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New Minecraft! New Server! Soon!

New Minecraft:

As you might know, the next version of Minecraft is around the corner and should be released sometime today. I am hoping that we will be able to upgrade ASAP, meaning earliest tomorrow. If there are some crucial plugins failing, we might have to postpone. If some non-crucial plugins fail, we will disable those until they are updated for the latest Minecraft version. The plugin issues we had over the last upgrades were only with the really old plugins we still head, but there should not be many of them still around. So I am quite positive that we will be able to upgrade over the weekend.

New Server:

I went and checked if we can get a better server hardware for the same money, and it turns out that we can get a server that is much faster, has much more HD space (space is always a bit of an issue due to the frequent backups we are making) and a newer operating system – for much less money. The only thing that we are not upgrading is the RAM, but we are not using it 100% anyhow right now. The issue with the current server is that the operating system is basically not upgrade-able. We want to upgrade mainly the Python and most importantly PHP to version 7. PHP 7 is by dimensions faster than the current version and should improve our in-game commands and the website. However, PHP 7 has deprecated some functions and it’s a bit risky to upgrade on the same machine only to see that something broke. Python 2.6 which we are using has reached end-of-life but some core OS features rely on 2.6 until we install a new OS overall. While there are some messy ways to run 2 versions of Python parallel, but if we can do it clean with a new OS it’s a good added benefit with the hardware and PHP upgrade.

So I am taking the opportunity to first get a new server, set that one up and then move all the systems 1 by 1 over from the old one and check if they work well. Like this we don’t have any risks or downtime. The one month overlap in which we run (and pay) 2 servers is not an issue since this type of move will give me much less of a headache to fix things immediately. Further, since the new server is cheaper, there is a good return on investment in doing that upgrade. This server move will not influence the timeline of the above Minecraft upgrade.

I ordered the server already, it should be setup as and ready within the next 24 hours and then I will start to install systems etc. See you on the other side!

Help wanted: Items disappearing after death

Dear all, I have gotten multiple reports now over the last couple of weeks about items disappearing too quickly after someone dies. E.g. someone dies, quickly runs back to the location or even teleports with /home but everything that should be dropped on the floor is gone, even if it took them only seconds. I have done some tests and could not replicate the issue. So I need to have a reliable scenario in which this happens, and it has to be reproducible. There are several factors that can contribute to the issue:

  • Different worlds
  • Close to the spawn or not
  • other people being in the same world or not
  • other people being in the vicinity or not

The most likely scenario for this to happen would be when you are alone in a world like the darklands (not in the empire) and some distance from the darklands spawn.

I need reports from people this happens to and what was your location, was anyone around or not etc. No need to tell me when you actually find your stuff. Please test this with random items such as gravel, no need to use your enchanted diamond pick for this.

Good news everyone! (just some tech background)

Do you remember this post where I asked you to help me?

Thanks a lot for all who helped! I made some big process now in the code and we can now see how this system works. I found it quite interesting how one can interface different systems so I thought I’d share:

So we have this image file in the minecraft wiki. It’s used to create all the icons in the wiki, instead of using individual files. In order to use it. the website needs to know which item is displayed where. So I created a copy of the image where I outlined the coordinates of each item. Then I created an Excel sheet where the same coordinates are listed and I asked all of you to help me fill in the item names. Then I made a second tab in the excel sheet called “output” where I just translated the 2-dimensional table into a 1-dimensional list of items and had it copy all the numbers of the rows & lines next to it.

Next, I found a function for PHP that allows me to download Google sheets to the webserver via the Google API and parse the data. Then I wrote a function to write the data to a file as a PHP array. The file includes the x/y coordinates in the matrix as well as the line in the second tab of the excel sheet, just in case we need to fix something there.

Then there is a new function that translates the 0-40 coordinates to the pixel-coordinates in the actual image and then another one that creates the CSS code for the website to display.

Sounds complicated, right? Well it is, but only once now when I created it. the advantage that we have now is that once there is a new block (1.12 anyone?) we just need to download the latest image from the wiki (which I do automatically daily now), and edit the excel sheet and put in the item name there. The rest is then also fully automated. So I do not have to maintain clunky lists of items that have now grown to almost 4000 lines. Instead we can crowd-source data in an excel sheet!

You can now already see the results. In the website’s shop manager all the blocks are already there. There are some with question mark blocks that are not working yet (but now I can find them easily), but most of them work perfectly.

