Community + Server /thoughts

There are 39 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by |TSH| ***Tribbs***.

  • 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.

    signew.jpg


    cfmoddblogo.png5904.png5904.png
    http://www.moddb.com/scripts/topsite.php?ts=4766


    Only dead fish swim with the stream.
    Don't discuss with idiots. They only drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience there.


    This is ten percent luck,
    Twenty percent skill,
    Fifteen percent concentrated power of will,
    Five percent pleasure,
    Fifty percent pain,
    And a hundred percent reason to remember the name!

  • For the technical part I am willed to offer support. Last time we created CF 2.0 we had this kind of todo list. I find that suitable to keep the overview and track of what remains to be done. Probable its worth to create such thing(s) for these changes too, let's form a group of people / players to work on this point by point.

    It's hard to motivate oneself if you just see work to do everywhere, literally mountain to climb.


    As for the rp and game wise stuff I have no idea. I would probably motivate myself to extent the hook if that's what players would bring back or which is reason why missing features turn players to leave. But then it would be up to players to turn this into in game actions.

  • wait a second. lancersreactor is yours too?


    i have a few thoughts about all this:


    1: If the filebase and costs are huge the best solution is to simply reduce it. lots of stuff here is available to download, just make the crossfire client itself downloadable and forget the rest. this way you need less storage.


    2: it isnt worth it to have you financially make you everything if the community does not lend a helping hand. the logical solution is to shutdown, as much as it pains


    3: i think the lack of support is not something this server can do much about it. freelancer is a very old game and many people moved on to other games. even discoverys active players are shrinking so dont be too hard on yourself for that. its natural.


    4: i will do a small donation (i lost my current job sadly). hopefully it will inspire others to give a few euros.

  • Well, Freelancer is an old game, but the fact that this community and the one on Discovery still exists should mean something. Even if the servers are not active, there should always be an opportunity for people to get back to it, even if it is motivated only by a spark of nostalgia...


    My cash is tight, but I will lend in a few euros as well.

    "Life piled on life

    Were all too little, and of one to me

    Little remains: but every hour is saved

    From that eternal silence, something more,

    A bringer of new things; and vile it were

    For some three suns to store and hoard myself,

    And this gray spirit yearning in desire

    To follow knowledge like a sinking star,

    Beyond the utmost bound of human thought."

    ~ Ulysses

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

  • Thank you. much appreciated


    The argument that FL is an old game in my eyes is invalid. Sure it is... but it still has a loyal fanbase any a steady flow of new and returning players. The task should be to make it easy for these players to get into the game any interesting enough for them to stay. That is something we really have to work on but before we have to work on the foundation of the community.


    To reduce the filebase in my eyes is counter productive. The content is often very much required for people which want do get into modding... or for players which look for older mods. Nostalgia makes people return to the game... and such an "open door" shouldn't be closed.

    From a technical point of few it is also not that it would matter much. Once a requirement hits a certain peek you have to decide for a more advanced technical solution and after that point it simply does not matter for a very long time if the requirements get even bigger.

    In this community we definitely can not get below that peek anymore. With the words of a greatest president of all times "it is what it is".

    signew.jpg


    cfmoddblogo.png5904.png5904.png
    http://www.moddb.com/scripts/topsite.php?ts=4766


    Only dead fish swim with the stream.
    Don't discuss with idiots. They only drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience there.


    This is ten percent luck,
    Twenty percent skill,
    Fifteen percent concentrated power of will,
    Five percent pleasure,
    Fifty percent pain,
    And a hundred percent reason to remember the name!

  • I will Donate some Credits Op

    Give me a Few Days


    :salutesFools Rush In Where Angels Fear To Tread :patsch: :salutes
    :salutes A Fool and Their Credits are Easily Parted :D
    :salutes Softly, Softly, Catchy Freelancer :P:salutes
    :salutes SMILE :) It Breaks up the Time Between Disasters :thumbsup:
    :salutes I can Only Please one Person Per Day.Today is Not Your Day And Tomorrow does Not Look Good Either :thumbdown: :salutes

  • If ones takes a closer look to the stats of moddb CF is still under the top 1% percent of the mods listed there; followed by Discovery and Tides of War who both are within the top 2% of the listed mods. Although its an old game all 3 mods were always listed very high which still means a lot. Its an old game, but look how much we have included with CF to that old game, enhanced graphics, included nearly another single player episode (which could be sold as freelancer 2 :D). There are also a lot of MP features - such as base building or the added roleplay features for tax, fine and bounties.


