have to get ready for 25th of december : the birthday of Kaya;s server!. We are planning some changes for then, i hope we make it on time :).

This week was rough because a pervasive problem has been happening a lot since the latest change. We had smoe heavy discussion on some of the tools we use on Kaya.

Kaya is built with state of the art tools, servers , libraries and services and that is a double edged sword: we are super ahead in html5 gaming services , as we are truly pioneers of such a complex experience on a browser. However, these technologies dont have the same level of maturity and as such, we have to patch or work over weaknesses in these new technologies.
I worked a lot for almost a month in making kaya work more stable an w e are getting to the point where any issue that arises is small and easy to handle.
For the moment, stay tuned for the Killer Feature, we might be able to make it for 1.18!

Also i have more news for OpenKaya, as more collaborators join the open side of the project, but that will be another post :)

See you guys on Kaya!

Friday, November 23, 2012

1.16, Best Score Estimator Ever and Header improvements, and the Killer Feature

Kaya 1.16 Beta brought some delicious features.

Although we've been assigning resources to the Killer Feature (yet to be disclosed) we were able to pull through some changes.

The most important one is the final version of the Score Estimator, that user aleski did, and we merged into Gospeed, our Go Board technology.

This final version is fully editable. You can not only select living/dead groups, you can also single out single points of territory and mark them as you wish, for the most accurate and comfortable Score Estimator out there.

We also improved the header to show more information, mainly how many games you need to rank up and how far from it are you.

As the server matures, more and more tasks that are (almost) invisible to the users show up, improving performance, reliability. 

Currently the Killer Feature is VERY advanced. We may be able to release the first version of it next week. It is really a neat and important feature and we have advanced on its own subfeatures a lot. 

We are excited and it will make Kaya a more lively place :).

Enjoy 1.16!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Updates, Facebook and a Live video commentary.

Many new features have been implemented on Kaya.

This week we made a visual change on the main page, displaying a new header : smaller and more compact, giving more space to the whole site.
And it came with a vast improvement to the inbox: it works more like Facebook now. Its fancy and practical.

Lately both DP and I have been working a lot on some new and exciting changes. Because they are so big, they wont get into the server until they are more or less complete, and we have devoting a lot of resources to them.

I must say that these 2 changes are huge and will change a lot how Kaya is experienced. One of them is what is known on the server as "The killer feature". Hopefully we will be able to deploy it by december, and it will change everything :).

Speaking of Facebook, we also added a very cool feature: Facebook sharing. Its cool because not only you can share a game, but as you do it a snapshot is taken and the board is shared right as you see it on that moment.

Non Kaya users can still see the game after its over, as the whole archiving system does not require an account, and other kaya users can just click and join the game and start chatting!

Also, today i will be making a broadcast from my home commenting the most important match of the Argentinian 2012 Championship.
The event is going to be broadcasted on Kaya and observers will not only be able to see the game, but participate in the discussion. The scribe will check variations and send them back to me and i will respond on them on the mural board.

The whole event will be recorded and used as an example on the power of Broadcasts. Interactive Video can only happen at Kaya :).

You can check the site's countdown(or the servers) to see when its going to start.

See you on Kaya!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Amazon is down( and so is Kaya)

Unfortunately, our server provider is having huge technical issues, ones we cant go around with (as they affect the server themselves).

We will be back up as soon as they fix it up.

Related news:

Sorry for the inconvenience! Amazon is pretty good most of the time, but it can also be pretty mean some of the other time.

Regards, Gabriel.

UPDATE: and as soon as i published this, the server went back up.

Is customer complaining THAT effective? :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Newsletter, Account releases, 38 community requested features, Rank Graphs and more

Its been a while since i posted, mainly because  I've been giving most announcements through the site's countdown and inside the server.

We are preparing now a newsletter so we can send announcements and important news to all the users of , which since our consistent releases, has reached over 2000 users.

We are growing steadily as a community, but also growing a lot technically, providing a richer and better experience each week.

Today I checked out our UserVoice Feedback section, which is used to suggest ideas and powerful features for the server.
We have completed 38 community requested features. Most of them absolutely novel ideas, not in any other server in the world.

We really care what our users have to tell us, and we go through a lot of information constantly, and make decisions based on our technical assessment and value of each idea.

Last week we finished what was the #1 Voted requested feature which was the rank graph. We added some basic stats and estimation on how many wins are needed to rank up.

The graph, with the appropiate zoom, also displays individual game results, and links to those games, making it greatly interactive.
And we are working on it right now to add some extra delicacies.

You can check it out on my profile here :

We also announced more accounts to be released this wednesday. You can visit for the latest date release.

See you on the server!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Releasing 200 accounts Tomorrow

We are announcing another account release for tomorrow.
Since we started opening up accounts, players have registered within 6 hours! and the last time, they went up in only 3 hours.

1.5 Brought huge changes and the server is healthier than ever. And 1.6 is already packing  a punch for this Friday.  We are focusing on the core playing experience more than ever, and changes to the game page will come frequently.

As users that followed up past the last year, we have been doing a very regular and expected update, improving a lot each week.  Be sure to not miss out the great experience of looking at a server grow, and be here in time to participate in the creation of it.

Kaya has more feedback channels than any other server in the world. Between the idea forum, the tweaki, the constant presence of the developers, the quick-same-day response policy we have on emails, and we've been hearing out everyone. Many of the features we have implemented came from users suggestions.

The countdown is up on the site ! don't miss it .

Friday, September 7, 2012

1.5, Custom Handicap, reliablity and ASR League

This week we havent made an account release. This is because we knew we were going to work on very sensitive stuff and we wouldnt want a whole new wave of players get in so close to this release.

A very large change was done on how Kaya processes and reads SGF, making it much better and more resilient. We are now confident that we can read a lot more games and we now support uploading SGFs and opening a Sandbox with them.

This way you can custom review a game with your friends and other go players.

Also, we added an option to start games with  a desired handicap.

Kaya's  regular autohandicap system means its much easier to start a game, and all games are balanced out, both for rating and for probability of winning.

The more balanced a game is, the more exciting it is and the more worthy towards accurate ratings.

However,  not all games to be played are rated and competitive, and it was impossible to pick any handicap for any opponent before. Now we finally implemented a better challenging system so you can also pick the handicap and komi you wish for a specific opponent.

On the last note, the ASR league has been very successful so far, and over 100 games have been played. We are very happy with this collaboration and i hope this helps the ASR grow as well.

See you guys on the server for 1.5.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

ASR Integration on Beta 1.4, Game reviewing and Game Negotiation.

This past week was packed with a lot of action again. This weeks 200 account release was over in 3 hours! Faster than any other release.

And it was a breeze. There was absolutely no lag, marking for us a milestone since the Beta release.
We are technically ready to open up for more and more users.

