Coming Up On Beta  

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stifflered
(@tim)
Young Tree Admin

We are nearing the end of our Alpha development phase, and will soon be entering private Beta of the TreeCrafters Challenge Server!

But what does this mean for all of us?

  • No more players will be able to join the Alpha Group - you founding members get to live on with your fancy prefixes and particle effects forever, but new players will be added to a Beta group.
  • We'll put a freeze on adding new features for a while and focus on bug fixes, builds (like a new Spawn Hub and Tutorial area), and custom world generation.
  • We'll start a new thread on minecraftforum.net to introduce the Challenge to new players
  • The TreeCrafters YouTube channel will get kicked off with fresh content
  • The server will still be whitelisted until we finish the important builds needed to introduce the Challenge to new players (and critical bugs are fixed)
  • The plugin will move to "releases" out of "phases". More explained below.

When we're ready to move into Public Beta, there will be a few more things that happen:

  • New website will be launched that shows off a fancy new logo, a wiki of information about real world forests and trees (for inspiration) and how to play the Challenge, and a new store to unlock particle effects (which you Alpha players already get most of).
  • New worlds will be generated for the Overworld, Nether, and Current. Existing worlds will stay active so that old players can keep their progress and new players can visit (like a museum).
  • The first two dungeon instances will be introduced for fighting the Ender Dragon and Wither bosses.
  • A new Spawn Hub will be released with a few mini-games (like Parkour and possible a Challenge-themed Bed Wars map)
  • The Challenge plugin will be made available for download on SpigotMC.net for other server owners - our server will be the demo server that they can go to and see the plugin in action.

About 1.13: We will eventually launch a 1.13 world, but that depends a lot on Mojang releasing it to the public, then Spigot releasing an updated version for servers, and finally us going through and updating the plugins to 1.13 compatible versions. I have no estimate on when that will happen.

What else needs to be done before we launch into Beta?

In the meantime, there's still a lot of work that needs to be done, but we're quickly knocking out these tasks and getting closer to that closing day of Alpha. 

The way that the plugin development process has worked is that Tech and I have focused on developing through "phases". Each Phase has a different focus, but the updates that go live on the server might come several times a day, or have an entire month between them. Each update listed in the Plugin Development Log will only carry a portion of the updates that are needed for each Phase, and some Phases take 5 or more updates to get through.

When we move into Beta, that's going to change. Instead of rolling out updates gradually as they come, we'll have more intentional updates released with version numbers included. These updates to the plugin will coincide with updates to the server as a whole in order to properly accomplish certain tasks. Bug fixes will come in each update, but otherwise there may be one specific set of features which we'll work on (and I'll tell you to expect ahead of time).

We'll also name the versions off of the week of the year, just to make it easy to track.

For example, if we released the first Beta version this week, we would call it "Beta 28a", since this is the 28th week of the year. If a second release is sent out this week, it will be called "Beta 28b" and so on. I will attempt to release an update every week and will include a note about the next update that will be coming, though there may be some weeks skipped if an extra amount of work is needed to be put into an update. When we leave Beta, we'll start releasing numbered updates (1.0, 1.1, 2.0, etc....).

For those who are curious about the Phases, here's what they looked like with each focus:

  • Phase 1 - Planting Saplings to get Heart Logs, Pylons, and GUIs (April 2018)
  • Phase 2 - Rudimentary Root Mapping and Adding Members - (Released on the TC Server on May 15th, 2018)
  • Phase 3 - Better Mapping and Wither Effect - (May 25th, 2018)
  • Phase 4 - Grief Protection and Custom Items (June 26th, 2018)
  • Phase 5 - Particles and Quality of Life Cleanup (July 8th, 2018)
  • Phase 6 (current) - Code Optimizations and Stopping Griefers/Cheaters

Whether or not other builds and plugin configs have been completed by the time Phase 6 is done, we'll move into Private Beta and start the weekly version releases. The Alpha Changelog thread will be closed and updates will be posted as Announcements on the homepage of the website. I estimate it will take about 3-4 weeks to finish Phase 6.

How Can You Help?

