Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Beta 17: Bigger Cards

Solitaire Till Dawn BETA 17 is now available from our Beta Program page.

What's New

I have been nearly drowned in requests for larger cards and better use of screen space. This release should provide that, in many if not all cases. The significant change is that downward fans are now allowed to extend all the way to the bottom of the window and if necessary, even below the bottom of the window (but never so far that you can't clearly see or click on all the cards).

If that doesn't quite make sense, just try it: download b17, and try selecting a larger card size in each game that you play. That's important: you may not see a change unless you request a larger card size! To ask for larger cards, look at the card size menu (Decor > Card Size) and choose something larger than your current size. I recommend simply asking for the largest size ("Huge"); if that won't fit, Solitaire Till Dawn will give you the largest size that will fit your screen.

That lets Solitaire Till Dawn make better use of vertical space. There is also a small change to the use of horizontal space: I've added about 10 more pixels of horizontal space between the cards and the game drawer tabs on the left side of the window, by popular request. This means that every game will require that much more horizontal space. If you have a game window that is already using the maximum width of your screen, it's possible that this small expansion will mean that the card size you were using will no longer fit, and you will have to use a smaller card size. I think that's unlikely to happen. But if it does, please try selecting a larger card size just to be sure. If that doesn't work and you are still stuck with smaller cards, let me know and tell me which game you were playing and what size screen you have, please.

In addition to the card size changes, b17 includes a fair-sized list of less-obvious improvements and bug fixes which you can read about in the Read Me file that comes with the download.

Known Bugs

I am aware from your bug reports (thank you!) that a crash can occur during normal play. This is now Bug ID 86. Normally I would try to fix such a bug before bringing out a new release, but I want to make b17 available well before b16 expires at the end of May. I will do my best to fix this issue for b18.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Beta 16

Solitaire Till Dawn BETA 16 is now available from our Beta Program page.

This release contains some important improvements, along with a list of smaller stuff, as follows:

Snow Leopard Again
With beta 15 I thought I had restored Snow Leopard compatibility, but a lot of you still had serious problems. I've been able to reproduce and study those problems, and I think I have them fixed. Snow Leopard users, please try b15 and let me know how it goes. I wouldn't be surprised if you found some small bugs (I found and fixed a few already) but you should now be able to actually play solitaire again!

"Skip Long Animations" is back
In fact, it's better than before. The Miscellaneous tab in the Preferences window now lets you choose from three levels of animation: Show all animations, Skip long animations, and Skip more animations. The third option not only skips the longer animations when you deal, it also suppresses the "riffle" effect when you're dealing in games like Klondike and Canfield.

Bug 77: Responsiveness
Some games were kind of sluggish in some ways. TriPeaks was one example: after dealing a new card, it was noticeably slow in updating the available-card highlighting. Beta 16 should now be properly responsive.

Bug 76 and 78: Status Bar Stuff
Resizing the status bar tended to make fields overlap, cut them short, and make the font-size buttons stop working correctly. This should now all be fixed. 

Bugs 22, 81, 84: Detecting stuck games, and early wins
The games The Towers and Manx should no longer tell you you're stuck in certain situations when you really aren't stuck. And a long list of games (see the Read Me file in the b16 download for the list) should now correctly report early wins in more situations.

As always, please download, try it out, and let me know how it goes! And remember: when you send me a bug report, please mention which version of Solitaire Till Dawn you are using, and which version of Mac OS X you are running. Thanks!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

I need help with Snow Leopard!

Thanks, gang! I think I've got this one licked now. I won't need any more reports like these.

I have a Snow Leopard (that is, Mac OS X 10.6.8) machine which I use for testing Solitaire Till Dawn. The latest release, b15, works fine on that machine. But I have email from a number of you saying that it is not working on your own Snow Leopard machines.

If you have Snow Leopard, I would be very grateful if you would do these things for me:

1. Make sure you have the b15 version. (If not, download it here.)
2. Try to run it; see whether it works or not.
3. Select About This Mac from the Apple menu, and look at the line labeled "Processor".
4. Send me a message: tell what your processor is, and whether or not Solitaire Till Dawn works on that machine.

You don't have to be in Solitaire Till Dawn when you select About This Mac. As an example, on my own machine the About This Mac display says:

Processor   2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo

The usual failure behavior seems to be that two windows open instead of just one. One of them is blank; the other shows a game layout. Both windows show the beta disclaimer. Neither window allows you to play solitaire. If you are seeing a different kind of failure, please also tell me about that.

I'd really like to get this fixed. But it's hard to fix a bug if it won't actually fail when I'm watching it; and on my machine, it doesn't fail. So any information you can send will be useful.