v1042 discussion

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Yappy
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v1042 discussion

Post by Yappy » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:02 pm

A discussion about the news from v1042.

=== Update ===

As noted in the What’s New [http://www.deltatao.com/clanlord/news/new.html], Clan Lord has been around for almost exactly 20 years now. It’s been a fantastic run, but it is time to admit that lately we’ve been playing on borrowed time. We don't believe the game can or should continue to limp along in its current form for very much longer, so our inclination is to terminate it as gracefully as we can, sometime in the next few months.

But we recognize that you, the players, have invested just as much time and care into the game as we have, and we think you should have a chance to offer your thoughts and opinions on our future options.

However, we need to be clear that there are limits on what will be possible. Some of you will suggest that we publicly release the game’s code and other assets, in hopes that new volunteers will come forward to maintain and enhance them. But that requires permission from Delta Tao, the company -- which in practice means, from Joe -- rather than from us, the volunteer GMs. Unfortunately, it’s not obvious how quickly, or how completely, such permissions will be forthcoming. Some assets (e.g., the Windows client) may not even be in Delta Tao’s gift.

Others may suggest that we just keep it running as-is forever, and would the last person to leave please turn out the lights. But please remember that there’s a non-zero cost to keeping it alive, for server hosting if nothing else. And without a functioning Account Portal, it’s very difficult to bring new players aboard. So the player population will only accelerate its present decline. We would prefer to just pull the plug rather than suffer that sad fate.

Still, there may be brilliant solutions out there that we haven’t thought of, but which we hope you will. We’re all ears!

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Re: v1042 discussion

Post by Icy » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:30 pm

No news is good news!
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Re: v1042 discussion

Post by Killian » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:25 pm

Yappy wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:02 pm
A discussion about the news from v1042.

=== Update ===

As noted in the What’s New [http://www.deltatao.com/clanlord/news/new.html], Clan Lord has been around for almost exactly 20 years now. It’s been a fantastic run, but it is time to admit that lately we’ve been playing on borrowed time. We don't believe the game can or should continue to limp along in its current form for very much longer, so our inclination is to terminate it as gracefully as we can, sometime in the next few months.

But we recognize that you, the players, have invested just as much time and care into the game as we have, and we think you should have a chance to offer your thoughts and opinions on our future options.

However, we need to be clear that there are limits on what will be possible. Some of you will suggest that we publicly release the game’s code and other assets, in hopes that new volunteers will come forward to maintain and enhance them. But that requires permission from Delta Tao, the company -- which in practice means, from Joe -- rather than from us, the volunteer GMs. Unfortunately, it’s not obvious how quickly, or how completely, such permissions will be forthcoming. Some assets (e.g., the Windows client) may not even be in Delta Tao’s gift.

Others may suggest that we just keep it running as-is forever, and would the last person to leave please turn out the lights. But please remember that there’s a non-zero cost to keeping it alive, for server hosting if nothing else. And without a functioning Account Portal, it’s very difficult to bring new players aboard. So the player population will only accelerate its present decline. We would prefer to just pull the plug rather than suffer that sad fate.

Still, there may be brilliant solutions out there that we haven’t thought of, but which we hope you will. We’re all ears!
I'll help in anyway needed. Money mostly. I can't code for crap these days. Just need to inform me.
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Re: v1042 discussion

Post by Killian » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:38 pm

I guess my family will be happy........
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Re: v1042 discussion

Post by Killian » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:40 pm

I'd like to thank all the friends and family I played with here. We had a hell of a run. This is the only game that kept me coming back. It was because of you all!
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Re: v1042 discussion

Post by Shakyamuni » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:45 pm

Killian wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:40 pm
I'd like to thank all the friends and family I played with here. We had a hell of a run. This is the only game that kept me coming back. It was because of you all!
Yeah.. I don't game at all.. and yet here I am.. I came back even... after a long absence.. 10/3/2003 so that's a little over 14 years for me.

