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Yes, Virginia, there is an Update
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February 2, 2014
11:51 am
frelling
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First the good news: We are ready to proceed with the 1.7.x update. Mudwog and I have been working feverously last month to complete the framework for our backend administration system, which is paramount to our operation

You may ask, “backend system, what’s that?” Over the last 2 ½ years we’ve learned many valuable lessons the hard way by putting stock into so-called management systems and plugins. It’s not to say that they aren’t great… when they work, but all too often they’ve caused a lot of wasted time, performance impacts, and frustrations for all. Although we’ve tried our best to shielded members from these issues, it has made for some crazy times back here in the “boiler room” as we hustle and bustle to maintain maximum service uptime. Frankly, we are tired of it. I, myself, would prefer to spend my time enhancing and adding new features to make Veterancraft more enjoyable and actually get some play time in.

Given that, we bit the bullet and forced ourselves to get our backend system CBES – CraftBukkit Enterprise System – production ready and out of the door. For you techies out there, CBES is a full-fledged Java Enterprise application having the same capabilities and flexibilities as any good corporate information system would have. Like I said, it is a framework, meaning that we can add new features quite easily, not unlike CraftBukkit plugin system, without having to worry about plugin compatibilities or waiting for developers to get around to fixing things.

Because CBES is on its own server, we can offload compute-intensive tasks (e.g. griefer/X-Ray detection, etc.) to it rather than wasting valuable CraftBukkit CPU cycles. Furthermore, administration of users, permissions, donor levels, and much more can be handled through intuitive user interfaces rather than often confusing and inconsistent plugin commands. CBES delivers a transaction-based system that allows us to roll back quickly should a configuration change not take; thereby, minimizing downtime and reducing the potential for disastrous errors.

For the most part, CBES is a collection of administration tools that will make our staff’s lives easier. But that is not to say that our members won’t benefit from it either. Over the next six months, we will be moving control for many of our internal plugins to CBES, such as access control, shops, banking, etc. This provides us with opportunities to have web-based member pages through which they can check their Shilling balances; review voting statistics; search shops; alternative authentication methods when Minecraft authentication is down; and, so on. These are just a few of the things that will be possible – the only limit is our imagination.

The functionality of the initial CBES release will be limited. At this time, it is capable of managing multiple servers (i.e. hardware platforms) and multiple CraftBukkit instances thereon. Once our initial upgrade is completed, we will begin focusing on other administrative services, which for the most part will be completely transparent to members and not affect gameplay, except for an occasional restart.

That all said; this is what is on the slate for the next couple of days. Some of you may consider this the Bad News. We need to upgrade our environments, operating systems, databases, other support systems, and install additional tools before we can upgrade CraftBukkit itself. During this time, the server may be down or restarted periodically. Unfortunately, because our time is limited, we do not have the patience to offer advanced notices of such events all the time nor the flexibility to perform these tasks when it is most convenient for members. Then again, give our absolutely minimal downtimes over our years of operation; this should not give anyone much distress. If it does, PM me and I’ll send you a virtual box of tissues to dry your tears. KissKiss

How long will this take? It all depends on how smooth things go. Everything has been tested on our local test servers, but there is always that one or two “gotchas” that usually creep in no matter how well tests are planned. Then again, there is always the possibility that something working great in a test environment doesn’t do so well in a production system and will require further re-tooling.

Worst case scenario is that we will be completely upgraded before the start of next weekend. Best case scenario is that it could be as soon as tonight, but that is being extremely optimistic, especially given that it is SuperBowl Sunday. So anytime between now and Friday is a viable guess.

We will try to keep you informed via Twitter. If you don’t have a Twitter account or aren’t subscribed to Veterancraft, you can always see the latest tweets on the right side of our website’s home page. Mudwog and I will be going over our upgrade plans once more with a fine tooth comb before we start just to make sure we didn’t miss anything. Chances are that we will start working on the production system within the next 1-3 hours. Keep a watch on the tweets and we will try to provide as much advance notice as possible.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
February 2, 2014
11:02 pm
frelling
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So far, so good. We were able to update our operating systems without a hitch and only a single shutdown for about 10-15 minutes (mostly for making an offsite backup). We've also upgraded to the latest version of the Java 1.7 JDK and got most of the new tools installed. We still need to do some firmware updates on our hardware, but we can hold off on that for now. Sadly, we heard the screams of Meatbawllz as his Broncos struggled to make an effort. Mud and I were glued to the TV praying that they would at least score and not get completely shut out.

