Parallel - A free LFG app I created using Giantbomb's API

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rammone4

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#1  Edited By rammone4

Hey guys,

I created a free LFG web app using Giantbomb's awesome API (and some other stuff :P). It's called Parallel. It's currently in BETA, and it's open for anyone to check it out. Let me know what you think - PS: watch out for the bugs; there be plenty :\

URL: Parallel Website

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michaelenger

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Very nice looking page, super modern and sleek. One bug is that I get a horizontal scrollbar on the landing page (Chrome 45 on Mac, 996x682 window size).

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Rxanadu

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I rarely tend to play with other people due to a lack of friends online. I would really love to use something like this when playing Borderlands 2 for the upteenth time.

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darichardson

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I'm getting a blank white screen on Safari 8.08 (OSX, Yosemite). Maybe it's just down.

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rammone4

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@michaelenger: Thank you :), There are a lot of issues with Safari and mobile in particular - in fact, try not to use it on mobile, you'll probably puke all over ur phone. I'm working on them and will be tackling Safari when I get home tonight

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rammone4

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@darichardson: There are some major issues with Safari & mobile. I'll be working on them tonight after work. Thanks for checking it out :)

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hassun

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#7  Edited By hassun

Looks very clean and sleek. I approve.
The logo seems dangerously close to the Steam logo though.

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rammone4

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@hassun: Ha ha! Thank you, and I laughed because we said exactly the same thing. We did it ourselves, and we were like "that looks like the steam logo" I'm getting scared now lol.

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audioBusting

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That looks very nice! To be honest, I was planning to build something similar... now I might not have to anymore.

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jSlack

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@rammone4: Good work man! Great use of giantbomb API. Am going to try this out to finish a Destiny raid...

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michaelenger

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#11  Edited By michaelenger

Hey, I gave it another look and had some questions/suggestions:

  • Would it be possible to select multiple systems at one time?
  • Can I login without using Facebook/Twitter/Google/Steam?
  • Crazy idea, but can you login with your PlayStation or Xbox accounts? Not sure they support that.
  • Any way to get back to the landing page from the main page? Going to http://www.parallel.team/ I go straight to the app which is great for me once I know about it, but hard to share with others.

*Edit: Alternatively, how about open sourcing it? ;)

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rammone4

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#12  Edited By rammone4

@jslack: Awesome! Thanks for the feedback :) Unfortunately, there aren't many requests - as noone's using it yet, so you probably wont find others to play with it yet, but I'll be working on that too - maybe tweeting about it more or something idk - I suck at marketing lol

@michaelenger These are some awesome questions. I'll answer all of them below as best as i can

Q: Would it be possible to select multiple systems at one time? It is possible, I would just allow the user to specify more than one console when creating a request. My question is will users do that? - that is create a request to play a game like COD or ESO on multiple consoles ? That is possible though, as I own many games on Steam and own some of those same games on my PS4 and Xbox as well. But it's pretty easy to allow. I'll talk it over with my colleague who's working on this with me.

Q: Can I login without using Facebook/Twitter/Google/Steam? At the moment, you can't. There wasn't a specific reason for this besides (a) Laziness lol and (b) Really trying to avoid saving passwords in our DB. I've been traumatized by all the hacks within the last 2-3 years, and was like lets just use social media login - thats why we have like 4 of them. I do believe we'll probably end up adding signin via email - and everything else that comes with it. The funny thing/irony is that we are saving emails, and requiring it, but aren't using it yet - which to me doesnt make sense (though I coded it there) - but we plan to do subscription-based notifications via email - so we'll use them eventually, but I'm probably going to remove that feature temporarily until it's actually being used.

