Rippers performance - needs to improve

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lumpkin
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Rippers performance - needs to improve

#1 Postby lumpkin » Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:57 pm

Hey all,
Relatively new player, I'm enjoying the game so far. I wanted to point out something I've noticed, which is the performance of Rippers is pretty bad IMHO.
Every time you click an action, it has at least a 3-5 second delay before loading the next screen. I do this at work, on a fast machine using an OC3 connection to the internet, not using a proxy server. Other stuff is plenty fast.
It seems like the app is reloading way more data than it needs to on every click. It makes it tedious to do missions, and to hunt, to do anything. Is there a way to optimize this? Shouldn't it just be doing a database query and swapping some graphics? Why the delays?
It's a bummer.

RobitusinZ
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#2 Postby RobitusinZ » Thu Aug 20, 2009 2:07 pm

If I'm not mistaken, it's actually Facebook's app server which is slower than donkeys. Every single app I run is slow.

Epharian
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#3 Postby Epharian » Thu Aug 20, 2009 3:02 pm

RobitusinZ wrote:If I'm not mistaken, it's actually Facebook's app server which is slower than donkeys. Every single app I run is slow.


I blame FB. EVERY single one of the apps is slow. I suspect it's a function of the ad networks & that sort of thing. If all you are doing is serving up static pages or even a single-sourced php page, then it's not hard to get a lightning-fast result even over a few thousand hits.

Start serving up complex mult-sourced php cgi scripted pages with ads and that sort of thing to hundreds of thousands of people at a time and things bog down unless you have just insane hardware and software. FB does have good stuff, but they could REALLY stand to beef up their infrastructure...

BTW, you can always tell if it's just ONE game or if it's FB. If it's just one game, all the rest of the FB apps will act normally, but if it's FB, EVERYTHING starts slowing WAY DOWN.

Right now, everything is slow for me...

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Jordan Peacock
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#4 Postby Jordan Peacock » Thu Aug 20, 2009 3:35 pm

I've noticed a marked difference based on time of day. If I'm up early in the morning, it's a snap. Mid-day or on the weekend, it really drags. So far as I can tell, this seems to just apply to anything on Facebook.
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lumpkin
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#5 Postby lumpkin » Thu Aug 20, 2009 4:11 pm

Valid points.
However, games like Mobwars and Mafia wars have their fight pages, job pages, etc that are designed for lots of clicking in a short period of time and they work much faster.
So you can have the main page reload but have a subsection that responds faster. Rippers could benefit from this.

Epharian
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#6 Postby Epharian » Thu Aug 20, 2009 4:46 pm

lumpkin wrote:Valid points.
However, games like Mobwars and Mafia wars have their fight pages, job pages, etc that are designed for lots of clicking in a short period of time and they work much faster.
So you can have the main page reload but have a subsection that responds faster. Rippers could benefit from this.


BAH!! Mafia wars sucks in terms of performance as far as I'm concerned. Their job pages ROUTINELY take 10+ seconds, and OFTEN time out completely. The other non-flash Zynga games (Mafia Wars developers) aren't any better....

Fish Wranglers has similar performance issues.

It has to do with serving up TONS and TONS of pages very very quickly and having to wait on outside components to do it. You have to wait on the ad servers, you have to wait on this, that and the other...and that all takes time.

I swear, an AJAX model would be MUCH more effective at giving PERCEIVED performance boosts. Then just refresh the FB ads every X time, and the internal application ads every X time and you are set.

Every element that you don't have to reload, that can be cached, etc, reduces strain on the server.

Problem is, I haven't seen ANY AJAX on FB OTHER THAN the blasted discussion sections, and the notifications. Which, by the way, work extremely well for the most part.

lumpkin
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#7 Postby lumpkin » Thu Aug 20, 2009 5:25 pm

Is there some way to force the non-changing parts of the page to cache, e.g. the avatar, the graphics for the player menus, whatever you can?
It seems to be reloading all of that stuff every time.

Epharian
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#8 Postby Epharian » Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:53 am

lumpkin wrote:Is there some way to force the non-changing parts of the page to cache, e.g. the avatar, the graphics for the player menus, whatever you can?
It seems to be reloading all of that stuff every time.


There are multiple ways to achieve this, yes. AJAX is one way to do that...that's why it has become so popular. If you use gmail, you'll notice that when you are switching between your inbox and mail messages most of the page doesn't even reload.

That's the advantage of AJAX. Only certain portions of the page, certain elements, are changed when you click. It requires a reasonably good programmer to do this, but the tech is pretty common.

Most browsers auto-cache images and the like, then when they load a page, check to see if they have the image they are about to download, and if they do, skip it. This saves bandwidth, but when the majority of the time in loading a page doesn't come from image downloads, that doesn't help much.

I suspect, but don't know, that what's happening in Rippers and many other FB apps is that the images account for a small portion of the problem. A very small portion. Because modern browsers all cache images and act fairly intelligently to take care of THAT problem where possible.

THE REAL ISSUE is multisourced pages and database access.

Multisourced pages are when different elements on the page rely on servers OTHER than the one you typed into the browser bar at the top. Typically this is due to ads and databases. When you request ANY facebook page, data about what you are doing is SENT to various parties, recorded and analyzed, AND THEN ads are REQUESTED from various OTHER sources based on different information. This takes time. I don't know how sophisticated any of this is, but you can bet that there are a LOT of different servers involved other JUST apps.facebook.com where there rippers game resides. Some of them are controlled by facebook, some of them are controlled by the folks here, MANY of them are not.

ALL of this data shuffling take a good deal of time (WHOLE MILLISECONDS!!!!) and if you are LUCKY it is just barely noticeable. If you are not....it all compounds, lots of people are asking for their data at once, and it spills over in to THOUSANDS of milliseconds, and suddenly it is VERY noticeable...and then very frustrating.

The OTHER problem...database access...CAN be improved for rippers...but I'm not going to be so arrogant that I say that I know what these folks are doing, nor what they SHOULD do. Generally, though, DB access CAN be improved. The real question is if it is worthwhile. Cost/Reward structures and all that. Obviously, if they decide it is worth upgrading servers for faster databases, they will, but frankly, as long as FB is the major bottleneck (and there are ways to tell), then it's not really worth it at all.

AJAX MIGHT helps alleviate some of the FB issues, but I really don't know what the FB rules are regarding apps rolling their own AJAX-enabled stuff. It might cut into ad revenue (and if it does, it'll be a no-no, I'm sure). Of course, to roll your own AJAX requires having someone on the team who knows how, which has its own cost/benefit structure if you have to hire someone new. Or dedicate an existing guy to that instead of rolling out new features or fixing existing bugs.

Okay, that's my thoughts on that. I'm sure someone with eve MORE experience with these things will come along and set my rambling thoughts straight. After all, I don't actually WORK in the field...i just dabble.


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