Playroom on mac, smarphones and tablets thank to web client

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1. Aminiel,

The playroom web client is now available in beta, for everybody.

Already since a long time, we regularely receive questions to know if one can play on the playroom from a mac, on an iPhone, under linux, or sometimes even from one's TV or fridge.

So we asked ourselves if it wasn't possible, for those who aren't on windows, to play on a common interface. It was of course impossible to begin programming 36 different versions for the 36 currently fashionned systems, first of all simply because of a lake of time, but also because a lake of money, since in order to do that, you must of course buy all these devices, learn how to use them, and find their characteristics and limits.

That's when we though about the web, and especially to HTML5 and javascript in particular; then we started developping the web client using these technologies. Play on the web simply means that we play directly in the web browser, without the need to install anything on your own machine; no setup program, nor the need to go to whatever store to download anything. You just have to go to a particular website, and voilà, you can start playing.

If playing directly in the web browser without the need to install anything seems especially interesting, perhaps even more interesting than installing that good old windows client, in fact, there are also drawbacks.
In particular, even if the web interface can be very well designed, it will never be possible to make something more user-friendly than the native client. The complexity of the web media and its quick evolution on one hand, and the perfect integration of scren readers with native system components on the other hand, make it so that, on the web, the result will always remain less easy and less comfortable to use, whatever could happen.

However, we are happy to present our web client today, which will allow you to play on most of the modern connected computers and devices.
Please note that it has still beta status. This means that it is maybe not very stable, and that some things may not always well function under all configurations. In other words, many bugs are probably still present; you shouldn't be afraid of that, it's the principle of public beta: dig up bugs, and there is nothing better than you to help us finding and fixing them.
we should say that, in web and mobile world, there are lots of different systems and configurations, and we in fact only tested very few of them. The team, and even the pre-beta-testers haven't at their disposal all what you, the users, could ever have in your hands.

Browsers and systems tested

To help you to know if you can connect to the web client using your machine or not, here is a list of combinations that have been tested. This list is divided into several parts :

  • Certified compatible browsers: we have sufficiently tested the browsers in this list to tell you with confidence that, globally, it works. Having been tested isn't supposed to say that tehre is no bug anymore, but only that you shoud normally not have big problems with them. Do anyway have a look at known problems further below on the post, you might be concerned by some of them.
  • Probably compatible browsers: we didn't tested them much, but according to the information we have, it should work. Tell us if it is effectively the case or not, and if, perhaps, we might improve some details.
  • Definitely uncompatible browsers: we have tested those browsers, and we can tell you without any doubt that the playroom web client wont work, and will probably never work with them. Often they are old browsers, or so exotic ones that they don't respect, or only badly web standards.
  • Unknown browsers: we know that they exist, but we haven't tested them. We don't know if they work at all. Tell us what are your observations !

Certified compatible browsers

  • Internet Explorer 8 under windows XP, but only if flash plugin version 10 or more is available
  • Internet explorer 8 and 9 under windows 7, but only if flash plugin version 10 or more is available
  • Internet Explorer 10 under windows 7 and 8
  • Firefox version 10 and up under windows
  • Safari 6 under Mac OS 10.8
  • Safari 6 on iPhone with iOS 6.1.4

Probably compatible browsers

  • Safari 4 and 5 under Mac OS 10.1 to 10.7
  • Safari 6 on iPad and iPod with iOS 6
  • Safari 4 and 5 on iPhone, iPad and iPod with iOS 4.2 at least
  • Firefox starting with version 10 on Mac OS 10+
  • Firefox starting with version 10 under linux
  • Chrome in version 6+ under windows
  • Chrome in version 6+ under linux
  • Chrome on Android phones and tablets.
  • Firefox on Android phones and tablets
  • Internet explorer 10 on windows RT tablets

Definitely uncompatible browsers

  • Firefox 7 and below on all systems
  • Safari before version 4 all systems
  • Chrome before version 6 all systems
  • Internet explorer 4, 5, 5.5, 6 and 7 all systems
  • Internet Explorer 8 and 9 without flash plugin
  • Internet explorer on braille note takers running windows CE, unless they embed IE8 and flash (what is certainly not the case)
  • Nokia and other phones running Symbian

Unknown browsers

  • Opera
  • Black berry
  • Internet Explorer on windows phone 7 and 8
  • Firefox OS
  • Safari under windows

Known problems

Despite our ahrd work in trying to solve bugs, some problems keep happening and go passt our mind. IF you have a solution to solve them, please contact us !

