Monday, September 20, 2010

Crazy Week!

WOW! That's all I can say... Wow! This weekend really blew us away in terms of concurrency! Our highest records yet for users online, and we got to see how the hardware and software would hold up to it. So I'll cover a bit of that and some of where we see things going, and something I'm working on and something I'm going to be working on hopefully this weekend  ;)

And I just realized I used a whole lot of  "somethings" in there! So I guess I have alot to cover!  :)

First, our concurrency definitely showed us some flaws both in the back end code and hardware. We're already addressing these issues with a couple of different solutions in the hardware area and some fixes to come in the software. Surprisingly, the entire system held up though, albeit there were a couple of crashes here and there, but all hands were available this weekend to keep them minimized.

One of the things I worked heavily on this past week was the payment code for region renewals and such. For anyone who's paid any attention to things (and yes I know you're out there!) you'll have noticed we have two different PayPal accounts. All of the code for renewals was ported to the newer (I won't say new as we've had it a few months now, just was severely underused) PayPal account. This was in preparation for the currency exchange that has landed in my lap. Now, while I wanted this done LAST week, we wanted to make sure we did this right the first time around. Along with this code, alot of hooks were built in by me for various other things such as estate name changes, mainland purchasing, region name changing, etc. The currency exchange part is now ready to be written and tested over the next couple of days, so long as I can keep myself off the grid!

Official word on the currency exchange will be given on the InWorldz site of course, with lots of explanations for everyone!

In other news, a few might have noticed our screens changed both in the loginscreen and on the main site. This is mainly due to a couple of blogs that circulated this weekend, of which I will not bother linking to. And since we had to change the screens, I did manage to get the original psd's from our web graphics artist who did the original layout for us. So after currency exchange, I will be going through and getting some new pics (I do have some but I intend to use those for the loginscreen) of people's regions to showcase there. Besides, we need a nice showcase area. We have some GREAT pics on the forums already, so I may pull a few of those too  ;)

So, to everyone, I just want to say, WOW what a crazy ride this weekend was, with 311 people online at once! And seriously, I read alot of the blogs this weekend, and I just have to say it's so great to see so much enthusiasm and love for InWorldz out there. We are pushing so hard to get things that people want fixed and to see how many wonderful fans, groupies, or whatever you want to call yourselves, stand behind us, is phenomenal! Thank you, you have no idea what it means to us!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Proportional Growth = Proportional Issues

Ahhh the joys of growth!  As much as I'd like to say I enjoy running around the grid and seeing what our users are up to, sadly, that just doesn't seem to happen. With the growth, comes the growing pains, the support issues, and the day to day problems that crop up that is directly proportional to the size of the community.

I typically don't tend to pay much attention to our numbers (seriously, I had to find out from our residents on the forums we hit 10k users!), outside of the financial bits anyways. Which means I track the region setups, the currency purchases, the I'z to L's transactions (which will be coming to an end soon!), and our overall financial growth and laying out our projections for expected future growth, and expected costs to be incurred. Since this is theoretically my day off, I managed to pull some numbers that I found of interest, and would like to share.

First, let me thank Anyraya for a great chart she did for our growth, up until Aug. 12, which is when we hit 10,000 users. Today, is Sept.13, and we're at 14k+, a 4k user increase in 31 days. Our concurrency is showing strong numbers as we monitored those this weekend with our average ranging over 150 and peaking at 195 at one point. 

As I said, the financials is where I look for our trends. So, without further delay here are some numbers (no, sorry not any actual values for dollars here!):

Starting around May, we had about 150 regions online, quite a large percentage of those were owned by InWorldz, such as the mainlands and straits, the sandboxes, InWorldz Desert Isle and Island and some oceans we had then, along with the 10 configuration islands. Today, we have well over 500, and InWorldz only owns about 20% of those regions now. This is a huge jump for us, which shows in the financials below:

Currency purchases, from May to June more than doubled, then doubled again from June to July, and almost doubled from July to August. Our region renewals, this is always such a fun number to calculate btw, doubled from May to June, saw a 45% increase in June to July, then just a slight increase from July to August. The reason for renewals not to see a huge growth is the combined 1 month to 3 month payments along with users who pay up 6 months in advance, so while the number doesn't appear to increase, the monies were taken already and applied somewhere else. New region orders, of course are apparent to anyone paying attention to the growth rate.

