Many of you know from Discord ( https://discord.gg/t9KKTkv ) that the server had to be closed. What forced me to let it go offline is mainly (but not only) the host closing down too. Here's their announcement:
Their announcement at www.zeroping.ro :(if you don't know romanian, you may use Google Translate or anything similar to it)
( as an image, in case the site goes down: https://i.imgur.com/Ik2WpaH.png )
Începând din acest weekend ZEROPING își încetează activitatea online, sunt +10 ani de când găzduim Counter-Strike 1.6 și SA:MP în România și dorim să mulțumim celor ce ne-au fost alături în această perioada. Motivul ? Flood-urile ...
Nu e un secret pentru nimeni că în ultimul an lucrurile au scăpat de sub control, pur și simplu "băieții" cu "putere" aveau nevoie de mai puțin somn ca noi, bătălie ce s-a dovedit a fi pierdută din start. Concret, în contextul dat, ne aflăm in imposibilitatea de a mai oferi un serviciu calitativ, competitiv așa cum v-am obișnuit.
În continuare există următoarele variante:
A. Pentru cei ce doresc reînoirea și continuarea serverului de joc, dar cu schimbarea IP-ului, o vor putea face cu următoarele condiții:
CS 1.6 - 60 lei / lună BONUS: +1 lună gratis despagubire
Găzduire România - București
Găzduire Franța - Strasbourg
SA:MP, minim 100 sloturi / maxim 1000 sloturi
B. Pentru cei ce NU doresc reînoirea și continuarea serverului de joc, ne pare rău că ai luat această decizie și ți-am stricat weekend-ul, dar ... asta-i situația, nici noi nu ne-am dorit să ajungem aici ... lipsa clienților mulțumiți și-a spus cuvântul în capacitatea noastră de a ține pasul cu cheltuielile.
În relația de preluare a serverelor ce doresc să se mute cu IP-ul dar și despăgubiri pentru cei ce nu doresc asta, ne vom ocupa împreună cu Krond în perioada următoare, având grijă în același timp să încheiem cât se poate de onorabil colaborarea cu fiecare client în parte.
Concret, asta îți putem oferi:
* Despăgubiri în cuantum de până la 400 lei / client pentru creditul disponibil în cont, recepționat ca donații SMS, mai vechi de +6 luni.
Rambursarea totală a abonamentului pe luna în curs
Orice rambursare se va face în cont IBAN, deschis la o banca din ROMÂNIA pe numele clientului ori numele de familie al clientului (frate, sora, părinți). Dacă rambursarea abonamentului pe luna în curs a fost achitat/activat prin SMS - această se va face la încasare (3-6 luni de la momentul plății)
* donațiile primite în ultimele 3-6 luni de la prezența vor fi achitate la încasare
Pentru o bună comunicare și operativitate, te rugăm să ne transmiți un email către email@example.com pentru a stabili cum procedăm în continuare - te rugăm, încearcă să fi cât mai succint pentru că în următoarea perioada vom opera un număr foarte mare de tickete pe care dorim să le procesăm cu prioritate.
Vă mulțumim pentru colaborare tuturor!
I announced this first on Discord on 24 april 2019, but the host officially went down on 14 may 2019. So, as I wrote in the title here, server's last run was since 19/09/2015 and it stopped on 14/05/2019. I began its development on 28 february 2009.
Sorry for coming a bit too late with this announcement, but I wanted to take some free time to be able to write about everything I was thinking about this decision and about the future.
What is closing?
The Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - Multiplayer server Green Zone Stuntage. Nothing else. I would really appreciate you remaining around our community, especially that there's a chance that GZS comes back (#post_future).
|Green Zone Stuntage (https://forum.skilledg.com/index.php?board=73.0)||CLOSES|
|Skilled Gaming (https://skilledg.com)||REMAINS OPEN, even if there will be no posts. This website also helps me with college projects and other things, so it won't go down. Paying for it isn't expensive and the host offers quality, so I don't have real reasons to close it.|
|Skilled Gaming: Facebook Page (https://skilledg.com)||REMAINS OPEN (but pretty dead due to the lack of things to post there).|
|Green Zone Stuntage: Facebook Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/GreenZoneStuntage/)||REMAINS OPEN. You can still join. It can stay up for posting GTA:SA memes or any other similar things.|
|Green Zone Stuntage: Discord server (https://discord.gg/t9KKTkv)||REMAINS OPEN. You can still join. We can just have some chat in there and communicate fast. Lots of games and communities are now having a Discord server and isn't costly at all, so you can easily keep your account on our Discord server. If I have to make any announcements, I will use the "@everyone" mention and you will be notified if you are online on Discord even after not verifying our Discord server for months. We can still talk there and maybe play something together and remain friends. :)|
The reasons I thought about when making this decision
(hopefully not forgetting anything I took into consideration)
- The host coming down. More can be read if you translate the text from above.
- I got a job and I'm there for at least 9 hours a day. The reason at this list item is that I don't have enough time left and I'm too tired. A break down of my time: Technically, a human has to sleep 8 hours per day. That makes it 7 hours left. A total of one hour is me going to the job and home (I'm pretty close to the job's location). 6 hours left. In these 6 hours left I have to handle the projects and things that I have to do for my Computer Science Master's Degree (I decided to go even further with my college, so this is the first year of the two) and I also have to eat, wash and so on. So after I'm doing everything I have to do, I have roughly 2-3 hours left in a regular week day to do whatever I please. The problem is that I'm really tired everytime (well, mainly because I'm not sleeping enough, so those 8 hours of sleep aren't considered correctly above :D - I usually sleep 6 hours because I hate going to sleep early, I'm a night owl) so I can't really go straight to programming, so in the most of my free time left I'm just relaxing. Also, I work as a programmer, so programming yet again in my free time isn't exactly the most pleasing option for me (even if I like programming the most on my own projects). In the weekends eventually I have to go out, clean my room, relax yet again, work more for the college and so on.
- As I don't have enough time, it means that I can't join the server. When I'm not joining the server, it seems like the players average number is going lower and lower, so I either had to join the server, or I had to find some administrator that really cares about the server, who has pretty much free time and that helps everyone and talks with the players, administrator which I didn't find. But still, I'm really grateful mostly to Badboy and $arpe for their huge help in server's last months, when they were the only administrators left, showing me that they really cared about the server (but they got jobs too, so they didn't have enough time neither), I also thank Heisenberg for coming back and helping the server.
- Again, as I don't have enough time, it also means that I can't work on the server. Trust me, I REALLY hate unmaintained projects, especially when I love mine so much. It pretty much hurt me knowing that it is online and I can't work on it and join it because I'm too busy and tired. I had at least 30 big ideas (and hundreds of smaller ideas) for it which I never had time for (especially that I like working on GZS at my best, meaning that the feature has to be very advanced and preferably without any bug when I release it - so I have to plan it down for a few days/weeks until I gain more and more ideas and give its features a nicer shape, and then I have to work for pretty much time on such a big idea, afterwards having to test it really well, all of which takes a lot of free time - which I don't have anymore, sadly to me). Playing on a dead server sucks. I hate the feeling of knowing that it is dead but it is still online. An additional thing that sucks is feeling bad when kids playing here ask me for new updates, while I have all of these reasons because of which I can't bring new updates.
- So, the host is closing down. Of course that I had to option to move to another host, but I decided not to do that because the server was going worse and worse due to my absence from there and the lack of updates. If I had to move to another host, probably more than half of the players wouldn't find the server anymore, so I had to try to bring more players to the server, but that needs advertising, thing for which I really have no time and thing I never liked (that's why we didn't have too many players - I don't really know how to advertise - well, mostly because quality advertising requires money and, well, advertising costs quite a bit of money - and even if now I have money, I don't really like giving money from my own personal account if I know that I don't have time to keep on server the players that joined us from the advertisements).
