Friday, March 28, 2008

Don't Panic

Your ships and all of your games have disappeared. This time intentionally! I have deleted all the game data except for the players statistics (Command Points, wins, losses, etc.). Everything else is gone.

This was needed because I had to redesign the data storage for the entire game. This site started as an experiment in game logic and I wanted to see if it was possible to set up a web based game and get players to show up. I spent an absolute minimum amount of time in designing/coding things that didn't affect the "game play". I also did not know what kind of restrictions I would be under with a hosting partner. I wasn't sure if a Microsoft SQL or MySQL database would be available. So everything was just stored in XML files on the server. This works fine, but it is slow and very inefficient with disk space.

Now that the game is playable and we have players showing up every day to play it, it was time to address that shortcoming. So I moved everything to a Microsoft SQL database and the only thing still saved to XML files are the "archived" game turns. Each turn is saved so that you can go back and review past battles and/or study your opponents. Since performance isn't an issue, that data is stored as XML and compressed to the file system. Everything else is in the database.

This should make the game more scalable for the future as more players sign up. It should also help eliminate any data corruption bugs that we might otherwise have seen.

So I am sorry about any games you had in progress and about your ships. But you can now rebuild your fleet and start new games. Hopefully there won't be another data wipe needed.

All Command Points have been refunded. Any that you have earned in battle, you still have, so you are not completely back to square one.

In addition to the data wipe, there are a few small game play changes:

1) When a player joins a game you started, you will get an in game message.
2) The heavier ships now carry heavier weapons. There are now three classes of missiles (Falcon, Hawk and Eagle) and three classes of mass drivers (Mk I through III). The higher classes are more maneuverable, faster and hit harder. This should increase the value of the heavier ships.
3) The MCC has been nerfed a little bit. Its triple missile launcher has been replaced by a double and a little bit of weight has been added.
4) The cruisers are now a bit faster as I added engine power to them.

So the heavier ship classes should feel very different and their weapons should be more potent.

Enjoy, and as always -- let me know if you see any bugs. This is a *HUGE* change in the code base and it was designed to solve some bugs we were seeing, but it is very likely to have introduced some new ones.

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