Important Spring Cleaning

Pierogi

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Hi AHG!
We’re excited to announce a package of updates that will be rolled out to the community over the coming weeks. If you don’t have the time to read through the whole post, we’ll be overhauling the way suggestions are handled, getting TTT to a stable point, mothballing the Minecraft server, and doing a big Spring Event soon.


Community Updates
Development Process Updates
  • Created a public Trello board for non-sensitive action items.
  • All accepted suggestions and bug reports will be assigned to a Trello card, if they are not sensitive.
  • Deprecated #suggestions Discord channel.
Rationale:
We already use Trello to keep development priorities organized. There’s no need for most of the tasks on there to be private — the only time they need to be private is when they contain surprise updates, or more importantly, items related to our cybersecurity, resiliency, and anti-cheat efforts. Making a public Trello board will make it easier for everyone to know what we’re currently working on.

Deprecating the #suggestions channel on Discord in favor of the suggestions subforums is also an important part of this update. Discord just isn’t a good medium for suggestions. It’s hard to get a good discussion on a topic before someone inevitably makes another suggestion and changes the topic. It’s also impossible to keep all of those suggestions/their relevant discussions organized. Keeping all suggestions on the forums will make it much easier for us to keep track of and respond to all suggestions made by the community.

Minecraft
  • Pausing development
Rationale:
We’re working out what to do with the Minecraft server, but as it currently stands, we’ll be dropping development support for it. We simply do not have the bandwidth to handle TTT and Minecraft development at the moment. However, we’re looking at ways to keep the Minecraft server running with minimal maintenance so that people can keep the progress they’ve made.

Discord Repops
  • The bot now decides which roles to ping based on the time of day. Repop EU will be pinged if the repop is called between 10 AM and 10 PM UTC, whereas Repop US will be pinged if the repop is called between 4 PM and 4 AM UTC.
  • Repop messages will show the map and the current player count.
Rationale:
Something I’m personally big on is avoiding pinging people unless absolutely necessary. No one wants a repop role that pings while they’re asleep at 3 AM in the morning. This one seems like a no-brainer to me. Adding the player count and map name will be a nice quality of life change that could help repops, especially if there’s a new/rare map on.
TTT Updates
Prop Possession
  • Spectator prop kills will get logged via damage logs.
  • Spectator prop kills will show the possessor’s death card. In other words, if you’re killed by a spectator prop, you’ll see who did it.
  • Spectator prop kills will affect the possessor’s karma.
  • Picking up/moving a prop with a magneto stick will evict anyone spectating the prop. Users will be unable to spectate a prop being held by another player.

Rationale:
This one’s a bit of a touchy subject. There’s a part of the community that enjoys this mechanic and a part that despises it. My personal view on the matter is that as long as everyone’s enjoying themselves, this is a fun mechanic to have. But that doesn’t mean we’ve struck the right balance.

In a way, this cuts to the heart of what makes AHG different from SGM. We don’t base our direction on one definition of “serious” because there are so many different opinions on what a serious TTT server should look like. Does that mean strict rules? Always trying to drop 10+ kill traitor rounds? We might have our own opinions, but it’s a very subjective issue. In my mind, AHG is what SGM should’ve always been — a mature community with minimal drama (by Garry’s Mod standards, at least). We get there by taking the social aspect a bit more seriously (stronger rules on slurs, toxicity, etc) while taking the gameplay aspect less seriously. This should be a place to unwind after a long day of work or classes, not someone’s entire sense of worth.

Rules are just a means to make sure everyone’s having fun. We try to incentivize good behavior instead of punishing people, and there’s generally some leeway with the rules if everyone’s having fun. These updates are mainly targeted at the people who are spectator prop RDMing random players. I draw a line at any intentional RDM of random players — it might be funny, but you have zero way to tell if that player was okay with being RDMed. If these RDMs persist, we’ll be forced to start handing out toxic gameplay punishments.

AFK System
  • The AFK timer will be reduced from 180 seconds to 90 seconds.
  • The AFK system will work based on time since the user’s last mouse click/keyboard input.
  • All staff will be automatically alerted when the last traitor(s) might be AFK (30 seconds of inactivity).
Rationale:
The default TTT AFK system is garbage. If a player’s eye trace changes (could be by discombob, C4, etc), their AFK timer gets reset. If the player dies before getting forced to spectate, their timer also resets. This results in AFK players staying out of spectator mode for many rounds, which contributes to delay. Delay slows down the momentum of the server by giving us boring rounds, which makes people leave. These changes will hopefully eliminate rounds that drag on for way too long due to an AFK player holding everything up.

