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1  Game Development / Newbie & Debugging Questions / Re: I'm desperate on: 2014-10-09 05:30:03
Learn by volunteering for some existing project, where you can absorb the gestalt
while doing something useful.
2  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: Looking for a good host on: 2014-10-05 19:33:22
Good hosting sites have a significant decay rate, but as of today I'm completely satisfied
with the service I get from Steadfast.net
3  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Are Java applets really "dead" for indie developers? on: 2014-09-23 23:27:44
The barriers are higher for both the user and developer, but applets are still viable.
With the legacy of 10+ years of coding, I'm not about to switch Boardspace.net
to another technology. 

The net of all the brouhaha is, if you want to use applets or java web start, you have to buy a certificate.
If you use sockets, you also have to switch from "applet permissions" to "all permissions", effectively making
your applets as powerful as applications.  Oracle and the browser developers have made the applet warnings
so scary, switching to "all permissions" is barely noticable.

Or you can just deploy as a java application.

If you don't have a pile of existing java code to live with, the choice of java vs ... html5, flash, ios, android
is still a conundrum - there are good and bad points and no clear winner.
4  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Are Java applets really "dead" for indie developers? on: 2014-09-23 23:14:21
But basically, a few years ago people realized that applets contained security problems that would allow bad guys to run arbitrary Java code on your computer without your knowledge. This is very bad and actually cost me a reformatting.

The sad part about this is that the primary work-around is to convert applets to applications, which run
the same "arbitrary java code".

  "Can't trust applets? Just run the untrusted code directly!"

IMO it's more about Oracle covering its corporate ass than any concern for user's safety.
5  Game Development / Networking & Multiplayer / Re: Java 8 sockets on: 2014-04-29 19:10:32
I have a fairly definitive answer on this.  Buried in the "enhancements" section of the java 8 documentation.
http://docs.oracle.com/javase/8/docs/technotes/guides/jweb/enhancements-8.html

      "For sandbox RIAs, SocketPermissions for the origin host is no longer granted. Calls from JavaScript code to the
      RIA are not granted SocketPermissions beginning with JDK 8."

I Leave it to the reader to decide in what universe this is an enhancement.

So it appears that Oracle has decreed that sandboxed applets can't use sockets; they have to become all-permissions
applets, which have unrestricted access to the client's machine.  It mystifies me how requiring users to trust applets with
unrestricted access will enhance security.
6  Game Development / Networking & Multiplayer / Re: Java 8 sockets on: 2014-04-26 17:46:23
People still use applets? And Web start?

End users need not know your using java. Otherwise your doing it wrong. My 2c anyway.

It's true that Oracle seems to be trying to kill it by the death of 1000 cuts.  Meantime, the news is that the java plugin
that uses java 8 has appeared, so applets as well as web start are now broken.
7  Game Development / Networking & Multiplayer / Java 8 sockets on: 2014-04-25 18:27:23
Heads up for all sites which use java and sockets - java 8 seems to have broken
using sockets in sandboxed applets.  This is currently seen in java web start,
but presumably will migrate to ordinary applets when the java plug-in is upgraded
to java 8.

The complaint is java.security.AccessControlException

this is a new complaint in java 8 - your current working site will break.
8  Game Development / Newbie & Debugging Questions / Re: How would I make some .jars optional? on: 2014-01-18 19:38:33
The trick is to call on the optional Jar only through interfaces. 
Make the optional jar implement the "extraStuff" interface.
Load the jars using Class.forName("..");
9  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Doomsday for unsigned and self-signed applets on: 2014-01-16 22:08:40
As for signing co-ops, the problem is that one bad apple will spoil the certificate for everyone.

That's why you have to choose your co-ops carefully, like when you "choose" your next girlfriend or boyfriend  Tongue

(Off-topic but...)  Based on the observed churn-to-burn rate, it had better be more selective than that!
10  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Doomsday for unsigned and self-signed applets on: 2014-01-16 20:53:09
I don't think Oracle is getting any money from the certificates, it's more of a CYA move.
But it is damn inconvenient.

As for signing co-ops, the problem is that one bad apple will spoil the certificate for everyone.
11  Discussions / General Discussions / Doomsday for unsigned and self-signed applets on: 2014-01-16 19:23:36
Java 7 update 51 brings us doomsday for unsigned and self-signed applets. 
It's been on the horizon for 6 months or so, but it's here.

The cheapest route I found to buy a trusted certificate is from Tucows,
https://author.tucows.com/.  Don't mess around trying to create a company name,
just get a personal certificate.

