Thoughts on the GB Infinite Series Feature

Hey all,

I've been really overwhelmed with how many kind words you've sent my way about GB Infinite. It really has been a labor of love and I've really enjoyed adapting it and watching it grow. As with any brand new endeavor there will be missteps, broken things, and contentious features. The bottom line is, we want GB Infinite to be a fun place to hang out and talk with your fellow duders. Where you can discover new content you never saw, or rediscover some of your favorites along with others.

All that being said, the recent series continuation feature has been a bit of a love-it or hate-it feature. We built it with the best intentions in mind not knowing it would cause a division in the community. I hope y'all understand that things like this are hard to see ahead of time. I also hope that people who do enjoy the feature will see the reasoning of the other side of the argument.

For the moment we've decided to pull the feature. It may come back in some form in the future, probably with additional limitations, or maybe with set schedules. The feature will be pulled tomorrow morning Apr 25th, so we'll let the existing persona run keep going in the meantime, but at some point tomorrow the poll will return to true random.

We welcome additional feedback on this feature or on any new features you'd like to see, so please post them in this thread if you have them.

In the end we're really glad that you GB Infinite and we hope to keep it a positive and welcoming place.

Be cool to each-other, and I'll see you in chat.

<3

-Will

125 Comments

New On Giant Bomb: Continue Watching

Update: We've split the page into continue watching and finished as some of you were asking for!

New screenshot:

No Caption Provided

We have a pretty awesome new feature that just released today! (Premium only) It's something I've been wanting personally for a long time: a Continue Watching page for videos.

Remembering where you left off on the latest Endurance Run, or having to search for that old Quick Look from 2013 you were watching again but only half finished, has always been a pain. To alleviate some of that pain we've added a new Continue Watching page under the Video menu:

No Caption Provided

This page shows you a listing of the last 20 videos you watched or started watching. Once you click on one of those videos it will resume right where you left off!

No Caption Provided

We really hope you like the new feature, as you can see from the screenshot I'm already heavily using it myself!

45 Comments

New API Endpoints for Video!

We have some awesome new API endpoints for video that just went live. One for getting running livestreams, and one for getting and setting video progress!

New APIs for Livestreams and Video Progress

We have two new video endpoints we've released for you developers to start testing:

Livestream Endpoint:

Want to know when a livestream is up and get the HLS (.m3u8) stream URL for broadcast in your app? Here's how!

Just make a GET request to this here URL!

Note: You'll need the user's API key (this is a premium only feed) So you'll need your user to complete the app auth flow, more info on that here

http://www.giantbomb.com/api/video/current-live/?api_key=<API Key>

This will return a result containing the live stream info (if there is a livestream currently running):

{

"success": 1,

"video": {

"title": "Dev Test Chat",

"image": "static.giantbomb.com/uploads/original/23/233047/2911522-friday-jason03.jpg",

"stream": "https://cbsigameslive2-lh.akamaihd.net/i/upf011317jvh_1@37386/master.m3u8?set-segment-duration=responsive"

}

}

Video Saved Progress for Third Party Apps:

You know those cool little bars under the video image that tell you where you left off in the video?

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You can now send time data to our API to sync the time codes your users left off on.

Save Time For Video:

GET or POST: http://www.giantbomb.com/api/video/save-time/?video_id=<ID_OF_VIDEO>&time_to_save=<TIME_IN_SECONDS>&api_key=<USERS_API_KEY>

Retrieve Saved Time For Video:

GET: http://www.giantbomb.com/api/video/get-saved-time/?video_id=<ID_OF_VIDEO>&api_key=<USERS_API_KEY>

Result:

{

"success": 1,

"savedTime": "1516"

}

You can use these APIs to get the user's synced time from the site and submit your own, so a user can start watching the video on the site, continue where they left off on your app, then come back to the site to finish it later!

As a best practice I would recommend only calling the save-time endpoint only every 5 seconds or so, let's not send a billion requests to our servers as the user watches a video :)

If you have any problems or questions about these APIs please let me know! We'll be updating the official API docs with this info once we have all the problems sorted out!

Happy Programming!

20 Comments

How to Subscribe to a Premium Podcast

Hey all, we've finally improved the way you subscribe to premium podcasts, here are the details!

Subscribing to Premium Podcasts

Those of you who subscribed to our premium podcasts know it was kind of a pain to get them working in some of your Podcast players, well we have a much better solution now. Premium podcast URLs now contain a key at the end of the URL so you no longer have to use your username/password!

