Curse of the Azure Bonds update

Last development update was in May ’07, so I will quickly describe progress that has been made since then:

  • I have renamed lots of methods, global data structures, and generally worked stuff out
  • Got the combat graphics working
  • Fixed the crash when the “screen” is updated by the game engine while Windows is drawing it
  • Re-fix the 3D view (works perfectly now)
  • Damage in Combat
  • Keyboard input now correctly delays the game, when that is wanted
  • Worked out what code was responsible for sounds and named them, but still no sound
  • Items can now be purchased from shops
  • Added a cache to try remove the disk thrashing that happens due to how graphics were drawn/handled
  • Resting now works, spell assisted resting not tested
  • Improved Auto (quick) combat for my test party
  • Pooling of money now works after combat, and I assume in shops
  • Improvements to character generation, not tested all classes/race combo’s yet

The game is starting to be playable, the other night I started a new group, fought in the bar, sleep in the inn, visited the sage, attacked the king, fought the king’s guards.

Issues currently in active progress:

  • combat not giving any exp, I know kind of a big one!
  • combat starting positions of the party is the same square

Mintshot Auctions

Yesterday after spending time trying to win a $25 dollar cheese voucher and failing, I decided to investigate how the auctions work a little.

The first thing I noticed was that I was getting snipped by people in the last few seconds, yet it was hard to know when the last few seconds were.

So for the next cheese auction (item_id 145 unit_id 395) the URL of the closing time is:[]=145&unit_id[]=395
this currently displays:
145x395-closes in 4 mins and 49 secs*
this can be hit every second, giving you quite good time count down.

the bidding history can be found at:
which returns this as html
Mintshot auction history

I’ve shown a picture here due to the actual result is 9kB (1.7kB html 7.3kB inline styles).

Also of interest is that the winners time is shown 30 minutes before the previous bid. WTF!

I had planned to pull the past cheese auctions and show the history of the winning prices. But my own Internet went funny last night, and Mintshot is down this morning, sighting heavy traffic.
Mintshot down… again

Other issues:

  • When watching an auction, only the time left refreshes. This means you have to reload the whole page to see if the current leader or auction history has changed.
  • There is a large amount of debugging code left in the live site, but commented out. You can almost see the developers figuring out how to get it working by what is left in there.
  • Explicit styles set on every element. Not only does it bloat the page, and makes more work for the servers, but horror if they decide to re-theme the site.

WordPress URL rewriting

When reviewing Google Analytics this morning I noticed a 404 page view for:

with the refer on the end of the URL, going to the referring web site their is a link to this none existing page but the content was for this page:

After a bit of reading I found mod_rewrite (Linux hosting) was the tool to fix the problem.

I downloaded the /blog/.htaccess file and used the above mentioned manual to decode the meaning and start hacking me a new file.

Much wasted time latter, I worked out that WordPad was messing with the Unix new-line markers, and changing to Visual Studio was met with success (or lack of server failure).

So what I needed to add was the following line to my WordPress default .htaccess

RewriteRule ^2007/07/17/curse-of-the-azure-bonds/$ 2005/08/04/curse-of-the-azure-bonds/ [R=permanent,L]

giving me this file

# BEGIN WordPress
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /blog/
RewriteRule ^2007/07/17/curse-of-the-azure-bonds/$ 2005/08/04/curse-of-the-azure-bonds/ [R=permanent,L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /blog/index.php [L]
</IfModule> # END WordPress

And magically the link now redirects to the correct page.

You can find these pages in Google Analytics by:

  • selecting Content
  • selecting Top Content or Content by Title
    URL rewriting: Steps 1- 2
  • entering /404/ in the Find URL search box
    URL rewriting: Step 3

Happy Fixing…


After some vanity Googling today, I noticed MDCrack, a project that I helped with back in ~2001 has been resurrected by the lead developer Gregory Duchemin.  Well it was resurrected in 2006, but I’ve been busy….

Makes me want to restart tinkering with the MD2/MD4/MD5 hashes, and build my dream cracker.

Another point to note was that Gregory was right, the idea of pre-computed hash tables, now known as rainbow tables were/are a good idea. Back when I had a 2GB hard drive, they didn’t seem like an effective idea, compared to a network of machines, ala Distributed.Net