October 2005 - Battlefield 2 PostNuke statistics module - Current Status
Since we have had several enquiries regarding out Battlefield 2 statistics module for PostNuke (both via this site, and the European Alliance clan site), we felt we should post a brief news item regarding it's current status.
We fully intended to release this module to the Battlefield 2 and PostNuke communities for free use on clan sites, however there are two factors that are currently stopping us from doing this.
- Firstly, the module itself hasn't been completely finished. All PostNuke modules should have their own install and uninstall routines builtin, to allow site owners to easily install and remove the module. We've not yet created either of these routines, so currently a reasonable amount of technical knowledge is required to install the module, as all the database tables need to be created by hand for example.
This fact is obviously something that we can do something about, and we would hopefully be able to complete these features before releasing the module.
- The second reason for not releasing the module at present is to do with the statistics servers themselves. When the game was originally released many people started writing routines for gathering statistical data, unfortunately all these sites accessing the statistics caused massive server problems, resulting in many players being unable to login to the game itself.
These server problems are due in part to the way that Gamespy/EA/Dice have structured the game (using the same server for the login as for the stats), but also due to the huge number of sites that popped up for accessing the player statistics. To combat this problem Gamespy/EA decided to block the 'basic' access to the statistics server, this still allowed the game to get to the data, but blocked most statistic gathering websites. However, our module, and a few of the other sites have a more sophisicated method for getting the data, and thus are able to bypass this blocking.
Our module caches statistics locally, and doesn't allow a players data to be gathered from the statistics server more often than once an hour (it uses it's own cached local copy if the data is request more often). This combined with the fact that the module is restricted to only provide data for the clan members (which currently amounts to around 35 members), means that the module has very little affect on the statistics server, and therefore doesn't cause any in-game problems.
Our worry now, is that if we were to release this module to the public, there would be a greater increase in traffic to the statistics server, and thus it could cause more problems for players trying to connect to the account server. We believe that with our caching method, the hourly restriction, and the limiting to only clan members then the impact would still be fairly minimal. But with our code being made public, it would be fairly trivial for people to modify it, and remove these restrictions, which could result in similar problems to those seen in the early days of the game when the statistics server didn't block access.
So, currently, we are holding back on releasing our module. We've heard rumours that there would be a new XML statistics query server created, to allow websites to query the statistics, without impacting on players ability to login to the game. However, we've not seen any evidence of this yet. Should this actually happen, then we can look at changing our module to use this different query method, and then releasing it to the public wouldn't be an issue.