Web Server Improvements and Better Estimates

Improved Web Server

This morning while tinkering around with the Amazon EC2 instance that we use for our website and game server, I noticed that they had a new instance type available. What shocked me was that it was better…  And cheaper!

We have been using their “T1 Micro” instance for a while, which has worked well enough. It has occasionally had its performance issues though.  A performance issue this morning is actually what made me ultimately discover the new instance type: “T2 Micro”.

T2 Micro has a better CPU than its T1 cousin, almost twice the amount of RAM, and a better network connection all for a slightly cheaper price!  The only downside appears to be that you have to move  over to their new “VPC” otherwise you get a rather ambiguous error message. I was stuck on this issue until a blog post on Sam Rueby’s Findings helped me out of it.

Better Estimations

Edit: Due to Twitch.tv changes, most of our livestream recordings are no longer available. Sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.

My brother and I spent the rest of the day working out how long different features of the game will take to complete. We also livestreamed the process.

I’ve drastically reduced the scope of the features; they are now estimated in ideal work hours rather than ideal work days. This allows for easier scheduling since more features can be fit into one iteration (one work week), although they are smaller.

When estimating, I’m also listing out all of the tasks that would be needed to complete that feature.  Each task is then given an estimate in ideal work hours no less than 1/4 of an hour, and no more than 1 hour. As before, estimates are powers of two, in order to combat increasing uncertainty as estimates become longer.

A feature’s estimate is calculated by adding up the estimates of each of its tasks. This sum is then rounded up to the nearest power of two. If a feature takes longer than 2 hours, there is a good chance that it needs to be split up unto smaller features.

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Well that was… Unexpected

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First off, sorry about no project updates over the past couple days! It’s been hectic.

One interesting thing that did happen is that Areum was talked about on a Polish MMORPG news website!
www.mmorpg.org.pl/news/zobacz/Już-przesadzają-z-tymi-retro-MMORPG-ami-Przed-nami-kolejny-z-nich-Areum

It wasn’t a glowing review, but it’s still super cool that they noticed our project :)

On the subject of what today’s work looked like, it was something similar to the following:

  • 1 – 2 hours managing Twitter
  • 9 hours fixing unexpected household problems *facepalm*

Needless to say, not much progress was made on Areum >.< I’ll have to take part of my day off (Saturday) to plan the next iteration, since I have no time left now. I’ll post another project update either tomorrow or Sunday!

Trello Board is Live

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Areum finally has a Trello board :D https://trello.com/b/Zk7QjfjY/areum

Trello is a free online task management program: I highly recommend it to anyone who needs to do planning for a project.

Today I finished estimating the tasks for the first pre-production demo of the game. So tomorrow, I should be able to actually start working on them :)

Edit: Due to Twitch.tv changes, most of our livestream recordings are no longer available. Sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.

Finally: A Progress Report!

I’ve wanted to do this since Friday, so I’m finally writing it up :)  I technically don’t have any time left for work today, but I’m making an exception just so that this whole thing actually gets started!

Over the past few days, I’ve been working on the task list for Areum, as well as designing the new movement system.  Specifically, I’ve been working on the list of tasks that I need to finish before IfThen Software can release version 0.1.0 of the 1st Real Level Prototype of Areum.

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Boy, there’s more to do than I thought!  D:  Pictured here are the features (index cards), tasks (sticky notes), and the design for the new movement system.  There is also another page of designs under the one shown, for different networking and login related tasks.

To give a quick overview, I have to do the following:

  • New Movement System (designed to reduce the effect of latency)
  • Login Prompt
  • Misc. Informational Screens (for example: “the server is offline”, “the game is too crowded”, etc.)
  • Walking Animations
  • Security Improvements

In total, there is about 12 hours worth of work to be done.  But that’s ideal work hours which means that it will probably take a little longer since it is impossible to work at 100% efficiency.  Currently, I’m looking to have these finished by the end of the week.

Note that these are all things *I* need to complete: Jake, who normally handles content related tasks, has already finished all of the work he needs to do for this first release. So, I am feeling slightly swamped o_o  I’m just recovering from a cold as well, which didn’t help productivity at all.  Back in full swing now though!

C# Networking and… Peanut Butter Hamburgers?!

After nearly 5 hours of streaming, the first Areum livestream (besides the game design ones we did a year or two ago) has come to a close. Thank you everyone who joined in to chat and help out; it was a blast!

Edit: Due to Twitch.tv changes, most of our livestream recordings are no longer available. Sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.

Livestreaming Areum Gamedev!

As some of you may already know, we have started work on Areum again!  Today marks the 4th day of pre-production so far, and things are going well :)

I’ve decided to livestream the work we are doing today! You can tune in using the widget below. If you want to participate in the live chatroom, visit the following link http://www.twitch.tv/invisibleman6 and register/login to your Twitch.tv account if you haven’t already. Hope to see you there!

Watch live video from InvisibleMan6 on www.twitch.tv