Last month has been a roller coaster of surprises, one after another. The world is on a lockdown, LS-RP is breaking records left and right, and I found out that people call my lifestyle "quarantine" and "social distancing". Where to begin?
First and foremost, I hope you're all doing well and staying healthy. It's an impactful time for many of us, whether from a health, professional or economical standpoint. My main goal throughout the current epidemic is to make sure we can provide a space for people to have fun while we wait it all out, locked away inside. I'm excited to see so many new players having interest in LS-RP, and an overwhelming amount of veterans coming back to check in after a while — well, you couldn't have chosen a better time to say hi.
To put it into numbers, in March we faced double the character applications we did in the earlier months of this year (3700 and counting, compared to ~1900 in January and February). Time spent in game has also increased by over two thirds - and even doubled, compared to the last stable months of 2019. Perhaps the most important milestone however, was reaching the most players online on LS-RP, ever! 601 of you showed up at the same time on 29th March. I didn't think we'd ever break our long-standing record of 600, but here we are. The world's gone crazy. Let me tell you what else is new.
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger DevOps
My number one priority since the end of last year is to provide a stable server. We came a long way since the prolonged downtime issues we faced due to (still ongoing) attacks, but we weren't quite ready for the surge in numbers I highlighted in my paragraph above. Rest assured, we're constantly working on improving our protection to keep timeouts and crashes to minimum. We expanded our hardware fleet throughout the month as well, and offloaded some of our services into the cloud to provide better performance. There's still some tweaking left to do, but I can say it's starting to look promising.
The Development team has adopted a whole bag of new tricks and I'm proud to say it's in the best state I've seen it in a long time. We're all very motivated and the productivity this month has been through the roof. We're trying to work more closely with other teams now, meet at least once a week to talk about our progress and challenges on our open projects and to plan what's next in the store for us. We're also looking for new enthusiasts to join us, so whether you're doing SA-MP gamemode development or web development, shoot me a message.
New phone, who dis? Game Update 12.3.0
Around six years ago, I made a promise I didn't keep, and I couldn't sleep right since. I swear I had nightmares involving people asking about Burner Phones. With great pleasure, I can say that Kane has been hard at work and once again saved the day by bringing you perhaps one of the most requested features of the server's history.
Alongside of burner phones and plenty of Mapping & QOL updates, we're also introducing a Billboard System made by BlueX. We've been looking at ways how to make LS-RP stand out a bit more, while keeping the same atmosphere and spirit. I'm sure the system will contribute to not only that, but also to roleplay opportunities for companies. Information on how to obtain a Billboard can be found here.
You can find more information about the Game Update 12.3 in its own thread.
How late can early access be? Web Updates
We've been laying out the necessary backbone and libraries for our new website for a while now. While it's still not out of Beta, there's a few updates coming to it in the following days. One of them is the ability to request an interior change through the website itself - fully automated with removing the money and setting your new interior once approved by an administrator. This feature is the first in a series of automation improvements done to take the burden of menial workload away from staff members and players. I've also been working on a .dff & .txd converter which allows us to render almost anything from the game in a browser. To show this off, you'll soon be able to preview your houses on the web!
As you probably noticed, all of our custom skins are automatically rendered into images on our website. Same goes for vehicles — in all colors and mods as well. This is now even faster and more reliable, thanks to the aforementioned new converter and cloud scaling.
Gibbz has recently started helping me with our web-related projects and I'm happy to announce one of his first creations - The Los Santos Government Landing Page. It resides on the root of the lsgov domain and provides you with all the important links and directions you might need. Oh and yes — we moved lsgov back to .us, with automatic redirects from the .io domain. Additionally, SALETS, an internal utility used by the law enforcement agencies also made by Gibbz has been moved under the lsgov domain.
Besides The Government landing page, I'm pleased to introduce the LS-RP Model Database where you're able to preview and render all of the custom skins that are currently available on the server. You can also download the latest version of our model cache directory, in case you struggle with downloading models.
Stay informed Outreach
One of the areas we marked for improvement early this year was community outreach, communication and player retention. With the Outreach Team, we came up with a few things over the last month to spice things up a little bit.
