Alpha opening selections

Hello everyone!

It’s been a week since the application phase ended, and now it’s time to announce the results.

First of all, thanks to everyone who submitted an application. There were even more applications submitted than last time, and after discounting duplicates, the total number is 616 applications, including everyone who applied last time. You keep outperforming my expectations 😛 I’m glad that the community shows no signs of dissolving or diminished interest even though it’s now 7 years since the game closed. I’m confident the day will come when everyone will be able to play the full game again, and I’m glad to know the community will still be around.

This opening has also shown some weaknesses in the current application processing infrastructure. There was no easy way to double-check whether your application was still recorded if you had submitted one last time, and also no easy way to check that your application was submitted properly if you submitted it in this opening. The integration with website accounts, discord, and the LU server itself also isn’t ideal at the moment. For future applications, I’d like to develop an interface where you can submit an application and check on its status later on, maybe even as an interface of the LU server itself.

Because of this uncertainty in whether your application had been processed, some users submitted additional applications under the same name. Of course, these won’t disqualify you from the alpha, and we’ve also taken steps to ensure everyone is only counted once.

I’ve taken the time and read through every application that was submitted, and they’ve been a great read, with many of you putting a lot of effort into detailing your memories of this game. Thank you all for sharing these nostalgic moments.

There were a lot of wonderful applications, and it’s sad we can’t select all. I really hope we’ll be able to do another opening soon, so that you’ll have another chance at getting to play the game. However, today, let’s take a look at the selections for the current alpha opening.

We’re randomly selecting 20 players out of 616 applications, which means if you entered you have a 3.24% chance of being selected.

The selected player for the alpha opening are:

  • ArieegeeCZ
  • Caminon
  • Darklair
  • Drakensin
  • FrostEST
  • JWGrieves
  • LegoFan222
  • MAYBUTNYE
  • Masterkdt
  • ShockPain
  • Smurdy
  • TacklessSix5
  • TheLegorza
  • Turtlegaming5
  • Wheathan
  • WhovianForever
  • andrew
  • fffffplayer1
  • gamera2001
  • iSetless

Congratulations to all of the above. The selections are quite varied, some applied this opening, some applied last time; some were FTP players, some were members, and some never got the chance to play.

If you’re one of the selected, check your mail, info on how to connect has been sent to your mail address. (Check your spam folder too, just in case.)
If you’re not one of the selected you may still have a chance in later selections, there will be a number of openings in the future.

I’m glad to welcome 20 new testers to the server. Every opening brings us one step closer to having the full game working again.

See you all in-game!
– lcdr

New alpha opening

Hey everyone!

With the new network layer working, the time has finally come for another opening in the current alpha. It’s been one and a half years now since the start of the alpha, and a lot of things have changed since then:

  • The alpha provided some useful real-world experience of how the server responds to a number of players being connected at the same time. I initially only scheduled the server to run on weekends, but as the server ran better than expected, I switched the server to run 24/7.
  • The alpha testers have found and reported more than 100 issues, and a lot of them have been fixed already. There are still a bunch of issues remaining, but with the network layer rewrite functionally complete and other rewrites planned, the project is moving closer to fixing them.
  • The work on the MLN server has helped to both get a revival of a related game going, and to get some insight in how to design the rewrites needed to address the most problematic bugs found during the alpha.
  • The first of the rewrites has now completed the minimum viable implementation, and work is under way to make the new network layer work entirely under the hood.

The rewrite of the network layer has at the same time removed a large blocker for a new alpha opening, and introduced a new component that would benefit a lot from real-world testing. Testers have previously experienced connection issues that would result in their connection getting dropped, especially during world loads. The network layer rewrite attempts to fix that, but connection issues are notorious for only happening to some specific users in specific situations, so having more testers would help in making sure the issue is resolved.

A new opening in the alpha is also a good opportunity to keep testing active, as the activity naturally slows down a bit over time.

With these factors coming together, it’s time for a new opening up the alpha to new testers. The server development is still very much focused on bug fixing and getting the parts that are implemented to work like in the original. This is my top priority because there’s not much point to features if they don’t work right. That’s why this new stage doesn’t mark the introduction of new features to the server. However, there has been progress in server development since the initial alpha release, which is why we’ve decided to launch a new stage. To avoid misunderstandings, we’ve chosen to call it “opening in the current alpha”, as opposed to “new alpha”, and we’ll be using the latter only for releases with new features.

With all that out of the way, it’s time for the specifics of the new opening. We’ve chosen to keep much of the process we used for the initial alpha, as it’s worked quite well.

  • The new alpha opening will start on April 26th. On this day the new testers will be able to join the server and play.
  • There will be 20 tester slots available for this opening. Twenty new people will double the count of testers with access to the server.
  • People wishing to be testers will need to apply to the alpha with a short description of why they want to be a tester. This system will help to ensure that the selected are dedicated, and will discourage duplicate/spam submissions.
  • If you had applied to the initial alpha, you will be counted automatically, without having to resubmit an application. Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about you.
  • Those eligible to be selected (having written a valid application for any alpha opening) will be selected randomly by a computer. This will ensure that everyone has equal chances of getting in.
  • The period in which you can submit an application starts now, and ends two weeks from now, on April 9th.
  • We’ll be looking through the applications the week after that, and announce the results on April 16th. The selected testers will receive a mail with instructions and will be able to access the alpha tester channel on the project discord.
  • Finally, on April 26th, the selected testers will be able to join the server and play.