The great number of users and games has given us a huge amount of feedback. The Tweaki has grown into a 7 headed-Hydra and we are cutting heads as quickly as we can :).

As we improve the quality and reliability of the server, there are a few features in the vecinity.

Two of the most missed features on Kaya right now are the ability to quickly set up a game review, and  being able to pre-set handicap before a game.

They are both in the making and they will be included in the near Future, so be patient about it :).

However, today we are releasing an new feature. Collaborating with the ASR League, specially with founder Stalkor, we have set up an integration of the league into the server.

Starting a league game is extremely easy to do, and the reporting is done automatically. Game rules are enforced, and only other league members are able to accept an ASR game challenge. Of course, you can also pick who you want to play specifically in the league.

Right now there is only one group as this is very new and the first run of the integration. You can quickly sign up by sending a pm to stalkor or to other league admins on the ASR channel.
There are more detailed instructions in the server,  including links with more information.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Server improvements and further account releasing

Last week some famous Kaya users accompanied me in an all-niter i pulled last  Wednesday. 

I had returned from a gathering and found someone online that i could make a technical consultation about, and when i heard the answer i started working immediately. At 1 am. I went straight on until 7am working and polishing a solution that was unavoidable for the server.

Because it was quite grand a change i chose not to do it for 1.3. But today  i did it. It took me less than 5 minutes and all the work i did last week made lots of sense.

The server is now faster and more responsive than ever. It working super fast and this should clear out all the sporadic lag we had in the past week, where we released 400 accoutns in a matter of 3 days.

Provided the new solution is stable today and tomorrow, we will be releasing more accounts this week. Kaya is healthier and getting better really fast thanks to all the feedback and excitement players have enjoyed .

Friday, August 17, 2012

Beta Craze, 1.2 Beta and scalability.

Its been a while since the last post and a lot happened since.

The Beta launch was a success! 200 accounts were registered within 6 hours. Lots of people could check Kaya, play and watch games.
Beta Launch was crazy. The server has now people active all day long. And it kept me very busy the past two weeks.
The main reason why we opened a limited number of accounts is to see how the whole system behaved as it increased users, in a very reliable way. The feedback we got, both on this subject and on the overall server features and tweaks was amazing and helped us improve things a lot.

Beta 1.1 came with major improvements both client and server side.

As we still polish and improve our ability to scale (that is, to serve more users at the same time) we will be opening more and more accounts until being absolutely open. And Beta 1.1 and 1.2 are focused on that.

Those that didnt get an account on beta will have an opportunity very soon!

Friday, August 3, 2012 1.0.0 Beta Launched!

We JUST released the 200 accounts, they are up for grabs.

We worked VERY intensely the past two weeks to deliver the best experience we could.
We have a long road ahead, but we also traveled a lot! Kaya is looking beautiful, and we have several novelties that make both the chatting and the playing experience unique and new.

I hope everyone can enjoy it. We will be on the server providing live technical support and with the rest of the founders, help out so new users can set up quickly.

Check it out at !

Friday, July 27, 2012 announces Beta Launch date!

Finally the Beta is coming! will open up its doors with version 1.0.0 Beta on the 3rd of August

After 32 weekly and steady releases, we are ready to intake new users that want to start experiencing a new way to play Go online.

With the new design, bots, a big board, and many new and novel features like malkovich, variation sharing, video broadcasting and more, Kaya has a lot to offer both to new players and to experienced online go enthusiasts.

When we release, we will start allowing only 200 new registrants. So stay tuned to get your account quickly!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Major changes on Kaya, the last stepping stone to Beta.

0.31 came with amazing changes. A completely new Main page UI was done, with great aid from Gryn, one of our most enthusiastic supporters.

The new UI is very modern, and uses space a lot better than the old one. We want to release before the EGC finishes so we are moving as fast as we can, and this is the last huge change before release.

Although all works fine, there are many tweaks and fixes to do, so shoot away at the tweaki! Lets find all the imperfections, so we can fix them and make the long awaited final release.

The stability of this release will decide the Beta launch date!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Kaya 0.29 Alpha comes with huge performance boosts and GoGameGuru's Baduk TV!

Sit tight because im going Fast & Furious on this post!

Since we got out on december, there were always performance matters at hand. We are using a very small server ( this week i calculated it has 1/4 CPU power of my 4 year old laptop) so fine tuning it becomes a necessity quickly.

Last week the canadian open was coming and i wanted to improve performance before the event ocurred, so the server had less lag and worked smoother.

The event was very successful, and JeansebL is doing an awesome job with the broadcasts. It is very rewarding to see Guo Juan using Kaya for her public lectures, and we expect these activities to grow in quantity and numbers, specially after outing.

Unfortunately, the first day of the event proceeded before the updates, but the improvements were vast.

When the games got large enough (100's of moves) the game would start to slow down. It was a problem in the parser so i would have to revisit it. After making a small but significant change, i could reduce the processing by 4x , making it way faster.
But it still wasnt fast enough, so this week i devoted myself almost exclusively to performance. And oh boy did things get better.

As of today i have a complete understanding on how the server works from a performance level, from bottlenecks to pending improvements. This time, i improved the parser from that 4x solution to 50x faster. Its blazing fast. Which means games will run much smoother now and there will be only a fraction of the lag we used to have sometimes.

Also, i improved a lot of things from the main page. Its 10x faster and uses less resources.
So in this version we will experience a much quicker experience, and im dying to check it out :).
If all goes fine, and the performance fixes are polished, we are very well ready to intake a decent number of users. Beta is getting closer!

See you guys around!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Canadian Open with Commentary by Guo Juan 5p

Hey guys. Kaya's #1 fan is going to broadcast the Canadian Open live as it is being played.

We intend to broadcast the first board of this tournament the whole weekend, and GuoJuan will be sharing variations as she comments the games live from the Tournament.

You can checkout the first game . I will be around and comment on the game also.

Monday, June 18, 2012

How to collaborate? from inception wants to advance with the effort from the community. Besides donations, there are many other ways to help reach its very high goals of becoming a top-notch place to experience Go.

So far enthusiasts, translators, programmers  have been aided us in all sorts of ways. Sigilus with the Go Dictionary, Enders with an AMAZING amount of code on different sub-projects, AOA with score estimator algorithms, JJ and his RGF standard (which  could become one of's strongest features).  They have earnt their Collaborator status, which besides distinction has some special privileges and perks.

The Go community has many developers, and many of them enjoy doing things, even if they are little, for Go.  I get approached regularly and this post is to help clarify what you can do as a collaborator developer. has a decent part of its construct in an open license. Its grouped as OpenKaya and a very large part of it was done by eager collaborators.

