My Data featured on swivel.com home page

Posted on January 25th, 2007 in General,Virtual Economies by Brandon

Swivel.com is a new service that allows you to compare separate data sets in creative ways. I recently posted some historic virtual currency prices there from World of Warcraft, Star Wars Galaxies, and Final Fantasy XI from some data that I already collect on GamePriceWatcher.com. The guys there were interested in it and posted some graphs based on my data on their home page. So that was cool for me.

World of Warcraft Gold Overall Prices vs European Prices

2007 Predictions

Posted on January 3rd, 2007 in General,Virtual Economies by Brandon

Lots of the blogs I read are making predictions for 2007, so I figured I’d chime in with my own (mostly agreeing with others).

- Second life will get a bunch of negative press (finally)

- The biggest news in Virtual Worlds will be when Areae debut’s their upcoming Virtual World product.  Presumably, here are some of the characteristics it will have:

  • A broad environment with loose storyline
  • The world will piece together chunks of content provided by the users, much the same way that an news reader pulls in RSS feeds from a variety of sources.
  • Users will be able to provide much of the content.  I’m not sure how they will accomplish this, but it will be something like creating web sites, as opposed to creating 3D content (like in Second Life)
  • Along with the previous point, I suspect that users will be able to host the content themselves somehow.

- I’ll finally find a way to make a full-time living with online games

Asian earthquake brings virtual currency sales to a screeching halt

Posted on December 28th, 2006 in General,Virtual Economies by Brandon

IGE, MySuperSales, GamerKing, EzGaming, Enotts (all really the same company), Mogs, FavGames, and Guy4Game are all reporting significant delays in virtual currency deliveries due to the earthquake in Asia. Vendors that do have stock available are being overwhelmed. In short, if you plan on buying any virtual currency in the next few days, expect some significant delays.

rrdtool is cool

Posted on November 22nd, 2006 in Linux System Administration,Virtual Economies by Brandon

I’ve spent the last few days working on creating some graphs for my website at http://www.gamepricewatcher.com. I’ve used RRD databases as part of several applications like MRTG and Cacti. I’ve done some modifications to those apps, but never dug too much into the rrdtool specific code because it seemed fairly complicated.

When trying to get some graphs on my site before, I initially tried using Cacti. I had it successfully working, but adding new Games and Servers was extremely cumbersome to do with Cacti. I figured this would be a good time to dig in and learn how to use rrdtool myself to create the graphs. That way I can generate them directly and not have to work with an application that wasn’t designed to do what I wanted.

Fortunately, there are some good documentation and tutorials on how to use rrdtool I found the tutorial from Alex van den Bogaerdt to be the best starting place. It does a good job of explaining the basics. From there, I wrote the data-collection part of my code in Perl and used the RRDTool::OO module to create and update the databases.

To display the graphs, I tried installing the rrdtool php module, but there wasn’t one available for my distribution (CentOS). I eventually got it installed, but found that it is poorly documented, and decided to ditch the module in favor of calling the binary directly.

Now, I have pretty graphs like this on my website:

World of Warcraft Gold Prices
I have been collecting game-wide data for about a year now. However, with the addition of the RRD’s to my site, I’m now tracking server-specific prices in those too. That will make it so that I can eventually provide cross-server comparisons, and compare a specific server’s prices to the game’s average.

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