Why 24 hour downtime in July '21?

Discussion in 'The Veterans' Lounge' started by Metanis, Jun 22, 2021.

  1. Accipiter Old Timer

    It's easy to judge 22 years later. I know, I do it all the time. ;-)
  2. Gremin Augur

    Just means you got 24 hours to do the things you been putting off like showering, washing your clothes, eating, sleeping, maybe talking to real life people like face to face...etc etc
    Coagagin and Madeni like this.
  3. Accipiter Old Timer

    Yes. SQL Server, Oracle, and Interbase were all available then. Those are the true SQL relational database servers. Lesser engines include Access, FoxPro, dBase, Borland Database Engine (BDE), etc. The lesser engines didn't have the performance that the big ones had but they were fine for most smaller (non-enterprise) applications. Also, to contradict myself a bit, SQL Server was pretty crappy back then.

    That I cannot answer definitively but I would venture a guess that the major databases would be able to handle a lot of transactions. I don't think the EQ team thought the game was going to be so successful that they would have to optimize performance out of the gate.

    It was a design choice, IMO. I don't get the feeling that Brad and the other founding programmer were world-class developers. I more get the feeling they were just throwing things together.
    Leerah likes this.
  4. Niskin Clockwork Arguer

    22 years ago people were more likely to use Microsoft Access as a database than most other things. If you were lucky there was some ODBC to make it shared, if you were unlucky there were emails between users about not being able to obtain exclusive access. It was a nightmare. And that's before we talk about Access `97 needing to be ported to Access 2000 or 2003. NIGHTMARE!

    To be fair, at the development level that was rare, but custom solutions abound when Oracle is expensive and MySQL is insufficient. Nobody but the top level devs really appreciated the power of databases at that point. Then Microsoft SQL server really took off and it was the go to for everything that didn't require Oracle.

    These days I'd spin up a new instance of SQL server for just about anything, but back then flat files were simpler and just as effective for most needs.
    Leerah likes this.
  5. Smokezz The Bane Crew

    MySQL would have been the one to use back then, and it wasn't publically available until the end of 1996. Then it would have been a game of keeping up to date with new versions until at least version 3.23 arrived in 2001.

    Whether or not it would have been a big performance overhead or not, if it was set up correctly it wouldn't have been a problem. But moving from 3.23 to higher versions would have been a major headache as a lot of things changed.

    To those surprised it stayed flat files for so long... it wasn't broken that way, so it wasn't changed. /shrug. LOTS of things in the world are like that.
  6. Accipiter Old Timer

    I seem to remember that they switched Access to the Jet engine at some point. Or maybe it was always Jet and my memory fails me.
  7. Niskin Clockwork Arguer

    Probably in Access 2000 or 2003, I specifically remember there was scripting or something on the back end of an Access `97 database that could not be directly ported to one of those two. It had to be completely re-written.
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  8. Scornfire The Nimbus Prince

    What a garbage way to speak to a developer taking their time to elucidate some of the communities' concerns. it's no small wonder they've historically been reluctant to engage with us.

    For what it's worth, Niente is a coder, and makes literally none of the decisions you just *rudely* told them to make.

    You clearly have absolutely no concept of how outdated and difficult the codebase is to deal with, intimating that the team is a bunch of minimum wage college grads? seriously? Go away
    Thundersnake, Stymie, Zynt and 6 others like this.
  9. Nennius Curmudgeon

    Sad to say, I do much the same. Fortunately, I catch myself most of the time before I post something and earn yet another "foot in the mouth" award. Even so, I am having to build yet another shelf to hold my collection of those.

    I started playing EQ in October 0f 2000. It was still the biggest thing in the market then and it was actually really easy to get groups. But even then, the general consensus among the players I chatted with was that it MIGHT last five years at the outside. And when I suggested that we might someday have level 100 characters I was rather roundly ridiculed by almost everyone. Well, here we are 21 years later and the game is still going. It isn't the biggest thing in the market and with the excess dilution of players among, frankly, a few too many servers, groups can be a bit harder to get.

    But, it is still around. And. discovering that the code isn't the newest and latest shouldn't surprise anyone. It actually is kind of obvious. I am glad that changes are still happening. I wish, I mean REALLY WISH, that more work was going on to reduce lag. For me, that is the biggest issue I have with the game at present. But having said that, the game is still playable. I am still happy to pay for two accounts and I likely will continue paying until things shut down someday, or when I shut down.