    Just wanted to state: "the older they get, the more they want to live it up" :D :D

  • I Have 2 Adjust my Time Line on the Donation


    Due 2 GOLD in the Real World


    Yo Yo Ing


    I am In Limbo


    :)))


    :salutesFools Rush In Where Angels Fear To Tread :patsch: :salutes
    :salutes A Fool and Their Credits are Easily Parted :D
    :salutes Softly, Softly, Catchy Freelancer :P:salutes
    :salutes SMILE :) It Breaks up the Time Between Disasters :thumbsup:
    :salutes I can Only Please one Person Per Day.Today is Not Your Day And Tomorrow does Not Look Good Either :thumbdown: :salutes

  • Some updates on the situation:


    The CF server will shut down on November 3rd.

    I aim to have a replacement ready somewhen between November 1st and November 3rd.

    This will be the first step of the whole procedure and I personally would like to push the webserver replacement somewhen after this date since it will be much more complicated. We might need to provide new launcher files manually or even re-release CF. All that takes a lot of time and work.

    This most likely wont be a smooth transition.


    The new CF server will have a similar performance... might even have a benefit over the old one.

    The server location will move from Germany to France (but not far away from the old location). I assume that wont have any noticable impact on the connection quality.

    The chars will be transfered but it might be that there is a minor roll-back for the days of transition.

    signew.jpg


    cfmoddblogo.png5904.png5904.png
    http://www.moddb.com/scripts/topsite.php?ts=4766


    Only dead fish swim with the stream.
    Don't discuss with idiots. They only drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience there.


    This is ten percent luck,
    Twenty percent skill,
    Fifteen percent concentrated power of will,
    Five percent pleasure,
    Fifty percent pain,
    And a hundred percent reason to remember the name!

  • Sorry for the silly question, but will that affect the forum ?

    "Life piled on life

    Were all too little, and of one to me

    Little remains: but every hour is saved

    From that eternal silence, something more,

    A bringer of new things; and vile it were

    For some three suns to store and hoard myself,

    And this gray spirit yearning in desire

    To follow knowledge like a sinking star,

    Beyond the utmost bound of human thought."

    ~ Ulysses

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

  • The first update early November wont have an influence on the forum.

    The 2nd one later on might cause a downtime of a few days maybe but hopefully after that everything will return to normal.

    signew.jpg


    cfmoddblogo.png5904.png5904.png
    http://www.moddb.com/scripts/topsite.php?ts=4766


    Only dead fish swim with the stream.
    Don't discuss with idiots. They only drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience there.


    This is ten percent luck,
    Twenty percent skill,
    Fifteen percent concentrated power of will,
    Five percent pleasure,
    Fifty percent pain,
    And a hundred percent reason to remember the name!

  • Maybe a bit more information on the 2nd part of the Server updates.

    Updating the Webserver clearly will mess the CF Launchers ability to distribute CF updates and therefore it would not be possible to connect to the CF Server any longer after that Update.

    I have discussed this issue with Huor... or better to say we are in a running discussion.

    We would want to distribute a new Launcher version that has updated functions to allow players to connect to the new CF server.

    The plan is to auto-update it for active players before we do the changes to the webserver. Players which missed the opportunity to update in that timeframe or do a new CF installation will be able to manually download the new launcher version. Links/Download will from our Filebase, Moddb and Discord.

    An automatic update after the Webserver changes unfortunately won't be possible.


    We are meanwhile at the point where we started to discuss the possibility to re-release CF as a whole, with all the updates of the past years and the new Launcher included. This way we can at least ensure that new players get the new Launcher right away when downloading the mod.

    We even play with the idea to create a new installation process. Apparently many players seem to have issues following the instructions and getting the mod installed correctly. We would like to simplify the whole process by getting rid of the need to use FLMM at all (if possible) since this seems to be the biggest error source in the current installation process. We are investigating some promising possibilities right now but it is still unclear if everything works out the way we want.

