The NWN server is going to be moved again

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orth's picture
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Layonara AdministratorGamemasterKatianWriting Team Member
Joined: Jan 6 2004
The NWN server is going to be moved again

Hello all,

As you know we've been running our server for the past 2 months on a new host and while for the most part it has been acceptable there have been issues with random "blue screen of deaths" killing the entire server as well as intermittent lag spikes. While trying to debug these I started considering another server where I could get an equally good deal and came across one that was Linux though. I wondered to myself how difficult and how capable our current world would be to run on Linux especially with our NWNX plugins. So I tested it locally and fixed a few bugs here and there and things seemed okay. 

At that point I wondered if there were any new NWNX plugins for Linux that I could tap into to help the world. This is when I really got excited and started greatly considering we'd move from Windows to Linux. There are  many plugins that are now available that can enhance our world.

This is how and why I was able to introduce the Dynamic Names system.  Some of the other plugins give us functionality for many other ideas we've always been limited by the capabilities of what Bioware gave us. Not only that, there are performance improvements that these plugins provide to help the world run smoother and faster with less lag.

I hope you understand that this move shouldn't be much of a blip on the radar and should hopefully lead to a smoother world with some exciting new features coming as well.

Here's a taste of some of these new features:

  • GMs can now create transitions wherever they want. Whether its a "hole" showing up in the middle of Center or a doorway that leads to a Quest Area, they can plop them down on the fly.
  • Players can set their character's description any time they want. Title any parchment "My Description" then write on it and use =c setmydesc and your player's description will change to what's on the parchment.
  • The login process is faster. Some of the checks have been moved to not even allow players in the world instead of booting them after the login. Other processes that only need to be done once a reset are now doing so.
  • Dynamic never ending NPC quests.  If a pawn broker over hears you talking about something, you might want to listen to what he has to say. "Speaking of trading, Firg Knucklebar in Fort Llast was looking for some help with making a run to Dregar." (More on this to come!)
  • You can now ox unidentified items.
  • GMs can rename areas.
  • Increasing fortune for diversifying your exploration with groups, the more the merrier.  The more unique areas you visit the higher the rewards become! (more on that soon too)
  • Improved performance on NPC creature spawn/loot
  • Complete restructure of a lot of the database, much cleaner and faster

I was originally planning to get this entire move and update done this weekend but it may be delayed a few days as I want to get some thorough testing in plus (!!) the missus has been extremely patient with me this past fortnight as I've coded away so I'd like to reward her tomorrow. Some of these features may not make the first update after the move but the framework is laid out and the coding is started.

I'll keep you all posted as things progress.

All the best,

orth

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Joined: Jan 21 2004

Simply layo heaven. All of these fixes are going to be great, some of these ideas sound terrific

  • Increasing fortune for diversifying your exploration with groups, the more the merrier.  The more unique areas you visit the higher the rewards become! (more on that soon too)

This kind of thing can only breathe life into the forgotten corners of the world.

 

and

 

  • GMs can now create transitions wherever they want. Whether its a "hole" showing up in the middle of Center or a doorway that leads to a Quest Area, they can plop them down on the fly.

this puts exploration right back where it belongs!

 

I am inspired Sir.

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Toranite
Joined: Oct 26 2010

I am behind any development of a dynamic quest generator or system. Its good for downtime when player numbers are small due to a lack of things to do outside of RP/XP/CXP. It's also pretty good for people in the area to group together and travel, as well as providing some material to RP over; not to mention it makes use of NPCs that are scattered about Layonara but really serve no valuable purpose. Huzzah!

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Layonara AdministratorGamemasterKatianWriting Team Member
Joined: Jan 6 2004

Just an update as things progress.

I lost a bit of time fixing some bugs and improving some features with storage so we're going to be delayed a bit longer, but not too much longer. With that being said at least many of the quirks with storage are gone. These include:

  • The crates will never eat your gold, all gold will always be accounted for and returned after resets. If you deposit a stack with more than 50,000 gold pieces it will be split upon the next server reset.
  • Weirdness with stacks is no longer an issue. Stacks are added and removed and logged appropriately with number in the stacks. Players may notice if they remove a stack from a crate it will not merge with a stack they already have when they first receive it. They can stack it right after they remove it though once it's in their inventory.
  • Improved performance so houses being opened won't lag the server
  • Sometimes the server would think you were too far from a crate when on horseback to do the right thing, doesn't happen any more. You probably shouldn't be managing crates on horseback, but I prefered not having weird things happen if you were
  • Bank crates now show their contents and transaction log per character upon examine

There are many fixes and features coming that will hopefully improve performance all around. I'm really excited about these particular fixes/enhancements but they are not as sexy. These include:

