Side project: Resurrecting another piece of the past

A message from one of our alpha testers, Eris Lord Freedom:

As Eleven Alpha has moved along, it’s gotten complete enough that many of us are chasing down achievements and exploring parts of Ur we never had time for in Glitch. For that, we needed info: What door opens with this key I got in the Ancestral Lands? How many cherries for a Rainbow Potion? I’ve been to all the places in Groddle Heights; why haven’t I gotten the Completist badge? (Answer: Martleby Hare.) What’s the recipe for Awesome Stew, and when can I make it? Where can I find a wood tree?

We had Eleven’s port of glitchthegame.com at http://pedia.elevengiants.com, and the Wayback Machine’s pages for the Glitch-Strategy wiki, but those aren’t complete. The Encyclopedia doesn’t include recipes, and the Wayback capture was erratic; Glitch ended before you could deliberately save a page at archive.org, and many of the saved pages are from an earlier version of Glitch.

We needed something better.

Eris Lord Freedom, a devoted Lemming and occasional Cosmapolitan, decided we needed a new wiki. With help from Ladyceres and Varaeth, we now have…

The Glitch Forever Wiki.

This is the alpha version. Many pages are still outdated. A lot of details from the end of Glitch – new recipes especially – are missing. The database used to restore it was from early alpha Glitch; most regions and streets aren’t there yet. (Oddly, most of the images referenced in the Wayback Version are there. Weird database issues. Ladyceres had days of fun trying to import a 5-year-old wiki database into modern web software.)

But it’s here, and it’s ours, and we can fill in the gaps and add pages for all the post-Glitch activities and Glitch revival projects. Join us.

Breaking the Silence

Oh!

Hello there.

I didn’t realize you were there.

Me?

Yeah, I’m still here.  Always have been.

Sorry about the lack of official updates!  That’s all on your Chief Chicken Tamer, here.  Whoops!

Anyways… Octo did a great job of filling everyone in on some updates earlier this month, so go check out that post for some of those details.  We’ve got plans to roll out some website changes relatively soon that will go a long way towards helping the team manage users and game access.  Nothing too exciting for you, but if we’re able to go about rejiggering and fixerating broken users and such easier, then maybe we’ll be able to open the doors for more of our Glitchen bretheren.

-Kaiyon

Notes from the Undergrowth

Hi all! We’re still hard at work on this, but the current focus of development effort involves a bunch of server-side reliability and data consistency work which isn’t particularly shiny or fun to write about!  (Some user-facing stuff does make progress–aside from characters needing to be unstuck less, there are small bits of progress like the Greedy Street Spirit quest now working properly.)

The Eleven Giants forums are a much better place to stay a bit more up-to-date with what’s going on, or at least admire some screenshots. (Thank you, Eris Lord Freedom!)

Other eventual work involves recreating the locations (190 or so) that weren’t in the Tiny Speck asset release (oh, Gwendolyn!) and figuring out the future of the client, but until we can keep the game going for the current community of alpha testers (thank you for your patience!) without an extraordinary support load, reliability is where it’s at–this is super-frustrating for all involved since the basic mechanics of the game are all there, but a more open test right now would not be supportable.

On that note–if you are or someone you know is interested in wading through server-side javascript and figuring out data consistency problems with an eye towards performance and scalability, drop by the forums, it’d be great to hear from you!

There’s still time!

Just wanted to remind everyone who might want to sign up for the drawing that there’s still time to do so!

Post in this thread on the forum: —> LINKY <—

Need another reason to do this? Once we draw numbers for this round, I will continue to use the list to pull players for the Alpha.

So pretty please, register your interest on the forum. I am locking comments on this blog post so that there’s no misunderstanding. 🙂

I will update the forum with more details as to when the drawing will be. Monday night is looking good, though.

A spot in the Alpha could be yours!

So remember how we said we’d do something for people who couldn’t attend Dragon*Con?

We’re going to do a random drawing. Post in this thread on the forum for your chance to be selected!

Only one entry per person will be counted, and it will be a largeish group. My hope is to do the drawing next Monday September 26th, in the evening (East coast US). Firmer details on the above to come closer to the time.

Hope to see you enter, and good luck!

Update: I just wanted to be clear that you must post on the forum for a chance to enter, since the forum account is tied to your game name. We will also attempt to verify that entrants have played Glitch in the past.

DragonCon Ho!

Want to get into the Alpha?

In the Atlanta area?

Going to DragonCon?

You may be in luck! (If you answered no to those, don’t worry, we’re going to have some opportunities for others announced soon as well)

I’m going to DragonCon again this year, and if anyone happens to find me wandering around, just hook me up with your user name, and you’ll get an invite into the Alpha!

If you want to keep up with what I’m doing around the convention, or get an idea of who you’re looking for, follow me on Twitter; @elevenKaiyon.  I’ll be at the convention Thursday evening through Monday afternoon, and I’ll be wearing my Eleven t-shirt for at least part of that time as well.

Happy hunting!

-Kayion

AMA Results (A little late?)

