Sunday, June 24, 2007

The To Do List

I'm making this list in a public place because I get asked this a lot in forums, in chat, and in person.

In true first grade essay form I title this piece: What I Think Skill City Needs Before it Goes Live

Well ok it's already live, but I don't know what comes after BETA test, Gamma? Delta epsilon nu? Sounds like a fraternity to me.

Here is the list:

1. Installer is too big. I would love to make the installer something really small and break the client off from the games, so installation is just the client. When you play a game it will download the latest version of the game.

2. Patching. This will now be much easier for the user, because when you play a game its version info is checked and if there is a patch for that game only it will patch. You don't have to dowload 5 patches as soon as you start the client, just because you haven't played for a month.

3. No more Windows Installer. Its a terrible terrible unstable thing designed by a madman and I have a heap of technical support emails for people whose machines simply wont run it because it has too many weird components.

4. Progressive Tournaments. These are going to be in very soon.

5. Paypal. People all over the world use it, and right now we only take Visa and Mastercard. We need to accept something with larger use, like a gateway that just takes everything... like paypal.

6. Two more games: potions 101 and hangman. Potions 101 is as good as gold, its rolling through production and picking up steam. Hangman is... well its simple. Im not too worried about timeline on that title.

7. Website. Our current website is hard to update. I think maybe something with less graphics might be better, I'm doing a little updating on that. The survey so far says people don't like it.

8. The games. The existing games are in a constant state of update and patching to fix issues. I really don't get a sense we are terribly stable yet. I run in to one bug every ten games I play, on average. They could also use a little more fluffing up.

All of this comes down to time of course. Do we have the time to do it? If we rush something out so that we can start making money on it to buy ourselves more time to polish the product and then patch later, was that a good decision? Most of the time it isn't, but most of the time these games have corporate funding of some kind!

We'll get this list done, and it will be fast and solid because thats how we roll here at Skill City.


Kai said...


have you found a open-source updater or do you write your own? I've searched through the web and haven't found a good updater for my opensource-project...

writing a simple updateengine should be a no-brainer, but something which is working with proxys, firewalls and the stuff is a little bit more challenging.

The Mayor said...

No we haven't. If its open source you are after then you might need to write your own. The updated we use is just a front end to the Microsoft Windows Installer. The front-end is fine, its the Windows Installer that is really just horrible.

Firewalls and routers and the like aren't as hard to work with as you might think. We just send a test message to the server on our preferred port, if it doesn't get a reply we send on another port. Now its not very smart to send on all 65535 ports, so we use just a few. The last one we try is port 80 which most people have open. This though can lead to stateful packet inspection filters being triggered and blocking our traffic, because its not http protocol we are sending.

Its my experience firewalls and routers are gonna be a problem no matter what you use, but if you write your updated own you will have much greater control over how large a problem that is.

Kai said...

okay, I mean the small things like don't check for update when you're not online, because it would result in a dialogbox asking whether you want to connect to the internet or not and stuff like that.

but I've also found an opensource-updater, but haven't testet it yet (

The Mayor said...

I'll check that one out. Thanks for the link!