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Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 50
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Posted 2010-10-26 13:32:59 »

I will be refreshing the java4k.com site before the contest starts again, Dec 1st.

What I'm working on is making available results from all previous contests, and better presentation of games, and generally better text about the contest.

Any other thoughts and/or suggestions about the site?



The 2011 contest will be, I believe, with the same arrangement as the previous one. Judging review panel including a community voting with a point system. I believe it worked out great last time, despite some complaints about lack of points to assign to games. But any discussion is welcome.

Check out the 4K competition @ www.java4k.com
Check out GAMADU (my own site) @ http://gamadu.com/
Offline steveyO
« Reply #1 - Posted 2010-10-26 14:24:24 »

I like the site/presentation, so no suggestions on this.
My main gripe last year was the unresolved issue last year with pack200.  None of the games worked on at least 3 different PC's I tried them on (others had similar problems), which of course is not good for the overall perception of java.  What I would suggest is either eliminate the usage of pack200 (preferred) or if not then allow the users to submit the pack200 version but host the bigger/working unpacked .jar on the website.

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Offline kevglass

JGO Kernel


Medals: 122
Projects: 23
Exp: 18 years


Coder, Trainee Pixel Artist, Game Reviewer


« Reply #2 - Posted 2010-10-26 14:54:02 »

Oooooh... can't wait can't wait can't wait...

Kev

Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline kevglass

JGO Kernel


Medals: 122
Projects: 23
Exp: 18 years


Coder, Trainee Pixel Artist, Game Reviewer


« Reply #3 - Posted 2010-10-26 14:55:38 »

Who's going to write Minecraft4k then?

Kev

Offline pjt33
« Reply #4 - Posted 2010-10-26 14:59:41 »

Any other thoughts and/or suggestions about the site?
It's about time the encoding problem was fixed. Morre must be sick of being called MÃ¥ns Olson.
Offline Preston

Senior Member


Medals: 4



« Reply #5 - Posted 2010-10-26 15:45:07 »

Who's going to write Minecraft4k then?
;-)
Offline kappa
« League of Dukes »

JGO Kernel


Medals: 75
Projects: 15


★★★★★


« Reply #6 - Posted 2010-10-26 15:52:14 »

Who's going to write Minecraft4k then?

Kev

who better to write it then the man himself, here Smiley
Offline zeroone
« Reply #7 - Posted 2010-10-26 16:35:23 »

Quote
My main gripe last year was the unresolved issue last year with pack200.  None of the games worked on at least 3 different PC's I tried them on (others had similar problems), which of course is not good for the overall perception of java.  What I would suggest is either eliminate the usage of pack200 (preferred) or if not then allow the users to submit the pack200 version but host the bigger/working unpacked .jar on the website.

The extra few hundred bytes gained from pack200 helped to produce many extraordinary entries last year and I look forward to seeing how developers will take advantage of it this year to push the bar ever higher.  I never encountered any problems playing the 2010 4K games on PCs, but the Java plugin for Mac OS X does not appear to support pack200.  An alternative link to an unpacked jar sounds appealing.  I noticed that Wikipedia can pull of an interesting trick.  For those browsers that do not support SVG, Wikipedia's server is somehow able to automatically deliver a PNG file instead.  Can we do something similar?  If not, the optional alt attribute of the applet tag and/or the optional alternate HTML within the body of the applet tag could simply offer the user a link to the unpacked version.

Let me add that the Compile 'n Shrink - HTTP Service is a very impressive addition to the Java 4K contest.  Aside from being a time saver, it levels the playing field.  I always felt that those who did not have the time to learn how to use the various compression utilities and their associated settings were at a disadvantage.  Compile 'n Shrink lets the developers focus on the code.  In fact, as I pointed out in another thread, I hope at some point in the future, we stop submitting binaries and we just submit code instead, forcing all entries to use a standard compression chain.  The source could be exposed at the submitter's discretion.     