The number one thing that you can do right now is report bugs that you find. I don't mind you messaging me in game or in Discord about bugs, but I'm likely going to be doing other things at that time and will probably forget your bug report. Please use the forums to report the bugs so I don't forget about it later on.

Beyond that, though, here are a few other things that you can do to help:

  • Play the game and have fun!
  • Invite your friends to join so they can get the Alpha perks.
  • Start a Player Journal and share your progress in the Challenge (this actually helps more than you think, since it shows new players what's possible)
  • Contribute to the Wiki docs so that new players who join during Beta can learn about the Challenge and special features on the server
  • Join the build team to help with server builds
  • Find royalty free music that can be added to the /jukebox 
  • Submit Feature Requests that will help improve the Challenge for everyone
  • Donate to the server to keep the lights on

Small note about that last point, because I like being transparent with all of you: I spend about $50/month on server hosting right now. I've also purchased 32 plugins for the server and pay TechsCode for his development work (and I've donated to show appreciation to about 15 other free plugin developers as well as SpigotMC directly). Finally, I've hired professional writers and artists (who've worked in the past on Dungeons and Dragons, Wizards of the Coast, Hasbro, League of Legends, etc...), plus invested in recording software and equipment for YouTube, in order to improve the quality of the content I'm putting out related to this server. Altogether I've probably spent close to $2000 over the last 8 months in all of the behind-the-scenes work for this server.

Now, none of you asked me to do those things, and I don't want you to feel pressured to donate. I just want you to know what I've spent so far and what your money is going to. Your support is beyond appreciated and helps make this more than just another random Minecraft server. Even if you never donate, you are valued.

Onwards and Upwards!

Thanks, as always, for making TreeCrafters a great place for me. I'm really looking forward to the updates that are coming this way, and I can't wait to see what you guys think of it all. Your enjoyment of the game it so valuable to me, and I wouldn't be doing this if it weren't for each one of you.

Please let me know what you would like to see come in TreeCrafters Beta, and I'll be sure to give you my full attention. 🙂

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 9, 2018 8:22 am
RedstoneBattery
(@redstonebattery)
Infant Registered

$2000 •o• holy moly that’s a lot and $50 a month for hosting o.O I use not even a 1€ a month for that (Like yeah I use the cheapest stats but still). Huh I didn’t expect this project to be so expensive. Also point 4 in the first list has double with you should fix that.

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 9, 2018 1:34 pm
stifflered
(@tim)
Young Tree Admin
Posted by: RedstoneBattery

$2000 •o• holy moly that’s a lot and $50 a month for hosting o.O I use not even a 1€ a month for that (Like yeah I use the cheapest stats but still). Huh I didn’t expect this project to be so expensive. Also point 4 in the first list has double with you should fix that.

Well, we have a VPS that's large enough to host two servers (one live, one testing, plus my third vanilla server which I use for YT stuff) which can handle 200 people at once - at 8 months that's $400. We also have website hosting which is large enough to hold off-server backups (4GB uploaded every day). I pay about $15/hour for developers (Tech and others) because I'm a developer myself and I refuse to stiff anyone. I have 6 plugins, btw, not just the TC plugin.

I do know that the server says that only 20 players can join at a time, but that's because I set it as such. We can jump up to 200 slots in an instant. I have a big server because 1. The plugin is a resource hog and 2. If, for some reason, we get a lot of attention all of a sudden, we'll be prepared.

Good artwork is expensive (the friends I'm working with charge up to $850/piece for some of their clients, though we're getting a much better deal because they are good friends). $175 for microphone, mic stand, and pop-filter, $25/month for Adobe Premiere Pro, $15/month for various other YT things. 

Most of those costs are stable or will drop once we move into Beta. Development slows down, for example, and I only need to get artwork once. Once I have a solid music library then that cost will go away as well. Most of it is just one-time costs, so even though that number is big, I'm not worried about it.

I'm not building a Minecraft server. I'm building a game and a community. This is why I'm investing more time and money into the project than most people do. Also, I'm an adult with a full-time job and very few extras that I spend money on, so I have the ability to invest more money than most server owners.

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 9, 2018 3:06 pm
stifflered
(@tim)
Young Tree Admin

Oh, and thanks for catching that typo. 🙂

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 9, 2018 10:20 pm
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