We’ve written up some more detailed explanations in our Alpha FAQ.
If you want to apply for this alpha opening, click the link below.

Apply for Alpha

It’s been one and a half years now since the initial alpha opening, and I’m glad we’re now finally at the point where we can let more people play. The server still has ways to go until it will be complete, but it’s slowly and steadily progressing, and I’m confident we’ll get there one day. With the new alpha opening, we’re a step further along.

See you all in-game!
– lcdr

Alpha selections

Hello everyone!

It’s been a week since the application phase ended, and now it’s finally time to announce the results.

First of all, thanks to everyone who submitted an application. In total, we received 303 applications, more than I’d ever have expected. I’m really impressed with how many people are still around who want to play LU, even though the game closed 5 years ago, and how many would apply even though this is just a first alpha. I went ahead and read every one of those 303 applications you sent us, which took a couple of hours, but I felt it was the least I could do to honor your dedication to this game. Your applications were much more than I imagined, with many of you detailing fun moments in original LU, your enthusiasm for the game, and your excitement for being able to play again. It was a great and inspiring read, thanks to you all for taking the time to write all this.

The application system also seems to have worked well to prevent spam; out of 303 applications only 1 was spam (and don’t worry, we didn’t accidentally classify your application as spam, the application in question was a clear impersonation we manually confirmed before disqualifying it).

Now, before continuing with the selections, a note on how the system works: You submitted your application in the application phase. From these 302 applications we selected 20 to be included in the first alpha stage starting on October 26th. The selections were made randomly, using a computer (to be precise, a small python script). However, these 20 people are just the first stage. To evaluate the server performance under load, we’re starting with a small amount, and will add more people in later stages. This also means that if you submitted an application and didn’t get selected, you still have a chance, because your application also counts for the later stages. If you haven’t had a chance to submit your application, you will also still have a chance in later stages, where we will be accepting new applications as well.

Now, on to the selections!

We’re selecting 20 players out of 302 applications, which means if you entered you have a 6.62% chance of being selected.

The selected players for Stage 1, starting on October 26th, are:

 

  • Komplexus
  • Dazoo1
  • ethanlindley
  • Tinka
  • Baffish
  • lordpickleking
  • Homie0Jr
  • emanresU
  • Liam3997
  • Astrophel
  • mater06
  • Mickeystick
  • Halofan4566
  • Matthew
  • LS2112
  • Raydiation
  • DocGrognard
  • creeperkid75
  • stefanoss
  • ShiWham

Congratulations to all of the above. I’m glad the random algorithm provides for so much diversity. We’ve got all kinds of LU fans in there, from original beta testers to live players, to FTP players, to people who never got the chance to play, people from the developer side and people who are engaged in the community, young ones and AFOLs who played LU with their kids. I’m really looking forward to all of them coming together in-game to play LU again.

If you’re one of the selected, check your mail, we will provide you with info on how to connect later today.
If you’re not selected you may still have a chance in later selections, as mentioned above.

And no matter whether you’re selected or not, we will continue to share info about our progress and the alpha with you. You’ll be able to look forward to alpha gameplay videos not only from our youtube, but from the players as well, as we allow streaming and recording of the alpha.

Remember, this all starts on October 26th! I’ve been looking forward to this next step towards everyone being able to play again for years now, and I’m excited that it’s only 5 more days until then.

See you all in-game!
– lcdr

 

 

Alpha release date & timeline

Hello everyone!

We’ve done a lot of server testing over the last month. I’m glad to say that we’ve been able to fix the bugs that came up, and implement the necessary server administration features. We believe we’re ready for a first alpha, where we will invite people from the community to test our server.

The first alpha stage will begin on October 26th, 2017.

We’ve mentioned before that we’d like the alpha selection process to work in a fair way, and we’ve come up with a process that we think will help with this.

We’ve decided not to base alpha access on giving out keys, but instead via applications. Everyone who wants to join the alpha can submit an application describing why they want to join, and after filtering out spam we randomly select from the submissions. This will help with duplicates, and complications with people asking for keys.

We’ve decided to start low with 20 slots available for the first alpha stage. This is so we can analyze how well the server responds to multiple players playing simultaneously, and possibly optimize the server to work more efficiently under these conditions. After we complete our analysis, and implement bug fixes and optimizations, we will expand the alpha in later stages to include more players and features.

To explain the process, here’s a timeline:

September 30 (Today) Alpha application phase starts. From now on, people are able to submit their application for alpha.
October 14 Alpha application phase ends. People will still be able to submit applications, but they will count towards a later stage, not the one beginning on October 26.
October 21 After filtering out spam and randomly selecting applications, we announce the selections on October 21. Selected applicants will be notified via mail about the next steps.
October 26 Alpha Stage 1 starts, with 20 selected people.
Later Once testing with the initial group of 20 people is successful, we will open up the alpha to more people in later stages.

We’ve written up some more detailed explanations in our Alpha FAQ. Check it out if you’ve got a question, or post in the forums.

You’ll be able to submit your applications to the first stage starting now, until October 14. Click below to start your application for a chance to be selected.

Apply for Alpha

We’ve been wanting to do an alpha for a while now, and we’re glad we’re now able to start the process. Check back on October 21 when we announce the selections.

See you all in game!
– lcdr