Monday, October 25, 2010

About me

As many players have asked questions about me, I thought I'd dedicate an entire blog post to it. I hope you'll enjoy reading it!

My name is Marc, and I'm 22 years old (19-05-1988). I live in the Netherlands, and have a Bachelor's degree in Information and Communication Technology (BICT). I'm currently in university (Radboud University Nijmegen) doing a MSc in Information Science, which will probably take another 2 years. It is fair to say that I got my degree partially thanks to TMN and its creator DragonCurse.

How it started
Back in June 2004, DragonCurse asked me if I was interested in testing somehing. I ended up testing and later managing the game we now know as TMN. We grew from 0 players to 2200 players online at the same time within a year, and even though we had our share of corrupt moderators, it was a great time.

With no knowledge of programming, databases or even webdesign, DragonCurse trusted me with administrator access to the server (this was early 2005). He explained the (very) basics of getting data from a database, and soon I was on the way learning T-SQL. About 2 years later (January 2007, I was in the first year of my ICT study), I started programming in ASP.NET. I e-mailed my first code updates to DC on January 12th 2007 (although I may have updated more before that).

Because we were still too young to handle a successful game, TMN kept shrinking... From 2200 players online we shrunk back to less than 500 online, so halfway through 2007 we thought it'd be good to launch a new version of TMN: tmnX. We launched the game in January 2008, but unfortunately we misjudged the TMN players, who really didn't want another game! After 8 months of tmnX we decided to pull the plug and update TMN to a version we could manage: TMN Classic was born. TMN Classic was a 90% recoded version of TMN that performed a lot better and was easier to manage.

More recent
In 2010 the game had shrunk to less than 12 players online at times, and since I was in the middle of graduating (February - June 2010), I didn't have much time on my hands. Eventually TMN went offline. Because I personally wasn't done with TMN (and realized the players weren't either), I stepped forward and started working again. The rest can be read in the previous few blog posts.

We can't predict the future, but we won't expect any luck (like in 2004). For that reason we'll be carefully planning new features, advertising, updates and promotional events such as holiday weekends. From the credit purchases we don't need to worry about server fees, but we do need to make sure the game attracts new players and keeps its current players. We may continue to work with DragonCurse and his new game (TMN4).


Monday, October 11, 2010

Polls, new possible feature

On October 8th a poll system was introduced to the TMN players. This system allows the TMN staff to attach a poll (with unlimited amount of answers) to a topic, so all players can vote (once). As a first test, we asked players how old they are. The result of this poll (after 3 days) is shown on the image below.

This poll was only the start though! On 11-10-2010 another poll was added to a forum topic. In this topic a new feature is explained, and player opinions are requested through replies and the poll. The idea s the result of a brainstorm session the TMN staff had, and may be a fun addition to the game. I won't explain the feature in this blog post, but it is related to Drugs, and it will function as a middle-type crime that gets more XP than GTAs and Crimes, but less than an OC.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Upgrade 1, 2, 3!

Moving the database
Yesterday we transfered the database to the VPS, which (long story short) caused a rollback of roughly two hours, and about 4 hours of downtime. Since I was in uni, I couldn't do much to sort it out any faster. When I got TMN back online it lagged a lot, so I was forced to disable jail. We decided to move the files and the domain ( to the VPS on Friday morning, and hoped that would solve the lag...

From hosting package to VPS
Unfortunately this VPS was not powerful enough, causing even more lag! CPU usage was at 100% constantly, and every single file update by me would cause 5 minutes of even more lag! Even for me it was too slow to handle, so I kept jail closed and ordered another upgrade.

This upgrade really seemed a lot better (doubled the memory, and opened up another CPU core), and it was quite responsive at first. Unfortunately this only lasted until (you guessed it) jail was reopened! This was simply too much, so jail was once again disabled, and the 3rd upgrade was ordered. This upgrade will have again double the memory, and another CPU core opened. We're now waiting for it to become active (the hosting provider needs to read his e-mail first ;))