This is enough for tonight. Mud is on his way back home and we will reconvene remotely tomorrow evening to install and test CBES on our backend server. We'll probably need a shutdown or two, but nothing lasting longer than 10 minutes - unless we run into issues. One minor "gotcha" that we found was that CraftBukkit changed its logging system; we have to run a few tests to get the configurations to do our bidding.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
February 3, 2014
6:18 am
LightWarriorK
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Great job guys!  I honestly have no clue as to what most of that actually means, other than "good progress" and "hard work," so thanks from all of us for putting the time into this. Smile

"Awake, oh man, and be wise." -Thoth
February 3, 2014
5:24 pm
frelling
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Alrighty, day #2. We're back and starting to crank on some more backend stuff/installation. For the next 3-4 hours there may a good chance for a couple server restarts, but we will try to keep them to a minimum and announce them as much as possible.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
February 4, 2014
6:34 pm
frelling
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Didn't I say that something always get in the way Cry. Little did I know it was going to be a root canal. There is nothing like a major toothache to keep brain cells from firing coherent thoughts.The Novocaine has worn off and I'm pretty sore, but its several orders of magnitude improvement over the mind-piercing pains i felt early this morning. Cracking the whip and getting back at it.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
February 5, 2014
12:11 am
frelling
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Except for a few odds and ends, I was able to finish the configuration of our backend server. With that major milestone out of the way, we can now concentrate on deploying CBES and integrating it with CraftBukkit.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
February 5, 2014
11:37 am
SlocumFamily2
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Can I ask a few questions many people have been asking (over and over again) during chat?

 

(1) with the End and/or Nether get reset during the upgrade?

 

(2) will there be any noticeable changes to player's builds after the upgrade?  (Some people are holding off or are worried about building, thinking it is gonna get wiped out in a matter of hours or days.)

 

(3) How will we know to change our sign-in setting from 1.6.4 to 1.7?  (Seems like 3/4ths of the people don't ever look at the webpage.)

 

Thanks for all the hard work!  I can't even imagine how much work it must be to update the server every time Mojang decides to tweak things.  Smile

February 5, 2014
3:34 pm
frelling
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The initial update will not make any changes to the worlds as they exist today. We want to make sure that everything is working 100% before we start twiddling with the environment.

As far as The End, it has always been that red-headed stepchild. There never was a good way to reset the end (automatically) periodically, although we have a couple ideas on the backburner now that there will be more control over server configurations. There were some plugins a while back, but they all failed to meet our requirements.

As far as player builds are concerned, no one should worry about their builds in the main world (Vetronia). Serraph's Realm has been long overdue for removal and Outer Reaches is next on the list. But for now everything stays the same. There will be a time and place to discussed the finer details of what eventually be done to the secondary worlds.

You will know when to switch to 1.7.4 when 1.6.4 tells you can't log on. It will bark something to the tune of "Outdated client." Simply change your preference setting to 1.7.4, or latest, and you should be good to go.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
February 6, 2014
7:03 pm
frelling
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We just updated the control modules on our CraftBukkit server. That should let us testing everything else without having to bring the server down until the final update to 1.7.4.

Sadly, my wife broke our dog last night by letting jump off our bed, which is a 3 ft jump - pretty hard for an old, overweight miniature dachshund. No broken bones, but she dislocated and distended her right front leg. Seems that leg problems are running in the family LaughLaugh. Needless to say, several hours were spent today at the vet and we're nurturing her back to health.

We're in a holding pattern right now to see if the anti-inflammatory will do the trick or whether the dog will require more invasive treatment. I'm still hoping to push out the 1.7.4 update some time tomorrow night, but it may get pushed into Saturday.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
February 7, 2014
12:02 am
SlocumFamily2
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I think we need a picture of the dog and the guilty wife.

February 7, 2014
8:39 pm
frelling
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Just a quick update that the upgrade is still moving forward. Our dog is recovering well and up to her usual antics; thus, no need for more drastic measures (see below). We got all our server software tools updated/installed and are now concentrating on CraftBukkit itself.

Its a late start today, but I'm starting a final check on plugins for any changes over the past 3 weeks, testing them as needed. Once that is done, I'll be ready to push updates to the server. Chances are that to be safe, I will do the update sometime in the early afternoon/early evening, lest sleepiness causes me to do some I'll regret.

