It's been another long break in Server Saturday posts for me, which means I have this wall of text to contribute.

Network/Backend Changes

Router & Firewall

For the past few months, we've been purchasing a new IP address for each new virtual machine we add to our server network. They're pretty cheap - just a $1.50 one time setup fee, but we wanted a better solution. Enter pfSense: The open source firewall and router. The installation of a router afforded us an order of magnitude more control over our internal network.

Transitioning the entire network went smoothly, and due to careful preparation, was done with just 15 minutes of downtime. The only hiccup we experienced was with a non-essential service, our live maps. Our live maps are generated by Dynmap on the Minecraft virtual machine and served from the same VM by Apache, not by our webserver VM, due to the large number and size of files that would need to be shared between the servers. The issue was that the webserver and the Minecraft server now both wanted to use port 80 and 443 on the same IP address.

Our initial fix was to share the virtual disk between the two virtual machines that needed access to it. The Minecraft VM could write Dynmap tiles to the drive, and the Web VM could read and serve them. However, due to driver issues in VMware Tools on Linux for the SAS controller, we found this to be impossible. Instead, we simply assigned a second IP (We now have quite a few unused spares) in the new router for the Minecraft VM to use.

A Second Network: New Development Environment

We've also created a new development environment and internal network for Arcaena (our in-development MMORPG), mimicking the one we already have set up for MCAlagaesia (our Minecraft server network). For ease of use, we've set up a site-to-site VPN so that both the MCAlagaesia and Arcaena virtual networks can be accessed from one single VPN.

Features & Development

Custom Launcher

A lot of work recently has gone into the launcher for Arcaena. The launcher is intended to easily download and install our required client-side mods and resources so that players only have to worry about playing. To launch the game, it authenticates with our own authentication server using user accounts created on our website, so users don't have to share their Minecraft credentials with us.

Build Progress

I didn't end up tallying the blocks placed last month, so today's count of 136,000 represents all the work we have done in the past 54 days. That's pretty good!

I estimate build progress at a semi-arbitrary 92%. We're painfully close.

Server Moderation & Staffing

Corporate Training Videos

Since we began MCAlagaesia, we've been pretty lax about moderation, relying on rollback plugins to fix griefing after the fact (on our survival server). We're very fortunate to have a mature community who neither overuses profanity nor is overly offended by it in the case that someone immature does join the server for a while. However, as we gain more and more popularity, and to take the workload off the only two people who actually have access to admin commands, we've started looking into hiring (wait, can we call it that if we don't pay them?) moderators.

Starting out, we're going to approach active and mature members of the community about becoming a moderator rather than opening applications. While this gives us respected moderators and people with the attitude that we want, we don't know how much experience they may have had with moderating in the past.

To fix this issue, I've started working on some "training videos", made in the style of those low-budget corporate training videos you might remember from your first job, complete with corporate training music, flashy corporate slideshow transitions and slightly condescending corporate training voiceovers. It's all part of the meme.
The first in a series of hopefully hundreds of educational memealicious videos can be found here. I'd like to hear your thoughts!