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itch.io changelog: Library & Recommendations enhancements, improved jam browsing, & more

Hello everyone, welcome back to the itch.io changelog.

We’ve got an assortment of updates for you today. No big feature launches as we were quite busy with the Halloween Sale, but there are some things in the works. Enjoy the updates. Also, did you know that itch.io recently passed over 200,000 games?

Changelog for the week of November 13, 2019

Halloween Sale

halloween sale

Thank you to everyone who participated. We had a significant increase in purchases-per-day across the whole site, over 1600 games were on sale, and another successful itch.io Selects bundle. A lot of time was spent on promoting the sales, but we had a few updates make their way in as well.

  • Added dark theme default mode for the duration of the Halloween sale
    • Added a temporary spooky itch.io pumpkin logo
  • Various performance optimizations and internal changes for pages that show games on sale (converted many complex queries into views, internal index changes)
  • Updated the script that generates “games you follow that are on sale” email to run significantly faster
    • We were able to send it out a few more times compared to previous sales, hopefully netting more buyers
  • Many updates to your library to help you find things on sale. See below ↓

Your Library

library screenshot

  • Implemented a new recommendation algorithm based on comparing project tags to your account activity
  • Added new recommendations page dedicated to things that are currently on sale
    • Options for filtering by content type and a way to exclude things you’ve already added to your library
  • Updated On sale from your follows & collections with filter for content type and sorting by rating, price, and popularity (demo)
  • Rewrote the UI for the Recommended for you page on your library
    • Standardized library UI for grid of games
    • Project rating is shown by default
    • New algorithm to fetch your Recommended tags, includes more sources
    • Added “Fresh games” recommendation module
      • Highlight a wider range of games that is constantly updating
      • The goal is to expose more games while preventing stale recommendations
      • Hopefully encourages more people to check their recommendations more often
  • Some library pages are now responsive and will fit on mobile screens

Emails

Emails in this case refers to the ability for creators to write and send emails for projects and jams.

Jams

jams screenshot

For jam hosts

For developers

  • Added module to developer dashboard with links to a few select jams
    • add dismiss button if you don’t want to see the jams

For people looking for jams

  • Updated the Jams overview & calendar page
    • Added new “Featured Jams” section to the top of the page
      • The calendar is very hard to parse since it’s so packed, so we wanted an easier way for people to see what’s interesting if they don’t have time to explore
      • Attempts to show interesting & popular jams first, but randomly shuffles in less popular ones to give them some visibility as well
    • Jam calendar
      • A few people have asked about the colors on the jam calendar: Colors are shown when you jam has either been featured or you have over a threshold of participants
      • Removed custom scrollbars from jam calendar, always use browser ones
      • Minor fixes to improve loading performance (much more work has to be done, as it can be quite slow on phones and slower PCs)
    • Added a reduced header with links to jams you’ve joined and submitted to, instead of showing the jams directly on the page
  • Jam browsing

Security

  • Updated spam limiting rules in response to new spammers
    • Note: We are always reviewing our spam queue to ban bad actors and update our spam detection rules, but we’ve noticed a new wave of spammers trying to work around our system
    • Posting rates are more granularly monitored to prevent mass posting
    • You may see Recaptcha or be blocked from posting in more scenarios, if it’s getting in the way of using the site please contact us
    • Updated validation for valid characters in usernames to help prevent username spam links
    • Updated validation for username length
  • Revoked API keys are now kept in the database so account history can be audited for security reasons
  • Add last_used_at field for API keys

YouTube channel

  • We’ve created a YouTube channel to share clips of games we record when we create promotional material for games
  • It’s brand new, so there’s not much there at the moment
  • In addition to game recordings, we have plans to post things like tutorials for our tools and tips on how to use itch.io
  • Check out the channel & subscribe

Internationalization

  • Updated to latest translations from our contributors
  • 24,648 strings in our translation database
  • Note: alternate languages are still opt-in: you must have an account and select an alternate language from your account settings

If you’d like to join the translation project please check out the thread in our community: https://itch.io/t/383202/translating-itchio

Misc

  • Improve loading performance of browsing page on mobile by preventing images that weren’t visible from loading before main content
  • Fixed bug with App Store URL validation
  • Fix dark theme issues on a few pages
  • Update list of available Google fonts for theme editor
  • Prevent showing duplicate games from recommendations on homepage
  • Refactored how downloads are logged for people who download paid games through a press account
  • Fixed a bug where countdown timer on homepage banner would be in the wrong time zone
    • The counter will also no longer go negative after the time has elapsed

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(+1)

Whoo! That's a lot of updates! 

(+1)

Wow!  What an awesome place this is!  I just participated in my very first game jam (PROCJAM) and I can't believe how fun and enlightening it was.  I need to spend more time on this site.

(+1)

Great job!