Simply copy the url from either the feeds page or the podcast RSS button on the individual podcast page (Make sure you're logged in first!):

http://www.giantbomb.com/feeds/

http://www.giantbomb.com/podcasts/premiumbombcast/

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The URL you copy should look like this:

http://www.giantbomb.com/podcast-xml/premiumbombcast?api_key=<KEY>

You can then paste that URL into your podcast app and, like magic, you're subscribed to the podcast (or video feed)!

We've tested this in many different podcast apps, but if you have any issues let us know in the bug reporting forum!

212 Comments

How to Authenticate a GB App

So you want to write an app that lets a user view premium videos, how should you do that? Just follow these simple steps!

Authentication

Method #1

  1. Instruct the user to go to this url (replace 'appname' with the name of your app): http://www.giantbomb.com/app/myapp/
  2. The user will see a code, tell them to put that CODE into your app
  3. With the code the user entered, make GET request to: http://www.giantbomb.com/app/myapp/get-result?regCode=CODE&format=json
  4. That API will return a 'regToken' use that regToken for premium API requests eg:
    1. http://www.giantbomb.com/api/videos/?api_key=regCode&format=json
    2. http://v.giantbomb.com/2017/02/11/mc_upf_021017_4000.mp4?api_key=regCode

Method #2

Some Apps require an alternate authentication flow:

  1. Make a GET request to this URL (replace 'appname' with the name of your app): http://www.giantbomb.com/app/myapp/get-code?deviceID=appname
  2. Display the regCode returned from that API call to the user
  3. Tell the user to go to this URL and enter the code (replace 'appname' with the name of your app): http://www.giantbomb.com/app/myapp/activate
  4. After the user authorizes your app, make a GET request to this API (using the regCode from the initial API call): http://www.giantbomb.com/app/myapp/get-result?regCode=regCode&deviceID=appname
  5. That API will return a 'regToken' use that regToken for premium API requests eg:
    1. http://www.giantbomb.com/api/videos/?api_key=regToken&format=json
    2. {{video CDN url}}.mp4?api_key=regToken

Making API Requests

Save the regToken obtained from the Auth flow above on the user's device and use that token for all future API calls. This makes sure all API requests are tied to the user of your app.

Get a list of all videos: http://www.giantbomb.com/api/videos/?api_key=regToken&format=json

Play a video in that list: {{video CDN url}}?api_key=regToken

For full documentation of the API, check this out: http://www.giantbomb.com/api/documentation

Video Downloading

Video downloading within third party apps is allowed on the condition that you use the above video authentication method using the user's regToken. For example: {{video CDN url}}?api_key=regToken

This will allow us to track downloads by individual user accounts and prevent abuse.

Questions?

If you have any questions feel free to PM me (@wcarle) or contact support at giantbomb.com

9 Comments

New Video Player Released!

The new video player has been officially released! (For video on demand only for now, we are still testing it with livestreams).

Thanks to everyone who participated in the beta and helped us solve so many issues! We have a couple outstanding bugs that we've recently discovered and are actively working on. Here they are:

ProblemFix ETA

Video not loading when adblock enabled. Some adblockers are blocking some of our core code, we're working on a fix that should be out soon. But in the meantime you can just whitelist GiantBomb

Tomorrow 12/6
Opera not playing video. Opera doesn't seem to like HLS video. If you are premium try switching to the 'progressive' playback option.Unknown
Buttons missing (play/pause, etc.) This is most likely caused by the extension https everywhere. Until we switch those assets to https please disable that extension on GBA few weeks
Fullscreen video gets cut off in some browsers. We have a fix ready!

Fixed

Mouse cursor not hiding in fullscreen. Fix ready!

This week

Mac Picture in Picture not working. Looking for a fix for this now

Unknown

If you have some problems other than the ones mentioned here please post them in the comments below or in the bug reporting thread. Thanks!

Here's a rundown of the features:

Features

FeaturePremium Only

All HTML5 Video (No Flash at all!!!)

No

Chromecast support

No

More sharing features

More options for sharing like: links and embeds, start and end times for clips, looping, and autoplay (See sharing section below)

No

Resume from saved position

Will save across all browsers/devices if logged in

Yes

Resume from saved position

Will save in your current browser (via a cookie).

