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NEWS The State of Minecats in 2020

AeSix

[SysOp]
Staff member
Owner
#1
New game hosts! New gateway hosts! New gateway address! Updated servers! MUCH MORE!

New hosts!
A few months ago, we moved Minecats to a new host servers, which we outright own. There are some advantages, and some disadvantages to doing this. There's some cost savings, and some additional expenses too. The best part is that we now have much more freedoms, as we own the systems.

The basic idea is that we now own the servers we're hosting Minecats on, and can make changes much more easily. We can add RAM, storage, even upgrade the CPUs as we need. Doing this with a hosting company means having to shell out more money for a new hosted server, and moving everything to it. Now, we can do that much more efficiently, as-needed and without the pinch of paying for the two servers at the same time.

This has decreased the monthly operating costs of running Minecats, but not as much as one may think. We've essentially shifted paying for dedicated servers at a hosting company to paying for the electric and dedicated internet service and of course the parts and components of the server upgrades (which are one-time purchases) So it's still expensive to run Minecats, just not quite as such.

We're also now in the position to potentially add some more hardware to lease out for hosted services. This will allow us to sell monthly hosting subscriptions for websites, or even other games. We're also close to being in the position to sell managed and un-managed private Minecraft servers as well. These will not be sold as Minecats, however. More on that when it becomes reality!

New Gateways! New address!
First, what are the gateways? These are servers we lease from a hosting company for which players connect to. But wait, didn't I just say we stopped leasing servers and own our own? I did! Great observation! The gateway servers aren't game servers, and are considerably less expensive. These forward client connections to the server, from several different locations on Earth.

This provides three things: One, if one of the gateways is offline, there are still three other ones the clients can connect to; Two, it provides for regional connections to Minecats, which many cases provides much less latency between the client and server (which means everything feels faster); and Three, provides a buffer between the world and our servers, preventing DDoS attacks directly against our servers, and which is mitigated by the gateway hosting provider.

There are now 4 gateways, and 5 addresses. The fifth address, which is actually our first and main address is play.minecats.com. This now serves to point to all 4 of the gateways. In some cases, the client may not connect to the best gateway possible for them, and so we provide direct addresses to each gateway. The upside to this is that play.minecats.com is still valid, and can still be used in all advertising - and does work for most players to get a fast, quick connection to Minecats.

The 4 gateways are located in The US, The UK, The EU, and Singapore. Technically the US gateway is across the border in Canada, but we've been using the us.minecats.com address for years and as there is no real difference other than 50 miles from the US, we're continuing to refer to it as such. The UK and EU gateways are in England and France, respectively. The new Singapore gateway is ideal for the Middle East to Australia to north east Asia and everything in between.

The new hosting company has a global private network which connects all of their data centers. This allows clients connecting to, say, Singapore, to go across the private network until it reaches an exit node in the US closer to where Minecats servers are located. What this means is that players in regions of the world outside of North America don't have to contend with all of the traffic on the public internet infrastructure the entire way to Minecats. This is what makes the connection less laggy and more stable.

All of our addresses are:
play.minecats.com
us.minecats.com
uk.minecats.com
eu.minecats.com
sg.minecats.com (this is the new address and gateway, though we had it a few years ago, it's now returned!)

And if you have IPv6 and want to test that, play.minecats.net has IPv6 addresses to all 4 gateways as well. This may not work in all cases and requires a real IPv6 connection to use. We're probably not going to be doing much with this, and is more of a novelty than anything.

Minecats servers!
Minecraft 1.13 has brought a lot of pain and suffering to servers world-wide. A lot of plugins stopped functioning completely, some stopped working correctly and some that have been updated work differently. That was compounded with 1.14 and then 1.15 being released relatively quickly. A lot of plugin developers ceased updating plugins because the massive changes to 1.13, which in many cases required complete re-writes of the plugins. By the time developers were done with their 1.13 versions, 1.14 came out... and broke things even more. 1.15 came out, and Mojang promised not to break things again. A lot of developers have finally started working on updated versions of their plugins.

This has prevented Minecats from smoothly updating many servers, and preventing updating Skyblock & Parkours past 1.12.2. It's preventing LionsDen season 2 from being opened on time. It's causes major issues on Creative. But, that's all about to change!

Skyblock & Parkours
With the upgrade to 1.15.1, the plugin "IslandWorlds" which we have used for years, decided that it was going to auto-expire every island. Every island was deleted. After restoring the database and the world files, and checking the configuration for the plugin to ensure it does not expire islands, and trying again - every island was again removed. The plugin, even though it was configured properly, destroyed the server.

Skyblock and Parkours - These are now two different servers. Parkours has been held back because of updates to the islands, otherwise we could have updated Parkours to 1.13.2, and 1.14 when it mattered. The parkour courses provides rewards for players to use on their islands, however, and so it was decided to keep them together. Until the islands completely got destroyed.