- Another big reason I thought about is the stability of the SA-MP community:
- Huge floods and exploits to SA-MP's vulnerabilities were taking place. SA-MP had some really weak parts in it, big vulnerabilities which could be easily exploited - but, thankfully, most of them, if not all, were quickly patched by SA-MP's developer, which is nice. Some guys from countries that don't have their internet secured too much are able to really f*ck up the SA-MP community by faking IPs. If there's any guy with network knowledge here, these problems are mainly appearing because SA-MP is using the UDP protocol (which is the best for synchronization, as it is going straight ahead to the destination, without having to do a three-way handshake) even for vital components of it, instead of TCP (which reduces a lot of bandwidth used by faked IPs).
- As you may know, SA-MP's current official version's first subversion (0.3.7 R(elease)1) was released on 01.05.2015, which is a long time ago. The thing is, that a R(elease)C(andidate) for 0.3.8 ( https://forum.sa-mp.com/showthread.php?t=644105 ) was started on 04/11/2017, which implemented, as its biggest new feature, server-sided (automatically downloadable) objects and skins, which meant meant that I could add few characters/object models in the server and everyone of you automatically downloaded them when you joined the server. (As I side note, that would require me to being learning 3D modeling, which takes pretty much time if I want nicely modeled skins and objects, but with my lack of free time I doubt I would have been able to learn it doing 3D models too fast - thing which I would like to know in the future anyway). Well, since I saw that 0.3.8 is under development, I even told to few of the community members on some semi-official (where a lot of the important members are) that it has a great chance to be cancelled. Why I thought about that? Well, because I knew Kalcor's (SA-MP's developer) logic from few years before: when we are at the end of the branch (actually 0.3x was supposed to be the last of the 0.3 series, but there were few higher priority things to be solved until 0.4 and there were also new vulnerabilities that had to be resolved fast), new versions don't have to include features that are too big or that break too many things or open security vulnerabilities, thing which was done "perfectly" by the download thing, which was pretty buggy, missed tons of things (if such a feature is implemented, it is mostly a must that it includes the possibility custom vehicles, weapons, sounds, map icons and so on, while the first RC only included objects and skins - while no more custom item type was added until the last RC) and bugged even stable parts of the game and broke some compatibility with existing SA-MP server codes. Such a huge features has to be at the start of a new branch, not at the very end of it! It was a great mistake from the start. So, after I predicted that it has a great chance of being cancelled, guess what? It got cancelled! (not sure if on 14/01/2018, a bit two months after 0.3.8's development was announced) But it wasn't completely cancelled, but it got renamed to 0.3DL (which basically is called "0.3.7 with the Download feature"), because plenty of the server scripters from the community desired the new download feature, especially that they started 3D modeling and hired 3D modelers for their servers and began updating - while I didn't begin doing that, as I didn't trust that new Release Candidate (but I planned some ideas based on the download feature). The thing is that the cancelled 0.3.8 update also contained few interesting fixes to the SA-MP client (you know when you were writing '/specwcs' and your screen looked like it was taking melting? it was firstly fixed in a 0.3.8 RC - also some thing related to textdraws being rendered twice by the client, which made textdraws slow down the slow computers even more, especially if there were textdraws that were changing pretty fast - such as our textdraws from the bottom of the screen - the minigames list, teleports list, info list). A good thing is that, even 0.3.8 got cancelled and renamed as 0.3DL, few of its nice bug-fixes were backported to 0.3.7, in the 0.3.7 R3 client update.
- The SA-MP developer is pretty much going mad against few huge corporations, even Google (that owns YouTube). He censored Google and YouTube from the forums ( https://forum.sa-mp.com ) mainly because (as I understood from few of his forum posts) of the "Social Justice Warriors" kinda-communities from YouTube and also because of some wrong things done by Google (forgot which things, but everyone does mistakes and because we are so different we can't please everyone, so I bet that Google is trying to do its best).