There are several libraries and sub-projects grouped there which include:

  • Gem to run bots in Kaya
  • Rating system
  • Scoring algorithm
  • Score estimator algorithm
  • Tournaments (High priority right now)
  • Widgets 

There is work for web designers (graphic or simply HTML and basic CSS) in pages like tournaments, or direct code to use Cuba, a great Ruby framework,  for the Tournament site.

You can take a peek at the documentation in OpenKaya and see what is most interesting. The key questions to ask yourself are:
What can i do? 
Not only on your skillset, but on the time you think you will dedicate. If you dont want to use much time, pick small tasks .
What do i want to do? 
This is also important. Starting on something you dont like on an open source project is very demotivating. So what would you like to do, what attracts you the most?

You can always fork the project and go rogue, test and do whatever you want. However contacting me is very easy, both inside and outside the server. Right now im coordinating and organizing the people collaborating so there is no collision.

After you pick a task and want to do something, i will help out in the design of the feature. I will check the code every time I merge it into OpenKaya through a Pull Request. 
Tests are mandatory. Because I need to know more than anything, that the code is doing what its supposed to do, and I cant know that without running unit tests. Check Score or rating to see examples of unit testings.

We are working a lot , and to make the server we envision we have a long road ahead of us. Its vital for us that the community makes this ride with us, and help the process. has already been heavily influenced by feedback, collaboration and support. Its an awesome opportunity to make a difference  and make a change in how Go players will experience the game online.

I hope this clarifies some doubts :) And i hope some of you finally decide to put your hands on the changing of the online Go World.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Resizable Board and UI and 0.26

At last. One of the most important UI changes pending since Alpha is the ability of the board to fit a larger space depending on the user's screen.

Now big screens will have a more efficiently sized board, bigger stones and a much better experience!

We haven't posted in a while and we have another good news. An awesome collaborator of the project is helping out with the redesign, and he had some amazing and novel ideas on how the main page should look like.

Its really ground-breaking and different and it exploits some of's top features. It looks slick, clean and clear.
As we finish this resizable board and delve into that page, we get closer and closer to opening up.  We are ready from a stability point of view: we have no performance issues, and we can take a decent nunmber of users immediately without worries.

This makes 26th release. For 26 weeks we have non-stop provided new features weekly. There are so many things to do inside and they will only grow larger and better.

I hope everyone is as excited as we are, specially all those founders and supporters that helped make this possible.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Volunteer for Help Video

Hey everyone!

As approaches maturity, it gets more and more features to discover and learn how to use. A new interface and a new experience is being created, but there is no help section!

So to ease that , we want to make a video/help/demo hitting two birds with one stone. Showing both the server and having an easy way for new comers to understand quickly how to enjoy Kaya to the max.

I believe this is a great opportunity for a volunteer. We would do necessary editing, script out the video, and we would save a lot of time if someone with some video-recording patience would like to make the demo.

Any volunteers?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Hey guys. Have you ever heard about bitcoin?

Last year , i think even before we quit our jobs to work full time, we researched many things to build kaya and we stumbled upon bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a virtual currency , designed for online transactions. Its an open source project with some mathematical backing on how the currency is handled and created.

Although it would seem to be growing, its still not a strong currency like the dollar or the EUR but it would seem to be here to stay, at least as a minor-currency.

The advantage it has over paypal or other similar services to transfer money is that its super cheap. The transaction fees are almost inexistant. (well below the 1%)

Have you ever heard of bitcoin? should we consider using it as an alternative payment method?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 Twitter

Short announcement. We are going to make the official twitter @KayaGoServer a little more lively from now on. 


Monday, May 21, 2012

Crazy Weekend

The past weekend we spent it at the JSConf Argentina conference.

It was an exhausting event, and we were able to do a lot of networking and get to know people in a similar situation that we are in. Also we got to meet people that built part of the tools we use at Kaya!

On sunday we gave a speak ourselves, sharing the difficulties of creating a rich experience in the browser. I think we did a good job but we can do a lot better. It was a great practice for conference speaking,hopefully the first of many.

Now we are just starting the week, lets see what we can concoct for the next release :).

Friday, May 18, 2012

0.22.0 Alpha brings internationalization, branches and undo

Finally we support 3 features that were in the works since january.

The application now works also in French. We only included one language to pin-point all the places we missed internationalizing, so when we correct those, we will start adding all the other languages we got done by the community.

You can set your language from your profile account very easily!

Also, now we have branching on Sandboxes. You can create complex demonstrations and jump around branches to show alternatives. Even shared variations get loaded into the sgf  so you can browse them!

This was a major technical difficulty, we spent a long part of the last 2 weeks on this very feature.

And we also, hand in hand with the previous solution, added undos. We did decide for a slight design difference to what other servers do, i hope you find it more comfortable :)

We are working non stop, and this weekend we are preseting ourselves in a Javascript Conference here in Buenos Aires, and we are going to talk about and our experience in building it with other experts in the field. We are really excited about that too :).

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Increasing server power

Hey guys!

Yesterday , a few hours after the announcement over 50 people registered.  Many people working it at the same time caused a lot of stress and a lot of lag, which became a lot more stable by the time JeanSebL made the BC Card broadcast.

This morning I increased server power and its working very smoothly. Those that got to suffer the lag period, check it out again today, its working much better.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Taking it up a notch

Hey guys!

We are working really hard and although 0.21 doesnt not bring huge new features, we have decided to open up a few accounts.

We are doing stress testing and basic performance tuning and we need more players to check it out!

We have opened up accounts up to 300 users, so if you are one of those fans that hasnt gotten his hand on a supporter account, this is your chance. Get an account here!

Visit Kaya, check all the features and enjoy.

We are not getting closer faster to the Beta, even though the server keeps improving noticeably, so for those that are really eager to check it out, this is a great opportunity.

If the server clogs up, we will increase the server size which will mean it will work much faster than it is now, although we delay that decision for costs and performance tuning.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Maturity and Kaya's inner dictionary

Hey guys!

I could finally fix my computer last week, thanks to chop-shopping Pato's father's computer. So last week i went back full force and dealt with sooo many things.

It was amazing how many tweaks i could get into it, making things look and feel much better.

3 Releases ago i was worried with Pato that we weren't reliable enough, that we had some bugs that hampered the experience, so we focused on that and we really nailed it. Playing is as smooth as ever, and lots of inconveniences were fixed.

We are getting to a very nice stage of maturity. Almost 40% of the Tweaki (the place where users can report minor bugs and issues ) is now written by me, which means the things that go wrong i notice before  most people.

Since we added the tweaki, over 200 "issues" were  reported and dealt with.

We are feeling very confident on the state where Kaya is and where it is going, and we have been able to keep the steady fast-pace of weekly releases for 20 weeks now. We had all catastrophes in the middle. Christmas, family matters, computers breaking (more than once), holidays but we powered-through.

Also the Open Source side has been getting attention and aid all the time. Lots of people are really interested in it. There also community work that doesnt require developer skills.

