Changes are afoot in Fight Club! (Updated)


The Naked Spammer
Staff member
May 11, 2005
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Houston, TX
Well, it's certainly been nice having the Fight Club website for the past year, but there were a lot of problems. When I made it, I knew very little about HTML forms, PHP, or even Javascript, so as a result, the site was a mishmash of plugins which worked. Sometimes. Except the timer. In other words, we need a new place to call home.

Here it is!

The new site isn't quite done, there are still a few behind the scenes things to finish up. It needs to be able to keep track of who has played what round and when to avoid people playing once, opening the site later, and submitting a second time, but the bones of it are all there, and I even included a few things for myself!

New features:
  • New simplified interface
  • Only one CAPTCHA
  • Now uploads and resizes photos automatically (it used to just email them to me)
  • Photo previews so you can be sure it all submitted properly
  • The timer works. Really, it does.
  • Upload time is no longer counted. This way, you can't be at a disadvantage due to connection speed.
  • After the 15 minute grace period, you can no longer upload the images. This way, there are never any judgment calls on whether or not you made it.
And for me?
  • PHP based round updating (I used to use a Java program to spit out new pages)
  • Built in player stat tracking, including rounds played, when, and time taken
  • Automatically generates the forum code needed to post the photos. It's now simply a copy/paste operation.
I hope to have the new site up for the next round on Monday, but it will more likely be a week from then.

Update (1/29/2012):
  1. The page now saves a file for each player, tracking each round they play, and what time they started. That way, even if you close the page, you can go back, enter your name again, and the timer picks up right where it should be!
  2. The site is now feature complete, and tested 100% working on Opera 11.6/12. All that's left is cross browser testing (For those wondering, Internet Explorer works mostly, but has occasional upload and formatting issues.)
This means that it will more than likely be up and running on Monday! If you encounter any issues, weirdness, bugs, or other tragedies, please let me know in this thread so I can track down and fix the issues. The site has around 600 lines of code, not counting any user content, and I really doubt it's totally bug free. If it is: I am the greatest.

Finally, there are some features I want to add eventually, but aren't essential.
  1. A player can go to the site, and load a page telling them how many rounds they've competed in, how long it took them in each one, and an average time.
  2. A server side database for the results, so I can also report to players how they've done.
Update (2/2/2012)
  1. Fixed a bug that allowed a player to see the topics before hitting next if they hit the "tab" button. Topics are now not accessed and shown until the next button is clicked.
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Sounds awesome! I love playing...Not that great at it, but I love to see what others come up with, and I love the way it makes you really think fast about what to get photos of. It's so good because you have to be fast enough to think of what to photograph and get your photos, but you also have to do a good enough job with the photo set up that you don't have to waste precious time in processing. It's improved my ability to "think out" a shot quickly.

Question: Last week I encountered a problem that hadn't occurred to me before. I'd already started playing, so the timer was ticking. I got all my photos, did some very quick pp on them and still had about 13 minutes left...better than I've ever done. But then, my computer crashed!! By then I got my computer back on AND my internet connection working again, I was afraid I'd run out of time. As it turned out, I still had time to go back in and upload the photos.
But, as I said, that was way faster than I usually am. I am usually right at, or just beyond the one hour mark. If that had happened with two minutes to go, I might have run out of even grace period time before I was able to get logged back in.

Under the new "system" would that just mean I'm out of luck? I'm not saying there *should* necessarily be an allowance for something like that, just something I'd want to know going in.

Can't wait to get on to the next round!!
Under the new "system" would that just mean I'm out of luck? I'm not saying there *should* necessarily be an allowance for something like that, just something I'd want to know going in.

Can't wait to get on to the next round!!

That's a pretty rare occurrence, so in those cases, you could post here and email me the photos, and I would check the timestamps and do it manually. There wouldn't be a provision for it on the website, but I don't want to kick out people having technical difficulties either!
Everything seemed to work as planned until I uploaded my pictures. It said the upload was successful, and then I could only see the thumbnail for picture #4. The rest were broken image links. But other than that it was spiffy.
If anyone is interested, here are the tools I use to manage Fight Club with the new site

The first tab is a simple form that adds a new round. The round number is populated automatically, though it allows me to change it if necessary.

The second tab is the template for updating photos. It loads it from a text file, and I just have to copy/paste it.

The third tab is a life saver. It looks at the round data, and automatically generates forum code for posting the photos. What once took half an hour now takes seconds.

Player statistics is still a work in progress.

The last tab lets me quickly see who has completed a round, how many photos they finished, and the time it took them. There are 2 "unknown" times due to first week bugs.
I am planning some upgrades to the new site in the coming months.

1. Move the data storage away from XML in favor of a MySQL database. This will allow me to store the information in a more secure manner (especially this round's topics!), and it will allow flexible access so I can get better stat tracking, as well as have a user facing stats page. I'll also enter all the older rounds into the database so we'll have a central source of all round data. In addition, it will help me take care of voting a lot faster.

2. User-logins: I know, people don't like creating an account for anything, but this will be a super simple process. On the first page, there will be a username and a new password field. Fill those in and click submit. If your account is found, it moves on. Otherwise, it pups up a register window where you enter a captcha and then hit "create account". If you've played previous rounds, all your old data will be attached to the account.

My reasoning is simple: Because I want to enable stat tracking and user-centric database entries, I need to make sure each user has a single account. Right now, if I log in as "clarinetJWD" and then next week "clarinet JWD" or have some other misspelling, it will be counted as 2 accounts. This will minimize that kind of mistake.

What does this mean for you?

Well, once you log in, you'll be able to see all the rounds you've played, all the photos you've submitted, your results statistics, and more!
Well, that was easy.

[There was a video here until I realized it gave away this week's topics.]

User accounts are working. I just need to get the rest of the php scripts to talk to the databse. The new stuff should be done a week from Monday.
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