Well, I started this AMA… months ago.  Whoops.

Here are the final results!

 

Retribution: What is the next milestone you are all working towards?

Kaiyon: One of the most recent milestones we hit (that I personally was pushing for, at least), was the release of housing for the alpha community to play around with, since it was my favorite feature. We’re currently discussing our next milestones, so I’ll update this answer once we can give you something a little more concrete.

Retribution: Bonus question: Since it’s Pi Day what is your favorite type of pie?

Kaiyon: Classic apple pie is my favorite.

Supershero: When will you go into beta and more of us can try it out?

Kaiyon: That’s a hard one to answer, to be honest. I’d like to be able to give you a firm answer, or even a lofty one, but I unfortunately don’t know. Because there’re typically only a hand full of us actively working on the project at any time, and those of us that are actively working are also balancing day jobs and personal lives (I have 2 young kids, myself), I know none of us are able to devote as much time as we’d like, and that amount of time varies wildly based on what else is going on. As is typically the case, things slow down a lot over holidays and exam times (we’ve got a few members working through school), and our day jobs often go through periods of time where they take over a lot more attention as well. The best answer I can give is, as soon as we possibly can, but that might still be a while. That said, we’re trying to regularly add new people to the testing team as often as we can. You can trust that we’ll let you know as soon as we have a more realistic timeline in mind.

Supershero: Is there a longer-term completion goal set at this point?

Kaiyon: Referring a bit back to the previous answer, nothing better than “as soon as we can”. Any time we do get a feasible sub goal with a reasonably realistic timeline, I’ll try to share that.

BribAnnie: The last server update required no restart of the game. Do you see this as continuing with future updates?

Kaiyon: We’ll definitely try to keep from resetting Ur as often as possible when updating the server, but there are likely going to be changes that will force us to reset back to the initial state.

Dubstepper: Are you still enjoying the journey?

Kaiyon: Yes! I enjoy it immensely. There’s nothing I’d rather work on, and I just wish I had more time to devote to it.

Snarkle: Do you ever just get to play?

Kaiyon: I try to make time for it, but it doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. Right after we got housing up, I made sure to spend a good bit of time setting up a tower. Partly to get some SDBs set up to give easy access to common building materials, but mainly because housing was one of my favorite features of the game.

Delyth: Other than scalability and having an all-volunteer staff, what do you consider one of the biggest challenges for Eleven?

Kaiyon: While scalability and a volunteer staff are really the only major challenges that we can concern ourselves with, I’d say trying to keep our own overwhelming goals and expectations more down to earth and reasonable is a close third. Each of us working on this project are doing so because we loved the world of Ur so much, we not only want it to come alive again, but to prosper and grow in ways we can’t even imagine yet (okay, we’ve done a fair amount of imagining, to be honest). Knowing our own time limitations, and how much that keeps progress down to a slow, but steady, pace, it’s hard to reconcile against our hopes. We want to make this game so it can be enjoyable for as many people possible for as long as possible, which means stability, scalability and future proofing our technologies.

Cleops: I am just interested to know how many servers the game would need to sustain say a couple of thousand players?

Kaiyon: Good question, although a hard one to answer at this point. Right now our user base is 113, although we don’t typically see more than 20 logged on at once, and even that is somewhat rare, and we’re only running the game itself on a single very modest server, so, once we iron out some of the stability gremlins that plague the system, we should be able to run a decent number of people simultaneously on a single better built server. On top of that, we have 4 other servers with various purposes from web hosting, e-mail, source hosting, and test areas.

Cleops: Apart from servers (and testing) is it just wo/man power & time to support the game that is the only hindrance to a release proper, or is there other technical or gamer programming stuff behind the scenes that also needs to happen and be sustained on an ongoing basis.

Kaiyon: The biggest known hindrance right now would definitely be wo/man power and time, although, to be a little more specific, it’s sufficiently expertised wo/man power and time. There are plenty of technical challenges in the way, but, given the right amount of time and correct people working on them, none of them should be insurmountable, and there will always be ongoing work to help fix issues that arise, or tweak performance and stability, but that’s to be expected with any large project like this.

Cleops: Also, do you envision new content being added should the game ever be launched proper. I have been stunned by just how functional the game was from the get go and so frankly would be happy with it as it is forever, You said we could AYA 😉 Can that new content involve cheese sculpting as a skill. Like whittle it into furniture and statues of myself.

Kaiyon: We all have high hopes of making the game grow after the first phase is completed, and there’s a plethora of ideas, both internal and external, that we’d love to implement. We’ll have to see what ways we can make the team and the project grow and evolve until we get to that point. Regarding cheese sculpting: sounds like the right amount of Glitchy oddness. To the ideas forum (which we’ll definitely look over for any gems when we do get to that point)!

Cleops: I was also wondering what exactly it is about instanced locations that means they cannot be accessed at the moment. Is it because they are directly connected with the players ID in some way?