    With other words we would like to make it fool proof but certainly underestimate the fools.

    signew.jpg


    cfmoddblogo.png5904.png5904.png
    http://www.moddb.com/scripts/topsite.php?ts=4766


    Only dead fish swim with the stream.
    Don't discuss with idiots. They only drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience there.


    This is ten percent luck,
    Twenty percent skill,
    Fifteen percent concentrated power of will,
    Five percent pleasure,
    Fifty percent pain,
    And a hundred percent reason to remember the name!

  • Hey guys, as i am going to make an update to the launcher is there any feature you are missing and would like to have integrated? If its not too much of work required, i could see to integrate the one or another feature to the launcher. Let me know your ideas.


    Also if someone has any idea for another layout, let me know (the layout does not include the inner part) its the stuff regarding the buttons and frame and so on...

  • some suggestions for the launcher to show following info:


    - how many players are online right now


    - what event is currently running in X system (nomad, radiation, whatever)


    - upcoming serverevent (date+clock)


    thats all i can think of


    EDIT: It would be nice if we could have the vanilla freelancer musik in the main menu.

  • ..

    Hey guys, as i am going to make an update to the launcher is there any feature you are missing and would like to have integrated? If its not too much of work required, i could see to integrate the one or another feature to the launcher. Let me know your ideas.

    When you have to work on the launcher anyway, maybe you could address a minor problem:
    The launcher seems to fetch a list of updated files on startup, but if you have slow internet connection or you're a fast clicker, you can start the game before that list is transfered, resulting in a start without doing updates first.
    The Start buttons should be inactive until update process is completed.

  • not a bad idea

    signew.jpg


    cfmoddblogo.png5904.png5904.png
    http://www.moddb.com/scripts/topsite.php?ts=4766


    Only dead fish swim with the stream.
    Don't discuss with idiots. They only drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience there.


    This is ten percent luck,
    Twenty percent skill,
    Fifteen percent concentrated power of will,
    Five percent pleasure,
    Fifty percent pain,
    And a hundred percent reason to remember the name!

  • Time for a progress update


    Huor is currently working on the new launcher version and has made good progress with including the required changes for the upcoming server switches.

    He also changed the way how the launcher will fetch update information which will eventually result in a better and faster update progress. Some further improvements are currently being worked on and will be announced once finished.


    In the meantime I have been working on a new installer and mainly writing this to get some early feedback. I simply would like to get some opinions about the way stuff worked in the past and is changed now.

    The general idea of the new installer is to distribute a re-release of CF in a much easier way. FLMM no longer will be required and generally a few error sources no longer will exist.

    The procedure will be the following:

