For the techies among you who will undoubtedly at some point ask lots of pointed questions about what we used
to develop The Outer Reaches and what everything runs on, heres a little tech fix
The Outer Reaches consists of four key components. The system database, lock server, ticker and
the game web server. Lets cover the only one that wasn't written in house first... we use MySQL Max and the InnoDB storage engine
for the system database. Why MySQL? Because its free and fast. Why InnoDB? Because it supports transactions and is fast.
Moving onto the software thats been created in-house... the lock server... written with Kylix 3 Pro and running on RedHat Linux,
the lock server provides a central facility accessible to every component of the system that can be used to provide record locking
services and other synchronisation services. Its primary purpose is to ensure that records in the database are not being updated by
two systems at the same time, but it also provides other services used to synchronise and control the rest of the system.
The next component, the ticker has been designed to be expandable... If for example it reaches a point where the ticker is taking
45 minutes to process the universe, the system can be expanded by adding a slave machine. The ticker detects this new machine, establishes
how many processors it has and then balances the tick workload across the various processors in the ticker cluster.
By adopting this approach we can maintain reasonable tick processing times as the game universe expands. The ticker services were written
using Delphi 5 Enterprise and they run on Windows 2000 Server.
The fourth and final component is the only one you (the players) see. We don't run IIS or Apache, we use our own software
(The Outer Reaches Site Engine - ORSEV2. See Outer Reaches Studios
for more information about ORSEV2), written with Delphi 5 Enterprise, ORSEV2 has its own Integrated Development Environment
that is used to pre-build the memory based file system used by the server software. It combines the flexibility of
Delphi Web Script II
with the power and speed of compiled Delphi to provide a powerful dynamic content generation system.
That just about wraps up the quick overview of the technology behind The Outer Reaches. If you'd like to know more, then
please post your questions via The Nebula and we'll try and answer them.