END PLAY Network and its future

Feb 7, 2023

It’s obvious that during the last year almost nothing has changed in the Network project, and I’m quite aware that it’s not good. Today I, the main developer of this project, known as Profitroll, am going to discuss the future of this network, share some insights and explain why the whole story ended up here now.


Creation and history

END PLAY Network has its roots in old minigames and RPG servers hosted on the same hostname. In the summer of 2016, a small 1.8.8 server with no plugins was started as a sandbox to learn what was possible to create on the Bukkit platform. After a few months of learning and trying to understand how the entire thing works, the Minigames server was launched. At that time it was called “END PLAY”, that’s where the name comes from. It only had SkyWars, BedWars and a simple parkour. It was nothing more than a test server where you could still play, but don’t count on saving all your progress because the structure was changing all the time.

After that, in 2017, two servers were born. The first one was the redesigned Minigames. It was already quite solid, also had SW, BW and Parkour, but a new minigame “CastleWars” was added. You might know it as the old “War” minigame from the other servers versioned lower than 1.8, because it is quite a simple and straightforward minigame where all you have to do is capture the flag and fight. A few months after playing around with minigames, the project started looking for something new. Together with an independent developer named Kusyaka we started to develop an RPG server.

The plan was to combine survival with MMORPG elements, but without overcomplicating the whole thing with too many Excel spreadsheets and item collecting to focus on the players’ freedom. The server had fun and mostly short quests to get some resources, explore the area and unlock new features. It also had a free market in the main town square where players could sell the stuff they got in the dungeons or by exploring the world. They could trade it for something they needed to build their own homes or castles. After a year of moving in this direction, the server needed an upgrade, as 1.8.8 was becoming quite old and unpopular, as well as having limited development capabilities. The new 1.12.2 Spigot API was much more stable, had gradually improved performance on the hardware used, and also opened up a lot of new possibilities. Unfortunately, the migration from 1.8x to 1.12x didn’t go very well. It took a lot of time and effort to recreate everything that worked before. After that, I got the idea that it made sense to combine Forge and Spigot to improve the user experience and add a lot of new things to the game. Developing the resource pack and this complete overhaul took a lot of time, and after almost two years the project slowly died. The technical side of the project was fine for a while, but it was just too hard for me to fill it with quests and content to make it playable.


Second Generation

April 11th, 2020 brought some new life to the server. RPG was not completely dead at that time, but was already moving in that direction. That was when Anarchy was born and servers were finally merged into Network. Now all servers are connected via BungeeCord and this is where it all came from. Up until that point, all the servers were separate instances. The Anarchy server was planned as an entertainment project as the development of RPGs was slowing down and fading away.

Just a few months later, on July 2nd, another server called FreeStone opened. It was a small server that we tested with Kusyaka, but we thought it was good enough to go public. It had mods like IC2, GalacticSpace, BuildCraft and many others that could be classified as “classic industrial”. Since this server was something completely different from all the others, no one expected it to have many players.

After another two months, one of the newest servers opened its doors – Towny. Fresh, performant, actually complete, built around the Towny plugin, with custom world generation, self-written plugins and many other improved things, it is still quite fun to play. It’s the first server with an advanced anti-cheat software, a lot of directly integrated features for the whole network, and is basically pretty slick technically. I also planned to start the 2.0 version with a new world generation, updated plugins and a daily quest system, but it didn’t work out well because the project couldn’t be updated and had to be completely redesigned. But let’s get to the future, because it has a lot to do with this.


Future of the network

Since February 2022, support for all servers has been frozen and remains so today. The entire network is up and running and ready to be played by everyone, but there is no further development and improvements in the kernels. There’s a reason why this is happening.

At the moment, I don’t have enough time to maintain the whole network the way I used to. Simple lack of time and lack of stable internet connection where I live is a big problem now. Also, I’m slowly losing interest in Minecraft. Versions above 1.12.2 are somehow not interesting for me. The main point of all the servers mentioned here before is that I played on them myself to debug everything, find problems, gather information needed for improvements. “Developing without playing” doesn’t really make sense. I want to deploy projects that I’m happy with myself.

So now the situation sounds pretty sad, doesn’t it? Let’s talk about plans for the future (if there will be free time and stable internet on my side). The network itself is quite stable, but not as stable as it could be. I have some structural issues in the back of my mind, which are a result of not knowing what I want the whole network to be and in which direction it should go. So what I think the project really needs is a complete technical overhaul to make it even more modular and focused on using all the possibilities BungeeCord has to offer. Also the entire skript plugins thing needs to be improved and rethought. I had some ideas on how to add multilingual support on all servers, because if a rework takes place – there will be no russian locale and the main focus will be on English and Ukrainian with Ukrainian as default.

Speaking of format, I have in mind – server should have even deeper and further integration with Discord and Telegram to serve better security and seamless experience. I would also like to open source all self-written plugins (or at least the ones I can), because END PLAY Network has always been and will always be a non-commercial project that I want to share with the world. I’m still not sure what license all these plugins will get. GPL3 or MIT are under consideration.

Also, the whole server network needs to be more powerful in general, which means optimization improvements are needed due to the limitations of hosting resources. All servers are up and running 24/7 and need to be paid for, so it actually makes sense to make all those servers use less resources and give all players better in-game connection stability and overall sustainability.


Final words

I still love good old Minecraft, but… Due to the current situation, I can’t guarantee that the reimagination of the projects will ever be done, as well as I can’t say for sure that it won’t be. It depends on a whole bunch of factors I can’t control or afford at the moment. END PLAY Network is my whole childhood and is on the first place of my beloved projects, but now even I am uncertain about its future.

Stay tuned, and trust me that I will definitely let you know if the project comes alive with its new strength.