Expanding FaceWAN and moving back to owned hardware
When I first started FaceWAN, I was still in high school and the year was 2005. The GMod9 servers and website were hosted on old hardware off my home DSL connection at a whopping 1.5Mbps up and down. Some of my best friends including Chicken132 and Mr. Bojangles really helped launch the community, which I'm very grateful for giving me the idea and hosting servers in addition to mine. This had no cost attached to it other than the internet connection, and the little power those Pentium servers used. Some years later in 2007, I co-located the servers to a local datacenter on the East Coast US with a faster connection at no cost. Fast forward to around 2010 when we got hit with a wave of DDoS attacks on the Counter-Strike: Source servers and the newly launched HL2 RP server for GMod that took a good portion of Boston's routers down for the morning. This caused me to scramble to find a solution that can block these attacks without causing interruptions. After asking around, I was pointed to Awknet by a lot of people, but the big disadvantage was Awknet only had servers in LA (West Coast US!) This was quite an issue because most of the players at the time (including me) were on the East Coast and pings would increase +60ms. After seeing a price of $120/month and wanting the community to thrive without advertisements or pay to win mechanics, I ate the monthly cost to keep things running and things continued to thrive, just with different player demographics. I expected no compensation and just wanted a place for my friends to relax and have fun playing games together. Then 2014 rolled around, and I found OVH built a datacenter on the East Coast of Canada and had servers for the same price. I jumped at the opportunity to bring the servers back to the East Coast, switched from Awknet to OVH, and things continued to move along with me paying $120/month out of pocket. After a few years in 2016, FaceWAN quickly hit capacity and I upgraded to a better server for double the price at $238/month, continuing to pay out of pocket for the community. I tried adding paid adminship to at least make it less I'm paying per month, and that was a total fail I regret even trying. I continued to pay out of pocket until 2021, which is when I started up FaceServers and started selling game servers. The cost of the infrastructure went up each year until the beginning of 2023, which OVH had me paying $652/month between dedicated servers and IP space!
So now we are at the present day, and in the past few months, we have completely moved away from our previous hosting provider of many years (OVH) for US servers due to major price inflation and stability/reliability issues with their services since December of last year. In the last few months, I have spent a lot of time getting our new infrastructure built, shipped out and lit up at the current datacenter in the East Coast US (Virginia). We now have co-located hardware (like back in 2007), which is way more powerful than what we had with OVH. Our operating cost has now gone down to a little under $300/month with an upfront cost on the hardware of $4500 with room for expansion. I know its a flip from my previous statements of renting being cheaper than colo, but at the start of 2023, OVH prices went way up, and its no longer feasible to rent dedicated hardware. We also now have a dedicated hardware firewall/router and 10gbps uplink from CosmicGuard for DDoS protection. Another huge advantage with the new hardware is that we can do proper HA and redundancy which wasn't possible with OVH.
As of last week, all services in the US/Canada have been moved to this new location in Virginia on the East Coast of the US. Migration has been completed from OVH to CosmicGuard and the IPs were updated everywhere accordingly, so please make sure to update your favorites/bookmarks if you still have the old IPs!
You may have noticed, we currently still have a dedicated server in Central EU with OVH and Co-located space in London with CosmicGuard is planned to replace this server, so stay tuned in the coming months for more info. As always, if you have any questions or want to chat, feel free to drop by the Discord and let us know.
More updates and new servers!
It's that time again where I give updates on what is going on with FaceWAN! I have good news, we are expanding outside of the US with the help of FaceServers, and we now have servers in central Europe! Below are the new servers in central Europe, to add to the current ones in East US.
> Counter-Strike: Source
[FaceWAN] CS:S Surf [Central EU]
[FaceWAN] CS:S Surf Deathmatch [Central EU]
[FaceWAN] CS:S Gungame [Central EU]
[FaceWAN] CS:S Bhop [Central EU]
[FaceWAN] CS:S Minigames [Central EU]
> Garry's Mod 9
[FaceWAN] Build [Central EU]
[FaceWAN] Test [Central EU]
> Brainbread 2
[FaceWAN] Brainbread 2 #1 [Central EU]
[FaceWAN] Brainbread 2 #2 [Central EU]
I will be adding more servers soon (possibly CS:GO in EU.) If you have any requests for additional servers in the EU or possibly other regions, feel free to drop by the Discord and let us know.
In other news, we are going to start up weekly/bi-weekly community events in the Discord, starting with Counter-Strike: Source Gungame this weekend. Keep an eye out in the Discord for the event! I know we haven't done any events in a loooong while and that's on me, but that's in the past now. Moving forward I'm going to bring more activity back into the FaceWAN community.
It's been a while since the last post and I've been busy the last year beefing up the infrastructure as well as working on some projects. I had a lot of time to reflect on the state of FaceWAN the last year and am continuing to put up servers and also revisit some of the classic games. Now on to the updates & projects!