On a side note, is there any way to run Compile 'n Shrink locally just in case the web site ever goes down?   
Offline SimonH
« Reply #8 - Posted 2010-10-26 17:02:28 »

Hope I can find time this year - great fun!
+1 for the non-pack200 jar as a backup, macOSX should pick it up automatically...?

BTW I hate to nit-pick *cough* but shouldn't the thread title be 'preparations'?

People make games and games make people
Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 50
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Reply #9 - Posted 2010-10-26 18:51:18 »

who better to write it then the man himself, here Smiley

Sort of cool that Minecraft started as a 4K attempt  Grin

Without java 4k contest, would there be Minecraft?  Roll Eyes

Check out the 4K competition @ www.java4k.com
Check out GAMADU (my own site) @ http://gamadu.com/
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Online Riven
« League of Dukes »

JGO Overlord


Medals: 752
Projects: 4
Exp: 16 years


Hand over your head.


« Reply #10 - Posted 2010-10-26 18:55:54 »

Actually, Markus started it for the last 4K contest, but abandonned it.

Minecraft (non-4K) was first.

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Offline nonnus29

Senior Member




Giving Java a second chance after ludumdare fiasco


« Reply #11 - Posted 2010-10-26 21:15:55 »

I'd like to participate this year.  I have the feeling pack200 may allow me the room to finish the game I started a few years ago.  We'll see.

Re the Java4k site.  I had created Combat4k for the 2005 contest which someone added to the Java4k site.  It was an applet hosted on geocities.  Geocities is dead, but I still have the source.  Is there some way I can upload it to the Java4k site, for posterity reasons if nothing else?  Also, there's a nonnus29 user listed for Combat4k, but I never registered.  Can I have that username, or must I create a new one?

Edit; corrected year.
Offline Groboclown
« Reply #12 - Posted 2010-10-26 21:26:12 »

I hope at some point in the future, we stop submitting binaries and we just submit code instead, forcing all entries to use a standard compression chain.
Although I understand where you're coming from with this, it would prevent low-level bytecode manipulation, or interesting tricks with binary data insertion (not that I've used it, but I've seen what people have done with it).

Now I know that I need to start focusing on this year's entry.

Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 50
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Reply #13 - Posted 2010-10-26 22:18:52 »

Re the Java4k site.  I had created Combat4k for the 2005 contest which someone added to the Java4k site.  It was an applet hosted on geocities.  Geocities is dead, but I still have the source.  Is there some way I can upload it to the Java4k site, for posterity reasons if nothing else?  Also, there's a nonnus29 user listed for Combat4k, but I never registered.  Can I have that username, or must I create a new one?

That should be quite possible. Send me an email so I can assign that username to you. I will compile a list of games that are missing jars, and post it on the forums hoping the author will request to post the jar if he still has it. Probably best to email it, and I would manually add it. My email address is obviously appel ((((a)))) java4k Smiley


As with submitting source code, that will definitely be added, so the source-code could be made available to anyone that wishes to see it 1) immediately upon submission of game 2) after contest is closed 3) never (just stored hidden for the author as backup).
I'm not too sure about a standard source to jar shrinking pipeline on the server. Not too smart to do stuff like that on a production server, and there are other sites than java4k.com running on that machine. It's more of a nice-to-have feature really. Besides, half the fun is optimizing the jar Smiley I think Compile n' shrink utility tool is great as it is, but would be cooler to have as a jar on the local disk, although I would understand if that's not possible.


Pack200, yes, but it shouldn't be problematic for the end-user. An extra non-pack200 jar could fix a lot of issues, but perhaps the issue isn't pack200, but some compatibility issues with server, client, applet-tags, http headers etc. I will need to research this problem better.

Check out the 4K competition @ www.java4k.com
Check out GAMADU (my own site) @ http://gamadu.com/
Offline SquashMonster

Senior Member


Medals: 1
Projects: 2



« Reply #14 - Posted 2010-10-29 10:52:40 »

I'm looking forward to the next round.  Not much more than a month away!

