Alliance National Database Announcement 1-1

Warlok

Adept
Charlottesville Staff
Ok, folks! We made the announcement last week that we are beginning a complete overhaul of the Alliance Logistics Database system, and now we are asking for YOUR help! We will be seeking your assistance regularly throughout this Database Design process in order to ensure that YOU get everything you need (and some of the things you desire) out of a new National Logistics Database. We also need you to talk to your fellow gamers about this: call them up, chat with them at your next event, send them an e-mail, or post on their Facebook wall! Whatever it takes to get their take on the matter, because every voice counts here!

The first step in the process was to develop a Mission Statement for the Database. The Database Mission Statement defines the purpose of the database and is meant to serve as a guiding force throughout the design process. It will help keep us within the boundaries of what's really necessary and keep us focused on the task at hand.

Our Database Mission Statement is thus:
The purpose of the Alliance NationalLogistics Database is to maintain the data we collect and generate to support national and local logistics team in conducting events for our players and providing quality customer service to the same.

The next step is to create a list of our Mission Objectives. This is a list of all the specific tasks that we should be able to perform by using the information in the database. So go ahed and start making a list over everything that Logistics does for you! We want to hear it all!

I've included all of my contact info below in order to make myself as available to you as I can. I'm even taking a couple weeks of vacation time off from work to be more available during the daytime! Ok, so the time off was already planned beforehand, but it does give me more time to work on this project.

Please, let us know what you want out of this so that we don't miss anything.

-Luke G.
AIM: fishfamilycircus
YIM: jarhead_0200
e-mail: jarhead at g mail dot com
cell/computer: 408 306 4603
 

Avaran

Baron
How is the database going to be accessible to Logistics teams on-site? A lot of times sites have zero internet connectivity, there's no cell reception, or the people running logistics don't have the ability to make their cell phone into a modem/hot spot. Will I be able to replicate it to the laptop and then back "up" to the main server?

Also, are we talking one big DB for everyone, or a DB with an "instance" of each chapter that is accessible via choice? I'd prefer the latter. :ninja:

Being able to see (unalterable) character data would be great too!

Total build, free build; XP, loose XP, skills, per-day skills, goblin/dragon stamp spendable for <period of time>/total goblin/dragon stamps; heck, maybe even a record of magic items used in the past, sorted by longevity?

A pre-reg form could be cool, which could have access to your list of MI's, their info (item number, rep number, flaws, description, restricted/LCO, effects, duration, etc.), and it could make expired items no longer available to choose in your "I'm bringing this MI list." thingy. Eh, you know what I mean. I hope.

Build expenditure requests.

A build calculator (similar to the old excel one).

Production calculator. Workshops. House/group resource options (probably asking a bit much there, depending).
 

tolgar undershaft

Artisan
San Francisco Staff
For those with gobbies in multiple chapters there should be a section where it breaks out your stamps by chapter.

Charcters should only be accessed if you know the Passcode for that char. with a masterkey password that works for plot members to see all charcters in their chapter.

What happens if the database gets hacked? Is there a master back up which overwrites any changes. Is there software that tracks changes through your system so that any unauthorized changes can be reverted back.

I like pie!
 

Avaran

Baron
Dan Nickname Beshers said:
Is there any plan/wild scheme to implement a similar national database for restricted magic items?
Monsters too?
 
I like most of Avaran's ideas. Some of them should be handled more on the local level though; Pre-reg & Expenditures.

I like tolgar undershaft's gobbies by chapter.
 

Alavatar

Baron
My thoughts on potential requirements...

If it is a single DB that contains a separate instance for each chapter:

1. Portable.
1.a. The database itself needs to be capable of a quick download to support on-site logistics. If a chapter instance is instituted that should make this requirement manageable.
1.b. The database needs an easy function to be uploaded back up to the central data center to account for any on-site changes such as build expenditures, Racial Transformations, Spirit Forges, etc.

