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[AC] FTB Server or Event


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I'd like to hear what you all think of the idea of nerd hosting a public FTB server. FTB stands for Feed The Beast - basically it's a free minecraft launcher that contains pre-built configurations of mods that generally are set up to work well together - or at least don't have conflicts and tend not to crash like what can happen with manually adding mods to a client. Basically the mods contain new gameplay mechanics, new items, new decorative blocks, new biomes, mobs, etc. Some of the modpacks have technology oriented themes, where ores are processed to produce more ingots etc. and some modpacks focus more on exploration or magic spells, or just increasing the difficulty or variety of the game.


The selling points of using something like an FTB mod pack versus setting up mods yourself are that


  1. It's accessible - download the launcher, select your preferred pack, and launch - players don't have to manually configure mods themselves in order to play on servers with the same experience everyone else has.
  2. It's relatively stable - some mods have unanticipated interactions that can cause lag on rare occasions but overall the mods are selected and configured to work well together without conflicts

I know that traditionally nerd has never required players to have a modified client to play on the servers. I'd argue that FTB is sufficiently distinct from vanilla minecraft that it's basically a separate game. We have an official steam group, and though we do not host servers as nerd.nu, some of our community spend a fair amount of time playing other games while still somewhat connected to the nerd.nu brand. It's been suggested in the past that nerd branch out from being *just* a minecraft community to being a more generalized gaming community, and while I don't know what the overall feeling about this concept is, hosting an FTB server seems like a natural next step in that direction without necessarily buying into it wholesale.


I've heard players in-game mention wishing to play FTB with the nerd community/moderation. I understand a fair amount of players currently play on another FTB server (or have been lately). While I don't know for certain that our current vanilla mc players would all jump at the chance to play on a nerd-moderated FTB server I can say that there are definitely many people who enjoy playing FTB based on the subreddit activity on http://www.reddit.com/r/feedthebeast/


In fact, there was enough demand there for a free public server that the community was all rallied up to begin setting one up themselves, donating to it and everything, until the mods there put an end to it and promoted their own server which unfortunately is severely lacking in implementation. Thus at least on reddit, there is a void when it comes to free public fair and well-moderated FTB servers which nerd may be able to fill.


FTB uses forge, and thus a forge-based server would be needed. MCPC+ is a forge server that supports most bukkit plugins, and that is what I would advise to be used. However, some plugins like LWC and Logblock do not work well with modded blocks, so alternatives would need to be used for logging and protections (if any are used). Grief-Prevention is a fairly well-polished protection plugin (made with modded minecraft in mind) which allows players to manually select their claimed areas, prevents TNT damage aboveground, protects chests, prevents water/lava flowing outside of your claim, offers a login-PvP-protection, and even has a PvP option to lay seige to another player's protected base - all of which is configurable. PRISM was designed specifically with modded minecraft in mind, and it is reported to work quite effectively on FTB servers in lieu of logblock or coreprotect.


Some items in FTB packs can circumvent some protections, like the gravity gun or ars magica dig spell, or sigil of the flat lands, etc. Most such items can be nerfed, disabled, or their use logged by PRISM. If the server went without allowing protections on builds, players also have in-game protective solutions like warded stones from thaumcraft, forcefields from MFFS, etc.


FTB has a reputation for being resource intensive. There are a few ways players can abuse mods to create lag on the server, such as running thousands of machines in a single chunk, abusing automatic mob spawners, running a quarry or item production line that is not configured safely so that items spill onto the ground in massive amounts, creating tons of mystcraft dimensions, leaving chunk loaders active, etc. Most if not all of these sources of lag have measures to prevent or deter them, whether through disabling known lag-inducing blocks and items, or by enforcing rules governing safe usage of said blocks and items, or just plain using a pack that doesn't have as many abuseable items.


There's also the question of whether the servers we have can support another server in addition to S,P, and C. Configuring it, and tracking down lag would likely be more work for techadmins.


I think having an FTB server operated and moderated by nerd, with our policy of free and public access, would be valuable to many. At the very least it might be an enjoyable event for our regular players if not a long-term setup. What are your thoughts on this?

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As you say, FTB is very resource intensive and I'd imagine it would take another more powerful server in addition to the one we currently use to run.  I've always heard that high quality, free, well moderated, non-whitelisted FTB servers don't exist because grief prevention is difficult with the large amount of mods used that can do so many things, the large amount of exploits available for the various mods make griefing very easy, moderation tools like the ones made for bukkit servers can't exist because of all the different mods, and the cost involved for hardware.  It's just so much easier to play on a whitelisted one with people you trust with funds of your own.


That being said, I've never been on a free public FTB server.  Do you have any experience on one?  There's lists like http://ftbservers.com/servers/tagged/free and I'd be curious to see how something like that runs.  If you want to put a couple hours together at some point one night like we did with civ and hop on one and see what's up, I'd be down for that.


I'd also worry about the playerbase on the three existing servers if we were to introduce something so time intensive.  I figure that with you guys considering using something like factorymod that greatly increases the tech tree and time it takes to do things that might scratch the itch of people who like FTB-type things.




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I've played on two, both public and technically free to play. One is run pretty well, though it has ranks and donor perks, and it's definitely not on par with Nerd in terms of staff and community involvement. The other is the "official" server for the feedthebeast subreddit, and it's run very poorly in my opinion. I'll check out some of the servers in the list you linked.


I'd be up for hopping on a server and checking it out with you or anyone else that wants to join in. I can't say I know exactly how resource-intensive running an ftb pack is - I'm sure it depends on which modpack, and what players are doing within it. Some of the mods provide mostly aesthetic blocks and things, like biomes o' plenty, or chisel. While others do tend to lag things up - like unrestricted mystcraft age creation or ars magica passive mob spawns.


I intend on setting up an FTB server on my computer locally and testing out the Grief Prevention plugin in conjunction with PRISM to see what limitations there are on them, what can circumvent them, etc. But from what I've seen so far of the two they both are pretty effective. I'm sure my laptop isn't as hardy as the servers nerd runs, but it would probably be decent enough to handle a few people on at a time.


It's not yet entirely settled whether we'll use factorymod or not. But yeah, I think there might be at least a moderate demand among our existing playerbase. If not for a regular server, then maybe just for an event or single revision.


Barring nerd itself hosting an FTB server, maybe there's some server that we can publicly discuss playing on as a community? We have the no advertising non-nerd minecraft servers, but we play on non-nerd steam servers in the nerd steam group. I just get tired of playing ftb by myself, and playing on other servers with all strangers leaves me kind of wishing friends from nerd were there.

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I know that at least a few players on Creative have expressed an interest in a Nerd-operated nodded Minecraft server, so while I don't believe that I would play on it much, I'd be interested in seeing how things go for a while.

My largest concern about this was the potential difficulty of moderating the server, including logging interactions and monitoring the strain on the server caused by extensive mechanized setups, but if the tools developed to counter these problems are effective, this sound like it could be a worthwhile investment. I am a little worried that an FTB server might end up spreading players even more sparsely between our servers, but hopefully it can also be used to attract a larger number of players to Nerd.

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