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Author Topic: How to keep your builders - share your best tips  (Read 10115 times)

Hades_Kane

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Re: How to keep your builders - share your best tips
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2013, 10:42 AM »
I don't see the problem building on the live port, myself.

I think we've had an area or builder error cause a crash or loading problem on the game only once in the last two years.  Generally, a few extra sanity checks in the code can eliminate nearly any crash a builder can cause.

I see far more benefits of main port building versus isolated.
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Mangan

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Re: How to keep your builders - share your best tips
« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2013, 11:13 AM »
I don't see the problem building on the live port, myself.

If you've ever wanted to replace an area, or revamp it in a non-trivial way, then two ports make this change much cleaner. This is operating under the assumption that you want to keep the old area available until the new version is done, and that areas need to be updated/upgraded/redone over the years.

That is obviously in addition to anything similar to what Molly suggested, which decouples building and playing (although a new character for the immortal can also accomplish this).
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IFamiINIe

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Re: How to keep your builders - share your best tips
« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2013, 2:30 PM »
I don't see the problem building on the live port, myself.

I think we've had an area or builder error cause a crash or loading problem on the game only once in the last two years.  Generally, a few extra sanity checks in the code can eliminate nearly any crash a builder can cause.

I see far more benefits of main port building versus isolated.

It's a problem because you COULD disrupt live gameplay. You never want to put yourself in a situation where you could potentially crash the MUD. It's a very amature way of running any live game, especially if you impact gameplay with your mistakes. Just because you have never crashed the MUD doesn't make it a good practice to continue or promote others to adapt.

I for one have crashed a live MUD during a big raid. Although everyone is saved with no items lost, I still reset the battle. This pissed off a lot of my loyal core players because of my stupidity and lazyness.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2013, 2:32 PM by IFamiINIe »
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Ateraan

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Re: How to keep your builders - share your best tips
« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2013, 2:46 PM »
I for one have crashed a live MUD during a big raid. Although everyone is saved with no items lost, I still reset the battle. This pissed off a lot of my loyal core players because of my stupidity and lazyness.
Yes, they were all complaining about that when they came to Ateraan en masse. :P Just to keep things fair I went ahead and crashed the game during a subsequent raid.

Just kidding, but yes crashes during large events can really be debilitating to good flow.
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Molly

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Re: How to keep your builders - share your best tips
« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2013, 4:22 PM »
It's a problem because you COULD disrupt live gameplay. You never want to put yourself in a situation where you could potentially crash the MUD.

More so, new zones usually tend to have some typos, buggy scripts and unbalanced equipment, no matter how many times you think you've read through everything, errors are just human. So we never allow a new zone to go into the gameport without a head builder first checking all files, and then having a couple of experienced players testplay it from start to finish. Buggy scripts don't necessarily lead to a crash - (in fact they seldom do) - but a bad script or door can provide a shortcut to a quest reward that was supposed to be extremely hard to get, or to a player getting his hands on some equipment that needs to have the stats lowered quite a bit. (Having a bit too good equipment in a zone is the safest way to ensure its popularity, and all builders naturally want their zones to be popular).

I can understand people wanting some company while building, but most of our players are logged in at the gameport at the same time, and can take a break for a chat or a killing run, whenever they get bored.

I honestly cannot see a single drawback with having a buildport.
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Gotrek

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Re: How to keep your builders - share your best tips
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2013, 5:02 PM »
We have a build port, but I have never used it in five years to work on a project. Everything I do is on the gameport and there's been a grand total of one crash relating to said work and that was in beta four years ago. The only reason I'll be working on something on the build port anytime soon is for a complete area revamp, so that the old area can remain in use till the new one is ready.

Molly

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Re: How to keep your builders - share your best tips
« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2013, 1:35 AM »
We have a build port, but I have never used it in five years to work on a project. Everything I do is on the gameport and there's been a grand total of one crash relating to said work and that was in beta four years ago. The only reason I'll be working on something on the build port anytime soon is for a complete area revamp, so that the old area can remain in use till the new one is ready.

Yes, but then you do all the work yourself, don't you?
You don't have 50+ more or less unskilled and/or reliable people with the ability to build messing around and experimenting rather wilddly with their zones?

The beauty with a Buildport is that you can allow all these people to be creative and experimentative without any risk to the normal game. And sometimes - maybe not very often, but still sometimes - something extrordinary good comes out of all that experimenting.

We all work differently. I've built over half the zones in my Mud myself, and nowadays I always work directly in the files, because that is so much quicker, and also gives a better overview. But working in the files is risky. If you touch the format by mistake, just one missing little tilde - (you know thoose squiggly little ~) - will not only crash the Port when the file is put back in, it will keep it from rebooting until the format is fixed. So I have a separate Port just for testing that first, since I don't want to crash the port over the head of my Builders any more than I want to do it to my players.

