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Monday, February 05, 2007

God Tool?

Sure BeerMogul looks like a pretty simple game when you're a player - you log in, buy and sell properties & beer, then every day something happens when people either come to your pub, and brewers get to manufacture beer.

What is it that happens? We run the "God Tool". Probably the most complicated part of the system, the God Tool does a few things...

  1. It simulates the manufacture of beer, one brewery at a time. It considers the quality of the brewery and the quality of the features installed, then looks at the investment that a brewer is proposing to make in order to determine exactly how much beer gets produced in a single day.
  2. It processes all of the "contracts" which represent committed trades between brewers & pub owners.
  3. It simulates a night at the pub! Punters are generated (including the amount of money in their pocket, a taste for a certain quality of beer, and a tolerance to price & quality variation).

As you can imagine, this was quite a time consuming exercise, and it used to bring the server to it's knees. It ended up being the downfall of the game - keeping it running successfully in a reasonable amount of time was VERY time consuming and demanding.

How are we going to fix it this time? We're looking to follow a "progressive" processing model. Rather than processing everything in one "big bang", we'll progressively process all of the God Tool activities throughout a 24 hour period. The good thing is that it will give people a chance to see the status of their properties change throughout the day - you'll be able to take a look and see how many punters are in your pub at any given time - or look at your brewery to see how your manufacturing schedule is going.

It's still a theory obviously, but pretty important. We have to get everything right if we want to make sure the game lasts this time!