Changes in automatic kick timeout

Hey everyone,

With traffic expected to increase over the coming weeks and Minecraft 1.15 still being a basket case with regards to performance, we are making a small change to our Essentials plugin configuration:

All players below the rank of Administrator will be automatically kicked after being marked as AFK for 15 minutes.

We are leaving the automatic AFK marker in place after 5 minutes of inactivity. This policy will remain in place until traffic lightens and performance improves. Please don’t ask us when that will be; admins will make the decision to revert back to a 60-minute kick when we believe we are ready to do so.

This means:

  • Players who are idle for five minutes are automatically marked as AFK. You can manually mark yourself as AFK with the /afk command. To remove your AFK marker, simply move around, say something in chat, or run a command other than /afk (the /ping command works well).
  • Players who are idle for 20 minutes will be kicked.
  • Administrators are exempt from automatic kicks, though should still disconnect themselves if they will be away from the server for more than a few minutes.
  • Remember that kicks do not count against you in terms of our warning and ban policy. This is simply being adjusted to better manage performance and traffic.

We hope that this change will help keep server resources available for longer and provide a better player experience. As always, please let an admin know if you have questions.

<3, Chief


March 2020 GSM Results

Hello everyone! Our first GSM of the Zeta server series has concluded, and we have quite a bit to share. Thanks as always to MBS for broadcasting the live stream (which you can find here) and to everyone who was online to take part in the discussions.

COVID-19

We first would like to acknowledge the real-world, worldwide COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and the real-world impact it is beginning to have on MRT members and guests. As countries around the world continue to change their health recommendations, travel restrictions, and closures of schools and workplaces, we recognize that this can be an incredibly stressful time for many of you.

We are not making any changes to policies, events, or rules in response to COVID-19, however we would like to request the following of all MRT members:

  • Please be respectful and considerate of other members, who may be experiencing much more stressful situations than you.
  • If you choose to create a COVID response in your own town, please log it on this wiki page, and be considerate of how such a response will be perceived by others visiting your town. While we currently have no plans to do so, we may need to intervene if we find that COVID-19 is being used as an excuse for personal or targeted attacks.
  • Please be patient when requesting assistance from staff. With traffic expected to increase over the coming weeks, staff may need additional time to serve everyone asking for help.
  • Many of you have been asked or mandated to work or continue coursework from home as a result of COVID-19. Your real-life obligations are a priority, so if you believe that a short-term ban would help you maintain focus, please contact the admins by email. Note that if you choose to pursue this option:
    • You will need to tell us how long you want the temporary ban to be in effect for. We generally will accept requests for temporary bans between 7 and 30 days in length.
    • We will aim to process bans within 24 hours. As such, you may not request a delay for when the ban will start.
    • Your Discord and Mumble accounts will temporarily have all permissions removed. You will be able to connect, but you will not be able to do anything.
    • You may not flip-flop between banned and unbanned status. Once a temporary ban is accepted and issued, we will not remove it from your account for any reason.
  • If you know that you will be away from the server for an extended period of time for any reason (including if you need to care for yourself or others in your real-world community), please contact the admins by email to request an asset transfer hold.

With that being said, let’s go through the GSM results!

Rule changes and clarifications

The following rule changes have been approved, and unless noted otherwise take effect immediately:

  • The franchise rules will apply to ALL franchises following the GSM on May 9, 2020. Currently, there are some rules that franchises do not have to follow if they were built on or before February 9, 2020, but for simplicity we will apply the rules to all franchises beginning on May 9. This means that, starting on that date, franchisors (the people or companies who design and own a franchise) are the only ones who can modify the interior of a franchise. This rule may be waived by mutual agreement between the franchisor and franchisee (the town mayor or third party who controls the building a franchise is located in).
  • We have clarified that the 300- and 500-block rules are measured and enforced using chessboard distance (also known as Chebyshev distance). You can learn what this means here or here.
  • Two Senator-ranked cities in close proximity to each other may elect to combine their airfield allocations. Such an airfield must be approved by staff by email prior to construction.
  • Ownership breakdowns must be declared to staff as a part of airport proposals. You must include the list of players and companies that own the airport and what percentage of ownership each entity holds in the airport. Remember that proposals are required for:
    • New airports over 7,500 blocks in size,
    • New airports or airfields of any size with multiple owners, and
    • Expansions of airports and airfields, if such expansion would cause the town’s airports to use a combined total of more than 7,500 blocks worth of space.
  • Staff will be asked to enforce General Rule 13 (“Speak English in public chat”) with more frequency and consistency. While we value the backgrounds everyone brings to our community, including your first language, we ask that everyone speak English in all public channels so that everyone can understand the conversation and be able to participate. Conversations in other languages should occur in private messages, party chats, or other Discord servers.

