Heart Key
I've been slaving away over a hot keyboard doing some coding most of the night, and now I need to go to bed, so I haven't got time to properly introduce Heart Key, but I don't need to say much more than:
  1. Point'n'click adventure game.
  2. Escape the room.
  3. Learn Japanese.
  4. Not necessarily in this order.
[subbed by Electra, Hooper & Anonymous]

Entry 1647, Wednesday, January 18th 2006, Filed In Games

Site Updates
Appologies for the pitiful number of posts today, but I've been busy making some site updates... If you're just here for the games read the short version of what these are, or you could even skip that and get on with some gaming, but if you are a sad g33k, such as myself, read the full version:

Short Version
I've improved the back end of the site so that you should see less error messages (hopefully none at all), and a side effect of this is that you might notice a difference in the way the pages on the site "build" in the browser, especially if you are on a slow connection, or you are viewing a larger page (like one with many comments). That's it.

Full Version
As much as I was blaming the constant error messages on the site on the MS Access database I use for storing all posts and comments (I will move this over to SQL Server one day), in the end I had to admit that some inefficient coding was also to blame, which didn't matter so much back in the day, but now the site traffic is really increasing it was starting to be a real issue.

First task was to move the results of some common database queries into Application variables (thanks to devguru for the reminder on how to use these properly). This cut out at least 3 database queries for every page viewed, less trips to the database = increased efficiency.

Next I cut down on the time recordsets and database connections were open. I think this was the major issue on the site. I did this by loading results of most queries into arrays of objects (see code snippet in the pic above), and then writing out the contents of these to the screen, rather than keeping recordsets and connections open while content was written out.

Finally I did a quick review to make sure all objects, connections, and recordsets were dropped correctly after use. I'm normally quite good at this but there were a couple of major omissions. I also added a few more "Response.flush" commands to make sure more content gets to the screen when it is available, so screen content starts building quicker on the browser even if the whole page isn't ready.

That really is it. If you spot any issues let me know, I've already spotted, and corrected, a couple of bloopers, like the comments coming out in the wrong order (all those "first!" comments were showing "last!"), but any feedback you have would be handy. For now, it's no more coding in the evening for me, I need my sleep.


Entry 1646, Wednesday, January 18th 2006, Filed In Diary

Cannibal Escape
I'm not sure why Cannibal Escape is named as such, but I haven't played this too much of this point'n'click adventure yet, so perhaps it will become obvious. The skelton hanging on the wall is a bit suspicious though. Anyway, whatever, enjoy Cannibal Escape which I would subtitle "Escape The Prison-cum-Library". A barred window and a skeleton in the same room as bookshelves? What's that all about? [subbed by nimmersatt].

Entry 1645, Tuesday, January 17th 2006, Filed In Games

Kongbai2000 might have a strange name, but the game play is familiar, point'n'click around the room to find and combine objects, learn Chinese (I think that's right), and then try to escape [subbed by jenz].

Entry 1644, Tuesday, January 17th 2006, Filed In Games

Deal Or No Deal
Unfortunately the Deal Or No Deal game is based on the TV quiz show shown on ABC in the US, rather than the UK afternoon show, which means no Noel Edmunds, but at least there is the same gameplay from the TV show. I don't think the web game captures the atmosphere of the show, give it a try though, but make sure you catch the TV show at some point. It's addictive, and it means Noel Edmunds will be making his way back to prime time TV soon (yeah!). As it's on in the afternoon it also means finishing work early to watch it ;o) [subbed by adam].

Entry 1643, Tuesday, January 17th 2006, Filed In Games

Big Red Button
Big Red Button is a real point'n'click game if ever I saw one. Easy, addictive and frustrating all rolled into one. Who could ask for more? Remember though, I didn't make the game... I'm only telling you where it is, so don't shoot the messenger. Who'll have the patience to complete it? [subbed by Scottish Graeme]

Note: I hope I'm not giving too much away when I say there is no end to the game, before you go mad, or your clicking finger drops off, or you feel the need to beat me to a bloody pulp.

Entry 1642, Tuesday, January 17th 2006, Filed In Games

We're oh so artistic today, now we've made our Picassohead, we move on to explore the world of Dali, a point and click trip around the work of the great man, not really a game, but a fun thing none the less [subbed by mountain girl].

Entry 1641, Tuesday, January 17th 2006, Filed In Stuff

Mr Picassohead
Express your artistic side, or try to find one if you don't have one, with Mr Picassohead, where Mr Potatohead meets Picasso. I'm sure I saw this ages ago, but I was actually reminded of it whilst I was watching "click" on BBC News 24. Yes, my name is Graeme, and when I'm not building intranets all day, or updating lazylaces, I watch TV programmes about the internet. I really must get out more...

Entry 1640, Tuesday, January 17th 2006, Filed In Stuff

Between Something And Nothing
If you puzzle fans can rip yourselves away from Qwyzzle for 5 minutes, I recommend checking out Between Something And Nothing, a new puzzle of 35 levels for you to ponder your way through. Enjoy [subbed, and partially created by, grant].

Entry 1639, Monday, January 16th 2006, Filed In Games

The Tower
Click on the twirly arrows in The Tower to experience the joys of motion sickness. I'm sure there's some other point to this point'n'click, but I'm too dizzy to work it out [subbed by hooper].

Entry 1638, Monday, January 16th 2006, Filed In Games

eSCaPe Game
If point'n'click adventure graphics get any more minimal than in eSCaPe Game we'll soon be playing text based point'n'click games... hmmmm...would that even work? [subbed by anonymous]

Entry 1637, Monday, January 16th 2006, Filed In Games

Who Is Benjamin Stove?
Rumour has it that the "Who Is Benjamin Stove?" blog is the jump of point for a major new ARG. It's just a rumor though. But that is the way of these things. If you have acres of free time or you love a good conspiracy click here now... see you in a few months time [subbed by Genjamin]

Entry 1636, Monday, January 16th 2006, Filed In Games

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