Using GitHub

  • [code]
  • [git]

GitHub source control is the best way to transfer code between your PC and the game server. In this tutorial, we’ll discuss how to use GitHub and take your code workflow to the next level.

Video Tutorial

You can view the Using GitHub screencast for a full walkthrough of how to use GitHub to help you when editing Ares code. This article describes some additional details.

Link to video

The transcript is available here.

Here is a basic summary of the workflow:

GitHub Desktop

You can find the GitHub Desktop installer mentioned in the tutorial here.

Creating a Fork

The first step in using GitHub for your own game code is to create your own semi-independent version of Ares, called a ‘fork’ in GitHub lingo.

  1. Create an account on GitHub.
  2. Browse to the main AresMUSH repository.
  1. Click the “Fork” button (near the top right).

    You are now the proud owner of your own version of AresMUSH. You can tell that you’re on your version by looking at the repository name near the upper left. The main Ares code is aresmush/aresmush. Yours will be something like YOURUSERNAME/aresmush.

  2. The Clone URL is a URL that you use in the git commands to access your code. On the right of the repository, you should see a ‘clone or download’ button. Click on it to see the clone URL. Click on the “Use HTTPS” button to get the HTTP clone URL.
  3. Repeat the above steps for the Ares Web Portal Repository if you also want to create a fork of the Web Portal code.

Making the Game Use the Fork

GitHub will pull from the main ares repo when you set the game up. To use your own fork, you’ll need to re-point the GitHub “origin” to your forked repository instead of the main one.

In the server shell:

  1. Go to the aresmush directory.
  2. Type git remote set-url origin <Your Clone URL>
  3. Type git pull.
  4. Change to the ares-webportal directory.
  5. Repeat steps 2 and 3 in the webportal directory with the webportal clone url.

Now your game will be set up to get code updates from your fork instead of from the main Ares repository.

Pushing Code from the Game Server

Ideally code changes go from your PC/test environment to GitHub and then to the game.

However, there are times when you make changes on the server itself. Perhaps you:

  • Had some custom code before you decided to set up your own fork.
  • Hand-tweaked something on the server while debugging.
  • Installed a community plugin.

Whatever the reason, if you make changes on the game server directly, you’ll want to get those changes into your fork.

  1. If you do not already have one, you’ll need to create a personal access token for your GitHub account with repo permissions. This token is like an extra password you can use from the git command line on your server shell. Keep it in a safe place. (Alternately you can set up a GitHub SSH key but that is beyond the scope of this tutorial.)
  2. Go to the aresmush directory.
  3. Type git status to ensure that all your custom changes are committed. If they aren’t, commit them.
  4. Type git push and enter your GitHub username and the personal access token for the password.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 in the webportal directory.

Git from the Game

You can actually execute selected git commands from within the game without needing to connect to the server shell. See help git in-game. This is handy if you’re using GitHub to sync changes between a local PC and the server because you can push to GitHub from your PC and pull the code down from inside the game itself.

Updating Your Fork

While you’re changing your own copy of the code, there’s also work going on in the main Ares repository. Whenever a new AresMUSH version is announced, you should update your fork.

How you update your fork will vary depending on what tool you’re using, and you can find many GitHub tutorials online. The Using GitHub video tutorial gives an example walkthrough using GitHub Desktop. Here is a quick reference:

  1. Start with your game code repository.
  2. Commit any local changes you have on your PC.
  3. Update your local copy to upstream/master.
  4. Resolve any merge conflicts locally.
  5. Push the updated code to GitHub.
  6. Repeat 1-5 for your webportal code.
  7. Run upgrade/start in your game client.
  8. Make sure there are no errors in the command output.
  9. Run upgrade/finish in your game client.
  10. Test! When testing the web portal, clear the cache or use private/incognito mode to avoid javascript caching issues.

Dealing with Conflicts

There may be merge conflicts if both you and the Ares devs changed the same bits of code differently. See Upgrades - Resolving Conflicts for more information, and ask for help if you get stuck.

Controlling Your Config Files

By default, the AresMUSH repository does not contain configuration files. This prevents conflicts between the default configuration and your game’s configuration when you’re doing updates.

You can add your config files to source control, but there are a few caveats:

  • You’ll have to be careful not to push changes to server.yml, secrets.yml and sites.yml between your test game and real game, or it can mess up your server settings or expose sensitive information.
  • If your test game is missing roles, forum categories, etc. that are in your real game and used in your config files, you may get errors or unexpected behavior.

If you still want to add your config files to source control, here’s how.

Modify the .gitignore file in your Ares fork. Remove the final line that excludes the entire game directory:

# Game directory
# -----------------------------

Whenever you make changes to your game config, you’ll have to use the git shell commands on the game server to push your config changes to GitHub. See Advanced GitHub.

Advanced GitHub

There are a plethora of good tutorials on the internet about using GitHub, including Try Git and Learn Enough Git To Be Dangerous. There’s also detailed guides on GitHub’s own website, and the first couple chapters of the Pro Git ebook (later chapters go into gory details you won’t need).