Categories
News

It’s the End of the World as We Know It…

Our players have moved on, and VoidTree’s remaining staff feel that, given real-life pressures, it’s time to close up shop.

We’ve been playing the game of running a public Minecraft server for a year. We’ve learned a lot. This is a game that we could never win, only keep playing for as long as our enthusiasm held out.

Our Patreon has been “unlaunched.” That means there will be no further charges to Patreon subscribers after the August 1 charge. We expect VoidTree to shut down for good on or about the last day of August. The web site will also disappear at that time.

Our Discord server will remain for at least a little while so that people can stay in touch, but it probably will not be here indefinitely. Make sure you friend anyone you don’t want to lose track of.

Categories
News

The Future’s Uncertain but the End is Always Near

The End Opens

We’re opening the End to players after the Phantom invasion of Saturday, July 23rd. The event is at 3PM EST US. Opening the end will require a quick reboot after the event.

Solly Steps Down

We all had our motivations for starting a public Minecraft Server. Solly wanted to write code that people could use to have more fun. He succeeded. On the way he took on several other important duties, including maintaining the financial spreadsheet that proves that I’m losing money on this project and doing arcane things with CSS. But one of the original stipulations for the project is that it couldn’t interfere with real life. Solly has decided that it’s time for him to step back from Minecraft now that we’ve made the transition to 1.19 and the server is stable.

There will be no further updates to our custom code base, no bug fixes and no new features. Fortunately Solly writes good code, so we expect Phantom Events, Altars and custom items to keep working through the next major Minecraft update, whenever that may be.

Categories
News

Welcome to the Next Level

Lore

Oh, you want lore? Let me see….

As the valiant defenders drifted away, the phantoms grew bolder. They attacked without warning and, worse, refused to leave. Soon they’d emptied the drinks cabinet, eaten all the chips, filled the sink with dirty dishes, and were hogging the bathroom.

The defenders retreated to the safety of the spawn under-temple, which made a lot of loud TARDIS-like gronking noises, took off from the old universe, and landed in a new one where all are invited to join and build in safety. Free beer!

Patreon Kit Updates

We’ve updated our Patreon Kits to have fewer custom items and more redstone components. The reasoning behind the change is that receiving the same custom item all the time gets old, but our players seem to soak up all the redstone components they can get their clever little hands upon.

Starting Small

At the very beginning the world will be much smaller than it was last season. It will get bigger. These changes are based on current wisdom about the messy art of Minecraft performance tuning and our own experiences. If you have explored the entire world and not found that perfect mushroom island, don’t worry. There will be more world to check out soon.

The End will become available in about two weeks.

Report Issues in Discord

As always, report bugs and other difficulties in the correct Discord channels. If you tell us something in game, we reserve the right to forget it instantly.

Now I’m going to go have a beer. See you in game!

Categories
News

Season 2 Ends

Small Changes

As we already reported, we nerfed the amount of wool you receive when using Pride Shears. After some discussion, we have nerfed the Shears one more time. When used in a dispenser, Pride Shears will now take wear as if they were Unbreaking III. This means you will have to repair or replace shears in your wool farms occasionally. Shears used by hand will not wear.

New Season Voting Rewards

As previously announced, material voting rewards will be rejiggered for season start. That means no ancient debris for the first couple of weeks.

I spent some time with a spreadsheet sorting out what rewards make sense. Given that you can always choose cash, and that /shop exists, it didn’t make any sense to give people food as the amount of food items to equal the equivalent in cash would be inconveniently large. I curated the rewards based on what would be most useful and added some items that you can’t buy from /shop.

When you choose material rewards, you will receive one of the items on the following list in amounts equal to or greater than what you’d get from taking the cash reward and buying the item:

  • Iron ingots
  • Books
  • Redstone blocks
  • Coal
  • Nether quartz
  • Lapis blocks
  • Gold ingots
  • Golden apples
  • Diamonds

Did you remember to vote every day? You get to open all of those voting packages as soon as you log in for the new season.

A Dark Cloud on the Horizon

If you closely follow Minecraft news as I do, you may have noticed that Microsoft/Mojang are planning to institute a chat moderation and ban system starting in Minecraft 1.19.1.

