~The MCME Times~ #01/17 - A New Year's speech

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Which kind of Foreman rank would you like to see? (Read below to see what the options are)

  • Option 1

    Votes: 24 45.3%
  • Option 2

    Votes: 19 35.8%
  • Option 3

    Votes: 10 18.9%

  • Total voters
    53
  • Poll closed .

Finrod_Amandil

hon. Head Designer
Mar 2, 2014
2,753
5,767
109
24
Switzerland
www.elbisch.ch
Languages
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#1

A New Year's speech


Traditionally every year on january 2nd a new year's speech is held in my hometown which I accompany as part of the local orchestra. And during today's speech I thought for myself, who not do something similar for MCME? Thus I'd like to reminisce about what the year 2016 has brought us, and what 2017 might still bring.

We started 2016 with the completion of the new Aldburg, lead by @Fireinferno13. By inheriting some textures from other packs Fire really added a very nice and shiny pearl to the already rather old and dusty Rohan region. Soon after that the Artist-lead project of Fennas Drúnin was begun and in july it was at last completed. It was not always easy with this large group of Artists, but the result is undeniable very awesome!
Beside that 2016 stood, as the years before, in the light of Gondor progression. Most notably Anfalas could be concluded, which I think was one of the greatest collaborations of multiple Designers and Artists that we had in a long time. Other notable successes were all the surrouding areas to Linhir and the House of Tarannon Falastur, and of course all the many fiefs that we are still working on bringing to a conclusion, namely Lamedon, Belfalas and Tolfalas.
However our biggest challenge by far was and will still be for a long time: Moria. At this point I'd like to name @Despot666 as the first of the two persons I'd like to label as "Members of the year 2016". With an iron and almost unmoveable perseverance he is leading new Moria like noone else could. He created an entire Resourcepack all on his own, and is probably the last man standing who's still keeping an overview over the progress in Moria. Moria is a very scary project, probably because it is so crazily big. Maybe partly because of that, the progress is a bit less quick as we intially might have hoped. But even though it might not seem like it to some, I dare say that the current progress is pretty solid and after all quite a good number of Designers and Artists have dared passing through Moria's gates and have started to relentlessly build hall after hall.
Overall I do think the progress we made in projects was very good in 2016. Our standards are rising and so is the time it takes to complete something, and also the discipline it takes not to give up on these enormous tasks. We might not be able to finish as many projects per year as we once did anymore, but the number of hours put into building is doubtlessly still stunning!

Beside project progress this year will enter history as probably the one year with the most technical and organisational advancements. And I do not want to forget about when this urge for change has went to far for once, when it came to my mind to gather ideas for merging our server with another one. While the way the idea first got into public was very chaotic and accompanied by many uncertainties I do have to admit that even if it would have happened differently it would not have worked out. After all there is a lot more that makes up MCME than first meets the eye! At this point I'd like to again deeply apologize to everyone of MCME for the troubles this story caused, and want you to be reassured that I've learned a lot from it.
On the brighter side I'd like to name my second Member of the year 2016: @Eriol_Eandur. It is an absolute mystery where this guy takes all his ideas from, and how he can possibly make all of them come true within the blink of an eye! And at the same time he's actively working on projects! Eriol is clearly responsible for what this year will be known in the future. Along with @Ivan1pl he developped a crazy amount of new plugins for the server. An automatic teleport plugin for Moria. The armorstand and banner editors. A large bunch of other useful tools collected as the Architect plugin. And all the discoveries regarding unused blockstates and how to access them, and at last, how we can gain access to infinite blocks! I've probably still missed a lot of things, a few more will be mentioned a bit further below that will come into action in 2017!

Oh and I forgot: WE GOT A FREEBUILD AGAIN! /mvtp freebuild!!!111!
Edit: There soon will be freebuild again, technical details are still being sorted out.

2016 was a crazy year and it was fantastic to be MCME's Head Designer in this time. I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for the immense amount of time you have spent on making MCME better every day. Our time is the most precious thing we all have, and it is fantastic that there is a community of like-minded people that decide on uniting their minds and their free time to collaborate on something like this project. Thanks to everyone who contributed to MCME in 2016!