2. Accessible, yet secure.
2.a. I would like to see various permissions included, potentially tied to some sort of authentication. This would be something along the lines of Owner, Plot, Logistics, and Player type levels each with separate authorities. i.e. Players would have Read-Only for their character, Logistics would have the ability to tie a character to a Player (username), Plot would have access to various reports useful for plot, and the Owner would be unrestricted (and capable of modifying restrictions of Plot and Logistics for his chapter) including the ability define who is Logistics / Plot.
2.a.a. On top of this, I would like to see the various "responsibilities" be a setting within the account instead of forcing a separate account for Plot and a Logistics. Then, the owner has the ability to either appoint someone as Logistics / Plot or create a separate account with those permissions if they so choose.
2.b. Forms for build expenditure, pre-registration (including second/third day memorization), Goblin / Dragon Point expenditure, and back blanketing.
2.b.a. Automate some of the above forms. Specifically, the build expenditure and the pre-registration so that all a Logistics person needs to do to get ready for an event is hit "Print Pre-Registration" and download the instanced database.
2.c. If chapter instances are implemented, have the ability for an account to be tied to multiple chapters (i.e. separate logins for each chapter would be a pain in the patootie).
2.d. A "home page" for each player to navigate from for their respective data would be nice. Then, if 1.a, 2.a, and 2.c are implemented a player could navigate to their character by chapter, see the number of Dragon Points they have, see how many Goblin Points they have by chapter (as Tolgar suggested), etc.
2.e. A "home page" for each chapter could also be implemented to put events and announcements. Then players could pre-register or back blanket from that and see any specific announcements a chapter may have for that event. Include in this section a contact list for that chapter (i.e. Owner, Logistics, Plot, GM, various staff positions, etc.)
2.e.a. Allow chapters to set a Level cap for an event which will automatically filter available characters for pre-registration.

3. Automate as much as possible.
3.a. Have the pre-registration list also contain a report of levels for PCs. Keep the report live (i.e. reporting the current level of the character as the database has it recorded) until the event is reconciled. Once reconciled, snapshot the level of the character.
3.b. In the pre-registration list, or wherever the event is reconciled, incorporate the ability to record any deaths of a character and any skills learned for that event. When the event is reconciled, automatically incorporate the deaths and skills.
3.c. Automate the build expenditure. Make sure the database is smart enough to check if the character has met the pre-requisites and racial disadvantages are accounted for.
3.d. Automate Pre-Registration. Include a "Coin owed to / from PC" note if Craftsman, Production, Wands, or selling back goods via Merchant are in the pre-registration. If done perfectly the Logistics personnel would only have to hand-write tags for Assets (yellow tags I think you call them in the East?) and signing off tags that require validation (i.e. Workshops).
3.d.a. This includes Magic Item daily expendable effects. Incorporating the Magic Item database and the Monster Database will be noted later.
3.d.b. Incorporate spell / recipe books (and a process change to number spell / recipe book tags) and add the ability to connect a spell / recipe book to a character. The capability to connect one book to multiple PCs and multiple books to each PC will probably be needed. Then, the pre-registration inherent to the database checks spell memorization / alchemy production against the spell / recipe book connected to the PC, which means the Logistics personnel only needs to check the number on the spell / recipe book tag (to ensure the book is onsite) with the numbers connected to the PC instead of verifying all spells memorized are in the book.
3.d.c. Incorporate "Rewards" or compensation in the event reconciliation activity. i.e. Most chapters give Goblin Points to NPCs and Plot. Some chapters give different amounts of Goblin Points based on various ranks within the Non-Player Character community (such as 30 per logistics period for NPCs, 60 per logistics period for Plot, etc.)
3.d.e. With the pre-registration, automatically print a level report and a Craftsman report for the event.
3.d.f. Automate out-of-chapter character transferring when pre-registering.
3.e. Automate back blanketing. Have the system (a) check that the player has not attended any other events over the period in which the event being back blanketed took place, and (b) automatically deduct the appropriate chapter related Goblin Points.
3.f. Similar to the current Monthly Blanket system, incorporate a "Rewards" or "Compensation" system. Some chapters award monthly compensation in the form of Goblin Points to its staff. Having automation inherent to the system that can give a monthly award would be nice instead of the current manual addition.
3.g. If 2.e and 3.e are incorporated, automatically switch the "Pre-Register" to "Back Blanket" after the event has been reconciled.

4. Modular / Editable by chapter.
4.a. Make it so a chapter can create LCO production items. This is specific to chapters that use LCO production items (i.e. a Death Gas or something like that).