- SA-MP's developer also says a lot that this mod is basically dead, even if the community is still pretty alive, and it looks like he always tries to cut down things from SA-MP, few of the worse things being that he deleted language-specific boards from the forums (especially when people from some countries with language boards on forums were harming SA-MP by using exploits on servers - he even banned multiple countries [even countries with tons of SA-MP players] from the forums and master list [basically, IPs that are banned can't request the server list - meaning that they can't see "Hosted" tab's servers anymore) just because few guys with too much free time were harming SA-MP a lot).
- After all his insanely weird and wrong decisions, few very active, important and talented developers from the community, which were releasing tons of widely-used libraries and plugins (plugins are able to add important new features to the SA-MP server, because the SA-MP server itself has mostly just the core, the communication between the server and client's game, missing a lot programming-wise), decided to secretly start an alternative multiplayer which would be compatible with SA-MP (so server owners could simply replace SA-MP's server executable with the new multiplayer's server executable and players with the regular SA-MP client would be able to join the server without any additional problem - while server scripters would benefit from new things introduced, making the creation of a SA-MP better for scripters). One of those very important member was also a beta tester in the SA-MP team and arguably the most widely recognized developer in the SA-MP community, which brought up things which weren't known as possible before in the Pawn (SA-MP's scripting language name) SA-MP scripting, which were used by hundreds or maybe even thousands of servers which are currently online. When Kalcor developed what these important community members did, he started banning them all from the forums, just because they always wanted SA-MP to keep going, while also helping it a lot.
- Besides all of these, in the last years the "Internet" server list available in the samp.exe server browser was just a duplicate of the "Hosted" server list. That "Hosted" server list is for servers that are paying a good amount of monthly money to be there. As far as I know, buying a slot in there costs 18$ per month if you have an account of the official selling webside ( www.game-mp.com ), or even up to 35 euros per month if buying from resellers. The problem with this thing is that game-mp.com had its registrations closed for years, meaning that we had to buy from resellers (which are, theoretically, not allowed to resell - pretty ironic, huh?). As far as I remember, I created an account there probably in the first year when that site and "Hosted" tab were released, but I guess that my account is simply lost, because when we registered there it simply created a RANDOM password which couldn't EVER be recovered (tehnically, we had to email them at the official address, but I did that and, as expected, nobody responded). It is actually fine that the registration is closed, as there would be over 500 servers if it wouldn't be closed, but it is bad that accounts can't be recovered and it doesn't have a proper registration and login system. Now, why is the "Internet" list (which before had all opened servers which wanted to be announced to players, without paying anything) just a duplicate of "Hosted" list? Well, because of the exploits I told you about. Guys that wanted to harm SA-MP simply abused the lists and made servers redirect to other servers, flooded the entire list of servers with strong spoofed DDoSes and so on. Those master lists were going mad and the only viable solution was to make the master list an exclusive place and let only kind-of trustful servers in there, which aren't able to spoof other servers in the list (because that's how the "bad guys" previously broke the master lists: by creating malicious servers in the list which would spoof the information of the other servers displayed to the client once it loads the malicious server).
My future. Server's future.
(Well, as you may know, I like being honest. Honesty eliminates tons of problems, lets everyone know what we are up to and saves everyone's time.)
I have few important plans for my future and I like doing things one by one, to be sure that I succeed in everything, so I'm not sure if I will be able too soon to work on the server again, if the SA-MP community somehow survives the current sh*t-flow it goes through right now. Also, looks like the job will keep me busy for the rest of my life, which feels kinda sad for me, but I guess that's how life is going on if we don't plan on running a business which runs by itself.
