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Brandon

Update on my plan for Lunaris

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Hey guys, as all of you probably know Lunaris has been going through tough times recently and some of you guys have expressed doubt and or worry. Because of this I have decided to make a thread and lay out the problems that Lunaris is facing and the solution that the staff team, Yaz, and myself have decided on.


Problems and Issues


First off, I will need to explain all of the problems that Lunaris is currently dealing with. Without understanding the problems and why they are happening you can not understand the solution.

I am going to break down this thread by explaining an issue and then following that explanation I will explain the micro solution to the problem. After getting through all of the problems and micro solutions I will do my best to lay out the big picture issue that all of these smaller issues cause and then the large solution to the big picture issue.
 

Lack of OSRS mechanics


The first problem I will address is the lack of true OSRS mechanics. Currently Lunaris lacks a lot of true OSRS mechanics and just provides activities that 'work'. For example, hunter on Lunaris 'works' but lacks every training method other than catching implings. Please keep in mind that hunter is just one example and there are literally almost endless other examples.

The reason why this is a major issue on Lunaris is because it forces the game to not only be repetitive, but also very unbalanced. Let me explain further by using the same hunter example. Currently, the only method to train hunter is to catch implings. This means that when people train hunter they are forced to do the same thing over and over which gets very boring very quickly. As a result of hunter being so boring we were forced to speed up the XP gained dramatically and make the loot super OP so that it would offset the boring repetitiveness.

This sort of thing is apparent in a TON of Lunaris content and the problem is even deeper than you might currently think. An indirect consequence of making the loot so OP is ironically making the loot worthless. Since you can catch dragon implings in such abundance the loot from these implings comes into the game in an abundance causing anyone who trains the skill to have too many of these items than they know what to do with.

Lets go even further and take dragon arrows for example. Currently on Lunaris dragon arrows are easily obtained in mass quantities from hunter and other sources. This means that no one needs to purchase arrows from other players because they have plenty or can get plenty very easily. One negative consequence of this is that players get frustrated because their arrows are worthless and they can not sell them to make money and continue advancing in the game. Instead they are forced to sell them to the general store to make a profit.

Another extreme consequence of this is that every player is using the best ammunition in the game at all times with no consequences. The tier system is supposed to be designed in a way that forces 'poor' players to sell their high tier resources to 'rich' players because the high tier resources are so scarce making using them too expensive to make sense. This idea is what gives value to gold and being rich and makes people interested in continuing to advance to be able to afford these higher tier options. This idea also forces the 'poor' players to use lower tier supplies because it's cheaper and more affordable than using the higher tier resources, this gives a market and a demand to low tier supplies and gives players an opportunity to sell the extras they have to make money. 

Everyone using the best DPS gear in the game at all times has (yes you guessed it) another negative consequence. By using the best gear in the game at all times it further makes Lunaris boring because it allows you to kill high tier bosses extremely quickly. This forces us (the administration) to either make the boss harder than it should be or lower the drop rates to compensate for how easy the boss is to farm. Again, you can see examples of this all around Lunaris. TLDR: power creep.

So lets recap just a bit so that I can wrap up the ideas already presented and move forward with even more! Up to this point we have discussed how the lack of OSRS options creates a a major butterfly effect and contributes heavily to the boredom people tend to face after playing Lunaris for any respectable amount of time.

Before laying out the solution to this problem I want to point out another flaw in Lunaris that needs to be addressed. I am not saving this issue for it's own category because it directly relates to the information already presented above.

Currently on Lunaris the best XP/hour training methods are almost always the most gold efficient. What I mean is that currently on Lunaris the best possible XP / hour is almost always the highest profit per hour method as well. This is a giant issue in itself because it further contributes to the oversupply of high tier goods.

If we again take dragon implings for example, they are not only the best GP / hour but also the best XP / hour. The issue with this is that it forces players to continue to pump these specific high tier supplies into the game even further without so much as giving them an option to do anything else. In Runescape the trade off to training on the higher tier 'resource nodes' is that you sacrifice XP / hour. Lets switch examples to fishing for just a second to give you a better idea of this issue. On Runescape the best experience (or close to the best) is fly fishing. By fly fishing you get great XP per hour but make literally no money from your catch and contribute almost no supplies into the game. On the other hand, fishing a high tier fish like shark can make you a lot more money and contribute to the games economy but you sacrifice XP per hour. Currently on Lunaris this fundamental principal does not hold true forcing people who do not care about the profit gained to automatically default to the best GP / hour method because it's also the best XP / hour.