Parkours is now the old Skyblock & Parkours server, without the island stuff. There's still lots of cleanup to do, and maybe a new spawn too. But it was easier to leave everything as it were than to move Parkours to it's own servers. There's over 250 parkour courses, each having to be copied to the new server, one at a time, and then complete re-set up for rewards, starting signs, etc. It would have been a nightmare!

Skyblock (& more) is a brand new server we're building. It will have a brand new spawn built by foreverhopeful, braadd, viterd, KassidyH, Seian, Bis_auf, and with input from cindy_k! We're planning to open this week, with basic islands, and some shops. The team will continue to improve the spawn, add more shops and such over time. We may add other island types as well, such as acid islands. There will be challenges, levels and even we're bring back tree twerking! Because, let's face it, who don't like to dance to make trees grow?


LionsDen season 2
Like Skyblock and Parkours, LDs2 has suffered from plugins not updating stably. We're currently waiting for some base plugins to update to build the server. One of these plugins is ExoticGarden. As many of you know, LionsDen, and soon LionsDen season 2 is going to be based heavily on Slimefun, which ExoticGarden is a part of. This is a complex system which modifies a LOT of the game, and uses an immense amount of custom blocks and items.

Originally, we promised that players on LionsDen would be able to move their items to LDs2. As LDs2 is taking a much longer time to finish, it was decided to improve LionsDen with a new world, and give players a chance to explore new things and build in the new world.

The current LionsDen world has become corrupted, it's also a 3 year old map, and was originally created in Minecraft 1.10, and immediately updated to 1.11. Then it was updated to 1.12.2, once the plugins were updated. It took a considerable time for all those plugins to update to 1.13, but the plugins were still much too buggy to use. When 1.14 came out, the plugins were updated again, and this time, much less buggy - and so we've got LionsDen 1.14.4 now. That means the world has been upgrade to 4 new world formats. Each time an upgrade happens, there's a chance of the world files being corrupted, even in a small non-noticeable way. Over the years, the world has accumulated these little corruptions, and things are really starting to fall apart. That's where the new world comes in.

Unfortunately, there are almost no players who play on LionsDen, and the planned upgrades to LionsDen have been scrapped to be able to focus on LDs2 instead. Many players and staff have opted to wait for LDs2, and have opted for a fresh start - no transferred items, no transferred bank balance, not transferred Slimefun progress. The only thing that will transfer are the player donation positions.

The positions may have some slight changes to them as well however. This means Citizens, for example, may have some new features added, and possibly some others changed. We won't be removing major features per-position, however if there is something that will not longer be in the game, obviously no matter the position, it won't be accessible. I think the planned changes will bring more balance to game play, and make each position more valuable to the players. Many servers would require players to pay again on a fresh server, but we're opting not to do that.
 

AeSix

[SysOp]
Staff member
Owner
#2
(Apparently, the forums allows for only 10k characters... so more)

Creative, CreativeVIP, Creative Wilds and Classic Creative
The plan was to move CreativeVIP to it's own world on Creative. They're the same game, but have different plot sizes. It makes sense. Unfortunately, the permission system on Creative is a bit outmodded and per-world permissions are terrible. We have to completely re-do the permission system to make it work. There is, in fact, already a second world on Creative, for VIP plots. They're just not usable right now. This will be corrected some time soon.

Creative Wilds - I didn't realize how many people actually enjoyed playing on Wilds, but over the last few months I've gotten a lot for requests to bring it back. I may do this, but only after Creative is fixed. I have no details about what it'll be exactly, other than "creative mode in a survival world with animals but no mobs, where worldedit will be limited by the blocks you mine" a "very easy" survival experience, basically.

Classic Creative is in need of some love. I'm looking for anyone who wants to, to build a new spawn for the server. Classic is a server which uses GriefPRevention to protect player builds. It's a flat world with nothing but grass blocks to build on top, with several layers of dirt then stone below the that. It's intended to feel like Minecraft multiplayer classic was back in 2011 and 2012. I may even have a resource pack available to bring back the same colors!

If you're interested in building a new spawn for Classic, please see me on Discord and I'll get you all set up!

Permissions system:
I will be creating a whole fake network of servers soon, to work on a single unified permission system for all of the servers. This will allow us to fully test out all of the permissions on each server. We've been trying to move each server one at a time to the new system, but without having the new system in place on the server, it's very confusing and we're unable to test everything. By creating a new, fake network of servers, we'll be able to set up everything exactly as they will be on the real servers. These fake servers will actually be real servers, jut without any worlds to play on other than the smallest needed to be able to test the permission. This will speed up our work to get the new permission system set up and working. But it will still take some time.

This is the state of Minecats. Please read the next post, "Minecats goals for 2020" to see what we have planned for Minecats, by the end of 2020, and what you can do to help get us there!
 

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