Image improvements with the Amazon Cloud

We were having some major issues with image resizing. This was entirely my own fault as in my last game I used my digital SLR camera which produces images that are around 7MB. So I increased the upload limit from 5MB to 8MB.

What I did not account for was the memory issues this would cause when you tried to resized 12 images of 7MB each. It was crashing the server and having an impact on the overall site.

I contacted my hosting provider and asked if there was anything they could do. But there wasn’t really and they suggested using Amazon’s EC2 virtual servers to do the heavy lifting of image resizing.

So I gave this a go and it’s worked. Images are now stored on the main server but requires to resize them to the varying sizes are now handled elsewhere on EC2.

The benefits of this are two fold. The first is that the main web server is now free to serve the HTML of the site as quickly as possible without being bogged down by image resizing. The second is that because another server is handling the request elsewhere when you upload images you get the page back much quicker. The other server then resizes the images independently and loads then as they finish. You can then continue editing your report instead of always waiting on the image upload.

Rating Ideas

Ratings seem like the next logical step. We’ve got Battle Reports now that work, people can read them, and are doing, but now we need something extra. Some sense of community.

But what sort of ratings system to implement. We have a couple of options.

Five star

The classic movie rating system, one to five stars with the average being shown to users.

A breakdown can also be used to show how the ratings are spread.

Up/Down

A thumbs up or down just like Reddit and Stackoverflow is quick and simple. Although it lacks the granularity that the five star system has.

Likes

Just as Facebook and have a single like button. It’s simple and fast, it also stops reports being voted down and demoralising the author!

What are your thoughts? Which system would you like to see and use?

Introducing Achievements

Achievements
Achievements

Welcome to Achievements, or ‘Badges’ as they are currently called. Final name still to be decided. Names aside, the main point here is that they exist and the mechanics in the background exist to support them. Plus email notifications when you get them and a little notifications tab to show you what you have received so far.

Continue reading Introducing Achievements

Malifaux Schemes

Malifaux Schemes
Malifaux Schemes

I’ve managed to add in Mailfaux’s Schemes to the site. These are currently only for display purposes rather than for search purposes.

I need to make A Line in the Sand selected by default as I believe this Scheme is always available. I need to tidy up the interface for selecting them a little as its a bit cumbersome at the moment, but it works!

Continue reading Malifaux Schemes

Warmachine and Hordes Merged

So it turns out that Warmachine and Hordes are kind of the same game? I don’t play the games so I don’t know.

But I’d been told they share the same missions and the armies so each can play against the other. This essentially makes them the same game.

So I’ve merged them together on this site rather than needlessly splitting them into two.

Does this make sense to those of you who play Warmachine and Hordes?

Malifaux and Infinity Are Here

Infinity and Malifaux are now supported. There have been a few changes to accommodate these two systems.

The most noticeable was for Malifaux because it has Encounters, rather than battles, Crews rather than armies and Strategies rather than missions. I’ve also added in the available forces and their Masters. Although the Masters are not selectable yet. I’m still figuring out how to best allow them to be selected. Finally the Strategies which are kind of secondary objectives are not in place yet.

Infinity has been relatively straight forward; adding the missions and the armies. I need to accommodate Sectorials now too though.

Both are online and available now for you to use and publish reports. At the time of writing there are no reports for either system – you could be the first?

Code & Infrastructure

Server Shizzle
Server Shizzle

I have in the past been asked what The Battle Directory is built using. Its built using PHP, specifically the Symfony2 Framework. It runs on a VPS in Dublin and seems to be doing OK so far on that server.

I have plans to more all assets into Amazon Cloudfront to ensure resources such as image, Javascript and CSS are loaded much faster. Although this is not a pressing matter at the moment. Features and reliability are currently top of my to-do list.

If you want to know more, ask away!

Infinity & Malifaux Support

The reaction on the forums for both these games has been superb; a positive response and people willing to help me learn the mechanics of each game so that The Battle Directory can accommodate them.

I plan on adding Infinity and Malifaux within the next week or so. If you play either of these games I’d really appreciate you taking some time to create a report to ensure their varying mechanics are handled correctly.

I don’t play these games so having users that do play them using the site is really important in making sure the wider community can create and read these battle reports.

If you play these games keep your eyes peeled and comment below. I want to hear from you!