Zoom out a bit and take this idea a bit further and you compound prestiging / mini-me pets and it becomes out of hand. Not only are you catching implings / fishing angler fish all the way to 99 but all the way to 120 all the while you have your mini-me next to you doubling your resource creation. Not to mention having infinite resources allows you to camp any boss you want with ease allowing an abundance of higher tier gear to continuously be injected into the game allowing you to gear your mini-me with the abundance of high tier gear you have effectively making you do even more DPS which in turn makes you boss even faster / easier and injects even more high tier items into the game.


Micro Solution


Alright, now that I have explained this issue thoroughly I can explain the micro solution. The solution to this problem is to fix all of the broken mechanics in Lunaris to better match OSRS mechanics.

Lets use the hunter example again, if we removed the current impling island that Lunaris offers and instead had true OSRS style hunting then people would not be forced to do the same repetitive action to train hunter. They would then not even have the option to train their hunter catching dragon implings and instead would have to do something like chinchompas. This would not only make hunter more entertaining but would also create a supply for the lower tier hunting items (such as chins) for people to use but would also balance out the supply and demand for the items from dragon implings such as dragon arrows.

Please try to keep an open mind as I know that even with this change you could still get dragon arrows from the blood money shop. This example is only attempting to make you understand the point.

This change alone would have a giant web effect on the economy and might even create a demand for things like amethyst arrows and if there was a demand for amethyst items then amethyst mining would be a lot more beneficial thus making it more entertaining. This would, in theory, allow us to lower down the difficulty of some bosses (try to think about having more changes of similar effect, not just the hunter changes) and or increase drop rates on the bosses because most people are not using as good of gear.

Moving away from the hunter example, we can move back to the fishing example. If fishing had the proper mechanics where the spots moved and it had a better formula for catch rates then fishing for sharks would be far less XP than fly fishing. This would make an increased supply for lower tier foods but would also decrease the supply of higher tier foods and if you decrease the supply of higher tier foods then you automatically increase the demand for lower tier foods to compensate while also increasing the demand for higher tier foods as well.

We can move in a similar direction for our next example. If there was an increased supply of lower tier foods and a decreased supply of higher tier foods then higher tier raw food would be far more expensive than lower tier raw foods. This along with proper burn rates for foods and variant burn rates for different ranges / fires would cause people to no longer train their cooking with higher tier foods and instead train their cooking with things like tuna or lobster.

Mechanics like these also serve to give value to people who enjoy skilling. The people who are not skillers will do the fastest XP / hour and the skillers can create the supply of higher tier items / foods to the pvmers. Not to mention again if everyone was not walking around with infinite angler fish then we could balance bosses accordingly.

Creating proper OSRS mechanics and adding support for things that seem 'useless' in a private server also serve as distractions from the grind and give people a more enjoyable experience. If the options are there and functional then some people will explore them thus distracting that person from the most efficient training method. This serves to lengthen that persons playtime but also increases his or hers entertainment from the game. The thought is basically that if they want to do it they should be able to even if it's 'stupid' or 'useless'. One example of this could be glassblowing. I think we can all agree that in most cases glass blowing is not too useful for most players but if for some reason a person did want to venture out and make molten glass and glass blow that molten glass then the more power to them. Not having that content available for someone who wanted to do it only serves to frustrate the player.

I have thought about this quite a bit and this is basically the reason that I created the balance team. After reading this I hope you understand my logic.
 


Dysfunctional Staff Team


This one will be a lot simpler and to the point than the previous issue :D. Basically the issues outlined above cause the game and the playing experience of the game to be unstable. As a result of the playing experience being unstable there is / was a tremendous amount of pressure on not only the administration (including myself) but the rest of the staff team to try to keep the player count up as high as possible. This issue might seem foreign to most people since you have not witnessed being a staff member at Lunaris first hand but I promise that if you talk to any ex-staff member they will tell you all about it.

Most days were filled with the administration frantically trying to get player counts up. Once they were up to a decent amount of players we would still spend the rest of the day trying to maintain those player counts. This put a lot of pressure on myself and the rest of the administration which turned into very stressful days. Some of this responsibility and pressure was then transferred onto non administrative staff members.

