Archive for the ‘Opportunities To Help’ Category

Theatre Chat Stress Test Update

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Unfortunately, I was the only one stressed during our live stress test of the Theatre Chat system in Steampunk Road. Perhaps we picked a bad time? We will give it another go sometime in the future. In the meantime, feel free to try out the chat stress-free.

Theatre Chat Stress Test Update

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

This is a reminder that we will be performing stress tests on our Theatre Chat subsystem tomorrow and that we absolutely need your help to accomplish this. We regret that we will not be available for the 4 PM UTC/12 noon EDT Friday, August 23 stress test. Please do participate in that chat if you can not participate in the later chat. Otherwise, please join us for the 2 AM UTC Saturday, August 23/10 PM EDT Friday, August 23 stress test, which we will be attending. See this post for more information on how to participate. Thanks again for you assistance, and we hope to chat with you online tomorrow!

Lost In Translation

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

You may have noticed the foreign languages at the bottom of the home screen of Steampunk Road: German, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, and Portuguese. If you select one of these languages, you will see most of the menus in that language.

We write “most” because far from all of Steampunk Road has been translated. Our translation method consists of putting words and phrases into Google Translate and then working back and forth between English and the other language until we appear to have a stable translation. We are still not certain about “Russian”, a surprisingly difficult word to translate into Russian. And ask us sometime about the joys of trying to write Cyrillic in PHP.

We would like to add Chinese to the list, but we decided to stick to languages that 1) we could actually see their words’ connection to their English counterparts, and that 2) read from left to right. We don’t want to end up like all of those people with tattoos on the Internet who have no idea what they really say.

In short, translation is a very time-consuming task. We can not afford to purchase help from a translation service. So our choices are: English-only, the time-consuming Google Translate and a limited number of languages, or volunteers. If you have a passion for translation and want to help out in the language of your choice, drop us a line at Thanks!

Theatre Chat

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

First off, here is a really simple opportunity for you to help out. We need to test our browser-based chat system under as heavy a load as we can wrangle up. We will have two test sessions. The first session will be at 4 PM UTC (12 noon EDT) on Friday, August 23. The second will be at 2 AM UTC on Saturday, August 24 (which is 10 PM EDT, Friday, August 23). Use your favorite online world time converter to find those times in your neck of the woods (EDT = Eastern Daylight Saving Time = New York, USA time).

You will need to do the following to help us test the chat:

  1. Login to Steampunk Road
  2. Launch your vessel (using “Set Destination”) if you are currently docked (stationary)
    (This is very important. Different chats take place in different ports. We want everybody on the “Travel Chatter” chat used for those in transit, because the more the merrier.)
  3. Click the “Chat” button.

“Theatre Chat” is our unique chat system that addresses a problem frequently encountered with other chat clients. When engaging in a chat with a featured guest, you want to focus on what the featured guest has to say. Whereas there are methods to highlight certain speakers’ text in other chat clients, they are often ad hoc and rely upon the cooperation of everyone involved.

Even with highlighting in place, it is too easy for the featured speaker’s posts to get lost among the chatter of the other people attending. “Theatre Chat” solves this problem by dividing the chat into two parts: the stage and the (peanut) gallery. Featured speakers, known as “actors”, have their text appear on the stage: Everyone else is a “guest”, and their posts go to the gallery. In this way, important dialog is kept separate from the less-important (but usually equally entertaining) side conversations. What is more, only actors have access to HTML features that can be useful in the right hands but annoying or dangerous in the wrong hands.

“Theatre Chat” is available for use outside of Steampunk Road as a drop-in feature for any web site. Make inquiries here in the comments, in the forums, drop us a line, or just ask in the chat while we are testing. See you there and then, and thank you for your assistance!