We got a lot to fill you in on with this news release!
For those of you whom like to read and want to know exactly how all of this has come to fruition, below is a fairly detailed account. For those of you that don’t and just want to know the basic facts (like what the server ips and settings are, etc.) just skim down to where it says, “Here is the skinny -“. I made it bold, italic and really big so it’s easy to find.
First let’s break it down to the games we are currently playing the most of – Starmade & 7 Days 2 Die. With levels of activity in that order. More than a few peeps playing on the 7D2D server with slightly more and more active playing on the Starmade server as we get closer to a finalized server and setup.
When I say, “Finalized”, truthfully the servers are about as 99.9999% final as they can be but both 7D2D and Starmade are still in early access. Since both servers rely on procedural generation, this could mean several sever seed restarts. When an update is released that requires a seed reset (or new seed altogether), we have no other alternatives. We have to reset the seed to get the servers up to date with their latest release. This means starting all over from scratch (as a player) and this can obviously be very frustrating.
Sometimes files like the server.cfg or .xml files, etc. change and either change automatically during an update (requiring us to re-write them all over again) or require us to manually update them to reflect the new files. This can possibly change game play drastically and it could be a few days or even weeks before we can get the server back to it’s original glory.
Occasionally these updates even break our server, requiring us to find the error (like caves wouldn’t spawn once when 7D2D updated) or sadly, we might just be stuck waiting for a hot-fix because we just can’t find a way to fix it (like when Starmade released an update with a memory leak that would shut the server down after only a few hours of play).
Others, like the 7D2D ‘black hole’ problem. After so long areas that have been extensively built on or terrain altered by the players will become corrupt and erase or obfuscate the world so badly we are forced to reload from older back-ups and eventually become so corrupted they are irreparable, forcing a seed reset for the whole server rather than just those selected areas. So far this seems to happen about 3-5 weeks into any server random gen seed.
We try very hard to protect against this & fix it, of course, but as stated above it may become unavoidable and if the past status quo is any indication of future server setups and releases it IS inevitable. It just simply IS and something you will have to deal with if you want to play multiplayer on servers UNTIL the developers find a permanent fix.
We also make back-ups of both servers once every 24 hours so if you feel strongly enough about your creations/builds etc. you can always ask us for a copy of the backup made prior to the seed reset or update (minus the server settings and configs as those must remain ‘need to know’ to avoid server hacks and such) but those files will have no effect on your builds and you should be able to with default settings, upload them to your personal PC and pick right up where you left off (assuming you also are playing on the version of that game prior to the update).
There are also, in both games, other ways you can save your builds that are either fairly self evident or at the most require a bit of googling to find out how to save them. Starmade makes it extremely easy for you to save your builds (assuming you build them and save them properly) to re-upload them to the server after a seed reset. 7D2D not so much on the easy part but definitely doable and also done in practice by yours truly on more than a few occasions (again, just google it or if you’re real lazy hop in TeamSpeak and ask me, so I can tell you to google it. lol).
We hope to expand this to more games/servers as time goes by but we need a whole lot more activity, interest and finances (send us money! lol) before we plan moving beyond our current state. For example, I personally plan on hosting an open sim server to have a virtual UberCrue museum (among other cool open sim things) but that’s way down the pipeline for me and currently we have more pressing matters like getting more people to join our servers and play with us. We WILL definitely expand at some point, regardless, but for the immediate future 7D2D and Starmade are our bread and butter games/servers.
Both servers have seen extensive down time in the past weeks due to server upgrades and other unforeseeable setbacks but trust us, they are more then worth the wait. We sincerely apologize on all fronts for any inconvenience or grievance this may have caused our regular players (or even casual players for that matter, we luv you all man!).
Please keep in mind, those of us that remain in UberCrue after almost 2 decades are both fanatic gamers and perfectionists. We cannot, in good conscious, put up a server without knowing we have done everything we can to both accommodate low pings (for both high and low end CPU’s) and alter the server’s game play to better suit the needs our community.
