[MUD-Dev] [BIZ] Billing systems

Christopher Allen ChristopherA at skotos.net
Sun Sep 9 15:55:55 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

Brian Hook wrote:

> Doing a basic google search I found quite a few subscription style
> software systems for sale, for example the RODOPI:

>   http://www.rodopi.com

> Companies like this cater to the ISP market, and that's pretty much
> what a commercial MUD is.  Why were services like this unsuitable?

You are correct -- software catering ISP market was another place we
looked into.

We actually looked at Rodopi, but it is Windows-NT only, and we are
linux/unix. The support burden of using both solaris and linux
systems is enough hassle without Windows problems too. Most of the
other ISP ones we found either were also Windows based, or very
limited as to what credit card provider you could use. There are
also some packages that are in the $300k to $500K realm as well,
which we couldn't justify either.

So we bit the bullet and wrote our own. However, after running with
it for 6 months, there are still things we need to do, for instance
redundant providers (our provider has notified us that CC billing
will be down for 4 hours tonight -- at least they notified us this
time), ability to do load sharing on machines at two different
locations, more backup/recovery routines, even more security
measures, user visible billing history pages, better error
reporting, etc.

My advice is that if you are going to write your own billing system,
dedicate someone to it full time for at least a year before hand,
and expect that it will continue to need refinements for a year
after that. That person should really love this stuff, too -- which
is hard in a game company.

-- Christopher Allen

.. Christopher Allen                                 Skotos Tech Inc. ..
..                           1512 Walnut St., Berkeley, CA 94709-1513 ..
.. <http://www.Skotos.net>               o510/647-2760  f510/647-2761 ..

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