One special collaborator has gotten the Kaya Dictionary pretty fat. In the server you can consult Go terms by just clicking on the words in the chat, which should solve many typical chat concerns :).

As you might imagine, a Dictionary can be pretty big. So cheap-in! Large contributors can get an account or even a collaborator account! (which has special priviledges).

To help you can just use the Senseis Wiki: .

We are working hard for Beta release, keep in tune.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Hey Guys!

Today i finished a Gem for running bots on Kaya. Gems are libs in ruby and they are very easy to install and to run.

With this, someone that wants to collaborate  with sheer processing power  or wants to try out their own bots on our rating system, they will very easily be able to do it.

Right now its set up to run gnugo only, but it can very easily support other GTP protocol bots. If you want to collaborate this way, send an email to . A stable bot is an easy way to get a collaborator account on Kaya :).

A link to the code and instructions .

Lets get some bots running!

Channels, the game listing, and final features cut for Beta

So i havent mentioned many of the new features in the last few releases for non-founders. has grown quite a bit and its a lot more solid now. With the inclusion of channels the chatting experience gets richer and yet another channel of user- developer communication is available.

The enormous amount of feedback during Alpha has made a huge impact in our current service, from quality to durability, it is looking really good.

There is more polishing left but the experience of playing is already very engaging, and there are so many novel features it takes a lot of time to discover them and use them. We are really proud of that! We are proud of looking at a new supporter poking and clicking and investigating all the things that we made.

We are still picking an graphic designer for the site, which might be delaying our Beta estimates. Quality is our top priority and although the bar on design is not really high on Go Clients, we want to make a truly exceptional work in that side. A Go server deserves to be beautiful :)

With that, the next key features to be implemented have been picked for Beta. Although there is a huge backlog of things we want to do (which expands organically all the time) there are a few things we deem important for people to feel comfortable in this very new place.

One is free-games and negotiation. This merits some explanation to those that havent experienced our game listing system.

What we thought and discovered during the early stages of design, is that one of the key features for people to play a game is to have as little friction to start a game as possible. That is, waiting and negotiation make starting games harder, which means a lesser rate of play.
Playing is what amounts to most satisfaction in a Go server so we wanted to bring the current models one step further. KGS has a game-offer model, while Asian servers like Wbaduk & Tygem rely a lot more on automatch.
What we realized in this process is that both require negotiation of game terms: a step to accept handicap(KGS) or time settings change(Asian servers).

It occurred to me that changing settings is rare and undesirable. KGS only accepts handicap negotiation and that is somewhat frowned upon both by users and i think in an unintended way, by the server (by coloring the changes). That manipulation of the rating system is unhealthy both for the system as a whole and for the users.

On The asian servers however, you rarely ever play handicap games, and time settings change is rarely successful!. They switch from standard games to blitz, and negotiation terms is awkard.

So we took that step out. One click, one game. The result is a much much faster experience. Its so easy to start a game that at the slightest wimp or desire you are already playing :).

But it had one inconvenience: without negotiation  you cant pick handicap in a free game. And that we want to do, because friends set up handicap as they wish.

So we still have to do negotiation somehow. And our new way to start rating matches is also evolving. It has some unforeseen consequences that require more thought into design. That is good and healthy: new things come from experimentation and design gets better as you use it and understand its advantages and disadvantages.

The second very important feature for beta is Sandboxes. Sandboxes are empty boards where you can control basically anything that happens. Sandboxes are a key feature for many things. For teaching, for game reviewing. We want to give an ultra accessible space for boards.
Right now you can open up a board and play around, but we are missing a few things:

a) Turning matches into sandboxes fancy-ly. It has to be fluent and comfortable, so players can easily comment on a game after finishing.
b) Branching. We have to show a variation tree so players can navigate the variations.

These 2 big features are really important to get a very well-rounded play+comment experience.

Wow thats a big post. These kind of decisions are the ones we make every week, and we have to consider what we are going to do with great detail because each decision has great consequence.

I hope you enjoy the reading :).

Monday, April 16, 2012

Scarce posts, catastrophe and Sandboxes

Hey Guys! I havent been posting as regularly as before and mainly because im having a small technical issue.

That issue is a broken harddrive which has rendered my laptop useless. My brother is going to get me a new computer when he gets back from the US but thats over a month away, so im still looking for a makeshift fix until then.
That has kept me busy , but unfortunately it hasnt provoked a huge impact on 0.17 that officialized Sandboxes.

A Sandbox is an open board where you can change owners and players, and perform undos. Eventually(it was planned for 0.18 but the computer hassle might delay it) it will support branching , and its the board to show games by default.

After that, Sandboxes will be fitted so people without accounts can use them. Why? because that would make it possible for you to play and show the game to someone that doesnt even know what Go is.

And in between the last 2 features, its about turning games into game-reviews so you can comment games in detail if you wish so.

I think Sandboxes are the last Core feature for release, besides the new design. As Core features get finalized and polished, we can explore more on new and exciting ones like betting and guessing moves.

I hope you guys are excited as we are, getting closer and closer to Beta.

Tomorrow we will be meeting with yet another designers. We are in the process of picking who is going to aid us with the graphic design of the site, something so far Polly a.k.a. dp has been handling really well so far, but a professional touch will make it even better.


Saturday, March 31, 2012

The road before us, Kaya Player to the MAX. And also Free games

Release was yesterday and each time we release it becomes easier than the next. The process is very well oiled, and we are very happy and proud for it.

Constant improvement is very important for us, becoming stale is our greatest nightmare.
We want users to know that we are working hard and each version is better than the previous one.
Since we implemented the changelog, there have been 12 releases (there were 3 before, but non-documented).

As a tour for users which might have forgotten, and others that havent experienced the server, let me give some milestones examples.

Before 0.3, Kaya didnt support handicap. You couldnt play anything but an even game. You couldnt share links in comments, you needed a special command for that.
Not to mention Absolute time was the only time available, and if you disconnected, the clock kept running. It was really Absolute :).

The Context menu had only 4 options, of which one didnt work (remember the lack of PM guys?) and the other two did work, but had no feedback, so it was hard to tell if it did. Plus Muzzle and Karma were actually pretty buggy back then.

I love the progress we did, and its extremely fast and aggressive. For some sys admin work i created another server with a version from 0.3. Its not only unrecognizable, it plain sucks. Its slow as hell (we did a lot of performance work) and you have 1/10th of the things to do.
At this pace, by the end of the year we would be over 50 releases. We are growing so fast!

This week we finally finished the Kaya Player. What we had before was pretty cool and people liked it , but it wasnt where we wanted it to be, or how we wanted it to be. The new version fits our idea, and its excellent. Greatly interactive, looks great, its kickass.

But also this week had lots of back-end work. I am facing the first difficult design challenges since probably the inception of Kaya. Spent a lot of time thinking what was best.
On the bright side, i have found the path for many other solutions in the meantime so it was really productive, even though invisible.

