Building a Universe with Open Source Code

Tau Station relies heavily on open source code. Our database is PostgreSQL, with database deployment management handled by sqitch. Our main programming language is Perl 5, we use Redis heavily as a fast cache for non-critical data, and so on. Lots and lots of open source code.

For our developers who want to share some of our code with the open source community, we simply ask that the code not have “Tau Station-specific” code in it. In other words, part of the fun of Tau Station is discovering its secrets by exploring the universe, not reading them in source code.

So we’ve released two more modules which, we hope, others might find useful.

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The Perl Conference, Glasgow, Scotland

For the week of August 13 through August 17, 2018, part of Tau Station’s backend development team will be in lovely Glasgow, Scotland, attending The Perl Conference – Glasgow. There are major Perl events held worldwide every month and this is one of our favorites.

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Extending Economic Exchange Conditions

In earlier articles we introduced the economic exchange system we use to help us build Tau Station. Further publications explained how it helps us to write clean code and simplify our combat code. In this technical blog post we look at the economic exchange system in a little more detail.

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On writing clean code … for combat

So, we have discussed the important of clean code before. That article showed how economic exchanges could clean up otherwise messy steps involved in the processes of cloning. But what happens if your mess is bigger than a single step? – In our new technology blog post, we invite you to join us for (code) combat …

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On writing clean database code

In earlier articles we looked at the way we use “economic exchanges” to simplify complex code into a series of small understandable steps. We use similar ideas to build up business logic in our DBIx::Class model layer: combining multiple small predefined queries together to create more complex conditions for generating SQL queries against the database.

Read on below if you take the challenge to read “0011001010” language of our database experts who love to share knowledge with you again about clean code.

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Avoiding Multiple Inheritance with Traits

When reading through the literature of how games are built, we find that a common pattern for many games is the Entity-Component-System (ECS) pattern, first used in one of our favorite games Thief: The Dark Project. Tau Station uses ECS for items the characters can find and it’s proven very flexible and since we’re not a traditional “graphic” game, some of the known drawbacks of ECS don’t apply to us. However, we also make use of traditional object-oriented programming (OOP) and that’s where we wish to avoid a common trap that many software developers fall into: multiple inheritance.

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Metric Time in Tau Station

If you’ve been following Tau Station’s progress, you know we’re creating a science fiction universe in Perl for people to enjoy. As of this writing, the time in Tau Station is 194.18/89:189 GCT.

A digital clock displaying Galactic Coordinated Time of 194.18/89:189
A digital clock displaying Galactic Coordinated Time of 194.18/89:189. The numbers are in the order year.day/segment:unit

“GCT” stands for “Galactic Coordinated Time” and that’s a variant of metric time. Our software developers wish we had that in the real world, but alas, we don’t.

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Tau Station Sticker Fun

Next month our game designer, Curtis, will be giving a talk about Tau Station at the FOSDEM conference in Brussels. We considered sending him with flyers to hand out but decided that stickers would be a lot more fun. Because who doesn’t love stickers?!

Using some of our favorite images from Tau Station’s background art, our graphic designer Tania put together this collection of stickers to give everyone a glimpse into our universe. Some of these pictures are new and haven’t been shown anywhere before.

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