We also discussed and approved a few smaller policy and technical changes:

  • Policy change: Staff are asked to not run biome changes or regenerations for the time being as they can cause severe enough server lag that players can lose connections. Please do not ask staff for these as they will be refused.
  • Zeta postmortem: Dynmap 3D is on hold. Due to the increases of traffic and occasional drops in TPS, we are holding off on a full-world 3D Dynmap render for the time being. 3D renders will occur in local areas when staff do a local render. We are asking staff to limit the radius of local renders to 300 blocks.
  • uCars: Cyan blocks are now drivable. You can now drive on cyan terracotta, wool, concrete, and concrete powder.

Survival world

We first would like to thank LDShadowLord and Vulpicula for all of the time, energy, and resources they invested in running a trial survival server. We spent the entirety of the private portion discussing the feedback and data we’ve received from participants and our own observations, as we know a survival server has gained varying amounts of interest among members over the years.

We did make some decisions related to survival mode:

  • We will not be implementing a survival world in the immediate future. Our top priority is to maintain the creative experience, hopefully with performance improvements brought by future Minecraft updates. If and when resources allow and community demand warrants it, we may add Survival at a later date.
  • Surveys will be sent out regarding your experience on Survival. Whether you participated in Survival or not, please let us know what your thoughts are, as these will help inform our decision on when and how Survival can be brought to the MRT in a more official capacity.
  • We will be investigating some tweaks to the experience based on player feedback and our experience. Notably, we will continue to try to determine what an optimal mob spawn rate would look like, and we are considering a number of changes to how the economy system would work.

Please continue to share your feedback with any staff member of either server. We appreciate it and we will do our best to take it into account if and when Survival becomes an official component of the MRT.

Roads, Rails, Seaplanes, and Canals, Oh My!

  • The second extension of the Eastern South Line (ESX2) from Pearl Coast to Arcadia via Juhwa, organized by Vulpicula, has been approved in full. Stations will be built in the following locations, and as such new towns can’t be started here:
Phase One of ESX2. Yes, Frumple gets a private MRT station.
Phase Two of ESX2
  • The B970, running from Holtville to Thurso and built by TechsMinecraft54, has been approved. Update: this road has since been re-numbered B870 to account for the wards it passes through.
  • Carnoustie has been conditionally granted a seaplane base exemption, provided that:
    • The terminal for the seaplane base is relocated west, closer to the proposed runway, and
    • The lake is dredged deeper than it is now.
  • We have approved three canals:
    • A very short canal from Lake 33 to the Northern Ocean, to be built by VickiTori_.
    • Canals from Lake 53 to Lakes 52 and 54, both built by RacCort.

Miscellaneous

  • Funding for Survivor: Vakayawa, organized by daltdisneyland, has been approved in full. Best of luck to this season’s participants!
  • Echohue has been granted permission to remove icebergs in the Coral Sea, between the Bay of Thanos and the nearby mesa.
  • The town of Otakiri has been transferred to EspiDev, on the condition that it remains a separate town and does not become integrated into Espil (we generally aren’t fans of exclaves).
  • The MRT stations of F15-P17 and P18 have been transferred to decorminecraft.
  • We reviewed a transfer request for the town of Glenbrook (M14). This request was denied because callumjk has been active enough to preserve ownership. We will be asking Kenoi to attempt contact with callum, either via /mail or by asking the admins for assistance, before re-submitting.
  • MRT members are now encouraged to vote us up on server lists! There are no in-game reminders or incentives to do so, but we hope that with increased visibility, additional people can find and join our community.

