Clean Talk Anti-Spam to the Rescue

Clean Talk Anti-Spam to the Rescue

I don’t normally add non Taoex specific posts to this site, but I am so grateful to Clean Talk for helping me battle the spammers who were blowing up my inbox with unwanted porn promotions and God only knows what else. As if this wasn’t bad enough the site was constantly getting hammered with spambot hits scraping my content, messing up my analytics and looking for JavaScript vulnerabilities to name but a few of their nefarious activities.

Today alone my site had 523 attempts blocked by the Clean Talk firewall system that employs a Cloud based Anti-spam service that helps keep your site bot free without the aid of Catcha. No questions to answer, no identifying pictures, no puzzles as this plugin just runs in the background and it is compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU). As if all of that weren’t enough this Anti-spam plugin for WordPress sites works with many of the more popular form plugins like Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, Ninja Forms and Formidable Form Builder to name but a few.

Some of the other popular WordPress based plugins that Clean Talk supports are WooCommerce, Elementor and bbPress registrations, logins, forums, topics, and replies (very handy indeed).

After signing up for their Free Trial for my badly abused site I saw quite quickly just how beneficial this system was and without even waiting 24 hours I signed up for their 10-site package and added to another 7 of my self-hosted WordPress sites and then added 2 popular client sites that I knew were getting excessive amounts of email spam to round out my 10-site subscription. To make things even better, because I signed up for the 10-site package right away, the good folks at CleanTalk Inc. a Nevada based company, gave me the bonus of an additional year of service for free. A win-win situation.

Within a few days of using their Anti-spam plugin I also bought their 10-site Security package which is providing protection for things like Brute-force attacks, Malware and more.
If you run any self hosted WordPress sites I highly recommend signing up for the Clean Talk services to help protect your site(s) and the visitors who frequent your online businesses, blogs, or informational sites. You won’t regret it and neither will your visitors.

Posted by taoadmin in Site, 0 comments
Taoex Online Has Been Updated to Version 2

Taoex Online Has Been Updated to Version 2

That’s right we have done a bit of upgrading to the online version of the game. We have made it both easier to play and yet harder to win. We have also updated the scoring system to more accurately reflect the offline game.

The way we made it easier to play is by activating path highlighting on enemy tiles and towers. To see if any of your pieces are in danger of being captures simply click on a potential threat to see where  that threat can go on their turn. Or, if a player’s skill level is so good players can now elect to turn off all path highlighting to really test themselves.

We have also turned up the heat a little by adjusting the computer AI to make the computer players more aggressive. Did it really make it that much harder? Well, there is only one way to find out. Take on 4 or 5 computer opponents set to hard AI to test your powers of observation and game acumen.

In the near future we will be releasing a peer to peer version that will be mobile friendly and will connect to the Taoex Club. But for now, one step at a time.

Enjoy the version and let us know what you think.

Posted by taoadmin in news
BCIT Industry Sponsored Student Projects Selected by ISSP Students 2017

BCIT Industry Sponsored Student Projects Selected by ISSP Students 2017

Spring 2017 I was doing demo games of Taoex at Craving for a Game at Central Surrey Mall. One of the players, a clown by the name of Gizmo, suggested that I turn the game into a computer game. A good idea but a costly one I replied. It was at this point in our conversation that he told me about the Industry Sponsored Student Projects run by the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Intrigued, I looked into the program upon returning home.

Navigating the site, I found the appropriate section and learned that for $500 plus tax, businesses could propose projects for the students to work on as part of their studies. For this fee you could get a team of 4 students working on your project, for a total of 400 hours of work during a semester. For this particular program students work on the following project areas and types;

  • Database design and development
  • Technical programming
  • Data communication and inter-networking
  • Client/server computing
  • Systems integration
  • Wireless and mobile applications
  • Network security and administration
  • Computer game design
  • Web-based, object-oriented applications
  • Website design and management
  • Relational database

Having learned that I had just missed the deadline for spring submissions I had the summer to figure out just what to submit and how to frame my proposals for the fall semester. My research had shown me that the competition for the student’s work was high, so I did my research to increase the odds of having my projects selected.

Turns out that the research was well worth it as my 2 projects were selected out of the 26 available slots and there were over 50 projects submitted. If you are going to try to submit projects, you want to research the types of projects the students like to work on and how to present them. Fortunately, the BCIT site does offer some information on what to do to increase your chances.

The first project submitted was for the creation of the Taoex Club. This membership system created by project lead Jack Yang, Rain Ye and Alisa Dai, to allow players to sign up and form teams that could participate in league play. The club administrators would officiate league play through tournaments that members and teams would compete.

