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Getting from concept to execution
August 15, 2011 9:23 AM   Subscribe

I'm developing a web app in Open BlueDragon with a MongoDB backend. So, uh... how do I deploy this thing, anyway?

I installed OpenBD and MongoDB for a few reasons, one of which was price (you can't beat free!). Everything's coming along nicely and I love this platform. I was just obliviously writing code on my laptop when the thought occurred to me... I have no idea how to move to a production environment when the time comes. I'll break it down into five specific questions:
  1. What are some reliable hosting companies that support both OpenBD and MongoDB? I don't anticipate needing oodles of bandwidth and I'm on a shoestring budget.
  2. Could I use a BlueDragon host instead of OpenBD, without needing to change my code? What would be the pros and cons of that?
  3. What do I need to know, in general, about making the switch from developer to site admin? With regards to security procedures, monitoring, and the like? The more of this my host will take care of for me, the better.
  4. Should I be using GitHub? I never have, and don't really understand the point, but all the cool webdevs do it, so maybe there's some reason that I don't know about? An overview of the service would be very helpful for me.
  5. More of a business question: How do I monetize this? It's a browser-based MMO space trading game. It's important to me that it remain free-to-play, free from ads, and with none of those Farmvillian in-game microtransactions. An acquaintance of mine suggested Kickstarter but I've never used it, and I'm concerned that it only pays an initial sum rather than an ongoing stream. I'm not looking to get rich here, just to cover my costs. I will have donation links in the site footer, maybe that alone would be sufficient over time?
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Winsome Parker Lewis: "What are some reliable hosting companies that support both OpenBD and MongoDB? I don't anticipate needing oodles of bandwidth and I'm on a shoestring budget."

I think you're going to have trouble finding a company that "supports" both those techs that isn't a boutique hosting company that won't accommodate your "shoestring budget". How much are you talking about? For about $50/mo, you can get one of the small EC2 servers, but then you're going down the DevOps hole.

The Winsome Parker Lewis: "More of a business question: How do I monetize this? It's a browser-based MMO space trading game. It's important to me that it remain free-to-play, free from ads, and with none of those Farmvillian in-game microtransactions. An acquaintance of mine suggested Kickstarter but I've never used it, and I'm concerned that it only pays an initial sum rather than an ongoing stream. I'm not looking to get rich here, just to cover my costs. I will have donation links in the site footer, maybe that alone would be sufficient over time?"

Your concern is right. If your users don't pay you directly in any way, and you're not selling ads/sponsorships, I don't understand how you really expect to earn money. That position is just incompatible with a functional business. Donation links won't cut it if you're serious about the M's in MMO- you need steady revenue to cover your ongoing operating costs.

Don't expect to revolutionize the industry with some new model. Look at what works.
posted by mkultra at 9:55 AM on August 15, 2011


On GitHub:

Git is the best version control system available today. Some will dispute this, but they will mostly suggest Mercurial, which is more-or-less the same thing except instead of GitHub/Gitorious, there's Bitbucket.

You don't have to use GitHub if you use Git, but it's a very nice way to collaborate. That said, if there are any surprises in your game, or things you want players to figure out, you might not want to check those files in publicly.

On money:

You could try NPR-style pledge drives. If you have distinctive branding, you could sell t-shirts. This probably works better if you have factions or something that your players will identify with.
posted by novalis_dt at 10:16 AM on August 15, 2011


mkultra: Hmm, that's depressing but there's no sense in protesting the truth. $50/month is out of my price range at this time and administering a whole server is well above my skill set. Still trying to stay optimistic that I can find what I need. Hosting the server and DB separately is less than idea but if the price is right I wouldn't rule it out.

When I say "MMO" I'm referring to the mechanic of all players inhabiting the same game simultaneously. I'm definitely not expecting to take down WoW or anything. I'd be happy with a few dozen players (though to be fair, the game would benefit greatly from a large player base).

novalis_dt: Thanks for the info on Git and GitHub. Currently I don't have any version control. Since I'm the only one working on the project I haven't had trouble keeping track of it myself. I've been thinking of moving the code into a system at some point. I've used CVS and SVN but never Git. I do think open-source could be a bad idea because there are a number of unfair advantages players could get by peeking under the hood.

I love the idea of selling merch. I hadn't even considered that. Of course I can't do that until the game's been online awhile and has a decent userbase. But I'll keep it in mind if things ever get that far. I think Kickstarter may be the best way to begin, and having a store and/or pledge drive might be good for keeping it going once it's got some momentum.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 10:31 AM on August 15, 2011


GitHub really is excellent. I'll never go back to SVN. You can make your repos as public or private as you want.

If you're determined to make this work, seriously consider something other than OpenBD. As a former CF guy, it lags so far behind pretty much every other tool for doing modern web development except intranets and reporting. It's a total corporate ghetto at this point. Look at tools like PHP, Python, or Ruby, which have robust frameworks and active communities.

More importantly, there are more cheap/free hosting options to get you started, depending on how you feel about performance/downtime. You can probably get MongoDB for under $20, at least for a while.
posted by mkultra at 5:20 PM on August 15, 2011


You can get root on a Rackspace cloud server with for $11/month. Then you can install whatever you like.

Running a server isn't especially hard. There is a great deal of good information, including step-by-step guides, available from Ubuntu.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:32 PM on August 16, 2011


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