  • Please always remember that the web client will never be as good, as fast, and as simple to use as the windows client. This isn't wanted, but the web remain in any case as is. Nothing can reach the perfection of a native application.
  • Some keyboard shortcuts don't always pass correctly. wE can unfortunately do nothing against that, what is possible and what isn't heavily depends on your browsers and its configuration. Ammong the possible problematic shortcuts are the following: escape, F2, F3, F4, Ctrl+U, Ctrl+J, Ctrl+S
  • Audio streams support: Thanks to a wonderful friendship between major browsers vendors, all audio formats aren't supported by all browsers everywhere. While Safari and Internet Explorer only support MP3, firefox and Chrome only support OGG. IF you try to listen to a stream in an unsupported format, nothing happen. We can't do anything against that. You shouldn't blame us for that but Apple and Microsoft, sadly.
  • Sound on mobile devices: we have noticed that playing sounds on mobile devices like smarphones and tablets tend to seriously slow down performances additionnally to consuming a lot of battery. If sounds aren't played on these devices, it's not a bug, they just have been disabled by default. You can manually reactivate them by going to web options under options menu. Please note that loading multiple sounds may freeze the interface during a couple of seconds and tehre is probably not much to do against that.
  • Reading problem with VoiceOver under Mac and iOS: in general, VoiceOver correctly reads messages as they are arriving into the history, but some messages are sometimes cut or ignored, and some others aren't read at all. This often happens when many messages arrive too fast allmost in the same time, in which case only the last one or the few last ones are read while first ones are skipped. For this problem, there is probably a solution, we need your help to find it.


We are quite happy about the amazing work made on the web topic, even in spite of the remaining bugs. We hope that you will have pleasure using the web client !

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2. Myszojelen,

Hello there!
First of all: I'm really impressed with how well it works with me. I can safely say I feel nearly no difference between the native Windows app and this new client. You guys did an amazing job!
Now for the bugs I have found so far.
Let me begin with the information that my config is NVDA 2013.2 and Firefox 23.01 running on Windows 7.
I have found the following two problems:

  1. In 1000 miles, once I draw a card, I can't see the cards I have anymore. I need to play with one or do other things I don't even remember anymore to get them back.
  2. In uno interceptions don't seem to be working. In the Windows native software it usually works in this manner that once a certain card is on the table, the card of the same value eg. 6 can be placed by me. In the web one I can't do that as everytime it says"too late" even though it's the right time to intercept eg. I want to throw two 6s one after another.
  3. In case I find more bugs I'll keep you posted.
    Once again thanks.
    Update: We have just tested it with a sighted person. Thebrowsers we've tried with were: Google Chrome, Opera and Firefox.
  4. As opposed to the regular Playroom program on Windows, the browser version doesn't divide the screen into two columns: one with the messages and the other with the actual board of the game which makes the client hard to read, use and navigate through.
  5. On all of the three, each incoming message scrolls the message history to the top which makes it impossible to take part in action-packed games.
  6. In Firefox, I believe it's the latest, the history window is so tiny it's impossible to read entire announcements.
  7. I hop eit can be fixed so sighted players can enjoy the newtoy as much as we do.:)
    Have a good night
    best regards

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Last edited by Myszojelen, Sep 8 2013 21:21:34

3. Aminiel,


Thank you for your remarks

  1. I'm not sure to well understand what's the problem. If you have more details, post them please.
  2. WE have warned that the web client will never be as quick as the native client. I don't think we can do much about connection delays and such. NVDA+firefox is already the best combination you can ever dream to have under windows (far better than jaws)
  3. For visual details, we are unfortunately all blind in the team and not experts in CSS at all. The wish to make it better for sighted people interests us as much as you, but we really need hel to achieve that. We unfortunately know that we have pretty well failed on that point for the moment. IF someone wants to contact us to help us, don't hesitate do do so.

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4. Myszojelen,

Hello again.

  1. Okay, so I'm playing 1000 miles and can see my cards. Once I draw one I hear silence once I try to navigate through the cards that I have with the arrow keys. Not sure how else to describe this. If there's a specific information you need, feel free to ask. Also, this doesn't happen at all on my iPhone.
  2. I don't think it's a problem of connection times, it may be but I believe I'm getting fairly quick responses from the client so I believe the interceptions would work +it's still the bot's turn when i'm trying to intercept or at least I believe so :)
  3. Another problem which has arisen: I've tested the client on Safari under iOS 6.1.3, iPhone 4(iOS6.1.4 which is on the compatibility list is not available for this device but I doubt it makes any difference in this area anyway). It seems as the sounds randomly stop playing. sometimes a sound will be played just fine and other times in the same situation, the same sound will just not play. For example: I haven't heard at all the sound of me or a bot joining a game. I've tried with 1000 miles in case it matters.
  4. Are there any gestures or tricks that make the experience faster that we should be aware of? I've read something about gestures in the "Updates and work in progress" thread. I have to say, if HTML5 allows for implementation of such, this would help greatly in games such as Uno where fast reaction is the key thing.
  5. Once again thanks for this great client.
    best regards

