The Chunk Diaries: Chunk^2 Update

Chunk^2 was the product of several months of work to revitalize the network from peaking at maybe 300-500 players to 600-1000.

Some background

Before Chunk^2 was released, The Chunk consisted of Ender, GLDesert and Mineshooter (standalone), and MinerWare, PigWars and Thimble (which composed the "Arcade"). Perhaps the biggest draw to the network at that point was MinerWare (which continues to drive traffic to this day).

The average player count was quite low. It was to the point where we seriously considered adding some generic servers, but this was decided against as GLDesert was already enough of a blight on us. After realizing a severe shortage of funding in October, we set out to enhance the cash flow. In November, we brought Sam/redx back on board and set out to meet this goal.

The Chunk^2 games

I actually came up with the idea for BlockWars, believe it or not. I was searching thru an antiquated list of Garry's Mod-based games, and one came up to me. Keep in mind that this was before we knew about a similar game that Mineplex had, but ours is sufficiently different enough to not be a clone (ours being based more on PvP). Work on BlockWars began on December 2, 2013 and a fully-working game was completed around a week later. However, we chose to perfect the game as much as possible, and delayed it for a large-scale update (ala Chunk^2).

DoubleTrouble was the next game to be completed. It was inspired by combining SCB with the PigWars concept. Work began January 15, 2014 and was essentially completed around a week later.

Haunted was the most contentious. It was originally called "Horror". Work started October 28, 2013, and it would not be complete for three months.

The Chunk^2 infrastructure

I created ChunkStats and ChunkCredits in September and October 2013, respectively. I optimized and improved upon these components during December 2013 and January 2014. Also, at the time, The Chunk was using an early version of RedisBungee 0.2.5.

The in-game shop was new in Chunk^2. It was my most significantly complicated backend component (but this is being eclipsed as I speak).

Close to the Chunk^2 release, we dropped GLDesert. The reaction was negative, but it marked a fresh start for us nevertheless.

The results

Chunk^2 was released on February 7, 2014. Immediately afterwards, sales began skyrocketing. There were some hiccups, but we dealt with those afterwards.

The lasting game from the Chunk^2 update has been BlockWars, which is tied for most popular game during peak with MinerWare. During peak times, around half the non-premium lobbies are full or nearly full. Even at a time where few players are on, at least one or two lobbies are running and/or is full.

What's next

We have very big plans for the newest Chunk update. I am not going to reveal them, but the recent Herobrine Ender update was part of the work we did for it.

My next post will be dealing with the migration that is required to move to UUIDs.