Oclock Story by Florianer

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    • Oclock Story by Florianer

      Hey fellow OGame player, Florianer here!

      If you don’t know me, that’s maybe a good starting point: youtube.com/watch?v=mvUvCyJPBB8
      Some WeTeHa guy told me to give you an insight in the new features OClock and the Beta Feature System. Wow, that’s a long story…
      It started like all of you experienced – I sent out my save fleet, logged in at arrival time and all is gone! “What the … why? And why again?! Oh, damn it! No resources left, even the debris field is gone!” Checking the messages shows where my pain is coming from. I messed up the fleet speed and missed the early arrival. Or: I did not mess up, but was busy with meetings, coding OGame, trying to find the newest random bug QA just brought up – and totally forgot the time. Hell no, not again. So I started to set an alarm on my smartphone. But even that was something I regularly forgot to do, because it is not in the game and kinda a 3rd party tool.
      To slightly alter a famous quote: “And thank God I‘m not only watching the game, I‘m controlling it“ I had the idea of the OClock. After the OGame round table at Saturday, 10th of December 2016 (holy moly, told you, long story, according to my calendar) I told some of the stuff about this idea. I got positive feedback and on Monday I pitched this idea to WeTeHa who directly approved it. Good for me, it was the last working week of the year and all projects and Xmas stuff was done, so I was able to start working on it. After some reading, going through the tutorials I had a working prototype that was able to send push notifications. Tada. Almost there? Not even close. Having a prototype is being far away from production ready. But, the year was over, January knocked on the door and I was told to shift priorities to a new project. Well, new projects never come alone and so we had the funnel optimization and the big Browser Games Lobby, that I hope you also can enjoy. I‘m proud of it and I see a lot more features coming there as well.
      But then it was December 2017 – and I was kinda sad, that there was no time between all the projects to work on the OClock. So I started to look into my old experimental branch and tried to merge the code changes into the latest code base. And all that happened after the end of my working day. Here a half hour, there 80 minutes. All depending when my sports started or if my family was not yet at home and nobody missed me to my wife and my 3 kids. I know what I wanted to achieve: Push notifications to get me notified to log in and save my fleet.
      Okay, sending out those notifications worked in an acceptable way and showed up on my Ubuntu desktop initialized by Google Chrome and on my Android phone. I started to build some GUI to add and list OClock entries in an OGame fashion. I had settings to grant push notification permissions, the more or less undocumented “auto offset” feature, the list and some filter buttons. Right now you will find a Minimize button – I had in mind to let you open the OClock and have it automatically visible on every page with this minimize option. I also discussed the OClock in my team. As a feedback I decided to only open the OClock after clicking on the new main menu button. After all the changes I did in my spare time, I also abused my fellow developers to have a look on the code – code reviews are mandatory and no code gets into the development/release branch without a review. Oh man. It was still a nice looking prototype with some clean ups. But this code review resulted in 52 annotations I had to fix prior to get the merge request approved.
      Feature pushnotifications → release/6.7.1
      Florian Mycka - #310, last change 24 Apr. 2018
      From this point on, my OClock code was in production, but still not usable. Getting a code review and a pull request approved does not imply to get it approved from QA. My fault – my documentation was all in my head. So QA found time to look over it, but did not approve it.
      “Hmm, how to get a feature online, that is tested but not fully approved?!” I asked myself. I had an idea in mind, talked to Piink and it was settled. I added the Beta Feature System. You can read the long wall of text for this feature in your account settings, if the Beta Feature System is enabled on your game round. It simply tells you that a Beta Feature is working, should not break the game balance, but may not use proper localized text, images or styling. I’m really passionate about OGame and want to use this system to bring features to you before they are finished. You can have a look outside of the public test servers (pioneers.ogame.gameforge.com) and vote for an idea. I hope, that if an idea gets lots of up votes, we form a real project out of it and re-work/polish/finish it like every other feature in the game.
      I did some more smaller changes:
      OGAME-2268 Fix OClock & ACS →release/6.7.1
      Florian Mycka - #357, last change 17 Jul. 2018

      OGAME-2347 Fix oclock fatal errors from error log and update CliColors calls as PBU preparation →release/6.7.1
      Florian Mycka - #361, last change 26 Jul. 2018
      Oh, and I wrote a nice little documentation with pictures and arrows and colors showing and explaining what the Beta Feature System and the OClock is and how it works. And by telling more and more people that I have something kinda production ready, more and more people started supporting me and now it is announced for PTS and hopefully soon available on live servers.
      What is planned? Besides a new 2-in-1 feature I’m working in another experimental branch and an idea on my whiteboard since … 6.3.0 ?! I may add some more nifty shortcuts for the OClock. You remember the “undocumented auto offset”? Well, pretty simple. Send away a fleet and look at the event bar. You will find a little new clock symbol. By clicking on that, the fleet’s information is automatically added to your OClock entries. The notification will be sent out at the fleet’s arrival time unless you set the offset to, let’s say 5, and the notification will be send out 5 minutes before the fleet’s arrival. Cool and helpful? But getting such an icon for buildings or researches on the queue boxes would be nice, right? More settings, more OClock, more features! I hope to bring you more useful stuff in the future – even if I need to build them over such a long period in my spare time.
      For Legor! For OGame! For YOU!