Now, what can you expect from 2017? Project-wise there's two big things on the schedule obviously. First and foremost is Moria. The amount of halls and caves we have completed by now most likely soon exceeds the one from old Moria, but in a quality that is so massively higher then back in 2010. But there's still a long way to go, and it shall be our biggest interest to join and support Despot in any way we can. A single man could build a large city on his own, given enough time. But no man can build a Moria as we want to build it. Only a community with many a pair of helping hands can achieve this, and even for such a community it is an immense challenge. Let us truly accept the challenge and show what a strong community can do!
Secondly we'll have Dol Amroth, which will serve as first testing ground for all the technical novelties early 2017 will bring. Dol Amroth will also be very big, but here the challenge will lie much more in finding the "modern" style of MCME, which will be the starting point for the future "overworld" projects to come. Very fundamental changes on the technical side will come with it, as it looks now you might soon need to abandon the vanilla Minecraft inventory...

The plugins that will soon be available include: A custom inventory, which will (most likely) contain all blocks, both those that are already available through the creative inventory, but aso more importantly all the special blocks that so far only existed behind the scenes. Also we'll finally be able to sort the inventory in a sensible way so that hopefully the time to search the blocks you need will drop by a good amount.
Along with the custom inventories the Unified Resource Pack Structure aka URPS will soon enter it's last stage. Our packs will be a lot cleaner then, textures will mostly occupy matching vanilla blocks, and unused files will be removed from the packs.
Furthermore, the Animations plugin is finished and might soon be implemented on the main server! All hail to @Ivan1pl for bringing back one of the most iconic MCME features! And lastly, Eriol finished a plugin called the Guidebook, which will, if enabled, supply all who wander the lands of Middle-earth with a little more information about the locations they find themselves ending up in.

And then we recently had a staff meeting where we again talked about the reintroduction of two new ranks: Foreman and Commoner. I can tell you at this point that pretty much all the staff members who voiced their opinion are generally in favor of the addition of both of them! The discussions are still going on, but are also coming towards a conclusion. In the case of Foreman, the biggest open question is whether to make it a temporary held or a "regular" permanent rank. Find a bit more about that further below, and after reading that, vote in the poll above!
For Commoner, Eriol is already developing a plugin that will make maintaining Commoner promotions very easy. So far only this much: The promotion process will most likely be similar to how it was way back when Commoner, then called Member, was first introduced: Through voting by other people.

The signs stand very well that 2017 will get a very very interesting year. I'd be happy if as many as possible would join me on this ride and discover all the new things the future will offer together with me!

So, if you've read this far, congratulations, you may ask me ingame to get a free cookie as reward ;)
 
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Finrod_Amandil

hon. Head Designer
Mar 2, 2014
2,753
5,767
109
24
Switzerland
www.elbisch.ch
Languages
German (native), English, French
#2
Whats Up?

Project Progress


Andrast (In Progress) - Lead: @jacenpeter

This week, jacen has been skiing every single day, for research purposes of course, to understand snow just good enough to make an appropriate representation of it on the server.
Additionally he started working on some vegetation prep work by starting some tree concepts.
Also he whispered me that secretly he also has been struck by the texturing fever and is working on some more rock textures for his mountains.
Belfalas (In Progress) - Lead: @Thijs1801
and
Dol Amroth (In Progress) - Lead: @Eaglz24

Thijs, as well as Darki have stayed in Moria this week in order to support Despot and his fellow miners a bit. Eriol is of course all taken up with plugin work (he's like working on half a dozen programs at once), and Eaglz has been sorting out the new textures for Dol Amroth as well as working on laying out the houses of Dol Amroth. As soon as the Resourcepack update goes live big news will again come from Dol Amroth!
Lamedon (In Progress) - Lead: @_Luk

After a long time Luk has returned to Lamedon and has vegetated another chunk of terrain with very lovely vegetation, surrounding an atmospheric lake. Or well at least he tried. I may be wrong, but I dont think all the floating grass and heather is intentional... :rolleyes:
Mordor Terrain (In Progress) - Lead: @Tyranystrasz

We've got an update from Tyran!

