Roadmap - part 0

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+Colibri
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Roadmap - part 0

Post by +Colibri »

Roadmap part 0

I was hoping that by this time I'd post the roadmap for the future of the shard, it's not quite come to that yet, but I'd still like to post a few things as a preface. This post is not about the future, but about the past and present – the things I've learned that will shape the future.

As you may know, content development and events are currently on hold. I am working on technical stuff behind the scenes, fixing, tidying up and organizing. When I took this on, I was guessing that it would be done by the end of the 19/20 season, let's say in June 2020. But now it's October and it's still ongoing… However, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. There are basically three piles of stuff that need to be addressed:
- Technical things that can't be seen, but clutter the environment or cause instability. And with more clutter, it's hard to find anything anymore. This is a huge boring pile, but it's near the end.
- Technical things that can be seen, for example: setting up discord server, organizing a group for Wiki edits, Mentor society…
- Non-technical things, which is the whole point – events and content. And not to end up in the same situation after a few years, this will be done differently in the future.
A lot has happened over the recent years, well actually over the whole decade. Much of it was in-the-moment or as a reaction to something happening on at the time. In the long run, doing so much triage and putting out fires is very taxing.

In December of 2019 i took about a week to just focus on the big picture, get all the stray thoughts and ideas into one place, write it down into a coherent plan for the long term progress of the shard. When the time is right, I will post some of those plans – so that when it's posted, I can get right on to realization of those components. If I had posted it right now, we'd start the debate and get excited, but then it could be months of nothing happening before I'd get to it.

There are also two additional reasons:
- Some shards look up to Excelsior, and I wouldn't like those ideas to be already there on competing shards, before coding even starts here. Well, the main challenge of these improvements isn't about knowing the idea, but properly connecting all the concepts and implementing them. With the goal that the system can perform well in the long run with the large quantities of code, objects, and data it has to handle.
- In the past there were announcements of new additions, and there was a lot of talk about it, when it was still on the drawing board. When it comes to programming, everything is possible, but some things that seem easy then just a single thing can take weeks to complete – and there's dozens of such components to make. So as a guideline, improvements will be announced when they are either near completion, or about to start if the schedule is cleared out to make it possible. And this big cleanup is mostly about clearing out the schedule, which I'll describe below.


Entropy
At its core, this whole thing – the game, content, community – is just a constant battle between order and chaos. This is already presented in the game, Lord British vs. Lord Blackthorn. And there is an order-vs-chaos in the underlying layer of the game. Entropy is always present, and has to be dealt with.

For the game to be fun, it has to be diverse and original. New things popping up on a regular basis, not just new areas and skeletons with a different color and name, but actual new mechanics… not just combat mechanics, but also potions, magery, traps. Not just killing mechanics, but also crafting, growing plants, harvesting resources. And it doesn't stop there, maybe add a pinch of strategy games by having mercenaries that you control, canons to do sieges… ideas are endless. And such things are interesting because they are unlike anything else. This presents a challenge for the underlying technical layer, which prefers ordered things – monotonous and predictable.

For a system to scale and be effective, it has to be ordered and predictable. If you take a look at Instagram, all of the mechanics are just images, likes, and comments. Well ok, they added direct messaging and a few privacy settings, but at the core, it's really simple. Similar with Twitter and TokTok, while Facebook is already a little more complex. But it's that boring simplicity that makes it possible to bear a lot of structured creativity.

These two concepts are mutually exclusive. Being creative results in disorder. Being orderly brings on monotony. But only when you can find the paints in the drawer, and the brushes are clean, can you be creative again.

Creativity and playing is the opposite of technical stability. A few days ago, me and Lorelay were playing on the floor in the living room. Not the kind of play where I'd look up the rules of some game, and we would then follow those rules to play out the game. I was just moving my legs around, and she was, I don't know, trying to catch them? Or get away from them? That is what's wonderful about true and original play, both of us were having a great time.

Does anyone still remember MySpace from around 2005? It allowed for editing of HTML on your own page, making it very custom and unique. The GIF-disaster sometimes crashed browsers.