We are also very open minded and would love to hear any input or suggestions you may have either via the forum or TeamSpeak. If it’s viable, not outrageous and falls within our community guidelines, chances are very good we will change or add in what you request. So feel free to let us know! In fact, the only time I can recall us denying a change to one of our servers was when a member named Stephen (or maybe it was Fishbulb, I can’t remember) asked that we allow the presence and placement of oversized (mountainous sized really) penises throughout the server world. Yes, I said penises.
Currently the 7D2D is running on a dual Xeon, dual CPU’s PC and will remain their indefinitely. That server rig’s sole purpose for the remainder of it’s lifespan will be to run only that game server (no other programs, servers, etc will be running on this rig accept the bare minimum required to run 7D2D at maximum settings for our server users).
This is sometimes hard to explain but just try to imagine 2 motherboards, each with dual Xeon 2.8ghz processors, now combine those 2 motherboards so you have 2 separate CPU’s, each a dual core, on 1 single motherboard. So in total, it is actually 4 cores only with 2 separate CPU’s to split up the work load. A hand-me-down originally designated to serve only streaming media files. Built for this purpose because back in the day, places like YouTube & Vimeo had restrictions on large video files. Eventually the business that purchased this computer, went out of business and a couple years later we inherited it through 3fold’s generosity (it’s really loud too! lol).
When we first received this it sat in our storage area for quite some time before we had enough spare time to really bring it back into full force. The hard drive had to be replaced, the networking card had to be replaced, the ram upgraded to max, after testing a major cleaning was due, more fans, re-installing from a 32bit OS to a 64bit one & even the CMOS battery needed replacment. This took more then a couple weeks to finally bring it up par but we did it and with minimal financial investment.
With all that finally behind us, we tested the 7D2D server with 32 dummy accounts, for a solid 24 hours, including our own activity of building and fighting off hordes. It ran smooth as silk at max capacity. Less than 35% total CPU usage and less than 3gb ram even after the 24 hour period. We imagine it could probably (and will at some point) serve 64 slots and maybe even more, without breaking a sweat.
Then along came Starmade. With a shiny new coat and all new updates. We’ve been playing it off and on for a couple years & recently with so many improvements and add-ons, we were pretty excited to bring up a server and start playing again.
So we thought, “Hey this could probably run both the 7D2D and the StarMade server simultaneously each at 32 slots”. Now keep in mind Unity5 uses completely different network code (and obviously greatly optimized) in comparison to Java (the code used to run StarMade). Low and behold we were waaaaay off base there.
With only 1 slot filled (a.k.a only 1 player on the server) it maxed CPU usage (both CPU’s, both cores) out to 100% and became so hot we had to remove it from the server cabinet it was in, for fear it would catch on fire. lol. When you opened the server cabinet your could literally see (and feel) the heat waves emanating from it. Still no help, we removed the casing side covering and placed a standard box fan (like the kind you have when you can’t afford air conditioning, lol) and pointed it directly at the server rig.
This seemed to do the trick, until we got more than 2-3 slots filled and again, server temps shot through the roof with periodic shutdowns (literally this thing sounds like a frigging train passing through the room with over 10+ internal fans and 2 externals fans it was nearly deafening when you got within about 5 feet of it). Once max temp was reached (not sure what was set in bios but it had to be pretty damn hot) it would sound another deafening beep/alarm before promptly shutting itself off, probably to avoid explosion or spontaneous combustion. lmao.
Not only that but when played from client side, planets would draw in at an excruciatingly slow pace (probably took about 5-15 minutes depending on planet size). You would have to fly up to a planet, then wait for the planet to draw in and if you’re lucky, play on it for about another 10-15 minutes before it would again lock up, causing work to be lost and not allowing the client to update. Eventually forcing us to manually shut it down with task manager.
Yes, we know what you are thinking, “Why not Linux?”
In words, it sounds easy enough but in actual implementation, we don’t have anyone on our team familiar with Linux. Even though I am ‘semi-familiar’ with Linux the process of running not one but two separate servers was daunting to say the least. I personally don’t have that kind of time. Perhaps, we will at some point either learn enough about Linux to make that a viable option or recruit someone new who already has said expertise. Or alternatively Linux becomes user friendly enough we don’t really have to do either. In the mean time, it’s Windows servers or bust.