  • Login is much faster polling the db a lot less when first coming into the world, you should notice the difference.  Also removed a two functions that were rerunning through every step of the login process (17 times!)
  • All strings have been replaced with string references, this improves bandwidth and performance. Think about it this way, when you're in a party of 6 people whenever a PC would damage a Forest Giant Feller of a Broken Glade Clan the server would have to tell each client the name which is 43 bytes of data (43 characters in his name) to 6 players. Now it just tells the players to look up string reference for example, 16774043 from the layonara TLK which is 4 bytes of data. Multiply this by many names and many activities happening and you can see how this improves things.
  • The new server's CPU has been isolated so it's completely dedicated to nwn
  • The DB has been vastly reworked and improved in performance and integrity. Before many queries to the DB would look up things based upon your Bioware name and Character name. All players are assigned an ID and it's this ID that is used throughout the code now.
  • Use new nwnx GetSystemTime() to get epoch instead of polling the db for UNIX_TIMESTAMP(now())
  • Removed some unneeded heartbeats
  • OnSpawn is faster for creatures as the checks for loot drops have been made more efficient.
  • OnAcquireItem is faster for creatures, makes spawning quicker too

Anyway I half wrote all those just as something for easy cutting and pasting into the changelog, but thought you might want a sneak peek of how things are hopefully going to perform better especially when death is on the line!!

In terms of giving a timeline for the update, it's still going to be sooner than later but I can't guarantee any dates or times, but we're close. I'm sure there'll be a couple issues here and there so we will probably have a couple quick updates right after too.

Good times!

orth

 

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GamemasterWriting Team Member
Joined: Feb 3 2005

Rock on. =D

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FolianiteToranite
Joined: Dec 24 2006

This all sounds amazing.  I'm so glad there are still being strides made to improve this decade old game.

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FolianiteToranite
Joined: Dec 24 2006
  • Players can set their character's description any time they want. Title any parchment "My Description" then write on it and use =c setmydesc and your player's description will change to what's on the parchment.

Finally!  I can redescribe Shiff and Tyra to something that actually resembles them after soooooo maaaaaaaany years!

orth's picture
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Layonara AdministratorGamemasterKatianWriting Team Member
Joined: Jan 6 2004

Another update!

I'm now down to the finishing touches and some final testing. I thought I'd give you the low down on the second big system addition in this update, the Random NPC Quest system.

The Random NPC Quest system is a perpetual chat based system that involves delivery of goods from one NPC in one town/village/fort/city to another (there are 46 in total). Players are asked to help the NPC complete his shipment by gathering the components for a random CNR recipe. Here's a run down of how it works.

Ask a pawn broker if there are any jobs around and she'll randomly mention one of the six that are currently running. 

Find the NPC in the location that the pawn broker mentioned and greet her by name (First, Last or Full Name) however you choose. This won't be the first time I tell you but you must always use the NPC's name when you're talking to them! The NPC will ask you if you're interested in a job and you can reply with yes or no (or many variants, i.e. nods, nope, nay, aye). Again, you must use their name! If you reply with an affirmative the NPC will then give you a scroll detailing the goods she requires and to whom and where she wishes the delivery be made. The NPC always wishes the components (not the final product!) of a craftable item. She will also detail which tradeskill the recipes is refering to as some recipes can be made via different trades.

At this point players may need to even decide if the quest is worth it. If an NPC wants you to gather the goods for a Mithil Emerald Amulet to deliver to Fieroz City you may decide it just isn't worth it. If you do decide to fetch the components required to craft the item the NPC wishes then return to the NPC again once they're fetched and greet them again (use their name!) and tell them yes (use their name!) that you have the items now.

When the NPC confirms that you are indeed carrying all the requirements to craft what she's asked then she will load you up with the rest of the shipment.  WARNING: HEAVY LOAD. Yes, you'll have to carry any where between 100-500 lbs of goods (random 1-5 100lb items). These goods can be placed in magic bags or on an ox or of course you can give them to the meat shield or just divvy them up in your party if you have one. At this point the quest is no longer available to any other players, so if they're out looking for the crafting components and another player/party beats them then they're out of luck.

Once you're all loaded up then it's time to trek to your destination and find the NPC in that town. Once he's found greet him by name, when he asks if you have the goods reply with the affirmative and he'll check for everything. Once everything is in order he'll ask if everyone who has helped you is nearby, reply with an affirmative and the reward is given to each member of the party in the area, the quest is completed and a new quest is added somewhere!

If a quest is not complete within two weeks it is expired a new one is put in its place.

Players will have a random time limit anywhere between 72-96 real life hours to deliver the goods to the recipient once they are loaded up. The delivery deadline in Layonara date will be printed on the description of the shipment items.

If an NPC attempts to validate your items and you have forgotten to get them from your ox, or retrieve them from another party member etc. and they tell you to come back then you'll have to greet them again when you have all the items.