BUT I would like to come back with Green Zone Stuntage in the future. I really want to actually apply all my ideas which are still there, nicely organised. A possibility I thought about is bringing it back in the future, but on another GTA multiplayer mod. Not another GTA SA multiplayer mod, but more like a GTA V multiplayer mod (it has some A LOT custom multiplayers more advanced than SA-MP which attracted my attention), but the thing is that I would have to migrate the entire code base yet again (like I did when I migrated the code from Pawn to the almighty C++ (https://forum.skilledg.com/index.php?topic=42710.0)), but it would be harder than it was before, because a new multiplayer platform doesn't have the same functions (and other things) to let the server "talk" with the client, but it might have completely different ones, it may miss entire functionalities and most of its things are probably done entirely different. These things makes migrating to another game and multiplayer mostly a fantasy, it being easier to start a new server than to migrate an old one from another multiplayer platform to it.
I would really like to continue working on Green Zone Stuntage as it is, especially that in the few past years I implemented some newer technologies in it that made my life easier and more entertaining - allowing me to also learn new things, which also allowed me to get the job I currently have.
Also, for now, I'm sure that I will offline-release the v2.98 and v2.99 when I'll have time to work on them, just like I did with other GZS versions when the server wasn't actively hosted. I plan the same for v3.00, but seeing how rarely I currently work on GZS, it will take A LOT of time for it to be offline-announced here on forums.
If GZS will come back, will the accounts and everything else (ownership of houses and so on) be reset?
I'm not sure about that. I may try to keep them alive and bring the server back with all of your accounts and data from the last weeks of the server when it was online in 2019, but I'm not sure if that's a good idea. It depends on whether it will be too late in the future when it will be back (so 99% of the players that had accounts here won't come back again, because that's how life goes on) and if I will do server updates that are too big and change too much to be able to easily keep every account without any information that looks wrong/weird.
Let's assume the server will come back. How do I plan to make its comeback?
As an additional information, I also had money plenty of money left in my host's client account (thanks to your donations) and they announced (as seen above, in the image and on their site) that they can actually refund the money on our bank accounts and I contacted them, but I didn't received any response for more than one month, but I'm forcing them to do their refund correctly, according to the law. Also, this is exactly one of the reasons I wanted donations to be made on Paypal: because I had full control over them and I didn't have to blindly deposit them in the hosts even if I had money to pay the host even for more than one year or two. Paypal would have given me the possibility to transfer money to the host when needed, not having that much excess money in the host client account. But, anyway, I understood that not everyone has a bank account, so I still allowed SMS donations directly to the host - better for the server than no donation at all.
So, when getting our GZS host money back, when and if the server will come back online, hosted, I plan to use all that money for the payment of the new host, of course.
Additionally, I plan on:
- Creating a new trailer with the help of XpLoD (https://forum.skilledg.com/index.php?action=profile;u=33) (if he desires to - but he even announced me that for v3.00 he desired to help us with a new trailer, to show the new features that would've been added).
- Buying hosted tab (if coming back in an alive SA-MP) from the first day from the money left from the donations we received on Paypal (I told you Paypal would be useful!).
- Paying Facebook/YouTube (the trailer as an advertisement?)/Google Ads(? not sure if this one is a good idea) advertisements from my money/Paypal money left from donations (after making sure that we will have at least 3 months of "Hosted" tab) on Facebook advertisements. I would really like a significant opening boost.
I will happily consider additional smart ways to promote us. I'm not sure if these will remain just some dreams or if I will actually bring the server back and be able to invest in all of these things.
It's really sad for me, but I had to do this. If you have read and think about everything I said above, you will understand that it is the best decision. Hopefully you all will be able to find another great game to play or find anything else that satisfies you at least as much as Green Zone Stuntage did. Thank you all for your dedication and I hope that everything will go fine for me, you and the project that GZS was, is and hopefully will still be. I'm happy to have offered quality, even if I didn't have time and motivation to do the many things I still thought about.
Sorry for the ninja cutting onions.