boardspace.net

Site Components

for the curious, and potential webmasters, here's what it takes to build and run this site.

Component

Details

Hardware and Operating System
Boardspace runs on a "cloud" based unix server.  From the inside, it looks like it runs all alone on a Linux machine, but the actual hardware is allocated out of a large amorphous pool.  This arrangement is very flexible in the sense that the amount of memory, cpu, disk and bandwidth can be turned up or down at will.  Maintenance for the operating system, the real hardware, power, and network access are all handled by the service provider, Steadfast.net.   The service has been excellent.  The total cost of this package, including domain registration and other incidentals, is about $400/year.

Historically, this is the fourth incarnation of Boardspace in 6 years as hosting options have evolved.  Only a naive optimist would assume this will be the last.
Stock Software
In addition to the basic Linux tools, Boardspace uses the Apache web server, Mysql database, and Perl.
Game Server
The game server is a custom application written in C, approximately 5000 lines of code.  It's really a pretty simple application whose primary job is to multiplex the I/O among game clients.  It knows very little about games, and nothing about any particular game.
Game Clients
All the game specific software, including the Robots, is written in Java and actually runs on the clients machines, not on the server.  The "core" Java code in the framework that serves all the games is about 20,000 lines.  Each game has it's own support structure which amounts to another 3000-5000 lines.
Development and Testing
Most of the development and testing occurs on a Windows platform.  Windows versions of Apache, Perl, and Mysql are basically identical to unix versions.  A little care is needed to keep the C server compatible with both MSVC and GCC.  Eclipse is used as a development platform for Java.
Personnel
volunteers 1: paid 0.  Maintenance time (in the absence of emergencies) is less than an hour a week, but periodic "emergencies" are predictable.

The bottom line: As you can see from this rundown, provided you have the software in hand, you don't need a rich benefactor or to have a lot of time on your hands to run a site like this, but if you add up the number of lines of code, you can expect to spend a lot of time and/or a lot of money developing the custom software.


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