The Breaking of the Fellowship

Our infrastructure work is (mostly) done. There are still some very small things to do here and there[1] but we have a proper distributed architecture for all of the things we need for now. Those who have been following Textual Intercourse[2] will be aware of what’s been going on, but here’s a quick summary for the rest of you.

* We have two MUDs now. One is Epitaph Black Ops and that is the development/testing server. Only creators and PTs have access to this currently. The other MUD is Epitaph and that is the live MUD.
* We are moving into a closed development period during which we will add more areas, quests, items, crafting patterns and such. During this time, day to day development on Epitaph will cease.
* From now on, we are adopting a formal patching process – you won’t see day to day changes in the game, instead those changes will be pused across to the live game in a formal patch. You’ll get warning ahead of time when this is going to happen.
* To ensure that communication syncs up properly, rather than having our own internal LPC tools for boards and blogging we’ve moved to formal platforms. The MUDs now have commands for hooking into these – ‘boards’, ‘wiki’ and ‘blog’. The ‘boards’ command is available only when you have access to an internet enabled device in game.
* Bugs reported on Epitaph (live) are made available to us on Epitaph Black Ops. Report bugs are normal – we’ll see them.

The last of the architecture elements was slotted into place last night – Eek’s awesome chat framework. What that means is when you chat on a channel on Epitaph live, we can see it on Epitaph Black Ops (and vice versa). How cool is that? So very cool.

Now, all of that is a lot of work – why did we do it?

The simple answer is – it makes it better for you and it makes it better for us. We can code, crash our MUD, lock it up with mistake or generally just burn the whole thing down. It won’t affect you in the slightest. You get a much more even playing experience because we’re not messing things up in the background. It also means that during our closed development period you still have access to an actual MUD to play around on if you like. In previous closed development periods we’ve shut the MUD entirely to new accounts. Those days are over – from now on, the live MUD will remain.

I anticipate we’ll be in this development push for a while, during which time the live game will remain pretty much as it is – if you’re not seeing changes, don’t think it’s because development has halted because that’s not the case. It’s just that the development is happening somewhere else. The next stage of our evolution as a game is full release. We’re not messing around here any more.

At the point we go full live, the MUD will become Epitaph 1.0 and fully open to everyone. At that point will come our very last player wipe[3] and you’ll be free to play without fear that your effort will eventually be in vain.

There may be a few things here and there that break as a result of the architecture we’ve been putting in place. We’re paying attention. :-D

Thanks for all your support so far – we’re almost there!

Drakkos.

[1] I’d like ‘who’ and its ilk to show people on both MUDs, and login/logoff informs for peope who eneter both MUDs. Those can wait though.
[2] http://epitaph.imaginary-realities.com/wp/?p=483
[3] You’ll lose all your equipment, skills and money as such but keep your character and all its accumulated age.

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