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Updates to 2D map

There are now more updates to the 2D map:

  • When a user leaves or enters a world, the menu icon for the user is now correctly updated, not only the icon on the map loction
  • The whole top-menu was redesigned, now with drop-downs and integrated usericons
  • The spawn-finder has been redesigned and the animation is now neater
  • The user-finder now shakes the icon so it’s better visible when it’s not on the center of the map

Updates

  • darthandrew1 is kindly helping me to fix some of the HTML and the CSS on the website. First improvements are some fixes you won’t see so much and small improvements on the text readability of the 2D map. This is still in progress and we will see more stuff later
  • I found a nice way how to make the lot selection on the settler test a bit more visible.
  • Hunger games are open for testing again. Please try and tell me if something does not work as expected. Trophies won’t be given out so far.
  • I fixed a quite serious bug where users could take the settler test twice and get two lots in the empire as settlers. I notified the 7-8 users who have several lots now and asked them to tell me which one they want to abandon. If I do not get a reply from them, I will remove them from one of the lots manually.

Updates

  • There is now a “Mark all read” button on the website mail interface.
  • The /dis command now enabled disguises again.
  • You can now authorize your Teamspeak client to be able to speak with the “/teamspeak auth” command. See the Teamspeak page for details.

Today’s Updates

Ok, Some more fixes here, will update as they come in:

  1. You can now properly read multi-line emails that have been composed online also in-game. Before it would only show the first line, now it shows the complete text. There are still some hickups with quotes and so on, but the text is readable.
  2. I also started fixing the Hunger games. It’s quite complicated since I cannot get info from the game reliably when a user dies. Still working on it!

Updates

So here are updates for recent fixes:

  1. I identified another issue where usernames on the blog would not be updated according to their username changes. This has been fixed now. Once a user with a changed username logs into the server, the website username should be updated correctly
  2. I investigated the teamspeak server and found that there were some misconfigurations which resulted from the last time we moved the server from the old provider to the current one. This has been fixed now and I was able to re-install the website widget which makes you see the teamspeak users on the website. On top of that, I installed a plugin that allows you to see who logs in to the teamspeak server in-game. I am still working on getting text-chat working between the teamspeak server and the game, but there are some config issues. I contacted the plugin author and hope to get a reply soon to fix this. I hope we can get more people then to use teamspeak.
  3. I updated the Server info page since the Hardware/hosting info was outdated, thanks Sleeping_owl for the hint!
  4. I fixed the URL in the /settler command, it was outdated, thanks darthandrew1 for the hint!
  5. /find dark_oak_wood and several others (leaves etc) should now be fixed, thanks library_witch713 and sehrgut42 for the hint!

Optimizing server performance

[Disclaimer: This is a fairly technical post about the management of this server. It does not affect gameplay, so no need to read this for your game experience]

I have been working the last 2 days on optimizing the server performance. I installed some months ago a server monitoring tool to better understand how the resources of the server work. This mostly is balanced between Memory, processor capacity and hard disk read/write speed. There are some settings I can change to shift load on the server between memory and hard disk writes for example.

Then, on Monday, I investigated the above tool and found that I can add specific reports for our database system (MySQL). On top of this, I am now observing a more detailed status report provided my the server and observe if I can weed out any poor performance. This showed me that the basic configuration that the server was installed with by default was quite bad for the current usage that we have and that some of the queries that we are doing on the database might not be optimized properly. So here is the monitor tool chart during the last 24 hours when I started to adjust the configuration of the database server:

mysql02z.1day

What you can see on the left end of the chart is that the red and pink line (Buffer usage) were at 100% and the cyan line (cache usage) was at zero. So that means that I did not use at all or completely exhausted some of the resources that the server provides to reduce its work load. If there is no available cache for example, each query that is performed several times needs to be re-executed from scratch instead of simple remembering the result somewhere and re-using that.

So since the first time when the chart starts changing (around 10:00 am yesterday) I re-configured the database config several times (each with a restart of the database and minecraft server) and tried to apply generous cache and other resource settings. Once I am happy with the result based on the detailed status report, I can again reduce the memory and so on provided to give more to other processes (like the web server, the minecraft server etc).

For example, originally I had a maximum number of connections to the server of 300 (green line), a quota which was utilized most of the time around 70% and sometimes even fully exhausted (which basically stopped the minecraft server from working) to 600, which might be too many (now the usage is only around 10%). So I avoided the server rejecting connections because of the limit. The usage of connections might be reduced or increased by the change of other config settings however. So I rather run with excess resources until I removed all the alerts the server is giving me, and once I am happy with the result, I can reduce that limit to a reasonable amount.

The biggest work however will be to find out the most inefficient queries to the database that the server is doing and fix those.

So I hope you understand if I need to restart the server in the coming days a couple of times since every time I change the database config, I need to shutdown the minecraft server, too.

Scheduled Server disconnect between 1:00 AM and 2:00 AM CST

The provider informed me that there will be a scheduled disconnect of the server from the network for maintenance reasons today on 4.21.2015 between 1:00 AM and 2:00 AM CST. The update will improve stability and security.

Since this is only the server being disconnected from the network, there is no risk at all for your stuff on the server. Just please wait until it gets reconnected again. No need to notify my unless the disconnect takes longer than one hour.

DDOS attack summary

So I got the confirmation from the provider that we were, in fact hit by a DDOS attack on Tuesday. Despite all the (more or less hilarious) attempts to be hacked over the last years, this was the first time something like this happened. Since I had no idea what was going on and since it happened 4:00 am in my time, it took me quite a while until I woke up and was able to call the provider regarding the issue after I tried several things to fix it myself since I had to go to the office and was quite busy there.

The provider realized the issue and started filtering the attack successfully. Here is a graph of the network traffic during that time:

net01z.1week

So you can see it was quite heavy compared to what normally happens on the server. The daily bigger spikes that you can see early in the morning are by the way the off-site backups that are done every day.

Pistons fixed

The /find piston command should work now again. The pistons are very weird because normally they would have a data value of zero, but sometimes they have a value of 7 and I have no idea so far why and when. I have removed the data value 7 now from the database, we will have to see if something weird pops up now.