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Eternal Lands upcoming features

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In the last few days I started to implement one of the most drastical changes on the EL server. Basically, what I want is to have an item (very very expensive, available only from NPCs) that will allow you to share your vision with the other members of your guild that happen to be in the same map with you.

Now, this sounds simple, only that it isn't so simple. A lot of things have to be considered, and they are very hard to be tested properly because they require the massive participation of people, so we need to do it on the test server for a while.

The test server is nice, but there are 2 problems:

1. It's hard to get a lot of people on the test server at the same time. And it's even harder to make them cooperate.

2. It is also very difficult to remotely debug it. Since most of the debugging means stopping the server for a while, it is likely that the players on the test server will get bored and just go to the normal server. Having to restart and compile the server 20 times doesn't help either.

The shared vision code is 75% done now, after about 3 weeks of planing. Hopefully, it will be done in a week or so, unless I get really lazy :D
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Why don't you implement a plugin system on the server? Using a plugin system, you'll be able to load/unload modules and to add/remove functionnalities in the server without having to stop the main program. This way, the server is always up. Of course, you'll have to take care about who is using a specific module when you want to unload it, but as I see it there is nothing much complex and it can really help during the development (not to mention that if there is a bug a in subsystem, you unload it and then you simply relod the crrected version).

Plugins are easily implemented on linux using shared libraries.

Of course, it will not help you if your plugin is crashing the server (but this is exactly the same as adding the crashing code in the server itself)

What do you think about it?

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Plugins are nice, but I don't know how useful they are in the context of an MMORPG server. They are good tools to allow others to add stuff to your [closed source] application, and they work fine for 3DMax, Maya, Winamp and so on.

However, we do have some sort of plug ins, which is the Small (now called Pawn) scripting language. This is mainly for quests and NPCs, but it does require a server restart.

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Hm, cool item. :-) Although I'm not quite sure how exactly it is going to be usefull?

Something definitely cool would be portals which show the place their counterpart is standing in (from it's pov).

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It is going to be useful because if you can see what your guildmembers see, you can help them 'gank' enemies. It's a cool tactical improvement.

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