Nobody knows how this thing will work, apparently not even Microsoft, which has recently announced that the release of 1.19.1 has been postponed.

If you’re worried about this, you’re not the only one. So far the most visible change is Minecraft whining that there’s a problem with the cryptographic signature and asking me to restart. There will be more problems. There always are. (Highly trained moderation staff my ENTIRE BUM. Ahem.)

We do know two things.

  1. Because VoidTree, like most public servers, uses a chat plugin, your chat messages on VoidTree will not be cryptographically signed with your username. That means that VoidTree will not be the origin of a report that gets you banned from Minecraft. We think. Probably. No promises.
  2. If you get banned from public Minecraft servers because of something you do somewhere else that Microsoft can see, our options for letting you back in are all bad options. Be careful out there.

Categories
News

How to Download Your Builds

We can’t upload our world this season (too big!), but Mircokroon has been kind enough to make a program that downloads the world as you walk around in it. We’ve put together a short guide on how to use it on a Windows computer. The process isn’t all that different for other operating systems, so feel free to follow along with the video (or the written guide below).

Video Guide

Here are some links that you’ll need in order to follow along with the video

Written Guide

Download and install Java 17 (or above)

To begin, you’ll need a working Java installation (either 17 or greater). Here’s a link to where you can download Java 17 if you don’t already have it installed. Feel free to use other resources, such as a package manager. Download and run the installer for your OS.

Download and run the Minecraft World Downloader

Now that you have a working Java installation, download the Minecraft World Downloader. Here’s a link to where you can get it. If you’re on Windows, you probably want the .exe. Any operating system can use the .jar file.

Make sure you have Minecraft open. The stock launcher is suggested for this, though others will work with additional configuration needed. Run the world downloader, then navigate to the “Connection” tab along the top. In the “Server address” blank, enter play.voidtreemc.com and press Start.

Connect to the local proxy

Launch Minecraft, then click “Multiplayer.” Rather than connecting to the server itself, click “Direct Connection” at the bottom, and enter localhost:25565 into the “Server address” field. Finally, click “Join Server”

Walk around!

You should be able to walk around and interact with your copy of VoidTree like you normally do. While you’re doing this, keep an eye on the world downloader window. It should appear to draw a map centered around you as you walk. This map will be initially shaded red, but will gradually turn into the proper color of the terrain. Once it has done so, that area of the map is saved.

Your next job is to walk around to save all of the areas that you want a local copy of. Remember: if you don’t visit somewhere with the world downloader running, it won’t be saved. Be sure to give the map displayed inside the world downloader time to update (the red shading will update to proper terrain). After you’ve saved everything, close Minecraft. Wait a moment or two, then close the world downloader.

Move the saved files to your Singleplayer worlds

Now that you’ve saved all of those regions, the next step is to move them to your Minecraft singleplayer worlds folder so that you can access your copy. Head to the directory that you ran the world downloader in (this is likely your Downloads folder). You should notice that the program has created two new folders: cache, and world. Copy the world folder to your singleplayer saves directory.

For Windows users, this is located at %appdata%\.minecraft\saves.

For Linux users, this is located at ~/.minecraft/saves.

For MacOS users, this is located at ~/Library/Application Support/minecraft/saves.

Copy the world folder there, and you’re good to go! You should be able to access it as a singleplayer world now.

You’re done!

Good job! Try to join your singleplayer world, and you should notice that it has a copy of all the places where you visited with the world downloader active. You may have to teleport yourself to some of them using coordinates. The command is as follows:

/teleport <my username> <x> <y> <z>

See you in the next season!

Categories
News

Season Two, We Will Miss You

Table of Contents

We plan to take Season 2 VoidTree down on

Thursday, July 7

and bring Season 3 up on

Tuesday, July 12

These dates are subject to change based on the progress of software updates and real-world commitments of the team.

Here is what you need to know.

Saving Your Stuff

It’s not possible to make the world download available to everyone because of its size. Multiple downloads would beat up our network connection and shove us right over our monthly data transfer limit, costing us money.

There are other options. For the remainder of the season you are permitted to use any mod that will allow you to save your stuff. There are lots of world downloaders out there that haven’t been updated to 1.18 and won’t work. We’ve taken a look at this one and think that it’ll work, though obviously we didn’t write it and can guarantee nothing. Keep an eye out for a blog post tomorrow illustrating how to use the tool. Litematica may also be useful.

