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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Procrastinating


Some of you might have noticed a link to BankAlt.com in the right-hand navigation. If you follow the link you will find a site that's been under construction for the better part of this year. In case you're wondering WTH is up with this site, well, I admit: I'm the author of this site. I own it.

So then what's the deal with BankAlt.com? Back in January (or even December 2008, I forget) I had an idea about a database-driven website for World of Warcraft players. I can't give more details beyond saying that not all WoW players will be interested in what this site offers because it caters to a subset of them.

I'm a web developer by profession so building the actual site wasn't a problem. The biggest hitch was coming up with an idea. I've long wanted to build a WoW-themed site. Not a static site or a blog, but a database-driven one. Preferably something that people would find useful. Well, at one point I got this idea. Poking around the web, I couldn't find many other sites that cater to this particular subject. At least, I hope I'm not mistaken.

In January I started working on BankAlt.com. I bought the domain and I chose this name for several reasons: it's damn hard to find a meaningful domain name these days, the term is familar to WoW players and it is short and easy to spell and remember. Now that I had my domain I got down to some programming. In a month I had about 70% of the site done. All the work was done each evening after work, for about 2 hours at a time.

After that, it took me a whole month to code another 10%. You see, I'd hit a snag. I won't say more at this point but believe me that it was puzzling enough that it caused me to delay my work indefinitely. It wasn't a coding problem but an operational one. Since then, BankAlt.com is languishing under an "Under Construction" sign.

For months afterward I kept delaying and procrastinating. "I'll play some more WoW, until my subscription expires," or "I'll wait for another patch to see what new stuff they will add" and so on. After a while I had the notion that maybe I should launch it the way it is, incomplete but with the basic functionality in operating condition. I wasn't very keen on the idea. I don't want to make a fool of myself if things aren't properly tested out and I would feel ashamed if I didn't launch it with all the features I had in mind. OK, the concept is not even that complex. The bottom line is that I'm not comfortable releasing something that's half-baked.

A couple of days ago I had a revelation. It finally hit me. The problem that was plaguing me suddenly resolved itself. It was a major Doh! moment and I can't believe I didn't figure this out months ago. It was so simple, right under my nose. The operational problem can be solved through programmatic means. Oh well... live and learn.

Once again, BankAlt.com is back on track. I won't guarantee a launch date or even if it will launch. I'm still hoping it will be sometime this year. For that to happen I might have to take some days off work. 2 hours each night aren't enough to get some real work done and I need more time to get in the mood and concentrate. On the other hand, I'm afraid that my countless hobbies and interests will stand in the way of this project. Unfortunately, WoW, which is the inspiration for this site, is also the biggest culprit.

For the first time in months, I feel optimistic, even elated. I have found a solution for the biggest concern that I had and from here onward it should be a much easier road now that a major obstacle has been removed. There you are, I feel so good about this turn of events that I even posted my thoughts on it. Can't get better than that, can it? I just hope BankAlt.com will become a reality, sooner rather than later.

Darth Solo for BankAlt.com over and out.

10 comments:

Dalaila ShadowsongEU said...

I've been developoing a web-brwoser isometric-tiled game for 1 year more or less and I perfectly know your feelings. I'm a developer too and having a family I had to code stuff late at night. I hired an artist to draw the tiles for me and overall the game was coiming out fantastic (drag-and-drop, 2000x2000 tiles world, different environments, movement, routes, trading, bank, ah, weapons, ...).

Then came my lovely son... and I found myself short of coding-time. On a side note, when I launched the alpha version I had a great feedback that just killed me (requests, suggestions, ideas, bugs). I found myself too tired to stay alive and take care of my real life priorities. Too bad. So for now the game is under some dust awaiting for better times.

Coding is fun, VERY fun.

Jederus said...

Gah! So curious... tell us more, tell us more!

veliaf said...

This sounds exciting!

Darth Solo said...

@Dalaila that's awesome! I assume it was an RPG, right? I started working on a browser game at some point, a space-based combat game but I gave up in the end. Have you ever played Pardus? It would have been something along those lines but less frustrating.

@Jederus and @veliaf dudes, I wish I could say more but I don't wanna jinx myself at this point. If I launch it, it will probably still miss some features and might be buggy but I decided I won't delay forever.

The site is driven by a database but it needs people to sign up and actively start using it in order for it to gain critical mass. I just hope people will find it useful. But don't worry, the whole thing is free and will probably be ad-supported so basically it won't cost anyone a thing.

dalaila said...

@ Darth

I's a mixture of RPG and RTS, a sorto of MMORPGTS in some way. I was amazed at how fun it was, damn :)

Darth Solo said...

@dalaila I'm sorry but... you'll have to continue working on your game. I've made the decision for you. I'm very interested :) Can I ask you one thing? Are you controlling 1 unit (your avatar) or several?

Scout said...

I have a personal website too, basically a scrapbook of photographs I take from my many trips(nothing fancy), and I know how hard it is to find the time to work on it! I've been pretty bad about updating it in the past couple of years. But hey, it's Tuesday-I should be working on it today! At least until 11am that is. :)

Darth Solo said...

@Scout my other major hobby is photography but I've kinda neglected it badly since I got into this damn WoW game :P

Joe said...

Hey Darth, been a while.

I'm curious about this little project ever since I came accross your blog all that time ago.

Been super busy with the new job and all, doing exactly what your descripbing, websites.

If you veer need a hand gimmie a shout.

p.s. cancelled my sub, got it back the other night = proto drake from mysterious egg = win.


I think the theory you came across may still be in effect ;)

good times.

www.deviantart.com is my place for photography and other bits and bobs, check it out mr mr.

Darth Solo said...

@Joe I told ya man! We all need to take longer breaks from WoW. Blizz will reward us when we return!

Don't get too excited about my project just yet. You might not find it particularly useful lol :) But thanks for the offer. I'm one of those people who prefer to work alone on such a project. I have the skills to handle every aspect of it, although I'm not a great web designer but I need to have control over everything.

I'm kinda out of the loop in regards to photography but I do know about deviantart (for many years). I don't use that site and unfortunately I don't have time to check out all the great pictures that people post. I would be happy to check out yours if you can shoot me a link. And I hope you don't mind if I critique some! :)