Archive for May, 2008

New Speedometer and Improved Cheat Protection

Posted on May 19, 2008. Filed under: TypeRacer News |

To be more consistent across different texts, TypeRacer is changing the way it measures WPM today.  Instead of counting the actual number of words typed, we are now counting the total number of characters in the texts, using the convention of 5 characters per word, as defined on Wikipedia.  This means that your WPM will likely improve for some of the harder texts – those containing lots of big words.

We are also changing the way the typing test works.  (In case you missed our last post, we started asking everyone with a score of over 100 wpm to pass an “un-cheatable” typing test.) This only affects our fastest typists, but if you’re in this category, please continue reading.

The first anti-cheat typing test we deployed two days ago turned out to be too hard.  Some users pointed out that they could get a really high WPM on a race with an easy text and then not be able to pass the typing test because it contained a much harder and unfamiliar text.  The change to the WPM calculation should fix this discrepancy.

We also made quite a few changes to the typing test itself.  It now only kicks in at 110 wpm (previously 100), and is much more lenient – it asks you to type within 25% of the wpm you got in the race (previously, this was +/- 20wpm fixed).   For example, if I you get 145 wpm in a race, the typing tests now asks you to type only 108 wpm, whereas before, it asked for 125.  Furthermore, it now saves the greater of your test score and your race score.  So if you passed the test in this example with, say, 109 wpm, you will actually be certified for 145 wpm since that was your original race score.  Similarly, if you passed this test with 150 wpm, you’d be certified for 150 wpm, since it’s greater than your race result.  Being certified to type at X wpm means that you won’t be asked to take the typing test unless your score exceeds X+25%.  So if you’re certified at 150 wpm, for example, you are clear to type up to 187 without having to take the test again.

You may have noticed that some people were still able to cheat on the old typing test.  That’s because it was too easy to use OCR on the text images.  This made it necessary to start giving the test as a CAPTCHA.  We understand that it makes it harder to read, but keep in mind that you do not have to get every word right.  If you skip a few words or a few letters in some of the words you can still pass the test.  Also, the text in the image should now be much easier to understand than the Star Trek text we used before. 

Finally, you now have the ability to retry the test several times!  With all these changes, we don’t anticipate any trouble for legitimately fast typists to pass the test.  We hope that taking this test proves to be worth it for our fastest typists in order to prevent cheaters and have accurate high scores.  Let us know what you think!

 

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No More Cheating

Posted on May 18, 2008. Filed under: TypeRacer News |

Cheating at TypeRacer was sort of like slacking off in your 7th grade typing class. It was easy to get away with it, but you were really just cheating yourself out of all that free time other kids had in high school and college while you were trying to get your essay typed at night. I know because I was there.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) for the slackers, cheating at TypeRacer has just become a lot harder. Starting today, everyone who gets a score higher than 100 wpm has to pass a typing test to prove that they are a fast typist. The test asks you type not less than 20 wpm below the score you achieved in the race. If you fail the test your score for the race doesn’t count. If you pass, you are cleared to type 20 wpm faster than your test score without having to take the test again.

For example, say I finish a race at 110 wpm – I would have to get a score of at least 90 wpm on the typing test. If I get, say, 98 on the test, then I’m cleared to type up to 118 wpm in all future races. If I then get lucky and type 119 in some future race, I’d have to take the test again and score at least 99 wpm on it.

Truthfully though, I only type 60 wpm, and if you’re like me, you will never actually get to see the new typing test; so here is a screenshot.


 

The test asks you to type a randomly-generated Star Trek plot summary from an image. Having the text in an image means that the tricks cheaters had been using no longer work. I know some of you are reading this and thinking “OCR.” Sure, but if we see people doing that, we’ll just distort the text like a CAPTCHA, so, alluding to Star Trek, “resistance is futile!”

Once TypeRacer gets permanent user accounts your typing test score will be saved permanently. Until then, you’ll have to take the typing test every time you log in and finish a race faster than 100 wpm. We apologize to all our fast typists for this temporary inconvenience, and assure you that permanent user accounts are coming soon.

So now you’ll be able to see how fast people really type. Tonight, for instance, I’m seeing that “Chrozlol” has the top score of 152 wpm. Very impressive! Let’s see if anyone can beat that. The world’s fastest typist, Mrs. Barbara Blackburn, set a world record of 212 wpm. Perhaps the next world record will be set on TypeRacer!

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More Publicity for TypeRacer

Posted on May 13, 2008. Filed under: TypeRacer News |

TypeRacer has been fortunate in attracting lots of attention in the past weeks. We wanted to take a few minutes to supplement the links on our first post with the latest articles from the blogosphere.

But first, a quick update. Many of you have noticed a few cheaters in the game. Why anyone would want to cheat at typing is beyond me, but I’m happy to announce that we have a solution on the way really soon – will post more on this when it comes out.

Have you tried the private racetracks on TypeRacer yet? A few of you have posted your racetrack URLs on blogs and forums, which is awesome! However, these URLs currently expire 30 minutes after the last person leaves the racetrack. This is clearly a problem – we’re working out a way to make these URLs permanent.

Okay, back to what’s been said about TypeRacer in the past week! (The links take you to the full stories)

I know a few of you are already addicted to TypeRacer… The cool thing about the site is that its typing tests incorporate passages from cool movies, songs and books, like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, A Clockwork Orange and Stephen Colbert’s I Am America (And So Can You!).” – USA Today PopCandy

I’m not the only one who has compared the insanely addictive “TypeRacer” to educational typing tool Mavis Beacon.” – Interview with MTV Multiplayer

If you’re like me and love typing speed tests, I suggest checking out Typeracer, a fun game that lets you compete with other typing hotshots — forewarning, it’s truly addictive!” – Geeksugar

Website attracted one-quarter of a million visitors in a single week… What’s next for TypeRacer?” – Interview with GameCyte

I’m a sucker for typing games of any sort. If you make it online and competitive, then I’m going to be hooked.” – TIGSource

We have covered several online typing games before but this one is one of a kind.” – MakeUseOf

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Private Racetracks on TypeRacer

Posted on May 7, 2008. Filed under: TypeRacer News |

We’re happy to announce that within the next 24 hours you will be able to invite your friends to race you live in a private chat room on TypeRacer! Many of you have been asking for this capability and we’re thrilled to be releasing it!

You’ll know that private racetracks have become available when you see these two new options on the main menu:

Select “Race your friends” to host a new racetrack. Once you are in the racetrack, you’ll see a URL that you can give to your friends (in an email or instant message). This full URL is for everyone who doesn’t use TypeRacer from the social sites. For those friends who use TypeRacer from Okrut, Hi5, or MySpace, you’d use just the numeric code, which they will be able to enter from the main menu (by clicking on “Join a private race”) after logging into TypeRacer from their social site.

We’re looking forward to hearing what you think about this new feature after you’ve had a chance to try it!

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