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Thread: Alpha Testers Wanted: Static Void Games

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    Cool Alpha Testers Wanted: Static Void Games

    tl;dr version: Check out my game/tutorial website! Upload your own games! Static Void Games

    As many of you probably know, I’ve been working on putting together a website that’s part game portal, part game programming tutorial collection, and geared towards indie java game developers of every experience level. Well, it's finally at a point where other people can try it out!

    The point of the site is to give java game developers an easy way to put together a decent-looking website for their games, without worrying too much about web development or deployment issues. Simply upload your jar and some images, and the site automatically creates a page for your game containing an applet version, a webstart version, and a downloadable jar version. You can also rate games and offer feedback, so developers can learn what people like in a game.

    The site also encourages users to upload source code along with their games, so other developers can learn from the games they play. In the near future I’m going to add a lot more tutorials, and I’m hoping to implement ad revenue sharing so that people can make money from the games they upload.

    Ludum Dare is in the next couple weeks, which is a game programming contest where people have 48 hours to create a game- since that’s not always enough time to create a website to go with the game, I’m thinking that my site will come in handy for contests like that.

    So before then, I’m hoping to get a few people from the forums to try the site out, let me know what doesn’t work, how things can be improved, etc. So if this sounds like your kind of thing, I’d love to hear your feedback!

    Static Void Games

    Thanks for your time,

    Kevin

    PS- Also posted elsewhere.
    Last edited by KevinWorkman; April 5th, 2012 at 07:00 PM.
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    Default Re: Alpha Testers Wanted: Static Void Games

    Nice, I look forward to using this whenever I get around to fixing my snake game

    A few comments/questions (I'm trying to avoid duplicating your TODO notes, sorry if I accidentally made a few):

    I think my main comment is the color scheme of the site. From a more appealing/professional standpoint, I prefer light backgrounds (preferably white or a very light grey) on darker foregrounds. Also, I like plain/simple backgrounds (something which doesn't require extra transmission of a large background image) with an optional border vs. an image background.

    Is it possible to implement a high-score/leader board type of mechanism?

    I can't tell if usernames/passwords are encrypted before transmission. It might also be nice to add something like spambot detection.

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    Default Re: Alpha Testers Wanted: Static Void Games

    Quote Originally Posted by helloworld922 View Post
    Nice, I look forward to using this whenever I get around to fixing my snake game
    Thanks! That would be great!

    Quote Originally Posted by helloworld922 View Post
    A few comments/questions (I'm trying to avoid duplicating your TODO notes, sorry if I accidentally made a few):
    I don't mind at all. A lot of the todo section is just me thinking out loud, but I thought it would be interesting for people to see what I'm planning. But hearing about what people think is really interesting to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by helloworld922 View Post
    I think my main comment is the color scheme of the site. From a more appealing/professional standpoint, I prefer light backgrounds (preferably white or a very light grey) on darker foregrounds. Also, I like plain/simple backgrounds (something which doesn't require extra transmission of a large background image) with an optional border vs. an image background.
    Yeah, you're absolutely right. I was thinking of adding the ability to choose a color scheme along with setting the background image for each game's site, and that feature could expand to the rest of the site, too. I pretty much fell into the look and feel of everything, so it's definitely not perfect. I also have to reexamine how the site looks on browsers other than firefox- actually, one of the major features I have planned (hopefully this summer) is support for android apps, so I'll probably have to revisit the look and feel when I get there (probably shouldn't be downloading huge background images to phones).

    Quote Originally Posted by helloworld922 View Post
    Is it possible to implement a high-score/leader board type of mechanism?
    That's another big feature I have planned. I'm not exactly sure how to implement it in a secure way, but it's definitely something I'm interested in doing sooner rather than later.

    Quote Originally Posted by helloworld922 View Post
    I can't tell if usernames/passwords are encrypted before transmission. It might also be nice to add something like spambot detection.
    Passwords are encrypted before they're saved, so I (or anybody who gains access to the backend) have no way to retrieve them. There are a few more security features I hope to implement, but I figured I was okay for now. I should at least indicate that passwords are encrypted somewhere.