The first thing that became available now is free games, and soon being able to pick handicap one way or another.
Im not a fan of negotiations, no other server quite solves it elegantly, and for most matches its an unnecessary step.
However , as we removed that step, we took the challenge to solve many other conditions.
Stay tuned.

PD: We are still looking for an ipad! Some people have contacted me abotu the topic. I am surprised to learn used ipads are easily sell-able, so its likely we will buy one if we dont get a supporter one.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

More beta preparing, and Meijin account for an Ipad!

Hey everyone!

We have been working really hard lately on preparing ourselves for beta. We took a whole day on sketches and designs of the game screen , now that we know what things we are missnig and we have tasted the difficulties and advantages of the space we are using to play on the server.

We visited all major go servers systematically and took data on what they did right, and what they did wrong.
It was a humbling experience in a way. We are currently facing some design challenges that we now see how other servers dealt with.

I dont think any server hit the right spot yet. There are higher levels of design to do.
We have a strong challenge in our hands, and this is one of those things that make the whole difference on the experience.

Unfortunately for current users, that work is purelty invisible until the whole new design is deployed. We'll see if we change each page one at a time, and gradually doing it so we cann get lots of feedback. Of course, the server will look quite hybrid meanwhile :). But even that is not near. The designer we wanted to hire for it is not available so we have to look for a new one.

Releases in the next few weeks will probably be thin because of this work. We have to finish the design, and then polish all the major bugs that make it sometimes a troubling experience to play.

On the other hand, there is another opportunity here to help us a lot. Our site is basically supported in all platforms, but we have limtiatinos on the platforms we can test. We dont own mac computers, so we usually cannot try things out there. We dont use windows, so often bugs in that platform get past us.

But more imoprtantly, we dont have ipads or tablets. Although visual design can be emulated, the experience of playing with a touch screen cannot. Right now, if we wanted to get an ipad we would have to ask around quite a bit because in argentina its almost never used. Its a very rare (and expensive) product here and most people that own one use it for development, so we cannot borrow it for a long period of time.

We dont need a brand new ipad, so it can be second-hand, as long as its well functional. Specially if someone is planning on buying the new one, we could use the previous one.

Whoever could donate us that, we will give them the Meijin Kanji for his account, and he can ask for 2 I-pad/tablet specific feature of his choosing.

If anyone is interested in helping us out with that, send us an email at so we can discuss details.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

0.13 comes with Widgets and a LOT of invisible work.

Widgets. This is something we talked about a very long time ago and finally we put a space on the main chat for them.

Widgets are small optional tools of interaction to provide access to different activities and uses. Because of our web environment, and growing our Open Source side, the number of potential features that could go into the site is very large.

Which means that we need to provide a space with some dynamism, that can be easily configurable and that it could have unlimited functionality.

Hence, the widgets. We have opened up widgets on OpenKaya, including a list of ideas to implement.

With very mild knowledge of HTML and javascript, anyone can work on a solution with a particular service they want, whether its a news feed, announcements, translation of terms, anything!
So this is another space for someone to contribute for, and it is by far the easiest place to do so.

We have started working on the diagraming for usablity and visual design of Kaya, the most important missing piece for Beta. This is going to be hard, but work put in here will have an impact forever.

But that work is certainly not gradual and it will not be shown until its fairly advance, so it remains invisible.

Also we finally opened up a part of GoSpeed(our JS-board) to the rgf project by jj so they can start using our board for their promising potential project.

We have also starting to get some assistance by another user on setting up monitoring tools, so improve the reliability and status checks of Kaya as a server. I normally know when things go wrong, but the better tools we have, the faster we will react to production-level problems.

And Finally, the Admin Dashboard. So far, i've been administering things in a pretty raw way. The first admin dashboard is done and it will allow the admins to have some control over users, games and other important information. As this grows, Kaya might include its first volunteer admin to check it out :).

So even though this week we did provide a sacrifice to the volcano, the vast majority of our work was towards Beta, and invisible preparations.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Preparing for Beta

Here at Kaya we are working hard on getting to Beta. Beta is the next milestone and its when the server will be open and it will be free to make an account and play.

Our main challenge ahead is the redesign of the site, which fine as it is, is not nearly as good as we can make it and want it to be. There are several other things to work on by that date, from bugs to new features we want to add.

The truth is that we self-sidetracked a bit in the last 2 months. We worked on anything we wanted, which now makes the Alpha server super featured. It takes quite a while just to know what is there, its way too advanced for a typical Alpha project.
But while our hunger for adding features is infinite, we have increased priority on things required for Beta, so we can expand our user base. In the end, the most important thing is to have other people to enjoy Go with, and for that we need to open up.

We are very nervous and excited about it, im sure opening up will be a very special thing for the community.

So for the typical question "when is Beta going to be released" a.k.a. "how long until i can play", we estimate about 2 months. Its a lot of time. Thats 8 releases and we have 13 so far.

13 amazing. The server is totally different to what it was at 0.3.

Hope everyone will enjoy our hard weekly paced effort.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Great community effort on translations!

Hey guys.

Since the Translators wanted post last week, 12 languages were translated.

I've been working on it and trying some translations on kaya, which uncovered more parts of the application that i didnt internationalize. So its not over yet :).

Also, unfortunately, i doubt i will be able to include them for 0.12, because..

- Monday and Tuesday were days off for me.

Since the initial release in december, i've worked pretty much all weekends since. I was fast approaching burnout and i needed some rest.
i was unlucky though, and bad weather forced me to stay inside, which is what i wanted to do least. But it forced me to rediscover Heroes of Might and Magic 3 in impossible settings, and my best friends'Nintendo DS.

- Libary issues

Mainly, one of our dependencies has an issue with encodings, recognized and half solved. But because its not totally solved, special characters produce some errors we cannot allow. So unless i find a good patch to that, or they fix it, i will not be able to include them.

Instead im now working on trimming the wiki, which is astoundingly large. Many of the tweaks are really old and dont even apply. And we are fixing more and more.

We want to work asap on the new design, which is the most important thing to go over before beta.
We also need a lot of polishing. Things work quite well,but thats not the standard we want to achieve. We aim for excellent, and excellent is a lot of work and time.

Stay tuned!

Friday, March 2, 2012

0.11 is an AWESOME release. Translators wanted!

Today's release has left us very proud with the week's work. We solved so many issues, while also expanding our feature list.

The experience was greatly improved today, but also our have our responsibilities.

We have laid grounds for internationalization which means that providing different languages in Kaya is automatic as soon as we get translated texts.

For this purpose i created a project on Transifex, a site recommended by a friend oriented to community driven translations. It was a little akward to set up, but now that its prepared its super practical for translations.

