Ry::Chess - Changes
History of changes to Ry::Chess

Changes 7/23/2005:

Draw Issues C F G

Fixed a few problems with Accepting or Declining a Draw Offer where, a): rychess wouldn't actually let you do either; b): I removed the ability to even offer a draw when you're in checkmate (because, like SaturatedX said "apart from its questionable comic value, I don't know how much worth it has"); and c): I also fixed a problem where if you offered the draw and were waiting for your opponent to accept or decline the offer the game would be marked as "your turn" even though it really wasn't.

While I was at it I also disabled some of the move controls if a player is in checkmate. When I get the time I'll probably change the movebox in checkmate situations to only allow the player to add a game note and concede the game - in other words remove all the unnecessary stuff from the move box.

I really haven't had the time lately to devote to the site and it's killing me, but hopefully I'll be able to put in some more needed time soon - please bear with me.


Changes 5/26/2005:

User Game Profile C F G

Fixed a problem with the User Game Profile not showing the current game count when a player hasn't finished any games.


Changes 5/23/2005:

Stalemate test changes C F G

Found some problems with the stalemate tests where a game may incorrectly be closed as a stalemated game under certain circumstances. This should be fixed now.


Changes 4/10/2005:

Complete Re-write C F G

I had to re-write almost all the rychess.com code because one of the server mechanisms used by the site at a very low level was behaving very very badly.

In the process of tracking down and fixing the problem I've made many changes and improvements. Many of the changes probably won't be noticeable to anyone but me, but I list a few of the more interesting ones:

  • Stalemate
    • Stalemate conditions are now caught correctly
    • Before, if a user was in stalemate they'd have had to concede the game instead of having the game marked as a draw
    • I've corrected the few games that should have ended in stalemate - for some reason the only player who managed to force a stalemate is SaturatedX. Four games of his against myself, Redliner, and Jahrizzy have been fixed
  • Automatic Move Previews
    • There is a new global and game specific preference to have the a potential move automatically previewed for you, except when promoting a pawn
  • Messages
    • I've added a message system where you will be presented notices on your start page in certain events, such as if a player has declined or withdrawn a game invitation of yours
    • These messages are dismissible on a per message basis
  • Personal game specific notes
    • You may now leave yourself a note in any game you're playing
    • These notes are only visible to you and you may add, edit, or remove the note at any time
    • This feature should come in handy in slow moving games where you might otherwise forget what you're plan in the game was
  • Decline invitation / Withdraw invitation reasons
    • You may now leave your opponent a message telling them why you are declining or withdrawing a game invitation
    • These messages are optional, but it's handy if you're declining an invitation because you're really busy at the moment but would like the person challenging you to feel free to try again later.
  • Improved User Game Profile
    • More info is available in the User Game Profile
  • User Stats
    • Stats such as total pieces won/lost, total points won/lost and more are now recorded when a game is finished
  • Game Stats
    • Various info about a game is now recorded when the game is finished
    • You may look for games based on move count, most promotions, etc.
  • ELO ratings
    • I've added a standard rating system known as ELO ratings
    • ELO is a statistical system which adjusts your rating whenever a game finishes, but is only relevant to rychess games - not to other chess sites.
    • Since these ratings are based on relative performance based on both you and your opponent's game history they take a while before they're even close to being accurate. So, you won't ever see your ELO rating until you've played 20 or more games.
  • Adjusted the withdraw/decline invitation options to take the random and white starts into account
    • If challenged to a game where the challenger chooses white or is randomly placed as white, and the challenger makes a move you would have lost the option of declining the game. I've fixed this so if you're the challenged player you have the option of declining the game until you make a move in that game
  • I now keep track of who created a game instead of assuming it was "black" (this broke when I added the random and white start features)
  • Moved the 'Your Current Games' list from the start page to a separate page
  • If a challenger begins as white and makes a move before you see the game, you will still have the option of declining the game until you make a move in the game
  • A couple of new site and board styles made by either me, Boodge, or SaturatedX
  • Global Pref to show the 5 newest users to the site on your start page
  • Global Pref to show the 5 most recent Discussion Forum Posts on your start page
  • Expiring a game is now marked as a conceded game instead of a draw game giving the delinquent player a loss
  • Comments in pgn files
  • General user interface tweaks and improvements
  • Fixed History Viewer error on reversing after last move on finished games
  • Fixed bug in automatically flipping board when you create a game as white or are randomly started as white.
  • Trimmed down most of the javascript
  • Fixed castle issue in FR code
  • Compressed most images to a smaller size
  • Made the default piece images better
  • The Discussion Forums user password is now updated password if you changed it in rychess
  • I finally got png images to work in IE (some versions of IE may have a much slower page load time because of this, sorry - get a better browser if this bothers you)
  • Many server performance tweaks
  • Updated all "last move dates" in all current games so you can't immediately expire games :)

Many other changes and tweaks have been added - too many to list.


