2020.9 (3/16/20) Weekly Update

Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by Silverwolfg11, Mar 16, 2020.

  1. Silverwolfg11

    Silverwolfg11 ‌‌ 

    Ratings:
    +278
    Hello hello hello. I know it has been a while since the last weekly update, so there's a bit to cover.

    This one is going to be a lot of reading, so sorry to those who loathe essays (I feel ya).

    Here's what I am going to cover in this post: recent additions to the server, developmental goals, server event etiquette, staff and community changes. Then I'm going to address some recent concerns and questions: Nighta's promotion, what is happening to current/previous (discord) discussions, and why the server has been/is lagging.

    Let's start off with recent additions to the server. Most additions to the actual towny server are posted in the Minor Changes thread. In fact, there was a restart last night with a few minor updates which will be in that thread after this one is posted. In changes to other things, the discord structure was recently shifted around and we added an improvements category. This category will have channels for discussion regarding additions/changes to the server. The suggestions channel and the discussions channel (which has been renamed to economy) has been moved there. We have also added an events channel for the staff to mention upcoming events, help plan out community events, and for the players to plug their own server-related events in there.

    Okay, on to developmental goals! I know some of you have probably heard me say "I'll add it to my TODO list" when you have told me about bugs, and other things, etc. I also realize that some of you have asked me what is on my TODO list. Well, I'll tell you about some things that are on it.
    • Vote Shop Analytics: What's this? Well, a while ago, when we were shifting the economy around, we did so based on NPCShop buying/selling statistics. We also wanted to shift around some vote rewards but we didn't really know what you guys spent your vote points on. So we decided that we should add vote shop analytics.
    • Duels: Yes, I am fully aware that Duels plugin needs a little love, but things with the towny server have kept me busy. I developed Duels as a massive minigames plugin capable of hosting a variety of minigames, however I never fully got around to implementing all of them. (Fun Fact: the Duels plugin is capable of hosting survival games)
    • Custom Death Message Plugin: This plugin is pretty self-explanatory but should add another collective aspect to the server of getting new death messages. This plugin will also incorporate localized death messages to reduce kill-spam.
    • Revamp of Wars: I'll talk more about this below when I talk about the discussions.
    • Internal Development: A lot of times I have to do internal development on the nitty-gritty of the server stuff like trying to improve the core server software, or working on code that a lot of our different plugins depend on.
    We also have a new website design in development. We currently have no idea when we will be able to release this as it is quite a large project and there are still some things to address. Just something to look forward to in the future of the server.

    Next: Server Event Etiquette. We all love server events, from hosting them to participating them. Our current server event which is all throughout March is the UrbanMC Olympics! However, lately I've noticed some players of the community bashing the event staff and reducing the enjoyable experience that these events should have. The staff team tries its best to host events to the best of our ability. Yes, sometimes there are delays, and not everything goes 100% to plan but we try to accommodate as best as we can. Remember, the staff that planned these events did so for the enjoyment of the entire community. We would appreciate it if the community did not try to belittle or undermine the event staff during these events. Also, remember the rules on the towny server still apply to server events, along with the rules that have been established for each event. Please do your best to follow them as they were designed with the intention to make the event an enjoyable experience for all players.

    Moving on to Staff and Community Changes. There have recently been a lot of critical posts and discussions about the staff team. We appreciate all the feedback that we get and we do try to internalize it. In the past couple months there have been significant changes to the staff team and how we operate. We have established better goals for the team in order to benefit the server and the community. Let me briefly go over some of them. The staff team is going to try to do a better job about being transparent about things. This includes making announcements about every change to the server so we can keep the community in the loop, as well as letting the community know what's going on inside the staff team at the current moment. Next, we have made the goal to try to bridge ourselves better with the community. We noticed that in the past few years there was a visible growing disconnect between the staff team and the community. It's important to note that we have always done things with the best interests of the community and server in mind, but we do realize we haven't been the best in expressing this to the community. Suffice to say, we're working on getting better on that. This leads on to community changes; the staff team is trying to better bridge our thoughts on server changes with the community's thoughts on server changes. It's just generally known that more perspectives on issues will result in the solution of that issue being better applicable to the community. Thus, we are now going to try to participate more in discussions about changes to the server, so that way you know that your voice is being heard, and we have more perspectives on topics.

    Stay tuned in the next post for more.
     
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  2. Silverwolfg11

    Silverwolfg11 ‌‌ 

    Ratings:
    +278
    Whew, that was a lot up there, but it's not over! Now I'm going to address some recent concerns and questions.

