I’m an escape room enthusiast, some may say addict, and for the past few months I’ve been missing it. A friend of mine, a true addict with over 500 rooms to his name, started organizing online competitions. After playing a few of the online games, I thought, “I want to build my own.”
So for that past couple of months I’ve been writing an online escape game — which you could say is a web puzzle game, but with the exciting flare of escape! It’s suitably called “Prototype”. I assumed that name would let me get away with some rough edges. This will be an evolving project, but the first installment is a success.
I’m proud of my game. I want to tell you how I made it.
I had a few major goals for the game. These sit somewhere in the spectrum between user epics and use cases.
-Painless experience for the user: I wanted it all in the browser. These types of games are relatively short, and needing to download something would be a pain.
-A multi-player team experience: Real rooms admit teams of 2-6 or more players, and I wanted my game to allow the same. Additionally, a certain world crisis is an excellent motivator for remote team play.
-Painless registration: Beyond paying, I didn’t want any registration at all. This bugged me about many other games. Just let people play as quickly as possible.
Obviously clever puzzles and a fun experience were paramount, but it’s harder to quantify those directly. Those would be the product goals, and I felt the above points were critical to supporting those goals.
Given these requirements, I set out to write my own engine, as I saw nothing that would come close to what I want. I was picky with my game, not letting it get away with anything I’d complain about in other games. Naturally, a few priorities chipped a few notches in that plan.
Overall, I achieved those goals. Let me know where I should elaborate — priorities again, I don’t want to be writing blindly about everything!
A design had been floating in my head for a while before I set down any code. There was some trial and error, but the architecture was stable from the start, with only a few deviations in method.
Here are some major pieces of the stack.
–React: Just React. No optional modules, no plugins, nothing. The core of React provided what I needed. Since I had a state machine, there was no need for something like Redux.
–Python and Flask: The server components, and game processing, are written in Python using Flask, with Flask-SocketIO, with Eventlet (always so unavoidable many layers here).
–Redis: A small, but essential part to coordinate the multi-player actions.
-SVG: I’m listing this as it’s a key part of the engine. Everything is based on SVG working well in the browsers. It was a major trouble point, yet surprisingly rewarding.
There are also the typical web server bits, using Jinja templates, talking to Mongo, Paypal… Zzz. Yeah, I’ll mention these bits more, but I suspect there’s nothing novel here.
Until late in the project, this was a mass of wiggling bits! I had many stressful days trying to juggle tech in my head. Getting something working was my primary goal, and I did that in stages. Now, as I write more games, I’ll keep refining the stack, but there won’t likely be any major architectural changes.
As a good friend of mine said, “No Edaqa project would be complete unless there’s a new language.” I’m too blinded by the beauty of languages to even catch a hint of criticism there.
The most important question of the technology is: did I want to write a game engine? The answer is a resounding “no!” I wrote the engine because I wanted to achieve my primary goals, saw nothing else that fit, and knew an engine was within reach. I wanted to design games. And I wanted to not be overly burdened while designing.
Thus there’s a domain-specific language for the games. It’s a high-level declarative language. I fully expect that long-term I’ll write other engines for it. My goal was to keep the game logic clean, without being bound to the engine. I want to write games and ensure that long-term I can maintain those games.
I’ll be happy to show you how the language works, what the preprocessor does, and how the game handles the code.
I hit a lot of knowledge pockets and defects on this project. Not everything I did is obvious — and I hesitate to say some illogical bits remain. But I’m happy to talk about all of it.
Let me know what interests you the most, and I’ll answer what I can, providing more writeups where necessary. And if you like puzzles, or escape rooms, I invite you to play the game.
I encourage you to try the game, Prototype: A Game Master is Needed. It’s an escape game I wrote, and have lots to say about.
Fotor Review: Easy-to-use Online Photo Editing and Graphic Design Tool for Everyone
When it comes to image editing and designing, professional software like Photoshop definitely maintains a dominant position in the market. However, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, as it requires a fair degree of time and skills to use it. The good news is that there are lots of great online services, such as Fotor, that allow you to create awesome images in a simple and quick way.
Fotor is a handy online tool that enables you to edit your photos, create photo collages and design banners, posters, blog post graphics, email headers, and other types of graphics content very easily. Let’s take a look at what this tool can do.
- Photo Editing
With Fotor’s powerful image editing features, you can easily give your photo a new look. You can quickly do all the basic photo editings such as crop, rotate, resize, apply a filter, add texts, remove background, and more with simple clicks. More than that, Fotor’s patent HDR feature is pretty much a bonus. It brings out more details and vivid colors of the photo as it is seen through your eyes.
Fotor also offers a feature-rich suite of portrait touch-up tools, such as blemish fix, smoothing skin, wrinkle remover, teeth whitener, and so on. The retouching tools are quite useful and without the complexity, this is normally associated with professional software. Be sure not to overcook your photo and end up with anything but realistic.
- Photo Collage
Fotor offers a variety of pre-set templates that allows you to put up photo collages in a snap. Simply choose your preferred template, upload your photos, drag them in the slot, make minor adjustments and you are done. It’s super easy and fun to play around with.