Point form summary

  • Plen in Center says to pawn broker: "Hear of any jobs?"
  • Pawn Broker responds, "Speaking of jobs, Pero Nickleberd in Haven City is looking for help with a shipment"
  • Visit Haven City and find Pero and say: "Hello Pero!" 
  • Pero responds: "You looking for a job?"
  • Plen responds, "Aye Pero I heard you have some work"
  • Pero responds and hands you a scroll.
  • Read the scroll and it will tell you the recipe for the components required and to whom the shipment is headed.
  • Retrieve the components required to craft the item Pero requests then return to Haven City.
  • Greet him by name how you wish, "I'm back Pero"
  • Pero responds asking if you have all the goods to complete the shipment.
  • Plen responds, "Yep, I have your items required Pero!"
  • Pero makes sure the speaker does indeed have the items and then loads you up with the rest of the shipment reminding you where to go.
  • Journey to receiving NPC and initiate conversation by using his name, "We've made it Wade"
  • Wade responds asking if you're the one with the shipment.
  • Plen replies "Yes it's us Wade"
  • Wade will make sure all the goods are in the speaker's inventory then ask that all party members are present in the area
  • Plen replies, "Aye, we're all here Wade"
  • Wade removes all the goods from the speaker then rewards each party member.

It may seem like a lot to understand but once the system is in place and you try it out I think you'll get it quite easily. In general all you really need to remember is to say "Hello NPCName", "Yes NPCName" or "No NPCName" - We hope you'll of course make it more diverse, especially when doing these quests with other players around so as to keep the chat fun and IC.  

-orth

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DoranditeDruidFolianiteKithairieniteVoraxian
Joined: Jan 18 2004

A question after looking this over. How many quests will be available at a given point in time?  The way I read it... 1 NPC quest will be available until it is completed, or two weeks has passed before  another NPC quest is offered by any other NPC. Multiple people / parties can be atempting to complet the only offered NPC quest, and whomever completes it first is rewarded. Example... John Smith in Center offers the NPC quest.

So this is the only NPC offereing a quest untill it is completed or two weeks has passed? Or could another person / party be offered a completely different NPC to speak to with a totally different quest at the same time as  John Smiths NPC quest?

 

Thanks

G-452

 

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FolianiteToranite
Joined: Dec 24 2006

orth wrote:

Ask a pawn broker if there are any jobs around and she'll randomly mention one of the six that are currently running. 

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Layonara AdministratorGamemasterKatianWriting Team Member
Joined: Jan 6 2004

Guardian 452 wrote:

A question after looking this over. How many quests will be available at a given point in time?  The way I read it... 1 NPC quest will be available until it is completed, or two weeks has passed before  another NPC quest is offered by any other NPC. Multiple people / parties can be atempting to complet the only offered NPC quest, and whomever completes it first is rewarded. Example... John Smith in Center offers the NPC quest.

So this is the only NPC offereing a quest untill it is completed or two weeks has passed? Or could another person / party be offered a completely different NPC to speak to with a totally different quest?

There's always 6 running and Shiff beat me! :)

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Layonara AdministratorGamemasterKatianWriting Team Member
Joined: Jan 6 2004

A quick addendum as it was asked, the shipped goods that weigh 100lbs take up 2x2 inventory slots.

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Layonara AdministratorGamemasterKatianWriting Team Member
Joined: Jan 6 2004

Very important note for the next update:

The linux NWN server is case sensitive when it comes to your Bioware name. You must use the same upper/lowercase characters for your Bioware login that you did when you created your first character on Layonara. You can't login as Orth for example when you created your first character as orth. If you do you'll see no characters in your vault.

If you're unsure the exact case sensitivity you used for your first character and you see an empty vault, Dorg or I can let you know.

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GamemasterXeenitePrunillianDruidDoranditeToranite
Joined: Oct 8 2004

"When the NPC confirms that you are indeed carrying all the requirements to craft what she's asked then she will load you up with the rest of the shipment.  WARNING: HEAVY LOAD. Yes, you'll have to carry any where between 100-500 lbs of goods (random 1-5 100lb items)"

I foresee Kurn's popularity rising significantly with this update!

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Angels Guild MemberPrunillian
Joined: Apr 12 2004

Quenton completed a dynamic quest! Two questons:

1. I still have the sroll that lists the thing I needed to get, can I throw it away?

B: Never mind on the second question the reward is awesome!

orth's picture
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Layonara AdministratorGamemasterKatianWriting Team Member
Joined: Jan 6 2004

swoop wrote:

Quenton completed a dynamic quest! Two questons:

1. I still have the sroll that lists the thing I needed to get, can I throw it away?

B: Never mind on the second question the reward is awesome!

Yes you can throw it away, they also fit into parchment folders too if you use one of those.

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*deleted*

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