You’ve probably noticed over the past two or three months that certain parts of the site aren’t working well. Specifically, the high scores and leader board pages are often slow and even completely unresponsive. It’s happening for two reasons. The first reason is that we don’t really know squat about database design. Actually I should say “I know nothing about database design” instead of “we” and leave Jim out of this. There are a number of, uh, questionable design decisions that were made when I first set up the database and we think they might be causing the problems.

Or maybe not. See, we run our site at a hosting company (originally it ran off my cable modem at home but it was too unreliable when we started to get lots of people playing). The problem is that our hosting company runs the database on a server we don’t have access to. So when things are locking up there’s no way for us to go in and figure out what exactly is going wrong. We’ve emailed them and tried to solicit help but they aren’t very responsive. They most they’ll do is just reset the server–They don’t try to help us figure out why the problems are happening in the first place.

So what is the solution? Well, we’re attacking both problems. First we are going to move to a new database that will run on a server that we have access to. Second, we are going to start making some changes to our database that will make it smaller and more streamlined. This should also help make things faster.

So hang in there! Bear with us. We’re working on it and we’ll hopefully have something soonish. Hopefully you won’t notice the transition except that the non-responsiveness will go away (forever, ideally). We’ll probably mention something here–I’m even considering a beta test, but no guarantees.