Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Beta 19

Solitaire Till Dawn BETA 19 is now available from our Beta Program page.

This release fixes two more situations in which a crash or freeze could occur during normal play.

There may still be an unfixed crashing bug. I can't be certain because it is getting harder to reliably cause a crash to happen; and if I can't make a crash happen in my testing, of course I can't tell whether whether I've fixed it. If you see a crash in b19, please do let me know, and please send along the crash report. (To send a crash report, copy all that text out of the crash window and paste it into your bug report. Thanks!)

In addition, b19 fixes two occurrences of the "blank white card" bug (one of which only happened with Apple's as-yet-unreleased Yosemite version of OS X); and it takes extra care to restore the mouse cursor to the proper pointer shape when you return the mouse to the game area; and it makes some minor cosmetic improvements to the status bar, including a larger and more noticeable "big red X" to mark a stuck game.

Expiration Dates
By now most of you are familiar with the way each beta will expire on a given date. If you're wondering why, there are two simple reasons. The first is that I don't want to continue receiving bug reports for bugs in old betas that have already been fixed in later betas; that would waste far too much of my time (and yours). The second reason, obviously, is that I will be selling Solitaire Till Dawn for money when it's ready, so I don't want to leave working, cost-free copies out in the world.

But we have some new participants in this beta program, so I'd like to make two points clear to everyone:

  • When the finished version is available for purchase, it will not have an expiration date.
  • Until the finished version is available for purchase, I will continue to make time-limited free versions available.

So you won't have to do without Solitaire Till Dawn, even when I'm done fixing bugs; there won't be any interruption of solitaire service!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


A reminder: Solitaire Till Dawn BETA 18 is now available from our Beta Program page. See the previous post for details.

Apple this week announced Mac OS X 10.10, named "Yosemite". The release is scheduled for sometime this fall, but Apple has made a beta version available to developers. Of course we all want Solitaire Till Dawn to work with the latest Apple software, so I have installed the Yosemite beta on a spare partition, and begun testing Solitaire Till Dawn b18 on Yosemite.

The Good News
It mostly works. You can definitely sit right down and play your favorite game. Although I haven't had time yet for comprehensive testing, all features seem to be basically working.

The Bad News
I have found a couple of obvious bugs. I've added them to the bug list. (To see Yosemite-specific bugs, visit the Bug List page and search for Yosemite.) I'm also going to describe them here for you because I don't want a flood of bug reports telling me things I already know. Here they are:

Bug 89: Phantom Dragged Card
Update: I've got this one fixed for b19. When dragging a card, a blank white card will appear and chase along behind the card or cards you're dragging. If you pause while dragging, it will catch up and disappear behind the dragged cards, only to reappear and resume chasing when you resume dragging. It will disappear when you drop the dragged cards.

Bug 90: Gray Text in the Status Bar
The text should be black, of course.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Beta 18: Scrunching Begone

Solitaire Till Dawn BETA 18 is now available from our Beta Program page.

Judging from my email, ALL of you noticed a b17 bug that I missed: when you click the New Game button, the vertical card fans are often "scrunched" up tight, making it hard to see what cards are in the fan. (I was bemused to see how many of you used the word "scrunched".) Some of you figured out that adjusting the window size, even a little, would temporarily fix the problem. This was Bug ID 88.

Beta 18 should fix the issue permanently, and make real the promise of b17, that screen space would be put to better use to allow larger cards and longer fans. Hopefully I got it right this time.

Freezes and Crashes
I've had a number of reports recently of freezes and crashes, usually after lots of undoing. I have found and fixed a bug that would cause that behavior, so that's good. But I am not certain that this was the only problem, so if you get more crashes or freezes, let me know! I've left Bug ID 86 listed as "unfixed" in case this happens, and created bug ID 87 for this specific issue and marked that one as "fixed".

If we get lucky and see no more of this behavior, I'll eventually mark the less-specific bug 86 as "fixed" as well. Of course if we aren't lucky, I'll fix the additional problems first and then mark 86 as "fixed".

Stopping a run-away Undo
In the old Solitaire Till Dawn, if you clicked "Undo to Snapshot" or "Redo to Snapshot" and then wanted to stop the replay before it stopped on its own, you could stop it by clicking anywhere in the game window, including the toolbar. That's because back then, the toolbar was really a part of the game window. In this new version, I am using the standard OS X toolbar (for lots of really good reasons), but the drawback is that I cannot detect clicks in the toolbar itself; only clicks on its buttons. This means that you can't stop replay by clicking in any random part of the toolbar, and there's nothing I can do to change that. However…

A lot of you have been trying to stop replay by clicking the Redo (or Undo) button, and this is one of the ways to provoke the crash mentioned above. Beta 18 will now allow you to stop replay (safely!) in this way. But I'd like to remind you all that you can also stop replay by clicking anywhere in the playing area of the window, or by pressing any key! That's always been true, and has never changed.

Empty Piles and Card Highlighting
Many have reported that if you resize the window or choose a different card size, the empty foundations in games like Canfield would lose their markings, and the highlighted cards would lose their highlights. I never got around to giving this one a bug ID, but it's fixed in b18.

Game Numbers
One alert user (thank you!) found a case where a game number from the old version of Solitaire Till Dawn produced a different game in the beta (bug ID 63). While this is not an issue that many people will care about, I'm glad to report that it's fixed in b18.

Other Changes
…are mostly minor cosmetic issues. For example, the old shark-and-cards icon was still visible in a lot of places, and these have now mostly been updated to the new icon. (You can still see the old icon in some of the Help pages and in the Tour. I'll get those updated too, sometime before we ship.)