How to make waiting for players more bearable
If you regularly play cards on Whisthub on your phone or tablet, you might have noticed that waiting for a room to become full can be a bit annoying. Once you created or joined a room on a mobile device, you must keep Whisthub active while you wait for other players to join. If you don't do this and switch to another app instead, the connection with the server is soon lost and as a result you will get thrown out of the room. This is a technical limitation of how apps on mobile devices work: they can't run in the background.
To make it more bearable, Whisthub already offers the possibility to play against AI players while waiting. This helps, bit it's also not a perfect solution, especially for card games with less active players such as Hearts and Wiezen where waiting times can be long. With the introduction of the friend system, you now have the possibility to invite your friends, but they won't always be online, so it doesn't solve the problem either.
Today we're introducing a solution with - you probably guessed it - push notifications. From now on, if you're waiting in a room, you can click on the icon on the bottom of the screen and a popup will appear, asking you if you want to be locked in the room. If you are locked in a room, this means that you can safely close Whisthub and open another app without being kicked out of the room. You will receive a push notification when the room is full and ready to start playing.
The functionality is only available if you have a premium subscription, and obviously you also need to enable push notifications. If you consider getting a premium subscription just for this feature, then first make sure that push notifications are supported on your device! You can test push notifications in your settings.
If you want, you can also choose to receive push notifications when a player joins or leaves the room, or when there are chat messages. Those are not required, but that way you know what is happening in the room, even if you don't have it open at that moment.
If you have paid attention to the settings page in the past, then you will probably say
Room notifications are not new, they already existed in the settings before! How is this different?
Well, the difference is that in the past, those notifications could only be sent while Whisthub was still active, meaning they did not work on mobile devices. With push notifications, this limitation is now gone, and as such the notifications become usable on mobile devices as well.
The fact that you can now join a room and then close Whisthub without being thrown out of the room creates a new type of problem though. Players can join a room, lock themselves, and then disappear, which would block the room from ever being started.
Obviously, the host can always remove such players, but to better handle this, you must now click on "Start the game" no later than one minute after the room has become full. If not, you will be removed from the room. This is true for all players, not just those locked in the room, except for the host.
The reason for this is that if the host leaves the room, it will be canceled immediately. By never removing the host from the room, the other players can still discuss whether one of them will host another room. Moreover, you always have an indication whether a room was created a long time ago with the icon anyway, so you get an idea of whether the host is still around or not.
So, if you don't like to just stare at your screen while waiting for players, just lock yourself in the room and then go watch some dumb TikTok movies, or read Wikipedia instead! Remember though: once the room has started, you can no longer close Whisthub without being thrown out of the room - as usual! In that case you should just focus on the game being played anyway and avoid any distractions!