That’s all this time around (though if I missed something, please yell at me in Discord). Stay healthy and safe, and we’ll see you around!

<3, Chief


The Zeta Server and Migration Master Post

Hi everyone,

This post contains the answers to almost all of your questions regarding the new Zeta Server and the upcoming migration of all MRT services towards it. If you have a further question or concern that isn’t covered by this post, feel free to ask a staff member on the #zeta-server-planning channel on our Discord.

What is the Zeta Server? / Why are we migrating?

Currently, all of our MRT services minus Discord run on a dedicated machine called the Epsilon Server. While Epsilon has served us well for the past 3 years, it contains aging software and hardware that may have contributed to several total server crashes that have occurred in recent months. It is also rather expensive to run, costing $83.99 CAD per month.

Therefore, it was time to find a new, more reliable, and hopefully cheaper machine, and that machine is the Zeta Server. The Zeta hardware comes with the following advantages:

  • Zeta has both a solid-state drive (SSD) and a traditional hard drive (HDD), which will allow us to expand the New World even further (more details below).
  • Other than disk drives, Zeta has roughly the same specs as the Epsilon, Gamma, and Omega servers. You can view the specs on the MRT Server Finances document, in the notes on the Server Expenses tab.
  • And most importantly, Zeta is 33% cheaper to run than Epsilon, costing only $56.99 CAD per month.

What is being improved with the Zeta Server?

In addition to many performance and stability updates to the operating system and other back-end software, the following improvements will be in place:

  • A new OpenTTD 1.9.3 server has been setup and is already open to the public. For details on how to connect, please see the #openttd channel on our Discord.
  • The wiki will be updated to MediaWiki 1.33.1.
  • The Minecraft server will be updated to 1.15.2.

However, the biggest and probably most anticipated change is the expansion of the New World.

What are the details about the New World expansion?

Please read through this document, which provides an analysis for possible borders for the New World based on our needs and new available disk space. The analysis concludes that we will be able to expand the New World to a radius of 30000 blocks, up from Epsilon’s radius of 18000 blocks. The Zeta New World will effectively be 2.7 times the size of Epsilon, 8.4 times the size of Gamma, and 87.9 times the size of the Old World.

When the Zeta Server opens, most of the new land will be claimable on a first-come, first-serve basis as per the server rules. Remember that making an excessive number of claims is against the rules, so we would recommend that you only have one or two areas in mind to claim.

Please note the following restrictions are in place for the new Zeta region:

  • The construction of any new independent boats or other naval vehicles (i.e. not part of a town) is not allowed in the Zeta region. This ban will remain in place for at least the next several months and will be formally lifted at a future GSM.
  • No new MRT extensions or lines will be built into the Zeta region for the next several months. This is intended to facilitate the organic growth of new towns in the region first before the MRT can reach those areas.
  • All Mushroom Island and Ice Spikes biomes will be protected from any sort of construction due to their rarity. In the future, we may make use of these biomes for community builds or events.

When will the Zeta Server migration happen? / How long will it take?

The migration will begin on February 18 at 4 am UTC (8 pm PST on the 17th).

All MRT services will be shut down at this time, but most of them except for the Minecraft server should be back online within 1-2 days. The Minecraft server will be whitelisted in order to generate chunks and render the dynmap, and this is currently estimated to take 10 to 11 days to complete. If all goes according to plan, the Minecraft server and the expanded New World will be officially open to the public at some time on February 29th.

What should I do during the Zeta migration?

While the Minecraft server is down, there will be several events and options available to help you pass the time:

  • Hang out on our Mumble and Discord servers.
  • Play on our OpenTTD server.
  • Join the unofficial MRT Survival Server starting from Friday, February 21st. Vulpicula and LDShadowLord are setting up this server as a trial run to see how well such a world would work for our community. This server will remain open for several weeks, even after the Zeta server has opened to the public.
    • Please note that this server is not owned or endorsed by Frumple or any MRT staff, and is fully under the ownership and management of Vulp and LD.
    • This server will have its own set of rules, staff, and moderation policies, and it will only be open to current MRT members.
    • If you are interested in joining, please check the pinned post in in the MRT Discord’s #events channel.
  • Participate in Jackbox Games on Saturday, February 22nd at 7pm UTC. See the migration schedule below for details on how to participate.
  • Join the “Purge” on Sunday, February 23rd starting at 7pm UTC. In this event, the old Epsilon Minecraft server will be turned back on with all protections disabled, allowing members to trash and grief the worlds to their heart’s content.

