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Author Topic: NANY 2012 Release: Kyrathaba's Hangman  (Read 39022 times)
kyrathaba
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« on: June 23, 2011, 07:24:47 PM »

NANY 2012 Entry Information

Important News-Flash!My program, Kyrathaba's Hangman, allows you to register a user-name.  If you do, the High Score on your particular installation of the application will always be sent to the online database.

For the Highest Scoring DC member, as found here, I will donate up to 25 hours of programming for FREE on a small to mid-size project of your choice!!  I reserve the right to determine what is within my skills, however.  The top-three high-scoring DC members will receive an additional prize from the site.

I reserve the right to throw out a score that has obviously been obtained through some hack: being intimately conversant with the program's level of difficulty, I have a keen idea what's humanly possible.

On the last day of each month between now and the culmination of the NANY 2012 event, I will donate $5 DonationCredits to the highest scorer showing on the scoreboard, provided that the scorer is a DC member.  Visitors who may be reading this: join now!  The first disbursement will be on July 31st, the final one December 31st.  That's an opportunity for someone to win up to $30, not to mention bragging rights!
Application Name Kyrathaba's Hangman
Version 1.0.4.5 (released 8/21/11)
Short Description competitive Hangman with prizes for highest scorers (see blog entry)
Supported OSes Windows XP forward
Setup File A link to the Setup program {will check for absence of .NET Framework 4.0 and download if needed} (1.41 Mb)
PAD file URLhttp://kyrathaba.dcmember...manSetups/hangman_PAD.xml
System Requirements
Author Infocoded by kyrathaba | Profile page | Kyrathaba DC page | author of Kyrathaba's Source Code Line Counter. My past NANY entries include: Crocus Contacts, Blackjack, and NANY Excuse Manager.
DescriptionThis was a project I did for the Boss Assignment of C# Programming School, Phase I.  I liked it so much that I continued to develop it, eventually bringing in cranioscopical for some expert testing.  I owe him a debt for the many bugs he made me aware of; and to mouser I say "thank you" for encouraging me not to give up in learning enough PHP to build the online scripts and database to implement my desired features-set.

Destined to replace time wasted by people watching "Wheel Of Fortune"! -- PC Magazine.

What!  This program is FREE!??  A crime, that's what it is!  Someone slap the developer around until he starts showing some sense and charging for this gem of genius! -- Gamasutra

Features+ choose between an Individual Word or a Phrase, and try to solve before you are hanged!
+ optional audio cues
+ option to register a user-name with online database, so that you can submit your High Score and compete against all other players!
+ option to use mouse or keyboard for input
+ Highest Scorer, as recorded on the online database will receive free coding of a small-to-medium sized project of his/her choice!
+ ToolTips and context-sensitive help for each control in the application's interface

I would appreciate suggestions for future features of the program.

Please consider donating.
Screenshotsscreenshot collage
Online Helphttp://kyrathaba.dcmembers.com/my_programs/KyrHangmanSetups/HangmanHelp.pdf
InstallationSimply use the installer created by Inno Setup
Using the applicationThe GUI is fairly intuitive.  However, there is a textual help file under the "Help" menu, and a more in-depth PDF help file (with screenshots) available via the F1 key.
UninstallingUse the uninstall Program Files menu-item.
Known IssuesWhat?  You mean like bugs?  None (but please make me aware of any that you may find...)

« Last Edit: December 30, 2011, 08:08:22 PM by kyrathaba; Reason: updated online scoreboard link » Logged

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mouser
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« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2011, 07:35:05 PM »

50 hours is too much.. you'll lose your mind.  i suggest 5.
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kyrathaba
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« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2011, 07:45:15 PM »

Nah, it's gonna be a labor of love.  I could never produce anything I'm proud enough of to actually release in just 5 hours...

And its up to 50 25 hours.  If I can do it in 5, great  smiley

In considering your advice, mouser, I've lowered the hours-of-coding on offer.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2011, 07:42:40 PM by kyrathaba » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2011, 12:42:22 AM »

Perhaps we should call early releases differently than the final releases.. like "NANY 2012 Pledge and Early Beta"?
Because "official" NANY releases shouldn't happen until the end of the year.
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« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2011, 01:08:13 AM »

Start program and double click your animated hangman I recieved...


smiley
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kyrathaba
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« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2011, 07:21:13 AM »

hamradio,

Thank you for downloading and trying it out, and for the bug report!