This at first might not sound like a bad thing but to be quite honest is absolutely terrible and toxic. The game should be stable enough that the staff team and the administration should not have to worry daily about the player counts. The game should be fun enough to keep people naturally interested.

Now please do not misunderstand my point. I am not advocating for a lax approach to running Lunaris or a lazy administration / staff team. I would still want to do all of the things that we did to increase our player counts such as planned staff hosted game events but without the pressure of trying to micromanage player counts hour by hour.

This has been an issue for a long time and unfortunately has driven away many great staff members that enjoyed contributing to the community. To be honest most of the staff team should not have to worry about such macro problems and should not bare any of that weight on their shoulders.

As I am sure everyone who is reading this knows our head administrator Justin has recently stepped down from his position. I believe the issue outlined above is the main reason why he decided to leave the team.

Justin contributed a massive amount to the team and played a big role in building and maintaining the community that we have built at Lunaris. He was mainly in charge of managing the staff team, managing the community, and player support. As I am sure you all witnessed, he was basically in charge of the day to day operations. He bridged the gap between myself, the staff team, and you guys the players. He was also the person taking most of the responsibility for making sure players remained engaged and entertained each and every day.
 

 

Micro Solution


The solution to this problem is quite simple. Once we fix the game mechanics outlined in the previous issue the game should not require the staff team to host events to be entertaining. The game will naturally be entertaining and stimulating. After that issue is fixed we can restructure the staff team and distribute the responsibility through out many different people.

No longer would we have to be concerned with micromanaging the player counts hour by hour because the game and the game play experience would not be so volatile. A few people like the administration team would not have to bear that stress on their shoulders.

Once the game is in a healthier and a more stable state we would be able to restructure the team, make new ranks, and further distribute responsibility.

 

Unstable and Outdated Code

This issue is sort of complex and if you are not an experienced programmer it might be hard to fully comprehend but I will try to explain it the best I can.

When I started developing Lunaris two years ago I honestly had never expected to still be working on it today. When I started the project I figured it would be a small hobby project and I did not have plans to host it long term. Fast forward a bit and we started to build up the Lunaris community and time continued to pass and the community continued to grow and I really enjoyed it so I kept on expanding and continued development.

I am bringing this up because when I started Lunaris I did not have plans on it becoming as large as it did. As a result, I did not make the best decision on a stable base to build Lunaris off of at the time. Basically the stability and scalability of the base did not matter to me because I never had intentions on scaling it.

Almost two years later and we are seeing the negative consequences to using something that was not designed the best. I have spent a lot of time rewriting most of the code and it is stable now but the architecture is still outdated and designed without thinking about some of the needs when it comes to runescape emulation.

The above mentioned code is referring to the server sided code. This is the code that runs on the Lunaris remote servers. I will now be shifting focus and focusing more on the client sided code. This is the program that you download and execute on your computer to play the game.

This client code was originally written in the early 2000's by JageX and is very outdated and very limited. As a result the performance on this client (FPS) is quite low. The original client code is not really the cause of the low amount of FPS but instead the constant manual updates and additions onto the client that have been implemented over the years by people who did not implement them properly. As an example, the code we are currently running for our client was created before runescape even had a resizable option.

When JageX introduced resizable to runescape they rewrote large portions of the client so that the increased field of view did not have a large impact on FPS. However, when resizable mode was introduced to the Lunaris client (not by me, these changes were done to the client years before Lunaris ever existed) who ever made the feature just made it work without rewriting the rendering engine to support the increased FOV without dropping frames so heavily.

Another negative to using a 317 client is that it does not natively support OSRS content. This might be a foreign concept to some of you but a lot of 'OSRS' servers are in a similar situation. Most OSRS style servers use the same version of client we currently use on Lunaris (the one that is over 10 years old). That means the client does not natively support the OSRS cache and instead we are forced to convert the OSRS cache format to the outdated format so that the old outdated 317 client can read it.

This poses a lot of unforeseen problems. One of them being OSRS interfaces. At some point a long time ago JageX changed the way their interfaces worked at a fundamental level and introduced something called CS2 scripts. These scripts are complicated so I will not get into the details too much but they basically make us unable to use interfaces from the OSRS cache. This forces me to manually recreate any interface from OSRS into the old outdated format. This is very time consuming and not very authentic.

The last issue with the current code is that it only ever supported programming on top of the core server implementation. This is an issue because it forced anyone who wanted to develop content for Lunaris to have access to ALL of the source code. This leaves us vulnerable to dishonest people and could result in the Lunaris code being leaked. This is why I was developing the plugin system which would solve this issue.
 