In addition, we are releasing the Season 2 seed for everyone to do whatever they like with before the reset: -8137619694342170443

Go nuts.

Vote Packages Carry Over

To encourage people to keep voting, any unopened voting packages will persist across reset and can be opened once the new season starts. As we did last season, we are going to update material rewards to be appropriate for season start. That means no ancient debris for a bit. Instead you will find more items that come in handy when you don’t have all the things yet.

As always, you can redeem your voting rewards for XP or money. The amounts will not change.

Balance Changes

Based on our experiences last season, we’re making some changes. We’re going to keep you informed of these changes in blog posts. As always, the main web pages will be updated to reflect these changes, so you can go look up how things work.

We were looking at balance issues even before we heard rumors that people think our server is, well, easy. As you know, we have a policy to avoid taking things away from players. But a new season gives us a chance to improve game balance.

Pride Shears

Pride shears are powerful. They give you extra wool, extra colors of wool, and they never wear out. Wool farms are, well, overpowered. We are therefore lowering the number of wool blocks you get per shearing. You still get a small amount extra, but not as much.

We may adjust the number of wool blocks up or down depending on how our economy looks further into the season.

The number of candles you get from using shears on beehives will stay the same for now as those can’t be farmed.

Changes to /shop

We have removed from /shop some items that can be made from other items still for sale there. As a pleasant side-effect, there are fewer blocks to sort through when you are looking for the ones you need. The /shop is a convenience and was never meant to replace making items.

In addition, we currently plan to purchase the paid version of EconomyShopGUI. Paying for plugins was unthinkable a year ago, but we feel that it is appropriate given the regular support we get from our users. The paid version allows us to configure limits on /shop purchases per player and time period, which will improve balance and encourage more player-to-player shop activity while still allowing people to get the blocks they need to complete sacrifices or round out a build. The handy GUI for editing shop configuration without possibly blowing it up will be much welcomed, especially as I get to configure all of the item purchase limits.

Changes to Voting

For Season 2 players received rare voting rewards a random percent of the time based on their vote streak. This was unsatisfying for a couple of reasons.

  • It’s sad when your streak drops.
  • “Random” isn’t the same as “feels fair.” If you randomly get multiple rare rewards close together, you might get bored of them. If you get no rare rewards for a while, you might feel left out.

Therefore we have a new mechanism for rare rewards. You now receive a rare reward every 28 votes, which means that if you vote consistently and don’t make any typos when entering your name in voting sites you get a rare reward once a week. The rare reward is randomly determined. It might be a custom item. It might be a villager egg. You never know.

Money, XP and material rewards are still based on your streak level.

Changes to Altars

The VoidCoin flow into and out of altars has been revised.

  • Re-rolling a sacrifice now costs 5 VoidCoins.
  • The chance of getting a rare reward from completing a sacrifice has been reduced but increases with altar level.

Keep Newtown Lag-Free

We are adding an important rule for Newtown.

To keep Newtown lag-free for all, there will be no automated farms there. No redstone clocks, and keep your hoppers to a necessary few. If you would like to build a giant wool farm, there’s plenty of space in the wilderness.

End Opening Delayed

The End will be unavailable initially. The gods will be looking for signs that people have built bases and got decent gear before graciously permitting us to End Bust.

The opening of the End will be announced ahead of time so you can plan.

Start Small

Last season we pregenerated a world that was 15,000 blocks in all directions (or 30k x 30k). It used a lot of disk. This time we’re going to set a world boundary at 5,000 blocks in all directions (10k x 10k) and move the boundary out as the season progresses.

Keeping the world file size smaller may make it possible to put the world up for download at the end of season and will give us some needed flexibility.

Categories
News

Money Stuff, Code Stuff

Money

The net withdrawal after fees was:

$157.71

That works out to

$52.57/month

As you may recall, our total expenses per month are $72.99. This means we’re $20 in the hole every month. This is exceptionally good cash flow for a public Minecraft server these days, and I absolutely do not mind the outlay. I’m not sure how I could have this much fun otherwise for a mere $20/month.