So, why do I bring all this up other than to feed the gristmill of what we're doing? Those statistics also represent something outside of the financials I see day to day. They represent human beings. Well, we think you're all humans anyways... I have heard vicious rumors, erm, nevermind, probably another blog on that!

Human beings, while we are social creatures (for the most part), we are also not immune to highway accident syndrom I like to call it. HAS is when someone has had an accident on the freeway, and EVERYONE must slow down as they go past to stare at the wreckage... omg, was anyone hurt, is there any blood I can see, I MUST text EVERYONE I know about this and take pictures too! What happens to all the ill-fated drivers behind? Their day goes down the toilet (although do note, they can't stop staring either once they get there, but usually there's nothing left to see of importance which really sucks for them), and they've been slowed down by all the HAS gawkers.

I refer to, of course, the drama! None of us are immune to it, none of us are able to go our entire life devoid of at least one memorable dramatic moment. In fact, if we didn't crave drama, reality TV would have died a very ugly death long long ago. But I digress. Fact of the matter is, as our world grows, so will it directly grow in proportion to the aforementioned blog post on griefers, trolls and botters, and the drama-centrics. I can't call them drama queens, cause really it's not always the starting of it, but the fueling of it. It's like being a HAS gawker, you just can't help yourself. You have to gawk. You have to stop, stare at the wreckage, and said... WOW! What happens though, when the drama happens? Do you get anything done? Do you sit down to work on that neat hair style you wanted to work on, do you get to go to your fav club for music that night without being embroiled in it? If you find you can't get anything done, congratulations, you are in fact human and have become embroiled in drama, whether you wanted to or not.

The question is, how do you deal with it? Some, take sides in it, then it turns into a back alley brawl, which can get really out of hand fast. Do you just decide to be a venting board to both sides? Or do you decide the drama looks like too much fun, so instead of creating bruhaha with someone, you just turn schizo and have a huge bruhaha with your inner voices? Whatever the choice you make in how you deal with it, at the end of the day do yourself a favor and sit back and say, did I change or affect anything for the better with my actions? If not, then maybe learn a lesson from there the next go around, and try to find a more practical approach to dealing with whatever drama has hit your life.

Just remember one thing in all this craziness that is called growth: we have our friends, we have our community, we have some strong bonds in our world, and we have strong opinions (and I thought I was bad!)... try to incorporate as much of that in your day to day life, both in the VW and RL as you can, life's too short for dramafest.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Imp!

Amidst all the Emerald reborn into Emergence.. reborn into Phoenix (at this point I think I've lost track of what viewer is which now with this team, or who the devs are to be honest) drama, there was one very rocking party going on in SL, for the Imprudence Viewer birthday.

Alot of our users have migrated to the Imprudence Viewer, due to the drama, and after 2 years of work by the team, it seems they're making a very nice splash for themselves. By all accounts, it runs far smoother than alot of other viewers out there, and the team is completely transparent with their users. I'm quite guilty of not using it much myself, other than today for the SL party.  I can't talk about ANY of the features other than I had purple over my head, and I even wore a hat to match it  ;)

So, without further ado, Happy Birthday Imprudence! May the next year be just as successful (minus the drama) for you all!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Griefers, Botters and Trolls... Oh My!

I've often wondered if the Wicked Witch of the West would be considered a Griefer, Botter (well, she did wanna copy her lovely sister, or walk in her footsteps so to speak) or a troll. Seriously, she's green, I think that qualifies for trollness... she threw fireballs and tried to block Dorothy's path with destructive behavior, and I already covered the botter part.

Any of the aforementioned three, can be quite irksome to say the least, but over the years I've gotten pretty good at dealing with two of the categories, and well botters will be botters, so all you really can do is be extra paranoid I suppose.  Botters are probably the most destructive though as they can completely wipe a business out in a very short amount time. I sort of throw them in the mix, because there's no joy in it for them really other than knowing they destroyed someone's work, much like a griefer. They are just more insidious in their work, as it takes a little bit of time before realizing that your work has been botted and is now full perm and free in the various markets out there.