Micro Solution


The solution to this problem is not a simple one. There are really a few options, the first option being to continue to use the outdated client with the not so great server sided core. This option is probably the worst out of them all because it does not solve any of the issues outlined above.

The next solution would be to rewrite even more of the Lunaris server framework to be better and more stable and more welcoming to new content and in the process convert the packet protocol to support connecting to the current OSRS client. This solution has a lot of problems as well, one being the fact that this process would be difficult and would take an extreme amount of time. It would also mean that most if not all of the content would have to be rewritten to use the real OSRS interfaces / systems and CS2 varbits.

The final and most attractive solution in my opinion is to re-code the Lunaris content onto a more stable base that already connects to the current OSRS client. This is the most attractive option because it's not only the safest / most reliable but also the fastest solution that still fixes the problem.
 

Big Picture Issue


This should come as no surprise to anyone but all of these issues combined contribute to the lack of true entertainment from the game in a long term sense. I hope that after reading this extremely long post you can agree and understand why we are in the situation that we are in. I know that most of the people reading this love Lunaris but the reality is that Lunaris has always had issues entertaining players for a long period of time.

The TLDR is that people find Lunaris to be boring in the long term. I have also heard people use the word stale which I think is a lot more accurate.

 

Big Picture Solution


So it's time for the grand finale, the big plan that myself and the rest of the team have agreed is the fastest and the most effective solution and that is to recode Lunaris from scratch. By recoding Lunaris from the ground up on a very stable and well developed OSRS base we can design and structure everything to work like it should.

This has been in the back of my mind for a while and is something that the administration has discussed and seriously considered many times in the past. Every time we talked about it we all came to the conclusion that it would be too much of a time investment and is not worth it. We always decided no because we thought that the community would not be able to support such a huge investment of time.

So by now I am sure you are wondering what has changed? Why if we decided that you guys would not want us to invest the time into it would we suddenly change our minds and think you would now be alright with such a  change? Well that is a great point which I will discuss right now.

Unfortunately, the administration and the staff team still agree that this is a huge investment but this is our only option. Like I said before Justin was a huge part of our team and contributed to holding a huge amount of responsibility. The issues outlined above were and still are very cumbersome and prevent us from growing to the state and the size that we aim for but when we had Justin on the team the issues were manageable.

With Justin here we were able to steadily maintain a decent player base even with the issues Lunaris has but now since Justin has left the team that is no longer a possibility.

We were not aware that Justin would be leaving and did not really plan for him to leave. I have worked with Justin for almost 5 years and the working relationship we had built over that time is not something that can be easily replaced. That being said, our only option to move forward is to restructure the game and the integrity of the game to function without the need for someone to fill his role.

Please do not get me wrong, I am very appreciative of the role that Justin filled and the responsibility that he took on during his time here with us but it's unfair to not only him but to everyone involved with Lunaris that the game and community rely so much on one person. It shouldn't be that way and should of never been that way in the past.

When Justin left we knew that it would have an extreme impact on the community and the player base as a whole which is why we as a team decided that it is the best opportunity to make this investment and to make the switch over to a new base.

That being said, we have stopped all paid advertising for the time being. We feel without Justin we will not be able to sustain a large player base especially with me spending my time on the recode instead of coding new immediate Lunaris updates.

We instead think it is a lot smarter to save the small amount of donation money that we have currently until the recode is done. At that point we will use the money to have a sort of 'relaunch' and spend a ton of money on paid advertising all at once to boost us back up to where we should be.

So what does this mean for Lunaris in the short term? Well I am glad you asked 😄 This means that I will not be coding new updates for the current Lunaris and instead spending my time focusing on the new recode of Lunaris. That being said, I will not be doing this recode myself. I have already found another developer to help me and will be searching for more in the near future.

The fact that no new updates will be implemented into the current game and the fact that we have stopped paid advertising does unfortunately have consequences. It will mean that the current state of the player base will not get better until the 'relaunch' of Lunaris.

This recode will take time and will be difficult, if I had to give an estimate for the amount of time I would say it would take around 2 months. I know that 2 months is a long time for a lot of people but I want to assure everyone that this is the best option for Lunaris in the long term.

