Surface and Orbit Authority

Proposal: The Great Smoothening

The following changes implement the discussion in the thread Idea: The Great Smoothening. In short, the goal is to improve server performance during initial connections by reducing the amount of data transmitted to clients, by throwing away asteroid damage, mining, and other alterations to the terrain en masse.

This change operates in two parts:

The first part creates a framework for voting through actions. This being the first time we’ve wanted to make an instantaneous change to the game (rather than an ongoing change, such as adding a mod), I put some thought into a low-friction process for discussing and reaching consensus on instantaneous changes, admin actions outside of the rules, and so on.

Tha framework reuses our existing proposal process, and allows propoposals to direct officers (currently the Chair, the Space Master, and the Game Author) to take action. Those officers are responsible for doing so promptly. An officer who feels strongly that they should not or cannot complete the instructions has a few options, including voting against the proposal itself, discussing it beforehand, refusing to act and taking what consequences arise, or resigning outright, so I feel that officers are safe from unreasonable demands on their time and ability.

The second part uses this framework by directing the Space Master to take a series of actions that remove a large part of the voxel changes we’ve made in the course of play. In testing, this drastically shrank the Official Server’s data.

Those actions are:

  • Make a safety backup,
  • Delete all NPCs, all grids belonging to players who have not logged in in 1 month or longer, and all wreckage, to ensure that as much of the map is cleaned up as possible without interfering with active projects, and
  • Run the built-in voxel cleanup with temporary, aggressive settings, to remove voxel changes.

The instructions also include a checkpoint for the Space Master to review the results and revert to the safety backup if the changes bury anyone’s projects.

I submit the following proposal:


Title: The Great Smoothening
Adoption Index: 4.0

Amend rule 2.4 (“Precedence Between Articles”) by changing its title to “Precedence Between Instruments”, and by replacing its text with the following:

In a conflict between instruments, the conflict shall be resolved as follows:

  1. If the instruments in conflict have unequal power, the instrument with the highest power takes precedence;

  2. Otherwise, of the instruments involved which are articles of this Charter, the article appearing earliest in the Charter takes predecence;

  3. Otherwise, the instrument adopted first takes precedence.

No change to this Charter can occur that would cause an article to directly claim precedence over this rule as a means of determining precedence. This rule takes precedence over any article that would permit such a change to this Charter.

Amend rule 5.3 (“Official Duties”) by appending the following paragraph:

An instrument can, as part of its effect, instruct an officer to take one or more actions. The officer must perform the actions in a timely fashion, once and only once per instruction, in the order the instructions appear in the instrument. The officer should publicly announce that the instructions have been completed after taking action.

Instruct the Space Master to create a backup of the game data.

Instruct the Space Master to remove the following categories of grids from the game:

  1. Grids belonging to players who have not logged in in two or more weeks,
  2. Grids more than 45,000 km from the Earth-like planet,
  3. All grids belonging to NPCs which are further than 1,000m from a player-owned grid, and
  4. Grids which, at the Space Master’s discretion, appear to be abandoned debris on the surface of any planet.

Instruct the Space Master to smooth the game’s voxels, by the following procedure:

  1. Apply the following voxel cleanup settings to the game,

    Setting Value
    Revert voxel materials yes
    Revert asteroids yes
    Revert with floating objects present yes
    Distance from player 0 m
    Distance from grid 100 m
    Voxel age 1 min
  2. Observe an unoccupied area until the game removes voxel modifications,

  3. Restore the trash removal settings to their original values,

  4. Inspect two or more static grids on planets or asteroids to determine if they have been rendered inaccessible or unusable by this process, and

  5. Restore the most recent backup if and only if a grid has been rendered inaccessible.

I’ll distribute this for voting tomorrow, along with any other proposals that surface between now and then.

Looks great!

Just one question/observation: In the prose above the proposal, you mention players that have not logged in for a month. The proposal itself says two weeks. I’m fine with either though.