Then you have the griefers. And you sincerely have to ask yourself their motivation in doing silly things like say covering a sim in rezzing objects over and over. Or, blocking pathways with invisible walls. Loading 16k scripts on their avatar to drag a sim down. What exactly drives them to be just plain malicious in other words? Some, are REALLY creative in their tactics, and they get a bit of grudging respect (I said a bit, let's not go off the wall with that comment). So then you have to wonder, with the creative ones, what could they do with themselves if they put that energy to something useful? Not that griefing isn't useful, it is. Seriously. Don't look at me like that, or I take the chair away!

Griefers DO have their uses, no matter how foul, or how much work it takes to clean up their messes they leave behind, you can always learn something of value. It just depends on if you're willing to look at the lesson learned. For example, how many new land owners, leave their sims open to build on, script on, the whole nine yards? And how do they learn to turn those options off when they can't be there to babysit their region? Someone comes along and whether innocently or not, builds from one prim to a script that can bring the sim to it's knees. Once the mess is cleaned up, watch how fast those little options get turned off. Sometimes, even, when they are using illegal viewers it's handy, as things can get blocked out that shouldn't be allowed through. But that's the point of saying griefers are handy lessons, if one is willing to actually fix the things they show to be broken or exploitable.  This is not to say we should welcome them with open arms and never do anything mean to them such as banning, just to look for a lesson learned in the exercise.

Trolls, are a tricky lot though. I live by the golden rule: Do NOT feed the trolls! What a tough rule that is, every ounce of you screams to either pick at them, make fun of them, tell them you're not reading or listening (when, duh of course you are cause you WANT to comment!) or say something snidely. It's tough to ignore the trolls when they've made a successful round.  They all have their own interesting tactics... Some play really stupid so you feel the need to correct them, and I think we all fall into that trap at some point or another. Some like to scream how they will grief you to no end if you don't listen to their drivel, which typically means they can't do any griefing. Some show up with just completely OFF the WALL stuff that you sort of cock your head at your monitor and say Huh? Whatever their tactic, once a troll has been identified, the only way of diffusing them is to completely and utterly stop feeding them. It's what they want. They are seeking attention in whatever medium or format they can, and they will sit behind their computer and cackle maniacally as you respond to them (I knew a troll once, this is no joke, was something to behold). Banning them, is generally a futile exercise. For every single troll you ban, there's 5 more lined up right behind them. And while it might fall into a TOS as harassment, can they truly harass you if you don't let them? If you don't feed them, do they really pose a threat? 90% of the time, that answer is no.

We've had all of the above already InWorldz, and we've dealt with the worst 2 of the three. Most Trolls, I simply don't bother with. Banning them is almost like feeding their ego. I can see the little troll sitting at their computer whooping with glee, screaming "MWAHAHAHAHAHA I irritated them so much they banned me!  Let me make an alt! BWAHAHAHAHA"  Probably in their underwear, with bad hair and breath going on, cans of empty Mt. Dew littering their floor all around them, and half eaten bags of chips, cheetohs and other unidentifiable things that should have been thrown away ages ago. Maybe I'm stereotyping (do NOT ever ask to see my desk!), but this is the mental image I have.

No matter what they are, griefer, botter or troll, just remember there is always a lesson to be learned or a mouth to be ignored, either which way you choose to deal with it, it will save alot of personal angst down the road, and seriously, stress only makes us all a bit more insane than we currently are!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Eles Lil World

I decided maybe it's time for a real blog and to actually get into really getting into good convo's outside of the grid.

So, here we are, my little world. Comments always welcome, it's a great point I think to hear from our residents and so on, and to share ideas, not as a Founder, but more as a regular joe person like the rest of our residents.

I like the layout on this to be honest, so grab a chair (the nice big overstuffed one there), and sit back, enjoy, read, participate, and whatever else comes across your mind.

Some of what I'll post in the future is what I see in the grid from a resident perspective, some of the things I've found to help others out, thoughts, rants, and well, who knows what will come out of my heavily disorganized brain.

Welcome, to my lil world  :)