bonfire - Social Networking for Minecraft
Hey, all. We're starting a new social network for Minecraft called bonfire, currently in pre-alpha(not released). It's meant to make it way easier to discover servers and find new friends.
We're interested in what you think about it, or if you're interested at all. We'd also really like to know if there are any feature suggestions you are looking for, and what you would find awesome.Please visit our homepage here http://bonfire.gratimax.net and feel free to ask us anything below. We're really excited after working on this for a while. Thanks!
Here is a mock-up that was done of the previous version, to show some of the features that are in bonfire:
This is the meetup creation feature, which allows you to create a meetup on bonfire for a specific place(on a server), date, and time. In the current version(pre-alpha) this is no longer available and has been replaced with a broader feature allowing you to specify which aspects of the meetup you care about(whether it's on a random server, with random people, etc.), allowing you to meet people at random on certain servers.
As you can see, the image is a mockup(the actual working thing doesn't look as nice), but I thought it would be interesting to share.
The following is a small subset of what we call the 'social graph':
Every web application needs to store its data somewhere. That place is referred to a database, and most people use MySQL or some kind of standard SQL database. We do something a bit different.
At bonfire, we use neo4j, a graph database, to map relations between objects in our application. These objects include mojang accounts, minecraft profiles, posts, comments, likes, you name it.
Most of the time, people use MySQL or some other kind of relational database to store their data. However, if you've ever used Facebook's Graph Search(Facebook search) or Google's Knowledge Graph(Google search), you'd see that the best way to store some types relational data is using a graph database. The image is a model we have of a subset of the current data in the database, and the data is stored just like that -- a graph of objects with relations.
This also gives us various performance speedups, as traversing a graph is far more efficient in most cases than doing SQL joins(that's a fancy name for finding relations in a SQL database).
In the future, this 'social graph' will actually be exposed to the user when we make recommendations of people to follow, so they can see just how we were able to connect the two together.
Here's a somewhat more recent screenshot of the current pre-alpha, showing the sign-in form:
bonfire uses the Minecraft authentication api(see http://wiki.vg/Authentication), just like the minecraft client, to authenticate users. This means that authentication is safe and we never even store your data on our servers. This also means that the Minecraft migrated account problem is still there, meaning that users have to log in with their email if they have a Mojang account and with their Minecraft account if they don't have one.
We believe is an interesting decision, because what it enables is extremely easy login and user onboarding. It will be pretty easy for users to share with each other, and new users can just log in and get started right away. If there are enough users, we will have enough statistics to recommend users to follow right when a user signs in.