Daily archives: February 11, 2020


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