Here is what should happen (I've modified the code in the double-click method for the animated hangman.  Try uninstalling, then re-installing after re-downloading the updated setup file):



Let me know if that solves it for you.  If not, I'll take out that code, as there are plenty of other ways the program provides to launch an email to the developer.  

Expected result: clicking the animated hangman should do nothing.  Double-clicking it should launch your default email program and insert my email address and a subject line.

Again, thanks!
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kyrathaba
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« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2011, 07:24:12 AM »

Quote
Perhaps we should call early releases differently than the final releases.. like "NANY 2012 Pledge and Early Beta"?
Because "official" NANY releases shouldn't happen until the end of the year

Agreed.  Updating this in the Ground Rules thread.
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kyrathaba
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« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2011, 08:55:15 AM »

Registered user-names aren't locally affected by updating to a newer version of the hangman program, because they are stored elsewhere than the app's Program Files subfolder.

« Last Edit: June 24, 2011, 08:57:19 AM by kyrathaba; Reason: typo correction » Logged

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kyrathaba
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« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2011, 12:09:42 PM »

Curses!  Hamradio has beaten my High Score!
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« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2011, 05:50:57 PM »

Your webhost is reviewing your website, so registration and scoreboard, etc. are unavailable.
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kyrathaba
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« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2011, 06:23:54 PM »

It's done reviewing.  You should have access now.
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« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2011, 07:57:25 PM »

I just now tried the scoreboard, the first-run help page, and the registration page, and they all still tell me your site is under review.
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kyrathaba
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« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2011, 08:06:37 PM »

Very odd.  I'm able to access them (using Firefox):





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kyrathaba
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« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2011, 08:09:38 PM »

Could it perhaps be a browser cache issue?  Dunno.  You're probably more knowledgeable about this than am I...
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« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2011, 08:12:19 PM »

I think perhaps it's a DNS cache issue. I hadn't tried the first-run help page before when it was still under review, so it wouldn't have been cached in the browser. But perhaps the site-wide redirect got cached? I don't know for sure, but that sounds like DNS to me.
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kyrathaba
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« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2011, 08:14:26 PM »

I just tried it from my kids desktop, and they're blocked too.  And I haven't yet received the "We're done reviewing" email I was promised earlier this afternoon.  Hopefully, this'll be over in the next bit.  If it becomes a standing problem, I'll move the database elsewhere...
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« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2011, 08:16:13 PM »

Normally, the program checks at the end of each play-session and, if your accumulated score is the highest yet (on your local PC), it sends it to the database.

In view of the possibility of occasional interruptions in website service, perhaps I need to add a "submit high score" menu item to the game, so that users can do this manually at anytime.
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« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2011, 09:58:09 PM »

Got irritated with lame host, so switched.  By the way, the only reason I'm not using DC as host is I can't get my scripts to work correctly here (though they have worked fine on three other sites I tested).  Will eventually get this figured out.

Important: those who've downloaded and installed the program already, you should click "About" and then the "Update" button.  The program should tell you there's an update available (v1.0.2.9) and will offer to download it.  You should respond "Yes".  It'll download it, and exit the current app instance after opening the directory to which you downloaded it.

Install v1.0.2.9, which contains a couple minor tweaks, and switches to a new host for the database.  All existing registered users data has been successfully migrated.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2011, 03:18:17 PM by kyrathaba » Logged

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kyrathaba
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« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2011, 10:00:12 PM »

LOL!  About 30 seconds after my previous post, I get this from the other host:

Quote
Hello,

Administrator review of domain kyrathaba.netii.net is now complete. The website has been approved. Once again, we apologize for any inconvenience caused.
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« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2011, 01:02:33 AM »

So what's the point of charging points for vowels? You have to guess them so it doesn't make sense to punish someone for getting a phrase that has more vowels than someone else.

Also, how come I have to toggle between keyboard and mouse in the settings? When I click on the button to guess a letter, instead of popping up a box telling me that I have keyboard guess method selected, why not just guess the letter?
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kyrathaba
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« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2011, 09:13:33 AM »

Charging for vowels is just one way in which the program gives a nod to the old Wheel Of Fortune game.  Another is the fact that it offers WOF bonus puzzles (i.e., "Same Name", "Before & After", etc.)  At the beginning of the first game, you have no points and so must guess at least one correct consonant before being able to afford a vowel.  As games continue, vowels become more expensive.  The idea is that clever players will use letter-frequency knowledge and context to guess the most likely consonants first (s, t, r), thereby saving themselves point expenditures.  As your post suggests, you could take a different stance.

