PbF/PbEM Changes - Your opinion counts

  • Admin

    So if you have checked the lates pre-release lately you might will have noticed some changes on the Pbf/PbEM screen:
    Screenshot one
    Screenshot two

    Most of the changes were under-the-hood changes, you hopefully won't notice at all. Perhaps the only thing you want to notice is that using the latest version, the local.cache file you probably will have noticed in your triplea folder becomes redundant and can be deleted. Of course you probably want to keep it for now when you plan to return to 1.9 versions in the future.
    local cache screenshot

    Back to the original topic:
    As you may have noticed on the screen there are a lot of features missing, most notably the Help functionality and the ability to non-persistently store credentials for forum email etc.
    "But where's the option to set our login credentials?" you may ask. Fear not, they have just moved to all the other engine settings to be consistent throughout the engine. I know that this isn't obvious to the user, so we probably need to include better instructions, which is the point at which you come into play.
    How should users get an introduction to PbF/PbEM. A wall of text provided as a popup? A lot of Tooltips? Links to the forum? Hire someone to provide a 24/7 call center service to explain PbF/PbEM to people?
    What would you like to see when first opening this page? Comment down below.

    Also if you know something you always found confusing, that should be explained in detail, please let us know as well.

  • Moderators Admin

    @RoiEX Thanks! Also @Deltium @bayder @epinikion etc

  • Moderators Admin

    Thank you, I appreciate those changes.

    Just one small cosmetic issue:

    As the engine setting's category is called "Play by Forum/Email" I would have expected the forum settings appearing before the email settings and not vice versa.


    Also it could probably be useful to point out that for playing by forum it is not necessary to fill in the email-settings (and vice versa).

  • Admin

    @Panther Agree.

    @RoiEX I'd like to push PBF more so then PBEM because 1. its easier to set up and 2. drives more sense of community (people posting/sharing games). So if we can make sure anywhere we have them as a combined button/tab/header that Forum appears first and swap the order of settings on that screen, I think that would be a good step.

  • I'm not sure on what's the right thing to do when asked to either post in an old thread, or make a new one and mention the old one? Sorry if this was the wrong choice, and please let me know either way...

    On the question asked, as a complete newcomer, I have been very confused when trying to follow/find where the threads are on the forum, and although this isn't part of the TripleA software settings, it is something that affects noobs being able to quickly find and follow games being played by others, sorted by versions/edition.

    For instance, right now I know of no way to tell apart G40 games from other games, and it is becoming clear that Classic is NOT a currently popularly played version at the moment. My suggestions would be:

    1 Sort out the PBF games by some system, so that visually, one could tell at a glance what base game the threads were about, and either/additionally, have seperate forums for those game threads all dealing with that base game and all of it's variations/versions/editions. I'm thinking alone the lines of the image of the game box somehow attached to/within the threads title.

    2 Have a quick and easy way for all forum users to be able to see stats for such threads, in order to see things like how many of whatever base games are being played within a selectable range, ie in the last week/month/year/last played, as this would tell folks right away, what games they are likely to be able to find someone to play with.

    3 Not sure if the mention of a 24/7 help desk was a joke, or something being seriously considered, but as a gamer without a clue, it might be interesting if such were in face available.

    4 Along these lines, having a staff of players, that can take a group of newbies through a games setup/first round of play, on a paid basis, might be interesting, as the folks could join up, pay a nominal fee, and be walked through the beginnings of a game, complete with the whole creation of a PBF thread, sharing of save games, and the whole shebang.

    5 Continuing along that line, if new folks, like myself, could just hire a staff member to walk us through a given base games first round, this could lead to renewed/increased interest in playing games and sharing with the community.

    6 Tourneys for newbies, where victory is determined by competently playing X number of games, of whatever base game, that can be rewarded in some way that others can see. I'm thinking in terms of what Paradox does on their forums, what with little icons/merit badges, but not just for owning a particular game, but for proving their competence in said games, by playing PBF games, that anyone can go back and see how they played.

    7 If six was a thing, it might generate interest in buying all the versions one could get their hands on, provided that the "Play Competently" as attested to in recorded PBF games on the forum, and NOT just owning the game, was what allowed one to earn their "Merit Badge" for the game.

    8 Having such a thing in the community would, IMHO, be a big plus, and something I would be motivated to playing and participating in long term...

  • Admin

    This Thread was mainly focused on client side changes to PbF/PbEM, not changes to the whole system in general, but I'll try to respond to your ideas anyways.

    Note that the biggest Problem for most of your suggestions is probably that it's not worth the time for us. See, we're currently 4 Developers with write access to the repository, 2 of which are currently not available for coding tasks and I myself currently don't have a lot of free time either, except for the weekends. So it's important to keep that in mind and the fact that we don't get paid for this in case the answers are somewhat disappointing.