It's similar to that on Excelsior. We are based on the RunUO server – it generally divides all code into two sections: the »Core« which is just technical and shouldn't be touched unless you know what you're doing, and the »Scripts« which is intended to be edited a lot and played with. But a bug in the Scripts still crashes the server – all of it. And a rushed fix can cause more problems in the future, for example by corrupting data.

When I was organizing things at home, I thought of this theoretical scenario, inspired by real events: On Christmas, a child gets a toy that requires some assembly. Before the playing starts, even assembling the toy is already fun for the whole family. In March, the toy is not as interesting anymore, so first a decision has to be made: do we gift it, throw it away, or disassemble for the next winter or the possible next child? Let's say we want to store it, you can just cram it in whatever little space there is in the garage, or you can properly disassemble it to save on space and keep things organized. When it comes to dis-assembly, you have to find tools again (this time finding tools is not as fun as it was when the whole family was gathered) and then also find the space in the garage where it will fit. Maybe a few months later you find some screws and parts of the toy left in a drawer – the quick solution is to trash them, but for the toy to be fully functional in the future, it's best to put it in the box with it - having to unbox the thing again, putting the screws where they belong…


Entropy reduction and the ABC rule:
First a big kudos to the people who I've been sort of working with, but actually studying under. In particular two people. One is an advisor for mid-to-large organizations/companies who has shown me a lot of Xxx amazing things how things need to be set up to actually work. And which things don't work, even with the best intentions and determination. The other person is older, and has tinkered with many things during his lifetime, now working with startups and is a counsel to the European Commission. Hard to put it all into one sentence, but if had to pick the most important piece of advice it would be: Innovation is constantly happening, and will continue to happen, whether you want to be a part of it or not. And if you try to repress it, it will jump out from somewhere you least expect.

There's a difference between a wish list and a to-do list. A difference between an idea and a plan. So back in December when I was putting those ideas into a plan, I decided that in order for all those wishes to become a reality, to be able to work on them, is to first clean my desk. Metaphorically – because in this information age, my desk is already pretty clean. But the computers have tons of folders and files, things that I kind of know they are there, but it has to be exactly where it needs to be. Same applies to the mind – it's hard to focus on something if there's a hundred distractions coming in from all directions.

So I'd like to share with you an effective strategy: ABC – always be closing. Not the sales cliche, but the fact that when a task/project is finished, it frees up the mind to start another.
During this time I was not only fixing and tidying up on the shard, but also cleaning out the garage, finally assembling some furniture we bought over a year ago. Putting back screws and parts I found in a drawer back to where they belong. A tent that we folded in a hurry back in 2017 and was taking up 3 bags which were all over the place, folding it so that it all fits in one bag, placed with rest of the camping stuff. Getting various small projects either finished, passed on, or terminated.

A big portion of my time (and brain power) still goes to a project for a company, we started talks in January 2018 and is now in the final stage (it was on hold for 2 years meanwhile). And while it is time consuming, it's not all going to waste… first, they're paying well, but more importantly, I've learned some things that will more than make up for the 2-3 months of time that I was primarily focusing on it. And to be honest, with the lack of contract i could just walk away when things got more complicated than initially thought, but I like to see things through. Me and the CEO know each other from before there was Excelsior, and I wouldn't want to leave them hanging with a half-built system.

The 50-90 rule
And when it comes to closing/finishing, when you think you're 90% done, you're only half way through. When writing a new script, just because it works, doesn't mean it's finished. When it is activated on the server, we get a few tickets about various bugs, and over time various user-interface issues show up. For example, that there's a button missing, even though it's there but hard to see – minor improvements to the user interface, and when it's fixed, tickets about that particular issue are a thing of the past. Then there has to be a wiki page about it, announcing it, etc… So the script writing is the fun part, but a working code is basically proof of concept. Finishing it requires some more effort.

The thing with components in a system of interconnected parts, is that when you add a part, it needs time to settle. So even after all of it is done, an issue might pop up every few months, and if those aren't handled in a timely manner, they just pile up.


