It has been a while since you guys announced the alpha testing stage, so what are you currently working on?
One of the current tasks is getting the online serverlist to work. We have already implemented a simple serverlist by reading out the masterserver like the normal ET client does. However querying the masterserver for all the servers isn’t that smart because most of the players only play on nearby servers. This paper from 2006 shows why: http://caia.swin.edu.au/reports/060410A/CAIA-TR-060410A.pdf
Besides the bandwidth usage, it will also be benefitial to the player to get a localized list so he can choose faster instead of waiting for the entire list to populate. But ofc. you’ll be able to join all Servers and not only the ones nearby.
So what to do?
Well there’s this little thing called GeoIP. You might have encountered this more often than you think. Remember those flag icons in front of everyone’s name on NoQuarter servers? These flag icons are based on ones GeoIP location.
So, what is GeoIP?
GeoIP is a technique to extract geographical information based on ones ip-address. This is posible due to the huge database of ip’s and geo information Maxmind has provided(see http://www.maxmind.com).
Okay, go on, how does this help us?
Well, because we host the masterserver, the game server registrations(or ‘heartbeats’) go through our administration. This means we can save/cache the geo information of each server.
When a user/player registers at ETLive, we can use it’s ip address to determine it’s geo location(which can be changed if he wishes so).
So, whenever the player queries the serverlist from our masterserver, we can target a specific group of (local)servers to show first. If the player wants to play in overseas servers we can simply change the filter and it will first return overseas servers over local servers.
We’re currently using the free GeoCity database from Maxmind. This means we can narrow the query down to a city.
One thing that surprised us while playing RtCW and W:ET all these years is that alot of players came from our own city or neighbour city. If you people would like it, we could also use this system to inform you about other players in your area. This way you can hook up with the other player and drink a beer or two while arguing who the best player is.
Woaahhh, you can track where I live?
Yes and we will verify the location with the NSA so we can ensure that the information is correct(Thank you Snowden!).
All jokes aside, we will not use your geo information for other purposes than matchmaking. Also, Maxmind’s Geo database is free and open to use for anyone, so it’s completely legal.
New layout implementation and XMPP!
The other task is to implement the new design we’ve got from our designer Jo (negfx).
Apologet and I(dutchmeat) have always worked with local workspaces and our current goal is to merge both versions into one website on the server. This will include the new simplified layout which our designer Jo has made and the XMPP client.
XMPP? What is that?
XMPP(Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) is a protocol used mostly for chat systems. There’s a good chance you’re already communicating through this protocol without you even knowing it, for example, Facebook and GoogleTalk are also using XMPP for their chat system.
Well yeah, it is! XMPP is relatively easy to implement and it’s fast, which is good for the user experience. And more important, it’s proven to be a good protocol as Quakelive has shown(yes QL also uses XMPP).
Enough technical talk, show us, show us!
Well okay, here are some screenshots of the new layout and xmpp implementation. Do keep in mind it’s far from finished, but the alpha elements are getting there.
What’s taking so long, why can’t we play it already?
Well, there are several reasons actually. The primary reason is that there are only two programmers working on it (Apologet and myself).
The other reason is that in the past months we have been extremely busy. I have been working on my study/graduation and have moved during the process. Apologet also has been swamped with work from his old job, moved from Frankfurt to Berlin and started at a new job there.
Nevertheless I can proudly say I have graduated from my study Game Development/Game Technology(programming games) and now have some more time to get things on a roll again.
Do note that we still have jobs (I work at a game company) and we can’t work fulltime on this project.
Having that said, we’re looking for more developers, but we would like to have a running system to work on before we feel good with bringing new developers on board. So you should see a new recruitment article soon.