The Right Way and The Easy Way

12 03 2008

The way our 7Seas Gear Vendors and Fish Servers worked was they read their inventories off internal notecards inside each object. Simple, effective, fast. No network traffic issues. And also the completely wrongheaded way to approach matters.

The problem is that if you go to buy a fishing rod or if you catch some superultrarare, and our item servers back at headquarters have somehow died… you don’t get your goods. You just paid cash money and got nada (although we keep copies of receipts and can forward you your items on request) and you don’t get your fish. What’s more, if the server’s changed locations completely, you are screwed until your fishing area owner installs new versions of the Vendor and Server — and you don’t even KNOW you’re screwed. Finally, whenever we want to add new fish and new gear, you’d have to wait a day for the updates to arrive and then manually replace your Vendor/Servers in-world with new copies of them. Lame.

So, last night I rolled up my sleeves and got to work on doing it the Right Way. …well, the Semi Right Way. Now, every 3 hours, the Vendor/Server phones home and says “Hey, are you alive?”. Home should reply with “I’m alive and by the way, here’s the newest copy of your inventory list.” This means we can update our fish and gear databases and those changes propagate outward within 3 hours. It also means if the thing goes down there’s only a three hour window of lurking failure to deal with before those clients go “Heyyy, I never heard back! I better shut down for awhile, just to be safe, and keep pinging back now and then until I hear a response.”

Ideally, the clients would buzz the server for a are-you-alive every damn time someone catches a fish or buys a bucket of bait, but the way SL’s designed, that would cause crushing lag and be unfeasible. This halfway measure should ensure only limited horror.

And frankly, it’ll probably never be an issue. I’ve had my iai story server in there running for months with no interruptions and no problems. (Of course, I haven’t WRITTEN an iai story in months and probably won’t for awhile since it’s effectively a Paused Project, but that’s another blog post entirely.) I don’t anticipate any problems here, either. Still, it’s a good feature to include, and it lets us release new fish / new gear whenever we want to without any replacement work needed on our users behalf.

The release party for 7Seas will be this Saturday at 7pm Pacific time. Retail Pro Fishing Rods and Fishing Area Kits will be on sale, I’ll be DJing, and we’ll be having a three hour fishing contest for trophies and prizes. Be there! Or I’ll hide sea urchins in your bedsheets.

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9 responses

12 03 2008
fraggedone

While I appreciate all the dynamic works that you’ve been working on (NWN, SL), I was wondering if there are any plans on writing any more static fiction?

12 03 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Well, like I said there, that’s practically a whole other blogpost… I’ll try to summarize.
For the last few years I’ve been trying to learn the art of doing what I like to do, not just doing what I think people would like me to do. That means I only undertake projects that I’M jazzed about and passionate for, not simply ones that are popular and people like me for doing.
I follow my own heart when it comes to deciding what to do with my free time… because the alternative is to face my ‘hobby’ as a chore and a task I don’t actually want to do and feel guilty for not working on because I know people desire it.
Thus leading me to writing. Right now, I don’t have any passion for a writing project, while I have OODLES of passion for indie game development. I have “i am ikon” but it kind of stalled and I am not going to get myself into a situation where I’m forcing myself to work on a project out of some sense of duty. That applies to other writing projects as well.
There WILL come a time when I’m keen on writing again. Count on it. I might even continue iai, I think it has a lot of promise, for whenever I’m ready to return to it. I have other writing ideas I’ve toyed with quietly but right now, my focus in life is on game development, and that’s where it’s staying until I’m ready for the sake of my own sanity and happiness.

12 03 2008
keikotakamura

Doesn’t having fans who ask for more kindle your passion a little bit?
Anyway, it looks like I’m sleeping on spinedys on Saturday. :( Cylindrian says hi!

12 03 2008
fraggedone

WOW, I’m unobservant. I’m sorry, I caught EVERYTHING on the fishing project, but somehow missed the iai bit!
Keep up the -awesome- work.

12 03 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Yes and no.
Yes, in that it’s positive feedback, it shows me I’m on the right track and people are getting enjoyment from my work. That encourages me to do more.
No, in that if I myself am not particularly interested in doing something anymore, hearing the clamoring cries for more only guilts me out because I can’t give them what they want.
Example. Let’s say you got bored one day and had this great idea for a robot avatar in SL. Built it, sold it, yay. But people loved it and kept asking for more and more robots when you’re more interested in getting back to your music — you’ve got ideas for an album and you’d rather do that, but nobody seems to care about your music anymore, they just want ROBOTS…
Now, most NORMAL people would go “Sorry guys, I’m not doing robots, I want to do music.” But I had a bit of a fixation and a guilt complex on not being able to be what people what me to be, one I’m still working my way out of, and that meant if I was ready to move on from a project but nobody else was, I felt trapped. And that’s not exactly gonna do anything good for my passion.

12 03 2008
jengagne

Knowing you, you will probably write some flat or semi-flat fiction again someday. But it’ll only happen when it’s percolating enough TO happen.
I suppose that’s the trouble with writing, especially the length you usually go for. It’s generally a much more lengthy and planning-requiring undertaking than yer average other work of art. So it’s a big commitment, it’s not like when I go “Oh I think I’ll draw/paint/build an X today!” and just go off and do it and it’s done.
So I assume you don’t mean you’re “moving on” from being a writer, but rather that you’re moving on from one project to the next, and none of them happen to be fiction in the foreseeable future.

12 03 2008
pyromaniac_ks

You should take up sculpting clay or something.

12 03 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Egh, clay. That stuff’s gross. It’s all mushy and wet and gets everywhere.
I’ve never been an arts and crafts kinda guy; disability = lack of manual dexterity for it and I don’t like getting dirty or slimy. Now, VIRTUAL arts and crafts, that I can swing.

13 03 2008
cmdr_zoom

I was big into clay in grade school and middle. I got out of the habit when we moved to Eugene. Writing is my art these days.

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