Bugs - and the Poop Stamp Factor
A short story about our cat, Panda. He's a tuxedo cat with fluffy fur, he's been raised inside and he really likes to cuddle. The fluffy fur is soft and long all over his body, including around the butt. This can be a problem - every now and then, he has a case of »soft poop«, which then sticks to the fur. Then he goes around and sits in a dozen spots, stamping his presence, before we finally catch him , and wash him. As a precaution, i usually trim the hair around there, and when he has digestion problems it doesn't stick - and there's no mess afterward. Recently, I haven't made it a priority to do the trim, and just in September, we have had 3 separate poop stamping incidents. It's easy to clean the hard surfaces, just with some detergent and moist cloth. But textiles need more effort, and are also much more time consuming. I should have trimmed his hair way back on the first incident, but at the time I just thought that well, it probably won't happen again.

Bugs in the code are similar. A bug can corrupt data, which can either be irreversible, or can take an hour or several hours to make a script that goes through the data and sets it right. A bug can go unnoticed, and appear to be normal functionality of some feature on the shard. By the time it's fixed, it may already be the general opinion that this is how the thing works, and then there has to be a special announcement about how actually it's not how it works. And that all takes time, distracting from the creative part of development.

Adding a new feature to the server definitely comes with a few bugs. But also with a chance of a furry cat or two. Not only are there poop stamps to clean, there's also hair to be trimmed, and the sooner you can do that, the less you'll have to clean up later. And if there are hundreds of cats in the room from years of creatively adding things without proper structure, it can take a while for all of them to be trimmed, and all the stamps to be cleaned out, especially from all the sofas.

It's been suggested that I hire cheap programmers from Asia. Can you imagine just how many incontinent furry cats that would unleash into the room? And I'd be the one having to clean up after.
Note: when a bug breaks something in the game, it's a rule to first fix the underlying problem, only then undo the damage that it caused (except in certain situations). There was a bug with townhouses eating items, I first investigated what caused it and fixed the code, then went to find those items and returned them to owners. If I would just try to resolve the ticket ASAP and just retrieve the items, it's likely that I would already move on to other things, not addressing the original issue. And after a dozen such incidents, I would have already spent much more time retrieving the items, than it would be to initially fix it and undo the damage of just 3 townhouses that were affected.
So basically – once I get all of these things cleaned up, I will make sure that every new cat that comes in, first gets the hair trimmed. And then periodically afterwards, because in the long run it's less time consuming and less messy to trim the hair, rather than to clean the poop stamps. And an even better thing is to have a scanner that just notifies of problematic cats.

Our cats, Panda is the one on the right.
panda and meta.jpg
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Organization
I am most effective in assembling furniture and drilling holes into walls when I have my own toolbox with me because i know which tools I have. When I moved in with my girlfriend in their house, I was amazed by how many tools and material her father has in his workshop – but it took me a while to figure out where everything is. If he would reorganize everything, I'd be lost again, going to the workshop to just find a piece of sandpaper would be a much more time consuming and frustrating task.

Working in a team, among many other things, is to share many of the tools and materials. It has to be organized, and if anything is moved, everyone has to be updated about it's whereabouts. The more creative complexity we create, the more challenging this becomes. But fortunately it's possible to code tools to make these things easier.
This reminds me of how dis-organized our house used to be. We had the standard clutter on the table and shelves, and when guests came over, we tidied the place by just cramming it all into whatever drawer or cabinet that still had some space in it. It was hard for me to find the toothbrush in the drawer under the sink, because there was also a wrench, drill bits, cables, some empty box that I don't know what it was even for… etc. So I took a few hours to dedicate just for getting all those items into their place. And more importantly, I no longer put anything non-related into that drawer – and if an item happens to end up there, I put it back where it belongs right away, before those items start to multiply.

For those of you who watched Rick and Morty – it's like the episode with the alien that multiplied, each new alien took the form of some person or an animal. The aliens also altered the memories of humans, making them believe that they have known that character from a long time ago. At the very start, when Rick became aware of the alien infestation, he wrote a list of people who are real – who belong there. It's similar with my bathroom drawer, it needs to contain: toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, razor, shaving cream. Anything else in there? Shoot it!

Things that are unlike any other.
things unlike any other.jpg
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But the thing is – when we create a new piece of content, we don't just reuse the existing components. For it to be interesting, it has to have some new stuff. So in the real-world metaphor, if there is already a drawer for tools, a drawer for documents, one for computer chargers, a cabinet for board games, a shelf for old family photos, and so on. And when someone wants to start knitting – where do you put the knitting needles and yarn? It's something unlike anything else, and you either need a fresh drawer for it, or a common mutual understanding what category it falls into – let's say it would go into the cabinet of arts and crafts.