    1. Install vanilla FL
    2. download the mod and extract the zip file
    3. run the setup
      1. Select Installer language
      2. Welcome page will be displayed
      3. License agreement has to be accepted
      4. General information page will be displayed (Feature Overview -> content needs to be updated)
      5. Now the user can select where to install Crossfire.
        Unlike before the user can NOT select the folder where Crossfire will be installed. You only have the choice to select on which drive Crossfire is going to be installed. A default installation folder will be created automatically on that drive. This will prevent that users install Crossfire into a folder which requires special user rights. Installing the mod into "c:\program files(86)\" won't be possible anymore.
        Note 1: It does not matter where vanilla FL is being installed to. The new installation process will NOT overwrite vanilla FL. No files will be written to the Vanilla FL folder at all. This allows to uninstall Crossfire without destroying the original Freelancer installation.
        Note 2: A clean vanilla Freelancer Installation is required prior installing Crossfire. IF other mods are detected in the original Freelancer folder the Crossfire setup will abort.
      6. On the next page the player can select the options known from FLMM. Grey elements are mandatory (this means the main installation can not be unchecked and all the options require you to make a choice). Optional installation options exist at the end of the list.
        CFsetup.jpg
        I have meanwhile managed to include the original FLMM functionality behind these options and extended the code in a way that allows you to run the installer again if you want to change options. Due to security reasons however this means to go through the entire installation process again (this will ensure that the installation always will be clean).
        Important to mention is that 3 of the FLMM options no longer exist. They used to be active right after the Crossfire 2.0 release but since that have been patched via the launcher. Eventually these 3 options had no longer any effect on the game. For compatibility reasons I did not add them back in. Several of the other options have new descriptions and a different activation order.
        (You might have noticed the different look of the installer. The old one contained a bug which would have made it impossible to include such a complex option choice. I had to replace the complete interface and rewrite big parts of the installer as a result.)
      7. Next you get asked if you want to create a Desktop Icon (hmm k why not)
      8. Prior the copying the files you get the chance to check if all setting are correct
      9. The actually installation will start with automatically checking where vanilla FL is installed and if it is really vanilla FL. If an active mod is found in that folder the Crossfire setup will abort at this point.
        However, if a fresh vanilla FL installation is found the Crossfire setup will start preparing files for the installation. This might take a few minutes as it will fetch files from your vanilla FL installation which are required to get Crossfire installed.
        After that the main mod files will be installed and eventually the options you selected earlier will be processed. In theory the required fonts will be installed at the same time (I probably will include some security checks for that later). Start menu entries and links will be created.
        Note 1: IF the widescreen option and/or the modern hud option with 16:9 is selected the setup currently will automatically execute the Widescreenfix. It makes sense to run it at this point but I am currently not happy with running it. I think I will work on a way to include this functionality directly into the setup instead of running that exe file.
        Note 2: The lowrestexturefix (currently located in the FL main folder) is by default active. The files won't be removed due to compatibility reasons but if you have used the new installer there no longer is a need to apply the fix.
        Note 3: At the very end of the installation process the setup will create a backup of your existing savegames. The backup will be stored in a folder with a timestamp (inside ".\my games\Freelancer\Accts\". After creating this backup the original savegames will be deleted. You are free to manually restore these savegames from the backup folder if you want but to ensure 100% compatibility for new players it is best to let the game create new savegames. Explaination: A vanilla FL savegame (lets say mission 12) certainly helps players to get to get an easy start into the new CF story missions but these old savegames by default do not contain the settings for all the new Crossfire factions. Removing these old savegames and starting fresh from mission 1 would automatically write all the faction data into the new savegames for 100% compatibility with the new content. As alternative to that we could in theory provide vanilla savegames which have this faction data included already (that of course would require to create such).
      10. After copying the files further information about the mod will be displayed.
      11. Finally the user has the option to open the readme, visit the SWAT Portal or join the Discord server.


    The mod can be launched from the Desktop or the Start Menu. Vanilla FL generally should still be working but due to potential savegame incompatibilities shouldn't be used. (ill have to think about a possible solution for that)

    I think that many error sources should no longer exist.

    Font installation still might be a problem since I actually don't understand what went wrong for some of the players. The code used in the old installer looks perfectly fine.


    If you think there are more issues and error sources it would be the perfect time to tell me.

    signew.jpg


    cfmoddblogo.png5904.png5904.png
    http://www.moddb.com/scripts/topsite.php?ts=4766


    Only dead fish swim with the stream.
    Don't discuss with idiots. They only drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience there.


    This is ten percent luck,
    Twenty percent skill,
    Fifteen percent concentrated power of will,
    Five percent pleasure,
    Fifty percent pain,
    And a hundred percent reason to remember the name!

  • Note 1: It does not matter where vanilla FL is being installed to. The new installation process will NOT overwrite vanilla FL. No files will be written to the Vanilla FL folder at all. This allows to uninstall Crossfire without destroying the original Freelancer installation.
    Note 2: A clean vanilla Freelancer Installation is required prior installing Crossfire. IF other mods are detected in the original Freelancer folder the Crossfire setup will abort.

    Maybe it would be a good idea to ask where the original FL is installed first? In case one has many FL copies, clean and with different mods and one that is in registry is a modded one.


    "Across the savage skies and through the fissures in the fields,
    The rumble of the engines and the trundle of the wheels,
    Through hell and horror trudge and yet their spirits never yield.
    Will they sing of these forsaken pawns of war?"
    -Miracle Of Sound, "Pawns of War".