As discussed already in May 2020 the future of Crossfure and this community is at risk if the situation remains the way it is.
We were able to keep stuff running because we had active clans in the past which kept the activity high and supported the financial aspect of running a game server by renting clan systems.
It worked great for years... until it did not work anymore.
Despite this messed up situation a generous donation of a member allowed me to cover the costs till October 2020.
We will reach October in just a few weeks and instead of using the past months to counteract the circumstances the players generally ignored the situation.
Being consequent would mean to shut down the server in 2 weeks and eventually close the community somewhen later due to the inevitable lack of interest to visit a forum that has no purpose anymore.
But since I am even able to notice the effort of some few people which try their best to contribute and people which still love the game I decided to search for solutions.
Just to be clear. I don't have a definitive answer yet but I have some thoughts how to make this current situation at least bearable.
In the end it is a matter of getting community support aswell as being able to cover the financial aspects.
Lets put it straight. The game server costs 90€ per months + the web server + backup ~70€ plus annual costs for domains, security etc. That is roundabout 2000€ annually just to keep the lights on. Other people go on vacation, I keep this place running instead. I never bothered the community with the costs for webserver and that stuff. That always was my part to handle.
To be absolutely honest it is not a matter of being able to spend that money... it is a matter of being willing to spend that money. My personal benefit is minimal while the players certainly have the biggest advantages here.
That is the situation today and that is the situation that is going to be a problem in a few weeks.
The chance to get stuff back on track, rebuild clans, do RP and use the months to get players active again and with it solve the problems was mostly wasted. I shared my thoughts early enough in May... I proposed changes but in the end not enough people felt motivated to do something. Many excuses were found and yes that is the way I think about it. I don't care if people think different about it. There was a chance and it was not used.
The only solution I see now is to do massive structural changes which come with the risk of totally messing up everything but hold a chance to continue.
Cutting costs seems to be the only way out of this mess.
I have started to investigate the options here and while I see it possible to bring down the costs to a level that is for me personally acceptable (even without any support from the players - since that is not reliable) there are major risks that could harm the integrity of this community and the access to the update processes required to access the CF server.
Lets face it... this community has a somewhat more complex structure than an ordinary internet website. We have huge filebases to cover for SWAT Portal and Lancersreactor, we have extremely large databases which exceed the limits of ordinary web hosts and we have well over 20 terrabyte traffic per year for the websites. And for sure we would not want to host stuff on a potato PC where websites take ages to load. With other words we have huge requirements that are not easy to meet.
I also do not think that players would like to see a downgrate of the game server which leads to lag or loss of data.
Actually I think the gameserver is the smalles of our problems in that regard since back then when Huor created the launcher I asked him to include a mechanism that would allow us to switch servers without disconnecting all the Crossfire clients. However, changing the webserver could cause exactly this mess since CF would not know where to get updates from. This is one of the risks I was talking about... a big problem I have no solution for, at least not yet. It is also something I wont find a solution anytime soon. The technical aspects are very complex.
But since everything else failed in the past months we are running out of options. The situation has to change in one or another way... or we really turn off the lights here.
(don't get me wrong here.... I wont make it dependent on the next few weeks. I cant tell how much work is needed to be done, how much time I will have and if or when I finally find a solution for the technical problems. Id rather delay it for a months if I can ensure that everything is working)
The situation regarding Crossfire updates (Blackstar etc.) can only be described as "its hard to find motivation in such a situation". Maybe when things run better I would get back to modding but that also would require getting at least a bit help from the community.
The way I see it Blackstar could have introduced stuff that would have been good to keep players interested and specific plans to re-release CF with a new installer (one that would make FLMM obsolete) probably would have made it easier for new players to get into the game. But again, it is hard to find motivation and it is not easy to get stuff done alone. Maybe the circumstances change someday and the planned stuff for CF will get another chance to be realized.