Topic-icon To whom it may concern

19 Sep 2020 00:02 - 19 Sep 2020 00:03 #47743 by Furrball
Furrball created the topic: To whom it may concern
I feel like I need this one last attempt and proposal, with all my apologies to a highly sensitive community, in advance, and in full honesty, because the sole situations in which I'm capable of lying is about my hands at a poker table, and in order to protect my real-life identity. All the rest is genuine.

I felt like my presence was seen as somehow disruptive, in my criticism of PokerTH, along with not being willing to help improve the existing software, and I completely understand how you feel as a community. You're right, in your own point of view, which has been kindly and sincerely explained to me lately, in another thread.

I do feel sorry about all that. But I'm not evil, just weird, unstable, and a bit autistic (yeah, there's that too). I'm also a rational kind of person, which is why I felt like making this last attempt, despite it may get me possibly even more unpopular across your community.

It's the last time I write about all this, I promise, but please allow it to get through, that's all I'm asking: a proper discussion to clarify each of the participants' points of view.

So, I had invested time and effort to develop something that could be very well seen as a "reincarnation" of PokerTH, the sole big problem, in the eyes of the existing community, being that it's a completely separate product, independent from the existing codebase, database, and users' base. I did that to try and get the two products (the "classic" and the "new") to coexist, but the "new" was almost completely ignored. Sure I didn't do much to "advertise" it across these same boards, or in the PokerTH lobby and in-game chat, because I didn't want to sound obnoxious. And maybe that's what didn't work in the first place, too little players were informed about what I did.

It was called HoldEmFree, it currently rests in peace, sleeping in my back-up copies on my local PC. It looked like this (and yeah, I'm really bad at promoting something, I should have shown a video with some actual gameplay instead of putting a link people may have feared to click on:

Accessing the site right now is no use: it's no longer listening, it's no longer existing on the internet. It's been there over a year and a half, and collected a handful of players who hardly ever found any other humans online at the same time to actually try playing together. It offered AI players to fill tables, which is what you see in the video, but despite them sporting proper names and playing styles, of course that's nothing like having real people to confront.

HoldEmFree was a web application, it needed no installation, just registration with a username and a password and you were good to go. It featured tournaments and ranking tournaments just like PokerTH, plus cash games (for play money, not real money), pot-limit games, mixed forms (pre-flop pot-limit, no limit after the flop), up to some fun/fancy options like having short player-specific sounds (to upload in MP3 format) that players could play at a table, and an option to "reset" an account's statistics without having to re-register a new account, to get rid of a bad run and try to escalate rankings. Also, it had the option to reduce variance in games by running boards (or just the turn/river, or the sole river) two or three times instead of just one. This was a choice made by the player who held the best hand at any given stage, it was limited to twice per player in tournaments and cash sessions (so it wouldn't make tournaments last a lot longer, just a little bit longer), and would absolutely discourage pre-flop all-in play with any two cards because, if the player holding the best hand picked the "run it three times" option, the inferior hand would have to win multiple times, not just once, which, as you can imagine, makes the entire challenge/joke a lot less meaningful.

Now my question is: judging from the above video, did it look horrible, disquieting, uncomfortable? I did my best to make it look good and feel comfortable, but I may have failed there, so that's one of my questions ahead of all else.

And then, here's a couple of proposals to try and "save" this wasted work and possibly give it some sort of future. It cannot stay online with no activity because it makes no sense and would also cost me some (real, not play) money. I may:

1) bring it back on as long as enough players manifest intentions to meet there together and give it a go, or at least play with some AI fillers to check out how the game engine works on their devices and their personal taste: of course it's very different from PokerTH, the pace is a little slower, and data transport occurs via HTTPS which has its own times, so it might feel a little less "snappy" than a native application like PokerTH - on the other hand, this is what makes it possible to play it on tablets (including Apple tablets) as it is: the differences in feeling would totally warrant never abandoning PokerTH, even should part of the users migrate there or just keep using both;

