New Server Environment and 1.12.2 Upgrade Info

Arda, Version 1.8.8, is back! Yes, yes, I know, it is not 1.12.2, yet. While it is still the same ol’ blocks and plugins, its running on our new Gaming Enterprise Management Systems, or GEMS for short. I will leave GEMS details for another post.

Multi-Version Capable

You may notice that the MultiPlayer entry for VC appears similar to the following illustration. You might wonder what exactly does “Arda 1.8.8” and “Hub 1.12.2” mean? We are leveraging BungeeCord’s ability to intelligently connect clients. When connecting with Minecraft 1.8.8 or 1.8.9 you will automatically be connected to Arda as before. When you connect with Minecraft 1.12.2 you will be connected to The Hub. In the future we will have two hubs, a Main Hub and a Test Hub.

mc_client_mp_entry.jpg

Arda

Arda, its secondary worlds, your Shillings, inventories, shops, and claims are as they were before. All plugins, sponsor perks, and abilities are available for your use except for maps. We have not yet finalized the best approach to support a map server(s) serving world maps that could potentially be sourced from a multitude of servers or special instances running different versions of DynMap. It will be addressed as we continue to work on the upgrade.

The Hub

The Hub will eventually be the new common jump point for all members and newcomers and serve as an entry point to a variety of other servers. Do not worry, it is smart enough to remember where you were the last time you logged off and return you there rather than taking you back to The Hub.

The best example of “other servers” would be one or more dedicated Events servers tailored for a specific purpose. In the past, VC was limited to the type of events it could hold due to the effects on Arda’s normal operations or performance. Running events on separate servers or instances gives us the freedom to apply whatever is necessary without concerns about the effects on other servers.

For now, The Hub has no connection points, though we expect to deploy a 1.12.2 test world this week. When that happens, you will find clickable NPCs known as Portal Stewards that will teleport you to a connected world and/or server.

Upgrade Process

Speaking of test worlds… I alluded to an upgrade process change in a Facebook post a while back. Anyone that has run their own server understands that a major upgrade can be a frustrating time, trying to balance members want for new things and ensuring that server and plugin updates all work as expected. Many server operators make this process easier by “wiping maps,” which essentially resets everyone back to Square One. A wipe is effective by eliminating any needs to migrate plugin data from one version to another or worse translate data from one type of plugin to another. The downside is that past efforts are also gone.

While some members enjoy punching trees again, others do not. VeteranCraft prides itself being able to maintain a much more persistent main world immune to major upgrades and also give members access to new features. While new blocks and items may not be readily available in the main world, they can be harvested in our secondary world.

It should be no surprise that not using maps wipes can require far more effort on our part to ensure that data maintained by plugins and databases migrate properly to next version and in some cases are properly translated from one format to another. Past experience has shown that some plugin authors have a unique ability to throw monkey wrenches into the works.

In the past we have tried releasing vanilla and test servers for members to experience new features while we were busily working on updates. Unfortunately, those servers met with limited success. Interest in vanilla servers quickly faded due to a lack of plugins. Interest in test servers faded due to the lack of persistence. We believe that our upgrade changes will make this more palatable.

Let me start by stating that this is just an overview of changes; nitty-gritty details are not taken into account. Starting with the 1.12.2 upgrade and subsequent major updates, we will determine whether an upgrade requires a new secondary world. If so, it will be based on a seed that LWK has deemed a reasonable balance of biomes, structures, and other needs.

The new secondary world (Seraph Realm or Outer Reaches) will become the official test world and be accessible via the Test Hub; not Arda. Initially, it will be a vanilla world served by the latest Spigot development release with no plugins. We will try to address plugin upgrades and tests in a specific order, which can be summed up by the following categories: protection, social, economy, special features, utilities, and miscellaneous. As these plugins are deemed stables, they will be added to the test server.

Members will not have access to Arda claim blocks, Shillings, XP, shops, and other resources from the test server. However, any such items accrued while playing in the test world will eventually be merged back into Arda. In others words, anything and everything members accumulated during testing will be still be available once Arda has been upgraded and the test world has been added as the new official secondary world. We will merge your old and new claims, accrued claim blocks, Shillings, XP, etc. Moving/merging shops and other inventories is left to each member.

Furthermore, we will add an initial balance for certain plugins, if deemed necessary. For example, members will start off with 1000 claim blocks and 1000 Shillings to be used in the test world, once those plugins are added for testing. And yes, they will be added to your Arda balance after the upgrade process has been completed.

But – is not there always one or more? – there are some stipulations.

Server/Plugin Errors

Things can go horribly wrong. While we try to minimize the impact of disasters, loss of resources may occur. If the impact is server-wide, will will try to restore as best as we can or compensate in some other fashion. For all other cases, members will just have to bear the loss. For example, never every keep anything in your player’s inventory that you cannot afford to lose. Stow it away in a chest; after all, it is a test server.

It is doubtful that anything will go haywire with the world itself. Builds, chest inventories, etc. should rarely be affected unless world files are corrupted. Resources and data managed by plugins are more susceptible.

If members find something awry or missing, we certainly want to hear of it. Whether we will give remedies depends on the circumstance. I know with absolute certainty that I do not have to say this to our long-term members, past and present, but for anyone new to VeteranCraft, please be sure that a loss is a real loss. Any false claims will be dealt with accordingly. We log far more information during testing that allows us to replay almost any situation. It can be a tedious process to investigate errors. If it turns out to be a wild goose chase, it will only serve to annoy one or more of the three people one really should not annoy – Frelling, LightwarriorK, and Mudwog. Enough said.

Merging Accumulated Resources

We will only merge accumulated resources if a member has been an active tester. That is to say, they have been active on the test server. After all, testing a server with only one or two players is not much of a test. The operative word is play, the more a member plays and the more members play together, the better. We understand that some members have a limited amount of time, which is perfectly fine. The cutoff decision will not be based on statistics alone, but also on subjective interpretations. Our members are the best testers. Matter of fact, we encourage them to try to “beat” on the test server, short of using malicious hacks or DoS attacks.

It is easier to illustrate a counterpoint. If members logs in when GriefPrevention and Bank plugins are being tested, they will automatically receive 1000 claim blocks and 1000 Shillings. If that is the first and last time they were on the test server, they should not be surprised that their credits or any claims created did not get merged into Arda.

I will state again, that the final decision will have a subjective component. The primary purpose is to have members play on the test server with the assurance that their efforts will not be wasted and to also reward them for their time and effort.

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