Progress Behind The Scenes
Make sure you tell your friends to get excited about TreeCrafters Beta!
Every week we come closer and closer to the big day of revealing the new Beta server and worlds to all of you. I'm always thinking about how I can solidify your trust in me to lead our server community further, and that's why I'm happy to share more details about what's going on behind the scenes.
As we get closer to launch, I'm going to be sharing more detailed information about each of these sections:
Built To Last
Last week I finished working closely with the MelonDev team to get our new 1.13.1 server network up and running smoothly and with a foundation that will allow us to grow in the future as needed. Rather than trying to do the work myself and risking mistakes that might be made, I decided to invest in hiring a highly experienced team to do the setup for us. I interviewed nearly a dozen different server management teams, and MelonDev stood out strong with quick answers and clear knowledge of how to build a solid server network. I am very confident in the result, and I am certain you will be as well.
When we move into Beta, you'll first log into the Hub City (screenshots above and below) where you'll find portals to the different worlds where you can learn about the challenge, run through the tutorial, try your hand at a tree-based parkour, and plenty of space to expand our games into the future. Most portals will actually take you to an entirely separate server, meaning that we can allocate resources to the servers as needed, depending on their popularity, plugins that are active, and intended use. Plus, if one server goes down or we need to do maintenance, we can simply move players, worlds, and saved data over to a duplicate of each individual server so that you can keep playing with minimal downtime.
Long story short: The new server network is built to last and expand as our community grows.
The Hub City
You'll get to see this in action really soon, but I just had to share a screenshot of our new Hub City, which sits in the middle of an infinite ocean, and is where all new players will spawn in for the first time to access portals to other worlds, tutorial areas, markets, and tree-themed mini-games (anybody up for Bed Wars with logs instead of wool and heart logs instead of beds?).
When we first launch into Beta, there will only be a few portals to go through to each of the existing worlds and a new 1.13.1 Challenge world, but as you'll soon see there is plenty more room where we'll be able to add more portals and features that will take you elsewhere.
TC Challenge Plugin(s)
TechsCode and I (though, mostly Tech) have spent a significant amount of time over the last several weeks working to optimize the plugin and it shows big time. During the last Server Party Live Stream, we had 8-10 players on at a time and saw the TPS drop to 19.88 out of 20 at its lowest point (two weeks prior we could see the server dip to 6 TPS, or lower!). What this means is that the plugin is now set to run smoothly for many more players than before, and you won't see any of the lag that we ran into before.
We are also moving a number of specific features out of the current Challenge Plugin and into a new plugin that will be made just for us. This allows us to then release the TreeCrafters Challenge Plugin to the Minecraft community at large, and is a perfect segway to the next section.
Keeping The Server Running (and paid for)
Running a Minecraft server is expensive. Running a Minecraft Server Network, even more expensive. Funding the custom development of our plugins that make our Minecraft Server unique is probably the most expensive part of the entire project.
I don't want to run things like your typical Minecraft server, though, and that includes finding ways to keep the lights turned on and the server monetized. In 2018, it just isn't a good idea to rely on donations to keep a server running like in the past. It's possible, but not at the scale I'm looking to expand this to. Plus, the burden of keeping the server active should not be on the player's shoulders. Your job is to have fun and enjoy the game. It's my job to keep things running.
This is why once TreeCrafters moves into Public Beta, the TreeCrafters Challenge Plugin will be made available for sale to other Minecraft Server Owners. It is inevitable that, if our server grows and finds success, other server owners and developers will try to replicate our plugin and sell it themselves. In much the same way that Skyblock was originally a server that eventually released an official plugin for other server owners to install, the TreeCrafters Challenge Plugin will be released to the public. This will get us more feedback about how to improve the Challenge for our own servers, and expand the popularity of the Challenge, while also helping to keep our server costs covered through plugin sales.
If you're concerned at all about TreeCrafters no longer being considered unique, don't be. YOU are what makes this server unique. Not software that any talented developer can reproduce.
Dimensions: The Nether, The End, The Dungeons
If you've been following along with our server's development for a long time, then you already know that I had previously been working on an update that would resolve an issue with tangled roots in the Nether and End dimensions. The smaller scale of those dimensions is always great, but it doesn't really work for our community because of how tangled and messed up our roots can get.
With only a few players, our Nether was quickly becoming a mess, as you can see above.
This is why I reached out to RoboMWM, the creator of the fantastic GriefPrevention plugin, to work on updating an obsolete plugin called Dimensions and changing some features so that they work better for us, as well as adding support for 1.13.1. This project has actually been made Open Sourced, and is available for you to follow along and even contribute to the development of, over here.
Without getting into too much detail, what you'll see as a result of this is a new Nether that is at a full 1:1 scale with the Overworld (fast travel won't be possible, but roots won't be messy), an End that is transformed into a dungeon instance so that every player has an equal opportunity to slay the Ender Dragon and get End-only blocks and items (shulker boxes, elytra, etc...) without the same messy root problem as in the Nether, and a new 10:1 scaled fast-travel world that will have no ores (but plenty of hostile mobs) which you won't need to use roots to travel through.
Already, RedstoneBattery has lent a hand to building the new dungeon instances, and I have worked extensively with our custom world generator plugin to create a fast-travel world that will serve our needs well.
Of course, we can't just stop at one dungeon instance or one custom world generated, but that's a topic for another day.
Oi! YouTubers and Streamers
While we're in private beta, we will absolutely be bringing in a variety of YouTubers and Streamers to join us in playing on the server. At first, we'll start with some smaller streamers who will bring a dozen or so players with them. This is for load-testing purposes, rather than advertisement purposes so that we can make sure our plugins and servers are able to handle everything we throw at them. We only get one shot to make a good first impression, so we better not start with the big names and risk shutting down the server because too many players joined at once.
After a few runs with smaller streamers, there are a few larger channels out there who are already prepped to go with joining us during a 1.5-2 hour long live stream AFTER we launch from Private Beta into Public Beta. Might even be some streamers you already know! Stay tuned for more info about all of that in the coming months.
When's The Launch Day?
This last bit is subject to change if we run into any major issues with any of the above sections.
On Saturday, November 3rd, I will be hosting the final live streamed server party on the 1.12.2 server. We're gonna go out with a bang with the Fireworks Competition and a look back over the coolest builds and biggest milestones of the past year of Alpha Development. I am incredibly proud of the pace, the progress, and the community-engagement we've seen, and I'm looking forward to celebrating all of that with you.
The following week, on Saturday, November 10th, we will host the very first server party on the new 1.13.1 server network, and I'll open the doors to the new Hub City and Challenge Worlds for you to enjoy. Exciting times ahead!
I know there's not been as much happening on the front-end for you guys to see, but hopefully with this list you can see that I have been putting in a ton of time with builder/developer collaborations, plans with streamers, setting up the new servers, optimizing the plugin, and preparing for our big day next month. Over the next several weeks, watch for more announcements to drop about each of the sections above, plus a few more ideas that are in the works that I didn't mention here.
Thanks, as always, for your encouragement and support and excitement for playing this Challenge with me and others!
Want To Help?
If you are interested in getting involved in any builds, events, or hype surrounding our Beta launch, let me know! Hit me up in Discord or send me a private message here on the forums with your ideas and availability. Your name will be etched into the server so that every player who joins can see that you made your mark in helping make all of this possible.