2) if you really don't trust me, I can release the source code, which includes the entire HTTPD server, and the game engine itself, and hope it can serve as a possible successor to PokerTH. I know and you know how there are a lot of troubles finding competent developers for PokerTH because... er... I guess nobody really invests enough time to figure out how the existing codebase - which is VERY fragmented and labyrinthic - actually works. It's not been coded badly, don't get me wrong: it's been coded very professionally, which is ALSO its problem; it's well-organized in terms of separation of concerns, to the point that it gives incompetent programmers (among which, to some extent, me) bad feelings of getting just lost in the myriad of files they'd have to go through in order to change something SIGNIFICANT, other than minor bugfixing and adding some protection features. In case of HoldEmFree, its gaming engine is a single, 10000-line file, where the entire game dynamics, card shuffling and deal, A.I. management, is contained. There are another half dozen shorter ECMAscript files handling user registration, login and in-game chat communication, but the entire game logics is stuffed into that one file, and that's written in asynchronous ECMAscript, which can provoke its own headaches but is still, probably, a lot easier to deal with than C++. If not significantly less complex, it's certainly a little more readable to human eyes. On top of all, its codebase has an active developer aware of its workings: me.

So, do we give this thing one more shot, would you be interested in seeing it up and running again, or do we scrap the idea one last time and let it rest in peace, hoping someone will one day join here with the intention and competence to rescue the existing PokerTH and let it evolve? Because as it stands, mine's a proposal, the other's just a hope. Which I'd TOTALLY share with you, eh? It's not that I've built my own game engine from scratch because I didn't want PokerTH to evolve, but rather because I'd find it more convenient to give it a successor. The community, this site, can stay the same, link there, or provide their own space to host the other engine. As the staff would find more convenient. The community isn't in danger and I pose no danger, just proposals.

Side note: yeah, you know, I'm not very well-tempered, I can be emotional, but I never detest something perpetually, I know I'm incapable of that. I flare up, sometimes against the server, fate, the poker gods, and after 5 minutes it's all gone and I just find myself calling me names. Rinse and repeat, that's how I badly function, but as Doug Adams famously said... I'm mostly harmless. It's never been my intention to give you troubles, the least "altruistic" aspect I could find in my adventure was to get some donations going to support the server and keep my hobby project somewhat (even minimallly) profitable.

That's the whole truth, and you might know it's the whole truth.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Emmeler, boehmi, sp0ck, Ingolf17, All Inn IDOIT, drake

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19 Sep 2020 19:59 #47748 by sp0ck
sp0ck replied.
Hi Furrball,

there is no need to apologise at all.

I honestly wasn't really aware of you setting up a server and an html client.

It would have been great if you'd have addressed the dev-team directly during the process, as one of our important goals is a future client based on html5 - keeping the existent server though.

But ok - you did something alone, which looks really great and seems to be quite complete in itself - and you're dissapointed that it did not work out as expected - if I get that right?

I'm not sure what you should do with your project and/or code. Maybe you are up for sharing some parts and getting into a more direct dialogue with the dev-team?

Kind regards
The following user(s) said Thank You: boehmi, All Inn IDOIT, Furrball

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19 Sep 2020 22:44 - 19 Sep 2020 22:47 #47751 by Furrball
Furrball replied.
I'm disappointed because people from here were not interested in what I did, possibly scared because it'd disrupt their community, but I never meant my "product" to be a replacement for the community, just a clone of PokerTH. Something that could even be called PokerTH 2.0 and doesn't really need to bear its own name: obviously, I called it in a different way because I wouldn't want to steal your name. On the homepage of its server, however, I did mention it was "inspired by PokerTH".

What I've been doing there is an all-in-one based on a different game server, though: it has its back-end server, which, apart from handling player interactions and game dynamics, also serves HTTP static elements (html, images, javascripts, audio files, avatars and all).

It can potentially be brought to integrate with this community, though, for example by making it output log files for games that share the exact same format to those produced by PokerTH.