I really liked the voting system last time, though of course it can always be improved.  I think the instructions could be more prominent on the page.  Maybe it they're a couple sizes extra large there will be less people thinking they're supposed to rank every game 1 to 5.

For main website suggestions, there are a few things I would like to see.  Describing exactly what Java4k is about should be right front and center, of course.  I also think the link to the discussion forum should always be prominent, instead of hiding in the FAQ and news posts.  News could be moved lower down to make room, as well: the people who want news are people who already care about the website, we'll all scroll down for it.  The top should be the explanation of what we do and everybody's shiny games.  As for the shiny games themselves, I think the system for picking which games are shown on the front page needs to be rethought.  It would be nice to primarily show the games that have had the least views, for fairness sake.  Though that might run contrary to trying to promote the contest, since you want something really flashy to draw people in, so I'm unsure.  There are a lot of ways you could do it, and a lot to be said about each of those ways; all I ask is that you give it some extra thought Smiley.

Oh, and I think that requiring that every game get hosted on the Java4k website was an absolutely fabulous idea, and really helps the contest as a whole to have everything in one spot that we all trust.  To that end, is there any chance that, if our games require something to be run server-side, we can run it on Java4k provided it fits under some cpu/memory/bandwidth requirement?

Also, I have a pair of monstrously epic games in mind for next year, everybody best be ready Wink.
Offline Alan_W

JGO Knight


Medals: 8
Projects: 3


Java tames rock!


« Reply #15 - Posted 2010-10-30 08:04:52 »

I'm hoping to enter, time permitting (time-crunch at work is playing havoc with my personal projects).  There is one concept on the blocks, but it might not fit in 4k.  Busy right now, but hoping to get a tech demo together sometime next month to check viability.  It'll definitely need pack200, but I agree with the earlier comments regarding the Java4k site not correctly handling pack200 on Java 5 and early Java 6.  Will be watching this forum for any rules updates.

Time flies like a bird. Fruit flies like a banana.
Offline Abuse

JGO Coder


Medals: 11


falling into the abyss of reality


« Reply #16 - Posted 2010-10-30 12:05:45 »

I hope i'll find the motivation to take part this year!

I think submitting source code should be mandatory, as learning is part of the spirit of the competition.
Compile 'n Shrink is an awesome tool, however I think that developers should be permitted to go beyond this if they so wish.

As to Pack200 i'm undecided; if it doesn't work on Mac then i'm inclined to not use it - as providing oversized jars to support just one platform is messy & breaks the fundamental rule of the competition i.e. <=4K.

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Offline Alan_W

JGO Knight


Medals: 8
Projects: 3


Java tames rock!


« Reply #17 - Posted 2010-10-31 09:39:08 »

Pack200, yes, but it shouldn't be problematic for the end-user. An extra non-pack200 jar could fix a lot of issues, but perhaps the issue isn't pack200, but some compatibility issues with server, client, applet-tags, http headers etc. I will need to research this problem better.

I could get pack200 to work on OSX 10.4 with Java 5 when running Apache Tomcat as my webserver (on a separate PC), so it definitely can be made to work.  The difficult bit would be working out which bit of 'secret sauce' is missing from Java4.com, which I assume is using PHP or Python or some other scripting language.  However providing both a .gz and a .jar might be an easier fix.

My tomcat fix was to add the JNLPdownloadservlet to a vanilla tomcat installation.

Time flies like a bird. Fruit flies like a banana.
Offline zeroone
« Reply #18 - Posted 2010-10-31 19:26:09 »

Quote
I could get pack200 to work on OSX 10.4 with Java 5 when running Apache Tomcat as my webserver (on a separate PC), so it definitely can be made to work.  The difficult bit would be working out which bit of 'secret sauce' is missing from Java4.com, which I assume is using PHP or Python or some other scripting language.  However providing both a .gz and a .jar might be an easier fix.

