Saturday, April 21, 2012

SDS Status Report: April 2012

Hello! I have a couple things here to talk about. First off, as I often do, I must apologize for my lack of attention to the SDS project lately. I was involved with my senior project and another project involving Second Life society, the two of them taking up pretty much all of my time. I've since graduated and restarted work on some projects I had abandoned during my educational pursuits, SDS included. So, I have some bad news, good news, and more bad news involving the fate of the project.

The bad news first. To put it bluntly, I discovered that what I was promising the final version of SDS to do is just not possible right now. Looking back on my proposals, I had adopted two mentalities about all of this. They were "this project is absolutely possible. It's just a matter of making things run fast enough to be convenient to the user" and "this shares concepts with GPS technology, and GPS is fairly fast, therefore this project can be made to be as fast as GPS." I found out empirically that it just can't be made to run fast enough (given the tools immediately available to me), and it's very different from GPS. More on the GPS bit later (in a future article). In conclusion, this project will never reach the state I assumed it would, and so I must insist that SixDegreeSteam be retired.

There's good news too. I'm determined to leave this thing in as much of a working state as can be managed. My intention is to abandon the database approach, create an easy-to-follow graphical output, and have it accomplish the original objective I set out to meet, which was to outline connectivity of one user to the rest of the community. I've already gotten a lot of work in on these points in the past couple days. There's a lot more to go, but at this rate, it'll be done before anyone knows it.

Now the final piece of bad news. Parts of the Steam Community API got updated recently, throwing a generously sized monkey wrench into what used to work in SDS. This slows progress down because I now have to go back and rethink what I already had down. In conjunction, I contacted the Valve employee I understand to be the lead developer on the Steam Community to ask for any information pertinent to the project, or some added public API functionality, or anything to help me out. I was met with a shockingly uninterested response I interpretted as "we've made tools available already. We have no more time to spend helping you datamine," which was understandable albeit surprising given Valve's invested interests in other community members and modders. Things have stacked against me and this project's success from the beginning. I was really hoping to catch a second wind from Valve.

To finish off this status report, I'd like to reiterate just how sorry I am to have taken so long with all of this, only to let everyone waiting patiently on it down. I've appreciated the interest, comments, feedback, and time each person has given to SixDegreeSteam. It's with a heavy heart and a shameful disposition that I must break this news to you. SixDegreeSteam will soon be concluded. After this next client release, it'll all be put away until I can acquire better means to meet all my promises. If you want to keep an ear in it so you can be aware of such a day, I suggest subscribing to this blog (for news on SDS and my other projects) or staying a member of the SDS Steam group. Again, sorry.

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