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New skyblocks now (finally) have a sandblock!

I went and updated all 400 skyblocks in the mint world that we use as a template to reset lots and also listed all existing, empty skyblocks for a reset. So whenever someone resets their skyblock from now on or gets a new one, they (finally) should have a sandblock in their chest.

Since there are not THAT many occupied blocks, I went around quickly and placed a sandblock somewhere near chests or crafting table manually. I hope I did not miss any lots!

Shop manager Goods page finished

I have now started working again on the shop manager. The first thing now finalized is the “Goods” category, where you can now lookup all items in the shop, and by clicking on them you can dive into sub-items (if available) and see all requests and offers for the final block.

Currently we are structuring this according to the data hierarchy as it is programed into minecraft. Thus, different wool types are a sub-type of wool, but some of the blocks like Podzol might not be so easy to find if you do not know what they are a sub-type of. I will be working on an alternative model in the future to make it a bit more user-friendly.

First (tiny) open source project spin-off from uncovery minecraft

I have written a lot of code so far for the server, but most of it I would consider proprietary and very much specially written for this server. Unless someone would have the exact same environment and server mechanics, it’s unusable for anyone else. It’s also not well documented enough to be used as a new setup.

However, I have created a new way to handle errors in PHP and changed the code so that it’s not a built-in part of the rest of the code anymore but rather a standalone project. I have published it on Github today as an open-source project for anyone to use.

It’s a small thing and I do not know if there is more to follow, but my hope is that other programmers will see it, try it out and find it useful, possibly propose improvements to it. If you are using PHP, I would encourage you to try it out. It has helped me a lot with my programming.

Short roll-back

Yesterday night the mysql connection failed because of a configuration issue. That caused worldguard to stop working. I fixed the config (that happened because of the vanilla setup on the new server), but because worldguard failed, fire spread was and remained on. So whenever someone came near a location, any burnable items in the are would spread fire nearby and stuff would burn down.

So I rolled back right now from the last backup 6 hours ago. Firespread was on then already, but all places where people have not been in the last 6 hours are fine again. So sorry for people who lost stuff, but it should be only small stuff.

Several Fixes

  • Teamspeak is up again
  • the /find command works now properly with held items and for lookup by text for exact matches with item names. If you do not know the item name use /search (as before)
  • the /search command now correctly returns item names for the above command. It will show you the item name and a list of aliases where it found your search term.
  • Places that have so far shown item ids (like the lottery) do not show those anymore.

Server move today

I will move the server today to the new provider. This should take only a short time, something like 30 minutes or so. However, I will also have to redirect the domain name from the old server to the new, and that might not activate as fast, depending on where you are.

You will NOT lose anything. You can continue building on the current system as usual. I will shut down the current server, move all the data as-is to the new one, and then start up the new one.

Move completed!

I have now finished to move the server to the new provider. I will be busy in the coming days to properly setup all the other stuff that is on the server, email accounts migration etc. After that I will be able to care about the shop manager and other stuff that is not finished right now.

We have now much more RAM and processing power as described before. I will see what I can do to use this optimally for the server. There is a potential that we can increase mob spawning rates and other things. I will try to dial the limits up over the coming days and see how that affects server performance.

I also re-setup the off-site backup now and made sure that we back up the databases and the files once a day. On top of that, the new server has RAID 1 dual HDs for the SSD and the normal HD on the server. Since the server is located on the SSD and I make a mirror on the HD, we have now 5 different places where the data is stored. So unless a meteorite hits somewhere or I do something incredibly stupid, we should be good :)

FYI, what happened on the previous server. At the time, I had a free account for the off-site backup which had limited storage space. I made the decision at the time to only store the weekly backups of the files offline since they take a lot of space. In the meantime I bought an account for the offsite backup for private reasons (to have a backup of my photos) and therefore now also have enough space for the daily files of the minecraft server. What happened on the old server was most likely a defect HD controller. Still now, after I got new HDs, there are still issues. Since the provider has a policy to replace both HDs in case one fails, the main HD was ruined when he connected it to the external connector. The fact that they did not give me a complete new server when I negotiated for a new 2 year lease, was the trigger for me to look for an alternative provider, luckily I found one.