> Garry's Mod 9
Last year I put up the classic GMod9 Build & RP servers for those that are interested. More info in this thread: https://eevee.facewan.com/forums/threads/garrys-mod-9-servers-returning.7074/
I noticed that interest has peaked this year for GMod9 in the form of "scary" YouTube videos and am thrilled people are reviving interest in the game. The server information is below:
FaceWAN GMod9 Build
FaceWAN GMod9 RP
> Counter-Strike: Source
Just earlier this morning I put up another Counter-Strike: Source server, it's a Minigames server! I used to run a Minigames server years ago for a friend and it was too fun to let die, so I've brought it back as a FaceWAN server! Let me know what you think and any suggestions for maps/plugins/etc. The server information is below:
FaceWAN CS:S Minigames
You may have seen FaceServers pop up a few times here and there, and I'll explain what I've been doing. Back in 2008, I was selling game servers as [FaceServers]. During the forced Datacenter move in 2010, I lost the server infrastructure I had set up to host servers for other people, and was only able to host servers for FaceWAN. Another downside of this move was the large additional cost to run FaceWAN, and as you know, it all came out of my pocket for many years to keep everything running. I tried paid admins for some years and realized it was a really bad idea, I needed another way to lessen the cost to keep FaceWAN running, and I absolutely refuse to run ads or put ads on the server/website. After some thinking, I figured a way to get some of the money back I've been spending to keep everything running: selling game servers! As the years went on, & leading up to last year, I saw now that I have all of the infrastructure needed to sell game servers again!
All the years of experience hosting game servers for FaceWAN and all the custom performance tweaks, monitoring, control panels and security are now available to anyone that wants a game server. Me and some of the Super Admins have been working on FaceServers since last year and have launched the service some months ago. Specific games servers are available right now for immediate setup, and more to come! Check out the website @ https://faceservers.com/ for more information!
As always, everyone is welcome to come by and chat on Discord at https://facewan.com/chat. Thanks to those that pushed me to continue on with FaceWAN! Here's to the years to come!
Garry's Mod 9 servers Returning!
So, it's been 6 years since I shut down the Gmod9 servers and it was a tough decision at the time, but I didn't have the resources to keep them up if there were going to be few players. A year after I shut the servers down, I ended up consolidating all my servers and getting better, current generation hardware, giving me tons of resources to put servers up and keep them running. By this point, I had lost all my backups of the original Gmod9 server files that had worked, and could not put the old servers back up. (as Gmod9 is based on the Source SDK 2006 and needs fixes to work today.) I decided then that the idea of putting up Gmod9 servers again would be put on pause, and returned to at some later time.
Now it's 2020, the old (broken) server hard drives I thought I sent out for destruction found their way back to me, so I decided to run some recovery programs against them. After a few weeks, I had a copy of the old server complete with custom LUA scripts, maps, mods and everything. I had tried to get the server working using my old files but either I got the server running and it kept crashing, or it would run but I couldn't connect, so I put it off for another few weeks to revisit. It turns out that an old Gmod9 FaceWAN member Crazy Builder had the same idea and had got a server working, but did not have the old maps, mods and LUA scripts. We started talking a week ago and after some playing around I've got the old FaceWAN Build server up and running again! You can actually download and install the version of Gmod9 here on the forums and apply the fix here, open up the internet tab and join the server (currently it's the only Gmod9 server up.)
Due to the changes in the base Source Engine currently and the move to Steam Pipe (moving from GCF files to VPK) this has broken the loading of content from HL2 Deathmatch and Counter-Strike: Source resulting in the missing textures in the UI, missing skyboxes on some maps and general weirdness in the game. I am currently working on a completely fixed version with these missing assets included in the game as well as all the mods the server has. I plan to pack up and release this fixed version and put it up for everyone to download so that they can relive the Gmod9 experience in 2020.
If anyone is interested in helping with this project or has any questions, drop by the Discord and chat.
UPDATE 10/15/20 7AM EST - Working together with everyone in the Discord, I have got 95% of the way finished with the fixes/updates needed to make Gmod9 playable again! We will release this repackaged version soon. After that, we will begin working on an auto-installer script to create your own dedicated server, which will download the content and apply fixes.
After years of saying the new website is coming, I finally found a design that fit FaceWAN. The front of the website has been the same since FaceWAN started back in 2006. I've wanted to put something new up, but being terrible at web design, I could never make anything that was a fit. Some people had thrown me designs over the years, but they just didn't fit after playing around with them in tests. I asked a web designer friend over the last few weeks if he wanted to help me make a mock-up of the new website design and what he gave me was exactly what I've been searching for. It's mobile device friendly and is up to current design standards. I also took the time to change some links and add the Steam Community and Discord links.
I will be working on theming the forums with this design to make it more fluid with the main website now that there is an actual website design, so look forward to seeing that in the next month.
Auto Bunny Hopping and Admin Calling is here!
Me and my sexy boy Espeon have been workin' on getting you guys some sweet features and I'm excited to announce them to you!
I have created a plugin that essentially does the following:
Auto bunny hopping is now by default ON.
This means you can consistently and accurately hit a bhop by simply holding your space bar down.
HOWEVER, I have also limited this ability to FOUR (4) hops before you are punished and your velocity returns to ZERO (0.00).
So essentially, once you surpass the running velocity/speed of 260 units every hop you make is counted and once you hit the global default of FOUR hops, you are punished and your speed is essentially nullified.
