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Stackana Game - Now Improved

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Stackana Game - Now Improved

Postby BenGoh » Sat 02.21.2009 2:47 pm

It has been three weeks since I first put Stackana online, during this period main part of my time was spent on my day job, and the rest on fine tuning Stackana while striving to maintain a healthy work-life balance. I have had feedbacks coming from various aspects, the following enhancement is based one of such requests...

On a system that does not have Japanese font installed, one cannot play Stackana, for it will not display correctly. The enhanced Stackana changes this by streaming Japanese font to user's machine so that kana characters can be displayed. Streaming font also brings another plus point in which the visual of Stackana can be rendered in a more predictable manner.

Illustrated below is the difference between default font (Gothic) and enhanced font (Meiryo):

Image

As can be seen, Meiryo font makes kana characters that much clearer (notice how dakuten markers are more refined).

:arrow: So head over and try out the new and enhanced Stackana now! :D
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Re: Stackana Game - Now Improved

Postby Sairana » Sat 02.21.2009 5:15 pm

Overall, I think it's a great little program. I have a few questions/comments:

I still find it hard to tell the difference on the tenten against the colored background on the gameboard, although they are definitely clearer in the kana selection list, and while they are falling (white text on black background really makes them visible). But unless one kana with a dakuten and one with a handakuten are next to each other, I really have to squint to tell which it is. Maybe my eyes are just bad... but if other people still have this problem, I'd suggest a starker contrast. Maybe bright/bold primary colors with white text? Or just a slightly bigger scale all around (not sure the work involved in that).

Was there a reason you picked kunrei siki over hepburn romanization? I ask because I think most beginners in Japanese are probably more familiar with hepburn, and it's my opinion that hepburn helps promote more accurate pronunciation. Chi instead of ti, for instance.

Feature request: In the "Next Block:" dialog, it always shows both the kana and the romaji equivalent. That's good for people just starting out, so I'm not suggesting you change that completely. But can you add a toggle or an advanced mode that makes the dialog just show the next block's contents, but NOT its mate?

Another request: Is it possible to add a "starting speed" slider? Something on the order of a level select.
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Re: Stackana Game - Now Improved

Postby BenGoh » Sun 02.22.2009 2:52 am

First of all, thank you for taking time to give these feedbacks, Sairana. It is very much appreciated. :)

Ever since the first game block showed up on my screen six weeks ago, I have been trying to make them clearer on each attempt. After all, people who play this game are not likely to read Japanese characters well. However, I needed to trade this off with limited display area I have (Stackana is designed to be a web widget and have a minimum width of 150 pixels wide).

Since you brought up this issue, I tend to believe it can be a potential problem for other users as well. So I will take your suggestion and work on it (most likely enlarge the block size and reduce the number of columns by one). If the font size is the same as kana selection list then it should do well.

As for “Kunrei-shiki vs. Hepburn ”, there was no special reason I picked Hepburn. But after a bit of researching, I guess you are right: I should really be using Kunrei-shiki for Stackana since it is officially recognized. I will work on this, too.

I like the idea of showing just the next block content instead of its equivalent in romaji. That can definitely be accommodated, together with adjustable “starting speed”.

Thanks again for posting these valuable feedbacks; they surely have made a positive impact on Stackana development! :D
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Re: Stackana Game - Now Improved

Postby furrykef » Sun 02.22.2009 4:58 am

BenGoh wrote:As for “Kunrei-shiki vs. Hepburn ”, there was no special reason I picked Hepburn. But after a bit of researching, I guess you are right: I should really be using Kunrei-shiki for Stackana since it is officially recognized. I will work on this, too.


You've got it backwards: your program uses Kunrei-shiki, not Hepburn. Kunrei-shiki is indeed the officially recognized style in Japan, but it's not commonly used; Hepburn is more common both in and outside Japan, as it reflects the pronunciation better from an English speaker's point of view.

There is a small problem with using Hepburn that doesn't exist with using Kunrei-shiki, though: the pairs じ/ぢ and ず/づ are not distinguished in Hepburn -- they're both "ji" and "zu", respectively -- but they are in Kunrei-shiki.