More will come later. I have an abundance of Logistics e-mails to answer and process at the moment. ;)
 

Gilwing

Administrator
Alliance Logistics
Alliance Owner
tolgar undershaft said:
What happens if the database gets hacked? Is there a master back up which overwrites any changes. Is there software that tracks changes through your system so that any unauthorized changes can be reverted back.
I can't stress enough about backing up Databases using Gmail. When I was running LH logs, every month I would email our Gmail account the most recent DB. That way we can look back from the previous month, there was always a back up and it could be accessed from any computer/smart phone (as well the Owner/GM/Logs head and HoR all had the pass to that account).

I would also try and make any changes that need to be applied would require a pass, other wise it would be read only.
 

Mobius

Squire
In truth, all the logistical duties of running a chapter are already covered by the current Database system. ¿Could a more dynamic, functional DB be developed? Sure, but the need for a different local DB of character information isn't what I see as the biggest benefit to this undertaking.

What I see as the greatest possible benefit to a National DB is data-mining and trend analysis. A wealth of the discussion at every level of the game about balance, classes, effect, spells -- everything is all based in anecdote. A small group of people combing through their memories of experience and trying to create Game-Wide shifts on hearsay, second-hand testimony, and faulty recounting. This isn't an indictment of these people's intention, but rather a recognition that human memory is volatile, haphazard, and thoroughly spotty affair. A National DB will cut through all that guess work. ¿Should the game be more/less deadly? - check Resurrection-rates, perm-rates for chapters, regions, classes, games. ¿Are Magic Items top-heavy? Run a report on MI-rits vs player level, vs time played, vs drop-rates. ¿Is Goblin distribution unfair, imbalanced? Run Chapter, region, National levels of goblins per player, MI-gobs vs MI-drops vs MI-Created. If the DB is set up so all these data are accessible and can be correlated, suddenly the Owner's discussions regarding rule-changes can be removed from the cave, no more shouting at the shadows.

More than anything else, the National DB should have a functional and coherent method for statistical analysis, everything else is logistical efficiency.
 

Wraith

Newbie
Mobius said:
In truth, all the logistical duties of running a chapter are already covered by the current Database system. ¿Could a more dynamic, functional DB be developed? Sure, but the need for a different local DB of character information isn't what I see as the biggest benefit to this undertaking.

What I see as the greatest possible benefit to a National DB is data-mining and trend analysis. A wealth of the discussion at every level of the game about balance, classes, effect, spells -- everything is all based in anecdote. A small group of people combing through their memories of experience and trying to create Game-Wide shifts on hearsay, second-hand testimony, and faulty recounting. This isn't an indictment of these people's intention, but rather a recognition that human memory is volatile, haphazard, and thoroughly spotty affair. A National DB will cut through all that guess work. ¿Should the game be more/less deadly? - check Resurrection-rates, perm-rates for chapters, regions, classes, games. ¿Are Magic Items top-heavy? Run a report on MI-rits vs player level, vs time played, vs drop-rates. ¿Is Goblin distribution unfair, imbalanced? Run Chapter, region, National levels of goblins per player, MI-gobs vs MI-drops vs MI-Created. If the DB is set up so all these data are accessible and can be correlated, suddenly the Owner's discussions regarding rule-changes can be removed from the cave, no more shouting at the shadows.

More than anything else, the National DB should have a functional and coherent method for statistical analysis, everything else is logistical efficiency.

This post? I want to hug it and love it and name it George. :wub2:
 

Poalo

Newbie
Since some mission objectives have already been listed in terms of:
-Different data visibility between various user types
-Ease of access to statistical data

I would suggest Mission Objectives such as:

1.) Establish a time stamp system for when Owners/Logistics has accessed an individual player.

In this way, players have an immediate answer to the question "Has my character been updated recently?"

2.) Create a read-only data set of all players in a chapter (for each chapter) with visibility to plot/logistics level admins or higher.

2a.) Create another read-only data set of all chapters with visibility of owner level admins.

If these data sets were designed to automatically update themselves. There would exist an easy method for access to statistical data.

3.) Create email notifications for when a character has requested a character transfer to all necessary parties (Owners/Logistics?)

