Well it looks like my Ajax Hello World will have to go on hold a bit longer. I've started playing a bizarrely addictive, online, multiplayer, Ajax powered board game over at llor.nu.

There are still a few quirks to be ironed out, but after a few days play, I've started to build up my own real estate empire. Yes, it is I, Mr Scruff, currently languishing in 43rd place. Perhaps you've paid me a few units of the nameless currency when you stayed in one of my lovely hotels?

I'm still quite some way off the leader board. In fact, after a good start, I'm getting further behind with each day. It would seem that there are a few resourceful types playing the game automatically via scripted bots. There was quite a discussion about it over at RedHanded. Even though this may lead to Mr Scruff being relegated from the top 50, I'm all in favour of allowing bots to play the game and test out new strategies. Interestingly, the developers are quite happy to allow the situation to continue. In fact, the plan is to open up the API to positively encourage such behaviour, although they acknowledge the difficulties in balancing that this will bring; the vast majority of players still play "by hand".

Given the speed with which a successful bot can take over, it's difficult to keep track of the leader board. And when someone does take over, how can we tell how quickly they did it and what strategy they are using? Currently the llor.nu interface only provides a Top 20 table with a few live statistics for each of the leading players. And you have to be logged in to see it. Which means that the first I knew about the explosive rise of DotCom was from reading a comment in the RedHanded article. Apparently, DotCom went to the top in 3 days, at one point quickly doubling her buildings to over 600!

Really? Darn I missed it. So I decided to keep a record of the Top 20 for myself, so I can catch such events in the future.

And now I get back from a long weekend away, and it seems that DotCom has vanished from the Top 20. Has she simply been overtaken by kevin, the legendary leader from my first few days in the game? Well, judging by this graph, it looks like there was a bit more to it than that. After such a rapid rise, she lost over 25 million in 5 minutes to disappear from the leader board completely.

llor.nu leader board graph


Oh well. Easy come easy go.

Don't let yourself miss such headline events in the future. Now you can graph these stats for yourself. I've created a snapshot of the llor.nu Top 20 which links to graphs of the various stats of each player for the past week. The interface isn't quite finished yet. If people are interested, and I have the time, I want to provide easy access to the historical stats and a simple way to graph a statistic for several players at once for comparison. Or then again, maybe I should wait until the llor.nu guys do this for us?

Have fun and keep rolling, Mr Scruff needs your cash.