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Lag detection progress

In order to solve our current lag problem, I have made some considerable progress. The main issue is that Minecraft as such is not able to tell me where on the server the lag is being caused, I have to infer that myself by walking around and looking at things. Not really effective.

In the past I had a system that would record the position of users whenever lag was high and I tried to get an image from people’s positions. Also not ideal since people warp around and parts of the map might be loaded and where there are no people and those can still generate lag.

So my new strategy was to somehow get a list of all loaded chunks whenever the lag is high. In order to do that, I need to write my own Minecraft plugin however. And I am really bad at that.

However, with the help of Seanboyy and LukeCreative and some folks at the spigot IRC chat I managed to out something together that seems to do what I want. It’s not 100% operational yet but we are on the right track.

Once that is done I can create a heatmap as an overlay for the 2D map and then, hopefully pinpoint the areas where the map is generating lag. I would hope I have the first data to display by today, a working display by tomorrow and then the first results the day after that. Maybe even sooner.

There is a certain risk that there are so many chunks loaded permanently that it’s hard to pinpoint lag sources but with proper subtraction of those chunks during lag-free time we should get somewhere.

Let’s hope that we get something done here and a good tool to combat lag for the years to come.

Achievement Proposals

So I started working on an achievement plugin. It tracks what you do on the server and gives you different levels of achievement per category. We can have an unlimited number but it somehow has to be traceable of course. With some of them, one can of course cheat by artificially just executing commands without needing them, but I guess there is no perfect system. If we want to work on it to make it really nice, we can attach titles to the different achievement levels as well. Some of them then also can have additional rewards. This should be only for things that cannot be cheated of course. Of course the easy stuff would be in large quantities. Also, we should try to make people use all aspects of the server with those achievements. I am not 100% sure if we can have all of them, but we can at least try. Please add your ideas of what achievements you would like to see or are funny.

  • Vote numbers
  • Sales turnover in the shop
  • items bought in the shop (value)
  • /home use command
  • money in the bank
  • number of deaths
  • days played on the server
  • longest off-line time
  • hours played on the server
  • requests fulfilled
  • stories written and played (by someone else)
  • sales cancelled
  • deposit box usage (deposited blocks)
  • blocks broken (in the lots where we track that)
  • blocks placed (as above)
  • special blocks broken/placed (such as diamonds or so)
  • karma given ( negative/ positive separated)
  • karma received (all-in)
  • quizzes started
  • quizzes answered
  • quizzes won
  • promotions voted
  • mails written
  • mails sent
  • forum posts written
  • blog comments written

Next steps: Once we have the list, I will make an info-page on the website where the achievements and the limits for them will be visible. Then we can nail down what reasonable quantities for the initial launch. Then I would start the logic that tracks the individual achievements. Likely, some of them we will update only once a day and not instantly. At the same time I would start installing the first displays on user pages so the achievements can be tracked.

More details regarding the new kingdom lot system

So I have started working on the new kingdom lot system. This affects only main lots, not the street lots. Those would remain as they are, maybe become a bit more expensive. Here is how it would work:

Core Mechanics:

You get a lot by buying it. Once you are done with your build, and it satisfies some quality criteria, you can “give it back”. That means that you give it to me, it becomes a showcase like the builds in the city. Here are the details:

Getting a lot

Each kingdom lot would cost you progressively more. If I use the same formula as for the deposits and start at 10k Uncs, we get the following progression:

  • 1 lot(s): 10’000 UNCs
  • 2 lot(s): 80’000 UNCs
  • 3 lot(s): 270’000 UNCs
  • 4 lot(s): 640’000 UNCs
  • 5 lot(s): 1’250’000 UNCs
  • 6 lot(s): 2’160’000 UNCs
  • 7 lot(s): 3’430’000 UNCs
  • 8 lot(s): 5’120’000 UNCs
  • 9 lot(s): 7’290’000 UNCs
  • 10 lot(s): 10’000’000 UNCs

The formula is: (no. of lots)³ x 10’000. It’s the same as for the deposit boxes. This is of course quite steep. Another calculation option would be this one:

  • 1 lot(s): 10’000 UNCs
  • 2 lot(s): 40’000 UNCs
  • 3 lot(s): 90’000 UNCs
  • 4 lot(s): 160’000 UNCs
  • 5 lot(s): 250’000 UNCs
  • 6 lot(s): 360’000 UNCs
  • 7 lot(s): 490’000 UNCs
  • 8 lot(s): 640’000 UNCs
  • 9 lot(s): 810’000 UNCs
  • 10 lot(s): 1’000’000 UNCs

Here the formula is (no. of lots)² x 10’000. If find this almost too cheap. Essentially I want to make sure that the size of the build has a cost that is in proportion to the amount of work it would take to finish it – and the number of people it takes to do something like that. If you want to build a 4×4 build, you should not have 10 of those at the same time in the works, and a 9×9 build would rarely be a single person’s project.

