Good Practices

 
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Sandi



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 94
Location: Boston

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2005 6:35 am    Post subject: Good Practices Reply with quote

This thread could go in Coders or Builders, but I figured here we'd cover it all. Compared to some, I'm a newbie myself, but I've learned more than a few things the hard way, and figured maybe I could save someone else the pain.


Backup, Milestone, Offsite

Everything I've done, drawing, writing, and coding on a computer has taught me the importance of having copies when things go wrong. As many things might go wrong, it's wise to have many copies.

I code "at home", and then FTP the files to the online server. This gives me instant backups, as well as automatic offsite copies. Should the server suddenly go out of business, I have copies at home. Should I have a fire here, I have the copies on the server. My co-imp has copies, and I copy my milestones to a separate harddrive in my box.

Milestones - these are copies made before major changes. Make them often. They are copies of everything needed to run the game; area, src, makefile, area.lst, and the "done" part of my ToDo list as a README. These are handy if my coding reaches a standstill. If my grand ideas just won't work, and I've changed so much I'll never get it changed back, then being able to scrap it all and install a milestone from a few days or weeks before can be a godsend. They are also useful as a reference. I'm always looking at them to see how it was. You know - back when it worked. Smile
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Molly O'Hara



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 99
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2005 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are soooo right.

And let me add some more advice for Builders, who don't have shell access:

Write everything you do down in Wordpad, and save it on your own computer. Not just the descriptions, but ALL valid info about the zone. How the zone is supposed to work, the stats on key mobs and objects, how the quests are supposed to interact, where everything is reset.

Make lists of rooms, objects, mobs and scripts on line, copy them to Wordpad, and use those lists to add valid info. Also ask the imps to mail you a copy of the zone files as soon as they are finished. It's your right as a builder to get a copy of your work, whichever the policy is in the Mud about ownership to the zones. Don't build for Muds that don't honour those rights.

Not only will this help you into making better and more consistant zones. It will also mean that you'll have all the valid info that allows you to recreate it, in case the Mud you work on shuts down, or you have a fall-out with the imps.

You probably think these things won't happen in YOUR mud. But they do happen, so prepare for it.
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Scandum



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 28
Location: I'm in the TV

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2005 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Molly O'Hara wrote:
It's your right as a builder to get a copy of your work, whichever the policy is in the Mud about ownership to the zones. Don't build for Muds that don't honour those rights.

I'm afraid you can't make it the mud's task to make copies of your own work, just like you can't demand they give you your player file. The advise to keep as much in wordpad as possible is certainly a good idea.

Being very careful when it comes to hiring staff is important as well, recruiting from your playerbase is oftenly the best option.
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Molly O'Hara



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 99
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2005 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm afraid you can't make it the mud's task to make copies of your own work, just like you can't demand they give you your player file.


And why not? It's just a question of policy. I see no reason for giving out player files, but a Builder puts around 100 hours of work into a zone. Surely they are entitled to a copy of their work, if the demand it?

In our mud we always send copies of the zonefiles to all the builders that ask for them. Surprisingly few do, however. I don't know why. I certainly would.
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Scandum



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 28
Location: I'm in the TV

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2005 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Molly O'Hara wrote:
Quote:
I'm afraid you can't make it the mud's task to make copies of your own work, just like you can't demand they give you your player file.


And why not? It's just a question of policy. I see no reason for giving out player files, but a Builder puts around 100 hours of work into a zone. Surely they are entitled to a copy of their work, if the demand it?

A fraction of the time most players put in their character. What I mean is that builders don't have any legal rights when it comes to having their area files mailed to them. Most admins don't demand to be added to the credits for spending time teaching someone how to build either, or for the many minor changes they will likely end up making to a file.

Being reasonable is another good advice, most muds don't want supposedly unique area files floating around.
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eiz



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 152
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2005 9:12 am    Post subject: Re: Good Practices Reply with quote

Sandi wrote:

Milestones - these are copies made before major changes. Make them often. They are copies of everything needed to run the game; area, src, makefile, area.lst, and the "done" part of my ToDo list as a README. These are handy if my coding reaches a standstill. If my grand ideas just won't work, and I've changed so much I'll never get it changed back, then being able to scrap it all and install a milestone from a few days or weeks before can be a godsend. They are also useful as a reference. I'm always looking at them to see how it was. You know - back when it worked. Smile


Don't rely on making copies manually like this. What you want is to put everything in a source control system: Subversion, CVS, darcs, etc. There's a bit of a learning curve, but it's worth it. Backups are of course essential. I make regular backups (to long-term storage and to other sites) of all of my source control repositories.

Also, do small, frequent checkins. Do not leave work uncommitted. If you need to make disruptive changes over a long period, use branching.

If you are using an sql database for your mud's backend, make regular dumps, store change logs, and so on.
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