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Newsletter #9 - SAO Update, SVN, and Filters

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Stick Adventures Online version 1.1.8 has been released! This new version features a chat filter and a few chat related bug fixes. Head on over to the downloads page to check it out!

From the Programmer
Written by Invisible

Last week, I was looking for a program to compare two source code files. I asked for recommendations in the #gamedev IRC channel, and was directed towards TortoiseMerge. One thing led to another, and I ended up installing Subversion and setting up a repository for some of the projects I am working on. I have been considering doing this for a while, and am happy I finally did it.

I also created a new chat filter system. It's my second attempt at creating one, and I think it's definitely better then my first. The server has a list of words that have a "strict" flag attached to them. If a word is strict, it is filtered no matter where it appears in the message. If a word is lenient (the strict flag is not set), it is only filtered out if it appears by itself as a whole word. The previous filter I created was designed to filter everything using the strict model only. This caused problems if someone said "assassin", "titan", or "class" since the word would be partially filtered out.

I plan to package the filter system into a self contained class so that I can easily plug it into any project that needs it. I try to do this with most of the systems I create, and it has worked great so far. I also plan to add in support for multiple file types for the filter data, since I might want to use an encrypted .dat file or XML file instead of an INI file.

In other news, using some advice I gained from a web developer friend, I attempted to fix the columns going up and down the side of the Loradon 3.0 Progress Page. They display correctly in FireFox and IE, but not in web browsers that use of Webkit. Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful. His advice was to create a 3x3 table to contain the page, and use rowspan="2" to extend the content area down to the bottom of the columns. Unfortunately, the browser assumed I wanted the height of the column middle and bottom cells to each get 50% of the content area's height. Setting a fixed height fixed this problem in every browser except Safari and Google Chrome (they both make use of Webkit), so I am right back to where I started. If anyone has advice on how to fix the problem, please let me know. Thanks!

Art Sneak Peek
As a reward for making it through that long (and possibly boring) wall of text, here is a sneak peek at what our artist is currently working on. Deciphering what these are for and represent is left up to you!

Art sneak peak

Community Spotlight
Written by Jay and pifreak

The SAO community, thriving as it usually is, recently had some of it's older mods (game modifications) redistributed. During the movement of the SAO forums, several mods were lost in the process; however, thanks to Lee, some of those mods have been resurrected on the new forum. Many of the mods were created by different people and they all have a different style, so the SAO community has been overjoyed to see these masterpieces once again.

InvisibleMan has been kind enough (or was it bored enough?) to program and implement a swear-word filter into SAO! It has been great because it lifts a burden off the moderators, as people can now see that swearing is blocked, and it doesn't have to be said repeatedly that swearing is not allowed in Stick Adventures Online. It also makes the community look a lot nicer, and friendlier.

All of the chat should now be rated "G", as to look more professional and to welcome all ages into the world of SAO. We should not have the problem of players quitting the game because of offensive or foul language, and hopefully this will make the gaming experience more enjoyable for everyone!
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Thanks sprite_hound! I had tried converting the page to use divs, but ran into problems with keeping all 3 columns the same height. That article was exactly what I was missing.

After reading through the article you linked to, I developed my own version of the technique they used. Everything seems to be working correctly, although I have yet to try it in Opera. I'm fairly certain it will work though. Thanks again!

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