Message of the Day! - To make sure no important changes, whether that's rule revisions, game updates, staff recruitment and so on escape your sight, we're adding a simple MOTD system into the game. When you spawn for the first time after you connect, you'll see what's new.
Twitter is back! - You can follow us now on @lsrp_official, where you'll find the latest news and updates, everything from announcements to shoutouts to content creators on LS-RP.
Faction Videos! - We're inviting factions to represent themselves with short videos that would be uploaded to the official LS-RP YouTube channel. We'll announce all of the details in the following days, but factions participating can expect various prizes and rewards for taking part — donation packages, skin slots, points, maps, custom drugs, custom mods and more!
99 Mafia Crips Official
The last gang faction to be granted official to was Eastside Hustler Crips, and I'm glad that they've remained open up until we can give another gang official. It's important to have diversity in the faction scene and provide the server with more gangs.
Our next candidate to be rewarded for official is 99 Mafia Crips.
99 Mafia Crip is trying to provide a realistic atmosphere based on the 99 Watts Mafia Crips on the east side of watts, Los Angeles. Their main goal is to broadcast the daily living of African-Americans inside of poverty. With members applying for jobs, such as the barbershop, and or Binco. It's more of a realistic community standard wise of living.
- Anthony_Navarra, Faction Team Council
Reinforcements Staff Changes
With the influx of new and returning players, our staff was put through a stress-test, but I'm happy to say we came out with flying colors. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank every single staff member for the insane amount of work you guys have done over the last month - everything from applications, reports, refunds, admin and tester duties, helpmes, testing, coding, mapping, modding and everything else in-between. I'm extremely happy with the state of the staff team now and the contributions everyone's been making. Once again — thank you for keeping the ship sailing, everyone!
That being said, I'd like to congratulate a few staff members in particular. I'll start with our two new Lead Admins, who've been asked to help Ben and Me with the duties. Their loyalty and efforts have been long-lasting and I'm very excited to see what they bring to the table.
Jayy — Toretto
Both new Lead Admins are focused mainly on factions. Jayy is a member of the Faction Team council and oversees the interests of illegal factions on the server. Toretto will be transitioning to replace me in charge of Legal Factions due to his extensive experience with legal roleplay for the past half decade. He'll be stepping down from his executive position in SD to avoid a potential conflict of interest, and we're looking for a replacement to lead Companies.
Furthermore, I'd like to congratulate the following administrators on their earned promotions this month, and welcome returning members.
KayaQue — King G — Lawson
SuperB — Mark
colorlessrainbow — Keracaus
Congratulations, and welcome back!
Help Needed! Staff Recruitment
We're always on the lookout for more passionate players to help us deal with the workload that we face. I'm a firm believer that everyone's pulling their weight by simply playing and contributing to the ingame atmosphere that makes LS-RP as unique as it is. If you'd like to get more involved however, there's a couple opportunities to volunteer your time. We're currently looking for:
Testers - handle character applications, test new updates and help players find their way around. Get a say in forwarded suggestions.
Game Developers - create new features for the LS-RP gamemode
Web Developers - improve one of our websites!
Designers - create graphics for the game, our websites and wherever else necessary
Mappers - create new maps to make Los Santos on LS-RP unlike anywhere else
Modders - get your skin and object mods into the server and handle the occasional request
If neither of the OOC roles interest you, have a look around one of the factions that are on the server. By joining a faction, you're helping the Roleplay ecosystem thrive and many factions help you develop your character into a unique person among many others in Los Santos.
The fight is not over Conclusion
I'd like to close this successful month by saying that we know what's happening now is an anomaly due to the current epidemic. That being said, we're not taking the opportunity for granted and we'd like to use it to give back to the community as much as possible. I hope that you'll take interest in what we're up to, and I invite you to stick around to see what other tricks we still have up our sleeves.
I'll end by thanking you, the Player, for giving us a platform to express our creativity. Thank you for supporting the server one way or another - whether by donating, being a staff member, leading a faction or just simply connecting to our server. Stay safe out there!
on behalf of LS-RP Management & Development