I am extremely grateful for all of you who I have met here.. Some are friends in the real world who I still communicate with regularly in some form.
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Re: v1042 discussion

Post by Jazz » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:51 pm

Yappy wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:02 pm
Others may suggest that we just keep it running as-is forever, and would the last person to leave please turn out the lights. But please remember that there’s a non-zero cost to keeping it alive, for server hosting if nothing else.
Not being privy to your hosting setup it's difficult to know your costs, but the server software was ported to BSD/Linux like a LONG time ago right and runs on a VPS? I mean... you can basically get unlimited resources/bandwidth these days for <$10/month... or even way less. Hell I bet some player out there has plenty of extra space on their VPS they could volunteer to give (don't move it to New Zealand Ruuk or I'll have to move there finally just to get lower latency! LOL).

That was my thought though... just don't update the client anymore. See how long it goes before the OS software borks it. No big deal.

Without knowing more about the account portal it's difficult to know the extent of the problem. What languages are involved? Was SOCKS not talking to PHP anymore or something like that? Merchant account issues? What?

How can we as players often brilliant ideas when we know so little. At this point... open up... tell us more... what's the harm?

PS - Thanks for all you've done over the decades. Brilliance was in the game's design. So simple a kid can play... so involved you can play for... 20 years without getting (too) bored. :-)
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Re: v1042 discussion

Post by Whirl wind » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:57 pm

Is it possible to get a better idea of what needs to happen to keep it alive?
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Re: v1042 discussion

Post by Cirnahl_Lovsya » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:00 pm

I have no words for this. I think we've all seen it coming, but no one wants to stare down the barrel, hoping that if we don't see the bullet coming, it can't hit us...

I want to be disappointed, but honestly, all I can think about is nearly two decades I've spent getting to know some of the greatest people out there. Connections we've made. Some Clanners I'd consider family, even though I've never met you.

All of this was made possible by Delta Tao, Joe, and all of the GMs at all levels.

I'd love nothing more than to see Clan Lord get revamped and thrive for another two decades...

but if this is the end...

It's been a fantastic run and I can not thank enough Delta Tao, Joe, Falinea, Gaia, Chum, Yappy, HGM, Slarty, (I'm forgetting some, I'm sorry) and all the others behind the scenes for all the immeasurable hours of entertainment and strategy we've faced as a result of their genius in planning out so many aspects of this world.

Thank you all so much. We've had three generations in my family enjoying Puddleby. We certainly hope someone has a way to continue it along, but we understand and respect the decision to go out with dignity.

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Re: v1042 discussion

Post by Maeght » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:19 pm

So the short term issue is server cost. What's the number? I suspect we can cover that and the costs to process payments.

Medium term - are there development resources available to make new areas, even if you have to skip new game mechanics and just go with variations on a theme but bigger numbers?

Medium term - what's involved in keeping the client going given operating system updates necessary?

Long term - is there the will left to keep it going?

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Re: v1042 discussion

Post by Icy » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:33 pm

Lovs'ya dont forget Ann and Pengy!

Basically if they want to keep the server costs up and running that's no problem for me or anyone else replying so far. They reached the point where many of us do in repetitive adventures in life where it becomes a chore not a pleasure. At the moment it makes sense to move on.

If you keep it up and want monetary support or part time support (few hours a month max) with mundane administration type stuff in either application servers/databases (ew flat file db), send me a private message or an email. I could carry that burden for a bit and not even notice it was work for awhile. If you want someone to convert the code from SOCKS to a newer framework, thanks for the memories. I could write a new account portal and I might be able to start tackling some conversion of code but if I am doing significant IT work on something that isn't my dream I like to get paid for it so I could enjoy newer hobbies of mine that have bubbled up in the 18 years of enjoying this one (well 11 years since I took a nice 7 years break due to messing about with an bug that occurred awhile ago). I certainly don't want to pick up where they are leaving it and shoulder too much. I love playing the game but don't want to know more about it than I do else it become a chore for me as well.
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Re: v1042 discussion

Post by Chum » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:38 pm

In addition to server cost (I know little in this space), there is the issue of the aging client(s) which may soon cease to be supported by their respective OSs. So then there's the issue of a dwindling player base who must remain tied to old OSs.

