Archive for March, 2010
One thing I’ve learned about my hardcore players: you guys love the games played and games won counters. I thought it was a silly trifle when I added that feature, but many people consider it indispensable. Some people report they’ve played many hundreds of games, which they know due to the counters, of course. One person told me he uses a calculator to compute his win/loss ratio. So I suppose it’s not surprising that some of those same people are upset when the counters are off.
For reasons I still don’t fully understand, some players have reported that the game counts don’t always update correctly. I’m told the numbers are sometimes smaller than they should be. I haven’t been able to get a good handle on this, because the people experiencing the problem tend to be less technical, and aren’t able to give very detailed feedback. But I’ve finally found a player who was willing to perform a lengthy and involved experiment, and I’m pretty sure I’ve got it nailed down.
I asked this person to exit the program back to the home screen at the end of every game. After doing this for several days, he says that this does indeed fix the problem for him. So in the next version of the program, I’ll make it save its game counts at the end of every game, so you won’t have to do it manually. In the meantime, if the game counts are really important to you, you can do what this person did, and exit the program at the end of every game.
I’d like to say I’ll submit a new version of Hearts Net to the store right away, but I’m super busy working on the iPad version right now. Soon, though.
I am still getting a fair number of reports for two particular bugs, but nobody seems to want to get involved enough to help solve them. If you can, please take five minutes and help me fix these things.
Here’s the first one. Some people say they are still getting the “stuck robot” problem. This is when you’re playing Hearts Net and it’s all working fine, then it’s time for one of the robots to play a card, but it doesn’t. Nothing happens, the game is stuck. You can exit the game to the home screen and come back, and it’s still stuck.
I’ve gotten maybe ten reports of this bug in the last week or two. I’ve told those people the “simple” fix, and urged them to help me with the harder fix, but nobody has ever written back! I am positive I could fix this if just one person would send me her game state, so I could use it to analyze the problem. Surely one of you is willing to help?
Here’s how you do that. Play the game until it gets “stuck,” and the robots won’t play. Go to the “Settings” tab, then go all the way to the bottom, and press “Upload State.” That takes you to another screen, where you must press the “Upload State” button. Finally, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so I can ask you a few follow-up questions.
I suppose it could be that everybody who has experienced this problem is still using an older version of Hearts Net? If this happens to you and your Settings view does not have an “Upload State” button, then you are not using the latest version of the program. In that case, then yes, I am already aware that older versions had this problem. I only need to hear from people who are using the latest version.
Second bug: some people say that the number of games played and games won is sometimes inconsistent. For example, one time you’re playing and the game says you’ve played 30 games and won 18 of them, then the next time you look, it says you’ve played 20 games and won 5, or something like that. This bug is trickier. I don’t think I can solve this one with the “Upload State” trick, for complicated reasons that you don’t want to hear about (heh). But if you can make this happen “at will,” every time, and explain to me how you did it, then I could fix this one, too. For example, it could be that the game is crashing for some reason, and so it doesn’t get to save its state to disk. Then, the next time you start it, you’re looking at the game state as it existed the last time it was able to save its state. Or something like that. So if you can make this bug occur “at will,” let me know how to do it too, so I can fix it.
In Hearts Net 2.1.1, I added a feature where you can upload your current game state to my web server. It’s the very last thing on the Settings view, labelled “Upload State.” Among other things, this is useful for helping me improve the robots.
Let’s say you see the robots make a card play that you consider poor. Right after it happens, use the state upload feature to send your current game to me. Then send me an email to describe what was happening in the hand, and how you think the robots should have handled the situation. If I agree with you, and it’s not too hard to fix, I’ll add that improvement in a later version of the game.
Hearts Net 2.1.1 is now available for download from the App Store. This is a free upgrade for anybody who has already purchased the program.
I tried to resolve the “shy robot” problem, described in an an earlier blog post. I can’t be sure I’ve fixed it, because that situation never happens to me personally. Perhaps somebody will let me know if I succeeded?
If you upgrade to 2.1.1 but find that games still get “stuck” sometimes, can you use the new “State Upload” feature to send me your game state? And then send me an email, to let me know who you are. When I get a state data upload to my website, I don’t know anything at all about who sent it, other than the UDID from their device. It’s nice to have a little more context.
Also, brand-new feature: You can now replay a hand from the beginning if you want. The first of many gameplay variations I’ll be adding.