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Figured I might as well show it off

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johnhattan

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The new back-end for the daily puzzles is proceeding apace. The new back-end database and account manager app seem to be working just fine. Now I'm trying to work it into a game. Since I didn't wanna take down my existing six games (because I, like you, need my confusebox fix), I decided to make a new game and work the new user management stuff into it.

Once that's working, then I'll work on shoehorning the system back into the existing six games.

If you'd like to try it out, check out Poker Patience. That'll be the next daily puzzle. Thus-far, it seems to be doing everything correctly, working with the account manager and such. Also, it'll store your username and password as a Flash cookie, so it'll be completely unobtrusive once you're logged in.

(Sorry about the instructions. I'll write some when I get the chance. Until then, the game rules are an exercise in trial-and-error.)

Note that the game doesn't yet have a "second half". You can create an account, log in, and play the game. Nothing will happen, though, when you finish the game. That's the next half of the system. When you complete the game, it'll quietly log back in and submit your score to the high score table.

Finally after that's working I plan to make the "stat-o-matic" page that'll let you look at a graph of your scores. For example, you could pop into the stat-o-matic and check out your ConFusebox scores for the last 30 days. You'll also be able to see a cute pie-chart of your rankings (you were number one 8% of the time, number two 12% of the time, etc).

Also, the stat-o-matic page will have the trophy case. My last little addition to the system will be that you'll get secret "awards" for special accomplishments with the games. For example, if you manage to clear more than 60% in Voracity, the system will make a "you just won an award" sound. If you go to your trophy case, you'll see that you're now the proud owner of a "Ranks of the Voracity Board-Clearers" award.

The trophy case and stat-o-matic won't require a password, so you can enter other peoples' handles and check out your opponents' stats and trophies.




Now then. Questions for you, my humble readers. . .

I notice that a couple of folks play the games more than once, just using a different name like "Bob second attempt". Should I go ahead and work that scheme into the game? I was thinking of having the game pop up a box saying "hey, you've already played this puzzle today. Do you wanna play it again?" and then the system will automatically append "second attempt", "third attempt" etc to the user's handle on the high score table. That sound like a good scheme?

Should I give the user the ability to add a quote to his daily entry? Sometimes I like to add something like "especially hard game today", etc. to my entries. Right now, I'm not sure that's a great idea. It'd be cute, but it'd add an extra UI step to the "submit your score at the end" process which will soon be completely transparent. Also, it's one more place for kids to show off their powers of profanity (which has thus-far not been a problem but I do intend to keep things G-rated). Any thoughts?
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Yeah, it was pretty interesting when I played once, game back to the puzzle list and it wouldn't let me play again. So, I just hit back in my browser and it started a new game. So I think I played like 4 - 5 times going through various names like, 'your mom, your dad, your uncle, etc'. ;)

The second, third, and fourth attempt notice would make the rankings a bit more solid when people went to look at them.

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I find the whole 'only once a day' thing annoying myself. Your games were nice, but I wouldn't pay for them - not even the $10. Certainly not if I had to make the decision after I'd just played it once. First time I finished chess cards, I was ready to play again. *I* knew how to get around the limiting - but how many less savy users just went 'eh' and never came back again?

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I don't submit additional attempts but I do think having additional attempts handled automatically by the system would be nice, and I probably would do so in that case. I don't particularly like the idea of having to click another button when doing so though - how about informing the user somehow but not requiring them to actually confirm it?

It also just occured to me that I sometimes have friends or family members play your games from the same computer as me... any thoughts on how that could be handled nicely?

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Yeah, guests will be a tough thing to handle. I'll need to have some kind of "logout" button (basically that dumps the cookies and reloads the page) in case two people are sharing a computer. I'm not sure what to do for unregistered users.

Possibilities. . .

1. Have an undocumented guest/guest account.
2. Let 'em play under your account, in which case, they'd show up as "Yourhandle (second attempt)".
3. Let 'em create their own account. Since I'm not doing email verification of account creation, it'd take about ten seconds to do that.

The marketer in me would stress number 3, just because of the possibility of getting 'em hooked :)

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