First, welcome! My name is Shib and I make sure all of the web operations at GBL run smoothly. Aside from those credentials, I want to talk about Mizuumi. If you’ve ever had to read up on the fine details of fighting games like Melty Blood or Skullgirls you’re already familiar with the Mizuumi Wiki, a venerable repository of knowledge for obscure and even more obscure fighting games alike.
Many of the oldest wikis explain the in’s and out’s of fighting games from by-gone eras to unprecedented detail while others are documents that reinforce the depth of more recent titles. All praise aside, Mizuumi’s wiki has persevered under strict conditions until just this past weekend:
— Poverty FGC (@Poverty_FGC) May 29, 2020
After a most generous offer to undertake stewardship of the Mizuumi wiki, GBL has migrated and updated the underlying software that powers Mizuumi wiki (henceforth referred to as “Mizuumi”) to resume operations at wiki.gbl.gg! In this article I will break down the process of migration and a little bit about what the future holds.
The scale of the problem
Mizuumi has been searching for a new web host for the wiki for about a year and a half approximately. This is mostly due to the growing size of the wiki: Not only does it host extensive information for games with extreme nuance such as Skullgirls, but it’s also very old. This means there are two massive archives: A database of wiki revisions containing over 14 years of edits (beginning with Immaterial and Missing Power in 2006) and image archives for every little detail of every character in the most well-documented games including their normals, specials, supers, colors and more.
In actual numbers we found that Mizuumi’s SQL database weighed in at about 1.90 gigabytes and the separate installation with all media files hovered around 11 gigabytes. Most web host plans are able to easily accommodate 13 gigabytes of user data, but it’s not that simple for our SQL database: Unless we wanted to upgrade our hosting, our maximum database size is 1 gigabyte. We weren’t against the idea of upgrading our hosting solution to better accommodate Mizuumi, but first I wanted to ask if we can do more with less.
Old text, new tricks
Once I got to work I found out the Mediawiki instance that runs Mizuumi’s wiki was behind two major releases and many database structure changes were made since. I was determined to make sure we could update the wiki’s software to the latest releases because we needed updated features and security updates. The total amount of execution time on the database structure update was about 7 hours on my personal PC with Mizuumi running locally. After all of that, we had an up to date wiki, but it was still almost double what we could support. How do we shrink it?
Enter compressOld.php, a script that Mediawiki uses to leverage gzip compression on page text. Every modern web browser supports fast and seamless unpacking through this format and is one of Google’s PageSpeed performance recommendations. This means that every page and revision on Mizuumi can be delivered with less traffic and size.
This addresses the contents of the database, but we didn’t get much savings out of this. The real X-Factor here is InnoDB compression, a long-supported feature for MySQL that was never applied to Mizuumi. After applying it to the table that hosted all of the page text and revisions, we went from 1.4 gigabytes to an astonishing 183 megabytes! The exported Mizuumi database weighed in at about 400 megabytes for over a decade of information and without any losses. At this point I could take the site live.
Heritage for the Future
— Poverty FGC (@Poverty_FGC) June 2, 2020
It’s likely that many ill-maintained documents and webpages exist around the web, referencing wiki.mizuumi.net. To keep things working and give people time to revise links, we’ve worked with the former server administrator bellreisa to provide redirects over to the new domain automatically. Since we are running Mizuumi’s entire database, this also means your user accounts and edits are still where you left them on the new domain. Feel free to log in and start editing!
As of writing, we’ve imported 4 new games to Mizuumi which existed on GBL prior to the migration and will be using them as a test bed for new features and cleaning up old files (from 2011 or before!) that we’ve never been able to track down and remove before. Mizuumi’s wiki size will be an overall slimmer package over time. This all leads up to…accepting more new games! We’ll be making announcements regarding that soon. This effort will involve the same administration and moderation team that already work on the project and joined us along the way.
If you’ve never been involved in editing wikis, I highly recommend joining the Mizuumi Re-ACT Discord server and getting started. If you wish to support us with server costs, you can consider subscribing to the GBL Patreon or donating a tip directly. We’re going to need many helping hands!
In closing, I want to thank Shimatora for extending this opportunity to GBL and the entire staff including bellreisa for helping us along the way. I’ve been using Mizuumi for years and taking up the mantle of operating it is my greatest pleasure. Looking forward to what the future holds.