Home of The Tech Fortress Servers

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! Hope you have a happy and holy Christmas celebration!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Understanding and Mitigating Network Connection Lag

Lately there's been reports related to network lag. While this is naturally due to the player's internet connection, I've lately discovered that there are ways to alleviate this type of lag.

Since this is the first of potentially many more posts on lag, it would probably be best to quickly outline the common types of lag. (Yes, there is more than one type of "lag.") Using a diagram is probably the easiest way to depict this:

As depicted above, server lag (which you can monitor via /lag) is only one of many "types of lag;" other  areas that can lag include the server's connection to the internet, the "internet" itself, the player's connection to the internet, and the player's computer. The player is often referred to as the "client."

To better illustrate this concept, let's use the example of a cow moving towards water. First, the server  calculates the instruction of where the cow goes (server hardware). This is then sent out to the player (internet connection). Finally, the player's computer receives the server's instructions for the cow, and makes the cow move on the screen.

If the player's connection was laggy, the player won't know the cow has moved because his computer hasn't yet received the instructions. This doesn't mean the server is lagging (as the instructions have been made and were sent), but rather the player's computer hasn't received the instructions yet.

Now that we have discussed connection lag, you may be wondering if there's any way to fix this issue, other than getting a better internet connection. And the answer is yes, there are ways to help reduce the problem!

Remember our example with the cow? Well, now let's assume there's 1000 cows. That's 1000 sets of instructions being sent to the client about where each cow is going. As you can imagine, more connection bandwidth is being used to send 1000 instructions all at once. Therefore, we can conclude that as more cows are near a player, the player uses more of the connection to receive instructions about each cows' movement. Even though the server may be able to handle generating instructions for a 1000 cows, your connection may not have enough bandwidth to handle all those instructions for each cow; I experienced this personally, seeing my ping drop and more of my connection bandwidth used when I visited a player's cow farm.

Thus, you can probably determine that being around less animals and monsters (such as cows) will help reduce connection lag issues. Designing efficient farms that don't hold a ton of animals/monsters at one time (such as a mob grinder that quickly kills mobs) or building a dock for boats instead of leaving a bunch lying around would make things a lot easier for your connection to handle, for instance. Efficient redstone designs that use less gates or devices (repeaters, comparators, etc.) would also help, since the server sends you the state of each and every device's state (as well as making your redstone contraptions operate far faster!)

Hopefully this post has given you a good overview on "network lag," and some ideas on how to make it less of an issue while playing on Tech Fortress, or any other server for that matter. Leave a comment if you have any ideas of your own that you'd like to share, or if you have a question on anything discussed here. Hope you have a less laggier day!

Friday, September 2, 2016

New PvP toggles

After a brief but substantiated discussion about PvP, it was decided that allowing players to choose whether they would like to have PvP enabled was the best course of action. As such, the following commands have been added:
  • /pvp - This command toggles your PvP setting. You can also use /pvp on or /pvp off to explicitly set it. Default on.
  • /claimpvp - This command allows you to toggle whether PvP protection is allowed in your claim. Claims have PvP protection by default.
Both of these toggles are persistent, meaning that they won't reset when you disconnect.

We hope these changes are satisfactory for both PvP and non-PvP players. Feel free to leave a comment on this post if you have any suggestions or other ideas.
Friday, August 12, 2016

Nether portal auto-rescue

Hi all,
If you were not aware already, the server has a nether portal auto-rescue feature. Unfortunately, this did not cover all cases, especially nether portals that were blocked with fences. This is because the server could consider you to be inside the fence block even though you're still stuck in the portal block, which messed up its ability to determine if you were stuck in a portal or not.

Nether portal auto-rescue detection has now been resolved by including blocks such as fences to determine if a player is trapped or not. However, we still highly encourage players to leave some space between the portal and their "gateway," so players can return back if they so choose without needing a fence gate opened for them or having to rely on this automated system.

In other news, the mitigation for dropping items in an End Portal has now been removed. This was due to an edge case in the server mod where it would trigger an event (a falling block) twice, leading to inadvertent duplication issues.
Thursday, April 14, 2016

FastCraft likely will not return

After following the development of FastCraft+, it is likely this plugin will not be making a return on Tech Fortress. Many other users of the plugin are clamoring for features and integrations with premium plugins instead of focusing on stability and performance. Its current state is highly volatile with hard-to-pinpoint issues, and I do not have the time nor knowledge of the inventory part of the API to maintain the plugin myself.

If these issues are resolved sometime down the road, I'll reconsider re-adding FastCraft+. Unfortunately this seems like it'll be a long time down that road, as the developer is swamped with tickets from people complaining about integrations for other plugins, as well as issues. Then again, the plugin isn't "officially" released yet, so I'm hoping stability will be prioritized soon.
Sunday, April 3, 2016

1.9 performance and bug fixes

Looks like a couple more issues arose due to the update to 1.9. Thankfully they have been remedied. Amongst these issues were:
  • Nether portal teleporting players to some random location
  • Fastcraft taking several seconds to appear
The Fastcraft issue has been remedied via temporarily removing the plugin. It will return whenever the plugin is stable and performant; for now, you'll have to lookup the recipes :P
Friday, April 1, 2016

1.9.2 update

The Tech Fortress Minecraft server has been updated to 1.9.2 yesterday. While the update seems to have gone over smoothly so far, there was one issue that was found by a player and taken care of today; please /report any problems or issues you're having on the server so they can be investigated and remedied quickly.

Otherwise, enjoy the 1.9 update!
Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Tech Fortress: Major server update - new IP, new host, better grief protection, new creative server, and more!

Hello all,
It's been a few months since I lasted reported anything publicly about the Tech Fortress server. This is because I have been working on a lot of "back-end" work such as acquiring a subdomain, as well as adding a few new things and testing to make sure all of this works together.

New IP: tf.us.to

Still here? Then I suppose you'll want to read about the significant changes:
  • New protection system: Instead of guessing how much the /protect command protected, I have implemented a "point-and-click" method of protecting your buildings. Issuing the /protect command will direct you to a 1 minute video link on how use this, as well as command-based alternatives to claiming land.
    • In addition, this new protection system will protect animals, horses, and redstone buttons/levers/etc. due to popular demand, as long as they are inside your claim.
  • PvP grief prevention: I initially held off from implementing any PvP protection to preserve the near-vanilla survival Minecraft atmosphere. However, after a couple of instances of obvious PvP grief, I decided to test out different implementations of PvP protection. PvP protection on respawns appears to be the best solution that maintains the near-vanilla survival Minecraft experience while also preventing occasions of repeated PvP harassment.
  • Stuck? We've got you covered: Players often get stuck inside of other player's land claims. Thanks to the new protection system, we can teleport you out if this happens to be the case. Check out /stuck for more information.


After some brief testing, we decided it was best to have a separate, dedicated creative server. You can access this server at this IP: tf.us.to:22333
  • Plotworld, also known as "The Plots," contain 100x100 plots. Simply type /plot auto to claim your plot.
  • The freebuild world uses the same new protection system, so you won't need to learn anything new to protect your buildings in Creative.
I also added teleportation and the ability to set and teleport to homes in creative so you won't need to remember all the coordinates of your buildings.

Future plans:

  • Something about an online map is definitely in the works. It won't be Dynmap
  • A smarter compass
Although a bunch of new things have been added to the server, please be aware that I still aim to keep this server as near-vanilla as possible.

Thank you for reading, and I hope to meet you on Tech Fortress!