    If spammers become an issue, I'll definitely have to implement something like a captcha (beat Mario level 1 before registering, hahaha), but I wanted new users to have as few barriers as possible to overcome before jumping into the action, especially since the site is so young. But one thing I did make sure to implement is that users can delete any comment on their profile page or any of their own games. That way if somebody does start spamming the site, the users don't have to wait for me to find them and clean them up. That was actually one of my original motivations for creating the site, as I was really frustrated with the inability of users to control spammers on their own game pages on other sites similar to this one.

    Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to check it out. I definitely appreciate the feedback!
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    Default Re: Alpha Testers Wanted: Static Void Games

    Did notice one thing: before submitting the game, the link to legal notices points to a localhost address

    Also, I'm not sure why but the test applet I submitted doesn't quite work. I don't have time to work on it now, but you're welcome to dig through the applet code (I know it works under applet mode in Eclipse, haven't had the time to test in a test webpage or dig through the dump).

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    Default Re: Alpha Testers Wanted: Static Void Games

    Quote Originally Posted by helloworld922 View Post
    Did notice one thing: before submitting the game, the link to legal notices points to a localhost address
    Ack! Great catch. That's exactly the kind of stuff I was hoping to find. I thought I got them all, but I did a global search and found three other places I missed!

    Quote Originally Posted by helloworld922 View Post
    Also, I'm not sure why but the test applet I submitted doesn't quite work. I don't have time to work on it now, but you're welcome to dig through the applet code (I know it works under applet mode in Eclipse, haven't had the time to test in a test webpage or dig through the dump).
    It seems to be working okay to me, did you get it fixed after you posted this? One thing I should probably make more obvious is that the site doesn't create the applet or webstart versions of the game unless you give it the name of the class for each (class containing main for for webstart, class extending Applet or JApplet for applet version). Also, the package must be included in the class name, so yours would be gui.SnakeApplet for the applet version and gui.SnakeGame for the webstart version.

    Thanks again. Your game is exactly the type of thing I was hoping would be uploaded. Now kids who have just completed their first couple of programming courses but want to know more about how games are made can work with your source code to understand what's going on under the hood. Perfect!
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    Static Void Games - Play indie games, learn from game tutorials and source code, upload your own games!

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    Default Re: Alpha Testers Wanted: Static Void Games

    I made a youtube unlisted video to demonstrate one problem I noticed:


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    Default Re: Alpha Testers Wanted: Static Void Games

    Quote Originally Posted by Tjstretch View Post
    I made a youtube unlisted video to demonstrate one problem I noticed:
    Awesome, thanks for going through the effort to make the video and post it! I definitely appreciate it.

    That's actually a known issue, and kudos on figuring out exactly what causes it- the dropdown menu is a set of li tags inside a ul tag, as are the links under the upload tab. It doesn't like it when they overlap (the same thing happens after you upload a game, on the edit screen). I'm impressed you narrowed it down so quickly, you must be way more observant than I am, haha.

    I'm planning on redoing the upload/edit screens in the near future, so I'll keep this bug in mind when I do that. Thanks again!
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    Default Re: Alpha Testers Wanted: Static Void Games

    Yeah, I figured it out: I wasn't adding the package information

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    Default Re: Alpha Testers Wanted: Static Void Games

    Is it possible to have multiple jar's associated with the same game? I think it's possible to re-pack everything into one jar, but it'd be nice not to have to, particularly when there are external libraries being used.

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    Default Re: Alpha Testers Wanted: Static Void Games

    Quote Originally Posted by helloworld922 View Post
    Is it possible to have multiple jar's associated with the same game? I think it's possible to re-pack everything into one jar, but it'd be nice not to have to, particularly when there are external libraries being used.
    That's an interesting question, and I've done a lot of thinking about it. I've also thought about letting users simply upload class files instead of requiring a jar. But I'm afraid that allowing those things would lead to complications, whereas my current setup is really simple- specify a jar and optionally a main class and an applet class, and it's pretty easy to deploy that as a standalone application or applet using jnlp. Keeping this process streamlined and simple might hinder developer freedom, but it makes it a lot easier for me to troubleshoot and create tutorials around, as well as provide a uniform system for everybody.