As far as the actual update cycle is concerned, Veterancraft will shutdown for approx 90 minutes to push backups offsite (just in case the worst happens) and run the update through production tests. After that, we should be 1.7.4 ready.

To reiterate, there will be no changes to the main or secondary worlds during this update, nor will there be any configuration changes. You should have the same experience as before except that you are using a 1.7.4 Minecraft client. Once I've verified that performance is stable, we'll start the process of updating data (e.g. add new items to JCShops, etc.), begin the task of rotating secondary worlds, and begin the long task of integrating plugins into our control system.

 

 

 

Josie.pngJosie, in her great fatness. Sorry, wife would not pose for a mug shot Kiss

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Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
February 8, 2014
7:38 am
Frenchy
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Again, Frelling and Mud, thank you so very much for doing this :D

 

However, I have a few questions:

 

After the update, when we do get a new secondary world, will this world have larger borders then the previous secondary worlds (ie: Outer Reaches) since certain new blocks from 1.7 have very limited availability?

 

How long, approximately, until we get the new Seraph's?

 

Lastly, on a totally unrelated note, your dog is adorable.

February 8, 2014
9:36 am
LightWarriorK
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That's already been asked and answered, Snow.

The initial update will not make any changes to the worlds as they exist today. We want to make sure that everything is working 100% before we start twiddling with the environment.

To reiterate, there will be no changes to the main or secondary worlds during this update, nor will there be any configuration changes. You should have the same experience as before except that you are using a 1.7.4 Minecraft client. Once I've verified that performance is stable, we'll start the process of updating data (e.g. add new items to JCShops, etc.), begin the task of rotating secondary worlds, and begin the long task of integrating plugins into our control system.

Once the update is complete, and everything is working well, they'll start changing things over.  So your answer is "After."  It'll happen when it happens.

As for the world size, it's highly unlikely it will be of any other size than we've always had.  It's not like we've exhausted the resources of the OR or SR, ever.  IF those new blocks become severely mined out, it'll be something to think about, I'm sure.  But if people cull the painted mesa's hardened clay, there's always the regular way to get them.

 

That IS one cute Twinky of a dog, frelling. :)

"Awake, oh man, and be wise." -Thoth
February 8, 2014
1:01 pm
SlocumFamily2
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So, if I read the above correctly, we won't see any new chunks with the update.  So no purty new flowers, no Acacia trees, no dark oak, no Mesas or Roofed forrests, ect ??

Just stained glass, and enchanted fishing poles and the like (requiring no new chunks)?

February 8, 2014
1:03 pm
SlocumFamily2
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And I want to poke Twinkie in the tummy.

February 8, 2014
1:11 pm
Frenchy
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SlocumFamily2 said
So, if I read the above correctly, we won't see any new chunks with the update.  So no purty new flowers, no Acacia trees, no dark oak, no Mesas or Roofed forrests, ect ??

Just stained glass, and enchanted fishing poles and the like (requiring no new chunks)?

Theoretically speaking, using bonemeal in certain biomes of old chunks will get you some of the new flowers.

February 8, 2014
3:58 pm
SlocumFamily2
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Oh, well I hope that is true.

I am all about pretty flowers.

February 8, 2014
4:36 pm
LightWarriorK
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As with previous updates, nothing in Vetronia will change just because the version changes.  It's still a Beta 1.8 map.  Snow is correct that new things can be generated by player action like new flowers, and planting the new trees in Vetronia will grow them.  But they won't be naturally generated.  For that, we shall have to wait for the new Outer Reaches, which will come when it comes.

"Awake, oh man, and be wise." -Thoth
February 8, 2014
6:12 pm
frelling
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We're still at it. The new CraftBukkit logging system doesn't want to play nice with us. We're in the process of beating it into submission.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
February 8, 2014
7:03 pm
frelling
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EDIT: Server will shutdown at 9:30 PM EST for 1.7.4 update. Expected downtime 60-90 minutes.

The server may be up at various times during this upgrade period. However, it will be in Maintenance Mode; please heed the warnings and don't spam connection attempts; the system will auto-ban if you exceed its limits (don't bother asking what they are, you should never have to find out). Keep an eye on the MOTD (the line right under the server name) on the Play Multiplayer screen. It will say MAINTENANCE MODE until we are done; after which it will say 1.7.4 Ready!

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
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