Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What I'll be working on

Hey everyone, just wanted to give you a little insight on what I'm currently working on with regards to the site. Updates to the site may be a little infrequent for some time as I am focusing a lot of my free time in designing a desktop application program that will run in harmony with the website. I've always wanted this to be a part of the site, but did not really have the site at the level of functionality I wanted until recently, so it has kinda gone by the wayside.

Back in my original "Welcome Back" post, I talked a little bit about building a desktop application, but I'll outline some of my ideas here. Before I get into anything though, I don't want anyone to get their hopes up just yet, because this application is still in the very early stages of development and it could be several months before it is of release quality. So, the reason I'm even making this post is because I want your feedback (via email or the comments section) on my ideas and even new ideas of your own.

These are the basic things I want the desktop application to be able to do.
  • In-game combat parsing
  • Solo and Companion combat parsing
  • Group, Flashpoint, and Operation combat parsing
    • Include a ready check
  • Ability to upload your combat log to the website for more in-depth parsing
  • The application should be low-profile and easy on system performance

And then some of the more conceptual ideas I have that I don't know if they will come to fruition. These depend on a couple things: 1) my ability to code them and 2) the stability of the service with just the basic stuff outlined above.

  • Ability to watch "live" streams on the website
  • Option to add in a twitch.tv stream of one or multiple players in the group... My idea behind this is if you're running an Operation, or maybe doing some PvP and you want people to be able to see all the combat log stuff and also your stream, the website could integrate that all together.
  • Caching Group, Flashpoint and Operation combat parsing from the app so that it may be viewed for some time from the website.
  • Allowing the group leader to upload all of the combat logs directly to the website with one button push. This would send all the logs, upload them under the correct user's information and create a group log.

So, these are my ideas. I'm open to any and all feedback; positive, neutral or negative.

So, if designing this application was the only part of the project, things would be much simpler. But, alas, there is a backend part... the server technology. This is the phase of the process I am currently in. The server development is coming along nicely, but I have to be very careful with this type of thing. First and foremost, I don't want to cause degradation to the services I already have in place available on the website. Secondly, it needs to be very efficient so that it can handle several hundred clients at any given time.

So, this will keep me occupied for quite some time to come. On top of it being a very complex project, it is also a new area of programming for me. So, I'm learning a lot as I go, but I'm a pretty quick learner, so we'll see. Don't worry though, I will still make sure the site is kept going strong and will probably even add a few new features here and there.

In the coming months, I will need a guild or two to help me test this in an operation setting, so if you have any interest in that, feel free to email me and we can make arrangements.


Saturday, November 17, 2012


Hey everyone, I've pushed a pretty significant update to the site today.  A lot of it is backend stuff, so you likely won't notice many changes.  Here's what I did.

  • Significantly revamped backend Statistics code. This should allow for more fluid updates for new bosses and faster load times.
  • Statistics URLs are now properly encoded.
  • Fixed an issue with the Doctor Lorrick encounter on the Statistics page.
  • Fixed an issue causing bosses to display in a random order on some Statistics overview pages.
  • Updated boss detection database with several hundred new entries for existing encounters.
  • Added Nightmare Pilgrim (1.5 World Boss) and Operations Target Dummy to "Boss Fights" filter.
  • Updated Analytical and Group Analytical "Boss Fights" filter to now list the name of the encounter instead of just randomly listing mobs when the "show by name" button is clicked.

To expand on my previous post a bit, I have implemented a new system with the Statistics code revamp that will now also recognize helper mobs.  This should help fights where you have to fight through a few guys before you get to fight the actual boss (for example, Warlord Kephess).  This system had existed to some extent, but it was poorly implemented and has been significantly revamped.  I have flagged most of the helpers for the Operations; however, I may still be missing helpers for some flashpoints.

There are still some bosses that have very few fights logged against them, but I have not yet re-processed already-uploaded logs yet.  I'm hoping this will resolve the issue, and if it doesn't, then back to the drawing board!  I will likely re-process existing fights tonight in the early hours of the morning when traffic to the website is minimal.  This process will probably take 4-6 hours and the website will be taken offline for the duration of the process.

P.S. I don't always post a blog when I update, but if you want to see all the updates to the site, you can see the Change Log here - http://www.torparse.com/changelog


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Statistics problem

So, I'm writing this blog because today I have discovered an interesting issue in the combat logs.  I've been getting reports from people asking me to fix their combat log so that it shows up under the correct boss, and I've been fixing them.  At the same time, I've also been using this opportunity to confirm certain boss IDs for certain modes of an instance.  Well, I'm not sure how I've missed this issue or glanced it over so many times, but it appears that the boss ID in the combat logs are a little different than I had originally thought.

This is not true for all bosses yet, and I'm still not done going through them, but there appears to be a common ID that all the different modes of the same boss share, and then a specialized ID for the specific instance.  Unfortunately, I had not previously recognized the "common ID", so it has caused some fights to be grouped under the wrong mode of the instance and possibly not even flagged as a boss fight altogether.

I'm currently in the process of going back through my boss ID database and correcting the ones I can confirm for sure, and re-marking the ones I don't know and will need a little extra help verifying.  After this process is done, I will bring the site down for a few hours (sometime in the wee hours of the morning I'm sure) and re-process all the fights to get them flagged as boss fights and then re-run the Statistics numbers.

This may take me a few days to accomplish as it's pretty tedious work.  I really doubt anyone from BioWare reads this, but if they do, it would help a lot if you could just send me a list :)

Thanks everyone! And Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Statistics Updated

Hey all, I've updated the Statistics section of the site today with quite a few updates.  I had to update some stylesheets and javascript as well, so if the tables look weird or the charts aren't working, try clearing your cache for your browser.

  • Kill vs Death distinction is now in.  Kills and Deaths are ranked separately and there is a button available to switch between the two.
  • The Statistics pages will no longer be taken offline during Statistics generation.  The system will now start to store an archive of stats up to 45 days.  Statistics will still be generated at the same time everyday, and the new stats will be made available when they are finished generating.  The archive is not yet accessible, but I have a few features planned with it (allowing it to be viewed; showing changes on the leaderboards; and a few more).
  • Added Fight Length to each leaderboard ranking.  Inevitably, some fights will slip through that are not actually successful kills, so this should give you an idea of it being a legit ranking or not.  I will do my best to remove these from the leaderboards (emails about them are always appreciated).
  • Added Total Damage and Total Heals stats.
  • Updated some textual information for a clearer description of the associated stat.
  • Changed references of "Subclass" to either "AC" or "Advanced Class" throughout the site.

Thanks! As always, your feedback is greatly appreciated!