The current problem that we also mentioned in the staff meeting is that the high plains of Gorgoroth are really hard to raise up to the desired height within WorldMachine, and fixing it with WorldPainter later on will most likely make that part of the terrain look significantly different from the rest...
Moria (In Progress) - Lead: @Despot666 & @Finrod_Amandil

So given the amount of people that were working on Moria this week I will hereby assume that they did make quite decent progress. I am afraid that I'm not into doing more in-depth research at 2:30 am though, please forgive me :confused:.
One thing I do know though is that the group of, if I heard that right, @Wodleth, @tfaddy1 and @Credoo erected the new temple of Aulë in the Chamber of Light! Check it out at /warp CoL in /mvtp moria!
Tolfalas (In Progress) - Lead: @Tyranystrasz

In between his WorldMachine sessions, Tyran was able to make a few more tweaks to his town on Tolfalas. It's about to be done, that town!
Valley of Erui (In Progress) - Lead: @Mandos

Where the river Erui splits in its two upper parts, Mandos has now finished the western branch by refining the river shape and it's shores, as well as adding a few trees alongside it.
Texture Development

URPS is in full swing. The past week I have sorted out all of the terrain blocks and most of the basic building blocks (i.e. all stair-slab sets and similar) for all packs. Additionally I started to sort out the many many submissions for new Gondor textures. At this point credit to @_Luk, @Eaglz24, @Beathaven and @Fireinferno13 for all the new textures they are creating currently. Fireinferno is also creating an all new GUI for our packs!
And in order for you to understand a bit better what I'm doing when I say I'm working on URPS, here's a screenshot of an extract of the respective google spreadsheet:

Plugin Development
Animation Plugin (Testing in progress) - Dev: @Ivan1pl
It really is done now! By next week I hope I get down to test it extensively, and hope I can make a quick video to demonstrate, that it's at least just as awesome as the version of the former days was!
Custom inventories / itemblocks (In progress) - Dev: @Eriol_Eandur
Eriol is constantly updating the in-development pack to make extensive testing on our development server possible. He and I am constantly refining the way the new inventories behave, because as of recently we intend that the custom inventories will wholly replace the vanilla inventories, and for that they need to be at least as practical in use as the vanilla ones. With Eriol's most recent idea to abuse the key to "swap items from one hand to the other" for the custom inventories, if cofigured correctly, it may be that in the future you can press "E" and instead of the normal inventory, the custom one will open.

Here's a quick demonstration of the custom inventory being used:
Guidebook (Testing in progress) - Dev: @Eriol_Eandur
Also here I hope I can demostrate the plugin soon with a quick video.
Block analyse / replace / switch Plugin (In progress) - Dev: @Dallen and @Ivan1pl
A few days ago q installed a WorldEdit extension called AsyncWorldEdit, which basically splits the world edit tasks into many small chunks in order to avoid lag and server crashes. I am currently testing this and eventually it might be an alternative to a custom plugin. Although right now it still behaves a bit strangely on me and I dont know why yet :p
Rank Updates

This week I give you @Buubadoof as new Artist! Congratulations on the first Artist promotion of 2017!


Foreman rank discussion
For a new Foreman rank we currently have two ideas, and I'd like to offer you the possibility to vote for which one you'd prefer to see!

What is common for both options is, that the rank stands between the Guide and Artist, respectively between the Designer and Enforcer rank, regarding the tasks that are bound to the rank. The main competence of the Foreman rank shall be to build the link between the newer players (Adventurers) and the building possibilities, which in other words means that their main task is to lead jobs.

Option 1: Temporary non-staff rank:
The first option is a bit peculiar. The way it'd work is, that if an Artist or Guide who applies for the rank gets promoted, he can only hold the rank for i.e. two months, then he has to resign again. The idea behind this would be that during this time the Foreman would be highly motivated, in order to use the limited time wisely, and thus make regular jobs much more likely. The other reason would be that if there are multiple interested people for the rank, the chance would be bigger to get the rank rather sooner than later. The number of Foreman at a given time would be limited, i.e. maximum two Foremen at once.
Foremen would in this case have no access to staff forums and staff chat, but the duty can be of good use to gain the rank of Enforcer or Designer after having completed a Foreman-period.

