[Last week], I gave you a rather grumpy and frustrated blogpost about how there was a huge bug in the server software that made playing on public servers impossible. I told about how I uploaded a hotfix as fast as I could; that hotfix didn't solve the problem (although I had good reasons to assume it would), so I had to be produce another hotfix. To be really sure it worked, I tested it over the internet with user HeroXZ (thanks!). This hotfix has been out since last Tuesday, I'm currently waiting for the server admin volunteers to update and revive their servers. But of course, they are real people with jobs and stuff, so it sometimes takes some time before they respond. Which reminds me, it would be nice to have some more server admins... I plan to send out a call for new server admins [like this one] soon.
Anyway, besides the fact that all servers crashed after inviting the biggest tester group ever, I got quite some good things out of the last update. For example, I discovered that the [automatic crash reports] can be really useful. When a server crashed, I could look up what happened without being dependent on anyone, which made producing hotfixes a lot easier. Another thing I realized is that it is quite a waste of energy to leave a crashed server in its crashed state, waiting for somebody to restart it. Therefore, in the next update, servers will try to detect whether they have crashed, and close themselves if that is the case. And, more importantly, before they close themselves, they will also try to start a new server! A server crash no longer means no playing, hurray!
And it gets even better: to allow servers to restart themselves, I needed to write a separate 'server only' version of Olvand: it's a version of the game which logs in automatically, and then starts up a server automatically (so you don't have to click the 'Host' button manually). This 'server only' variant turned out to be useful for two other things as well:
- You can now also run a server from the command line. This is incredibly useful, because this means you only need SSH connection to a server to be able to run Olvand. I'm going to make sure it works on Linux servers as well, but I'm not sure whether that will make it into the next update. If this all means nothing to you, a quick summary: the Olvand server software will run on a lot more server computers :).
- I now have a 'Host & Play' button, similar to Terraria:
If you click this, an Olvand server is started from a new window, and your current window automatically connects to this server. I already can't live without this button anymore :P.
So as you can see, having a fatal error in the server software was useful in its own way! All of this stuff will be in the next update, along with other things I will tell you about next week.
UPDATE: Testserver 2 up, the bug is fixed! New testers, if you want to play with others, now is the time!