Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. How did you come up with the idea for CB?
  2. How did you write CB?
  3. How long did it take?
  4. What hardware does CB run on?
  5. What will you be adding next?

Questions and Answers:
  1. Q: How did you come up with the idea for CB?

    A: It seems to me that the real reason people play MMORPG games like Everquest is to make friends and chat. The game just gives them to do something to do while chatting. So the original idea from which CB sprung was a (really really low-budget) chat-centric MMORPG. The strategy came later.

  2. Q: How did you write CB?

    A: Short answer:

    The game code is written in TCL (with user management and other functions from the OpenACS toolkit), and runs under the AOLServer web server, which despite the name is quite a good piece of software. The data is stored in a PostgreSQL database.

    The chat applet, of course, is written in Java.

    If you're interested in writing a game of your own, here are some thoughts: (updated Aug 2005)

  3. Q: How long did it take?

    A: Over a year of spare time to get to the point where it was complete enough to go live. The changelog discussion forum has a record of what's happened since.

  4. Q: What hardware does CB run on?

    A: CB has run on several machines.

    Early development: Sparcstation 10, dual 50MHz processors, 128MB of memory, RH Linux 6.2. (This was a $15,000 machine circa 1993.) Still lives in Jonathan's basement, mostly retired.

    First production machine, circa October 2001: Duron 800, 512 MB RAM, Mandrake Linux 8.0. 2 IDE drives; one for the OS and database, one for the database transaction log. Built by Ellis. Pretty much everything but the motherboard + cpu was cannibalized for the next one...

    Second production machine, April 2002: dual 1GHz P3, 1 GB of memory (later upgraded to 1.5 GB), Mandrake Linux 8.0 with many packages semi-manually upgraded to 8.2. Motley collection of IDE drives to spread the disk load around. Built by Jonathan. Still lives in his basement as the "dev box."

    Third (and current) production machine began life in May 2004 with dual 2.4 GHz P4 Xeon, 2.25 GB ecc memory, Mandrake Linux 10.0 official, and 2x15krpm SCSI disks. Built by Dell because their price for the base system was less than I could get just a motherboard + cpu for (yes, even AMD); non-base components added by Jonathan to avoid ridiculous Dell prices. Added 1GB of ram and a 3rd disk in Dec 2004; maxed out to 4 GB ram in May 2005.

  5. Q: What will you be adding next?

    A: You'll find out when I'm done adding them. The perceptive player may notice clues in some of the polls we run, but remember CB is not a democracy. Don't bother asking for more info because I will just ignore you.

    Changes impacting game balance are made every three months. e.g. Sep'06 ongoing.