We're Back (and What Happened?)

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Zolcos
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We're Back (and What Happened?)

Post by Zolcos »

--- Coming Back --- (Updated: 2020-04-19)

You'll need a Password Reset to get back into your account but some email providers seem to be wrongly blocking us as spam at the moment so if it doesn't work just contact me and I'll give you your new password. You can: (1) email me at the From address I used to send you the notification that we're back online (or the one listed below), (2) use the Contact Us form at the bottom, or (3) register a new account and PM me. I have temporarily enabled the ability to register accounts without having to do email verification because of this. If you tried it before and it said it sent an email but didn't, try it once more now.


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--- What Happened ---

In December of 2015 my wife, who you knew as Serrinatta, died from contact with some kind of toxin. It was the worst thing that ever happened to any of us here, and it was a drawn-out process too, I forget the exact timeline but it was over a month of having to watch her slowly die in the hospital and be treated carelessly by incompetent hospital staff who didn't believe her that anything serious was wrong until it was too late to save her.
The only family that either of us have nearby is her parents. Fortunately we are close and have been able to support each other through the hard time.
Nobody had any reason to believe that what happened was anything other than an accident, but the police took it upon themselves to investigate it as a murder and mainly go after me since they have no leads and couldn't think of anything else to do to look busy. This mainly involved raiding my house and stealing all of my computers and computer related things to "search them for evidence", which they did, and having found nothing relevant to the case, they still held on to all of it for over 4 years just because.
They also spent a couple years traveling across the country harassing everybody I've ever known, to shock people into saying anything that they can use against me. This was of course unsuccessful. Fortunately, only a few people fell for it and the vast majority stayed on my side, most notably her parents who have been a great help to me.
From your point of view, the server and website just vanished. Of course, I was prepared for things like hardware failures or my house burning down so I had kept backups of everything in a fire safe, but the cops stole those too. My digital life was gone. I couldn't even do my taxes properly.

As you've probably figured out, the government has finally returned my computers to me!!! Now I can rebuild my life, as well as rebuild this server. This is also important in a symbolic way, because now the whole world can see that they're done investigating and apparently found nothing. There can be no doubt that I was right.
If you're worried about security of the server, don't be. Like any good corporate IT security policy, I consider any computer that's left my control to be untrustworthy so I've taken these steps: (1) Recover all important data off the returned machines (2) Update the BIOS (3) Wipe the hard drives and reinstall the operating system (4) Rebuild the system from scratch and repopulate select data -- Better, faster, stronger...

--- Download link to the old world here ---

https://aehdev.com/realm.zip

There it is. Figured I would post it for everyone to get for the memories since I don't plan on trying to convert it for use on a new instance and also ZanarCrestrider had asked me for it shortly after the server went down.
Reasons I decided not to reuse it, even if I do make a new server:
- Some important data (shops, pex, etc) was stored in mysql databases which got mostly hosed. (This almost prevented me from getting the forum back up -- I will make a separate post about that)
- It's missing stuff from 4 years worth of new updates so we'd be celebrating the return of the realm... with a massive migration project to a new map? I can't ask that of a community that I'm trying to rebuild from dust...
- Bukkit is dead and converting both the map and plugin setup to a new server software... if it's even possible, sounds like a gigantic pain in the ass with no guarantee of how well it world work.

--- The Future ---

Shortly after I post this I'll also send a mail to everyone. We'll see if the old gang still exists. I'm sure everyone is either on different servers now or stopped playing minecraft altogether, and wasn't still awaiting the glorious return of the Realm. But please give me your thoughts on what we all should do next.

- The number one question, should I start up a new minecraft server?
Bukkit was already dead before our server went down. At the time I thought we'd end up on Sponge, which wasn't out yet but now it is. It is built on Forge which I want to avoid but it looks like they followed through on their promise to make SpongeVanilla which works with vanilla clients and doesn't need Forge. There's also something called Spigot, which back then was just a plugin for bukkit (which was janky as heck actually) but now it's a whole standalone MC server which claims to be backward compatible with Bukkit plugins, meaning in theory we can keep our familiar player shops plugin among other things.
There's also Microsoft's new completely separate non-java version of minecraft? Bedrock Edition?
I haven't kept up with MC news this whole time so I'll need your advice on this one.