It’s a draft and we have to see if we stick with that. However, there is another opportunity to get lots much cheaper: Join with others. If you anyhow plan to build with others something that is 4×4 lots, you can let other people buy 1 or more of the lots and let them pay for it. But the achievements/reward for finishing a lot would then also go to that person! I.e. we would not allow anymore to transfer lots to other people since there would be too much of an incentive to cheat the progression system by simply handing 10k to some settlers or secondary accounts and have them later give you the lot back once you gave back another of them to collect your reward.

Getting rid of a lot

There would be 3 ways of getting rid of a lot. Abandoning it, giving it to me or leaving the server. If you think you will never finish it, you can abandon it and it will be reset. If you think your lot is “done”, you can put it up for inspection. That means that Elders and myself would go to the lot and check it out. We would look if the lot is build well enough to be given to me. There would be a questionnaire that would ask questions along these lines:

  • Is the space well used (or is there just a lonely hut?)
  • Is it built along a theme (or is it just a clutter of random builds?)
  • does it line up well with the neighbor lots (or are there massive gaps in the landscape)
  • is it interesting to look at (or is it just a bunch of 1×1 noob towers)

Once this inspection is passed as successful, you would lose the lot and get rewards. This would be any possible yet to be decided reward, which could be physical (such as rare items (beacons, dragon eggs, whatever), perks (disguises) and achievement levels (badges on your user page etc) or donator status months etc.

The other way to get rid of a lot would be if you leave the server for good and the lot would be reset otherwise. That means that there would be no more resets due to people leaving. In that case the lot would go back into the pool of “free” lots and people could by them just like empty lots and decide if they want to finish the build or reset them.

What happens with the currently occupied lots?

Some people have a substantial number of main lots in the kingdom. Essentially, they would have the issue that they cannot buy any new lots since that has just become prohibitively expensive. Other lots, that are properly built, could be given back just like above.

New Kingdom 3D Render (as a test)

I have started a new render view for the kingdom from the opposite side. Currently, all maps are rendered from a South-East perspective. I added now for the Kingdom a North-West perspective as well. You can see that if you click on the grey cube (as opposed to the green one) in the map selection.

This is currently at a lower resolution than the SW-Perspective. I have to check what this does to our server performance since the render takes space (a lot, currently 6.4 GB for all maps) and processing power. There is an option to switch from PNG image format to JPG at different compression rates to scale this down, I will see how we optimize that going forward. On another option, I could limit map rendering to certain times during the day to make sure that we have the most processing power when the most people are online. The result would be that the map would only update once daily however.

Have a look and let me know if you find it helpful or not.

New Kingdom system idea

So based in all your comments on the last post (thanks for contributing), I have the following idea for the kingdom:

Disclaimer: I will still have to figure out how we would smoothly transition from now to the new system, so ignore issues around that for a while please.

If you buy a main kingdom lot, additional kingdom lots get incrementally more expensive, like home slots. Lets ignore the street lots for now. It might be even unaffordable to go beyond a certain number. 9? Who knows, we will see.

However, if you think a lot is “done”, you can give it back at a profit. You would fame. We could have a new version of the Karma system where you get one karma per lot as a badge displayed with your name. You could get a page on the website where your build is exposed. Anything of the sort.

You could also get Uncs, but I am not 100% sure about that. One version would be that you just get the purchase price refunded. One other that you get a reward on top of that. Another version could be that you get nothing. You would have to start from scratch with a new build. I know that last version would not be so motivating but it sounds interesting since it gives the option for a restart and would be good for the server since money and materials would have a place where they leave the economy instead of just creating this endless deflation.

When is a lot done? Well there would have to be an evaluation of the lot, possibly by other users first and if that passes by myself. A bit like a building contest. We could make a small questionnaire for people to fill out, with questions about the lot such as:

  • Is it detailed?
  • Is it unique?
  • Does it use the available space properly?
  • Etc…

To help people rate it so I don’t get a bunch of 5×5 noob huts to approve.