If you don't have the time or inclination to wade through the signing morass, please
remove your java applets.  It will look bad for you and for java if a lot of java applets
seem to be nonfunctional.
12  Game Development / Performance Tuning / Re: Fastest way to determine if two rotated rectangles intersect? on: 2012-09-01 20:47:04
There is no single, fastest way until you nail down what else you know about the rectangles.   For example, if the rectangles are likely to be far apart, then the fastest way might be to check mins and maxes of the coordinates, and then do more detailed checks only if they might still intersect.  If they're not likely to be far apart, then the quick test would be a quick waste of time.
13  Game Development / Networking & Multiplayer / Re: Network Infrastructure on: 2012-08-07 20:09:03
Adding networked play as an afterthought is likely to be very difficult, but if you start with networking in mind, and adhere to the necessary discipline rigorously, then networking can be a painless add-on once the networking itself is reliable.

A few things
(1) Maintain a rigorous separation between events which are strictly local and events which everyone needs to know about.  Tracking the mouse or changing a view is a local event.  Moving an object is a public event.
(2) All public events have to go through a serialization knothole and will encounter random network delays.  Do this even when developing, and not really using a network.  From the viewpoint of the app, there is no difference between networked and non-networked play; the app is not aware of the network at all, all it knows is it has a sequence of events to process.

The two big confounding factors are
(1) you have to update local views immediately, even though the network delay hasn't happened yet.
(2) unless all actions are strictly synchronous, players WILL see different sequences of events and disagree about reality.  Chess is easy because it's always someone's turn.  Shooters are hard because you don't wait your turn to shoot someone.
14  Discussions / Community & Volunteer Projects / Re: Developers for a Java game wanted. on: 2011-09-08 05:34:01

It's pretty clear what you've got and what you want, but considering what you're offering (nothing except the joy of participating) you'd better find a warlords fanatic who is also a wizard programmer with time on his hands. Lots of time.

15  Discussions / Business and Project Management Discussions / Re: Fishing for players on: 2011-06-30 20:19:09
Lately I've found myself fishing for players. So if your game is the hook that keeps players on your site or paying their subscription or just plain interested in what your doing what is a good bait? What are some of the techniques that you guys have used to get people to find your games? Which types of games get more users?

Ask yourself: is "Angry Birds" really different from 1000's of other games?  My answer would be no. It's well done,
but there are many games in the same same equivalence class.   Maybe the authors could cite reasons why they're
better, but it would all be post-hoc and not useful to predict the next success.  For all practical purposes, all you
can say is that they got lucky.

You can never depend on getting lucky, and it's not a good business plan or life plan.  So I agree 100% with the
comments that you should do what you like above all.  If having actual players is what's important to you, then definitely
attach yourself to some existing site and borrow the eyeballs there.
16  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Generic meta server on: 2011-06-10 20:00:29
There is no perceived need for this, so do it as an exercise if you find it interesting, but don't expect a flock
of game developers to materialize and adopt it.
17  Game Development / Networking & Multiplayer / Re: Would this Client to Server design work? on: 2011-05-08 19:13:36
You have to adopt different strategies depending on the scale of the site.  If there are 2 users almost anything will work.  If there are 2 million users, no simple strategy will work.   Generally though, you should separate real time response from persistence.  Keep what you need to serve the client's immediate needs in working storage, and take care of recording the state of the world in a background process.
18  Game Development / Newbie & Debugging Questions / Re: How much math do I need to know to be a good programer? on: 2011-04-11 05:36:02

The general maths that are really useful are basic algebra, trig, probability, number theory and matrix
algebra.  Don't overlook classes in numerical methods that are tailored to programming.  More advanced
math including calculus is not generally relevant or useful.


19  Game Development / Networking & Multiplayer / Re: Generic game server on: 2011-04-08 06:15:27

Loosely speaking, some server-client architectures have a very tight relationship, where the server is an integral part of the game.  Others have a looser relationship where the server expects certain things, but otherwise acts as a neutral facilitator.   It sounds like you're looking for the latter, but even there, there are many things which are pretty nailed down and might not suit you.
20  Game Development / Networking & Multiplayer / Re: Generic game server on: 2011-04-06 16:14:14
If you're set on developing your own site, there's a framework called "Jogre" on source forge
that might be your best bet.

The other likely path is to shop your game to whatever site seems most compatible.   There are a
bunch of indie game sites that use Java as their primary engine, and some no doubt would welcome
volunteer developers.  Boardspace.net is in that group.
21  Game Development / Networking & Multiplayer / Re: Is TCP truly "guaranteed delivery"? on: 2011-03-14 00:54:55
Are both sides "waiting for the opponent"? That sounds more like a deadlock condition, each side waiting for the other to release a needed resource.