No

Streaming video

Can jump to any point in the video. Will only buffer a few seconds ahead at a time

No

Progressive video

The entire video will buffer/download (even if paused)

Yes

Save Settings

We will save all the settings in a cookie so they should stick with you. Things like:

Volume, Quality, Player Size.

No

Sizes

Embiggen: Bigger video! Fits fills most of browser width

Fill Browser: Fill your entire browser tab/window

Fullscreen: Fill the entire monitor

No

Pin

Video will follow you as you scroll down the page

No

Report broken video

This will send us a detailed report of what happened with the video and video player. If you have problems with the beta player please press this button!

No


Sharing

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Start Time

t=3m1s

http://www.giantbomb.com/videos/best-of-giant-bomb-100-weed3/2300-11391/?t=3m1s

Clip (Start & End Time)

t=3m1s&e=3m30s

http://www.giantbomb.com/videos/best-of-giant-bomb-100-weed3/2300-11391/?t=3m1s&e=3m30s

Autoplay

autoplay=1

http://www.giantbomb.com/videos/best-of-giant-bomb-100-weed3/2300-11391/?t=3m1s&e=3m30s&autoplay=1

Looping clip

loop=1

http://www.giantbomb.com/videos/best-of-giant-bomb-100-weed3/2300-11391/?t=3m24s&e=3m27s&autoplay=1&loop=1



Keyboard Shortcuts

ActionShortcut
Play/Pause videoK or Spacebar
Go Back one frame (You should pause the video first), (Comma)
Go Forward one frame. (Period)
Go Back 5 secondsLeft Arrow
Go Forward 5 secondsRight Arrow
Go Back 10 secondsJ
Go Forward 10 secondsL
Skip to a section of the video1-9 (10%-90%)
Restart video0
FullscreenF
Fill BrowserG
Exit Fullscreen / Exit Fill BrowserEsc
Go to beginning of videoHome
Go to end of video (Last 5 Sec)End
Increase Volume (5%)Arrow Up
Decrease Volume (-5%)Arrow Down
Mute/UnmuteM
205 Comments

Wiki Beta v0.2!

Thanks to everyone who gave feedback last time, we've incorporated some of that feedback already and we have a new version of the wiki beta for you all to try out! There are some significant improvements and new features in this version including editing of all objects and in page editing!

Check out our intro video for the new version here: https://youtu.be/y8XCnggFyC8

Where can I find this Beta?

Right here: http://beta.comicvine.com/

Wait... Comic Vine? What about Giant Bomb?

For now the beta is Comic Vine only. We chose CV as the starting point because it has the largest wiki objects and has the most problems with performance as a result. Rest assured though, the same code will work on Giant Bomb with a few modifications, and you all will benefit from this rewrite as well! If you have an active Comic Vine account you can log in and try it out, if not check out the video above to see all the changes in this version.

Trouble logging in?

We have some troubleshooting steps HERE

What is in this version of the Beta?

  • All objects editable!
  • In page editing (no more jumping to a new page when you click edit)
  • Better diff tools for large descriptions
  • Almost all field types editable (still missing things like fuzzy dates and association descriptions)

Bug Reports and Feedback

If you find any bugs (you probably will, this is a beta after all) or if you have any feedback on design or any great ideas post them here:

Will My Edits Go Live?

Nope, all edits made on the beta site will be deleted at the end of the beta. Feel free to make dummy edits that you wouldn't make on the live site.

What's next?

Here are the next items on our list:

  • Improvements to the points system
  • Better Hud interface (the area on the left that lists all your changes)
  • Get the rest of the field types editable (fuzzy dates, etc.)
  • Lots of moderation improvements
  • Bug squashing and stability improvements

Follow this blog for updates or if you would like email notifications when new stuff comes out enter your email here: http://goo.gl/forms/p0gHXlKEfY

We'll keep you up to date on news as we progress in the beta, we don't have set timelines yet because we want you all to be a part of the process and timelines really depend on your feedback!

Start the Conversation

It's Wiki Beta Time!

UPDATE: Servers should be back up, sorry 'bout that

Limited Beta (On Comic Vine)

As I said in my earlier blog post, we are opening up the new wiki to you all really early to start getting your feedback. Well that time has come! We have a limited beta ready for you guys and we want to see what you think. This beta has a limited feature set and it still needs a lot of design work, but we want to show you what we're working on and how we're changing the edit and moderation flow.