You may also decide to visit other Minecraft servers and communities while our server is down. However, please remember to be respectful of the members of that server and follow their rules. In past downtimes, there have been incidents where MRT members have gone off to other servers en-masse and made a very poor impression of our community, even to the point where the admins of those other servers have sent us direct complaints. If we do receive such complaints, we may issue warnings and/or bans to the offenders here as appropriate.

How will I connect to the Zeta Minecraft server when it’s ready?

  • Make sure to connect using a Minecraft 1.15.2 client.
  • Use the usual minecartrapidtransit.net address to connect.
  • At the time of this writing, Optifine for Minecraft 1.15.2 is not available. See this Reddit thread for the latest progress updates.

Full Migration Schedule

Tuesday, February 18 (Day 1)

  • 4 am UTC: All MRT services on Epsilon Server will be shut down.
  • Backups of all services will be produced, then transferred to Zeta Server. This is expected to take one whole day to complete.

Wednesday, February 19 (Day 2)

  • The Minecraft server will be set up on Zeta and chunk generation of the expanded New World will begin. This is expected to take 5 to 6 days to complete.
  • All other MRT services will be restored throughout the day. Check the website or the status page for the latest updates.

Friday, February 21 (Day 4)

  • Unofficial MRT Survival Server opens
    • See the pinned post in the MRT Discord’s #events channel for more information on how to join.

Saturday, February 22 (Day 5)

  • 7 pm UTC: Jackbox Games
    • To play, watch Frumple’s Twitch channel at https://twitch.tv/frumple and open a browser on your computer or mobile device to https://jackbox.tv. It is also highly recommended that you join Mumble for the best experience.

Sunday, February 23 (Day 6)

  • 7 pm UTC: The “Purge” begins
    • The old Epsilon Minecraft server will be turned back on. An IP to connect will be provided.
    • All WorldGuard protections will be turned off.
    • Any sort of chaos, shenanigans, and griefing will be allowed.
    • Worlds will not be saved to disk.
    • The “Purge” server will remain online as long as possible until it crashes and cannot be started up again.
    • If the server crashes, admins may make restart and restoration attempts at their discretion.

Monday, February 24 (Day 7)

  • Chunk generation should be completed by this point.
  • A full flat dynmap render of the New World will begin, and is expected to take 3 to 4 days. A full 3D dynmap render will be run at a later date.

Saturday, February 29 (Day 12)

  • The Minecraft server will be officially open to the public sometime on or around this date. Please watch the website or Discord #announcements for the specific opening time.

Final Thoughts

I’d just like to take a moment to thank everyone who has been involved with the server over the past 7 years, and everyone who has still stuck around up to this point. It still bewilders me that what I thought would be a short-lived server has turned into such a tight-knit online community. I hope that all of the work I’ve put into Zeta Server will help facilitate your continued enjoyment and experience on the server for the next several years to come.

Thanks,
Frumple


February 2020 GSM Results

Hello everyone! The February 2020 GSM has concluded, and with it the GSM series for Epsilon. We will be posting information about our Zeta migration in the next few days, so please continue to check back for updated information on that migration. If you missed the meeting’s public portion, MBS covered it live.

In the meantime, let’s talk about the staff meeting!

City rank updates

We reviewed the town of Radiance Square for promotion to Premier, and while many staff members were happy to vote it onwards, it didn’t quite meet our 80% majority threshold. Feedback and voting details will be posted in the usual feedback folder. Overall we noticed a lot of progress within Radiance Square since our last review, and we look forward to our next chance to review it at the April GSM or later.

All new Senator, Governor, and Premier submissions are temporarily suspended due to the Zeta migration. We will re-open submissions when Zeta opens, and any city candidates currently under review will be automatically extended by two weeks to account for the downtime.