There's also the question of fixing the issues that made the community dwindle even before the shutdown. Mostly it was because Bukkit was dying and they wouldn't release stable builds until multiple major MC updates later so only the few that were willing and able to use ancient clients could play on the server. There were dev builds released faster but the new features would be half broken anyway and some of the plugins would not work on them (and when worldguard stops working, fires spread from every fireplace and creepers spawn in every dark corner of your house).
This is mainly a matter of picking custom server software with a good release schedule and both that I mentioned seem to be up to date with the latest MC.
The other issue was, I'm well aware that our rules got too restrictive making it too hard to keep new players. One of the last things Boots did before I took over was implement the realtor plugin, which turned out to be pretty useful, especially for the marketplace and Inns. However, I got it in my head that if I took Boots' final action to its logical extreme (having everything be locked down and buyable) then I would be following his legacy and that would make everything even better. I know better now -- the rules and restrictions on a server should be there to prevent griefing and encourage good building in the main areas -- and nothing else! As long as we keep good filters on who we let in, and do all we can to educate people on how we do things before they start playing, then in theory the in-game experience/restrictions can be more relaxed.

- If not MC then let's keep in touch anyway?
If nobody plays Minecraft anymore maybe we become a general gaming clan. What games are you all playing nowadays?

- My availablility
At my current job, back in January 2020 they announced they'll be moving most of what the business does to a third party hosted service and firing all the internal developers around the end of the year! So I need to work hard finding a new job, (not easy with everyone going out of business because of Coronavirus) and to do that I need to sharpen my skills as well. So this means I won't be a hardcore gamer again right away but I'm not going to be a complete absentee either.

- Welcome back
I want to extend my thanks to every single person who comes back to post, even if it's just to tell me they had kids or whatever and don't have time for gaming anymore. It's been long enough that I have forgotten any quarrels I may have had with anyone and I will be glad to see you.
Zolcos, King of Silverlyn, and current Head of the Council.

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Zolcos
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Re: We're Back (and What Happened?)

Post by Zolcos »

