An interview with the creator of Spore Tournament (yeah, I interviewed myself)

Spore Tournament

Ben: I understand it only took you three days to get Spore Tournament working almost perfectly. Did you have any help?
Yes, only three days. I’m just as surprised as everyone else is! The only help I received was in the form of bug reports and encouragement from MaxisEditorDan and Zengrath.

Ben: On your statistics page, you list a lot of fun statistics. Are these going to ever be used for anything?
For fun.
Ben: Would you care to elaborate?
Nightgunner5: How? It’s a page full of statistics that don’t mean anything unless you want to know everything like I do.

Ben: Also on the statistics page, you state that you have over three thousand creations in your server’s memory. That’s with just eight registered users.
Nightgunner5: Those 3,384 creations only take up 685,965 bytes of space. That’s about 200 bytes per creation. That includes the 12 byte IDs, the author’s name, and the creation name. Since each byte is a character of text, this entire response paragraph is 401 bytes. I’m not worried about size. In reality, only about 16% of those database entries are in use. The rest will be deleted after 24 hours.

Ben: Have you and Maxis collaborated on this project at all?
Not directly through Maxis and Spore Tournament at the same time, but MaxisEditorDan is helping beta test, and I’m reporting bugs with the Spore API to him.

Ben: What’s the biggest bug you’ve found in the Spore API?
Nightgunner5: Definitely the RANDOM feed. It’s not giving random enough results, repeats itself about every ten calls, and seems to like older creations more than new ones. That’s a huge problem for me because the RANDOM feed is called up to four times for every level one tournament.

Ben: The concept of Spore Tournament seems familiar. Was there an older version of Spore Tournament before you made yours?
Nightgunner5: I based Spore Tournament on Sporenament, but all of the code is new. Sporenament was buggy and crashed whenever someone tried to go to level two or three tournaments.

Ben: You said tournament levels are different from the Sporenament version. How is that true?
Nightgunner5: Sporenament levels are set in stone. There are three of them – two don’t work, but I’m guessing they did at some point – Spore Tournament levels are dynamic so if I were to get to 1,502 points, I’d be able to play level five tournaments for eight points each. Each level has higher rewards, cost, and requirements than the previous one.

Ben: Is there a maximum score in Spore Tournament?
As far as I know, it’s 165,191,045 for users and 126,322,568 for creations. After that point, you’d run into integer overflow issues. By that time, you’d have a 2GB file, so I wouldn’t worry about getting that high just yet. That’s the limit of a 32 bit integer, but as soon as everyone converts to 64 bit integers, the limit will be 9,223,372,036,854,775,802 for users and 1,085,102,592,571,150,095 for creations. Of course, the files that get there would be 2 Exabytes each, which would make backing up Spore Tournament a very tedious process.

That wraps up my interview with myself. If anyone has any questions, I’ll be glad to answer them in the comments.