There are still some things to do such as having the software write a central CSS file instead of creating the CSS on the fly for every item, properly displaying damaged items and stuff like fireworks etc, but that’s now just some legwork since all the technical hurdles are gone. Yay!


All old forums imported!

I managed now to import all old forum posts in to the new forum system.
There was an issue with the new forum trying to update all unread counts every time I moved something over.
This took forever on my system and the forum page would not come up for up to 20 minutes.
I am not sure how to fix it so that it updates the unread counts for a user without taking so much time.
However I am also not sure if anyone else has that problem.

If you are having issues, please let me know and I will try to find a solution.

Slabs now disabled in the nether

Since we just had the 2nd instance where someone laid a massive (6-digit) amount of slabs in the nether to modify spawning behavior, I have now blocked all slabs from being placed in the nether.

For those who do not know, slabs prevent mobs from spawning. But the server will still try to spawn them and just cancel the spawning once it detects that there is a slab on the location. So it will try again and again at very high speed, which lags the server massively. So please don’t do it over large surfaces. In any world.

Help wanted!

Hey everyone, I am (once again) asking for everyone’s help: As you know, we have a web interface for the store and deposit. These show you icons of the blocks and items that are out there. right now, I am storing the URL for each image in a file. The images come directly from the minecraft wiki. The issue here is that a lot of items such as potions do not have a dedicated image for each variety. Also, it’s a burden on the system for having so many different individual images.

So what is better? It’s better to have one single file with all the icons, and to tell the browser which part of the file to show instead. In order to do that however, I need to know which block and item is at which position of the image.

It’s better to have one file and tell the website which part of the file to show.

  1. So here is the file with all the icons and numbers on the sides.
  2. And here is an excel sheet with all the locations, mirroring the file.
  3. And here is my file with all the item names.

What I need now, is someone who helps me to take an item name, find the item on the in the list (above point 3) (e.g. the “stone” in ” stone => array( ” ), find it in the image (above 1) and put the name in the correct field on the excel sheet (above 2).


  • Please make sure that you do not use the excel rows and numbers (1,2,3 / A,B,C) but the red colored one, starting with 0.
  • If you are unsure about an item, please color it red and leave a comment on the field what it might be confused with.
  • If an item is a sub-type for something (such as colored items, please add the number from the beginning of the line with a colon after the actual name. Example: stained glass has a orange variety, the text in the file is here. For the orange glass, the text should be stained_glass:0 (NOT orange_glass)
  • If you are unsure if you have the right item, you can for exaple search in the excel file if it exists already somewhere else.
  • if an item has avail => false, in it, you can skip it.
  • You can skip potions, fireworks, banners and damaged items

Thanks a lot for the help!


Today’s development updates

This is a daily update on the status of the work done behind the scenes.
Our webserver is completely open source, hosted on GitHub. You can help improve the server by fixing issues here.

New Lot management command!

We have now a new, cool (if I might say so) lot management command!

You just type /lot manage and it will show you the members of the current lot (provided it’s yours). It will also show you all online users. Behind each user it will show you a [X] for removal or a [+] for adding people to your lot.

If you have ideas for additional commands like this, please let me know!

Smaller fixes

Just wanted to let you know that there are some smaller fixes done:

  • Nether Brick has a really stupid internal naming system, with nether_brick being the block, netherbrick being the individual brick and some systems using nether_brick_item for the latter. This has caused people who deposited the individual bricks not being able to withdraw them. That is fixed now.
  • Skulls (skeleton, zombie etc) have two different types, the one that is in-game, placed somewhere and the other one that you can hold in your hand. stupidly they have the same name, but are two different things. Spigot names the second one ‘skull_item’ but I cannot use that to give it to people, so I need to do some conversion. This is fixed now. So you should be able to deposit and trade skulls now.
  • Reading in-game of web blog posts with line breaks did not work. The format is now correct and you can see it just as well as on the web.

Back from Holidays…

I just wanted to let everyone know that I am back online after a week of having a severe infection (beaten down by Antibiotics) and 10 days of great diving holidays. If you want to see some photos of underwater creatures you never thought existed, please take a look at my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/uncovery.photo/

I will start working in the coming days on some fixes and updates, please stand by for news here.

Today’s development updates

This is a daily update on the status of the work done behind the scenes.
Our webserver is completely open source, hosted on GitHub. You can help improve the server by fixing issues here.