Changes 1/15/2005:

Some game creation changes C F G

1:   You now have the option to choose which color you will play when creating games. You may choose to play as black, white, or have rychess randomly select your game color.

Use this with care - the challenged player may always decline the invitation if you keep challenging them as white.

2:   The person playing black will now have the in-game preference to flip the board set automatically for them when the game is created.

Thanks to Redliner for suggesting these features.


Changes 12/22/2004:

A few gifts for the holidays C F G

So I made a complete overhaul of entire site - cleaning code, fixing problems, improving layouts, removing cosmetic features that didn't always work, etc.

  • Here's a little list of some of the new features I've added:
    • Site-wide styles - you may now customize the look of the entire site
    • Board styles - customize the look of the game board
    • Improved game page layout - boxes no longer get pushed lower and lower down the page as a game progresses
    • IE 5 (mac) now works - yeah IE sucks and is wildly bug ridden but I've finally gotten the Macintosh version working on the site.
    • Pages are all a little smaller now so downloading should now be a smidge faster
    • Many, many more subtle tweaks, fixes, and tiny additions - too many to list

The globals styles are, I think, especially cool - you may now use custom site, board, and piece styles - mixing and matching them to your heart's content. You may set the global styles from the Global Prefs menu available when you're logged in. There's also a style tester linked from the Global Prefs page where you can preview different mixtures of styles.


Changes 11/30/2004:

In Which SaturatedX helps makes this a better site C F G

Over the holliday weekend, Mr. SaturatedX was not only kind enough to have us over for a wonderful Feast but he also spent many hours looking for things for me to fix.

A few problems were found and corrected like changing 'loses' to 'losses' for consistency, finding problems with the game-specific v. global preferences, and several others.

Viva la SaturatedX!

He's also the one who first disccovered IE getting ugly... see the next item for a detailed account.

The Part Where Internet Explorer Can Kiss My Ass. C F G

So I get the global, custom piece images all in place and think to myself "hey, these actually look pretty good! I think my favorite is 'Motif'", then my friend SaturatedX says "in IE there're are these weird blue-grey boxes around all the images now"...

I google around to figure out why IE for windows is doing this and lo! IE can't display '.png' images correctly! Why can't it display '.png' images right when almost every other browser currently in use on the planet can? Maybe because png is open source, I don't know, but it's ridiculous.

OK, so there are "fixes" out there which either require making each web page about twice it's original size (if it's image intesive like rychess.com is), or converting every '.png' image into a DIV with the png as a background, or using Javascript and CSS to process every image on the page to use some proprietary filter in IE - basically the "fix" is almost as ridiculous as the problem...

I tried several variations of each of the "fixes" only to find out that each "fix" breaks even more features of the site - move previews and highlights stopped working, strange z-index issues occured, many many yucky things happened trying to fix this idiotic problem.

So, I said "screw the 'fixes' ": I copied each of the new piece images as a '.gif' image (that's a lot of images - Yay for Photoshop's recordable actions!), added some browser detect code to my templates, and changed every image link to use a gif if it's being viewed in Internet Explorer 5.5+ for Windows and a png for every other browser.

Yes, it would have been easier to only use gifs, but the pngs really do look much better than the gifs, and I also refuse to bow that much to IE.

Seriously, this inability of IE to handle HTML, CSS, Javascript, Images, and everything else correctly and according to International standards would be laughable if it didn't waste hours and hours and hours of my time trying to "work around".

Anyway, that's my rant. I think I've fixed the problem - but if you notice that your images on the page don't look quite as nice as they should, change your browser to Mozilla.


Changes 11/26/2004:

Custom Piece Styles & Global Preferences C F G

I've created several more styles of pieces so you may now specify which style of pieces you want to use for your games.