    I suppose if enough people request those kinds of things, I'll have to cave. But for the time being, I think it would be best to limit everything to a single jar.

    Hopefully that's not a big deal- for example, I believe FatJar can include multiple jars inside a single jar. And I just use eclipse to export a runnable jar and have it automatically include any referenced libraries in the generated jar. I know that's not exactly a catch-all solution, but I'm hoping it works for most of the people using external libraries? I'll have to think some more about this and see how other people actually deploy their games.
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    Default Re: Alpha Testers Wanted: Static Void Games

    Quote Originally Posted by helloworld922 View Post
    Yeah, I figured it out: I wasn't adding the package information
    Cool, I was afraid I forgot something about making it work with packages (since, dirty little secret, most of my own games just use the default package). I'm definitely going to have to add at least a little blurb about including the package info with the class name. You're definitely helping point out things I hadn't thought of yet, thanks so much!
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    Default Re: Alpha Testers Wanted: Static Void Games

    Quote Originally Posted by helloworld922 View Post
    Is it possible to have multiple jar's associated with the same game? I think it's possible to re-pack everything into one jar, but it'd be nice not to have to, particularly when there are external libraries being used.
    You had more foresight than I did. Turns out that there's no easy way to repack everything into one Jar with Processing (versus just exporting required libraries using eclipse for Java), so I had to implement this feature anyway. It's still a bit crude, but the basic functionality is there. You can specify multiple library jars right after you specify your main jar in the new/edit screen.
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    Default Re: Alpha Testers Wanted: Static Void Games

    Suggestion: Implement a "sandbox" mode for games so developers can see how a game will deploy before they actually publish it.
    Last edited by helloworld922; April 21st, 2012 at 05:58 PM.

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    Default Re: Alpha Testers Wanted: Static Void Games

    I managed to get a LWJGL applet deployed locally using JNLP, but when I tried to upload it to StaticVoidGames I'm getting an unsatisfied link error. For some reason it isn't finding lwjgl.jar

    Here's the dump I pulled:

     
    Exception in thread "Thread-15" java.lang.UnsatisfiedLinkError: no lwjgl in java.library.path
    at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadLibrary(Unknown Source)
    at java.lang.Runtime.loadLibrary0(Unknown Source)
    at java.lang.System.loadLibrary(Unknown Source)
    at org.lwjgl.Sys$1.run(Sys.java:73)
    at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
    at org.lwjgl.Sys.doLoadLibrary(Sys.java:66)
    at org.lwjgl.Sys.loadLibrary(Sys.java:95)
    at org.lwjgl.Sys.<clinit>(Sys.java:112)
    at org.lwjgl.opengl.Display.<clinit>(Display.java:135 )
    at LWJGLTest$2.run(LWJGLTest.java:67)
    at java.lang.Thread.run(Unknown Source)




    edit:

    Here's a comparison of the jnlp file I created vs. the one the website generated.

    mine:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <jnlp spec="1.0+" codebase="" href="">
        <information>
            <title>LWJGL Test</title>
            <vendor>helloworld</vendor>
        </information>
        <resources>
            <!-- Application Resources -->
            <j2se version="1.7+"
                href="http://java.sun.com/products/autodl/j2se" />
            <jar href="LWJGLTest.jar" main="true" />
    		<jar href="lwjgl.jar"/>
    		<jar href="windows.jar"/>
     
        </resources>
        <applet-desc 
             name="LWJGL Test"
             main-class="LWJGLTest"
             width="640"
             height="480">
         </applet-desc>
         <update check="background"/>
    </jnlp>

    generated:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <jnlp spec="1.0+" codebase="http://s3.staticvoidgames.com/games" href="LWJGLTest/applet.jnlp">
    <information>
    <title>LWJGL Test</title>
    <vendor>helloworld922</vendor>
    </information>
    <resources>
    <j2se version="1.7+" href="http://java.sun.com/products/autodl/j2se" />
    <jar href="http://s3.staticvoidgames.com/games/LWJGLTest/LWJGLTest.jar" main="true" />
    <jar href="http://s3.staticvoidgames.com/games/LWJGLTest/lib/lwjgl.jar"/>
    <jar href="http://s3.staticvoidgames.com/games/LWJGLTest/lib/windows.jar"/>
    </resources>
    <applet-desc 
    name="LWJGL Test"
    main-class="LWJGLTest"
    width="640"
    height="480"
    align="center"
    >
    </applet-desc>
    </jnlp>

    edit2:

    I signed the applets with a bogus key I created. The applet doesn't really do anything other than create a display context and draw a blue quad so it should be safe. As far as I know the cert should expire in 6 months.

    edit3:

    Enough edits? It would be nice to be able to manage uploaded jar files (i.e. view/remove).

    edit4:

    I think I may know what the problem is, but I'm not sure how to remedy it on my end (if I can). You're uploading the library jars to a lib folder so it's in a different location from where JNLP is expecting it to be. I did a few tests and for some reason JNLP doesn't like jar files which aren't in the same directory as the jnlp file.
    Last edited by helloworld922; April 21st, 2012 at 05:49 PM.

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    Default Re: Alpha Testers Wanted: Static Void Games

    Quote Originally Posted by helloworld922 View Post
    Suggestion: Implement a "sandbox" mode for games so developers can see how a game will deploy before they actually publish it.
    Oh yeah, that's definitely on the list of things to do as soon as possible. For now it's probably not a huge deal because I only have a few users, but I predict that number will grow as I add more tutorials and do more game competitions. Plus it is definitely nice to be able to keep things in test mode until you're ready to unveil them.
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    Default Re: Alpha Testers Wanted: Static Void Games

    Quote Originally Posted by helloworld922 View Post
    I managed to get a LWJGL applet deployed locally using JNLP, but when I tried to upload it to StaticVoidGames I'm getting an unsatisfied link error. For some reason it isn't finding lwjgl.jar
    I'm going to have to do some more research with this. This is where things start to get messy.

    Quote Originally Posted by helloworld922 View Post
    I signed the applets with a bogus key I created. The applet doesn't really do anything other than create a display context and draw a blue quad so it should be safe. As far as I know the cert should expire in 6 months.
    I'm hoping that signing the jar isn't an issue, since I think you'd get a different error if it was.

    Quote Originally Posted by helloworld922 View Post
    Enough edits? It would be nice to be able to manage uploaded jar files (i.e. view/remove).
    Definitely. For now I can manually remove them for you, but that's going at the top of the list as well. This Ludum Dare has brought out quite a few things I need to improve, which I suppose is a good thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by helloworld922 View Post
    I think I may know what the problem is, but I'm not sure how to remedy it on my end (if I can). You're uploading the library jars to a lib folder so it's in a different location from where JNLP is expecting it to be. I did a few tests and for some reason JNLP doesn't like jar files which aren't in the same directory as the jnlp file.
    Aah, that sucks. If you're depending on this for Ludum Dare, I can try to manually change the files for you until I can do some more research this week. I wouldn't expect it to be a problem as long as the location is specified, but I've never worked with LWJGL, so I don't actually know for certain.

    Either way, thanks a lot for testing things out so much. You've been really helpful (and patient!), and I appreciate it.
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    Default Re: Alpha Testers Wanted: Static Void Games

    No, signing wasn't an issue. But it will ask you to accept the certificate since it's not really from a trusted source. I wasn't planning on entering Ludum Dare this time (not enough time), rather I'm just trying to get started with LWJGL.

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    Default Re: Alpha Testers Wanted: Static Void Games

    Quote Originally Posted by helloworld922 View Post
    No, signing wasn't an issue. But it will ask you to accept the certificate since it's not really from a trusted source. I wasn't planning on entering Ludum Dare this time (not enough time), rather I'm just trying to get started with LWJGL.
    That's cool. I think it's pretty normal for it to say you aren't trusted; to become a trusted source I think you have to pay a bunch of money. Otherwise you could just say you were microsoft and install whatever you wanted. Even big companies that use Java for things like uploaders show up as untrusted.

    I almost wish I didn't enter LD, I'm hitting tons of programmer's block and I should probably be working on the website instead. This week I'll be able to invest more time in the website, so your research is definitely appreciated.
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    Static Void Games - Play indie games, learn from game tutorials and source code, upload your own games!

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