Friday, October 26, 2007

Saboteurs! Be gone!

The GXC grapevine recently dropped us an intense bit of news -- apparently certain players, or "script kiddies," with support from the team, are engaging in the act of bringing our servers down with malicious code...all in an attempt to to prevent other teams from having a fair chance at playing.

Now that's just dirty. Remember my post about fighting with honor and playing fair? If you're not gonna listen to the Samurai, at least listen to Steven Colbert.

"Don't be a GXC saboteur. America will hate you."

Have some decency people. There are a lot of players that genuinely enjoy playing our game and are upset by your acts.

Needless to say, if we catch any players (or teams) in the act of trying to bring our site down -- or even condoning it, we will disqualify you.

GXC is a sport as much as a game. Play by the rules.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Our Server Woes

Hey everybody -As you probably know, the engines of war have been grinding to a halt around 7 pm each night. As you probably know, this sucks. We’re chalking this up to the overwhelming popularity of both our games thus far, as over 40% of on-campus students at RPI and 10% of all Ivy undergrads are actively playing. This is awesome, but we unfortunately don’t have Facebook’s server farm.

For now, we suggest not waiting until last minute to place your armies or issue your orders. It could save you the possible disappointment of not getting your orders in before turn processing starts.

The situation is quite sad actually. Did you know that if you give a MySQL database too much work, it just refuses to continue! We get emails from it saying:
"MySQL server has gone away."
...on vacation, perhaps? We don't know. But we always pray that it come back quickly.

Just so everybody knows, we're working really hard to optimize our code. For example, the Flash map currently makes 800 MySQL queries on each page load [update: we've since gotten the number down to 18 queries, but are trying to make it even smaller]! Think about that happening for 5,000 visitors, all hitting refresh simultaneously, while our server is already struggling to find some RAM to start turn processing properly.

We've made some strides in optimization and cutting down the number of SQL queries our game page makes significantly (although we haven't published the changes yet). We've already started the process of researching how we want to incorporate more servers into our system architecture. Hopefully in the near future, all of you will see a noticeable improvement in site performance at peak times.

Needless to say, of course, this is a better problem to have than having no one visiting the site at all. So we thank everybody for being dedicated players and coming back consistently to participate!

And we really appreciate how understanding all of you have been during this whole experience. Thanks for bearing with us!

Very gratefully,
The GXC Development Team