    Ok first up is Nighta's Promotion. I think the question that has been asked is, "Since a moderator has recently left, why promote one of the few moderators to a higher position that has been known to be inactive especially if they are not developer?" This question contains a few misconceptions. First, it's important to note that Nighta has been on the staff team for a long time and she has done a great job as a moderator. However, we also know that there have been complaints about how the administrator team is not very active and there's delayed response to issues that require administration. So we decided that this promotion would help alleviate the issue. This does not mean the other administrators are not going to be active. I will still be online as I usually am, and Urban is also making an effort to be more active. The next question to address is, "how does Nighta becoming admin benefit the staff team and the community?" Well, like I mentioned there will be more administrative activity. Nighta will also be stepping up to take charge of the more community-oriented aspects of administration. She will be working with the moderator team to encourage better interaction with the community, leading discussions, planning events, and more. With her new administrator position, she will have the capability of better leading events, and helping out in the community. The final misconception is that the promotion has caused a loss of another moderator. This is not true, nor has it ever. All members of the staff enforce the rules when we are online, whether it be administrators or moderators. Administrators still carry the same responsibilities as moderators but also a little more. Lastly, it's important to note that, all staff members are important in the functioning of the staff team. With a small staff team, each member harbors a good amount of responsibility, and each member of the current staff team has done an excellent job as a staff member.

    Next up is what is going to happen to the past and previous discord discussions. The simple answer is nothing bad. We are still going to have new discussion topics, and we are still going to use the discussions to benefit the server. This one actually leads in to what we are doing with the war discussion that we had for a couple weeks.

    We have not forgot about the great ideas from the war discussion that everyone contributed to. Over the next couple of weeks the staff team is going to formalize these ideas and make them into a comprehensive system, one that is going to be geared from a developmental perspective and will detail out how the war system will be coded. Once this is formalized, we will present it back to the community, hopefully get some feedback, and then I will start working on development of the new system.

    Ok the last concern: why is the server lagging? This has been brought up too many times to count and has resulted in some anguish and anger. A good while ago, I made a thread detailing about the negative performance of 1.14. Unfortunately, 1.15 was an improvement, but it was not a silver bullet. I know I have said this a lot and some players do not believe me. However, as a member of several development communities and several server administration communities, this has been the constant consensus from developers and server owners alike. The constant argument against this knowledge has been "I played on this server and it wasn't laggy, why is this one?" The thing is that UrbanMC has always focused on building on top of the vanilla experience. Thus, we do not prevent a lot of things that are the sources of the lags. For example, we don't restrict how many hoppers you can have in one area, nor do we restrict how many entities can be in one area as well. We really don't restrict any vanilla features except ones that undermine the total gameplay experience on the server. A lot of servers that "do not lag" majorly restrict vanilla features. That does not mean we do not care about performance. We are constantly making small improvements to underlying code to push the software to its limits. In fact we use our own modified server software that I developed that I have named "Harmony". This software is built on top of an experimental performance variation of the Spigot/Bukkit server software. Finally, the last question was "why not just buy a better CPU?" The answer to this deals with a cost-benefit analysis. It is not free to host the server and there are expenses that go into maintaining one. A minecraft server runs best on what's known as single-threaded performance CPUs. Ironically these are not industrial CPUs but often consumer CPUs. However, like with anything, the best high-end products are expensive. Then the question is whether the expense is worth the benefit. Like I previously mentioned, I am a member of several server administrative communities. Some members of those communities do invest in the high-end CPUs and they still have the same complaints. Furthermore, experienced developers and computer engineers that are in those communities have expressed that even with the high-end CPUs, the software is still very limiting in performance. Thus, it does not make sense for us to invest a good amount of money in a higher end CPU for a minor performance benefit.

    Ok, whew that was a lot. If you read all that, big thanks to you, and if you didn't, please do as it answers a lot of questions you may have.

    Finally, it's time to address something unrelated to the server. I know the server is often an escape for real life, and I love that we can come as a community to just enjoy time playing. However, real life still exists and we cannot forget about issues there as well. We are currently in the midst of a global pandemic. One that I know has impacted me personally, and has impacted a lot of members of the server. These are scary times, but it's important to remember to stay calm and not panic in the midst of this. It's important that everyone does their part to try to stay healthy and keep others healthy. I advise you to follow your local and national governments' health advisory information as those are based on the advice of experienced medical professionals. Regardless of political beliefs, I am sure that none of us want to get sick and none of us want to get others sick. While some recent events may cause frustration, please do your best to keep yourself healthy and keep the people around you healthy as well.

    Thank you for reading all that. I know it was a lot. But it's only the start, we have some fun things planned for everyone, and we are really excited to show them to the community. Stay healthy, and of course, stay amazing.
     
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