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5. Aminiel,

  1. IN fact, the latency delay isn't due to connection in itself, but on how screen readers handl reading messages automatically as they arrive. ON the web, this is achieved using ARIA live regions, and it's unfortunately a bit slower than on windows client where screen readers' functions are called directly and immediately. This difference in speed isn't big allthough noticible, but sufficient to make the difference in games like uno with super-interceptions
  2. We know that there are problems with sounds on mobiles devices and especially on iPhone. Apple has put some restrictions in audio playing on the web, and as a result, sounds aren't always playing correctly additionnally to making safari a little freezing and consuming a lot of battery. That's why we have disabled sounds by default on the web client when using a smarphone or a tablet.
  3. Note: you have iOS 6.1.3 because you ahve an iPhone 4S; on my iPhone 5, I have 6.1.4; anyway, everybody is going to upgrade to iOS 7 soon.
  4. Yes, gestures explained in the other thread are working. You can use the go back gesture with two fingers to exit a menu, triple click to open the context menu or do another useful action, drag and drop items to set up teams, and shake the device to say uno or roll dice. Of course if you have other ideas of potentially interesting gestures, let us know and we will say if it's doable or not.

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6. pitermach,

I have to say that the xperience for me is almost perfect. It feels very nice not to have to play in a virtual machine. I have tested it on a mac with 10.8.4 and safari 6 and Chrome. With Safari, it works pretty well, apart from some messages not reading by themselves. Voiceover eems to interrupt messages that come one after another, but since you can readback the history it's not a very big issue.
With Chrome and the chromevox extension, it's usable, but chrome misses a lot more alerts. EG, if you select a menu item, it will read the first option of a new menu, but won't always read the alert.
Other than that, I'm really, really impressed as just how well it works. Sounds, Keyboard shortcuts, it's all there, and it all works.
PS: Not sure if you investigated this, but someone managed to port Espeak to Javascript. At least with safari, the example did work for me, so you could probably provide it as an alternative to live regions.

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7. Aminiel,


thank you for your message. We already know about VoiceOver skipping and cutting some of the incoming messages. WE don't know what exactly is causing the problem and if there is a solution. If someone has an idea...

The javascript port of ESpeak is awesome ! However, it sounds to me that the delay between the time I click on the button and the time the sentance is being heard isn't negligible. Only a few tenths of a second, but probably too much to have something fluid and comfortable. Additionnally, it doesn't seem to support french accented characters very well, even if I select the right voice. I tried in firefox.

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8. Myszojelen,

Hello again.
I believe the not understandable message is in Arabic and it's just one word"if" or something like that, or at least so says the translator.
I got some feedback from a person using the new web client on Android 4.1 and I believe latest stable release of FireFox there as well as FireFox under Linux.

  1. On Android only some keyboard shortcut work (the phone he was testing with is equipped with a full, physical keyboard). The ones that work are "space" and "esc". Maybe this is intentional, maybe not but thought I'd let you know. I'll check it with the external keyboard of my iPhone once it's charged.
  2. On Android, after some time the sounds stop playing completely.
  3. On Linux no keystrokes except spacebar work. He believes this might be due to Orca not letting them through but also thought I could signal this.
  4. Best regards

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9. Aminiel,

  1. No, this issn't intentional; I don't know at all if it could be better.
  2. Do you know if it's because of battery, memory, or android restrictions ? AGain that's why sounds are disabled by default on mobile devices, we noticed that it brough a lot of potential problems.
  3. I don't know if orca supports ARIA; it should, but last time somebody tested on linux a couple months ago, it wasn't the case. Note that also in windows, some particular keys are caught by jaws, F3 for example, so it isn't surprising, but it's allmost impossible to do anything about that unfortunately.

Anyway, thank you for your interesting feedback again, and if you have any idea on how these problems might be solved, let us know.

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10. bmisch,

one solution for the voiceover issue is to make a separate mac version with its own way to read the message similar to how r s is doing it that way at least for the mac, voiceover users won't get skipping messages.

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11. Aminiel,

Could you tell me how they do ? What are they doing that I'm not ?

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12. bmisch,

I really don't know all I know is they may have some library or app to link the messages to the system voice in mac osx. Think they're using a few python packages for this to work. don't know specifics though. sorry.