For now the beta is Comic Vine only. We chose CV as the starting point because it has the largest wiki objects and has the most problems with performance as a result. Rest assured though, the same code will work on Giant Bomb with a few modifications, and you all will benefit from this rewrite as well!

Check out our intro video here: https://youtu.be/jvVocL41vjM

Where can I find this Beta?

Right here: http://beta.comicvine.com/

Why do we need a whole new edit interface?

Well it turns out the existing wiki editing system is just not as scalable and expandable as we would like it. It is very hard to fix bugs, improve performance, and add new features. This new wiki we're building will be much more adaptable and expandable and is build from the ground up to be faster.

What is included in the Beta?

  • This limited beta includes a nearly fully featured (but still ugly) Character editing interface (we are missing a couple field types that are still in active development and not quite ready for prime time.)
  • It also includes the moderation interface for moderating these character changes.
  • A new moderation queue that is still missing some features, which we will be adding to as we go.
  • A whooooole bunch of behind the scenes work where we've been spending most of our time. We've completely ripped out the guts of the wiki editing code and replaced it. The interface work is still missing for a lot of features but the backend work is well underway and getting close to feature complete.

Bug Reports and Feedback

If you find any bugs (you probably will, this is a beta after all) or if you have any feedback on design or any great ideas post them here:

I get a 500 error when I try to log in!

If you have a Comic Vine account (created before March 29 2016) you'll need to log into the live comicvine.gamespot.com site and go through the migration process. Then, the next time we import users (probably next week after April 4th) to the beta site you will have access.

I don't have a Comic Vine account yet

If you don't have a Comic Vine account yet (created before March 29 2016) you won't be able to log in to the beta site just yet. Go ahead and create a Comic Vine account now and next time we import users (probably next week after April 4th) you'll be able to log in.

Will My Edits Go Live?

Nope, all edits made on the beta site will be deleted at the end of the beta. Feel free to make dummy edits that you wouldn't make on the live site.

What's next?

More features! We will be releasing regular builds with new features as we develop them. Follow this blog for updates or if you would like email notifications when new stuff comes out enter your email here: http://goo.gl/forms/p0gHXlKEfY

We'll keep you up to date on news as we progress in the beta, we don't have set timelines yet because we want you all to be a part of the process and timelines really depend on your feedback!

12 Comments

The Giant Bomb Wiki: A New Hope

Good News!

First of all, if you haven't seen me around the site or on the forums, Hello! My name is Will and I'm one of the engineers working on Giant Bomb. We have some good news about the wiki I’d like to share with you all. As I’m sure you know the current wiki is a bit buggy… well, maybe more than a bit… The code base for the wiki is old and was originally developed within very strict time constraints. As a result it’s complex, tightly coupled together, and really hard to fix. It's also really inefficient and slow, (have you ever tried to edit Mario?) That’s really why the wiki has been so stagnant for so long, it’s a giant monolith that is very resistant to change, fixing problems is a lot like replacing one piece of an increasing complex house of cards.

Fixing Bugs in the Current Wiki
Fixing Bugs in the Current Wiki

So we’ve decided to brush that mess aside, start fresh, and build it from the ground up. We're taking lessons we learned from the existing wiki and input from the community to build it better this time. This blog will be a very technical explanation of what we’re doing. We want to be as transparent as possible during this whole process and keep you all involved along the way. At the bottom of this blog you’ll find a signup form for our wiki email list, if you sign up we’ll send you updates as we progress towards our beta, and you’ll be the first access to the new wiki beta site to test and give your feedback.

Please keep in mind that we are bringing you all in very early in the process, because of that the interfaces will be ugly, code may be buggy, and there’ll be a lot of talk about technical stuff. We want you to see our thought process as we develop this thing and give your feedback along the way. With all those disclaimers out of the way let's talk technical stuff (If you're more interested in seeing a preview of the interface skip down to the video below.)

Building in Layers

We are building this new wiki from the ground up with the future in mind. We don’t want the new wiki to be as coupled together as the current one. Currently almost every piece of the wiki relies on each other piece, they can’t be pulled apart and improved upon. The new wiki on the other hand will be built in layers, each layer doing its set of tasks and knowing as little about the other layers as possible. This will allow us to switch layers out, add new interfaces on top of other layers, and generally keep things sane and expandable. So, here’s a quick diagram of where we are with the current wiki and where we’re going with the new one:

No Caption Provided

As you can see, the new system has a lot more layers which allows us to focus each piece on a single responsibility. It allows us to upgrade individual pieces and fix bugs without the whole thing tumbling down. And as I'll talk about in the next section, the web service based architecture will allow us to open the API up to other developers later on.

