Database and Fansite - Firefall - ThumpDumpDB

Hello visitor,
Today we made the decision to finally retire the ThumpDump Database Project (TDDB for short). With the new year upon us, we decided to officially place this project on the shelf. While there may yet be a time when Firefall rises from the ashes, and TDDB along with it, we want to put this project behind us for now.

Below you will find a short story retelling of what happened to the project in respect to Firefall and why we have decided to finally end the project. If you are not a fan of reading stories then the most important thing we have done is at the bottom of this page. We have released all of our internal addon code which was used to “dump” Firefall’s database for items, monsters, events etc… Alongside this release is the release of PHP code with various uses for site administrators to begin accepting and parsing the JSON data from our addon. A skeletal MySQL database has also been released which (at the time) mapped Firefall’s database into a relational model, given the current flux of Firefall’s development this may or may not be useful for developers today. We hope that someone can pick up where we left off and continue to provide the community with what it needs despite the current state of Firefall.

Click here for TDDB code excerpts

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Ramblings of a developer (X5s) below

In order to be as transparent as possible with this I should admit that when we first started this project we had two goals: One — Reassert that we could still do what we had done years ago with other games and Two — See if our enthusiasm and abilities could get us a job, or at least an internship at Red 5 Studios. It’s safe to say that we were able to make TDDB work despite the rushed development cycle when we first launched, and hectic schedules soon after. We were worried that someone else had been working on a similar database website/addon and figured the sooner we could launch TDDB the better. We chose to iterate and release quickly in anticipation of competing with fansites that were better resourced and better funded. However, the second goal (getting a job at Red5) was the most important one to us.

Initially we wanted to work for Red5 Studios, even if it was starting at an internship and working our way up. We wanted to be part of a game company who was serious about developing a game we enjoyed. Xtops and I got together and created a hilarious video asking to be hired. Soon after launching, the TDDB project was asked about via player questions on Firefall Live and misinformation was given out to a community that was already in a panic because of our announcement regarding data collection of other players. Our release was ill timed as it coincided with the media reporting on illegal data collection by US agencies, and somehow players assumed we were collecting the same level of data... This was the first sign of trouble, and we felt like we were being ignored after attempting to PM the community managers regarding the Firefall Live episode and we received no response. As the months went on I had already submitted my resume but no response was ever received for either the resume or the video. At this point we took a good look at what we had done and what can be done going forward. After finally being contacted by the community team (months after the initial Firefall Live issue) we felt that they were being forced to talk to us and accept us as a fansite. Xtops and I no longer wanted to work on the TDDB project but rather wanted to use it as a test bed for learning new frameworks, this was the birth of the unfinished TDDB 2.0 idea. Despite our desire to continue development, our hearts were no longer with Firefall. We could no longer force ourselves to work on something we did not believe in.

Knowing that most of the site would continue to function without us, we kept silent during the past few months while we were buried with our own schedule and obligations. However, the constant changes to Firefall forced us to place features offline (ex: market) and the time and money required to get them working again was no longer worth it. We had been hitting a moving target the entire time, and it was becoming tiresome. The addons for market data collection are also in our release but I will not go into detail on how they worked, I assume that the community has plenty of smart developers left who can easily get it working again on their own website.

It has been a nice ride and we still hope that Firefall succeeds as a game but it will take drastic changes before we reconsider it in the future. If anything we are part of its history which is certainly rich with ups and downs. I hope that someone can use the tools we've provided and fill the void we leave behind. All player data has been wiped off the server as this was what I promised when we first started this project if a day as such ever came. For everyone who supported this project and those of you who didn’t we thank you for giving us the chance to be part of the Firefall community. I would also like to extend a special thank you to our beta testers; they were the true masterminds behind new features and helping relay a collective focus from the community.

I would also like to say thank you to Red5, despite never getting to meet any of you I know that the company is full of good people who have a passion for developing a game that involves its community. That is a rare sight these days and I truly hope that no one takes it for granted.


Xtops note:

I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed Firefall in the beginning, and the enthusiasm showed by the team. It was all of the cool little things that inspired us to make TDDB and dive deep into the game. Dumping the data and looking at itemtypeid diffs was my favorite tedious task as it let me see what was being dreamed up by your team. A++, would intern at Red5 ever.

-TeamX 12/31/2013