This not only makes scripts completely useless now but also introduces the ability to finally be able to bunny hop those pesky skill surf maps without anyone needing to turn on the auto bunny hop anymore.
You can also use this to your advantage. If you count your enemies hops and you know his fourth stops him, you can wait for that fourth hop and gun him the fuck down!
The second plugin we've created (mostly thanks to Espeon) is a call admin feature!
Is a player breaking rules, being an ass hat or hacking ?
Is there no big boy admin to deal with that fuck head online ?
Simply type !calladmin or /calladmin (this is better, as its invisible to everyone) and choose the assigned choices and one of us will most likely be on our way ASAP.
Abusing this WILL result in a ban however, so please don't do that.
Thanks and I hope you're all happy with these changes!
(Feedback on discord would be appreciated.)
Admin meeting! (Sep 16th)
Hey you bunch of dumbs
I'm writing this up because I want to have a pool party at my house. Bring some pool noodles or whatever
In all seriousness though, I'm writing this to notify you that there will be an ADMINISTRATOR meeting on our discord server THIS SATURDAY at 2pm PST.
If you are unsure what that time is for you then tough shit (google it faggot)
So to SUMMARIZE this shit
Basic/Full/Garbage/SM/Whatever the rank is I want you there if you're able to be.
Discussion will be about general rules and what you should know regarding them as well as the server and its current updates, plugins and what not.
I will also be discussing possible demotions/promotions and so on in regards to current administrators.
If you have any additional questions please let me know in discord
Discord role sync
You can now sync your user level on the forums in the Discord Server easily without needing to PM a bot and all that jazz. I have created a link application on the website that will do all this in just a few easy steps (if you are logged into the forum already, it's one step.)
For regular users: This gives you access to the "Camp Granada" voice channel, the ability to see message history, create invites, upload files and embed links in chat.
For admins: This gives you all the above, plus gives you access to the admin only channels.
Go here to sync your Discord account: https://eevee.facewan.com/link-discord
Once you go to the URL, it will check that you are logged into the forums (if not you get directed to login and once complete, you go on to the next part.) If you were already logged in, you go straight to Discord to confirm the link. Once confirmed (and logged into Discord), you are then taken back to a page that confirms you have successfully synced your user level with Discord.
Requesting new maps, explanation of admin subscriptions & more
It's been a little while since the last post, and I've been doing a lot of upgrades and things behind the scenes, making sure that FaceWAN runs smooth and the servers are solid. Here are the highlights.
New maps for CS:GO Surf server(s):
I have posted a request for adding new maps to the CS:GO Surf servers(s) here. I suggest reading this and letting me know what you think.
Explanation of admin subscriptions:
I just want to clear up why we currently have a subscription you can pay for to get admin, as I've heard some people stating we should just accept admin apps or that its stupid and you only get kids. I do agree with the fact that some people will buy admin just for the power or other things benefiting only them, but there are a fair amount of good admins that stick around and make a difference. Know that anyone buying an admin subscription is watched by the Super Mods and me for signs of abuse (and their usage is tracked in SM.)
The main reason I started admin subscriptions years back was to at least get some money to cover server costs, even if its like 1/4th the total bill every month, its something. I pay for everything out of my own pocket (~$220/mo), and I'd never beg people for money, that's just pathetic. The money from admin subscriptions ends up going right into the server bill each month. I will NEVER put ads on this site or on the servers, because ads are the cancer of the internet and obnoxious as fuck. I think that nobody should ever have to deal with ads for an online service.
That being said, I have thought of getting rid of admin subscriptions and opening admin applications (or have both) at some point, or even selling some Virtual Servers or Game Servers (to friends/trusted members), not sure where I'll go with that yet.
Site updates / Background updates:
In the last few months, I've moved the game servers to a fresh Linux server running the latest OS with better tools to manage the game servers. This allows the game servers to run smoother and be able to correctly auto-update when a game update hits (no more waiting for me to update.) I have also taken the time to improve the firewall rules and remove anything unnecessary.
I moved the website (and all web related services including database) to its own server, so that the all the game servers run separate from the website (and everything else). This speeds up game server performance as well, because if the game servers have a lot of players on, it won't slow down site performance and vice versa.
The admin panel was completed and made live last month, there has been a separate post about that in the admin forum about it.
Additionally, I'm currently working on a few things for admins in Discord that will allow for easier moderation of the servers outside of just text chat.
Ongoing site updates
Over the past few months, I updated all the old site code (terrible PHP from 2006), and have been working on a new admin panel, which is 90% done. While most of you are thinking "hey, I don't see any of these changes", it hasn't changed the look of the site yet, but has allowed me to create things like a better admin linker, site templates that can easily be updated, and a nice admin panel (with cool features.) The main website can now get a much needed updated look without having to deal with PHP code, as everything is now in an HTML template. For those that are good at designing website templates and are interested in helping design a new look for the site, reply in this thread.
PS: Sorry for those random announcements posted here yesterday and today, I added in code to post in Discord under the #announcements channel when a new thread is posted here.
To give you an idea of what I've been working on, here are some screenshots: