packet power

aquadragon  asked:

In online multiplayer games, it used to be possible to freely trade items. Now, the ability to trade either doesn't exist or tends to be extremely limited. Is there a reason for this trend beyond replayability?

Trading items requires a huge amount of engineering and test. This is because of the nature of data in general - transferring an item isn’t always made atomic. Most of the time, it has two distinct procedures:

  1. Create a copy of the item and place it into the receiving player’s inventory
  2. Remove the item from the giving player’s inventory

Here’s where it gets tricky. We can’t guarantee that both steps will happen - there could be a database error, a power fluctuation, packet loss, or some other random occurrence. If something weird interrupts between performing #1 going to #2, we have a dupe bug. If something weird interrupts #2 going to #1, the item disappears and our players submit lots of tickets for lost items to customer service.

So what this means is that we need a lot of very difficult engineering and testing to make sure that all of the parts of each step are secure and can’t be broken or exploited. It needs extensive testing in laggy and crashy conditions. We also need tools for customer service to track, log, and grant items like this. But it doesn’t end here, this is just what’s needed for trading to work mechanically

We also need to build out the part that the players directly interact with. This means we need a UI system that integrates with the existing UI. We need some way for players to show items to each other. We need a way for players to chat with each other in order to talk about what items they have to trade. We need some means of players locking in the trade. We need some way of validating that both players have agreed to the trade on the back end.  We need art for all of this.

On top of all of this, remember - this is only handling direct trading between players. This doesn’t even begin to address things like a centralized market system to connect those looking for X with those who have X, or handling monetary transactions. This doesn’t cover players searching for the items they want. This only encompasses the most basic transaction system itself, and that’s almost guaranteed to be insufficient in the eyes of most players.

As time has passed, devs have learned the pitfalls of multiplayer inventory systems. A lot of old games ran into all sorts of trouble with trading systems that lead to costly results. This is the main reason why a lot of games don’t support item trading between players any more - the total resource cost to achieve acceptable functionality is really really high.

Top 12: A Runner's Advice for Writers

I’m currently in the process of two seemingly impossible tasks: I’m training for the New York Marathon (which I ran some 16 years ago), and I’m writing the second installment of my YA trilogy The Outliers (Book One comes out next year!). I’ve got sore fingers (from typing) and sore toes (from running) and there are times I want to throw my sneakers and laptop out the window.

But this weekend, as I was training, I was reminded once again how so many of the lessons I have learned from long-distance running are directly applicable to novel writing. I am not the first person to make this observation–fabulous books have been written on the subject. Nonetheless, here’s my version because I need the reminder.

So here goes:

1. Ignore people who do things differently than you. I was the only person sitting in the holding area for the hour we had to wait before the race started. Made perfect sense to me. Why tire your legs? But I did get a lot of looks. Still, it was 100% right for me and wrong apparently for everybody else. Same with writing–outline, don’t outline, listen to music, require utter silence. Wear a stupid hat. Do whatever you need to do to get the job done. It does not matter what anyone else does or what they think.

2. Don’t worry about mile 13 when you are at mile one. It’s just not helpful. Listen to the ever-so-wise Anne Lamott: Bird-By-Bird folks. It’s the only way to go.

3. The beginning will SUCK.

4. The middle will SUCK WORSE. This has no bearing on how the end will turn out.

5. Ignore people for whom it seems to come easier. Celebrate their victory. Or, if you are unable to do so, blame their longer legs, their better shoes, their years of tutelage. Baring that, convince yourself that—deep down—they are crying inside.

6. If a stranger offers you a high five en route TAKE IT. Even if it is not meant for you and they try to dodge you. You NEED all the encouragement you can get. Even that which must be taken by force.

7. Do NOT stop halfway. Do NOT stop when you are almost there. You can slow down if you need to, catch your breath. I know, I know, just a little rest is all you need that little voice in your head is saying. Trust me, that is not your voice you’re hearing, it’s the devil’s. And you have one option: RUN LIKE HELL.

8. Do not step on all those little power gel packets by the nutrition station–they will make your shoes sticky for the rest of the race. This has nothing to do with writing, but it’s true. And it’s disgusting.

9. Bribe yourself—to run one more mile, write one more sentence, work one more hour. Coffee, jelly-beans, extra TV, sleep—illicit things work well to, but I’ll leave those for you all to sort out. Bottom line: make all sorts of promises about how you will reward yourself when it is all over—then just be sure to keep them. You need to believe yourself the next time around.

10. Make sure you have someone waiting there at the end. Thinking about reaching them really is the best cure when things get seriously dark. And when you do finally get there, you’re going to need them to prop you up.

11. You will cry. At the beginning probably. Definitely near the end. Don’t panic. This is totally normal.

12. Hold tight to even the tinniest of victories. No matter what anyone else says, no matter what the future holds –those will forever be yours to keep.

Today, when I sit down to continue this manuscript, I know that the going may get tough once more. But today, I will have a secret weapon: the knowledge that I know exactly what to do if it all starts to fall apart. Run Like Hell.

Power Over Wi-Fi named one of the most game changing technologies of the year. 

Popular Science included the technology in their annual “Best of What’s New awards announced this week. Power Over Wi-Fi (PoWiFi) uses an internet router to send out “power packets” of data on unused Wi-Fi channels. These signals are harvested by specially developed sensors to charge small electronic devices.

In real world testing PoWiFi was able to recharge the battery of a Jawbone fitness tracker from zero to 41 percent, over 2.5 hours, without any noticeable disruption in internet speed for users.

In future the team hopes to increase the amount of energy transmitted, and make it operational over larger distances.


Hazardous, balancing camera
and steering wheel, blurring
a fine line as if
those two words matched–
pomp and murkumstance.
A bump in the road, animal bone in the road,
perfect and doomed just enough;
I’m capturing the mountain’s high
school photo–mid-sneeze, not its finest–stowing it
in my wallet, in
my back packet, powerful as
Heaven on Earth
growing mold,
turning to fog and a
windowpane. I knew
a man once who fell backwards through
a hole and flew up into
another universe, into that same fog, irrational fears
and all, but that’s the end
of the story, and the fire
is out.