It has a very nice ui, and the information is all organized. Translators can make comments and suggestions on original texts or the very translations they offered.
Our highest priority regarding languages are Japanese and Korean.

We have little to no Asian users and we want to get feedback from them, and internationalizing the application for them is vital. We strongly favor native speakers, as quality is a priority. All westerners have suffered the poor english of asian servers, i dont want them to suffer the same from us.

Of course, any other language is welcome, you can make a request for that language on the Transifex platform.

Although hasnt been 100% internationalized, over 75% was so far, and its actually not a lot of text, less than an hour of work probably.

Donators contributing to the project can get upgraded to collaborator.
Non-donators can get an account with a solid contribution(a whole language). Again Asian languages are very appreciated! Specially japanese and korean.

I will save the rest of 0.11 features for another post during the week.

Lets make Kaya the best Go server!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Collaborator Wanted on a side project.

Hey guys. Before getting right downt o business, id like to mention how AWESOME were the broadcasts by the Quebec Go Club on showing live streaming of the games on Kaya.

Guests were invited and it was extremely drawing and fun. It truly felt like the stepping stone, the basis, to create truly great video shows on streaming. Live commentary of Congress games on video, interviews with players, sky is the limit!

Things brings us to a project by a Kaya collaborator, Jonas "JJ" and his RGF specification.

Rgf is a spec to relate an audio/video file to an sgf file. As the video progresses, the stones placed in a board in the video are palced in a board. which means you can pause and interact with the board, and then resume the video. That could mean you put comments on it or you ask questions.

I have to say that jj's work here is amazing. He is not a professional programmer and he tackled a difficult problem like a pro. There functional version and we are looking to make a nice demo of it.
We want someone to assist JJ, to utilize the tool and help him make it better with suggestions and aids. Using things is the best way to test them. And also to work on translating a GoCommentary video to RGF.
The only skill requirements is not being afraid of looking at RAW SGF. The work is almost the same as moving a video to a SGF in any editor.

Assisting in this can get you access to with a free Collaborator account. If you have any questinos send an email to or if you are in the server, just pm me.

Regards, Gabriel.

Friday, February 24, 2012 is advancing steadily

Its been 13 days since my last post. 13 days. How did i let that happen?? i thought i posted last week :).

I have to recuperate 2 weeks of mayhem into these blogposts. We have been veery busy with non-technical aspects of Kayam thinking on what can we achieve from a technical standpoint, and how long it will take us.

We have now a feature list we are going to work on for the next 30 weeks at least.

So what is new in the past 2 weeks?

Private messaging is now complete for 0.10, and once a major test is confirm, i have a BIG event to announce. One event that will make the FIRST server to do it. It will be an awesome demonstration of accomplishing that which we promised.

Also, we are now storing all games, which means users can see past games and load them up on an Offline Version of Gospeed for analysis and review. This is thought to become an API for people to develop independent statistics, compilations and so on.

We also got a new meijin, which a specific Kanji character and a Moon on the board of Fame.

Things are on schedule and working smoothly. I hope lots of new people visit us once we make an official announcement and hopefully we can finish the already filled Game of the century

Saturday, February 11, 2012

0.8 Byo-yomi, escaper clock and the road ahead

Been a while since the last post! Had an exhausting week.

Release went normal, yesterday and only a few tweaks were needed to make sure its stable. It was a pretty shady release but most of its issues are fixed by now.

We have included byo-yomi but the most difficult thing we did this week was the escaper clock. Now when a user is disconnected from a game, a visible 5 minute clock is shown as the marker for forfeit.

It was pretty trivial until we found out that the regular clock for the escaper was still running. So we have to adjust it by how much the user was disconnected and that was quite the pandora's box.

Its still not perfect but its pretty close to being so, and we are going to polish it for 0.9. We have decided to focus on on the core features of game play a lot more for the next few releases, which means time systems, maybe chinese ruleset, voiced clocks, better variation sharing and experience, etc. Most of that work is front end, so if i get time to spare during the next releases i will focus more on OpenKaya's Tournament system, for which i have a great appreciation for.

Also, Kaya BlackOps Labs is working on a secret project. Might become a world domination feature , and we plan to show it at the end of february.

Stay in tune!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

0.7's Gospeed & OpenKaya(again)

0.7 is out! hours before i did a birthday party at my mom's place.

0.7 was a huge release for us, and it came with 2 major features. The first feature is that now all games played are saved and stored. You can access them through user profiles with a single click, and we have the basis, the core, to make an API for them.

After proving its stability, and being happy with it, we will publish an API to be able to do analytics, reporting, and just toying around. Because lots of games are lots of information, and im sure the community will have ideas on what to do with it.

But even mroe important than that, we released an html sgf viewer. Gospeed is the name of the smart-board Kaya uses, done 100% by dp. We put it in a client, and now you can see not only past Kaya games, but any game out there in the web.
This is available to everyone. You dont need an account, so you can visit here and load a game up!. Also when you load a game, we give you a shortened url so you can share the loaded game with someon else. Like this one .

We have a some way yet for it to become more featured than eidogo and a lot more to be similar to a regular sgf editor. Right now, its best use is to view games, the comments and to share them easily.
Check it out!

0.8 is a big ? for us. We haven't decided what to work on but its likely we will work on time related features. There is a lot of work to do there and its pretty finite, we know that if we do it now, we wont have to think about it again.

I must congratulate Verse for doing so much work with time systems on OpenKaya, he implemented Byo-yomi, canadian, and even Hourglass! We are only short of Bronstein, but i could not dare ask him any more :).

Again, OpenKaya is surprising me and because over 4 people are working on it right now, i decided to make a public tracker on it : . This system is famous among developers and truly easy to use and understand. As i make sure no two people work on the same thing at the same time, this will also allow collaborators to know the overall picture, and those that would like to collaborate, see what are the recognized tasks so far.

I have updated the documentation with a Credits section and for 0.8 all collaborators will have their Fire Kanji associated with their accounts. Nice work guys!

Because most of the time work left is on the front end and heavy weight on pato's side, this week i might turn some attention to OpenKaya myself, specially tournament organizing. We have an engine right now, and we have to turn it into a usable webpage.

We have a long and very exciting road ahead of us. Ganbatte!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

OpenKaya & vital addition to my kitchen arsenal.

I've been very happily surprised the past week on the number of people that want to collaborate with code.

There have been already 4 sizeable collaborator contributions, and 3 other developers offered helping hands.

This is my first time as a source controller of this nature. My job with OpenKaya is making sure everyone that wants to contribute, finds a place to do so and doesnt get any obstacles -technical or otherwise- so he can solve problems.

The past week specially there were great advances regarding the tournament system and there is another nice project that has moved a lot faster than it thought. Both are killer features and its not out of the question to integrate them into kaya by the end of february.