Sure, log everything at the lowest possible level. Then you know will know for sure what got sent and when.

Another common variation, if you're using blocking I/O, is for a process to block because it's output buffer
is full, while the receiver is also blocked either for the same reason or because it is waiting for a response
that it thinks ought to be in the pipeline somewhere.  You should not depend on the buffering
capacity of the TCP stream.  You should never wait synchronously for a response.   

My games have a
(a) a reader thread that reads messages from the TCP stream and queues them for the game
thread to process.
(b) a game thread that processes messages from the reader thread (and also other sources of input
such as the mouse and keyboard).  It queues outgoing messages for a writer thread to deliver, but
never waits for them to be sent.
(c) a writer thread that sends messages that were queued for it to send.
22  Game Development / Networking & Multiplayer / Re: Is TCP truly "guaranteed delivery"? on: 2011-03-10 00:45:50
Tcp is only guaranteed at the lowest possible level where the OS receives the data.  There is plenty of code between that and your application where bugs can occur.  That said, the by far most likely place for data to get lost is in your own code.
23  Game Development / Newbie & Debugging Questions / Re: Applet upgrade procedure on: 2011-03-09 20:47:50
40? Overkill much? Grin
That's one per game plus a few that run the common parts of the site.   It minimizes the user's waiting time if they only have to download the games they actually play.
24  Game Development / Newbie & Debugging Questions / Re: Applet upgrade procedure on: 2011-03-09 05:05:02
the best procedure is to upload a completely new java hierarchy, then change the HTML
page that loads it to point to the new jar file.  Browser caching is a real problem.  You
cannot depend on the old applet becoming extinct in any particular timeframe.
New Java hierarchy?
All you need is a different jar file name.
Sure, if your whole applet is in one jar.  Boardspace has about 40.
25  Game Development / Newbie & Debugging Questions / Re: Applet upgrade procedure on: 2011-03-09 02:36:18
the best procedure is to upload a completely new java hierarchy, then change the HTML
page that loads it to point to the new jar file.  Browser caching is a real problem.  You
cannot depend on the old applet becoming extinct in any particular timeframe.
26  Game Development / Newbie & Debugging Questions / Re: Applet trouble - long pause due to download?? on: 2011-02-04 18:04:54
crank up the debug level in your java console, you'll see the sequence and timing of downloads.

segment your applet into an "immediate" part and a "later" part, and load the "later" part
in a separate thread while the "immediate" part keeps the user entertained.  It's a little
tricky because you have to make sure the "later" part is only referred to through interfaces,
so it's not required to be loaded until actually instantiate it.   At boardspace.net, the
lobby is "immdiate" and each game is "later".  A game doesn't start loading until you
begin the process of launching it.

be sure to index and manifest your .jar files, and be warned that the mechanism is fragile - it's
easy to screw up your manifest which forces java to fall back to loading the classes one at
a time.
27  Game Development / Newbie & Debugging Questions / Re: Secure highscore submission over HTTP on: 2010-10-25 16:52:32
There's no way to be completely secure - just imagine your needy clients write their own program
that does nothing but spoof your server.   If it's sufficiently good, there's no way you can tell.

However, you can make it very difficult by variations on the MD5 checksum you proposed.  For example,
if your server generates a stream of random numbers used as keys for games, and gives each game
a unique key.  And periodically change some hash function, requiring them to re-reverse engineer your
code.
28  Game Development / Newbie & Debugging Questions / Re: Thread Problem? on: 2010-10-12 07:39:59
Problems like this are virtually impossible to eliminate as long as threads are in use.  The "standard"
architecture of a java game will have at least 4 threads running freely through all your data structures.

(1) the game main thread
(2) the mouse / keyboard event handler
(3) the network communications handler
(4) the screen refresh

That is complete madness.  You must have one thread that does all the work, and has events from
all other sources presented in a disciplined way through queues.
29  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Java games site with applets only (like a flash portal, but for java only?) on: 2010-09-25 02:02:30

 Boardspace.net - lots of games, all java applets.

30  Game Development / Networking & Multiplayer / Re: General Architechture of Server on: 2010-08-26 06:21:52
The simplest form of server is really just an I/O multiplexor that accepts messages from clients
and retransmits them to appropriate sets of clients. 

If you use non-blocking I/O you can do everything in one thread - and IMO that is both
easier to predict the performance and easier to develop and maintain that a server with
a thread per client.

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