About the master server...

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Lewa
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About the master server...

Post by Lewa » Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:41 pm

After a lot of thought i came to a somewhat sad conclusion.

Originally i planned to provide a central master server for Celaria which would be used for Leaderboards and player statistics as well as mapsharing.
(Players would be able to log into the server, view the statistics/leaderboards and/or upload their own maps which would recieve their own leaderboards.)
The server is/was quite far in development. (Although it wasn't completely finished.)

I'm sad to say that but i'll be dropping the master-server concept and remove it from the game. (This includes map-hosting on the dedicated server, the WebGL based 3D preview of maps, more in-depth statistics of players, etc...)

In the end, it comes down to finances. As a one-man indie developer running such servers is somewhat costly. (I can't just use a cheap webspace provider for that. It would need to be a beefier machine.)
Then there is the question of ongoing server support.
Servers need to be maintained and in case of failure, debuged, fixed and restored. This can be a colossal time-investment (if done on my own) or extremely costly (hiring someone who runs those for me.)
Legal issues (in one form or another) were also a concern. (Storage of steam-related data, network security, etc...)

In the end i came to the conclusion that i'll have to cut the master server. For a first (possibly commercial) release this is just way too risky.


Instead, some of the features will be transferred over to the Steam API. They will be somewhat restrictive (you can't store the data in the exact same way as the master server would) but it would provide at least the most basic form of a leaderboard system.
Custom-maps can also be hosted on the Steam workshop.

Note that this change doesn't affect the multiplayer feature of this game. Players will still be able to host their own servers on the internet (and race against each other in multiplayer).
The only problem right now is that without a master server the game isn't going to be able to access a server-browser which would display all available servers. (I'll look into a simple/cheap server which would be able to host at least a server-list for the multiplayer.)
Otherwise, players would have to know the IP address of each server in order to connect to it. (Direct-IP connection method.)

Artain
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Re: About the master server...

Post by Artain » Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:26 am

Basicly, you've gone with minecraft-style server connection, used Steam and cut a little of the leaderboard possibilities. Why is that a sad conclusion? It's just another option!
Um, what do I say here... Welcome to... No, No... Um... I'm Artain the First, Baka Extraordinaire

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On the side note, gratulations for anyone who got that reference.

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Lewa
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Re: About the master server...

Post by Lewa » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:51 pm

Artain wrote:
Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:26 am
Basicly, you've gone with minecraft-style server connection, used Steam and cut a little of the leaderboard possibilities. Why is that a sad conclusion? It's just another option!
As a developer i would like to add (and improve) as many features as possible. Cutting down one of the important aspects of the game is a hard thing to do. :/

It's something that i will keep in mind and hopefully implement in future projects.

Artain
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Re: About the master server...

Post by Artain » Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:49 pm

Oh, 'kay
Um, what do I say here... Welcome to... No, No... Um... I'm Artain the First, Baka Extraordinaire

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On the side note, gratulations for anyone who got that reference.

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Dr Gains
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Re: About the master server...

Post by Dr Gains » Fri Mar 24, 2017 2:15 pm

Would having someone else run a master server for the time being be an option? Or would Austrias laws still have something against that some how?
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Lewa
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Re: About the master server...

Post by Lewa » Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:12 pm

Dr Gains wrote:
Fri Mar 24, 2017 2:15 pm
Would having someone else run a master server for the time being be an option? Or would Austrias laws still have something against that some how?
It doesn't directly have to do with law. (Neither Austrian nor Polish law.)

Let's assume the game is going to be sold commercially. If the game advertises all those online-features then people have the right to expect those features to be available and maintained for as long as possible.
This of course takes either time and/or money. (Both of which i don't really have.)

First of you have to maintain the master-server. This means making sure that it doesn't get overloaded, react as fast as possible to restart the server if something horribly goes wrong (and it does all the time...) and bugfix/improve the server sided codebase of the server.
This is a huuuuge undertaking.

Of course i could pass this off to someone else (so that i'm not the one maintaining the server) the issue here is that this person/company would of course expect a payment for doing so which in turn increases cost. (And in addition to that, if you update the server there is a high probability that the client has to be updated as well. And as i am responsible for the client side of things, i would need to invest time to communicate with the other entity and plan updates accordingly which in addition to that costs time which could be used for other/new development projects.)

All in all, it simply isn't financially viable for me to have this feature. It would totally make sense if i had the confidence that A) the server is stable and as "bugfree" as possible (which requires a lot of development time and testing) and B) if the game would sell a lot of copies in order to earn enough so that the server costs are relatively low (compared to the income. If the server cost outweighs the income you are in a lot of trouble.)
Both things are (sadly) not the case here.

I already bit off more than i could chew with the multiplayer server. Maintaining this codebase post-release will already be a huge time investment.

It's something which might have been viable if i had a multi-person team (i'm currently the only one working on this game with the exception of the music production) and a more potential customers (by already having a fanbase which would buy such a game) which would help with financial security.
That's something which might be achievable in the future.

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