Kudos to the first sprouts of the community! People that aid with code will get a special marker (The Kanji for Fire) in their accounts. Potentailly their works could get also some coverage so people could easily provide them with karma. Collaborators of this sort deserve recognition too!

Changing the note of the post, my father gave me a special present for my birthday: an espresso machine. Now i can consume large quantity of delicious coffee for the nights ahead of us!. Lets work for 0.7 to be a great release!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Happy Birthday, Italian Shudan Magazine, 0.6

Hey everyone! i have totally neglected the blog in the past week.

For starters, lets say that today i turn 26. It is my birthday and i usually dont make a fuss about it, but its a really invigorating moment for me in my life. is a dream-venture for me, and i've never felt so confident about doing the right thing at the right time in my entire life.

I look forward to 2012 and to how this project will grow in its first year.

Secondly, only hours before my birthday, as if it had been planned, i received 2 copies of Shudan, an italian magazine for go, where is featured as an article. It is also very nice to get recognized by media. The only unfortunate things is that i look fat in the picture. That sounded..not so manly.

Still it was a great gift from Andrea Partiti, i hope the magazine thrives.

And now to the juicy parts. 0.6 is out. This release doesnt have that many mind-blowing features as the previous two, because we did a lot of tweaki fixing. Lots of little improvements here and there and improve the overall experience. However, it looks really nice.

I hope founders & supporters enjoy them.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

0.5 will no longer offer Founder accounts, first easter egg, and continued rapid development.

Ssup people!

We are in mid summer here in Buenos Aires and both dp and I are slowly roasting in the heat.

We are staying in the outskirts o fBuenos Aires, so for a change, i get to see some green grass and trees, and some nature, away from the concrete city of Bueno Aires.

Being here without city-like distractions has made this first summer camp, one we hope, of many.

We are 27hs away from the 0.5 release and with that release comes the change of Founder to Supporter. Founder accounts have not yet been designed but are very well documented in the server, and we have been thinking of what could we add to distinguish them.

I liked the idea of a brick icon next to the nickname, as founders is asimilar concept to a builder. We are very flexible on this idea so its the best moment to suggest, as a Founder, how would you like to be showing in the server.

Palapiku said that a 72pt flashing banner was expected, but i'm afraid that would be a bit too invasive.

The best places to add something are user lists and profiles. With your suggestions bare in mind though, that people that aren't founders shouldnt feel secluded or left out.

Also 0.5 will have the first easter egg. We added something special that we hope those that find it will cutely enjoy :)

We are extremely happy with our work, and we have a really good pacing. Each week brings a whole new set of features and functionality, along with a great number of tweaks and fixes. I must say that the Tweaki is a great invention at the same time it is our doom :).

Stay tuned guys! and give an opinion for how you would like your founder accounts to show in the server, its your recognition, your brand!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Crazy 0.4: Malkovich, Tweaki & and Tournament systems. Eager Developers read through!

So we are a few days away from the last friday's release and we are very happy with it.

We could really push in many new things in the past week, including GnuBot, and a reliable replayBot (professional games are automatically replayed constantly 24/7 now).

We also expanded Gommander , our chat-command engine, to include a few new treats :). One of them is Tweaki. By just writing "/tweaki suggestion" in the chat, your comment is added to a TODO-list that is immediately visible to everyone in the server through the header menu. It makes it easier than ever for users to provide feedback, while we can focus on working and read all the feedback at once later.

It was trivial, but a fantastic idea. Over 30 "tweak" reports came in in less than 48 hs.

Also we added a new, very experimental feature that actually surprised me A LOT. It was malkovich commands. For those not familiar with Malkovich games in L19, the idea is that the players as they are playing express their thoughts or plans, for observers and followers to see, and after the game is over, for the opponent to read.
On saturday morning had its first tournament and malkovich was widely used, far beyond my expectancy. It was certainly entertaining to read them comments, and also make them. This little experimental little feature could prove to be one of those features that really raise the standard.

So as i said, had its first tournament organized by Celebrir, and besides some technical problems that i was able to fix mid-games, it went quite smoothly and it was quite fun. It Made me want to rush over the Tournament organizer for Kaya.

Developers! Attention!

And i did. Right now i wrote a core Tournament engine in OpenKaya.

I isolated the vast majority of design red-tape and now the core functionality to organize any kind of system is to resolve the algorithm for pairing. The code has an example with running tests and another one with failing tests.

The code done on OpenKaya is to remain forever open to be used by anyone who wants to. One potential user of this library could be the ASR league or any online tournament organizer.

It is a fun problem to work with, and if eager developers assist in this, will support tournaments sooner, and they will get a decent recognition for their effors within the server, plus a stone in our board of Fame.

Right now there are several developers- amas&pros- working on novel and interesting features.

One founder is working on a format for Video+Sgf simultaneous, getting the advantages of media and an interactive board.
Another one is going to start looking into building a Js score estimator: one that could potentially be used in estimating games you randomly watch online in any place in the internet, without using a Bot Engine like Gnugo.

Our current rating system, Glicko, was done with great labour by yoyoma. His aid was truly amazing.

As we grow, so does our ability to integrate foreign code and new functionality that is not necesarily done directly by us. Yet at the same time, people that want to enjoy features or contribute to the community can work on novel ideas and we can assist them with programming aid and finally doing the styling work to integrate it into a working site.

Since was made public, over 30 developers asked me if they could lend a hand, or that they wanted to be involved somehow. Right now, there are already several things that we are not going to do immediately as we are still working on the core functionality.

We are extremely excited with our growth, the server has been improving like crazy, and its not been a month since the Alpha release. I cant imagine how will look in 3 months :).

Regards, Gabriel.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Founder accounts are going to stop being offered by next week's Friday.

After the release/holiday craze, and setting up the whole automatic account creation system, we now can easily fulfill our promess of stopping founder accounts from being offered.

We could not fit it into tomorrow's release because we want to make some icons and distinguishables for founders.
We will change founder accounts for supporter ones. As discussed in a previous post, still needs to fund its operations.
Supporter accounts will also get access to the Alpha server, but they will have a different icon/marker from founders, which is of course carried on to the eventual release of the server.

I must say that the support we got from the community was amazing, and went over the expectations of what many people thought when the initial announcement was made. With the current funds, we have until mid-March inside the budget. Effectively, , donators have made possible to be worked on solely for us for over 4 months.

It's even hard to believe for us that we released the Alpha less than a month ago: so much new code was written in the past 3 weeks, so many new features and tweaks and improvements. We are so excited working on this and we truly believe will be the next generation of Go servers. I hope all founders that helped get this going get the same feeling we do.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 Alpha 0.4, and the Tweaki

3 work-days left until Alpha 0.4.

