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2017 Retrospective

Posted by on Dec 28, 2017 in Minecraft

This year has gone by quite fast. A lot has happened including us saying goodbye to long serving staff members alongside the introduction of a new staff member: Lenore.

Mostly this year we worked on getting the server updated to 1.10, 1.11 and then 1.12. These updates from Mojang came in quick succession but we worked through the bugs and got ourselves updated in only a couple months from 1.9 to 1.11 and then very quickly to 1.12.

We also upgraded our server hardware. We retired our two old 128GB SSD’s which had served us for around three years. In their place we installed two professional grade Samsung 850 Pro’s. One 512GB and one 256GB. These SSD’s have allowed us to run logblock from SSD storage for the first time resulting in incredible speedups for block lookups and rollbacks.

The larger SSD’s also gave us some breathing room so that we can continue to increase our map border size indefinitely.

Another hardware upgrade we performed was a switch from our Intel XEON E5-1650 6 Core CPU @ 3.2GHz-3.8GHz to two Intel XEON E5-2667v2 8 Core CPU’s each @ 3.3GHz-4GHz.

This upgrade meant we went from 6 processing cores to 16 and we increased our clock speed by several hundred MHz and our L3 Cache went from 12MB to 50MB. This has had a dramatic performance improvement on the server as we run many different tasks simultaneously and where as before the server was often at 100% load, it now rarely crosses 60% and is never at 100% load. The result has been less lag and more consistent performance throughout the day.

We also switched our backup system from a combination of Crash Plan and a custom solution to Veeam. This has resulted in dramatically faster file backup and restores with less impact on the server performance. In-fact you’ll never notice when we’re performing backups, it’s that good.

We did introduce some new software features to the server this year including our RENMX Arena which features multiple game modes such as “Pri Says”, “TNT Run”, “PVP arena”, “Mob Arena” and the always popular “Spleef”. We even added six different maps for the PVP arena.

Only a few months ago we introduced daily rewards. A way to reward our most active players with a daily login reward which grows with the players activity. This has been one of the most well received features we’ve ever added and we do intend to keep adding more rewards to it as time goes on.

With our Card system we added many new unique cards, we’re now at over 250 cards and we also added several new Easter Eggs including “Cube #666”, “Levity”, “Nirvana”, “Range Shooter” and “Quiet Please”. We still have some eggs to be imported next year and there’s quite a few being worked on too.

One of the launch images for the “Levity” Easter Egg by Hall

Our Admin shop both on the website and in-game also saw some love with the ability to sell items finally added.

In 2016 we added the Warehouse feature but this year we improved its usefulness with better auto management and the ability to sell items to our admin shop straight from your warehouse storage.

And who can forget the new bar we made with dance floor, purchasable drinks and working jukebox!

Alongside these updates we also added the Brewing plugin so you can distil your own alcohol and we added a Harry Potter themed Slot Machine to the Casino.

The last thing I wanted to discuss is the servers financial situation and the future longevity of the server. Firstly your donations are covering our nominal yearly expenses. That means web hosting, domain names and electricity. Anything outside of that (like hardware upgrades / replacement parts) I’m happy to cover out of pocket as I always have done.

So we will be here in 2018, the server currently has no debt and so I see no reason to discontinue service. I think we had a great year and I’m looking forward to what next year brings.

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