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@CCP Spitfire: any DEV working on a realtime stats adjustment tool?

First post
The Greater Goon
Clockwork Pineapple
#21 - 2011-10-24 19:17:44 UTC
CCP Greyscale wrote:
There's two sides to that for us.

First is that we need to have most of that info stored on the client, so that we're not hitting the DB every time someone opens a showinfo window. In the past that's meant building a new client when we wanted to change a stat on something, which means going through the full deployment routine (not cheap). With the upgrades to bulk data, we can now make a change to a stat, deploy it to the server, and have the server tell every client that connects to download the latest changes. If you see "loading bulk data" when logging in, that's what this is.

The second thing is making sure stuff is actually correct. We don't as a rule change stuff directly on TQ except in the direst emergencies, because people are people and people will on occasion fat-finger their data input. The way we significantly reduce the incidence of this kind of bug on the live server is by having a clear process for deploying stuff - it gets created on the content creation server or in code, it gets ported through Chaos (internal testing) and Singularity (public testing), and then it gets deployed. Sometimes some things take shortcuts, but there's a minimum standard of "ticking boxes" that's in place to try and catch silly bugs before you see them.

The obvious reaction to this is "if you just edit things on the live server, then you can fix them really easily if you mess up so what's the problem?". The two problems are a) you're still getting buggy values on TQ for a while, and if for example I'm messing around and accidentally add a couple of zeroes to the damage multiplier on Mag Stabs, a lot of people are going to die before I fix it, and b) that's just a straight-up dangerous mindset to approach these things with, because it leads to a very lackadaisical mindset when dealing with the live server that can carry across into much more critical systems and consequently bigger mistakes. Most of us in development generally treat the live server with a reverence bordering on outright fear, and that's a good thing because it means we can't do anything really dumb. (I once offlined a player's starbase on TQ by accident while troubleshooting an issue, because I clicked the wrong button. That was a fun day.)

Also in our case, there's the more prosaic issue that our deployment workflow is very unidirectional - data changes can go from creation server to test server to live server, but not the other way around, so changing things directly on the live server introduces its own entire family of horrendous versioning issues that we just don't want to have to deal with.

well, yeah,
I wouldn't advocate direct manipulation of the live DB in any case, as you put it, people are people and stuff happens.
its nice that you guys can now do incremental changes to the client asset manifest, thats a huge step in the right direction. is this part of the whole "new UI" thingie or was the ability there with the original engine and just never got implemented?
Gallente Federation
#22 - 2011-10-24 20:09:42 UTC  |  Edited by: Eranziel
I'm 100% with CCP on this one. Yes, bureacracy sucks, but end users (ie - us) absolutely revile having to put up with silly fat-finger errors for any length of time. Having a process and following it eliminates the vast majority of errors. You can point out the bugs on TQ all you like, but the plain fact of the matter is that there would be ten times as many bugs and errors on TQ if they didn't follow this kind of a process.

IMO, anyone who asks, "How long do balance fixes take? Can't you just tweak the DB and be done with it in 5 minutes?" forever forfeits the right to say, "Didn't you test this stuff at all? X, Y, and Z are obviously horribly broken. You have a test server, why didn't you use it??" As CCP Greyscale said, people are people and people make mistakes - it is impossible to have it both ways.
Diomedes Calypso
Aetolian Armada
#23 - 2011-10-24 20:58:21 UTC
CCP Greyscale wrote:
There's two sides to that for us.
Very informative stuff as to motivation and process related toward tinkering with stats .... yet.

Thanks for that long explanation ! Part of my one of my "answer ever question" questions got answered (I'm usre i wasn't alone)

I definitely followed all that you said.... very good argmuments towards taking changes very seriously.

Yet, you are professionals able to take on serious things and to design protocols to allow MORE frequent tinkering and do so safely.

(like needed two people two type the same things independently and make sure they match before release? idk must be veriosn control methods for that?)

I mean if changes were only introduced every other tuesday and done in allongside other routine error update/patching (you don't do so quite that regularly but that frequency wouldn't be unusual in the mmo realm) you'd have methods available to address the issues you raised?

I kinda feel (and sometimes feeling can be inaccurate) like there is a bit of an reactionary (bit strong of a word yet it is the general flavor of what im after if a bit to sharp) defensiveness to stick to how you have always done it.

---- there is a pretty wide spread sentiment among players that we'd like more iteration on what ever you release.. both more content, but also a persistant tuning. Just feeling that there is never a state "out of sight, out of mind" but that thee are a few developers with eyes always trying to tune combat each week... well it would be reassuring that what we like wasn't dead wood.

If the new mantra is to give the players the sense you're always paying attention to the key FIS elements this is something that is within your reach (well i'd think so.. not my field)


Scatim Helicon
Goonswarm Federation
#24 - 2011-10-24 21:03:34 UTC
CCP Greyscale wrote:
if for example I'm messing around and accidentally add a couple of zeroes to the damage multiplier on Mag Stabs, a lot of people are going to die before I fix it,

Gallente fix spotted

Every time you post a WiS thread, Hilmar strangles a kitten.

#25 - 2011-10-24 21:30:30 UTC
CCP Spitfire wrote:
Tres Farmer wrote:
Ok, I've seen some mods around the forums, so they're awake.. Spitfire, anything you could forward when Monday starts?

Yes, absolutely, I'll ask. I honestly don't know how easy/hard/appropriate/risky/etc. would it be to implement such a process, but I will try to get an answer for you.

Hire me to make such an application maybe?
I've been doing it for the last 10 years Blink

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