Some staff docs will be published

We are happy to announce that some of our “top-level” staff documents and spreadsheets will be published in the coming weeks (these are called “top level” because they live within the top level of the staff docs folder hierarchy). Links to the following items will soon be provided:

  • Town List: Our master record of ranked (and a few unranked) towns, their locations, current mayors, ranks, and their list of prior mayors.
  • Event Funding List: All events that have been issued server funding grants, and how much has been paid out.
  • Plugin List: Which plugins (and which versions) are installed on which server, and which new plugins are officially under consideration (please note, due to the upcoming migration, we have a moratorium in place on new plugin suggestions until the migration finishes)
  • Road List (once it gets updated) – the list of road numbers and what roads they correspond to. This one will take a while to get updated.

Additionally, we are researching our options regarding the master membership list, and we hope to publish it soon.

Members who have questions about prior decisions or want to know other information that’s not included in these documents should first contact the staff members who were involved with the appropriate decision, or for general questions, any available staff members. If this informal conversation doesn’t help, members may email the ADMINS their question, and we can potentially provide more details if required. We will ask that formal information requests to the admins be used as a last resort.

We will apply similar standards to Freedom of Information type requests. This means:

  • Your request needs to be specific, you can’t just ask for a copy of the entire staff documents archive.
  • We can deny releasing information if we deem it confidential (for instance, decisions made regarding specific players – we will not release complete information on warning or ban histories, nor will we ever release email addresses or other identifying information) or related to security (for instance, we won’t release our exact VPNGuard or Docker configurations).
  • Audio recordings of GSMs, and transcripts thereof, are out of bounds and can’t be asked for.

We hope that we have been transparent enough with our decisions in the past so that you all can understand how we’ve made them, however we are always happy to have conversations if you have further questions.

Zeta migration prep

We approved the following definitions of lake numbering and ward boundaries, which will take effect at the Zeta migration. (Note: The boundary between Wards 3 and 4 in the southeast will be adjusted slightly to better handle all of the islands; a final map will be published by Vickiposa once the exact placement is all set. All other ward boundaries are approved.)

The Zeta Lakes as approved (some numbers have changed since the original proposal)
The Zeta Wards (though the boundary between Wards 3 and 4 in the southeast corner will be updated).

Three lakes have had their official names assigned or changed:

  • Lake 15 is now known as Lake Lumeva
  • The South Sea (Lake 23) is now known as the Coral Sea
  • Lake Thanos (Lake 30) is now known as Bay of Thanos

Seaplanes are officially permitted on Lakes 31 through 52, as well as the appropriate extensions of lakes from the existing system. Additional lakes may be added, or names submitted, by member proposals once Zeta opens.

Finally, we made some decisions regarding random boats in the middle of lakes:

  • We have instated a temporary ban on random boats in the middle of lakes until at least the end of May 2020. This means that any boats built in a lake must be a part of something that’s based on the shore, and have a good reason to be there. This moratorium must be lifted by a GSM proposal.
  • Boats built in lakes must observe, but do not constitute claims for, the 300- and 500-block sovereignty rules. This means that boat owners must respect existing claims when building boats, but there are no exclusion zones around boats.
  • Boats that are built in a lake before a town is added to its shores may stay there, even if the town later grows to the point where the boat is within the sovereignty rules. This is similar to the road and rail right of way rules.

Franchise modification and relocation

We argued about this one for half an hour. It was… a lot.

Effective immediately:

  • Mayors may decide to remove franchises within their town, or relocate franchises within their town, and may do so without permission from the franchisor.
    • For franchises located within transit stations, malls, or other buildings controlled by a third party, this permission is extended to that third-party controller, but only within the context of the controlled building.
    • Exception: Franchises may not be moved from one town to another unless authorized by the franchisor.
  • Mayors wishing to modify any new franchises built on or after Sunday, February 9, 2020 must obtain permission from the franchisor to do so.
    • This rule includes all modifications of interiors and exteriors.
    • This rule may be waived by mutual agreement between the mayor and the franchisor.
  • Mayors and individuals who control and sublease buildings (for example, transit station owners who lease out franchise space) may define restrictions that must be honored at the time of franchise construction. These restrictions generally include space restrictions or which blocks may be modified, but may also include agreements on future modification permissions, or any other reasonable restrictions or conditions of construction. Franchises that are built in areas with these restrictions are assumed to have accepted the restrictions.
  • Mayors may not claim ownership of franchises built by others within their town borders.