    I am grateful when Devs. post info. here. The level of communication today vastly exceeds what it was in the past. There was a time when a post by a Dev. was more akin to Moses coming down from the mount to share a few scraps with the great unwashed masses gathered below. So, thank you again to Niente, Absor, Pip, Ngreth, et al. I appreciate it. I really do. Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.
    Celephane, Grove and Metanis like this.
  10. Leerah Augur

    Read again. It was *he* who intimated that the previous patches were done by people with one year experience. Maybe you should lay off the caffeine. It's affecting your mood.

  11. Niskin Clockwork Arguer

    Guys, being a dev is easy. You spend most of your day drinking and telling people "that's not possible with today's technology." Then when they ask you, "did you test this?" You say, "yes." That last part is really important, because if you say no, they will come back later and ask you again, the same question even. What a pain!

    Seriously though, some people may have some clue of what it's like to be a dev, but most don't know what it's like to maintain legacy code, written in C++. Like I can't even describe how messed up it can be to deal with that language. You can write the functional code perfectly, and mess up one memory related portion and the whole things breaks. And finding the problem in that case is even harder. Think like there's code, and there's meta code. It's similar in concept.

    I don't even have to deal with that mess, and it's still rough sometimes. My legacy code is C# or Java which is a cakewalk in comparison. The other day I almost lost my mind trying to fix a problem and it turned out I was using a 3rd party testing tool incorrectly. But it worked when I did it that way one other time so I had no clue.
    Bardy McFly likes this.
  12. Leerah Augur

    I love this techie talk. I don't understand most of it, but it's still cool. (I'm friends with people who developed COBOL)! My first programming language doesn't even exist anymore and I used punch cards! This is all quite magical!
  13. Nennius Curmudgeon

    CrazyLarth, Coagagin, Stymie and 3 others like this.
  14. GamerGramps Journeyman

    And, this is also the LDoN launch day for Aradune/Rizlona.

    Oh yeah...I see a smooth expansion launch coming...
  15. Jondalar Augur

    Leerah, Raccoo and Metanis like this.
  16. Yinla Ye Ol' Dragon

    What AB victims are you talking about?????
    There are plenty of people to play with on AB thank you very much.
    Jumbur likes this.
  17. Metanis Bad Company

    Thank you so much for your post!
  18. Rogean Journeyman

    Honestly, for the time that Everquest was created in (97/98), some of the things they accomplished programming wise was phenomenal. They had to find the sweet spot for performance between a lot of different resources (CPU, Memory, Hard Disk, Video for Clients, etc). Some of the original systems implementation would seem ridiculous by today's standards, or even by 2001's standards, but were completely acceptable for 1998. Technology was changing a lot back then.

    Once the game launched, the flat files were working. You know the saying, don't fix what isn't broken, unless and until you have a strong enough reason to change it. I'm sure they finally reached the point at which the logistical benefits a database provides outweighed the time investment to convert to it.

    The zones themselves didn't touch those files. There is a process that runs which handled all of the loading and unloading of character data, and it would pass this information to the zone servers whenever you went from one zone to another. Since it was confined to the one worldserver process, it didn't necessarily affect the performance of the zones. From what I can tell, this is still the case even with a database, where the worldserver process now just loads the information from SQL, instead of flat files, and passes it to the zone.
    Coagagin, Bardy McFly, Jumbur and 2 others like this.
  19. Herf Augur

    Well said, and indeed!
  20. Herf Augur

    Thanks for the semi-detailed explanation of the issues. It helps.

    To the audience: I was working in the games industry about 2000, and I worked with one guy who claimed to have worked at Sony and have knowledge of the hardware architecture for EQ (he did NOT work on EQ). I don't know if he was telling the truth. But he was working at one of the largest game companies in the world at the time and told me that EQ was being run on NT servers before coming to the company we worked at at that time. That was a blisteringly long time ago, and at that time one of the big concerns was simply the MTBF for hard drives in the server farm.

    Of course these types of problems can be resolved by rewriting and testing existing code, but in my experience games companies are even more reticent to do this than operating systems/computer companies.
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