With most new shards that I've observed, it seems that it's usually one person, or a tight group of people who trust each other and share a common understanding of things. As time goes on, and a shard moves away from just replicating what they already know, and onto more creative things, this common understanding becomes more fragmented, productivity decreases, morale drops… and eventually it's just minor fixes and re-hashing of the same stuff.

To refer back to the order-vs-chaos: the activity on the shard should be as chaotic as possible, but only as chaotic as the underlying order structure can handle.
An example of stuff that's not cleaned up, that you can observe in the game, is certain places where you bump into an invisible object. There are structures built for events, that were just hidden after the event was over, but the thing still remains there and blocks passage. But I don't know where that all links to, so I don't know if it's safe to delete it. Or should it be moved someplace? But even if it's just moved, eventually there will be a big area of stuff that's just sitting there, taking up server resources, and nobody knows how to properly put it away. Similar to what my Dropbox folder became, which I'm also in the process of tidying up.

To clean a poop stamp, if the detergent and rag is where it's supposed to be, it's a simple task of cleaning it up. If it's not there, then there are three tasks that need to be done: find the detergent, find the rag, then finally clean it up.

So when it comes to »collaborative software« and RunUO (the software our shard runs on)… It reminds me of something I posted a while back, about how certain technology or approach has its limitations. If you want to send messages across the ocean faster, you can build faster ships… but eventually run into the physical limitations of how fast a ship can go. So it's necessary to move to an entirely different concept, like building airplanes. But the people back in 1850 had no concept of air travel, no aluminum, no tools to make such a thing. These days planes are manufactured on an assembly line, with just Boeing churning out about 1 transcontinental plane every day.


Fixing Bugs
When fixing a bug in a system, it's not just about fixing that one bug.

To fix bugs in a computer program, this scene from Malcolm in the Middle shows it in a satirical way. You try to fix one thing, and notice that you can't (or shouldn't), until you finish something else.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbSehcT19u0

Just this Friday, I was going to post the announcement about the Halloween dungeon being open. But here's what actually happened, when I was going to write it.

* Start writing the forum post, remember that there's an important bug report about idle players being pulled into the boss area.
* Was going to refund the 170ED that the player spent on corpse recovery, so first I have to verify that they really spent 170ED on it.
* Found that corpse stone doesn't log actions, so I'll have to verify the amount some other way.
* But first, upgrade the corpse stone to log actions.
* Oh and there's another issue with the corpse stone, so fix that as well (while it's still fresh in my head, because returning to the corpse stone on a later day would mean more overhead of loading it up into my memory, and re-testing the whole thing again).


When you fix an error, you alter the code a little bit. Every alteration of the code has a chance of introducing one more more errors. So after a system grows to a certain complexity, it's impossible to fix errors without introducing more errors, leading to a system that will always contain errors. (Paraphrasing, this was postulated by admiral Grace Hopper)

It's important to be focused and take the time to fix a bug, to reduce the chance of breaking more stuff. And in the big picture of things, it's not as bad as it sounds – the system can be de-complexified and restructured.


About hiring new staff
We receive offers to help with the shard. At this time we cannot accept these offers because of the reasons I wrote above. Someone with the best intentions and with experience GM-ing on a RunUO shard will inevitably complicate things, if we don't properly work together. To work together, we have to establish a common ground, and anyone who helps has to know how to properly handle a certain situation. As a simple example, if a player is stuck, a GM can just [props the player and set CantWalk to false. But maybe the script that has set that CantWalk also altered something else, and just doing such quick fixes without the person in charge of that component being aware of it, can cause problems later on.

There's an expression »to learn to one's cost«. In my language we say, literally translated: »there's a cost to every lesson«. But don't learn on your own mistakes, learn on the mistakes of others. I've crashed the server already probably a dozen times, and it would be counter-productive for a few people to tinker with the server on their own in such a way.