My tomcat fix was to add the JNLPdownloadservlet to a vanilla tomcat installation.

Interesting.  I tried something similar, but I still could not get it to work with the OS X Java plugin. 

What does that servlet do exactly?  Can you provide the HTML file you are testing with and your .htaccess settings? 
Online Riven
« League of Dukes »

JGO Overlord


Medals: 752
Projects: 4
Exp: 16 years


Hand over your head.


« Reply #19 - Posted 2010-10-31 20:48:44 »

Can you guys maybe try some old app in my compile-and-shrink app, to see whether my pack200 test htmlpage works reliably on a wide range of browsers?

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Offline Alan_W

JGO Knight


Medals: 8
Projects: 3


Java tames rock!


« Reply #20 - Posted 2010-10-31 20:57:38 »

Interesting.  I tried something similar, but I still could not get it to work with the OS X Java plugin. 

What does that servlet do exactly?  Can you provide the HTML file you are testing with and your .htaccess settings? 

This is Tomcat not Apache, so no .htaccess.  Tomcat is only really used for Servlet development.  I have attached a zip of my test code.  Note that I have provided a .jar file for the applet because otherwise the webserver complains.  However it is an empty file, so if the applet loads, it must have been the pack200 file that was served.

The attached Zip goes in the WebApps directory under TomCat. I had to rename it to .jar as .zips are not allowed attachments.  It should still open Ok in winzip or 7-zip.


Incidentally, the documentation for the JNLPdownloadservlet is at:
http://download.oracle.com/javase/1.5.0/docs/guide/javaws/developersguide/downloadservletguide.html

Incidentally, if you want to use Apache, this guy has pretty much caught the nub of the problem:

http://www.thrysoee.dk/pack200/

Time flies like a bird. Fruit flies like a banana.
Offline zeroone
« Reply #21 - Posted 2010-10-31 21:09:56 »

Quote
Can you guys maybe try some old app in my compile-and-shrink app, to see whether my pack200 test htmlpage works reliably on a wide range of browsers?

Riven,

Your Compile-And-Shrink service is absolutely brilliant.  We all owe you a debt of gratitude for providing it. 

I created some simple applets to test it out.  If I post the binaries that it produces onto my web server, I can download and run the pack200 applets without a problem on a PC.  However, the Compile-And-Shrink test HTML pages never worked for me.

That said, please do not modify Compile-And-Shrink or at least provide a link to a mirror if you intend to take it down for enhancements.  I can live without a working HTML test page.  Smiley
Offline SimonH
« Reply #22 - Posted 2010-10-31 21:11:48 »

Can you guys maybe try some old app in my compile-and-shrink app, to see whether my pack200 test htmlpage works reliably on a wide range of browsers?
Hmmm... some results seem a bit too small;
1  
2  
3  
4  
5  
6  
S.normal.7z.pack.gz => 2825 bytes => test
S.progrd.7z.pack.gz => 348 bytes => test
S.normal.kz.pack.gz => 2694 bytes => test
S.progrd.kz.pack.gz => 332 bytes => test
S.normal.bj.pack.gz => 2717 bytes => test
S.progrd.bj.pack.gz => 328 bytes => test

And all the likely looking tests I tried threw 'class not found' - something not quite right? (FF & XP).

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Online Riven
« League of Dukes »

JGO Overlord


Medals: 752
Projects: 4
Exp: 16 years


Hand over your head.


« Reply #23 - Posted 2010-10-31 21:12:26 »

Interesting, zeroone. Operating system, browser vendor, browser version, JRE version please?

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Offline zeroone
« Reply #24 - Posted 2010-10-31 21:25:22 »

Alan_W,

Your HTML page contains this applet tag:

1  
<APPLET archive="falcon4k.jar" code="F.class" width=600 height=400></APPLET>


My test HTML pages are slightly different.  Below, I took the fields from your applet tag and introduced them into mine to illustrate the difference:

1  
<APPLET archive="falcon4k" code="F.class" width=600 height=400><param name="java_arguments" value="-Djnlp.packEnabled=true" /></applet>


I leave the file extension of the archive off, which in my case is actually falcon4k.pack.gz (as produced by Riven's Compile-And-Shrink service).  Also, I had to introduce the packEnabled parameter. 