It's really intriguing that there are so many different methods. :)
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Hades_Kane

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Re: How to keep your builders - share your best tips
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2013, 11:32 AM »
"It's a problem because you COULD disrupt live gameplay. You never want to put yourself in a situation where you could potentially crash the MUD. It's a very amature way of running any live game, especially if you impact gameplay with your mistakes. Just because you have never crashed the MUD doesn't make it a good practice to continue or promote others to adapt."

1) I am an amateur :p
2) When my options are between 1, maybe 2 builder responsible crashes every 1 or 2 years vs. segregating builders to a separate port and having the already low completion rate plummet even lower due to boredom and loneliness?  I'll take the very low chance of live game interruption.


"This is operating under the assumption that you want to keep the old area available until the new version is done, and that areas need to be updated/upgraded/redone over the years."

That's also easy enough to do on a case by case basis.  Boot up the test/code port, copy the area over, and do what you need on it and copy it back over when it's done.


"I honestly cannot see a single drawback with having a buildport."

My main concern is the isolation/loneliness/incentive aspect.  Sure, they could have another window open with as a player and then switch back and forth, but I doubt most people would bother.  It's been my experience that the more active and engaged socially the builders are with the rest of the game, the more productive they are.  Whether it's been time of year or even time of day, the slower the game is, the less productive builders tend to be.  The best I've seen most of them work (and even including myself) is when there is active discussion going on elsewhere on the game.  I feel like if we were to isolate our builders to a builder port, they would not only be logging onto their builder characters less (especially if they log into the live game and see some of their buddies on they want to chat with), then they would also be less productive while logged into that port as well.

As far as overpowered equipment, etc., we are pretty strict on our equipment standardization, with an autoset feature that has numerous options for presetting balanced, varied equipment within specific parameters (such as a setting to autoset based on rarity of equipment combined with what type of character the equipment is aimed for) and with a bit of randomization in the autoset as well, the builder can continue to autoset until it gives them about what they are looking for too.  As far as the randomization in our autoset, it works out with a balance of defense/AC numbers (or attack power/hit rate on weapons) along with other addaffects such as stat (pwr/wil/vit/agi, attack, accuracy, cast level, etc) mods, hp or mp bonuses, etc.  I can honestly say, overpowered equipment slipping through isn't normally an issue.

As far as buggy scripts, we handle this concern in a couple of ways... One is that we have any program errors reporting to the MUD through the bug command, but we've also put the bug call in as a wiznet option, too, so immediately upon a prog being written and tested, any actual flaws in the code of the program itself is immediately reported and fixed.  This cuts out on the majority of problems or issues with progs, and is a big help to builders trying to figure out why their prog isn't working.  Secondly, the builders themselves usually run through an area that is heavily scripted a few times themselves, often times having another immortal or two run through the area as well (we have our holylight toggle basically replacing most is_immortal checks in the code as well, so toggling that off will generally have an immortal suffer from all the same limitations as a player, except for character death, so often times this is an accurate enough player experience).  Occasionally, we also have both trusted players or even our own test characters that we'll have run and test an area before it goes live.  None of this requires builder isolation.

"It's really intriguing that there are so many different methods."

I agree, it's good discussion :)
-Diablos
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Gotrek

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Re: How to keep your builders - share your best tips
« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2013, 1:40 PM »
We have a build port, but I have never used it in five years to work on a project. Everything I do is on the gameport and there's been a grand total of one crash relating to said work and that was in beta four years ago. The only reason I'll be working on something on the build port anytime soon is for a complete area revamp, so that the old area can remain in use till the new one is ready.

Yes, but then you do all the work yourself, don't you?
You don't have 50+ more or less unskilled and/or reliable people with the ability to build messing around and experimenting rather wilddly with their zones?

The beauty with a Buildport is that you can allow all these people to be creative and experimentative without any risk to the normal game. And sometimes - maybe not very often, but still sometimes - something extrordinary good comes out of all that experimenting.

We all work differently. I've built over half the zones in my Mud myself, and nowadays I always work directly in the files, because that is so much quicker, and also gives a better overview. But working in the files is risky. If you touch the format by mistake, just one missing little tilde - (you know thoose squiggly little ~) - will not only crash the Port when the file is put back in, it will keep it from rebooting until the format is fixed. So I have a separate Port just for testing that first, since I don't want to crash the port over the head of my Builders any more than I want to do it to my players.

It's really intriguing that there are so many different methods. :)

I think you misunderstood me; we both do it exactly the same way with the minor exception that I build on the live port instead.  :P