MUD Development Digest

Dr. Cat cat at
Sat Apr 4 08:42:49 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998

I presume the comments about disk-based muds running faster than 
memory-based ones are including the tacit assumption that one is talking 
about muds that don't have the option of running on a machine with a 
large surplus of RAM?  I run a commercial project, and it seems the only 
option for really optimal performance is to make sure you have enough 
RAM to keep everything in memory that you need.  I also don't do a bunch 
of dynamic stuff - I prefer to do all mallocs and loading of maps and 
objects at startup, and keep it there.  I always believe malloc and free 
are the devil's tools for fragmenting heaps and bloating memory usage, 
if used during runtime rather than only at startup and shutdown.

Anyway, my server can currently handle over 150 people quite well with a 
memory footprint of under 32 megabytes.  I don't see any reason why I 
should ever be experiencing a significant number of page faults.  Disk 
reads consist pretty much of just the character name/password file, 
which I presume the OS has mostly in its cache most of the time.  
Writing out logfile info, and maps when a builder uploads a new one, 
both can generate some overhead.  I was planning to set up a seperate 
process that does all disk writes, and have the other processes dump 
data to it and then go on about their business.  But a friend of mine 
told me about how they eliminated their disk-writing bottlenecks when 
they purchased a RAID array for the server, which essentially does the 
same caching of writes into RAM, only it's done for you, in hardware.

I realize that purchasing a RAID array isn't an option for most hobby 
projects.  Still, I would think that disk-based servers would be faster 
for some muds, not for all muds.  (Depending on memory footprint, 
configuration of the machine in question, and whether it's running other 
things besides the mud or not.)

   Dr. Cat / Dragon's Eye Productions       ||       Free alpha test:
  Furcadia - a new graphic mud for PCs!     ||  Let your imagination soar!

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