Today Pato did some major cleaning of the front-end. In a software project its important to clean-up after the mess, or it piles up. It piles up dangerously. And it gets harder and harder to work on afterwards. So regularly we spend some time improving the systems internals, even though users won't see a change directly.
But we are here for the long haul, and we want to build something flexible and adaptative, so the quality of what we make is important for long term maintenance.

I was however busy with another great feature: including playing bots like gnugo on the server. Honestly i thought it was going to be harder than it was. It was running in less than 6 hoours work. It calculates score, resigns,plays quite fast. I still have to polish it a bit more, to make sure its more sturdy, but i feel confident it will be included for the next version.
This came hand in hand with finally fixing the replay bot, which was failing sporadically after showing a couple of games.

There are many more things coming but i will leave the suspense alive. What we finally caved in to was doing a change log. So we will see how comfortable it is for us to actually use it :). So now you can expect to read the new features and functionalities right after the friday's update.

One thing that's was positively noticeable of coming out with the alpha was the avalanche of feedback users have been giving us. From ideas to bugs, we have received 100's of messages and reports.

Because our development efforts are full-steam ahead, organizing this input of ideas is an important priority so we can increase the time we use to solve and implement them. Hence i added a new space for suggestions for users and its the Tweaki:

Ideas on how to solve new situations or what would be great to innovate on go mostly to the well known uservoice feedback-tab. This is important as ideas get votes, and prioritized. Several ideas there have already been developed, some of them completely new ones and innovative.

Bug-reports or specific technical problems can be reported in the ticket system from inside the server, which users have found already. Once we fix them, reporters would get automatic notification of our response.

But i noticed many things were said that didn't really fit into the above categories, and they were said on the chat. Small things, tweaks or small annoyances. Thats what the Tweaki is about :).

Friday, January 6, 2012

7 month old bug, sound, and alpha 0.3.0.

Today , as promised, we did a release. It included maaaany tweaks and fixes, huge bug removals and most of all, 3 big features: Sound (home-taped), Automatic account creation for founders (Acho today was our first supporter that got his account almost immediately!) and Handicap.

Now ranks can spread more accordingly and more interesting games will naturally be played.

Polly and i are exceptionally happy about todays improvements. We had the last minute rushes, looking at last minute bugs, and also checking that we didnt introduce a serious issue. Sound, at the last moment, gave us a lot of trouble, and i believe we are not still 100% sure that our technical solution will work for everyone.

However, the " jewel" (common argentinian expression) of the whole deployment last-minute debugging was "The Bug". Since release, the server was restarted 3 times. Once due to Amazon's malfunction. But twice due to an issue in our own servers. The server didnt crash, but started to get REALLY slow and lagged, ad we werent sure why.

In the past week we spent some time looking into it andi was very close to figuring it out. Today, while explaining my finding to polly and looking that the latest release triggered it severely, we found it. An evil line of code we both saw separately but immediately knew it was the culprit.

When i saw it i said "jesus this code has to be old". It was. Looking at source control, the culprit was from May 2011, at the absolute experimental prototype stage of Kaya. It was code written purely for developer aid, and in a very exploratory and naive manner.
The culprit was causing the server to user an inordinate amount of resources, and once removed, the overthrough server went back to use barely less than 10% of its resources. Let me refresh that our server has 600 megs of memory. Its practically a cellphone with good networking :).

AFter celebrating with some beers, i came back home and played a game, knowing that "The Bug" didnt exist anymore. It is so noticeable . The server is sooo much faster now, and the sound of the stones give it a whole new edge.

I think founders will be very happy to see this release 0.3.0, and hope energetically for the next one, 0.4.0, next friday.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

On full swing, a very desired release on Friday , 300+ games played and L19 forum

Hey everyone!

Pato and i have been working like crazy since monday and lots of breakthroughs have been done. From bug fixing, to improvements,and the inclusion of very important features.

As i have said to founders before, unless something urgent happens (which has happened last week), we will keep the cycle into updating Alpha on fridays. This is a normal practice to not be spending too much time mantaining the server and more on developing(as opposed to updating constantly to the server). Also, this gives us a week to try out things we do ourselves which could have unforeseen consequences.

Many big things are expected to be done by this friday, as well as the overall improvement of usability, messaging and conflict scenarios.

This friday Pato and I will be recording the sound of stones that will be used in the server. We will use my stones against the Kisei-prized board, record a few sounds and then alternate them on play.
Founders know how much sound is needed right now to improve the experience, and also to tell when games started if one is not looking at the client.

Also, we plan to include handicap, and very important, proper account creation for future joiners.
The process was a little manual before , but the outburst of over 40 accounts in the past 3 weeks made it now an urgent matter. It is practically done and it sets afoot to allow users to edit their own accounts with ranks and own password (although that is planned for the next release).

Besides that, the server has been running with few inconveniences for over a week now. Almost all components are extremely stable and there is only one pending fix that causes some heavy delays on the server sporadically (which thankfully today we could pinpoint half the cause of). There have been exactly 329 matches to this point, and over 70 pro game replays in the past week.
Granted, many of those matches didn't come through for one reason or another, and we expect this Friday's fixes to alleviate our rampant "escaper" problem :).

On the last note, we now have a sub-forum in L19 here . We welcome discussions and suggestions there, specially when the Feedback section is just not enough for the conversation.

See you guys on the server soon!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New year's resolutions and holiday craze

Hey everyone! Some due updates :).

The past week and a half that Alpha server was up has been incredible. Reaching this milestone with the project really changed everything.

I now see a whole new dimension of responsibilities while all my developer blood is raging to build more features into the server. Pato was sick first and then he took a few holiday days so i've been working non-stop alone this last few days. Lets put some pressure into making him work a lot when he returns :)

As said before, Alpha really brought out details and issues and bugs like nothing else we did before. Which is great, we fixed the vast majority of them, and the users are hungry for new features that will make it even more playable, like proper handicaps, sound, time systems.

Its shaping up good, and since tuesday its been up, so its getting more and more stable.

One of the things that occured after alpha was a total craze for founder accuonts. In the past two weeks, over 25 people donated to get one, and because the whole system isnt automatized , i felt like doing a lot of paperwork. I hate paperwork. So this weeks top priority will be to get this whole process automated so it frees up this responsibility of mine, and it will make founders get all their info immediately after payment.

Regardless of what features or bugs are next, issues that once solved save developer time are always #1 priority. Time is precious, every hour lost on something is one less mini-feature, or one less bug-fix.

The board of fame hasnt been updating accordingly because this founder craze came with total disregard of anything but entrance to the server :). People want to get in kaya a lot more than in the board of fame. But this is not right and its not showing how many people have donated correctly. I am confidendt that we well passed the 200 donators,and almost 8.5 thousand dollars.

So before that gets updated, let Pato and I work on the whole automation of account creation. That way you will be able to fill out a form with all the info, instead of communicating by email.

As i said before,i can make 10 posts on what happened the past week alone. Stay tuned :)