Since July 27, 2011, I've run a popular public Minecraft server called Darkhelmet Minecraft. 2011 was an excellent year, 2012 was insane with over 13,300 new players logging twenty-one years worth of playtime. Unfortunately, we were hit with a major DDoS attack in October 2012 - one of the biggest I've ever seen and one that forced the small-time local colocation company to kick us out.
DHMC lost too many good players over the following five months as I searched for a suitable company to take us on - it took a while because I wasn't willing to sacrifice performance or pay several hundered extra to subsidize the cost of proper DDoS protection. We eventually found a good home with a slightly better server and proper protection, all for a cheaper price.
Our player base remained pretty small for several months as I focused on real life. I had no time to play and often went weeks without even logging in. We had legendary players (people who play 80 hours or more) who I had never even met. People were taking a break anyway as they waited for the server version of a major update: 1.7.
Once we could safely update to 1.7, DHMC sprang back to life. I spent some time refreshing the server - fixing issues, making improvements, fixing plugins and the website, and adding some new features. We're finally rebounding and I'm very excited for what 2014 holds.
Every year I post some interesting statics. Despite 2013 being the slowest year, some of these numbers are pretty amazing.
- 6,850 unique people played on DHMC from at least 75 different countries around the world. Most are from North America, Europe, and Australia.
- 5,195 players joined the server for the first time.
- 1,087 players were banned for breaking rules.
- They played for 97,184 hours (roughly 14 hours per player) - equal to 4,049.33 days. If a single person played that long, they'd play from the day of their birth to age 11.
- They donated $2,439 across all accepted methods (PayPal, Amazon, iTunes). That's amazing. Our yearly technical expenses are generally around $1,900 but there are usually one-off expenses the extra helps cover.
- The most on at the same time was 56 on 1/1/13, followed closely by several days with 50+ players at once in the last week of December. A sign of the slow down is that we didn't get anywhere near our record of 92, set in 2012.
- April 7th had the highest number of total players with 282, though at least 50+ days had over 200. The lowest was 21 on 11/21, because of downtime related to the 1.7 upgrade.
- They voted on various server listing websites at least 9,381 times (but we're missing data from 8/13 - 12/13)
- We served nearly 8.5 Terabytes of data.
A few fun notes about some in-game features:
- Crafty's is a custom plugin that allows ordering items (which other players can deliver). Players filed 16,638 orders. That's roughly 45 per day.
- It also allows auctions. There were 16,592 auctions.
There are now 80+ videos players have put up on youtube.
On December 31, 2012 I made the first code commits on Prism - a plugin for Minecraft servers that tracks changes made by players so that you can find, and reverse vandalism. It started as an experiment to see if I could develop something that felt better than existing projects, which had all been disappointing.
Early previews were very well received, so I continued. It's been downloaded at least 33,000 times and is used on an estimated 1,500 servers a day (yesterday, we tracked 1,115 servers that allow metrics reporting).
A lot of work went into the plugin - the featureset far exceeds the competition and I've focused on performance and load handling to ensure that even the biggest servers can use it.
I've also continued some work on minor plugins - Crafty's, Schwartz, Oracle, Elixr, DarkMythos, etc.
Onwards to 2014!