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Awright, you might've noticed a couple of updates to the puzzle.

First off, the ads are in-place. My goal is for the ads in the puzzles to pay for the cost of hosting. That way I don't need to do anything lame like add a "donate some money to me" button. I figure if I get 35-50 regular players, that should be do-able. I figure I have about twenty now, so I'm not far off from that goal.

At least if the ads pay for the hosting, then I'll be able to leave the games up forever. They'll basically pay their own daily expenses, so there'll be no worries that any kind of financial troubles will bring 'em down.

Again, if you've bought a game, then email support@thecodezone.com with your handle, and I'll shut off your ads. If you find the ads annoying, consider buying a game, and they'll fade away like the last rose of summer.

Next, I fixed the sliding info-panel so that it's a little bit away from the bottom edge. That way you can now see your score at the end of the game. One BIG usability problem I had was that the moment you finished a game, your score was obscured unless you canceled the "these are the games you haven't played yet" panel. Now there's enough space from the bottom that you can see your score.

Next, the daily email feature is working. If you're not the RSS-type, then go to www.thecodezone.com/accountman.php and turn on the "send me a daily email" feature. You'll receive an email every day at 1:00 AM CST with the daily scores for all of the games.

That also means that my cron-job table builder is now working. Doing a google, it appeared that there were three ways to run PHP code from the command-line.

1. If you had a standalone PHP whatchamacallit, you could call PHP "file.php"
2. You could run Lynx (a console-based web-browser) with something like Lynx -whatever "file.php"
3. You could run wget (a command-line HTML downloader) with wget "file.php"

Turns out that wget was the winner for me. Every night at 1 AM, the wee cron-mice run a chunk of PHP that automagically generates score-tables, builds the rankings for the statisticalizer, removes old scores from the table, builds about ten RSS feeds, makes HTML highscore tables for the pages, and broadcasts highscore emails to users.

I never thought I'd end up being such a server kind of guy. Although PHP/MySQL is pretty easy and can render ANYONE a server kind of guy. I'm a complete convert.

I just bought the XFX menu building thingy from XFX, as they have a pretty good deal going until 1/7. My Code Zone page-menus work just fine right now, but I'm quickly running out of space, and if I make any more daily puzzles I'm going to have no space to put 'em.

So I'm going to go for drop-downs. And since making overlapping Flash content on a web page will cause every Flash popup-killer on the planet to start screaming "AARRGGHH, SLIDEY POPUP MOVIE-ADS, MAKE IT DIE!!!", I need to go with javascript for my dropdowns, ala gamedev.

Thankfully, this xfx thing can make a menu that looks just like my existing one, but with drop-downs rather than slide-acrosses.

(note to Terri: That means that if you need any menus made for any L33t web-design projects, it'll be at your disposal)

In other words, my old menus were a knockoff of the ones on the Macromedia site, and my new menus will be a knockoff of the ones on the site of the company that absorbed Macromedia.

Finally, I got a friggin' awesome score in Poker Patience today. Which is rather weird, because when Shelly walked in the computer room, it was clear that I was having a decidedly rotten time with the game. On my last few draws, though, I pulled out three four-of-a-kinds and ended up with a score just shy of 200.

I have noticed that Poker Patience seems a bit "self balancing", at least the way I play. If I have a strong start, the ending's never as good as I want. If I start out poorly, things tend to balance out near the end.

Maybe I'm just attributing a bit more personality upon the mechanism than I should.
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Sorry for my lack of response on the last post. I wish we had a "notify me by email when somebody responds to my comment" option or something. (Or is there one hiding somewhere?)

I agree that if you want the game to end around levels 5-8, it's definitely too easy now. In fact, I think the way the game is designed now, there's nothing to stop a good player with plenty of time to think out his strategy from getting to level 100 or beyond.

A couple of ideas:
1) Make the shock power use up your turn. It's way too powerful now.
2) Give the car a shorter range. It's also really strong.
3) Put a time limit on the player's thinking. If they don't move after a fixed amount of time, they stay where they are and the cats get a turn.
4) Leave it alone. I like it. ;)

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