    1. Well I don't really see the benefit of making clear which game a certain thread is about. As far as I can tell players usually start a game with someone else (or more people) and then those players know which game the Thread is about. The Thread isn't really interesting for other people either, except maybe if you want to analyze certain strategies or something.
    2. While the stats would be nice to have, I don't think enough players are using this feature to create meaningful ones. Also there's the Problem of determining if a game is still in progress, the forums is unable to track that. However if someone with the necessary skills wants to code a NodeBB Plugin for this, I'd be happy to install it, but I currently don't have the resources to create something in that regard.
    3. It wasn't a joke, but it wasn't a realistic thing either. We simply don't have the money to pay someone else to do it, and don't have the time to do it on our own. The Forum here is probably the closest thing to a helpdesk we can afford.
    4. I mean we don't have any rules forbidding that someone of the community offers such a service, but ideally the whole process would be more or less self-explanatory, but this isn't an easy thing to do either.
    5. See 4.
    6. Maybe not for PbF/PbEM as it's hard to track those games because they're more or less offline, but for lobby gameplay this is a thing for the future. The main Problem we have is that the current state of the engine is not really extensible in a backwards-compatible way. There are some efforts by @LaFayette to redo a lot of the networking code for the lobby that would allow us to implement such features faster but as long as this isn't a production-ready system it would be fairly time-consuming to implement such a feature.
    7. Lobby-Feature, see 6.
    8. Yeah, you're probably right about that. Sometimes it's frustrating that we are so few people actively developing TripleA, because so many people have really good suggestions that are just not feasible for us to implement in a reasonable amount of time because the codebase didn't age too well (Originally created almost 19 years ago). Volunteers for such things are always welcome, so in case you wan't to teach yourself Java and start experimenting with the engine on your own and implement all your dreamfeatures yourself there's nothing stopping you from our side 😛

  • @RoiEX When system ask email to set a game also asked our password that its supposed to be secret, so how can I trust the engine or system to confide my password? Somebody can use my password for hackjing or do something? Before in the old system just our email was enough to game, but since last changes this little detail (that really is a very big one!) make my game out of this PBEM system. Please review about that detail and go back to the secure old system about emails and passwords (that weren't needed then). thanks

  • Admin

    You shouldn't trust some random application to handle your password, however because triplea is open source you could check the source code on your own and notice that we don't use the passwords for anything else than authentication.
    And if your email provider requires a password we can't just simply not require one and expect it to work, so I don't really get your point.

  • @RoiEX Thanking you for answering, what I mean is that when PBEM menu asked to play by email when login it requires to write your email and password, in the before or old system it didn't! I don't think its correct to give your personal password to any system at all. That's what I mean. Why don´t keep the old PBEM system in that sense (just our email, NOT our email password). Did you get my point? Thanks and cheers.

  • Admin

    I get what you're asking for, but I don't think there exists an old version not requiring a password, at least for the 3 years since I joined the project.

  • Admin

    @Raville As @RoiEX mentions, TripleA has always required a password for PBEM. Without a password, TripleA wouldn't have any way to be able to send emails from the email account that you specify.

  • @redrum so sorry, any email can be send and go into any mail box, they don't need password to go in. Same should be, as it was in old version with PBEM, email passwords are personal only, TA PBEM has nothing to do inside of email boxes, just sent info and results! Its my point and meaning which I told to @Deltium and @prastle in last Tournament cause don't trust any site to give my mail; I created an exclusively gmail account to game PBEM but was late to use it, so only MARTI dice results came into my box, all rest was manual. Thanks and greets.

  • This post is deleted!

  • Admin

    @Raville I think you are misunderstanding. You don't need passwords for people that you are sending emails TO (if I send you an email, I don't need your password) but you do need the password from the email account you are sending FROM. TripleA doesn't have its own email server/account so sends emails from the player's account which is why you need to put in the email/password of whatever email provider you want to send emails FROM.

  • @redrum TA server should just send information to gamers, doesn't need our mails passwords and box to send that information, system just send to gamers what's need to as results, info, etc. same as MARTI dice. We don't send game info but TA PBEM system just send it... Do am I wrong? All is outside private boxes to avoid hacking.

  • But not problem as I created a PBEM personal mail account just to game PBEM under such conditions, thanks & cheers.

  • Admin

    @Raville That would be ideal but there are some technical challenges as save games are much larger than dice results. It also has never worked that way and has always used player's individual email accounts for sending the save games. It could potentially be changed in the future but I think that's probably outside of what @RoiEX was looking to do in these changes.

    My advice at this current time is if you don't want to have TripleA send emails from your personal email account then:

    1. Create an email just for TripleA
    2. PBF intead of PBEM so it uses your forum account rather than your email account
    3. Manually save the game and email it to your opponent

  • Admin

    The biggest problem with using a "global email" is that if we did that without any authentication, one could use our service to spam another ones email account and create something like a dos attack.
    So in any case we'd need authentication, which might defeat its purpose already.

Log in to reply