Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Perfect is the Enemy of Good

After several years of the same website theme, I was pleased to finally launch our newly themed website. As you can tell, if you follow this blog, it has been a huge effort for me and others involved.

There were a few things on our minds when we launched this:

  • Kjartan had suggested that the dragon and orc at the top should somehow be connected to the game. To that end, we centered the quest around them.
  • We wanted something original and eye-popping. We had to make some sacrifices along the way with the layout, but are very pleased with the final result. The biggest sacrifice from a web devleoper perspect was fixed column widths. In th end, it's no different than many leading commercial sites.
  • Perfect is the enemy of good. There are still a lot of little bugs popping up in the theme coding. I've fixed a few and know of several more that need fixing. Some will be easy and some will be hard, but there wasn't any reason in waiting longer to iron everything out.
  • The forums especially don't match the rest of the site perfectly, but that's one thing we'll work on slowly at some point in the future. It's acceptable for now.
  • We knew we had to get the increased mob hitpoint code in before the quest as big groups are a buzzsaw for mobs the way they were.

Outside of the finished website there was an extraordinary amount of work that went into preparing the quest. I wrote the script, Akasha wrote something like 800 lines of custom scripts and Splork wrote a large number of them as well as, just making everything move.

There were two somewhat dissappointing things with the quest. The first, as you may have experienced first hand, was a complete outage of the game box. It rarely ever happens, but couldn't have happened at a worse time. It couldn't be predicted or avoided. It just stunk.

The second was that we had hoped for a bit more creative collaboration between players. We gave out limited number of rods in hopes that players would figure out how to maximize the use of them by running to an area and gating someone with the rod or some sort of coordination like that. There seemed to be a lot of suggestion, but not a lot of action on this front. It worked out ok, but seemed that the group relied on a very small few to do the meat of the searching.

Perhaps this last thing is a factor of how many players really know their way around. I'd certainly fall in the bucket of not knowing much anymore, but 8 years ago, I would have been embarrassed if I didn't know the runs to 95% of the rooms on the mud. Anyway, I'll post about my obsession some other time.

On the bright side, we were please with the overall mood of everyone. It seemed to flow pretty well with people in and out of the group over the nearly 20 hours of real time that passed during the event. We also were happy with the way the new maximum hitpoints worked. It would have been near impossible to make a multi-run mob versus a group that powerful under the old hitpoint cap.

It was worth the effort, but we'll likely work on smaller projects for a while. At least we'll plan on them being smaller going into them.

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