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Tech Update #4

Posted by Stormwind , 30 April 2015 · 1,947 views

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Hi all!

I thought folks would be interested in a tech update - the engineering teams are working on three main tasks currently:
  • Importing the KS data to our web site to get all backers their badge, ribbons, and packages displayed - and letting Kickstarter backers who don't yet have DS accounts claim their pledges.
  • Clean-up some of the game code used for the Kickstarter video.
  • Further tech design and planning as more game design decisions and changes are made.
Since the Kickstarter data import has been getting the most questions, I'll give some detail on it.
  • We exported early, incomplete data from Kickstarter to examine the format and data, and get a head start on the process. We also wrote a user and tech design document to describe the requirements from user's perspective, the methods we plan to use, and any technical challenges or caveats we had to handle.
  • We created packages (the entity that represents what a user purchases) in the e-commerce software, and we also created groups and award ribbons in the forum software.
  • We researched the e-commerce software API but found they had no API method for assigning packages to users, so we then researched it's DB schema to figure out how to do so cleanly.
  • Then we exported the final data from Kickstarter once they finish collecting all the pledges possible.
  • We then fixed up that data (because it comes in per-reward files, many with different columns) and imported it into a DB.
  • Next we wrote code to match the entries in the Kickstarter data with DS accounts, and review the matches to look for any potential bugs or problems. For example, we found some false positive matches on one iteration - we had to change the code to not match them. We also didn't want to match login name responses of "Nope" to a user named "Nope" - otherwise they'd end up with a lot of unexpected rewards! :-) In general, we have to make the code handle all those special cases or we have to manually modify the data to avoid those problems.
  • We then create code that will apply the rewards to the appropriate accounts and send emails to the users, and we create pages that will allow for manual matching or account creation for pledges that couldn't be automatically matched to existing DS accounts.
  • We also updated the store showcase page code to show package groups so we can show Underground memberships and add-ons in the store.
  • In addition, we are parsing and (also) manually processing the survey results and Kickstarter comments for pledge add-ons. We may not get the add-ons processes in the first pass you'll see of the Kickstarter data import: if not, we'll keep working on it so you see it soon.
Where are we now? We're currently tweaking the imported data, finishing up the automatic and manual matching, and creating and styling the web pages involved.

Of course, there are a million little details, caveats, and gotchas that we've dealt with so far - and we expect a few more too. However we want to find and fix all of them in our development environments during testing, running the process over and over on a test copies of the real production data, before we release it and apply the changes to the live web site and user data.

But it is all worth it - to get your pledge and reward data on the Descendent Studios web site for your viewing!

Thanks to Elfindreams, StealthGuy, and Fallarnon for all of their hard work on the Kickstarter data import!

-Jason

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Groundhound
Apr 30 2015 10:36 PM

Nuts-and-bolts, good to see! You hit the nail on the head, Stormwind. Elfindreams, StealthGuy, and Fallarnon have been working their butts off on this. Fallarnon practically falls over every time he stumbles into Chat. :lol: Best of luck taming the data!

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Sergeant Thorne
Apr 30 2015 11:35 PM

For an out-of-practice web developer maneuvering to go pro that was a thoroughly enjoyable read!  After a long day at my current full-time job it makes me want to go work on a web project! :D  Sounds like some very good work, folks!  Awesome!

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Roger Wilco
Apr 30 2015 11:43 PM
Good work!
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This is great to hear Stormwind, you guys have really been burning the midnight oil to get this out ;)

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Thanks Jason, and the team - that was a GREAT update.

WM

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Nice update! Good stuff! :)
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Awesome news, Jason! I'm really looking forward to seeing my Kickstarter info show up in my DS forums account. :)

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Thank you all for very thing, it shows we have a great team behing this project.

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Thanks all!

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GenDesperado
May 03 2015 10:05 AM

thanks nice job

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