The way me and +Kimane are currently running things is stable. There is barely any overhead, things are done correctly. The pile isn't getting bigger, but I can focus on reducing it. There are things that she is technically able to do, but we have established protocols where she only does things that have virtually zero chance of backfiring – and then me having to take three times as much time later on to fix it. The trivia events are quite basic, but they don't cause issues – like for example the Halloween dungeon right now, which requires a server restart every few days (it's a technical glitch that can definitely be fixed, but takes time and focus to find the error, fix it, and test it to make sure it's all still working as it should).

And when these protocols are expanded, they will support more diverse activities.


In conclusion
I'm not concerned about what activities we'll have in November, I'm concerned whether there is steady activity and progress in let's say 2025.
I wish I could give a more precise time frame when things are going to be happening, but as it is with the 50-90 rule, and non-repetitive tasks, it's unpredictable. But anyway, there's the light at the end of the tunnel, so it's time for me to make this post.
+Colibri, Administrator of UO Excelsior Shard

Don't know what the purpose of your life is? Well then make something up! ;)
(Old Colibrian proverb)
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Gaara
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Re: Roadmap - part 0

Post by Gaara »

+Colibri wrote:Roadmap part 0

I'm not concerned about what activities we'll have in November, I'm concerned whether there is steady activity and progress in let's say 2025.
I wish I could give a more precise time frame when things are going to be happening, but as it is with the 50-90 rule, and non-repetitive tasks, it's unpredictable. But anyway, there's the light at the end of the tunnel, so it's time for me to make this post.
That is good to hear. I have been here for 8 years now. As a long time player, i'm after longevity and i believe this server can provide that. Seasonal events, random surprise grab-alls or town invasions or whatever are nice but personally not required. The content we have now is enough for me to sustain interest for years to come, hell i haven't even done everything the shard has to offer yet. This server is by far the most stable PVE server i've seen (not counting the Halloween lag :P) and i'm glad that the cleanup is happening.

But...

From a player's standpoint the server could use another "mini" staffer like +Kimane, because what i think the server lacks currently in, is staff presence. Someone who can enforce rules and act on rule violations; AFK farmers have plagued the shard for months on end and with only 2 staff members around they can keep on breaking the rules if both of you are offline.

It's not all just about rules either, players also need to see and be able to interact with staff. With no one (visibly) around and radio silence on updates, players feel abandoned. It's great to see +K or you pop up and talk and interact with players a bit...

Yes, training and finding a new staff member takes time, time away from the cleanup project but from a player's perspective that time is worth it, because while i intend to be here to see what activities and progress happens in 2025, i'm also here playing from November to November.

I don't expect a response on this, just some food for thought :)
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Re: Roadmap - part 0

Post by acolyte »

Great post. So, there are things under the hood that are more complex than us mortals can really imagine. We don't know anything about that though and when there is radio silence we tend to assume the worst and it has been mostly radio silence so naturally many people have become very pessimistic about the shard's direction.

I miss the glory days of MySpace... I think that was when the internet peaked for me. Since then it's just been downhill.

Well, Happy Birthday +C. I'm not sure of the exact date but I heard you are a Libra so it must be around this time.
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Re: Roadmap - part 0

Post by +Colibri »

Sorry about the radio silence... I guess, we could talk about the weather, it just seems that topic soon shifts to ideas about what could be improved.

It's a bit like when copying a lot of files, but the progress only updates when a file is complete. If copying lots of small files, the progress bar seems responsive, and then you hit a batch of 4GB files and it just looks like the HDD is going to crash.
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Re: Roadmap - part 0

Post by qbf »

+Colibri wrote: In conclusion
I'm not concerned about what activities we'll have in November, I'm concerned whether there is steady activity and progress in let's say 2025.
But there will be an auction at some point.... riiiight?

lol, Thanks for letting us know the grand plan. In +C we trust.
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+Colibri
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Re: Roadmap - part 0

Post by +Colibri »

Quick update:
Back when I started on this huge pile of fixes, I didn't even know where to start. Wanted to make a list, but it was even more frustrating, so I just went with whatever went fastest to reduce it. About a week or two ago, I regrouped my thoughts and compiled a list of about 20 items that remain. I estimate that some of the things might take less than a day, some a few days, even over a week. But I'm happy to have a list, so for every completed item, I can take a green sharpie and put a nice tick to it.

