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Mafia Wars Style Server Updating?

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Hi! I'm new to PHP / mySQL but have been learning the basics. I'm interested in creating a "Mafia Wars" ( the facebook / myspace game ) style game. However, I'm curious how they go about constantly updating user info. For example, every 60 minutes your character gets a certain amount of money. When you play the game you get a countdown timer for the next update. How does this all work? Is there a program that sits on the server and every hour runs through each user in the DB and updates each entry? Or is there a different way that this can be done? I'm not sure if every user is on the same 60 minute cycle. If not, then there must be some other way that this is accomplished. Again, totally newbie in PHP / mySQL server stuff land, so any help is appreciated. Is there a tutorial somewhere that might explain how to do this type of thing? Thanks!

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