Option 2: Permanent staff rank:
In this option the rank would have similar tasks but would be regular, permanent rank, all in all very similar to the former Foreman rank. However the rank would again be in the middle between the social ranks and the creative ranks and both Artists and Guides can apply for it.

Option 3: Permanent non-staff rank:

Similar to Option 2,just not a staff rank and thus without access to staff forums and staff chat.

Vote in the poll above which you'd prefer seeing as a new rank on MCME!
Media of the week

@simonhornay has laid hands on the screenshot camera this week and has created quite a bunch of quite impressive shots, i.e. this one here showing Durin's Tower:

Find all his screens here: Uncle Simon's screenshots
Upcoming

Themed Build

Theme: Barad Nimras
Resource Pack: Gondor
Thread: #1/17 - Barad Nimras
Discord vs. Teamspeak

In the staff meeting of last Friday we also tackled the topic of which communication tool to use in the future again. After having been able to solve some of Eriol's technical problems the majority of the staff team that was present was pretty happy with Discord, except dear mister Despot, who disliked that for the authentication an account is required instead of a password. Overall we could not find a large bunch of arguments speaking for either of the two, but one feature that was pointed out mutiple times as an argument towards Discord was, that the text channels are permanent, while those on Teamspeak can not be used to document project progress or similar.

Ultimatively we could not decide yet. Feel free to throw in any arguments you may have, here or in the matching discussion thread: Teamspeak 3 compared against Discord

The *new* Audiobook

Our Guide @TI_020601 is suggesting to re-launch the audiobook, but with a twist! Instead of just passively listening to a recorded version we ourselves would do the reading! If this sounds like something you might be interested in, hop over to the matching thread and watch out for some first session! The New Audio Book
Closing statement

“The future depends on what you do today.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
.
.


Like our Planetminecraft page daily to help promoting MCME!​
 
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raf_the_eagle

Yellow Flower Puncher
Jan 13, 2016
24
14
6
Austria
Languages
English, German, some Italian
#4
Great speech, I give you 1 lembas cookie as a reward! :D Am hyped for the New Year, especially Moria and Dol Amroth!
 

RubenPieterMark

Hardcore MCME-er
Media Team
Mar 12, 2016
718
901
41
16
The glorious Kingdom of the Netherlands
Languages
Dutch, English, French, German
#6
Regarding the video; idk if u have to download both the item files (for in the inventory) and the blockstate file (for on the map), but maybe we can leave all the item files out by using custom playerheads as items for the new blocks? Would reduce about 1/4 of the download time for the custom blocks I guess.
 

Finrod_Amandil

hon. Head Designer
Mar 2, 2014
2,753
5,767
109
24
Switzerland
www.elbisch.ch
Languages
German (native), English, French
#7
took me a bit until I understood what you mean. Potentially a very good idea, however most inventory previews are directly generated from the block model + texture, so there's no redundancy there.
Loading times is indeed a thing I have been worrying about; an idea that might be done is splitting the packs into an MCME Base-pack which includes all textures that are shared across the packs, and then the regional packs that no longer have the shared textures in it. The problem there a bit is that it's not possible to stack serverpacks like you can stack them by hand, thus one would have to download the base pack manually and only the regional packs could be automated.
 

Eriol_Eandur

Head Developer
Staff member
Head Developer
Designer
Developer
Donor
Media Team
Sep 19, 2014
1,979
3,171
93
Germany
Languages
German (native), English
#8
Regarding the video; idk if u have to download both the item files (for in the inventory) and the blockstate file (for on the map), but maybe we can leave all the item files out by using custom playerheads as items for the new blocks? Would reduce about 1/4 of the download time for the custom blocks I guess.
In most cases the items in the inventory slots use the same textures and models as the blocks, so there is almost no overhead for the items. Only a few special items like the large doors need additional item textures.

On the other side I think you have to download playerheads each time you start your client. The Item models and textures from the inventory are included in the resource pack which needs to be downloaded only once (until it changes).
 