And as I have a clearer head, some things are going faster than expected. By the way, I have a damaged cellphone (needs to be held in a certain way when I'm on the call in order for the speaker to have electrical contact) so back in June I bought a new cellphone - same model - but haven't actually taken the time to set it up yet. Finally getting around to that as well... Just want to say that stuff on the shard aren't the only things that are in queue for months.

A few things from the list - those that will noticeable or are worth mentioning:
- Security upgrades (already done, will mention in the changelogs after the next server restart).
- Portal 2.0 finishing & putting online. (Well, in a way this could be called Portal 3.0 since it will be built on top of a different framework. The original Portal 2.0 went live, in I think 2017, then there was a compatibility issue and it didn't work anymore, and I never got around to making it operable again).
- Auction system fix
- System for Player-organized-event items (participation reward, 1st/2nd/3rd place trophies, temporary token items) - so you don't have to wait for us to make it manually.
- And the thing I'm most scared of, the numerous Bug Report tickets... There's still some in the helpsystem from years ago, but I will consider this task complete when all tickets sent after mid-2019 are resolved. I've already made good progress, but to clear them all out could take 2-3 weeks just focusing on this.

Then there's also some final touches, completing systems that were added before things came to a halt: [events calendar, boss instancing (e.g. making lady Melisande & Doom gauntlet to use the same system as Travesty/Longhorn), recoding all remaining quests into the new Quest system. But these aren't part of my list, I'll see how big of a priority they'll get after.

Anyway, if my predictions are any good, I guess this list could be complete until around the new year's. Please note that when this list is complete, it's not going to be just batches of additions and frequent events. But I will finally have my head clear, and the environment set up, to focus on more fun and creative stuff. And that's when "Part 1" of the roadmap will become relevant.
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Re: Roadmap - part 0

Post by Alamiester »

im glad your sharing your thoughts and expectations with the the community. this helps keep the player base in line to real life events. like so many of your events you described, some of them made me laugh. i think think that is alot of concern with players, especially when gms are retiring. well they did a while back before i took my half corona vaca in germany, and most people havnt heard or seen a peep of the gms. setting priorties is very important, in real life and in game. but, both of those relate to you in both senses. i understand what your dealing with. its hard to make everyone happy, lol. all i gotta say is im happy, when im drunk and fishing, lol. i have enjoyed the last 9 years playing on this shard, i hope to enjoy many more. Cheers to many more years on UO Excelsior!
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Re: Roadmap - part 0

Post by apocalypse »

I agree with the comment about the need for having a staff presence. The shard seems uneventful and abandoned since the staff change a while ago, although of course things go on in the background that we don't see, from my point of view, there definitely is little to no staff presence. Lately with the Trivia games there has been a little bit of action, so that was a good step towards having something happen at least, out of the normal routines of the game.

This affects events, and definitely affects the helps system. No matter what there will always been need for admin assistance with something, and if players have to wait months or more for any kind of actual help, they will definitely be very frustrated which could lead to losing players.

Slowly but surely over the years I have noticed a lot of players leaving or playing a lot less. Personally I have taken to treasure hunting as a new goal that keeps me engaged in the shard. Collecting the higher level collectibles is very challenging, so I'm thankful for those changes to the treasure hunting system, as it gave me a new challenge to work towards.

Maybe another lower level staff should be considered to handle simple help requests, and maybe be in charge of running more events?
There used to be power hours, more random collectibles on stones in town centre to coordinate with real life events or holidays. Anything would be great to throw some random extra fun in there.

Don't get me wrong, I love this shard, have been here for 6 years going on 7 soon, so I am thankful for all the years of fun I have had here. I'm holding on to every last bit of hope that things will change and get better again. I'm just trying to be really honest in hope that it might be helpful in some way.

I guess the biggest bit of advice I could offer would be, no more unfulfilled promises please. If you say something is going to change or be added, make sure it happens. There have been a lot of promises that didn't happen, and I would rather hear there is nothing happening, than have my hopes lifted only to be let down when it didn't actually get done.
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Re: Roadmap - part 0

Post by +Colibri »

Update about the progress of things. Last post, i mentioned that I have a list of things that I'm going through, and it should be done by about new year's (mid-january still qualifies). Not quite on schedule, but almost. Aside from a few minor things, one big thing that remains, is the big number of bug reports, which would probably take at least a few weeks of intense work.