Kaiyon: The real reason many instanced locations can’t be accessed now is simply that we don’t have the location data. When our awesome friends over at Tiny Speck/Slack released everything open source, their data dump was missing the templates that make up a great deal of the instanced locations. While we don’t have much hope of getting the originals (not because they don’t want to help us, but because it would be very difficult to do so), we do plan on recreating all missing locations using the LocoDeco tool, and have even done so on a very limited basis so far, it’s just another one of those time consuming tasks that we’re committing as much available resource as we can justify to (which isn’t very much right now).

Gizzyglitch: Have you ever thought setting up account that we could attribute money to help getting a bigger server to sustain more people or funds to make what is needed to get it back up running for everyone to enjoy ?

Kaiyon: Of course we’ve thought of it. There are a bunch of problems with taking money in right now.

1) A bigger server won’t really help that much if the game still has stability issues. It would allow for more people, sure, but the errors would happen a lot more frequently with more people, and interfere with playing significantly.

2) In order to justify paying anyone to spend time working on the game would be difficult without a sustainable income model in place. We all have day jobs (or school, in some cases), which we can’t give up without a certain amount of guaranteed salary and security in place. Aside from turning it into a full time job, even paying people on a part time basis would require a level of overhead and such that we’re not currently prepared for.

Gizzyglitch: Maybe you can get us a KaiyonAlatar doll that says I like apple pie

Kaiyon: Not a question, but I like it. 🙂

Cleops: How do rook attacks work? Are they randomly instanced or something else? Will they be a part of Eleven?

Kaiyon: I haven’t honestly poked around in the mechanics, so I can’t say exactly, but they will most definitely be part of Eleven.

Tanjay: i’m just wondering if there’s a date the game will be in open beta. will it be months… years? any answer apart from we don’t know would be good… even if the answer start with (we are hoping). would be good enough

Kaiyon: Sorry, no date to give right now.  We’re working hard, but have limited resources with ever changing availability, so no great way to plan for anything other than short term.

ser wampus: Can you make “tweaks” on the fly, or does it take a new release to incorporate all the “tweaks”?

Kaiyon: Other than making changes to in game things through a REPL command line tool, the only way we’ve done code changes to this point have been through updates to the server, which require a restart of the game.  That said, TS had mechanics for rolling restarts that would help prevent restarts like that, we just haven’t had the need to implement them yet.

A: What do you most enjoy about resurrecting Glitch?

Kaiyon: Everything except the fact that I can’t work on it full time.

A: What are the technical limitations of your server?

Kaiyon: We haven’t really tested their limits, though we’re working on thing that should improve them either way.

EriaFae: When the webapp gets done, and all that’s left is the design- will you/your team model it after the Glitch website? It would be really nostalgic even if it was just similar.

Kaiyon: We’re actually working on upgrading the webapp right now.  While we’ll probably never copy the Glitch site, we’re certain to take inspiration from it.

Zotac: Do you still need testers? I’m hugely interested, and I have some free time I could dedicate to this for the next year! 🙂

Kaiyon: We add new groups of testers as often as we can.  Keep your eyes open for opportunities to join.

Hawkwell: How many alpha testers do you currently have?

Kaiyon: 127 registered testers

Hawkwell: I see from testers’ posts in the forum that houses and towers have been implemented. What major pieces of the game are still waiting to become part of Eleven Giants?

Kaiyon: Some of the main things that are missing at this point are the missing templates that we need to rebuild and some webapp functionality (activity feed, messages, auctions, etc…).  Most other in game content is implemented at this point.

Happy Alphaversary: One Year In

Wait… Has it really already been a year since we first invited our tiny group of testers in?  Huh… Who knew?  Time sure does fly, doesn’t it?

Well, we’ve certainly come a long way in that time.  There have been some major stability updates, most of the main game features are working, or very close to working, we’ve got a few web app screens close to ready, and our user base is getting close to 100 players… Wait a minute… I just said close to, didn’t I?  And 100 isn’t even prime, so why the heck would I even say such a number!?!  Let’s say 101, and let’s see what we can do to get up to that number ASAP!

Later today, I’ll open up a thread in the forums where I want as many awesome and crazy creative posts that you can imagine!  Good at drawing?  Make us a funny doodle.  Bad at drawing?  Scribble something anyways!  Like to write?  We enjoy all kinds of poetry and stories.  Whatever you do, just give it a piece of your heart, and you’ll be in the mix to get added to the alpha test group.

I’ll leave the thread open for about a week, and then a small group will comb through the submissions to find their favorites (and we may even pick a couple names at random).  The winners will be informed shortly after decisions are made.  If you don’t make the cut this time, don’t worry, we’re thinking up new ways to start adding people on a more regular basis as well, so stay tuned!

Happy creating!

-Kaiyon

P.S.: Let’s all take a brief moment of silence for Glitch in honor of the third anniversary of its shut down.  While what we are doing here wouldn’t be possible without it’s untimely end and the amazing generosity of those who made it, it’s left a gaping whole in the hearts and minds of so many people that we can only hope to fill again someday.

%d bloggers like this: