End of the Beginning: The Roadmap Forward

In a little less than 2 months, we will celebrate our 5th year running. We’ve had a lot of people come and go, an infinite amount of fun, and our fair share of drama 🙂

You can say many things about this group, but “boring” is not one of them.

We’ve stayed a fairly small circle of like-minded folks over the last few years, and while I love that, it’s safe to say that if we want to grow, we’ve got to do some housekeeping first. We have changes ranging all across the spectrum of human emotions to be made, so let’s just dig into it.

First, the happy news…

SomeAwesome.com Integration

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who helped with Beta testing. Your feedback has been extremely helpful. In fact the feature we just pushed out is based on the feedback I got from a lot of you.

One of the things I heard the most from people is that they would prefer to earn points by reviewing games they already had in their Steam library. This kind of went against the initial idea of only reviewing games that had keys available, but who am I to argue with the users! So with the latest release, you can connect your Steam account directly to your SA account and start earning points by reviewing games you’ve already spent a good chunk of time on.

Plus you automatically earn an extra 2000 points just by connecting your Steam account.

Furthermore, I’m working on a prototype section of the site just for people who play on the server. When I’m finished, you’ll be able to use your points to gain things in game, including:

  • Enchantment Books
  • Player Heads
  • Command Blocks
  • Elytra

On top of that, we’ll be offering command permissions, including /repair, /home and Treefeller, that you can redeem with points as well.

If you weren’t part of the initial testing group, that’s no problem at all. Starting today we’re opening up registration to whitelisted users only. If you’re interested in getting free Steam games of your choice, or you just want to get in-game goodies (hopefully starting in a week or two) then sign up here and make sure you fill in your Minecraft username in the appropriate field.

And now, the sad news…

Sundown of Main

We’ve had Main since the beginning. Even before the beginning, really. At first it was just our family LAN server world. But when we opened it up for the first time on April 6th, 2013, it became all of yours too. Many of us feel like we’ve got a lifetime of memories that exist only there.

To be honest, this call has been in the pipes for a long time. It never felt like the right time to do it. Technically it doesn’t feel like it now either, but we know we need to do it.

I’m hoping that this archiving (I don’t like to call it “shutting down”) of Main will be temporary. I honestly do. But it has to be done for a few reasons (more than just money)

1. Money

OK yes one of the reasons is money, but I only bring it up first because I want you all to understand what I mean by that, and why it’s not the most important reason here.

For starters, we’ve been with Fragnet for 4 years now, and quite frankly we’ve outgrown them.

Literally, I mean. Our world size exceeds their limits at the rate plan we’re on. It’s 30GB.

Each server is $40 per month. It’s not that we can’t afford that, but the reality is, with the amount of players we have split between both servers, combined with the ambitions 😉 of those players, it makes more sense to put everyone on a single server that can deliver the kind of stability and flexibility that we need. And in order to do that, we have to move to Amazon Web Services.

Mind you, with AWS, we can do a lot more, and I won’t be breathing down your necks all the time like a tech-fueled raging deity. Mostly anyway.

2. Player Density

The proof is kind of in the pudding here. The more we split players across both servers, the less people are playing together. It’s easier to attract and retain new players with the combined headcount. So my hope is that, once we hit a decent rate of concurrent players, we can reopen Main, also on an AWS server.

Let me be clear here that I’m not pointing fingers. If anything, the fault is on this side of the table. We put a lot of things on the back burner because Life Happens and all, but we could have made a better effort to provide a more consistent schedule of events for you guys, and that’s on us. Again, the hope is to kickstart things back up with Some Awesome and inextricably link it to the success of the Minecraft server. But it has to be done in a way that we don’t sacrifice the high quality of the player base we’ve all grown used to. Therein lies the challenge. So it goes.

3. Due Diligence

A couple months ago, we had a griefer. This was no ordinary griefer either, this was a hacking griefer taking advantage of a security flaw in 1.12.1. He was on Main. It was not great.

By some stroke of luck, one of his TNT towers was triggered and thus we were alerted to it. Because of the size of the worlds, I’m only given a single backup that rotates out once a day. In other words, I only have 24 hours of crisis management at my disposal. I try to download backups every once in a while too but they’re huge so it’s not ideal. Anyway, the point is we caught it, banned him, saw where he went, reversed the damage and made everything alright again, but we got lucky.

With AWS I can automate backups without worrying about size limitations, so that’s good, but more to the point is that it takes us twice as much effort to police both servers. Since Nunu is where the majority of the people play, we often forget to poke our heads in on Main to see if anything is up. Taking Main down for now helps us solve that problem for now too.

So What Now?

I’m not taking it down tomorrow or anything, so don’t panic. The plan is to have one last day with it on April 6th, 2018, and then we say our goodbyes, if just for now.

In the meantime, please take pictures. If you have pictures of old times, those would be great too, please dig those up. On the anniversary, we’ll be having a huge DefenderCraft event over on Main (details forthcoming), and afterwords we’ll be streaming a slideshow of everyone’s images while we hang out in the Discord channel and talk about old times.

If we’re going to send Main off properly, I’d appreciate if we can do it together.

Any questions feel free to post in the group or message me privately on Facebook if you prefer.


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