Voice Battery
  • There will be a slight increase in total mic battery for all ranks.
  • We’ll be disabling mic battery when there are less than 8 active players (i.e. non-spectators) in the server.
Rationale:
I’ll be honest, this was one of the things that we imported from SGM and never really questioned. A few weeks ago, I was playing a low-pop server on classified_map when a new player suggested disabling mic batteries on low-pop, and it made a lot of sense. 99% of the time, low-pop servers are more about socializing with whoever’s on than they are about actual TTT gameplay. Removing mic batteries on low pop will make kickstarting the server more enjoyable, especially for random players who happen to join in on the repop.

This isn’t to say mic batteries are going away entirely. They’re a good way to prevent higher-pop servers from getting obnoxiously loud, and users who purchase ranks can usually be trusted to not abuse their longer mic batteries. But I do think there’s a better balance that we’re currently missing.

Workshop Content Overhaul
  • We’ll be re-optimizing weapon models, weapon skins, and player models.
  • We’ll be creating Steam Workshop collections for all AHG content.
Rationale:
We strive to optimize all custom content we put on the server. Back in November, I was reasonably successful with this. I actually wrote up a script that went through each custom weapon/player model and removed all unused files provided with those models. I also clamped the textures for each model to a max size of 512 x 512, which decreased file sizes significantly without affecting quality too much. All in all, I took the total download size for the server from 1 GB to about 300 MB. This all gets compressed anyways, so in reality, the average user actually downloads 100 MB or so.

Although successful, this approach has its limitations. First, decompressing VTF files tends to leave some artifacts, which makes it harder to downsize them without impacting quality. Second, this was a very brute-force approach. There’s many files out there that can be much smaller than 512 x 512, but manually finding the optimal size for each file is incredibly time consuming. We’ve found a way to almost eliminate the artifacts caused by VTF decompression and Bonks has volunteered to take the lead on manually optimizing each weapon/player material.

These changes will reduce the first-connection download times for new players, slightly reduce content mounting/load times for returning players, and even improve FPS a little bit.

Server Crashes
  • Hopefully reduced an issue that would occasionally cause database queries to crash the server. We still believe the majority of server crashes are related to the database library we’re using, so we’re going to be completely overhauling the way we do database queries to eliminate our reliance on this library.
  • Implemented automatic server crash restarting that will restart the server within 30 seconds of the server being restarted.
  • When the server crashes, a notification explaining the server has crashed will appear to the user. The user will also be reconnected 30 seconds after the crash is detected.
Rationale:
We've been dumping a LOT of time into resolving these. I feel pretty optimistic that we've already fixed the root cause of most crashes, but we're going to continue monitoring and troubleshooting accordingly.

AHG Spring Event
We’ll be doing a Spring Event that will be very similar to our Winter Event. Updates and giveaways will be spread out over the entire event.

The event will take place between March 17th - April 24th, and there will be new content for both TTT Modded and TTT Vanilla.

Dates to Look Forward To
  • Saint Patrick’s Day — March 17th
  • April Fools — April 1st
  • Easter Sunday — April 17th
  • AHG Announcement Anniversary — April 22nd


Content Sneak Peek
  • New maps, and map optimizations
  • New weapon skins (modded and vanilla)
  • New jihad sounds
  • New round-end music
  • Tear Gas Grenade
  • Malfunction Pistol
  • New perks

That's all for now!
~Pierogi
 
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8BitF0x

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i love rdm
 

Virunas

Hey there sunshine
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You will be paying today.
 

andrewpanton

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You forgot to mention the update where pierogi doesn't rdm us with barrels... When we gettin that update?
 

RyanHighman

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I unironically gave myself a wrist injury by propkilling too hard back in August and it hasn't gotten better since, which means I gotta stop for a bit.
Imagine explaining that the reason for your carpal tunnel is that you were throwing barrels too hard at people
 

RyanHighman

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I unironically gave myself a wrist injury by propkilling too hard back in August and it hasn't gotten better since, which means I gotta stop for a bit.
Armed with this information, I shall start coming up to you with barrels to maximize mental suffering
 
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