What do you guys think?

New Discord Server! Good-bye Teamspeak server!

I have made the decision to migrate from Teamspeak to Discord. The Teamspeak integration into Minecraft was outdated and buggy. Also, Discord now has full minecraft integration including userlevels, channel chats etc.

Also, the teamspeak server was hosted by myself, and Discord is not, so there is one thing less for me to care about. To find out more about how to use discord, please check out this tutorial!

Discussion: Kingdom issues & Items Value

Dear all,

The recent issue (see the previous post) regarding automated farming has raised a couple of questions for me:

  • Are some items simply too cheap to buy in the economy due to automated farming? It seems to me that the opportunity to build mega-farms in all dimensions (End, Nether, Normal worlds) have deteriorated values of formerly valuable things to near zero. Just by voting one day people can afford to buy things to last them for weeks. We might as well switch the economy off and just start sharing things freely since the money is there in abundance for almost anything you want.
  • Is space in the kingdom too cheap so that we have a bunch of half-finished mega builds? There are the outlines/foundations of lot-sized or even multi-lot sized structure on the surface that have not change since months, even years. Some users have several of those structures on the map.
  • Is the kingdom too much used for mining sand & other items instead of building things? The kingdom was meant for people to build stuff. I have seen several lots on the 2D map where the surface was simply stripped and left as is. It’s taking the space away from people who want to build something and turning the Kingdom into an ugly wasteland. With the point above, it gets even worse.

I wanted everyone’s input on this. Obviously I think that these issues are a problem and I would like to tackle them.



Important: Server Lag issue

Dear all,
Since Friday last week (9th March) we have a massive lag issue. Normally we have a TPS (ticks per second) around 19 (max is 20) and right now, the TPS is degrading down to 11 during the course of the day. The only thing that I could identify is that the issue is located in the Kingdom world.
I did some initial testing but could not find what is causing it in detail. I would like to encourage all of you to check for the following items:

  • Large surface tiled with slabs: Those cause spawn-attempts that are then cancelled
  • Large surfaces of Ice in winter biomes that have torches on them: The ice melts and re-freezes permanently
  • Automated farms: If you have a mob farm where mobs automatically are killed, there needs to be a switch that can disable mob spawning/killing. The killing method here does not matter (falling, fire, overcrowding). It has to be able to be disabled and when you are not there, it should not operate. If other people than the lot owner goes to the lot, they have to switch it on to operate it.
  • Same goes about observer-based cane farms. If you cannot switch off the farming, it’s not allowed.
  • Large water flow areas / cascades should not exist.
  • Please also look for more info on the “Lag” page.

Please consider the following: I have considerably invested in the server hardware and every 2 years spend double the monthly rate to migrate to a stronger system that should support 50+ users at the same time. On the other side, it’s extremely hard and dozens of hours of work for me to identify causes of lag. If at the same time users operate systems that essentially turn the survival principles of the server into a creative environment because they harvest goods at a rate that overcompensates their consumption by dimensions, it’s simply not lining up anymore.

So please, keep your farms & anti-mob measures at scale for personal use (!) and check whatever you did since Friday so we can stop the lag. I don’t want to start test-resetting kingdom lots to find the issue.

Darklands Reset Update

Looking at the latest snapshots and the dramatic changes in the underwater landscape with Ravines, Ruins and caves, I have decided that we will, with 100% certainty, reset the darklands after the next version upgrade.

Ideally, of course, we would do this at the same time when the server gets upgraded. I do not know how long it will be until the new version will be ready, there are still several announced features missing in the latest snapshots. It can be well 1 or even 2 months until then. However I want to give everyone enough time to salvage their stuff from the darklands, so there is the announcement that there will be a reset. In the hopes that we will be ready to erase the current darklands once the new version comes out, please go ahead and clean out your stuff. Please note that this is not a permission for griefing what was built by individuals. If stuff is used by the community, please make sure that it will be given back to the community.

1.13: Chest placement & item frames

From 1.13, Chests can be placed next to each other. This might offer much more compact storage room layouts. Chest will be combined only by shift-clicking them onto each other like hoppers on chests, but if placed normally on the ground, they can be placed next to each other in any manner. Also, item frames can be posted on the top and bottom of blocks.

Will you re-design your storage area? Where will you put item frames if you place them more compact? Show us your best storage area layout!