So we immediately pulled out our older single CPU, dual core machine that we had been initially running the 7D2D server on, hoping that because it was a newer PC, it might run the Starmade server a bit better (we weren’t expecting to much but 8 slots would have been doable, at least on a temporary basis). This did help slightly (especially with the over heating issues) but draw times were even slower and lock ups more frequent.
So back to the drawing board we went and at the time it simply looked as though we would have to forgo having a Starmade server altogether. They have them for rent at reasonable prices but UberCrue has always strived to run our own game servers for many reasons, the biggest being to save money, so we can have more of it to buy games with. We have a surplus of bandwidth just not enough high-end PC’s we can dedicated solely to running game servers.
Finally, altruism befell our community & James stepped up offering a quad core he had recently retired to be our new Starmade rig (which I would also like to mention he helped to bring the Xeon server up with a HD donation too). Yay! Your community thanks you brother.
He had even gone so far as to purchase an additional 16gb of ram and an Octa-core that he had an extra one of (just the CPU not the rig) but, sadly, it was just not meant to be (we think the Octa-core might be bad just not sure why) and still not sure why the additional 16gb ram won’t recognize but we are working on it.
With any luck we’ll either have more ram, an Octa-core or both. It just depends when we can get the time to work on it & whether or not the gaming gods will smile upon us that day. Hopefully, at minimum we’ll have the extra 16gb of ram but we’ll see what happens. Either way it goes, even without any further upgrades the server runs extremely well and we are very happy with it.
Small fact check here; You may or may not know, I have for many years apparently been misspelling and pronouncing Octa-core. I thought is was spelled Octo-core (like octopus or octosyllable). Also a six core is not called a Sexta-Core either, lol, it’s a Hexa-Core.
As by now we had learned almost all the in and outs of running a Starmade server, which is no easy task, lemme’ tell you. Java and Starmade is one fickle bitch and if you don’t balance EVERYTHING, perfectly it runs like shit. It took very little time for us to test and determine the quad-core was more than up for the job.
Planets drew in before we could even reach them. Zero server lock ups, Zero data loss after several days testing. Maxed at 32 slots, we haven’t had a chance to test it to those specs but we are pretty sure it will at the minimum handle 16. Hopefully (fingers crossed) it’ll pull the full 32 should we ever need it.
As a side note, none of us have actually seen a Starmade server with more then 20+ users and never the full 32 on ANY server at any given time the entire 2 years we’ve been playing. There are servers labeled at 64+ slots (all the way to 9000, lol, yeah right) but again, never seen anything else except somewhere between 20-30 slots filled.
So, as you can tell we had a lot to catch up on! Hopefully that wasn’t to boring for you but if it was, I am optomistic you had the good sense to ‘skim’ rather than forgo reading any of it at all so you can get to the summary below…
Here is the skinny –
We have 3 servers.
x1 dual CPU, dual Xeon, 64bit, 2.8ghz w/ 8gb ram (max the motherboard can hold) server rig that we will call 3fold for reference purposes. lol.
A x1 quad core AMD, 64bit, 3.6ghz w/ 16gb 1600mhz ram server we’ll call James.
And of course our 50 slot TeamSpeak server (which requires no description but is mentioned none the less, being as it is a server and one we support/pay for)
Little Nuances- Most of the time we try to incorporate the letters U & C into our server names for obvious reasons. See if you can notice how and where they show up.
All of our gaming servers will always have some mention (either in description, name, motd or other server message) about-
This just means we don’t have weird RP rules like, “wait, wait! Don’t shoot me!” or “You must type to players in ole English” or “You can only use pistols” and other similar, self imposed rules that you, as the player, are expected to adhere to of your own accord. Other examples would be ‘no profanity’ or ‘no porn links’ or ‘don’t hack!’. Good rules to be sure but certainly not something we expect our server users to voluntarily stop themselves from doing.
This would be like inviting a crack addict to your home and upon their arrival, leave for a 4 day vacation expecting them not to pawn all your belongings.