Maybe your HTML difference is the secret.  Then again...

Quote
Note that I have provided a .jar file for the applet because otherwise the webserver complains.  However it is an empty file, so if the applet loads, it must have been the pack200 file that was served.

Can you explain the purpose of the empty jar file?  So, you have the pack200 file and a jar file?  How does the web server know what to deploy and when?


Online Riven
« League of Dukes »

JGO Overlord


Medals: 752
Projects: 4
Exp: 16 years


Hand over your head.


« Reply #25 - Posted 2010-10-31 21:26:06 »

This is outrageous! I can confirm it stopped working. I haven't touched it since last year, and it worked perfectly fine.

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Offline Alan_W

JGO Knight


Medals: 8
Projects: 3


Java tames rock!


« Reply #26 - Posted 2010-10-31 21:31:47 »

Alan_W,

Your HTML page contains this applet tag:

1  
<APPLET archive="falcon4k.jar" code="F.class" width=600 height=400></APPLET>


My test HTML pages are slightly different.  Below, I took the fields from your applet tag and introduced them into mine to illustrate the difference:

1  
<APPLET archive="falcon4k" code="F.class" width=600 height=400><param name="java_arguments" value="-Djnlp.packEnabled=true" /></applet>


I leave the file extension of the archive off, which in my case is actually falcon4k.pack.gz (as produced by Riven's Compile-And-Shrink service).  Also, I had to introduce the packEnabled parameter. 

Maybe your HTML difference is the secret.  Then again...

Can you explain the purpose of the empty jar file?  So, you have the pack200 file and a jar file?  How does the web server know what to deploy and when?


The packenabled flag was introduced in Java 1.6 (was it at u10 - I can't remember.

The way to work with Java 1.5 is that you write the html to request the plain jar.  The server then inspects the http headers, realises that java is can decode pack200 and serves the .gz file instread

Time flies like a bird. Fruit flies like a banana.
Offline zeroone
« Reply #27 - Posted 2010-10-31 21:32:18 »

Quote
Interesting, zeroone. Operating system, browser vendor, browser version, JRE version please?

Riven,

I am running 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium with Internet Explorer 8.  My JRE is version 6 update 20 (1.6.0_20-b02).

See my prior post.  A slight tweak to the HTML may help.  In fact, I actually insert a version number after the archive name (still with no file extension):

1  
<APPLET archive="falcon4k?version=123" code="F.class" width=600 height=400><param name="java_arguments" value="-Djnlp.packEnabled=true" /></applet>


If you change the version number, it forces the Java Plugin to re-download the archive file.  Otherwise, it tends to launch a cached version.
Offline zeroone
« Reply #28 - Posted 2010-10-31 21:34:14 »

Quote
This is outrageous! I can confirm it stopped working. I haven't touched it since last year, and it worked perfectly fine.

Can you document how it works?  Can we setup a mirror service?
Offline zeroone
« Reply #29 - Posted 2010-10-31 21:41:24 »

Quote
The way to work with Java 1.5 is that you write the html to request the plain jar.  The server then inspects the http headers, realises that java is can decode pack200 and serves the .gz file instread

Alan_W,

Wow!  That's pretty amazing.  I didn't realize that the HTTP request header contains enough information to enable the server to make that decision.  I guess the web browser presents the applet tag to the Java Plugin and the plugin makes the request for the jar on the browser's behalf, passing in information about the plugin (and possibly the browser also) in the request header.  Then, the plugin must recognize that it receives a gz file instead of jar and it carries out the appropriate decompression actions. 

How have things changed with Java 6?
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