Q: Crazy idea, but can you login with your PlayStation or Xbox accounts? Not sure they support that This is such an awesome question, but makes me sad. When I started this app, the first thing I did was search for a Playstation API & Xbox Live API that I could use to allow people sign in via XboxLive & PSN. Sony & Xbox are very stringent about accessibility their API and require that you are partner before you gain access - which requires u being a business and having a Tax ID and some form of Vetting. We planned on doing things like allowing you to log in via PSN, Xbox Live & Steam, and enabling you the ability to automatically pull ur games in, and track requests for those games instantly, but because of the Sony, & Microsoft's strict policies, that might not be possible. As for Steam however, it's the opposite - their API is open and I can pull anything that the user I'm querying about allows me to pull via privacy stettings - so I believe we'll do a pilot with Steam first, and then see what happens afterwards - even if there isnt any interest in this app, I just want to see if it can be done - just for kicks :P

Q: Any way to get back to the landing page from the main page? Going to http://www.parallel.team/ I go straight to the app which is great for me once I know about it, but hard to share with other As soon as I post this, I'm going to push an update for this right now. There'll probably be an "About" link on the side nav to the left. This slipped my mind because I spent yesterday trying to squash some mobile-related bugs

@audiobusting How about helping us develop this some more ;) We're just 2 guys and have a lot planned - If you have time that is, and to what @michaelenger said about making this open - It is, well sort of. I have the code on Github here Parallel Github Repo but I set it to private because I do an automated deploy from Github to Azure and I have my config settings (with Firebase & Giantbomb API keys in that repo) - but I have an open version of it called LFG here Parallel (LFG) Repo though it's outdated. I'll update it with the latest code

Ps: We're already working on a mobile app. We also have some Great ideas planned for something else we're calling "Parallel - Evolve" & "Parallel - META". Right now, we're calling this "Parallel - Team". Thanks for all this awesome and great feedback :)

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rammone4

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#13  Edited By rammone4

Sorry, I'm way over-detailed. I just looked at the last post and was like "TMI to infinity"

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Bollard

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#14  Edited By Bollard

This looks really neat. There's definitely a market for it looking at sites like DestinyLFG.com but getting enough eyes on it will be tricky. Try /r/gaming and see if it can gain any traction there maybe?

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darichardson

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#15  Edited By darichardson

@rammone4: Working now on Safari. Great idea. Love to see things made with the GiantBomb API.

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rammone4

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@bollard: Thanks :) Destiny LFG is awesome, and yes does have a ton of traffic, and we kinda thought the same thing. We were also thinking of using the Taken King to promote this. Yeah my partner created a reddit thread i believe already, but I havent had the chance to take a look at it.

@darichardson: Awesome! Glad it works. There are still some more Safari related bugs we are trying to fix - specifically when viewed via Safari mobile, so I wont be surprised if you encounter anymore

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ripelivejam

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Is the intention to keep this primarily giant bomb user focused?

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michaelenger

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@rammone4: I'll try to respond to your responses one at a time.

Multiple systems: I realise that it's not a very common use case, but I was just surprised that the filtering didn't react the way I expected when I clicked on one system and then another. It's probably no big deal, especially now in the beginning though.

Login: I was taken aback at the lack of regular e-mail logins considering how many choices there were, but I do see your point in avoiding storing passwords. Learning to do that right would take you a university degree and a decade of experience (and you'll still probably forget something). Anyway, logging in with Steam was a logical choice, but to be honest I don't think you need that many identity providers, especially since you require e-mail anyway (why do you require an e-mail?) You may want to poll your user base after a while to see if people are actually using the Google+ or Twitter logins and maybe ditch the one people aren't using as a way to clean up the login screen.

It's a shame about the lack of PlayStation/Xbox APIs, but maybe you should focus on Steam integration if there are cool features to hook into there (be able to automagically join a Steam group and show "currently in game" statuses?) and leave the console people to handle that stuff manually. If you're aiming for mobiles as well maybe there is something to get from hooking to GameCenter or Google Play.

Landing page: Quick implementation. I like that.

Open sourcing: I'm following you on GitHub in case you open it up to pull requests. As for storing your API keys in the repo I would really recommend finding some way to use an external config file which sits on the server (and locally for testing) that isn't under version control so that other people's mistakes don't result in you get fucked over.