This is a ridiculous concept and nearly impossible to enforce without an entire army of anal retentive admins. It breeds distrust and paranoia. Forcing server users to turn on themselves, thereby inciting discontent and infighting. Eventually causing an unavoidable mass exodus, leaving the server desolate and void of activity.
Here at UberCrue.com community we don’t make rules so you can break them. We break the rules, completely abolishing them, so that you as a player can do what you do best, PLAY. Without having the bothersome burden of following a bunch of silly ‘rules’ that we know, good and well, you won’t obey simply because we tell you to.
Reporting cheating/hacking should be reserved for the real offenders and not whiny, immature players who can’t stop saying ‘fuck’ or posting porn links over and over.
If we feel it is important or necessary enough to be a ‘rule’ or ‘restriction’ on our server we will simply eliminate the ability for a user to commit the offending action and if we can’t do that, it won’t be a rule. Therefore, we don’t really need to inform you, they simply exist in a state of common sense. Which is also the same state that the majority of all people on planet Earth exist in.
Information like this doesn’t need to be iterated either, most of the time the ensuing ban will happen regardless of whether or not you are aware of the potential offense. This makes it unnecessary to explain what should be obvious to any rational human being that interacts with others on a civil level.
If you, as the offending person, are banned for cheating, hacking, posting porn links, using excessive profanity or just being an asshole in general and do not find these truths to be self evident, then you are an imbecile and have no place socializing with the human race or playing on our server.
As for the rest of you, do what you do best, play, be merry and blow shit up.
Another major impact on our server, specifically for settings and modifications that we apply, is what a lot of us refer to as the –
The “End Game” is the point at which every goal has been obtained, every level maxed out and you pretty much have every desirable thing you could want in the game. As cool as this may sound initially, it’s actually a bit depressing because now you have nothing left to do and the game reverts back to a hoarding or building exercise.
Some of us can, with building games like 7D2D & StarMade create new goals/achievements for ourselves but this can really only consist of those 2 things. Hoarding (an epic amount/limit you set for yourself to achieve) or building (also usually something fairly epic, like a giant castle or titan class battle cruiser).
Eventually that too will become surpassed, completed or even boring. Leaving you empty and bitter because you have nothing left fun to do, unless aimlessly blowing shit up is your thing, in which case you’re golden. Unfortunately, this only applies to a few, small minded individuals. Such as the penis monument builders I mentioned earlier.
Inevitably you are forced to begin looking for another, different game to play until something major changes like a massive update (shipyards & rail docks) or really cool add-ons (like mini-bikes). Which for us, the server owners and community leaders, is a bad thing because that means you go somewhere else to have your fun, leaving us alone and sad.
“Ahh…Those where the days!”, one community leader would say to another while drinking Nyquil and crying about how lonely they all were. Sadface.
Luckily for now, both of the games we are hosting servers for are early access, so this means we probably have several months if not a year or more before there will be no more major updates but still, the ‘End Game’ comes at us much faster than we would prefer.
Which brings me to the main point, almost ALL (with the exception of a few) changes/modifications we make to the servers have the added purposes of both helping us to balance game play and extending that ‘End Game’ moment as far out as we can.
Balance mainly consists of getting your ‘End Game’ to coincide with the rest of the server population so you aren’t quite as butt hurt when we are forced to reset the seed (a.k.a. restart everything). This obviously won’t work for everyone but it will apply to the majority of our server users, whom average 10+ hours per week. If you want to fall in this category, make sure you play at least that much.
Extending that game play is a little more tricky but a good example of this would be changing the Zombie maximum on our 7D2D server from 60 to 80. This obviously makes the game harder but not so hard that it discourages you from trying to advance forward.
So if you find yourself asking, “Why did they change this? This doesn’t make any sense.” it’s probably because of one (or both) of those reasons.
