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2007
Jul
22

First Look At Bingo Game Server

Categories: Bingo Game Server

This month, I have finally sat down and started some work developing a new bingo game server for this project. I revisited some sites in my bookmarks from 2004, when I last developed a new server base for HB, and then I did a couple more research. That means lots of reading for me the past couple of days.

Basically, it’s all about developing a Java server supporting multiple simultaneous connections, which is the core of a game server. What I found in 2004 were basically the same things I found online today, but I discovered enough new materials to help me solidify my understanding of the basic concepts.

So with that, I have done a new working core of server codes, where I will be building things from. In the bingo game server I developed for HB, I knew there were some potential but rare socket writing issues, which I never tried to fix due to time constraints. Also, because of the nature of how I designed things before, it became unnecessarily complex and more prone to deadlocks (although I don’t recall this happening yet).

The HB site grew much faster than I anticipated, that I usually ended up doing quick fixes just to keep the site running smoothly, instead of coding for efficiency or better overall design in general. While working on this new game server, I have been able to verify and fix/improve these issues, so I feel better knowing that I am starting off with a more reliable code base.

It actually surprised me, because this code base has been a lot less complex in approach, but actually ended up being more stable. But then again, things get more complicated as you add more functionality.

Anyway, I have been doing some stress tests, and so far, things are looking good. I can NOT get the server to hang-up, or even throw some unexpected runtime errors. I’ve been testing with 600+ simultaneous connections with constant reading/writing and other potential scenarios, and it’s still ok. I could test with more connections, and longer test times, but Windows appears to have some socket limits on 1 PC plus the JDK Windows implementation also has some known issues (that I just recently verified) when firing off socket connections simultaneously.

Anyway, I think the core functionality is stable enough, so I will be adding some actual game functionalities in the coming days, and see how this works out.

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2007
Jul
20

Start Of Something New

Categories: Random Thoughts

I’ve just installed the latest version of WordPress to try it out, and also to start blogging about my progress as I develop this latest project. The last few days, I have also installed the latest versions of the stuff I need (mySQL, PHP, JDK etc).

When working on something new, it’s always better to use the latest stable versions of everything, and build from there. It’s hard to stay updated with all the new features of each development software I use, so this is also the best time to catch up on things.

For the games, I have this avatar concept that I have been working on and off the last few years, originally planned for HB, my other site. I actually see many sites do this now to some extent, but I still think I can come up with something unique enough. The main problems then were the download size and some technical issues.

When developing Flash games, one of the things that I prioritize is that everything should download fast enough, ideally even on dial-up. This meant scrutiny of all the graphic components, and with this avatar feature which has hundreds of components to put together, the work can get really tedious. It takes A LOT of patience to finish, as every detail needs to be looked at, in order to make things light enough for fast download, while still maintaining quality as much as possible.

While all the graphic materials have been available to me for awhile now, it was only recently that I was actually able to wrap up things satisfactorily, although I’m sure I still have to go through the entire thing one last time before this rolls out.

The other issue is a bit technical in nature. Until the release of the Flash 8 player, it would have taken a lot of “hacks” to accomplish this reliably. Now, Flash is actually getting more powerful (programming-wise), and a project like this becomes much more feasible.

On the game server side, while the one I developed for HB has been sufficient, I know there are some things that I neglected to look into more detail. There are still a lot of room for improvement, something that I was able to verify lately (and which I will blog in more detail later). My goal when developing the HB site was to launch it as fast as possible (due to practical reasons), but now I can take the time I need, so I can focus more on doing things efficiently right from the start.

And then, there are these other minor site ideas that still need to be done, but taken together, the work can still be substantial. Well, it’s hard to be doing everything all by myself, so things need to be prioritized.

Anyway, for awhile, I have been contemplating if I should introduce all these things on HB. Problem is, once you have a decent player base, whenever you introduce something new, or even just change some things (minor or not), some of the players will like it, and some of the players won’t. Also, since these changes will be major (e.g. this will be another entirely new game server), major issues may also arise.

So I have decided to just develop a new site, develop new versions of the games as well, power it with new game servers, then add all the remaining features I am still working on. Other than some regular maintenance work, this meant that for me to concentrate on this project, I have to cease major new developments on HB.

In the future, if this venture proves to be as successful, I can update HB, or merge these 2 sites together (unlikely), or perhaps just let them run independently of each other. Time will tell.

In the meantime, I am now starting anew, and things have been exciting. I am making some good progress, so hopefully in the next couple of weeks, I can finally launch the site. Right now, this blog is just on my PC, but this will also be moved to the actual site when it goes live.

There goes my first blog on this new project. One day, I’ll look back and see how this all started…

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