Again this would help tie in to the time stamp concept, and would help give players a useful tool for when a character has to be transferred to another chapter. Player fills out one form, and it goes to many places.


Just some thoughts,
Mike D./Paolo
 

aara

Scholar
Besides what others have mentioned, here's a few off the top ideas:


Eliminate the need for "Character Transfer" - Have a dropdown box or a radio button or something that allows a player to send their character card via email to another staff's logistics.

It would be timestamped with the last update, and the player sending it, therefore has verified its accuracy since they are incapable of modifying it buildwise.
____
An ability to spend build and to pre-logist all in one spot, so the majority of logistics becomes self-serve. Logistics staff then has post-event updates and card printing, and doesn't lose half an event dealing with character builds.
___
Reporting, reporting, reporting... maybe it's the statistician in me, but I've been dying to trend and do analysis on event composition vs battle style and play around with all sorts of stating correlations. Of course, this is best left for the various plot/logistics teams to access but it would be a wonderful thing to have available.
____

Allow after event updates (like teacher cards) to be done on the db, like a popup...
Tom checks off that Bob taught him Shield using with a drop down of all the characters that were marked as attending the event.
Bob opens his character sheet to verify that everything is correct.
On open he gets a soft-stop popup that says "Did you use your teacher skill to teach TOM the SHIELD skill?"

It could work the opposite way if bob is also asked if he used his teacher cards this weekend.
 

Fynwei

Squire
Sortable histories for chapters and characters played, as well as blankets and who they were on
Viewable, printable, and editable (adding, not subtracting skills) character cards. Preferably only saved at the end of editing.
Pre-reg and Pre-pay options in-window. For logistics sake, have this forward a copy of the character card as well...
A free robotic butler with each new character added which doubles as an automatic espresso machine.
 

Avaran

Baron
Allow after event updates (like teacher cards) to be done on the db, like a popup...
Tom checks off that Bob taught him Shield using with a drop down of all the characters that were marked as attending the event.
Bob opens his character sheet to verify that everything is correct.
On open he gets a soft-stop popup that says "Did you use your teacher skill to teach TOM the SHIELD skill?"
The only problem I would have with this is if it were the only way to get taught skills into the DB. Not everyone has access to a computer, logs into their computer on a regular basis, wants to have the responsibility of logging into a website to "confirm" that they taught someone a skill, can really remember who they taught, or may even stop playing for whatever reason.

Not all Alliance players are responsible adults, or even want to have that level of involvement in the "background", and one could spend years waiting for that "confirmation".

It's a good idea, don't get me wrong. :p Like I said, I wouldn't want it to be the only way to get things entered.
 

aara

Scholar
Avaran said:
Allow after event updates (like teacher cards) to be done on the db, like a popup...
Tom checks off that Bob taught him Shield using with a drop down of all the characters that were marked as attending the event.
Bob opens his character sheet to verify that everything is correct.
On open he gets a soft-stop popup that says "Did you use your teacher skill to teach TOM the SHIELD skill?"
The only problem I would have with this is if it were the only way to get taught skills into the DB. Not everyone has access to a computer, logs into their computer on a regular basis, wants to have the responsibility of logging into a website to "confirm" that they taught someone a skill, can really remember who they taught, or may even stop playing for whatever reason.

Not all Alliance players are responsible adults, or even want to have that level of involvement in the "background", and one could spend years waiting for that "confirmation".

It's a good idea, don't get me wrong. :p Like I said, I wouldn't want it to be the only way to get things entered.
Sure - I assume there would be a time out... like if by the next event there is no confirmation, then the player gets asked.
At the same time, forgetting you didn't turn in your teacher card at the end of the event and having to wade through 2 days of stinking clothes to find the belt pouch you forgot you put it in is even more annoying ;)

But I get it, I figure if people are using it regularly, this is a good thing, if they never touch it, not so much. With any luck it'd be the rare occasion that it doesn't work out.
 
Keep in mind that not every character will have a PC who taught them a skill. Not only will PCs get skills from NPCs, but players of new characters will purchase skills before ever playing that character, and they could potentially be very high level. In theory, a player should be allowed to remove skills from a character before they've been played, or even change their race and class, we'd need support for that.