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13. pitermach,

Hi brandon,
RS games have a native OS X client, so they can access the speech API directly. This is not a native Mac application so you can't do that, as far as I know, and as Quentin already described, the only way to get speech that works across all platforms is through live regions.

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14. Sevrior,

Hello: I have noticed that on the IPhone 4s, french tarot is not precisely playable. This is because there doesn't seem to be an icon for "pass" or "bet," meaning the game stalls. I'm not sure if this is just me though.

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15. Aminiel,

I have noticed that on the IPhone 4s, french tarot is not precisely playable. This is because there doesn't seem to be an icon for "pass" or "bet," meaning the game stalls. I'm not sure if this is just me though.

No, I effectively forgot to put a button to place a bet. It's now fixed.

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16. kool_turk,

Am I missing something, or is there no way of rereading chat messages.

With the client I can just tab over to the history window and read.

Messages read automatically, but if you step away for a few minutes you miss things.

I don't know what it's like visually, sighted people would just glance at the screen, but we unfortunately don't have that luxury.

I'm using NVDA with firefox if that helps.

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17. Aminiel,

Am I missing something, or is there no way of rereading chat messages.

Page up and page down are working in some browsers but not all. IF it doesn't work, you have no choice but go manually read the end of the history.

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18. devinprater,

Hi, I absolutely love this web client! As a mac and iOs user, I've always missed this chamber de jour or something like that, LOL I've only had one year of French. Anyways, when I find the keystrokes and jestures, hopefully iOS can pass the keyboard shortcuts of the web app, I'll be much happier with it.

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19. Kyle,

Linux users, IT WORKS! I'm running Firefox 24.0 and Orca 3.8.2. Live regions are indeed supported, and most, if not all, the keyboard shortcuts are working. The only thing to be aware of is that in order to properly use shortcut keys, one must press orca+z (hold down the 0/insert key on the keypad, or the capslock on a laptop and press z) to turn structural navigation keys off in the browser. Once the web client is disconnected, structural navigation can be turned back on with the same key. Hope this helps.

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20. stanimira ,

The web client is super, but my windows version give crashes! Please help me.

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21. keba ,

hi guys. i have to say, Aminiel, you have done a fantastic job so far. and as for you saying that it's not as fast as the client? i beg to differ. after trying the web version for a while, i loaded the client, and actually found to my surprise, that the client wasn't reacting as fast to my comands, as the browser version! so you have out done yourself! good job!
I too have a friend or three who would like to be able to play this visually. they can do so with the client, but as has been said in the thread already, the web version is all scrunched up and blurred together. that is coming from a person running it in a browser in windows. not sure how it would look on an iphone screen, but i would guess it would be similar.
if you manage to solve the visual side of things, i think you will find yourself gaining even more users. those sighted people who like to play with their blind / visually impaired friends.
keep up the fantastic work guys.

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22. Aminiel,

I too have a friend or three who would like to be able to play this visually. they can do so with the client, but as has been said in the thread already, the web version is all scrunched up and blurred together. that is coming from a person running it in a browser in windows. not sure how it would look on an iphone screen, but i would guess it would be similar.
if you manage to solve the visual side of things, i think you will find yourself gaining even more users. those sighted people who like to play with their
blind / visually impaired friends.

This isn't really new, and it occurs on all devices, both PC and mobiles; we are aware of that, and hope to solve those issues one day. However, it requires very high CSS skills (responsive CSS3), and as we are all blind in the team, we are unfortunately unable to do anything really useful.

If you could help us or know someone who could, we would be happy to have a contact, because we know that it's really a big problem.

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23. PaulMartz,

Hi Aminiel. Are you Quentin? If so, I'm the same Paul Martz as on PROGRAM-L.

So myself and a friend are both going blind from RP and using the playroom and web client to learn accessibility tools while we have fun. This means some of the problems I'm reporting might just be due to our newness to the whole environment. But here goes.

1. As noted previously, there's problems with VoiceOver not reading some chats. But it seems random. In a room empty except for me, I can type 4 chats and it will skip reading 3 of them entirely. I don't get it. But it doesn't seem to be related to lots of messages at once.

2a. Also as noted previously, the list of controls on the left side are screwed up. Seems like this could be fixed with a simple <\br> at the end of each control, but I don't know. They all kind of run together. If this were fixed, it would be easier for us to revert to visual use with the scant remaining eyesight that we have.

2b. We're using an iPad with iOS 7. As we swipe right to move through the controls, then double tap to select, it often seems like the control that gets selected is the wrong one. Maybe it's a control one or two away. I try to make a room private, for example, and I invariably get the option to set the table topic. Just to debug, I then tried to select the control to set the table topic, and oddly enough that's what I get. They can't both map to setting the table topic! Weird. Inviting a player is similarly problematic, but I don't recall what it appears to be mapping to.