Please note that we have decided to defer a decision on what happens to previously built franchises within a town. There is one exception that has been decided – squatter’s rights or adverse possession:

  • In the event that a town contains a franchise, for which neither an owner nor a company can be identified by any means (including signage and CoreProtect logs) the mayor may make any modifications they wish. Franchisors are strongly encouraged to place identifying signs in conspicuous places on their property to prevent this from happening.

Blimps!

We decided that, for the purposes of the rules, airships and blimps are very weirdly shaped giant helicopters. This means that airships and blimps are allowed and may be built in accordance with the helicopter rules.

  • One slot is available to towns at the Councillor rank, which may be used by an airship, blimp, or helicopter.
  • Two slots are available to towns at the Mayor rank, which may be used by any combination of airships, blimps, and helicopters.
  • There is no limit on slots to cities at or above the Senator rank, however any such slots above the first two count against airfield and airport size allocations. These slots may be used by any combination of airships, blimps, and helicopters.
  • Just like helicopters, there is no limit on the number of decorative airships or blimps that may be built within a town. This means airships and blimps may be built in the air, or on the ground without functioning warps, without restriction.

Homes increase with Zeta

We’ll be increasing the number of homes available for all ranks at or above Councillor. This means that your number of available homes have increased as follows (these numbers are all in addition to your bed spawn, which can be accessed with /home bed):

  • Member: 0 (no change)
  • Citizen: 1 (no change)
  • Trustee: 3 (no change)
  • Councillor: 6 (+1)
  • Mayor: 10 (+2)
  • Senator: 15 (+3)
  • Governor: 20 (+4)
  • Premier: 25 (+5)

The increase in available homes have taken effect immediately.

Formalizing no retroactive funding

Somehow this isn’t on the rules page? Who wrote that??? (Wait, that was me.)

Anyway, we have long held the precedent that events can’t receive funding grants retroactively. As such, the following rule has been officially approved and will be added to the rules page:

Events seeking grant funding must receive GSM approval in advance. Funding requests will be denied if submitted after events begin. Retroactive funding requests will not be accepted for consideration.

This decision affects the MRT Winter Games 2020, which was organized by frogggggg and Frosty_Creeper10. This means that any prizes awarded from this event must be paid for by the event organizers.

MRT Jungle Line South Extension (JSX-1)

Watch someone make a React joke. Or is that too niche?

AP_Red will be extending the Jungle Line south to Sunshine Coast. The approved map is as follows, and as with any MRT extension, new construction along this line is now prohibited until the line is officially opened:

The approved path of the Jungle Line South Extension 1 (JSX-1).

Roads and rail bypasses

  • The B76 from Chan Bay to Tembok has been approved.
  • An extension of the B58 from San Vantino to Redwood has been approved.
  • i____7d has been granted permission to build railway tracks under an inactive town at SW36.
  • autobus22 has been granted permission to build RaiLinQ tracks under Villedyn and two unnamed inactive towns.

IATs

  • The town of Armada (A26-C107) has been transferred to PtldKnight, on the condition that it must remain independent and can’t be integrated into or annexed by Waterville.
  • XenRail and all Xenive holdings have been transferred to FredTheTimeLord.
  • The town of Insula Montes has been transferred to daltdisneyland.

Projects

  • Some members have set up a survival server that we’ll be linking to in our Zeta announcements. Please note that, while this server is run by MRT members, it is not an official affiliate of the MRT. More details will be coming soon.
  • The 6th MRTvision Screenshot Contest has been funded in full. There is a crab emoji in the minutes and I don’t know why.
  • “Operation: Airlift Monte Isola” has been denied.
  • A spleef (not spleen, AutoCorrect) tournament in Crystal City, organized by Skelezomperman, has been approved.
  • The Winter Olympics 2020 has been conditionally approved with reduced prizes, based on event attendance and quality.

That’s all for now – stay tuned for the Zeta migration updates!

<3, Chief