TI_020601

Hardcore MCME-er
Jul 20, 2016
251
395
16
17
London
Languages
english
#9
I think foreman should be a permanent rank but not staff.
 

thomasd18

Hardcore MCME-er
Commoner
Feb 4, 2015
135
343
22
19
Kent, England
Languages
English
#13
I have a few problems I would like to mention with the new foreman rank options (This is my opinion):

Option 3- I believe that foreman require access to the staff forum or at least access to some sort of job running thread. Communication is key in organisation and the running of a project, blocking foreman from higher access to what needs doing is both unnecessary and difficult. Say a foreman had access, he could then see which jobs need doing set by the project leaders and get on with them whenever he felt like or saw adventurers wanted one. When they don't have access the problems soon arise, I imagine unless another alternative is introduced the designers would get to foreman to run jobs via the server. This will worsen the problem already on the server with the "lack of jobs" the reason the rank is being introduced. To run a job the foreman would need to be on, a designer on and a good amount of adventurers aswell to participate. This is making it harder than having a designer and adventurer on. If foreman could see which jobs need doing they would only need to log on and start a job, making the process much quicker. I would suggest making it a semi-staff rank, access to the staff forum but not as much power as a designer etc. would have.

Option 1- A temporary rank is more likely to cause potential problems even if it does force motivation onto the player who hold the rank. I would firstly like to say that a 2 month period is too short, the player would first need training in running jobs, communication etc. and after that they would have little time to use their skills. Every 2 months, 2 new players would go through the same process and it could lead to the foreman being inexperienced and the ex-foreman being more experienced. I would suggest at least a 6 month term as foreman, not sure how long is decided but nothing less that this. Also if we see it as a between rank between artist and guide and designer and enforcer surely every 2 months we would get 2 new potential staff rank applicants, in 1 year we would have 12 applicants potentially. There is a limit to how many designers and enforcers, or at least it seems like its kept at around the same number to me, however if its ever 6 months we would only have 4 new staff ranks a year which is much more what it is like today which is pretty good. We don't want a ton of artists fighting over designer which is never a good thing. Secondly motivation is generally a problem everyone faces, a good foreman would resign if he was not motivated anymore and given the rank over to give someone else a chance at it. Also the designers should note if a foreman is inactive and take action, if we have the problem of too many applicants I think a limit of 4 foreman would still be workable it would mean that at least 1 or 2 will most likely be on most days. Also its still possible to keep new foreman in as the likely thing is many will soon move into a staff rank, if the people holding the rank are not motivated they would show they should not gain a staff rank.

These are just suggestions not demands
 

Eaglz24

Hardcore MCME-er
Dec 24, 2014
287
613
32
#14
I think giving them staff forums is just blurring the lines between Designer and Foreman. Foreman would then just be Designers without voxel and WE. And @thomasd_17 the staff forums aren't used for project related stuff, it's used for BTS and discussions etc. If it's communication that you're talking about then it'd be wise to give them staff chat in game, it's enough for what they need. The foreman shouldn't be a project staff or whatever, they just get info about an area to work on by Designers, then they run the jobs there. That can be done via staff PM or just in the regular project thread, giving them an entire forum (which they wouldn't use for their job anyway) is completely overkill. I think what could be done (but stretching it) is to give them the staff project forum, it'd be used by the Foreman to get orders and or voice concerns etc..

Pretty sure that was already partly discussed in the staff meeting but whatever.
 

thomasd18

Hardcore MCME-er
Commoner
Feb 4, 2015
135
343
22
19
Kent, England
Languages
English
#15
I think giving them staff forums is just blurring the lines between Designer and Foreman. Foreman would then just be Designers without voxel and WE. And @thomasd_17 the staff forums aren't used for project related stuff, it's used for BTS and discussions etc. If it's communication that you're talking about then it'd be wise to give them staff chat in game, it's enough for what they need. The foreman shouldn't be a project staff or whatever, they just get info about an area to work on by Designers, then they run the jobs there. That can be done via staff PM or just in the regular project thread, giving them an entire forum (which they wouldn't use for their job anyway) is completely overkill. I think what could be done (but stretching it) is to give them the staff project forum, it'd be used by the Foreman to get orders and or voice concerns etc..

