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Saturday, January 20th, 2001

      The ACTUAL new millenium is here, and PipeLine continues to run smoothly. A few annoying "glitches" have been reported, but these are mainly browser and connection problems, which can't be fixed. For instance, there are times when you may place a pipe, thinking you've taken your turn, but it doesn't register. It appears as if you still have a turn, so you place a 2nd pipe (which is the one actually recorded). If you are in a game where you seem to be getting two turns in a row, remember that this is impossible and re-enter the game board to place your pipe again. Also, if you find that the game screen "draws" slowly, simply log off and back on. If that doesn't help, remember to periodically clear your browser's cache (or "temporary internet files"). Remember, browser/web technology is still unstable, and PipeLine pushes it to the edge - there are bound to be occasional oddities.

      Don't forget to try out the other games hosted at the Prowler Portal. You'll find plenty of ways to pass the time. Also, if you are a web game developer looking to partner with an existing high-traffic site to get your game hosted FOR FREE, contact wyndo@prowler-pro.com to discuss your situation.


Thursday, November 23rd, 2000

      The reset was a week ago now. So far, everything seems to be working just fine. I've even made a few modifications to make PipeLine work with Netscape 6 (which, IMO, isn't worth the download though). PipeLine is officially OPEN and is no longer in beta. Enjoy! For those in the USA, Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 15th, 2000

      The reset planned for tonight will be put on hold until tomorrow or friday. Several people started playing without realizing that we planned to reset at least one time through the beta phase (possibly without even realizing it was in beta phase). There are a few reasons for the reset. First, we wanted people to be able to test everything, which meant some were allowed to have multiple accounts. Also, many people (myself included) were in the habit of forfieting games as part of the testing. The reset will mean a complete wipe of the player files (you'll have to sign up again), chat, and game files. It'll be a fresh game. Another reason for the reset is so I can build some "buffer" space into the game records. This will serve as usable space in case I later decide to add more to the game records (so it won't require a full reset when I do).

      The good news is that this might be the only reset required. Beta testing (I think) has just about reached an end already. I'm sure problems will crop up now and then that will require attention, but the game itself has proven to work, which is the main thing. After the reset, just sign up again and start playing. If nothing major crops up, a second reset won't be required, and I can announce the game as done and start promoting it.

      Almost everything is working and functional. The instructions have even been added now. A few loose ends need addressed (such as adding the ability to "remove" a game if your opponent simply stops playing for more than 5 days, instead of having to forfiet to get it out of your active list).

      A big thanks to everybody who helped test, especially those who offered feedback and suggestions. Your help has been greatly appreciated!

Saturday, November 11th, 2000

      Testing is going great! I'm actually getting some good feedback and useful bug reports. Some current problems include browser display issues. Different browsers display forms (input boxes, etc) differently, so the Preferences screen is messed up for some. I'm trying to figure out what "exceptions" to make for various browsers to get the display to appear correctly.

      I've also added and improved several things. The news log works now, and will keep news up to 3 days before it expires. This will be handy later on after beta testing, when we begin to enforce the "1 account" rule (cheaters will be easier to identify). I've also improved the games list and the players list by allowing options to view ONLY those players or games which are online or active. Already, being able to view JUST the games where it's my turn has helped a lot. I hope it's a benefit to others.

      In addition to adding real instructions, I need to add the chat wall. This will make it easier to "tell" your opponent that you're having to leave and will be back later to finish the game, for instance. I'm thinking of having a main chat wall, plus different chat for each game. Opinions are welcome!

Tuesday, November 7th, 2000

      Finally, PipeLine is open for beta testing. No beta signup forms are required. During the testing phase, you will be allowed to create multiple accounts for the purpose of "playing against" yourself to help identify bugs. This will only last a few days, after which the first reset will happen and you'll be asked to create just one account. If we're still testing, there could be more resets even past that.

      Keep in mind that not all features are done as of now (though they're coming soon). For instance, the built-in graffiti wall doesn't function, and there are no instructions. Also, games which last more turns will be worth more points than shorter games (to help encourage people to play with more strategy).

      If you are a paid subscriber in Lunatix Online, create your account as normal, then "link" to your Lunatix account inside the preferences area of the game. You'll get to increase your max games and set a default pipe color. The reasoning behind being able to set your own max games limit is to keep from getting involved in too many games. If you only want to play 20 games, setting your limit at 20 will prevent you from having to accept or decline lots of challenges each day -- very handy.

      Right now, games are weighted at 25 points each, using the same formula that World at War has implemented. Points are exchanged using the formula (loserpoints x 25) / winnerpoints. The base of 25 will actually change (but currently doesn't -- that's a feature to come) based on how many pipes were actually placed in the game. If that doesn't work out, or proves to be unfair, I'll develop some other scoring method. We'll wait and see.

      So, get started now! Create your PipeLine account (or two, initially, if you want to test against yourself) by typing a username and a password at the top of this page. Click on the "Click Here" link (not the Login button) to make your account.

Wednesday, November 1st, 2000

      Welcome to PipeLine! The site is finally up and the game is almost ready for open beta testing. I'm amazed to have gotten so much done so quickly (since I only started working on it around October 2nd). I haven't decided if selling copies of the game to other sites would be very worthwhile. I'm still considering it though. For now, I just need to finish what's left, and make it through beta testing!

      I want to stress that when the game is opened, it will be in OPEN BETA phase. If you are going to be upset if I reset the game, delete players, and remove games frequently, DON'T PLAY until after beta testing has ended. If you're playing to win during this initial launch, you're likely to be sorely disappointed if bugs cause games to crash or players to disappear (for instance). When beta testing is over, I'll probably do a final reset anyway, so don't play if you're only trying to get a jump start on topping the player rankings.

      Also, PLEASE report bugs. I'll probably use the General Prowler Forum for the discussion of bugs and suggestions, since I don't feel this game will really need its own forum. Please provide feedback, and be prepared to let me know what browser and version you use, in case some problems specific to certain browsers crop up. Don't be a deadbeat beta tester. :)

      Anyway, open testing should begin in only a few days (maybe even by this weekend). Be sure to come back and help us get it perfect! The sooner I finish with this, the sooner I'll be able to dive head-first again into StarLock coding.

      For the purposes of beta testing, multiple accounts WILL be allowed initially. Either toward the end of the beta phase, or when it's over, you will be required to play with only ONE account. I'll probably implement some kind of daily log to show which games have been won, lost, or forfieted. If a new player mysteriously jumps into first place, it will be easy to see if he actually beat several existing high-ranking players, or if he is instead using multiple accounts to cheat. The daily log is on my future features list.

This is the end of the old news. Thanks for reading!