Sunday, February 9, 2020

Slight refinements to the Games by Tim logo

Today, I made some minor adjustments to the site's iconic cursor logo. Notice the rounded cursor edges.

 
Old/New

Also, since the logo's redone on Inkscape instead of PowerPoint, there's now an SVG variant, shown below. This was my main reason to redo the logo, in preparation for a site overhaul.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Wheel of Fortune Wheel Demo Survey Analysis


Now that the wheel demo's been out for a couple weeks, I've received a decent amount of responses from you guys about how to improve the wheel. Below is a summary of the feedback and how I plan to respond to it.

  • About a third of you used touch to spin the wheel.
    Although the Wheel of Fortune project is designed for keyboard/mouse, that's a nontrivial amount of touch users. I'll definitely need to keep touch-friendliness in mind, particularly in tablets (as they can project to a projector) as I continue to develop Wheel of Fortune for Web.

  • On average, you guys thought it was a bit too difficult to max the strength meter.
    Although I liked the challenge, I can see why some of you would find it too hard. That's why I've decided to strike a balance. Although I toned down the meter's exponential speed (so it moves at a more constant pace), I slightly lowered the time it takes for the meter to move from 0 to 100%. This should help users achieve max strength quicker while making the final strength appear more predictable.

  • About half of you said that the wheel physics felt off, especially at max speeds.
    After giving the wheel a few more spins, I can agree with the consensus. You see, the wheel as it currently stands can spin at up to 10 rotations. Problem is, 10 rotations is a lot, and in order to ensure that you can see the wheel slow down nicely, I overcompensated with the wheel's rate of speed decrease.

    To resolve the overcompensation, I plan to reduce the max wheel rotations to 5 or 6 (not fully decided yet). I initially thought this decrease would make the max speeds not look as appealing, but then I realized as it currently is, I couldn't tell the difference between 60% and 100% strength anyway. I will also adjust the rate of speed decrease accordingly and perhaps make the wheel slowly speed up as it starts spinning for visual effect (as someone suggested that).

I'd like to thank all of you who participated in the survey, and if you haven't sent your thoughts yet, there's still time to do soI will close the wheel demo survey sometime after February 10.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Wheel of Fortune for PowerPoint v4.1.2 - Updated Wheel Values


It has come to my attention that the actual show received new wheel values as of April 2019, albeit a minor one.

Thus, this Wheel of Fortune for PowerPoint update (v4.1.2) takes in the new wheel values.



Try the Web wheel demo!

As mentioned before, I'm working on a Web-based successor to Wheel of Fortune for PowerPoint. Right now, you can test the new wheel, which contains numerous improvements over the PowerPoint counterpart. Click here to try the wheel (and complete the survey if you wish).

Monday, January 20, 2020

Wheel of Fortune for Web - Wheel Demo



Here you'll find a tech demo of the wheel I intend to use for Wheel of Fortune for Web, the upcoming replacement for Wheel of Fortune for PowerPoint.

Wheel of Fortune for PowerPoint's wheel took two clicks - one to spin, and one to stop. This wheel needs just one click, and hold it to charge the new strength meter!

Advantages over the PowerPoint wheel
  • More sense of control over the wheel (although the outcome's still completely random)
  • Has inertia - will slow down as it spins
  • Uses the crypto-random API to securely determine where the wheel stops
  • Can programmatically tell what value the wheel landed at

Take the survey!

For the first time in the site's history, I'm trying out a survey to gauge how to further improve the wheel. Click here for the survey.

The survey closed February 11, 2020.

To Do
  • Add multiple wheel types to choose from
  • Add the wheel's second layer (wild card, Mystery wedge, etc)
  • Add sound effects to the wheel

Note that I'm long ways away from releasing Wheel of Fortune for Web. I'm just sharing these types of demos in the meantime.

License

Wheel of Fortune for Web - Wheel Demo is licensed under the GPL-3.0.

“Wheel of Fortune” is a registered trademark of Califon Productions, Inc, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product. For more information about the game show, visit www.wheeloffortune.com.

Wheel wedges created by MarioGS/wheelgenius, used with permission.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Addressing the So Many Numbers blank screen bug

I've received reports that players couldn't load So Many Numbers after I pushed a minor update last week. All they get is a blank screen, no matter how many times they refresh.


It turns out the cause of this blank screen is more complicated than I thought, What's worse, I may not fully be able to patch what I call the "blank screen of death." Allow me to explain.

(Warning: technical jargon ahead! Skip to "What you should do" if you just want to know what to do if you're affected.)

Why the blank screen of death happens

For starters, last week's update on its own did NOT cause the blank screen of death. All I did there was change some text.

What really triggers it is how the game reacts to an update. Whenever you load So Many Numbers, it caches a copy of the game to your device so you can play offline. Whenever I push an update, the game has to recreate the cache so it can load the updated version offline.

That's where things get awry.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Dark Mode for the win

Ever since Dark Mode arrived in macOS Mojave, I knew it marked the future of UI design. Now that iOS, Windows 10, and all major browsers also support dark mode, it's time for my projects to embrace the dark side!

You may wonder, haven't you tried a dark theme before? That's true, but the user had to manually toggle it for his or herself. Now that browsers can detect whether you're on light or dark mode, webpages have the ability to automatically enable dark themes. A win, win for everyone!

Here's how I intend to handle dark mode on my future dark-enabled projects:

  • By default, set the theme to light or dark based on the systemwide theme.
  • The user can toggle light or dark themes via a button on the project. This means the user can use the project's dark theme while on their system's light mode, and vice versa.
  • If the browser does not support dark mode, use the light theme by default. The theme toggle should still work, though.
  • If JavaScript is disabled, use the light theme by default, and hide the theme toggle if possible since the toggle won't work.

To practice dark mode, I edited my GitHub homepage, a basic landing page with links to my projects.



I hope to one day enable full dark mode support on my other games, such as I am Thinking of a Number and So Many Numbers. In the distant future, I may add a dark theme to the Games by Tim site as well.