A more practical reason not to change it is that people who are already playing the game with the existing charges-for-vowels setup would be handicapped in comparison to later users who used a version that doesn't charge for vowels.  It would skew scoring, as recorded on the online database.  But your point is well-taken, sir.

Quote
Also, how come I have to toggle between keyboard and mouse in the settings? When I click on the button to guess a letter, instead of popping up a box telling me that I have keyboard guess method selected, why not just guess the letter?

An excellent observation, Deozaan!  Why introduce unnecessary work for the user?  I have implemented it in v1.0.3.0.  The program now automatically accepts either form of input.

Everyone should use "About"->"Update" to update to the newest version.  Thanks, Deozaan!!

« Last Edit: June 25, 2011, 09:43:48 AM by kyrathaba » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: June 25, 2011, 09:47:33 AM »

Charging for vowels is just one way in which the program gives a nod to the old Wheel Of Fortune game.  Another is the fact that it offers WOF bonus puzzles (i.e., "Same Name", "Before & After", etc.)  At the beginning of the first game, you have no points and so must guess at least one correct consonant before being able to afford a vowel.  As games continue, vowels become more expensive.  The idea is that clever players will use letter-frequency knowledge and context to guess the most likely consonants first (s, t, r), thereby saving themselves point expenditures.  As your post suggests, you could take a different stance.

The problem I have with this is that you can't really save yourself any point expenditures because you must pay for the vowels one way or another to solve the puzzle. If the game were like Wheel of Fortune where you could "solve the puzzle" without paying for more vowels or the risk of losing your turn from an unlucky wheel spin, then that would be a different story. But since you must enter all letters to complete the phrase, it doesn't matter whether you do vowels first or last, they must be entered (and paid for) eventually.

So in practice all it really does is make the player guess a correct consonant or two at the very beginning of the first round and then the only purpose it serves is to progressively penalize players who are trying to compete on the leaderboards and just so happen to get phrases that have more vowels than other players.

In my opinion, charging for vowels only makes sense if you can win without using them.

Another couple of problems I have with the game that make it feel unfair:

The bonus puzzles or themes are not always clear. I've never really been that into Wheel of Fortune, so telling me the theme was "Before & After" wasn't very helpful. I was thinking it meant something like dirty and then clean, or fat and then skinny, or an apple (uneaten) and then a core (eaten). Fresh and then rotten. From the description of "Before & After" it isn't obvious that it was two separate "word associations" with a common word in the middle.

Since Hangman is generally a test in your ability to spell or your knowledge/understanding of words/language, it isn't fair to put quotes with author's names. Since people's names can be spelled all sorts of ways that don't follow the rules of the language, or could even be (or have roots in) a different language altogether, names seem to me an unfair difficulty.

But then again, maybe I'm just griping because normally I'm pretty good at hangman and this game is so unlike any version of hangman I've ever played before that I'm not very good at it.
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« Reply #22 on: June 25, 2011, 09:51:54 AM »

Does anyone know what exactly I'd need to change in my Inno Setup script so that the "File Version" info (as shown in the screenshot) is correct?

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« Reply #23 on: June 25, 2011, 10:14:28 AM »

Deozaan,

I find your argument regarding vowels to be logically persuasive.  And I have resolved my concern about score skewing with the realization that people can update to the newer version and play until they beat their previous score.

Therefore, I've updated to v1031 -- vowels now cost nothing smiley

I'm loathe to change the Wheel Of Fortune themes, even though I am sympathetic to your arguments, because they're so entrenched in the format of the default puzzle file, and so much time and effort was spent coding around those themes.  But I agree that for people not familiar with WOF, it's more difficult.  Still, it is a variant of hangman, rather than sticking strictly to the historical game.  I appreciate your allowances in that direction.

Same update process as before.  Click "About", then "Update" button.  Download and install newer version.

« Last Edit: June 25, 2011, 10:16:39 AM by kyrathaba » Logged

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« Reply #24 on: June 25, 2011, 10:41:28 AM »

I'm loathe to change the Wheel Of Fortune themes, even though I am sympathetic to your arguments, because they're so entrenched in the format of the default puzzle file, and so much time and effort was spent coding around those themes.  But I agree that for people not familiar with WOF, it's more difficult.  Still, it is a variant of hangman, rather than sticking strictly to the historical game.  I appreciate your allowances in that direction.

I too found his comments useful and persuasive.  What I think is the correct way of dealing with this part of it though, would be to add a help that explained what is meant by those categories.  It doesn't take much to add (I don't think anyway) and it can leave everything else as is without detracting from it in any way. 
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