We started running VoidTree in June of 2021. The exact date Proton first brought up a server for us to play with is lost to history, but we’re marking June 25 as our official anniversary, because that’s the date of the first “card” in our issue tracking system (we were discussing what to name this place).

For the last almost year, my total expenses are $179.48. Again, this is very good for a public Minecraft server. Extra thanks to Solly for keeping our accounting spreadsheet organized, as it’s very important for me to prove to the tax people that I’m not making any money on this.

Growth

If enough people join, our current setup may not support them all without some lag. We have a plan for this. When regular contributions increase sufficiently, we’ll double our Linode bill. We’ll use the additional resources to bring up a creative server alongside the survival server and rejigger what runs where. As our current Linode bill is $60/month, that will mean an increase to of the Linode bill to $120/month and the total bill to $132.99/month.

My current plan is for the creative server to get triggered when we hit about $90/month in Patreon contributions, leaving me with about $40/month to cover, an amount with which I’m completely comfortable considering I may be otherwise picking up slack when contributors depart.

Change Log

Solly has been at it again. Some changes:

  • If you do a /findshop and click to teleport, you will be dropped in front of the right chest shop if it is in Newtown, and you will be facing the sign.
  • Added The Bee Lord’s Wand to Winter’s shop.
  • Added bat eggs to Winter’s shop.
  • Fixed many and various errors in altar code. Thanks for helping us debug, folks.

Categories
News

Altar Build Party

This is not a contest. It’s a party. That means everyone wins. To go there, /warp altar_party.

Here are the rules.

  • The build party starts on May 11, 2022 at 11:59 PM EDT.
  • The build party ends on May 18, 2022 at 11:59 PM EDT.
  • All materials are provided.
  • If you want to discuss the party in Discord, we made an #altar-party channel just for the purpose.
  • Participants will build their interpretation of altars, as few as one and as many as five (one for each type).
  • Build one altar in each square sub-plot.
  • You MUST use all the materials provided, but you may use other materials too if you want to decorate or get clever.
  • If you want to participate, ask in #altar-party any time on or after Wednesday, May 11, and a staff member will assign you a plot.
  • Your reward for participating is five VoidCoins for each altar built up to five, and you get to keep the shulker boxes.
Categories
News

Altar Upgrade

Hunter Altar

We are pleased to announce a brand new themed altar for VoidTree. Let’s have a round of applause for the brand new Hunter Altar!

You build a Hunter Altar the same way you do other altars. Stack up the materials, click the interface block, and get sacrificing! The Hunter Altar will ask for items you get from mobs, including every color of wool.

Other Stuff

  • Now when you use the Trans (dimensional) Pick on bedrock, the glass that appears will be in attractive pink, white and light blue colors. Break all the barriers!
  • Patreon contributors at Gold level and above can now use the /echest and /craft commands anywhere in game for a pop-up enderchest or crafting table.
Categories
News

Are You Not Entertained?

Technical Details

Recently we’ve heard that our players want to create some badass builds to entertain each other, and we need a better place for this than Newtown. Why? Because redstone is a major drag on server performance.

If you build redstone at your own base, it gets unloaded when you log out. Newtown is loaded into memory and fully operational all the time whether people are in it or not. This isn’t a problem for us yet, but it will be soon. Nobody wants to see server performance collapse when we have more players.

Furthermore the one-chunk plot size limit really cramps people’s style. Newtown was set up to give us particular features, but it’s not the right place for everything.

How to Participate

We haven’t finalized the exact details, but I’m going to go ahead and tell you what we’ve determined.

  • The casino, landscaping and background scenery builds are being handled by staff. We appreciate the offers of help, but we’ve got this part covered.
  • If you want something included in the casino and surrounding areas, build it in survival mode first. We will evaluate your build and copy it in if it works for us.
  • All redstone MUST have an off switch. No exceptions.
  • Not everything will fit inside the casino, though we can expand it if needed. There will be space outside for different types and sizes of builds.
  • Odds or evens? The casino is an odd number of blocks in most dimensions that count. While a chunk is always 16 blocks on a side, you may want to build so that the center of your masterpiece lines up with the center line of the casino.
  • We expect to copy the entertainment district into subsequent season servers so your build can persist through 1.19 and beyond, assuming it works when upgraded.

More details when we figure them out.