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 email@example.com so we can discuss details.