Web Services

At the core of our new design is a set of REST web services that handle ALL interactions with the wiki data through simple service calls. This means that our system is easy to interface with and opens up the potential for all kinds of custom interfaces and even the potential for third party apps using our services directly (It will be a while before we’re able to open our services up to third parties, but the potential is there.) The REST services are pretty close to ready for prime time, they can already handle all wiki interactions (viewing, editing, moderation, etc.) In fact we already have detailed documentation for them which will come in handy when we open the services up for outside developers:

Documentation!!!
Documentation!!!

New Edit Interface! ***Warning VERY Ugly Prototype Ahead***

Finally let's get to the part you really care about, the new and improved (and working) edit interface. We're trying some new things with the interface this time around, our focus is on speed and reliability (faster editing and less chance of your work getting lost)

Now, the easiest way for me to explain the new interface is to just show you (This example uses the Comic Vine Wiki because it is the biggest wiki with the largest objects, we are using it as our base for development because it it works there it'll work even better on Giant Bomb):

What's Next?

As I said above, we are still pretty early in the process and looking for feedback. Please post any thoughts you have about the plan and the interface. If you want to sign up for early access to the beta as well as email updates throughout the development process enter your email address here: http://goo.gl/forms/p0gHXlKEfY

The beta will use the Comic Vine database but Giant Bomb users are welcome to sign for the beta too.

I'll also be posting regular updates on the development process here on my blog so be sure to check back here.

We'd love to hear what you think, and I'll be happy to answer any questions in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

-Will

36 Comments

Will's Engineering Update

It's been a while since I posted an engineering update so here goes! I'll talk about some of the stuff I'm working on but keep in mind this isn't an exhaustive list, the rest of the team has their own list and I won't be covering everything that's going on, just what I can speak to personally.

So here's my list:

1. WIKI

I said in my last update that we are going to start concentrating on Wiki a lot more, and we are! We have a solid plan for moving forward and work has started on some major improvements that should make wiki editing and moderation a lot less painful. Stay tuned for more updates, there's a lot of backend engineering going on right now so it'll be a while before you see any changes on the editor side, so hold tight! Massive engineering efforts like this take a while (if you're doing it right that is) so it'll be slow going (especially since we can't drop all of our other tasks)

As part of this we are working on some API stuff that could be pretty awesome for developers, we want to expose this vast database of all video game knowledge in a much better way!

2. Video Streaming

I know a lot of you have been having issues with live show streaming lately. We are having some problems with our streaming provider Akamai. We are working through the problems with them but as you can imagine with a company that big and a site this small (relatively) it's tough to get their attention. They are working with us though so we'll get this mess sorted out.

In the mean time I've written some code into our video player that 'should' help recover from dropped connections. This is really just a bandaid though until we sort things out with Akamai.

More info here: http://www.giantbomb.com/profile/wcarle/blog/on-the-subject-of-live-streaming-problems/111630/

3. Premium Billing

The billing system rewrite is mostly complete and we are in the cleanup stage now. We've brought back some features that have been missing for a while (like gift subscriptions.) Things should be a lot more stable now and hopefully billing issues should be few and far between. There will inevitably be issues I'm sure but we're in a good place to quickly address those now. This project is my baby and I really want to make it work 100% so if you have issues/frustrations let us know!

4. Account Management

We just finished up a massive rewrite of most of our account management code (Thanks Steve!) Things like password resets, username changes, etc. etc. It was a bit bumpy for a while as any giant rewrite will inevitably be, sorry if it caused any frustrations. Giant Bomb accounts have been migrated like a thousand times between different systems so we're trying really hard to clean them up and get them all working.

5. Search

Search is still a bit rough on the site, we know. Search is reeeeealy hard especially when dealing with complex data structures like our wiki (Google won't let us have their algorithms). We are constantly tuning it to get you the results you want. jSlack rips his hair out next to me every day trying to get it right. He's been doing a lot of work on it lately so you should be seeing some gradual incremental improvements.

Well this turned into a really long blog post so I'm gonna finish it up here. If you have any questions feel free to ask!

-Will

15 Comments
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