Some six years ago (May of 2008) a long chapter in my life was brought to a close. Alsherok, the MUD Dwip, myself, and several others spent 11 years developing closed down. There were various reasons for this, not the least of which was a sour feeling left behind due to all the backstabbing and trolling going on in the larger MUD community. It was ugly etc. and we all just got sick of it, and had no real motivation to keep the game running. Plus other life issues got in the way, as they always do. [more]
As with all things of this nature, we parted ways with it thinking it was never coming back and that we'd done our best and those efforts were not wasted because people had enjoyed it. That may or may not have been a heavily rose tinted view of things, but it's what we left the scene thinking.
Fast forward to 2014. Yes, here I am writing about a topic I thought I was basically done with for good. A bunch of us on AFK Mods
have been bouncing the idea around for nearly a year now to bring Alsherok back up. It wasn't exactly serious at first, but the last couple of months have seen an increase in needling me to resurrect the corpse. So....
I spent about 2 weeks or so going over some heinous code mistakes I found after dredging things up. Didn't say anything to anyone because honestly it was draining away most of the spare time I have these days and I didn't want to get anyone's hopes up. Of course, after I did all that, I spent almost 2 more weeks trolling people about it just because I could
That got boring though, so I figured it was time to bring the poor thing back to life for real. Only... it wasn't in the pristine condition we thought we left it in back in 2008. A whole lot of shit was broken. Not just minorly broken either. Horribly broken. Often to the point where some shit didn't work at all. Obviously our last months online back then were not spent well because we've now spent at least 3 weeks fixing more and more crap we're finding was broken. Basic stuff like mobs that don't move from their starting points. Resets that weren't populating shopkeeper inventories. Overland bugs that should have been solved eons ago that were causing objects to display wrong. The real whopper is that every locked door in the game lost its key data. How the hell that happened is anyone's guess because the code that handles area writing is not broken. Clearly it was at some point, got fixed, but the damage was never corrected. Or something. Basically, it boils down to bugs: bugs everywhere.
The real problem with this is that it wasn't just in our MUD. These bugs exist(ed) in AFKMud as well. Public code that's been out there now for ages that has had these critical flaws in it. Code people have been using. Though more likely just downloading and snickering at the huge mess that was made of things because frankly I don't think the codebase was in a functional state at all. How could it be when our own MUD that is built with it wasn't functional either? In any case, the codebase itself has resumed active development for the moment and you can see just how much of the mess has been fixed since it's on GitHub
now. The commit history is no doubt wildly entertaining.
Reviving the website was equally entertaining and annoying. Somewhere along the way I either deleted or lost the only backup copy of the HTML data and the last database for the website. That meant all of the image files were gone. All of the content was gone. Pretty much nothing left. Fortunately I still had the old server backups from late 2007 onward after the big harddrive crash that more or less wiped out 8 months of stuff. Hiding in there was the last known good copy of the Alsherok website database. Between that, and 3-4 days spent scouring archive.org for whatever images it managed to grab, the website was largely reconstructed. It's still a bit of a mess, but it works and all the information is intact. Though it did require some serious work on the Sandbox software to be able to upgrade the old 1.x data to fit the new 2.x software.
Now, I don't know how long things will remain online, but I do know that they'll be better preserved since it's all going to be part of my regular site backup regime so it should survive intact in much better shape than it did in the past. Plus at least we won't be offering a polished turd to the world in the form of a codebase that doesn't actually work.
Anyway. Enough of that. If you want to drop by, grab your MUD client and head on over to alsherok.afkmods.com 5500. I can't promise that things are running smoothly just yet, but we're getting there