The 3fold server
Server Name (as it will appear in the server listings under the ‘modded servers’ tab in your game): Undead Carnage @ UberCrue.com
DNS = ubercrue.ddns.net:26900
The DNS is easy to remember and to pass out to friends but sometimes it’s not as reliable as the actual ip…
IP = 220.127.116.11:26900
Other Server info = PVP/PVE 24/7 Dedicated 32 Slot Random Gen Server w/ No Rules
“Slightly modded” simply means 3 files were edited and nothing else. The server config settings, loot and cave allocation. No additional files were added or modified. Because of this our server will only show up in the modded server listing tab. ALL of these modifications and settings are detailed below:
- Airdrops once every 72 hours. Although not currently tested in the last couple updates, prior to that, airdrops on random gen MP servers (maybe other server types too but this one for sure was broken) would only work for about the first few days of play but then stop permanently. We have fixed this with a work around by using a server manager which forces an airdrop during that time frame.
- Above default maximum allowed zombies. Of course we would like this to be in the thousands, lol, but for now the recommended max is 80.
- Card board boxes hold the same loot chances that car trunks do. This change was made because (as of this post anyways) trunks can only be looted the one time and DO NOT respawn after the allotted server setting time (a.k.a. once every so many days) like all other lootable objects do. This would cause players to have to travel further and further outward in order to find enough usable parts to create a mini-bike. For players who are able to join the server immediately after a new seed, not so much of a problem but for players joining the server days or even weeks after this, it was problematic to say the least and if left at that default setting, new players (or players restarting their characters) may NEVER find enough parts to make a mini-bike. We like mini-bikes so, there ya go.
- Death penalty (aside from the obvious loss of wellness and other attributes) is a simple backpack drop on death. Items in your belt will remain regardless of how many times you die. This was changed for many reasons but mainly to give you a fighting chance to recover your base should you be pwnt in PVP (or really bad luck with the hordes might apply as well). Also to compensate for possibly losing your backpack permanently due to a server bug/crash. There are multiple instances of your backpack, after death drop, disappearing altogether or being unobtainable by being to high in the sky, to far below the surface or showing on the map & just not existing at all. This is surely a bug that they will address sometime in the future of development but in the mean time, it is what it is. So as the game overly implies with it’s survival theme, SURVIVE and try not to die to many times.
- Enemy Sense Memory is set to 50 seconds rather than it’s default of 60. 3fold felt this necessary as he believes the Zombies have just a little to much time to chase you down.
- Loot Abundance set to 110 rather than default of 100. I made this slight change to accommodate more than 30+ active users (not simultaneous but active users over 30+ and your loot disappears pretty quick).
- Loot Respawn Days is set to once every 5 days rather than the default of 30. What can I say? I like loot!
- Maxed Spawn Zombies is 80 (the highest recommended without causing serious lag) vs. 60 the default. Also the zombie spawn algorithm is quite buggy and sometimes will spawn hordes really far away or all around one specific player all at once rather than evenly dispersed. This was an attempt by me to compensate for this and also I like to shoot zombies!
- Maxed Spawned Animals is 60 rather than 50. Another tweak made by me, main reason being the more animated ‘things’ in our world make it seem that much more alive, not to mention the additional animal fat needed produce gasoline and run all those mini-bikes!
- Cave chance to occur increased to 2-5 per biome. This chance seemed either broken or extremely low in the past few updates so until we notice a serious change in this, we will continue to alter this to assure we have caves to mine.
- Many improvements to anti-hack security that we won’t cover in to much detail, so as not to give our secrets away, lol, but here are a few-
1) Pings over 240 are auto-banned. High pings allow for many exploits, clipping & lack of projectile registration (a.k.a. you can’t hit them with anything) among many others. Also distant players in foreign countries like Asia and Russia really have no good reason to be playing on our servers because 240+ ping is just to laggy to be playable. This takes away from server resources that other, more honorable players might be using were they not being used up by these types of players. We have seen several foreign players with ping hacks registering at 0 to avoid this but we have other ways of getting them too!
2) Global Ban server list. Which we belong to, so if you get kicked on other Global Ban servers and you join ours, you will be banned again.
3) Invalid Inventory Checking both auto-mated and manually by our admins. In example, if you have 1000 land claim blocks and you’ve only been on our server for an hour, lol, boot-to-da-butt.