You'll probably get a lot of good (albeit opinionated) feedback from places like this and /r/gaming, but maybe you should have a feedback form on your site as well. Just place to easily send "this feature don't work" or "please give me this" from regular humans who use the site. I don't want to demand a lot because it's so easy for a project like this to crumble under the weight of it's own feature creep so just take everything I say as suggestions to think about rather than demands. I'm not really the audience for this kind of thing as I don't play multiplayers games very often, I just have a lot of experience building web apps.

PS: Not TMI for me. I love talking shop :3

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rammone4

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#19  Edited By rammone4

@ripelivejam: Not at all - it's open to anyone to use, though it's in what I would best describe as a BETA because of the bug squashing I'm still doing.

@michaelenger: Hey I consider everything you write as great feedback - which I'm in dire need of now lol, so please keep them coming :) Yeah the filtering is a little different than say typical filtering or advanced filtering where you could select multiple options and then do a query/search for results. We were thinking of speed in mind - you know - click = results; click = results. We wanted interaction to be fast because we thought gamers would want to search as quickly as possible, but those are all assumptions though - we aren't sure to be honest.

The Login stuff is overkill - but Firebase handles Google, Twitter, Facebook & Github oauth2 login automatically - it's crazy how it makes it so stupid easy - literally 2 clicks and6 lines of JS code, and you have social media oauth login on ur site. Steam was a little different - they use OpenID. But ur right, we'll and up having to reduce the options because I agree - there too many. I think we'll end up doing this when we integrate the Xbox API & PSN API - I really want this in the app because it would allow us to do everything we are really thinking about doing

And speaking of the Xbox & PSN API, I found this Xbox Live API and this Xbox API - David Walsh Demo as well as this PSN Github API Project but they are all unofficial and the PSN one actually exploits a backdoor I think, so I didnt want to do that, but I've explored them. I agree we are going end up piloting with Steam first, and then begging Sony & Microsoft afterwards if we get to that point

Also, as far as opensourcing, Microsoft Azure server allows one to add config settings directly to the server. I'm going to end up doing this and hopefully open the Github project. Though to be honest, I'm very new to pull requests and all that social Github stuff, so this would really be my first time, at the very least if I can't get that working, I'll just add you to the project. I still have to update the readme also :P

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michaelenger

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@rammone4: Sounds good, mate. PM me if you want any help. Another PROTIP I have is if you are collaborating with may people on a project you should use a GitHub organization because it just lets you add/remove people as they flit in and out of the project. You can even hand it over to someone else if you want to go off and do something else.

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rammone4

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@michaelenger The repo is public now, and open to everyone. I also sent you a PM :)

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dbarr

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@rammone4 Do you guys have any plans to build an Android app?

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rammone4

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@dbarr: We are actually working on that now :D Hopefully we can get it out b4 Christmas time in addition to some other features

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VideoGameMobes

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I've been thinking about this sort of site for some time! Cool that someone got and made it happen. Very slick indeed, for a BETA product!

Especially the line about "bringing back & reviving forgotten games" in the landing page. Would it be cheeky to ask if you people have anything specific in mind for this area in particular?

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rammone4

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@benlaserlove: Yes, but it really depends on traction on the site (and who knows when it comes to that). We had something planned were when a game reaches a certain threshold of requests (other factors taken into account like genre, maturity rating, etc), it auto-generates a community page (for that game) where people can basically post information about online & public "game-togethers" they plan. Perfect example is a game I play called "Anarchy Reigns" on PS3. We have a local message thread we send to each other (there are about 20 people who are part of this PS3 message thread). Anytime someone wants to play an online match in this game, they send a message, everyone gets it, and if you have time, u jump in. It's the same concept. We build some sort of online game-together based off of the need/want to play the game.

Users will be able to subscribe to this mini-game community game-together page, and post information to it.

It's not entirely fleshed out, but that has even morphed into something else as well that we are thinking about.

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VideoGameMobes

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#26  Edited By VideoGameMobes

@rammone4: Cool! I think this is a fairly thought-out plan.

I'm going to take some of this conversation to PM's, because I have a specific vision I'd like to vent, with technical details to boot. Hopefully it won't be a bother.

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rammone4

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rammone4

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UPDATE: The repo is available on github at the following URL: Parallel.Team for anyone interested