Although this team lost a member, dropping them down to the three listed above, early in the semester, the team did quite well and completed most of their objectives. Had they a complete team I am confident that this project would have been completed within the allotted time. To complete this project, I chose to resubmit it for another round of development. With some luck it will get selected by another team in January.

For the second project I submitted my board game Taoex. I was hoping that this challenging development would appeal to the students and would get selected. It was, and I got another good team of students to work on my ISSP. The lead on this project changed a few times but eventually landed to Davis Pham and rounded out with Anthony Wong, Tian Kirkpatrick and Eric Lin.

This team out did themselves as they created a 3D environment in which to play Taoex. They also added some form of AI or artificial intelligence, so that the 2 computer opponents know the value of the game components and act accordingly. Hell, somewhere along the way the computer opponents set traps and wait to spring them. Bravo gentlemen, bravo.

Once again, 1 semester wasn’t enough time to program this entire game in all its complexity but, this team did well, and they are hoping to continue the work next spring. In the meantime, I have resubmitted this project to the BCIT ISSP for another round of development this winter.

Anyway, I recommend the BCIT ISSP program if you are a business looking to have a little custom computer programming done. Also, if you are a charitable organization, if you qualify as such, the $500 fee can be waived. Check them out.

Posted by taoadmin

Taoex Sweatshop Saturday Session June 2017

Saturday, June 10, 2017 we ran a sweatshop session to prepare the next batch of Taoex tiles. I am not sure just how many Jay, Lorne and I did but, it would have been between 1500 to 1700.

About a month ago I poured and set those same fifteen to seventeen hundred tiles. After more than sufficient drying time it was time to sand our second batch of game pieces, fifty at a time.

The day started out to be nice and sunny but before long some clouds rolled in and we opted to set up a tent so that we could finish preparing this batch, get them ready to apply the labels. The labels themselves take about an hour to apply them to make a set. But that is for another time.

Our process for the day had Lorne sitting at the table loading 50 Taoex tiles into these little picture frames I found that allowed for 50 tiles to be sanded flat and level, at a time.

The blue recycling pail on the table holds about 800 of the things and Lorne would spill a bunch out and then turn them logo side down before setting them in the improvised jigs.

Once he has filled a jig I would then put spacers along 1 or 2 sides to hold the tiles tight inside for sanding. I would then take the jig outside and drop it off with Jay so he could then run a belt sander over them.

Our timing was such that by the time I brought out a completed jig for sanding I could bring the finished jigs back inside to be refilled.

For the sanding station I took my old Ikea microwave/cutting board cart, which is of a decent height and thus reduces back strain, and drilled 8 holes in the top to accommodate shelving pegs. The pegs are used to hold the jig in place so the jig doesn’t move under the power of the belt sander.

With the jig firmly in place we still had to secure the Ikea microwave/cutting board cart as the power of the belt sander would also send the cart sailing out from under the operator. The two wheels of the cart sure don’t help either. Solution, why gripping two of the cart legs with the operator’s feet.

We may not be well equipped or sophisticated but we are resourceful and manage to get the job done.

The original plan was to hand make 100 copies of the game and this, our second session, represents about 1/5ths of all of the required 7800 tiles to be made. Good news for us is that the last 3 sets to be made will no longer require any sanding.

Posted by taoadmin, 0 comments

Nothing But Games – Open Alpha

Pixelific Games Inc.It is fitting that our first blog post is to announce that Pixelific Games Inc. will be attending the West Coast Science Fiction Association’s “Nothing But Games – Open Alpha” event June 17 & 18, 2017 at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel in Surrey, BC.

Pixelific Games Inc. will have a vendor’s table at the “Nothing But Games – Open Alpha” event where they will be informing, and registering people to play demo games, of Taoex™ pronounced [Dow]+[icks]. For the attendees who register for a game demo session of Taoex™ will be entered into a draw for a copy of the game valued at $69.95.

Taoex™ is an excellent strategy game with a twist? Are you good with a compass? Want an experience that combines chess-like intelligence and endgame positioning with mathematical precision and cunning?

“The Nothing But Games – Open Alpha is the perfect event in which to introduce Pixelific Games Inc. and release the board game Taoex™ to the public. Not only is this event the start of a new game conference for the Greater Vancouver region but it is also being held extremely close to home, what could be better?” Les Romhanyi, creator of Taoex™.

Taoex - The Game That Plays You
We couldn’t agree more. If you are planning on attending this event make sure you stop by our booth to learn more about Taoex™ and what Pixelific Games Inc. has in mind for the future.

Posted by taoadmin in conference, 0 comments