- Graphic Design
The graphic design feature is one of the core features which would be mostly used by bloggers and content marketers. To simplify the complex design process for non-designers, Fotor packs up with a huge bank of templates for you to choose from.
To be frank, such a kind of service lives and dies on the quality of the templates, and Fotor obviously did a great job. There are thousands of templates (the number is still growing) under various styles and categories, such as posters, logo, invitation design, email header, Facebook cover, YouTube channel art, and so much more. With such a broad of options, you can literally create impressive graphic designs for all your project.
Fotor Review – Bottom Line
Overall, Fotor is really a useful online tool for graphics content editing and creation. It comes packed with all the resources and features you need to create pro-looking graphics on under one roof. If you are still struggling with how to create images for your blog posts or all kinds of social media platforms, I would suggest you have a play with Fotor. You can really end up with some cool images to strengthen your online presence and extend your reach.
Bio: Marvin is a tech enthusiast. He loves to write about gadgets, software, the internet, and everything about technology. He is also a cat lover and coffee addict.
7 SEO Best Practices That Could Double Your E-Commerce Sales
We all know that SEO is the fact that you can increase your sales and leads through online stores. Marketers say that search engine optimization can double your traffic because it helps the website to rank higher and get more impression.
The SEO practice can be done by yourself, but it would be better if you hire the services of professionals. If you want to rank among certain keywords in the search engine, then you need to put effort into these keywords and make your strategies accordingly.
E-commerce businesses can only grow by providing quality products and optimizing the website with SEO practices. The high-quality products and services would increase your customers, while the SEO would help you to appear higher than your competitors in order to get new audiences.
There are various SEO factors that need to be applied to your site and in this article, we will discuss these factors in this article.
Why is SEO so important to your e-commerce store?
Whether you are launching a new website or planning to improve the old one, SEO is very important. There are thousands of websites on the Internet that appear for years and when you open a new website, how would it come across their location.
Search engine optimization would help to increase your visibility through the search engine. SEO basically makes your site look for the search engine and it would help to appear at the top of the search engine results page.
If you don’t focus on search engine optimization, your site wouldn’t get on the first page. Remember, 85% of people find their search query on the first page of Google and if your websites don’t appear on the first page, then all your efforts are useless.
Although the strategy for SEO also depends on the niche and content of your site, some of the general SEO practices are discussed below:
1. Content Marketing
First of all, none of your SEO facts would work until you have good content and content strategies. The content you post on your e-commerce site is very important because most of your customers would decide by reading the content.
Importance of visuals
Content needs to be unique and engaging in order to attract and attract customers “attention. Content is more important than product images because nowadays people are looking for specifications and features more than looks.
Publishing Un-plagiarized content
There is another way of writing content that should be acknowledged; writing should be unique, and for verification, use the plagiarism checker online free, which compares your content with published articles on the Internet.
2. Keyword research
So you plan to place your site at the top of the search engine, but have you noticed the words that the user enters to search for your site? Keywords are the words that you strive to rank by.
Keyword search is possible through the tools available online such as Ahrefs, SEMrush. This tool lets you know the volume of the keyword, CPC, and difficulty level. You should select the keyword that has more volume, more CPC, but less difficulty. To find these properties, you can use the Long Tail keywords.
These tools find competitors for each specific keyword and you can view all their keywords.
3. Find your competitors
SEO is also a kind of analysis of your website and your competitors. The SEO tools provide the analysis of the competitor, which provides the statistics, which helps you to find the strategies they use to win the competition.
If you find your site’s competitors, follow them, and try to outdo them to increase your traffic. If you manage to channel your competitors “traffic to your site, you’ll get more customers and the chance to grow your business.
4. Focus on On-Page SEO
On-page SEO is at the root of boosting your site because it controls all the actions that are performed on your site. However, on-page SEO is important as it increases visibility and user experience.
On-Page SEO includes several actions that need to be linked to your site. Here are some of the factors that are included in on-page SEO:
- Keyword placement
- Title optimization
- Meta Title
- Meta description
- Word count
- Word density
- Inbound and outbound links
5. Off-Page SEO
Similar to off-page SEO, on-page SEO has the same position and importance in the ranking of your website in the search engine. Off-page SEO is important because it increases the reference and relationship of your website to the search engine.
Off-page means to increase the optimization of your website from other websites. Backlinking, for example, is the link that points to your website but places it on other websites. Similarly, off-page is the best way to place it higher, because more and more links would give the search engine a positive effect.
6. Digital Marketing
Digital marketing not only boosts your business but also helps you increase the ranking. Remember that the social linkage of your website is the ranking factor for the website. In this respect, you should be active on social media and connect all these profiles to your website.
If you use WordPress for your site, then there are several widgets that would help you connect and view the social profiles.
Digital marketing would not only increase your visibility in the search engine but also your audience, sales and leads. This is because social media have a huge community to promote your site.
This is another important practice for the SEO of your website, especially with regard to the satisfaction of your users. Whether it is a blog or an e-commerce store, the website should have a friendly website to get it back.
Navigating your website should be simple and informative, and optimal usability is achieved when your website is fun, informative articles, engaging content, and helpful content. Customer support through your website is key to enhancing usability.
To this end, many brands offer live online chats that increase customer engagement and help customers solve their problems immediately.
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