I want to remind everyone that I love this community and I want to see it continue to grow and I hope all of you feel the same way. That being said, I really hope a lot of you understand this post and this decision and can see through the 2 months of darkness to the light at the end. I can not expect everyone to stand behind me and the rest of the staff team in this decision but I really hope you do.

Please give your feedback below. Also please read this a few different times and allow yourself to really think it over and understand it. I also want to assure everyone that this does not at all mean that we are resetting the eco. As of right now we have no plans on an eco reset. The economy is very flooded with items currently but we will find a solution to that issue when the time comes.

Lunaris is going through hard times and we need your support more now than ever. If you guys really do care about this community and enjoy what we have built together then you will stay and support this decision. That being said, if you are not strong enough and decide to leave the Lunaris family I understand. This is a big investment for us all.
 

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10 hours ago, atem said:

I look forward to these changes. I believe that lunaris will make it to the top 5. I believe in your vision Brandon

cringe

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I've never really seen this much dedication ever put into an RSPS before, as most owners simply abandon their servers when they can't maintain a good player count anymore. I've seen many of my favorite private servers shut down in a manner similar to the one i described. I'm glad to see that you care so much as to dedicate so many resources into the game, and I will definitely return to Lunaris after the relaunch (Hopefully with an entire economy reset, as the economy right now is an absolute joke). One thing I suggest that I have mentioned many times before is implementing more custom bosses or encounters. Though I never did it, Raids 2 was a unique experience that required high skilling levels and PVM skills. I know that coding things like that take a lot of time, but if you could make more smooth running multi layered encounters like that on the new relaunch, it would definitely be something to look forward to. This doesn't mean it has to be entirely PVM based either. You could do Minigames like stealing creation on runescape with EXP rewards. Either way, i'm looking forward to seeing what you have in store for the future, but for now, i'm just gonna slip almost out of existence...

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9 hours ago, solarium said:

I've never really seen this much dedication ever put into an RSPS before, as most owners simply abandon their servers when they can't maintain a good player count anymore. I've seen many of my favorite private servers shut down in a manner similar to the one i described. I'm glad to see that you care so much as to dedicate so many resources into the game

I have to 100% agree with this, as mentioned in my respected player application I have filled all staff roles available at one point in time or another and have not seen this level dedication not only to the server but to the players themselves and genuinely wanting to make something that can give entertainment to others for non-selfish reasons. 

 

11 hours ago, testingthis said:

2 months is nothing . . . even 6 months is nothing, times fly, i will stay on old Lunaris waiting for new one to come up 😃

This is very true, in the scheme of things even 6 months is not an excessive amount of time to take in order to help hone and refine a server in the way you are envisioning it Brandon, and like you said yourself after starting the server with an unstable base I'm am very impressed with how much progress and improvements not only you but the whole Lunaris staff team have made to it.

I've said this to a few people while I've been playing with mixed responses, but I do believe this server can become something big, and I believe its worth it for the players to stick with it through this rough patch, you're all doing great keep it up!

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Thank you for the positive vibes. I was really scared alot of you would not like the choices that were made. Thank you everyone for really understanding.
I really do love you all and really do want to see this community grow not just in numbers but in friendships..
dont forget to join us on discord and check out the #dev-log we still posting what we are doing and what not.

https://discord.gg/6DjvHgU
Current things inside dev log

======= Start of the recode =======
- Completely finished fletching. This should include every single fletchable item on OSRS including things like ogre comp bows and battle staff fletching
- Completely finished all item on item crafting (things that do not require a world object, like a loom)
- Completely finished all potion making. This includes every single potion such as Compost potions and fishing potions. It also includes Barbarian mixes.
- Added object skill creation support
- Completely finished pottery crafting. (using the ^ system)
- Finished weaving
- Also finished herb cleaning. This wraps up the entire herblore skill.

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Yooow @Brandon

 

I'm sorry that the running the server has been so though. I've logged in from time to time to check how its going. Shame I barely have time to play.
I hope you best of luck with recording the server buddy.

 

Once you achieve the result you're aiming for now. Send me a message. I'll always be happy to check out your awesome creations!

 

Edit holy shit my sig is fked

Edited by Empurion
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Happy to see progress in this issue that I've seen since I've been playing. I look forward to seeing all of this coming into motion B.

You got my support 110% you always know that.

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Awesome I only gave up because I was bored for the reasons stated above look forward to coming bk in few months 

Honestly one of the best servers why I keep checking in also thanks for addressing these issues and not ditching the server

Edited by robb
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