An aside about how I got the forum running again:
It took an insane amount of tinkering over many days to get it working; I almost wasn't able to do it.
- The old phpbb we were using only works on versions of PHP so old they aren't available in the repo anymore, so I had to install a new phpbb and import the old data
- The database was broken. You might know that you can only safely transfer databases between servers by exporting the data and reimporting, not by just copying the files because there can be incompatibilities you might not be able to work around. And if you must copy the files, you have to do it while mysql is not running. And you must only try to restore into a mysql server the exact same version as the one the files were from. Well, the only copy of the data in the backup was the server files copied while mysql was still running, and the old mysql version isn't available in the repo anymore after so many years, and not even all the files were there for some reason, and what was there was partially corrupted. Here we go!!
- Normal corruption recovery techniques (and even expensive automated recovery software) for the remaining data didn't work because I had only the data files and not the files that define the structure.
- mysql defines a process for recovering the data from orphaned IBD files if you know the schema here https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/5.6/en ... adict.html
- The old forum doesn't have the same schema as latest phpbb so direct import failed. I figured the schema would be defined somewhere in the forum install folder, which of course gets deleted at the end of the install process, so I had to download a fresh copy of the right version. After much investigation I found the only way to tell what version a phpbb install is without the database, is that in the folder for forum themes (styles) each theme says what phpbb version it's for, so you can be somewhat sure that's what you have. The schema from 3.0.11 had 2 versions based on what version of mysql you have, so I had to learn how to tell what version of mysql is installed on an offline copy of a linux server (since the usual commands of course return what is currently installed on the live server instead)
- With the correct schema installed, reimporting the tablespace still failed with a cryptic "schema mismatch" error. To find out what it really means I found this bug report https://jira.mariadb.org/browse/MDEV-15049 that says it's because of the row_format, which isn't defined in the schema and the default changed since the previous version.
- Changing the row_format can be done but it errored out for me, saying the row definition (per the schema) is too large (it worked on the old server, why is it too large now?). This stupid error actually suggests to change the schema to make the row size smaller, of course if I do that the import will fail due to schema mismatches. Found a solution here: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/226 ... umns-to-te#
- Note that on the stackoverflow question, the accepted answer doesn't fix the problem for me (my case is more extreme than the asker's), and also, the most upvoted answer is an evil dangerous setting that will corrupt all your data (WTF). What worked was an answer further down that has only 8 upvotes regarding innodb_page_size but this requires throwing out the whole mysql server data folder and starting over LOL
- With the row format set correctly the tablespace import still fails on an error "your index is corrupt, fix it". This led me to an actual bug in the current mariadb (the replacement for mysql). https://jira.mariadb.org/browse/MDEV-18063 It was fixed, but only in versions that are too new to be available in portage stable, however later versions with the fix were available in preview/test builds https://packages.gentoo.org/packages/dev-db/mariadb This was a red herring, though, as it didn't fix the problem, because the index is actually corrupt. Guides on fixing them with the usual techniques didn't work.
- After the last step, though, the server now had healthy structure files to go along with the busted data files. Putting them togther into the aformentioned expensive third party recovery software finally got the data out. However, only some of the tables actually exported from the program correctly (topic names), while some of the most important data (users, posts) was shown right there in the program but wouldn't save to the file! I contacted support who gave me the run around saying they'd get back to about it later and not doing so multiple times. I ended up having to manually re-type the database contents from the preview window to get enough of the old forum data back to make this worth doing.
- With partial data recovered, I fought a long and fruitless battle to upgrade the forum database to a version that would run on current middleware. All I got was corrupt garbage so I ended up having to install a new forum from scratch using the latest version, manually re-progam all the customizations, and manually import all the old stuff from the forum -- board structure, user accounts, the gallery, etc. I was not able to bring over the old posts, because the database recovery software did recover the posts table but it failed to export it and the preview cuts off long fields so I only had the topic titles and not any of the post contents.
Zolcos, King of Silverlyn, and current Head of the Council.

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Re: We're Back (and What Happened?)

Post by Sauder »

Hey Zolc, feels kinda strange to be back here.

First, my sympathies, when the server disappeared, I never would have imagined anything close to what you've gone through, but I'm glad to hear you made it to the other side.

Second, I'm all for joining back up with some members of the Realm, whether on Minecraft or other games.
I'm definitely out of practice here, haven't played Minecraft really since late 2013, I wouldn't mind picking it back up though.
Otherwise, I play Apex Legends on Xbox, occasionally some other multiplayer games. But I'm willing to try anything really, with a solid enough recommendation.

As for whether you should start hosting a server again, I definitely enjoyed the Realm more than any other server I found, but I can't say that rebuilding a good server population sounds like the most exciting thing to me.

As little as I know it counts for, I'm squarely in the maybe column. I am looking forward to any new developments though! :D

TheChalk
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Joined: Mon 2012-07-23 12:00 am

Re: We're Back (and What Happened?)

Post by TheChalk »

i get goosebumps thinking about rebuilding er'indi
So a priest and a rabbi walk into a bar...

GhillieCreeper
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Joined: Sat 2012-07-07 12:00 am

Re: We're Back (and What Happened?)

Post by GhillieCreeper »

Excited to get back together with you guys in or outside of Minecraft.
I've still been playing modded Minecraft albeit very little since I have less time to play and moved on to other PC games.
[size=200:77om5ewx][color=#000080:77om5ewx]l feel like I have too much spare time.[/color:77om5ewx][/size:77om5ewx][color=#BF0000:77om Sewx][size=85:77om5ewx]Meh. I wish I did......[/size:77omSewx][/color:77om5ewx][img:77om Sewx]http://images5.fanpo

xandstorm22
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Joined: Mon 2020-04-27 3:49 pm
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Re: We're Back (and What Happened?)

Post by xandstorm22 »

Wow it's been ages! I had to make a new account here tho lol i forgot my password and the reset password thing wasnt working but that's fine.

I'm down to play some minecraft again on here! I've been playing some modded recently with my friends, as well as other PC games. I hope to see ya all!

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