I'm posting my list of upocoming projects, these are no longer just fixing/cleanup of old stuff, but slowly going into more pro-active things. Two of these projecs are "top-secret", basically I need them for further development but since they won't be public for a while longer, I'm not going to say what exactly they do.

- Project "P": a kind of project management software, integrated into the shard.

- Project "M": something to keep track of gameplay from a bigger-picture perspective.

- Portal 2.0: upgrade of the existing Portal, to be compatbile with mobile devices, and also allow sending messages and participate in guild chat. Some other features will be built in this framework. This was available for some time in 2017, but then something broke and I didn't fix it... but anyway, this version is built with a different framework. I could say it's already 3/4 done, since a lot of the existing Portal 2.0 systems/infrastructure can be reused, and I already have half of the UI done.

- Chunking the game: Recently posted and described in a forum thread, here's the link: https://www.uoex.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=13406 - this is not something you'll be able to edit or play with, but you might see it for example if you submit a bug report, you'll have to select which part of the game the bug is related to.

- And already mentioned, getting a lot of the Bug Reports fixed/finalized.

Can't wait for this all to be done, because after this, I'll finally start on a project that's been in my head for years, and it's something that we will all be able to play with.

Btw, I haven't forgotten about Discord, improvements to the TownCenter, and well there's a ton of varoius things that keep coming up. These minor projects can start when the "Project P" is complete.
+Colibri, Administrator of UO Excelsior Shard

Don't know what the purpose of your life is? Well then make something up! ;)
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qbf
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Re: Roadmap - part 0

Post by qbf »

Thanks for the update +c.

Out of curiosity we know you've been working on improving/fixing the auction system. Did the test auction and recent grand auctions run smoothly? If so, will that mean maybe seeing a little more auction action in the future?
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+Colibri
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Re: Roadmap - part 0

Post by +Colibri »

Wanted to take a few minutes to share today's acomplisment. So, went into this week with a strong focus on the Portal V2 development, wasn't sure how far i'm going to get, but considering that it's friday evening and "it basically works", I'd say this is very good news.

As things seemed to work ok, I just wanted to do a quick test to see if maybe it will already work with the main server, so i tried connecting the portal-v2 server to the main database, then login and send a message. And it seems to work quite ok.
In the screenshot you can also see 2 journals: one is from the main server. The other is from the development server (notice the much slower save time), which also acts as an endpoint for chat channels and messages.

When this goes live i'll write a bit more about it, but as I mentioned before, here's what this means.
The existing portal v1 is soon going to be turned off, once this is all done. Portal v1 had some simple synchronization between the server and the browser, just so that public chat could still go on if the server crashed (or was offline), this was designed still around 2008 and the server was still hosted from my home.

Portal v2 is based on a cloud database, which means that any number of servers crashing, the whole thing still remains online. There's no single point of failure. Also much better synchhronization of data between the shard and the portal.
Benefits we'll see right when it goes online:
- nicer UI, also supports small screens/mobiles.
- ability to reply to private messages
- ability to view & chat in guild chats.

But in the more mid-term/long-term, this will be the next generation of interaction with the shard. A lot of the functionality will be for staff, or players who would need specialized access. I don't want to give away too much too soon :) But there's a lot of data that needs to be accessed/edited, making in-game UIs for that is very time consuing and has very old school UI mechanics (can't even select/copypaste or edit some text if you make a typo).

Anyway, to me getting this project this far is a big accomplishment. And when the system is online for everyone to use, it will be an important milestone for the plans ahead.

2021-03-19 portal development works.png
2021-03-19 portal development works.png (290.48 KiB) Viewed 1086 times
+Colibri, Administrator of UO Excelsior Shard

Don't know what the purpose of your life is? Well then make something up! ;)
(Old Colibrian proverb)
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Re: Roadmap - part 0

Post by qbf »

Hey, +C. I was re-reading this post and reflecting on some comments you've made recently about feeling like your life is a little more organised. Is there any intention of releasing part 1 of the roadmap any month soon? It would be great to hear an update on how the big cleanup of code and sorting of files is going. What's the plan and direction moving forward?

Also server crashed just now I think....
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