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News & Opinion

Opinions
Opinions & Ramblings
  • By: Maelish
  • 01/05/2016 11:43 am

Circuitous Ramblings

Much to my surprise, Online Gaming is a very popular feature among our gaming throngs.  As of today 20.9% of our registered users are interested in playing some type of tabletop gaming online.  This suggests the folks who develop online gaming software and websites were pretty smart to do so.  It also suggests a turning point for gaming overall and might in the very near future change the way roleplaying game systems are developed.  I wouldn't be surprised if we see rules modifications or whole chapters devoted to modifying your favorite games for online play.  

It's likely you've noticed that some board games and wargames are already ready for play online.  For instance:  Battletech is the #1 ranked wargame here at Find Gamers (49%) and there are already several turn based applications you can use to destroy your friends mechs online.  Don't forget there are a slew of board games playable online as well, check the Board Games section on Steam if you don't believe me.  I won't be surprised to see changes in other popular tabletop games within the next 10 years take advantage of the technology changes.

Changing the topic a bit - Over the Christmas holiday, I worked on a a few little things that should add up to a better user experience for all of us.   There is now a friendly welcome message for new users delivered to your inbox during new member sign-up.  New member information was cleaned up and clarified a bit in several locations.  And of course there were lots of little bugs fixed around our site, most visibly a math bug in the Fantasy Coin Calculator.  

But the most interesting update was the addition of Online Only as a location for Events.  You can now add online conventions, sales & closeouts or web site events in general.  You can even add your own Kickstarter Events to Find Gamers.  If online events are popular, it'll get it's own search page in the future.

 
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General
General
  • By: Maelish
  • 12/20/2015 09:30 am

A very merry season to you!

Find Gamers wishes you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays.  We hope you have a great time with family and friends this holiday season.  

 
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Feature Creep
Feature Creep
  • By: Maelish
  • 11/09/2015 09:53 am

Minor Site Updates

Our little zombie, lovingly called the Feature Creep is at it again.  That means we have some minor changes that should please most of you.

First is a substantial difference in the speed of the Player Finder pages.  It affects both local & online only pages and wow are they faster.  After running a series of tests for the Online Gamers search, we've found it runs an average of about 1,500% faster than previous page loads.  No, that is not a typo.  It is indeed fifteen-hundred percent faster.   And this change also benefits the Local Gamers search page as well with similar speed increases.  Woot!

Second, we moved from HTTP to HTTPS.  This is an alteration that most of you might not have even noticed if it had not pointed it out in this article.  But it shouldn't affect anyone negatively, in fact HTTPS typically loads pages faster than HTTP.  So it'll be a boon to all of us.

So that is it for things you guys might notice.  There are always little things being fixed in the background, that's just life in web site development.  But before I forget:  The Group Finder is going through a redesign soon.  Right now I'm looking at different ways to make that better.  If you have some ideas that would make everybody happy, let me know through feedback.  Or you could post this in the comments on this article.

 
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Opinions
Opinions & Ramblings
  • By: Maelish
  • 09/18/2015 10:41 am

Surprising Benefits in Tabletop Gaming

As Patrick Allen over at Lifehacker has pointed out, there are quite a few surprising benefits to roleplaying games.  Naturally we'd expect most of these benefits to extend to wargames and of course board & card gaming.  

The first obviously would be the benefit of making new friends through table-top gaming.  But there is often a subtle unrecognized growth in social skills development that you get through conversation.   And let's not forget that with most gaming you get to flex your brain through use of tactics, learning how to work as a team and problem solving skills.  

However roleplaying is often unique from other types of tabletop gaming because it requires you to work through a dynamic and often an unpredictable story.  It doesn't matter if you are the Game Master running the game or one of the players.  Playing your character's personality through the game's adventure and the situations that unexpectedly occur require a high degree of creativity.  Over time you simply get better thinking outside the box and that has real world benefits.

In short, gaming is a useful hobby.  You meet new people and can develop a number of new skills.  If you don't believe me, read the full article at Lifehacker.  It's called "The Surprising Benefits of Role-Playing Games (and How to Get Started)."  You can read the entire article on their site.

 
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Feature Creep
Feature Creep
  • By: Maelish
  • 08/04/2015 11:00 am

The Compendium

Our members might notice a new option in your menu options today.  The Compendium is in beta testing for our registered members.  It is intended to be a by the numbers catalog of high quality web sites that will be scrutinized by the toughest critics we can find - our members.

At this time The Compendium is accepting website recommendations.  In the near future you'll be able to report bad links and more importantly you'll be able to vote on sites that appear in the page.  The site's rank will rise based on your votes.   During beta testing an error or two might creep in, please report those errors in Feedback when possible.  The number of features The Compendium eventually has will be driven by its use. 

 
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Feature Creep
Feature Creep
  • By: Maelish
  • 07/10/2015 10:39 am

Emails, Aol and My Thinning Hair

It's come to my attention that a small percentage of users haven't been getting emails from Find Gamers.  This affects notifications about messages from other users and password reset information.  After doing some digging and subsequently pulling the hair out of my head in repeated frustration, I discovered that AOL is blocking those emails.  Ironically enough they own several hosting companies where other user's email domains reside as well.  So those emails aren't reaching users either. 

Ironically Google Gmail is fine.  Also all emails going to domains hosted by Google are getting through without a problem.  For that matter pretty much everyone else is getting their email as well.  Too bad Google doesn't have a hair restoration product to save me from AOL, they seem to have everything else at the moment.

Still - this is pretty frustrating for me since it keeps a couple dozen of you from getting email notifications from Find Gamers.   I've contacted the AOL postmaster service but they blame somebody else.  The somebody else blames guess who... somebody else and the circle of blame continues.   I am trying a few tricks on my end and our hosting provider is looking into solutions too.  However if nothing gets fixed soon I'll probably start sending the automated messages through a 3rd party email provider like Mail Chimp or something similar because ironically AOL doesn't block them.

So I'll try to keep everyone up to date on this issue and hopefully have an update for you next week.  Keep an eye on this new entry for new information.


UPDATE (8/4/15)

It looks as though we're finally got AOL, MSN and Hotmail to accept emails.  Holding onto my `woot` until I'm certain.


UPDATE (8/18/15)

99.999% of all emails are now reaching users.  Some occasional password resets were not.  A new fix is in place that should catch those and send them correctly.  All of the bad emails end up in my inbox but remember that you can send feedback without being logged if you continue to have trouble.  

 
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