We’re moving!

So while on the surface, the server has been running fine with the new harddisks, I discovered that the brand new seconday HD has issues again. I am quite fed up with this and started to shop around for alternative offers and found one from 1&1. So I signed up for a new server which will be faster, more RAM and will have even an SSD for overall less money per month. Sicne the contract with GoDaddy just expired I won’t pay double. So in summary we will get:

  • 12 Cores instead of 4
  • 32GB fully usable RAM instead of 8GB Ram (4 usable due to Ramdisk)
  • 240GB SSD
  • CentOS 7 instead of 6

I will prepare the new server once it is setup and then try to make a move with as little downtime as possible. I will make an post here once we are ready.

Yay!

What happened?

On Sunday morning, I got an error when the daily backup routine was supposed to run. It basically told me that the files could not be written. Looking at the file destination, it was clear that the 2nd HD that I use for backups was not accessible, all the data was gone.

I contacted tech support at the provider and asked them for help. They recommended rebooting the server to see if that would bring the drive back. It did not. The whole server would not come back online. They then told me that they would have to take out both HDs, install a new system with new HDs and attach the old ones to the system via USB so I could get back the data.

That failed, too. The old backup HD did not even spin up, the main HD would spin up but would not be recognized by the system. The whole process until then had taken from 10:00am until 8pm. I then started to download offsite backups (several Gigabytes) from the internet to my local PC and then again upload them to the server. That basically took the night.

I am now working on getting the minecraft server back up.

What was lost?

  • World & inventory data from 10-19th September: I could not restore the daily backup but only the weekly one. So whatever was built, in your inventory or otherwise stored on the server is reset. I am sorry about that. t seems that the off-site backup was misconfigured to not save the daily but only the weekly data. Of course I will fix that once the server is back up.
  • The darklands: This is as announced. Since the darklands is much too big due to exploration, It was never backed up and therefore cannot be restored. We will re-generate it. I am not sure if we use the same world id or not.
  • The Nether: Same as the darklands. The only thing that I made a backup some days ago is Daiyas monster-build (23rd of August).
  • System information: While this does not affect users directly, a lot of the config files on the server were lost. I will have to re-create a lot of stuff and re-configure things to get them up and running again. I assume that this will be 1-2 full days of work to get things going again.

What was not lost?

  • Everything in a database. The database that I could restore was the version from Saturday, so it should be pretty much up to date (10 hours or so lost max, nothing that affects you if you did not log in since then). This means your shop, deposit, money lots etc are pretty much up to date.

What did we win?

  • Glow stone: Since the nether was reset, you can get glow stone now easily again
  • Fortresses: Since the Darklands was reset, you can now get materials from the fortresses again – if you are fast enough.

Again, I am sorry for anything that was lost. I was taken by surprise that both HDs failed at the same time. I never expected that to happen and I have vague suspicions that the tech guys at the provider somehow screwed the main HD up when they disconnected it. I guess it’s a risk to take when using a cheap hoster. I have looked around for a long time for alternative hosters but the costs are normally double if not triple. The fact that I have to manage all by myself and don’t have anyone to check on what I am doing is not helping as you can see, since I am not that experienced when hosting things. Lessons learned. I will try to be more prepared for future crashes.

Phasing out the Ticket system

We are using a ticket system that is combined between a 3rd party system for wordpress (the website) and a backend for the in-game system that I wrote. The issue is that the website part gets updated often, and each time I can only hope that nothing vital was changed that requires me to re-write the in-game part.

Since I finished the in-game mail system now and since it also has a web-front-end, I will be disabling the ticket system, since it’s essentially the same functionality. I will keep the web functionality for some time to make sure old tickets are being worked on, but the in-game part will be retired first.