Hi Jeremy,

While I already have my own score server that I built especially for use in BGT, I just wanted to say that I think this is an absolutely fabulous idea. You have a very simple approach that will work regardless of programming language, as long as the environment at hand can call external processes. Two things you may want to consider:


1. Returning a value from the main function that can be picked up by the caller, in order to determine the result of the operation. 0 could mean that the user's score was accepted but not high enough to make the top x (whatever you decide upon), another positive value could indicate the user's ranking and a negative value could be an error code. Not everyone may be able to or interested in picking up this value, but I personally think it'd be a great feature to provide.

2. If you are writing this in Vb 6, you should make it clear that developers need to package the vb 6 runtime libraries in their installer in order for the score posting to work. I can imagine that some might overlook this otherwise, and then wonder why the score posting isn't functioning )=.

Again, an excellent initiative and I hope it's picked up by other developers.

Kind regards,

Philip Bennefall
----- Original Message ----- From: "Jeremy Kaldobsky" <jer...@kaldobsky.com>
To: "Gamers Discussion list" <gamers@audyssey.org>
Sent: Monday, August 01, 2011 4:01 PM
Subject: [Audyssey] High score list for developers


Ryan, your post yesterday gave me an idea that I wanted to run past you, and really everyone for that matter. It occurred to me that quite a few arcade style games get posted, that don't support online high score lists. In most cases I'm sure this is due to lack of equipment or not knowing how to handle the server side of things. Since I've got the community supporting a server for my games, I thought I could help solve those 2 barriers that have been getting in the way.

I'm still figuring out how best to set this up, but here is the idea. I adjusted the software on my server to handle high score lists. Developers who have games will contact me and I'll send them an 11 digit password along with a small 8kb file called hsa.exe. In your game, written in python I believe, you can simply run that file and pass it a command line argument that contains the password, the person's score, and their player name. Obviously your game would have to have its own way of getting the player's name, but that's nothing difficult. The little program contacts my server and passes the information along, all in the background, with no one even knowing what happened. The server accepts the data if the password is correct, and it does the work of putting them on your high score list based on score. When people view the webpage, they can easily see the rankings.

Here is the example I currently have running, for testing purposes.
http://www.kaldobsky.com/audiogames/highscores.htm
The webpage side of things probably needs to be made more accessible, but please take a look.

Each different setting of your game, like grid size, number of blocks, and so forth, would have its own password so that it would have its own high score list. The 2 lines at the top, the 1 line at the bottom, and the number of people in the high score list can all be set using a separate admin program that I would also give out to the developers. The tiny hsa.exe file would be sent along with your games, but the admin program would be kept with you of course.

I'm just wondering if this type of idea would provide easy high score tracking for our large group of developers that aren't already using high score lists. With this test high score list I've got running, I'm encouraging people to play around with it and see how it works. The hsa.exe file can be downloaded here.
www.kaldobsky.com/audiogames/hsa.zip
Just put it into your game's directory, and execute it with the command argument from within your game. The password for this practice score list is 398-093-129, so here are some specific examples of how you can submit high scores.

If you had a player named Goblin, and he just ended a game with 45 points, here is how you could submit that score from within a python game.
import os
os.system("hsa.exe 398-093-129,45,Goblin")

From within a Visual basic 6 game.
x = shell("hsa.exe 398-093-129,45,Goblin",0)

Or even from a dos batch file.
hsa.exe 398-093-129,45,Goblin

Give it a try and please let me know if you guys think this is a good idea, and if you think other developers would actually want to use it.

Hey Jeremy,
Thanks for the kind words.
High score posting is something I'd like to move to
eventually. I'll need to
learn to work with the web development side of things
first, though. Since I
intend for the rest of my titles to have a great deal of
focus on
multiplayer, I'll have an excellent opportunity to do that
learning. I'll
also need to work in some sort of limitation system so that
players who are
careful and strategic don't end up losing out to people who
just crush
things pell-mell and get lucky. And then there's the fact
that a game set to
gigantic, megashift, 3 types can't, in my experience, be
lost. It sure is
fun to break things, though.
Ryan


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