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fr0st2k

How to set up a Newsfeed - DB design and view

3 posts in this topic

I am developing a neat little browser based RPG in jquery mobile. 

 

The best way I can describe it is by referencing, "Archmage - The Reincarnation. (or essentially, the grandfather of Farmville)."  The game takes place entirely through text and images, similarly to Rage of the Bahamut.  Your actions are controlled via "Turns" which you accumulate over time, mixed with some management of gold/mana/population.  You raise up large army's and seek to steal resources from other players to raise your rank.

 

IMO, its a REALLY fun genre which deteriorated with the simplicity and anti-competitive nature of games like Farmville. 

 

Anyway, I am to the point where I need to implement a Newsfeed.  Essentially, a little widget that I can throw on the page that lists all recent actions taken upon that character: such as,

 

being attacked

attacking

recruiting

land management (destroy / build / etc)

buffs running out

warnings of negative economy regen

etc

 

Now I have an idea as to what I will do, but I know this has been done before, and I want to make sure im doing it the right way.  Anyone have experience in this area in regards to designing the Database?

 

My current thoughts is:

 

Table1:  Messages

message_id

message

 

Table2: Messagebridge

mb_id

message_id

user_id

 

variable1

variable2

variable3

variable4

 

Something like the above.  Where variable 1 - 5 would contain specific information pertaining to the message which would be sorted out in PHP functions.

 

i.e.

 

Message:

1. You have recruited <#units>, <#unit type>

Variable 1: normal int

Variable 2: pull unit info from unit_tbl via 'unit_id'<- which is what is stored

 

It seems cumbersome, and I am usually not too fond of serializing.  Though I can see a slight benefit in doing so.  

 

Anyone have some suggestions or recommendations? 

 

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Hi, I'll help get the discussion rollin'.  

 

(I chose to keep this post separate from an edit because I feel like it is more of a proposed answer rather than a modified question.)

 

After giving the problem a little more thought, it makes more sense to create the full message and store it in the DB since I'll already have the values at my disposal.

 

So in the message tbl change it to something like:

 

tbl_message

message_id

message

 

i.e.

1

'You have recruited !x of !y'

 

Use a specific delimiter of sorts ('!') so that I can 'catch' the spots where I need to insert variables.  Since each message will be uniquely written in the code, I can just replace !x and !y with whatever value I have just calculated.

 

Then store it in a more robust message bridge table

 

tbl_message_bridge

mb_id

user_id

message

 

Just another thought.  Would still like to hear ways you have or would do it.

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Do you have access to the server? IE: root access to a server or are you planning on having this on a traditional web host?

 

If so you may want to choose something more along the lines of a nosql package. I've used a few before and while not the most optimal mongodb would work well for your purposes. It has a pretty easy interface and allows for much more dynamic content creation/storage. 

 

If you are to have a rigid structure for the database, try to go with a general "enum" state of mind while designing it. Since it's mostly text you could skip that part for simplicities sake, but in this one case I advise against it. Try to make sure each message (even if already composed) contains an id for what kind of action it is as later on you may require access to it. 

 

Glad you caught it already as I almost always advise against 'generic' variables like variable1-5 just being hard coded into the DB, use an array if you must but this should be avoided as there is little context as to what is actually going on with them making it very difficult for code to find problems.

 

Lastly you definitely will want to consider using an auto time stamp for events.

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duh! yeah, i definitely will have a timestamp in there.  

 

Currently, I am testing on a webhost, not running my own server.  Though I will look into mongodb, should be interesting whether I can implement it or not.

 

Im not too familiar with enum state of mind, i'll look into it.  

 

Thanks so far.  I'll report back if I make solid progress.  Still looking for any other tips/tricks/experience

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