Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Origins Registration Crapfest... Again

Every year, it's "Next year will be better!"

And then it isn't.

UPDATE 7:00 PM - The single event cart bug just got fixed, but the search is awful, since you need provide the date AND category along with the event name or number. Lots of small press RPG events appear to be missing from registration even though they are listed on the event grid csv.

UPDATE 05/03:  Missing - Every event from 9th Level Games, Most (about 20) from Pelgrane Press, and several others missing events from the registration portal (Steve Jackson, Green Ronin, etc). Of the roughly 6000 events, only about 3500 are present in the registration portal... an absolute sh!t show.

I hate being the Debbie Downer, but this absolutely preventable poop-storm just pisses me off. Again, this year (and just about every year since about 2010), Origins Game Fair registration arrived with yet another server or code catastrophe (or both)... because you can't always anticipate the unexpected, right?

Or perhaps you could if you knew, for instance, that server volume would be particularly high on a given day. Or if, perhaps, you add a new feature and want to make sure it's particularly well tested... But not if you are Origins, who it seems failed on both counts this year.

First, as always, server loads were overwhelmed as everyone tried to login and search at 1 second after 1 PM today. Getting the login page to load was an ordeal. But even after you logged in, searching for events became an activity of... frustration isn't even a strong enough word.

The site was throwing Cold Fusion errors left and right. That's right. Event Ready uses Cold Fusion, which was a hot technology sometime back in the mid-1990s while most of us were still writing BASH scripts for the /cgi-bin/ folder. I got news for Origins... Cold Fusion is not exactly state of the art. It is the technological equivalent of a harpsichord in a heavy metal band. You might look at it and think "Well, that's different", but you probably don't want to have your primary technology infrastructure on it. It's time to dump Event Ready for a reliable registration provider.

Tom Vasel encounters an Owlbear
at Origins 2017
The second thing is Origins / Event Ready added a new feature that detects if you select a conflicting event with one already in your cart, and coincidentally, there is now a bug that doesn't allow anyone to add more than a single event to their cart. If you remove the one event, you can add a different one, but not more than 1 event at a time.

Coincidence? Maybe... but 20 years in the web software industry tells me they didn't do very extensive testing (in any). Last year, the password recovery was also not working for almost a full week after registration opened.

Lastly, there are whole bunches of events in the "updated grid" that don't appear in the registration database at all.

Troll Lord, Davis Chenault
with the Owlbear in 2017
Last year, Mayfair had 95% of its events wiped out of the registration database when someone on the GAMA side loaded their update file as a replacement list, rather than an update list. So, instead of 100s of  Mayfair events, they had only the dozen or so whose details were updated in the last couple weeks before the show. The Mayfair room was a ghost town last year.

Origins, get your sh!t together. I still attend this show because I am lucky enough to have nearby in-laws who will take the kids for the weekend. Soon, they'll be old enough to attend cons with us, but that makes it much less likely I'll bring them back to Origins, since there are now other large, nearby cons that aren't a registration crap fest every year.

I actually took a 1/2 day off from work for this today. Thanks for that, Origins.

UPDATE: I saw this (unconfirmed) note on Twitter:

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