Personally, I'd like it if the DB could pull treasure policy for me, based on a set of weighted averages/specific number of items I want/etc. That would take a lot more integration, and I know that there are a few owners who don't want their logistics team to have access to Treasure Policy, but it would be a handy tool for me as Head of Plot. Really, since that's a pretty big stretch, keeping a running total of how many total PCs and how many total levels have checked in, or printing that info out on a 'check in report' along with the craftsman info would be just as useful.
 

aara

Scholar
obcidian_bandit said:
Keep in mind that not every character will have a PC who taught them a skill. Not only will PCs get skills from NPCs, but players of new characters will purchase skills before ever playing that character, and they could potentially be very high level. In theory, a player should be allowed to remove skills from a character before they've been played, or even change their race and class, we'd need support for that.
Of course - the option would still be available, it just makes it easier for those who care.
obcidian_bandit said:
Personally, I'd like it if the DB could pull treasure policy for me, based on a set of weighted averages/specific number of items I want/etc. That would take a lot more integration, and I know that there are a few owners who don't want their logistics team to have access to Treasure Policy, but it would be a handy tool for me as Head of Plot. Really, since that's a pretty big stretch, keeping a running total of how many total PCs and how many total levels have checked in, or printing that info out on a 'check in report' along with the craftsman info would be just as useful.
Yeah, a way to get a table output that can be tied into the plot laptop would be pretty cool, like a local networking thing or a flash drive to import the table.

I would think that a seperate plot DB would be pretty fantastic - especially to run encounters/wave battles and treasure policy off of reports. Then you can have a better idea of the APL distribution and put stuff out accordingly. :)
 

Aggravain

Squire
Owner
HQ Staff
Maybe i missed this earlier but id like to know if the following is possible:

Having a copy of the database that has the downloaded characfers for the event that we can update and use for reference on site and can be uploaded and update the database online when done. id really enjoy being able to just click off the players and characters both pcs and npcs and whom they are blanketing and pull them down for the session. the only issue being folks showing up at the door.
 

Mendacity

Newbie
Mobius said:
In truth, all the logistical duties of running a chapter are already covered by the current Database system. ¿Could a more dynamic, functional DB be developed? Sure, but the need for a different local DB of character information isn't what I see as the biggest benefit to this undertaking.

What I see as the greatest possible benefit to a National DB is data-mining and trend analysis. A wealth of the discussion at every level of the game about balance, classes, effect, spells -- everything is all based in anecdote. A small group of people combing through their memories of experience and trying to create Game-Wide shifts on hearsay, second-hand testimony, and faulty recounting. This isn't an indictment of these people's intention, but rather a recognition that human memory is volatile, haphazard, and thoroughly spotty affair. A National DB will cut through all that guess work. ¿Should the game be more/less deadly? - check Resurrection-rates, perm-rates for chapters, regions, classes, games. ¿Are Magic Items top-heavy? Run a report on MI-rits vs player level, vs time played, vs drop-rates. ¿Is Goblin distribution unfair, imbalanced? Run Chapter, region, National levels of goblins per player, MI-gobs vs MI-drops vs MI-Created. If the DB is set up so all these data are accessible and can be correlated, suddenly the Owner's discussions regarding rule-changes can be removed from the cave, no more shouting at the shadows.

More than anything else, the National DB should have a functional and coherent method for statistical analysis, everything else is logistical efficiency.
This.
 

Davion

Scholar
I would like the database to have a "history" read out. That way you can get something like this. (Fictional of Course)

Character Davion

June 2011
Chicago June 8th (day fair) 87 build
Traverse City June 15th, 16th (Blanket -60 goblin stamps Traverse City, 270 remaining) 90 build

July 2011
SoMN July 8th, 9th (2 day event) 92 build
July Blanket (-30 goblin stamps SoMN, 700 remaining) 94 build
Donation 60 goblin stamps SoMN (760 remaining)

August
Logo contest winner, +15 dragon stamps
August Dragon Blanket (-3 dragon stamps, 12 remaining)
August Blanket (-30 goblin stamps SoMn, 730 remaining)

The information would work a lot better in a table, of course. I already do this for myself in excel, so if you want an actual example, I'd be happy to send it to you!
 
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