4) As mentioned above we have quite of few strategies that we use to limit hacking/cheating. Occasionally someone gets banned in error. This is usually not an issue as most of these (like the ping ban for instance, everyone has a bad ping day, lol) are temporary and only for an hour or two (depending on the severity sometimes as long as a day, a week or in rare instances permanently). If you feel you have been banned erroneously you can very easily submit a ban removal request either by posting in our forums or even easier, hopping on our TeamSpeak server and speaking directly to one of our admins.
5) Ultimately no matter how good our anti-hack, anti-cheat may be some of them will always get through, in which case we must fall back on the diligence of our admins and frequent players. If you feel you have observed suspicious activity (like wall cliping/hacking, inventory abuse or other similar felonious act), please record as much information as you can like chat logs, screen shots, etc. and submit them to any UberCrue member or server admin (easily done either via our forums, in-game or on our TeamSpeak server) and we will promptly respond.
The James server
Server Name (as it will appear in the server listings in your game): United Cosmos
DNS = ubercrue.no-ip.org:4242
The DNS is easy to remember and to pass out to friends but sometimes it’s not as reliable as the actual ip…
IP = 18.104.22.168:4242
Other Server info = PVP/PVE 24/7 Dedicated 32 Slot Server w/ No Rules
As mentioned above for the 3fold server, any changes to server config files by 7D2D standards is considered a way not intended by the developers. In other words, it’s gotta’ be pretty darned different to be considered a modded server. In this case we haven’t even looked at any mod files, let alone incorporated them into the game. It’s not exactly vanilla but it’s certainly not modded.
Changes made to the server config file are detailed below:
- Blueprint enemy, faction, other and home base buy is set to true, default is false. This means if you build something, save it’s blueprint and SHARE it with other factions in the game, they can buy and use this blueprint for themselves. Important to remember though, by default when you save a blueprint it will be set to private (a.k.a. not shared), so in order to share it you must manually check these options in your catalog and chose which factions you wish to share them with. Also, you must be the creator/owner of the blueprint to change it’s sharing permissions.
- Use and require StarMade authentication are both set to true. This has 2 functions. The first is to reserve your server name. When you register with StarMade.org you have an account name but when you join a server you are allowed to use another name (assuming this name isn’t already taken on that particular server). The second is to avoid hacktards/cheaters. Right now banning can be circumvented simply by creating a new account with the demo version of the game BUT once the game goes retail and the demo version becomes limited, people joining our server will have no other choice but use the payed version of their account (demo versions will no longer be allowed to access our server). In 99.9% of all hacking instances, people who cheat are less likely to use a payed for, retail account when they hack because once they are banned, they are banned until they BUY another account (or the ban is lifted by the server). Not to mention it’s just harder to do, you have to uplink to StarMade.org and you have to register. Most hackers are just to lazy for these xtra steps.
- Collision damage is disabled. Unfortunately in StarMade’s current state it is just to damn buggy to leave this enabled. Just barely tapping any object in the universe can have unpredictable results from destroying your ship entirely to nothing at all. After many tests and failures, we have decided to disable this physics option until further progress has been made in the games development.
- Physics Linear and Rotational Damping is OFF. StarMade does not include a throttle option. Kind of silly considering it’s a space flight ‘simulation’ in many instances. Not only this but you have to constantly hold in the W key when traveling in any direction. Try to imagine the start of your first game and you have to hold in the W key for over 20 minutes to get from point A to point B. Nuff’ said.
- Currently hacks aren’t really a serious issue in this game so our anti-hack, anti-cheat prevention isn’t very extensive. No real need for it as yet. This, of course, may change eventually but for now it’s just a non-issue especially with the force uplink and authentication option. If you feel you have observed suspicious activity, please record as much information as you can like chat logs, screen shots, etc. and submit them to any UberCrue member or server admin (easily done either via our forums, in-game or on our TeamSpeak server) and we will promptly respond.
As an added bonus, all images posted above have a high-def version of them you can get for your background/desktop. Just left click for the larger version, then right click and ‘save’ where you want them to go.
That’s all for now folks. More updates will come in as they become available so enjoy!