Basic chat is now available!January 27, 2021
The most requested game feature, chat, is now available again!
It's just very basic chat functionality right now, no smileys or emoticons yet, but more features will be added later. To be honest, when I was working on the new games, chat was not included in the original plans due to a number of reasons:
It creates additional bandwidth and traffic on the server. I wanted the game servers to be leaner, and thereby faster, so that there are less data to process. Getting rid of chat helps achieve that goal.
It takes up a significant amount of screen space, which could be used to show and improve other game elements instead. This becomes more important with mobile devices, where there's hardly enough space e.g. to show 4 bingo cards at the same time.
For some players, it may slow down the front-end games a bit (if there are numerous incoming chat messages). Ideally, this issue should be negligible, but it's still a possibility.
Not everyone gets along in chat and it just creates issues.
That last point was the deciding factor why I decided to drop chat support in the new games. I remember I discussed this same issue in one of my older posts in the old games. A large percentage of the emails I receive are actually related to personal chat issues, like:
Some players complaining other players are "stalking" them, and that I should ban those players or do something about it, otherwise they will get the authorities involved.
Some players intentionally causing trouble in the chat room because they seek attention or whatever reason they have.
Some groups run tournaments, which is fine, but then a few players sometimes feel unwelcomed, thinking the tournament players are "taking over" the chat room.
Some players using some smileys to annoy others. Yes, this actually happened before! I had to remove some smiley icons in the old games because of this issue.
And those are just some examples. So I wasn't sure if spending time to support chat again will be worth it. The other option was to use a third party chat solution with built-in filters and such, however the good ones are not really free. In general, they charge per chat room (and even with user limits), something I am avoiding because it can be costly. And then there's also the issue of successfully integrating it in the games.
In the meantime, I have decided to add basic chat in the new games. Despite the potential issues, I understand that many existing players miss chatting with their friends. Hopefully, the time spent to add this feature will be worth it. I am hoping that HeyBingo players are mature enough to keep the chat problem-free since it's basically unmoderated.
If there are players causing trouble, you can report them by clicking on their names in the chat area.
There has been several minor updates since the site relaunch, but I haven't been keeping track of everything since it has to be deployed immediately to fix issues as I encounter them on a daily basis. The chat addition required some display adjustments though, so all the games have been updated today as well.
Some of the others changes in today's major update include the following:
Slightly bigger bingo cards. Bigger card numbers as well. Better for those who don't have perfect eyesights!
Bug fix: major sync issue in the game servers that could create some game status problems. This was more evident in 75 and 90 ball bingo games, where an "Invalid dabs" error was being reported sometimes. It took me awhile to consistently reproduce this issue, that's why a fix was not immediately available, but hopefully the issue is fully resolved now.
75 and 90 ball bingo bug fix: jackpot numbers were sometimes still being shown incorrectly even if jackpot can no longer be claimed (e.g. first bingo is already called).
Bad news: there are less top players being shown (from 7 down to 6) because of space issues. Good news: during game intermissions, you can now scroll 6 players at a time, which should make it faster to view the final stats of all participating players.
Bug fix: sometimes there were missing player slots in the real-time list as players move up/down in scores.
Some structural changes and optimizations in the website codes, also to make things a bit easier to update and maintain on my end.
Bug fix: profile pictures of some players in the Best Players pages were not being displayed properly even if they have a proper Facebook profile picture.
Display current month's top player in the chat screen initial section.
Fixed some music volume issues. Also temporarily disable all sounds/music when viewing rewarding ads (as per requirement).
Fixed some minor timer bugs that affected Game Aids and Rewarded Ads in general.
Animate Game Aids icon when it has been activated or deactivated. Play a sound when it expires so the player will know immediately if it's time to activate again (useful when in the middle of an active game).
Animate icon when rewarded ads can be viewed again, so it's easier to keep track of, instead of having to check the timer every now and then.
Potential bug fix: some players were unable to login sometimes when they have an old game that somehow got stuck.