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Re: Stackana Game - Now Improved

Postby BenGoh » Sun 02.22.2009 6:53 am

You are right, Kef. Thanks for pointing that out. :wink:

I have had a quick look at Wikipedia, as both Sairana and yourself pointed out, Hepburn is indeed more widely used in many areas of Japan. So I figure I should be converting to use Hepburn instead. Quoting Wikipedia:

Although Hepburn is not a government standard, some government agencies mandate it. For example, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requires the use of Hepburn on passports, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport requires the use of Hepburn on transport signs, including road signs and railway station signs.

In many other areas where it lacks de jure status, Hepburn remains the de facto standard. Signs and notices in city offices and police stations, at shrines, temples and attractions also use it. English-language newspapers and media use the simplified form of Hepburn. Cities and prefectures use it in information for English-speaking residents and visitors, and English-language publications by the Japanese Foreign Ministry use simplified Hepburn too. Official tourism information put out by the government uses it, as do guidebooks, local and foreign, on Japan.

Many students of Japanese as a foreign language learn Hepburn.
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Re: Stackana Game - Now Improved

Postby richvh » Sun 02.22.2009 9:29 am

He could use "dji" and "dzu", or continue to use "di" and "du", for ぢ and づ to distinguish them from じ and ず (space permitting on the block, of course.)
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Re: Stackana Game - Now Improved

Postby BenGoh » Sat 03.21.2009 4:23 am

Greetings Sairana, Furrykef and Richvh.

I have been hard at work ever since you provided me with generous feedbacks. Among many other priorities, I was able to squeeze time for improvements based on your feedback on this thread. Improvements include the use of Hebon-shiki instead of Kunrei-shiki, and also using larger font size for clarity. Hopefully this change will benefit more people.

Here is the screenshot of the new Stackana game (Beta v0.5), I have even included you guys on the credits! (If I have got your gender wrong, or you want a better display name, feel free to let me know!)

Image


Thanks again for providing feedback, without which Stackana would not be where it is today. :D

Regards,
Ben.
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Re: Stackana Game - Now Improved

Postby Sairana » Sat 03.21.2009 12:31 pm

It's a lot more readable now! I think you have a winner with this. ^_^
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Re: Stackana Game - Now Improved

Postby BenGoh » Sat 03.21.2009 1:04 pm

Thanks. The next revision will include the option to change initial speed and also to turn off the "hint" :)
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Re: Stackana Game - Now Improved

Postby richvh » Sat 03.21.2009 2:03 pm

I think Sairana and furrykef are of the feminine persuasion, but they can correct me if I'm wrong.
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Re: Stackana Game - Now Improved

Postby BenGoh » Sat 03.21.2009 2:24 pm

Yeh, I was wondering but Sairana didn't say anything so I guess I got it right. Anyway, as you recommended I used "dji" and "dzu" while shrinking romaji text size a little. They all fit nicely into the box now :)
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Re: Stackana Game - Now Improved

Postby furrykef » Sat 03.21.2009 5:18 pm

richvh wrote:I think Sairana and furrykef are of the feminine persuasion, but they can correct me if I'm wrong.


Feminine, perhaps, but not female. ;)
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Re: Stackana Game - Now Improved

Postby Sairana » Sat 03.21.2009 9:36 pm

BenGoh wrote:Yeh, I was wondering but Sairana didn't say anything so I guess I got it right. Anyway, as you recommended I used "dji" and "dzu" while shrinking romaji text size a little. They all fit nicely into the box now :)


I think I didn't pay enough attention to notice they were male/female icons. I think I was assuming they were people from different sources or something. My brain isn't fully functional yet -- just getting over a nasty upper respiratory virus. Ick. :P
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Re: Stackana Game - Now Improved

Postby BenGoh » Sun 03.22.2009 6:38 am

So... I guess I got it right, Sairana? :)
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Re: Stackana Game - Now Improved

Postby furrykef » Sun 03.22.2009 9:44 am

BTW, I should point out that it does say "Gender: Male" on my mini profile thingie on the right. (No, I didn't add it just now; it's always said that. :P)
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