Dwindling player base because the account portal is similarly ancient software that does not lend itself readily to upgrading. Unless someone wants to tackle a rewrite.

I'm pretty sure we'd say "go <your name here>, go!" about a client rewrite, but I'm not sure how much actual, honest-to-goodness support (of the technical kind) one would get. Plus, of course, anyone tackling such a job would be dealing with ancient assets (art & sounds), technology that was pretty good for mid-90s, etc.

(Think for a minute about what computers/languages/OSs were available in, say, 1996.)

I don't have a whole lot of information, just a small peek into the kinds of issues the game faces.

And I don't want to be the big nay-sayer, but this seems like less a situation of "how to save it?" as "what would be the best way for it to end?" Maybe I'm wrong about that, but that's how it seems.

Or maybe I'm wrong. It has happened once or twice before... ;)
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Re: v1042 discussion

Post by Adar » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:52 pm

Any real long term solution would have to address the two main problems CL has faced in the last 5 - 10 years:

1. The software is old and increasingly difficult to expand and support
2. Player level disparity (which over the course of 20 years has amounted to an enormous hurdle - who knew back then that having no caps would grow to be such a problem?)

It strikes me that the boldest move would be to crowdsource funding to convert the game over to something more stable (i.e. pay Icy), with the understanding that player data would be wiped in the new format and level caps would probably be put in place. The old game could run until it is no longer runable while the crowdsourced one would be developed.

As for the sound and graphics assets being "nowadays woefully inadequate"... I am less concerned about that. The Atari 2600 reboot is doing just fine as far as I can tell. There is tremendous affection for nostalgia even for those who never participated. My kids want those Atari 2600 reboots, for example.

But, I have no idea what I'm talking about with regard to coding. I have no idea if it's a $30K project vs. a $300K project. The former might be doable - the latter almost certainly not. And either way, it would require someone to be point person to coordinate it, and it's not clear that there is someone who can or wants to do that. It's a lot of work and a lot to ask of someone who has already put in many hours and may quite understandably just want to go home and have a beer and be with family.

To my admittedly ignorant vantage point, this is a "hail Mary pass" or go home situation. I too don't like the idea of a lingering death.

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Re: v1042 discussion

Post by Maeght » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:54 pm

One way to cut development costs might be to require running a "frozen" Mac OS in a virtual machine. That lets you avoid having to code to compensate for updating the OS.

Is the portal necessary? Can what the portal does be done manually?

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Re: v1042 discussion

Post by Helios » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:57 pm

Well shit. This definitely isn't a post I want to see, and don't think I'm prepared to respond to. 20 years is a long time, and as the proverb says - all good things come to an end. But that sure doesn't make this any easier to digest. Along with many others here, I grew up with clan lord in those twenty years, and even though I've only logged in rarely the last few years, the game was always there. In many ways, Clan Lord is the family that's always there when you need them.

I would love for the game to continue to exist indefinitely, in some form or another. But it's pretty clear that's becoming more and more of a slim option. As others have stated, I'm happy to support Clan Lord financially in one form or another.

I think one way to preserve the game and it's legacy would be for a final build to be released commemorating the last twenty years, and then for whatever assets could be released as an open source project to be done as such, so if dedicated volunteers wanted to organize and pick it up in the future, or build something better from it, they could. That said, I certainly don't know the legal and technical hurdles involved in that, or even if it's a good idea, but it's the only option I can think of at the moment.

Other than that, I think if shutting down is inevitable, it would be nice to get the word out to as many clanners as possible. Maybe to have some wacky wednesdays, maybe coordinate some tours of all the areas. Share stories with clanners and gms about those areas and adventures, and some background from the designers and gms? Maybe see some special areas that aren't often seen, and maybe some that have never been seen?

*shrug* :cry:

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