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New R4K v2 system and permanent competition

Started by Cas, March 26, 2020, 10:45:23 PM

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I've been working for several days on the new, version 2 of Race for Kicks. I have to say it's a great experience. I keep on learning PHP and I'm getting much better at it. I can't believe how fast I manage to add features. It's like I've written an engine with about five to seven times the power of R4K v1.5 and it's only taken me a few days, but of course, there are bugs to fix and I have to beautify it a little bit (something I'm not great at).

As I had said in another forum, the top change will be that a permanent competition will be added and the basic race system will be working on top of it. I already have this working. Only needs some minor touches. For example, while permanent races will allow you to choose any set of rules from a list and any car, the R4K races should require one certain set of rules (normally, always R4K OWOOT) and one or more cars for that race (usually one, or the three of the DTM pack). Until now, the race system is working the same way as the permanent track system.

pipsqueaks will be able to post on the chatroom, but also to send private messages to other pipsqueaks. When something relevant happens, such as a replay or track uploaded by that pipsqueak being verified or rejected, the pipsqueak will receive an automatic PM. The chatroom is already working. The PM system, I still have to build, but it's a lot simpler than what I've already made.

I am very satisfied with the track image generator that now displays tracks with Bliss graphics without me having to create the image outside the website and upload them like I used to do on v1.5.

Races have profiles they can edit, including changing their passwords and including a picture that will be displayed in the chatroom, beside their messages. This is specially comfortable for myself, since administrators can use this section to edit permissions. In the past, I had to do this manually from CPanel.

As I mentioned, now some pipsqueaks will be able to post tracks. When you post a track, an administrator or moderator has to validate it and it becomes available for the permanent competition. Later on, a race manager (usually, the administrator) can create a race out of this track and give it rules and a deadline.

While I don't plan on using this feature much, it is possible in R4K v2 to have more than one race running at the same time. In the future, I might add the option to have a particular pipsqueak moderate a certain race and not others.

When posting a replay, now publicity and verification are separate, which means you can make your replay public even before it's been verified.

Anyway, I just wanted to share what I've got so far and if you want to know anything about it or have suggestions, I'd live to read them and see what I can implement. I also want to make sure that R4K is a cooperative as possible with ZakStunts and does not cause any conflict, so if a feature or the way it's implemented should be inconvenient for ZakStunts, please let me know and I'll make some touches. Thank you!
Earth is my country. Science is my religion.


After a few months, I'd like to write an update on how version 2.0 has been performing and the features that have been added and bugs fixed with some prospect for the future.

Version 2.0 is really a lot more comfortable to use for me, as an administrator, than the old version 1.5. During the racing months, though, I've encountered several bugs, some pointed out by you guys, that I've had to fix and thus, I've actually been using CPanel just as much as before, but still, it's been much simpler. It's sometimes sad that half of the power added to this version only applies to the administration panel, so it's not obvious for the regular user.

Something I'm not entirely satisfied with is the new archiving method, which I'm starting to think, is worse than before. Replays don't go to a race directory once it's finished. Instead, they remain in the public replay directory all mixed up. Of course, the information on which replays correspond to a certain race is still stored in the scoreboard, but it makes it more complicated to look them up outside the system. Besides, off-scoreboard replays are completely unlinked and the only way to identify them is to actually open them in Stunts and see which track they run on. I'll have to do something about this in the future.

On the good side, virtually everything I mentioned in the last post has been implemented, even the profile image, which I had postponed many times. Only it's a 32x32 avatar, but I might make it so that a larger version shows in the profile. Moderation is possible both globally and locally for a certain race. You get messages when your replays get rejected for some reason. Also, things I had not mentioned were added, such as more emoticons and quick links on the side of the main page. The rules have been updated to include information on the different racing styles.

I'm thinking that this system could be later on adapted so that it can be easily installed and configure on any server and set up to have any appearance you would like, so that anybody could quickly start a tournament of their own. Stunts community is old and activity fluctuates, but hey, it's alive after so long... so I wouldn't be surprised if a new era of tournaments were to come in the future :)
Earth is my country. Science is my religion.


Did you manage to solve that problem with downloading replays?


Well, fnhost apparently died, so this probably doesn't matter any more, but to respond... I was about to contact fnhost about it and didn't do it. Now they're gone, so nothing changed. I think it wasn't that serious (I mean, it is serious, but doesn't affect me very much because in only caused problems when downloading private replays, so most users were OK). I expect this will not happen when I move to another server.... in fact, to any other server, ha, ha. I think it was a very particular flaw of fnhost.

In case somebody is reading this and doesn't know what it's all about, I PMed Dreadnaut recently about a problem I was having with fnhost, the server that just died, where R4K was running. When you download files from a server, there are (to summarise) two ways you can do this. One is by just clicking on a link that points to that file. This worked fine. The other is by calling a PHP process that will generate the file for you to download. Whenever I tried this, fnhost was appending some trash at the end of my files. To keep private replays private, R4K stores them in a protected directory, but when I, or any moderator, has to verify a non-public replay, they have to download the file somehow, so it had to use the second method. This corrupted the replay files. In practice, this wasn't serious because replay files with trash appended at the end work just the same in Stunts most of the time (not if the replay is interrupted, for example), but still, I wanted to find a solution for this because it's not nice to have corrupted files downloaded. One case is when you tried to open a corrupted replay with Bliss. It would not realise it's version 1.1 and the track would not look good. Now, because fnhost died (apparently) and I'm moving to another server soon, this problem vanishes.
Earth is my country. Science is my religion.