If a command takes too many ticks, it is killed, resulting in a traceback. Because the MOO is single threaded, only one command can be executed at a time. That means ticks are at a premium.
Since our code is built, layer upon layer, on top of existing systems, one verb, calls another, calls another, which returns a value to the previous verb which continues and then calls another which then returns a value again and on and on it goes.
So one verb, might call 15 other verbs which call 15 other verbs which call 15 other verbs. Anyone familiar with software development will understand how that works.
Suffice to say, we have in our code, a command that is meant to 'alert' us on a special channel, when that line of code is hit. It only does this when 'debugging' is enabled on that particular object.
The check to see if debugging is enabled on that particular object takes 37 ticks.
The alert call is made roughly 679 times a minute (probably more, especially if there is combat or something else). And that means that even with debugging disabled, those calls cost us 25,123 ticks a minute.
For those of you keeping track at home, that adds up to:
25,123 ticks a minute
1,507,380 ticks an hour
36,177,120 ticks a day
13,204,648,800 ticks a year.
It's a lot. If you divide that by the maximum execution time of a single verb (without factoring in suspends to replenish ticks), with those ticks we could call:
264,092 verbs and let them reach maximum execution time.
I've put a check in place that lets us disable debug globally which only takes 7 ticks to execute. That means that for all 679 times our alert code is called each minute, we are saving 30 ticks.
That's a savings of:
20,370 a minute
1,222,200 an hour
29,332,800 a day
10,677,139,200 a year.
The MOO is faster now! Literally faster. You may even move between rooms faster. Though you probably don't notice it in times when a bunch of combat and stuff is going on, it will hopefully be noticeable when those times of heavy RP and combat and other things that require a lot of the game.
More savings to come!