Pretty sure that was already partly discussed in the staff meeting but whatever.
Staff forum was just an idea, a regular thread would work too but obviously it can be accessed by all. I felt that if all the communication for job running was done on the mc server it would actually make it harder to run a job. I also feel that if a foreman had more access to the staff areas he could have a better understanding of the job tasks and also give in his own opinion. Foreman should not be a project leader I agree, but as it will be key to project running some form of forum communication is necessary via the staff threads or normal threads.

Also designer and foreman are similar, that's why foreman was merged into designer. As now its seen as an in-between rank for artist/guide to designer its going to be similar no matter what. I would always assume foreman would be below designer/enforcer anyway, but as a lower staff rank. Something along the lines of staff access, but not as a fully fledged staff member.
 

Wodleth

Hardcore MCME-er
Mar 1, 2014
544
1,106
59
23
Sweden
Languages
Swedish, English
#16
#BringBackTheOldRankSystem
Editors/Stewards were the project leaders and planners, they made the maps, terrain, came up with the building style and divided the project into tasks.
Architects/Artisans built large awesome stuff, under orders from the Editor/Steward. They built anything from houses to large castles and helped with creating styles for each project.
Foremen took orders from the Editors/Stewards and were the ones to involve the community in the projects. They led all the jobs and tasks that the Editor/Steward gave out.

The reason for the merge into Designer was that all ranks did all the different tasks, Foremen or Architects/Artisans were leading projects, leading jobs and having the 3 separate ranks was made obsolete.
With the Designer rank, the people good at building got to build, the job leaders could lead jobs, the project planners and terraformers got to do what they wanted. Everyone was able to do what they wanted. I for example almost never did any jobs as a Designer, because I didnt want to. I got to plan projects, build stuff, terraform and I was happy with that.

Also, from what I can remember, the original thought behind Foreman was that it was supposed to be a non-staff rank. They were the bridge between Staff and normal players. But after a while they became part of Staff and Architect/Artisan wasnt. Architect/Artisan was kind of like Artists today, until it was made into a Staff rank.
 

Finrod_Amandil

hon. Head Designer
Mar 2, 2014
2,753
5,767
109
24
Switzerland
www.elbisch.ch
Languages
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#17
If Foreman would be considered a staff rank (and staff rank really does not mean a whole lot more than access to staff forums and staff chat) they would still have less perms than Designers, i.e. they'll most likely have no WorldEdit and Voxel access.

It is true that the reason we merged Artisan / Foreman / Steward was that regardless of what rank you had you could almost do all the tasks, we had many Foremen leading projects before the merge. However I think it is also due to the merge that the number of jobs has dwindled since then. Designers nowadays see their main focus in project leading, respectively in beeing responsible for all apsects of a project, planning, building, terraforming and leading jobs. And in that pool of tasks, leading jobs just is only one of many tasks of a Designer and that is why it may be good to have a rank again whose main focus it is to lead jobs. Foremen would clearly not need the competence to lead entire projects, and the step to Enforcer or Designer surely would be considered a promotion

It does not matter that much whether it now is a staff rank or not I think.
 

ooitsbirdo

Lead Builder
Staff member
Lead Builder
Designer
Mar 4, 2014
463
870
40
19
Some where on an island called England
#18
Can I change my vote to option 3 cause it would probably fit better as a gap rank between artist/guide and staff ranks rather than it being a staff rank as the whole point is that foreman are ment to get adventures involved which is one of a jobs a designer has to do and also demonstrates ability with working with other members which is needed for both enforcer and designer ranks
Basically I'm agreeing with what the idea of the foreman rank should be that @Wodleth said
 

FireFuss

Hardcore MCME-er
Donor
Mar 6, 2014
407
1,429
38
#20
So are you guys doing this per results of the poll? Or just getting an idea of what people want and doing it how you think it will work best regardless?

Either way, I think option two & three should kind of count together. Even if the votes are split between 2 & 3, together there are more people asking for a perm position. I kinda like the idea of #3, just because when I was foreman before, I wasn't to savvy with all the staff "goings on", but I did lead areas of terrain editing, roads, rivers, tree fixes ect. I think #3 would be the best option for the "gap" between regular players and staffers.

Changing my vote to 3