As for using it as a CLIENT for PokerTH, I'd find that possibility much less convenient, because it supports game formulas beyond those of PokerTH: it allows joining and leaving cash tables, pot-limit play and other stuff that would be lost in the "reduction" of the mere user interface to work with PokerTH. It's certainly possible, but it'd mean "downgrading" the whole thing in most of the aspects that PokerTH doesn't support, server-side, but that several players might like as novelties.

Ultimately, I just wanted to try and give PokerTH a candidate successor, but I've been mentioning it three or four times on these boards, especially in reply to feature requests, and sometimes pointed friends there in the lobby chat. The outcome was sadly disappointing: they'd mostly ignore the link. Some had created accounts on my server but then hardly ever came back. It's ok, I just wanted them to know how it worked and ask their feedback on what was looking or feeling "wrong enough" to make them feel little to no interest for my alternative.

Again, I'm assuming they're just scared that I'd be "stealing" people from their community, but I never intended to. My site didn't even have a discussion board, it was just a stand-alone web application to play money-free online poker.

I can bring the site back up so you can see it in action, if you're interested: I guess being part of the local staff, your opinion might be more important than that of a few random friends I had brought there.

I could do adaptations to my "thing" to make it a little more "compatible" with PokerTH community events, such as making it output those logs, and add specific options and features if requested to. But I can't help the existing PokerTH server to "fit" my own client user interface, and again, I'd find that a not-so-smart move, because my own server is already more flexible in terms of gaming dynamics.

If you need to see and try it in action, I can re-create a Linode and tie it back to its original domain name, bringing it back online, for a start.
The following user(s) said Thank You: All Inn IDOIT

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20 Sep 2020 03:07 #47755 by Njet
Njet replied.
First of all, what's shown in the video looks great and if I remember it right what you said about different modes and stuff like that I would say it's a more extensive poker software in comparison to PokerTh and worth a watch for players and worth a retry for you.

With that being said it seems like you don't see certain things: this community isn't that big, only a few hundreds are really active and most players come here to play some games and nothing more. There isn't really any high potential for what you look for - tests opinions and conversions.

Second: it's not realistic to think that your project and PokerTh could co-exist with a shared community and you yourself call it a successor for a reason. With a shared community both would be competitors within it with your project probably swallowing up PokerTh at some point because of it being the 'superior' software and with seperated communites both were just usual competitors so in both cases it would be understandable if people saw your promotions here as disruptive behaviour. They are in a way.

It's a good idea to see if you and the PokerTh team find together and if you don't try it on your own and learn some marketing. ;)
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20 Sep 2020 04:43 - 20 Sep 2020 04:52 #47756 by Furrball
Furrball replied.
Well, as I said, mine was a shot at improving PokerTH by presenting an alternative that runs in a browser, allows "cash" games and those two "magic chips" in ranking tournaments to let the holder of the best hand to run multiple boards/turns/rivers in critical all-in situations, and avoid frustration connected with being eliminated in the tourney's early stages by a lucky 4-outer.

You may be right when you point out there isn't much potential because not many are thrilled to play online poker without real money, so, albeit I find that a pessimistic view, I reckon the possibility it could become a mutually exclusive "niche". But even so, if my intention was that of disturbing this very site, hosting the forums, rankings, cups and players' communication, I'd have replicated something similar on my side, which I never did and would never do. This community lives here and I'm totally fine with that. I'm just proposing a "software upgrade", in the long run. In the short-term, all I'd ever wanted was for some players to give my version a try.

And it's not been a preference for me to write a new iteration of something like PokerTH, it's been pretty much because I wouldn't be capable of improving the existing codebase to allow everything I wanted. Javascript is just easier to code and maintain.

About collaborating, I can do what I'd be asked to on my side, but I'd find confusing and difficult to help with someone else's existing code. In short, I may agree to changing holdemfree, making it opensource, whatever... just wouldn't find the time and willpower to ALSO take care of this side.

And yes, marketing is definitely not for me, I'm a disaster... ^^

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