There's now a 'Global Prefs' section available under the Home menu when you log in where you may select which style of pieces you'd like to use as well as setting some options to be used in every game. So, for example, if you always want the move highlights turned off you may set the global pref once instead of in every game. Most global prefs may be overridden on a game-by-game basis using the standard in-game preferences option.

The new pieces were created using some freeware chess fonts found at http://www.enpassant.dk


Changes 11/24/2004:

Expire Game option C F G

I've finally added the ability to expire any game where it's been more than 1 month since the last move made.

On your start page any game that may be expired will be displayed in your current games list will have a link below it titled 'expire game'. If you click this link you'll get a dialog box asking if you're sure you want to expire the game and if you click 'OK' the game will be marked as a draw and closed. An email should be sent to your opponent informing them the game has been expired.

I'm not deleting the game since the players may want to observe it in the future and marking it as a draw will ensure that the stats are not counted against (or for) either player - draw games are not counted in a player's percentage.

Thanks to Jahrizzy for coaxing me into adding this feature (I had been meaning to, but kept getting sidetrakced...). I'd also like to thank him for being the first to boldly venture into the forums to request a feature - right on!


Changes 11/20/2004:

Current Games list in the game page C F G

I added a short version of the 'Your Current Games' list to the game page so you can switch to a different game after making a move. Useful when you have several active games going on at once.


Changes 11/19/2004:

Updated Database

I updated the database used throughout rychess.com to a much newer version. This has allowed me to update some of the database code in all of the game libraries.

Auto Registration to the Discussion Forums

The Discussion Forums use a separate user control and authentication system which until now required you to register separately to use the forums.

I added code to automatically register each user in the Forums when they register for rychess.com. I also added each existing rychess.com user to the forums.

The forum acount password is the same as your rychess.com account password.

It's important to note however that after registration any changes made to your forum account will not effect any of your rychess.com account info and vice versa.


Changes 11/11/2004:

Back Online! Woo Hoo! C F G

Ry::Chess is finally back online - and it's now hosted on it's own dedicated site instead of being served off of my computer in the kitchen. Yay! This is also a "good thing" since the computer in the kitchen sort of died in the move.

This change of servers has allowed me to add a few new features like better download speed and having the automatic emails be sent from the rychess.com server instead of going through one of my personal email accounts.

Hopefully this change will improve the gaming experience.

I want to thank all of you guys for your patience with the Ry::Chess downtime from my move to Portland.

A plethora, that's right: plethora, of other changes C F G

I made many changes before going live again with the site, too many in fact to list in great detail - so I'll only give a brief run-down of some of the changes here:

  • Huge Huge Huge changes to underlying game program and tempate files:
    • streamlined and generalized many files to lessen the size of the code and number of template files used.
    • removed and lessened many internal "bottleneks" to speed up the site.
  • combined all game types from separate pages to one centralized and more user friendly system:
    • this change was huge and I needed to rewrite much of the site, I've tried to find and fix any anomalies but there may still be problems here and there.
    • I've added icons depicting whether any game is a Ry::Chess (C), Ry::FischerRandom (F), or Ry::GrandChess (G) game.
    • when creating a new game you are now required to select the game type.
    • the Watch All Games page, default current games list, and default finished games list now combine all game types.
  • Other misc. changes:
    • added the searchable 'User Game Profile' page where you can see all of a player's stats and games in one place.
    • added Edit Account Info page where you may update your password and email address.
    • added castle king's side and castle queen's side buttons to allow correct castling when move highlights are turned off.
    • combined and refined all help pages.
    • combined all changes pages and now use the game type icons to depict which game types a particular change applies to.
    • made it so previewing/unpreviewing a move will redisplay the move highlights instead of clearing them.
    • changed layout of History Viewer so the board doesn't jump around when notes are displayed.
    • added speed controls to the History Viewer.
    • tweaked menu system again. hopefully the menus are organized in a better way.
    • split the observe games list into two pages: current games and completed games.
    • added display limits to finished game listings so the table doesn't get huge - you can progress through the list by page.
    • changed 'your finished games' list to show 'player 1' and 'player 2' instead of just 'opponent'.
    • added the count of finished games to the finished games list.
    • new email addresses 'feedback@rychess.com' and 'gamemaster@rychess.com'.
    • added a bulletin board/forum system that came with the hosting service... I'm stil playing around with it, but it should be usable.
    • added contact info.