Well I wish I were an iOS developer so I could give you a hand with this. I do hope fixes are forthcoming, as our eyesight is fading fast and Words With Friends isn't accessible, so we need a new game and right now the playroom is the most promise.

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Last edited by PaulMartz, Dec 18 2013 03:51:47

24. Aminiel,


Yes, I'm known as QuentinC on the ProgramL list.

For 1 and 2B, they are already known issues unfortunately, and they also happen on iPhone and sometimes desktop mac. I'm pretty sure that they are both due to the fact that visual appearance is bogus. As I understood, Apple's Voice Over rely very much on visual appearance to read information correctly. This isn't the case with jaws and NVDA which can read any text possibly totally disconnected from graphical view.

So, as long as nobody can thorroughly help us with the graphical aspect of the web client, I'm afraid that these kind of problems will remain unfixed and/or a bit randomly behaving.

For 2A, could you tell me more ? Which part is impacted exactly ? Game/chat log, game menus, action menus, table menus ? What kind of text doesn't appear correctly ?

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25. PaulMartz,

2a. My friend and I are starting simple, with just a Free Table for chatting. I don't see any controls under the Game and Action headings. But under the Table heading, there is a list of controls, and these are the ones with bad line breaks.

Here's what I see visually, and I'm going to write the word BREAK to indicate where the line break is:

Set Game BREAK
Options Add a BREAK
Bot Remove a BREAK
Bot View Active BREAK
Rules Invite A BREAK
Player Kick A BREAK
Player Ban A BREAK
Player Change Table BREAK
Master ~webTopicBtn~ Make BREAK
the table BREAK
Private Save The BREAK

It goes on, of course, but you get the idea. If you want the full list let me know and I'll edit the post and add it.

The ~webTopicBtn~ is the oddball, it appears to be using your code's internal name for display purposes.

Is this project open source? I wonder if there's some way I might contribute a little development time. It's not my area of expertise, but I'm good at tinkering.

Keep up the good work.

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26. Aminiel,

The ~webTopicBtn~ is the oddball, it appears to be using your code's internal name for display purposes.

No, it's probably a missing translation. I'll look at it later; thank you for signaling it.

Is this project open source? I wonder if there's some way I might contribute a little development time. It's not my area of expertise, but I'm good at

No, it's not open source at all. However, I keep your offer on hold, we have never enough testers and good bug reporters, and perhaps one day we might think on enlarging the team, who knows. In any case, thank you for your proposition.

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27. sukil,

Thanks so much for the web client! I've got one suggestion and one doubt, anyway.
First, the web client worked great in Firefox with NVDa, but didn't do anything in IOS yesterday. It didn't even establish the connection.
And second, wouldn't it be possible to change the shortcut of changing the history view? Alt+left and Alt+Right are usually used to cycle between the browser paged, so having this keystrokes is inconvenient.
Thanks a lot and continue the great work,
PD: A maybe stupid question. Do you use Universal Speech in the desktop client? :)

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28. Aminiel,

wouldn't it be possible to change the shortcut of changing the history view? Alt+left and Alt+Right are usually used to cycle between the browser
paged, so having this keystrokes is inconvenient.

Views are anyway not supported on the web client yet.

Do you use Universal Speech in the desktop client? :)

Yes. Originally, UniversalSpeech was made especially for the playroom client; but since it is interesting in itself outside of the application, I finally made it completely separable.

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Last edited by Aminiel, Mar 29 2014 08:23:10

29. sukil,

Okay, I've found my issue about the iOS error resolved looking at the French forump, thanks to my Spanish knowledge :). I'm posting the solution to help anyone that has been in my situation.
So, if anybody gets a Quota exceeded error, they should dissable private nav, under pages (bottom right of the screen).
Another thing though: probably you can't do anything about this, but here it goes. Sometimes, VoiceOver in iOS says again the name of a button when pressed, and we miss some game updates. I wonder if this could be fixed.

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30. talksina,

Hello, I am quite new player; well, I know playroom since many years but i am getting interested on it now as the web beta interface improved a lot with iOS8 and OSX yosemite -i am talking about Apple systems-. I just notice a problem of timing, when there are many players on a table. I mean, VoiceOver starts to read one notification and then the other one interrupting the first. For example "john doe took a card, john doe plays... charles smith took a card". so i cannot understand what card joen doe played.
Then another trouble on rummy game. On iPhone i do not find the button to pick a card from discard pile.
thanks for now

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