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Minefold Launches Minecraft Game Hosting Service 67

itwbennett writes "If you drew the short straw among your Minecraft-playing friends and ended up running the game server, this news is for you. A YCombinator-funded startup called Minefold will handle all the server admin tasks for just $5 a month. 'Minefold isn't the first firm to offer servers dedicated to game hosting (see for example but as far as I know they're the first to structure things so each player pays his own way,' writes Peter Smith. 'In other words, if I want to set up a Call of Duty 4 server at Gameservers I can, but it'll cost me (for example) $15.95/month for a 16 player server. So I pay Gameservers and I get my buddies all to send me a few bucks to defray the costs. It's a messy system. Using the Minefold model, everyone would pay $5/month to play wherever they want. On my server today, on someone else's server tomorrow and on their own server the day after that.'"
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Minefold Launches Minecraft Game Hosting Service

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  • ASTROTURF (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This is the worst astroturf I have seen on Slashdot in years.

    • NOT ASTROTURF (Score:4, Insightful)

      by kermyt ( 99494 ) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @02:39AM (#39361503) Homepage
      A new payment model is most certainly news I am interested in hearing about. I am that guy that draws the short straw and ends up running the servers. This Is an innovative payment structure... now lets just see if it catches on.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        There are several problems with it. To begin with, no one wants to pay to play on a server he doesn't know. On top of that, if this is meant for everybody providing payments towards the server, this won't work too well because microtransactions aren't there yet. PayPal, credit cards etc will eat up tons from the transactions. Unless, of course, they make xbox360/ps3 like "wallet" and you can only top it up with like 20 dollars minimum. I still don't see the point.
        • by kermyt ( 99494 )

          I still don't see the point.

          That's nice. but it has nothing to do with my comment.

        • You didn't read the article or information. You pay $5 a month for unlimited access to MineFold (you can get 10 hours a month for free). Access to minefold allows you to play on any map or create your own maps, as many as your want. There are no "dedicated" servers. If there are no people on your maps it will be saved off, once the first player joins your map, it will spawn a new server. I'm not sure if you can lock your map to only specific users but I believe you can.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        astroturf you like is still astroturf. dumbass.
        • by kermyt ( 99494 )
          I think it's interesting that all you people complaining about astroturfing are posting as AC.
          • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 15, 2012 @03:02AM (#39361571)

            We live in a basement, so we're not sure what grass roots actually look like.

          • Confrontation just makes it worse. Ignore them and they will go away.

            The model is something that should have arrived a long time ago actually. I can see this becoming quite popular for one only reason: it's a modest subscription for the ability to play many multiplayer games (all games they support and you have off course). It is convenience and service in a cheap(ish) packet.

      • by Spykk ( 823586 )
        Except it isn't really a new payment model. Paying a monthly fee to play on someone else's server has been around since the first pay to play MUDs.
      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        just kick the guys who didn't paypal you cash.

        it's not like your deadbeat zero cash in pocket 100% of the time friends will be able to pay for this service either you know.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      It most certainly is news.
      I've never paid minecraft before, yet a simply search gave me dozens of companies hosting mc servers.
      Some for $5/mo for upto 5 players instead of $5/mo per player.
      But please explain to me; what could be so resource intensive in minecraft as to justify a server for just 5 players?

      • by Winckle ( 870180 )

        Minecraft can be pretty grouchy on the RAM it uses.

        • It also has shit netcode

          They've recently hired the guys who made the Bukkit server plugin to work on the multiplayer, so here's hoping it gets alot better quickly.

          • by Teancum ( 67324 )

            I'll agree that Minecraft does need a whole bunch of optimization for multiplayer applications.

            Two areas that kill Minecraft are the mob interactions (something true for most MMO games), but also the world generation routines that are designed primarily for a single player game but ported over to a multi-player environment. This is also the reason why mounted mobs aren't in Minecraft (especially a mounted dragon) because even a one or two player server would croak in a real hurry if you were flying and gen

      • More or less because the worlds in minecraft are generated uniquely on each server, and I do believe endless on any direction, the further out you explore, the more resources you are using on the server, ad infinium. Unlike a normal game where you have say 8 GB of a map that is permanantly cached, minecraft may have less detail per inch, but it essentially can have infinate space.
        • You CAN however avoid loading the blocks that nobody is around, so the infinite map is not the limiting factor, number of players usually is.

        • by Teancum ( 67324 )

          It isn't quite infinite distances in Minecraft, even if effectively it is. When the software starts to have number overflows (exceeding maxint distances and such) the generation code gets screwy and produces some weird terrain that is all but impassible. There are some players who have either "warped" out to those distances just to see what would happen or have taken the time and effort to get out to those parts of the map just to see what it could be.

          See also the Far Lands [] article on the game wiki that e

      • by yotto ( 590067 )

        Minecraft has (at least) 2 things going against it. First, it's hard to optimize because every cubic meter can be any of ... a lot of blocks (128? 256? dunno). Plus, the world is 256 blocks tall. If you want to render a square around the player that is 256 meters from the player (which is pretty small) you need 512x512x256 data points which is 67 million blocks. You can do a LITTLE optimizing (Most of the space above 128 is empty, for example) but as players modify the world those optimizations could actual

        • 256 types of blocks (unless it is an 'anvil' map which has a 4096 limit of block-types).

          The world is segmented into chunks 16x16x256 blocks which are grouped into "region" files.
          They are stored zipped but seems to be stored in raw structures when running the game.

          Each block does not only have a type, but a damage/data value. There is probably also quite a bit of overhead...

          The game is overall lacking from optimization and just 'work' on getting things streamlined only a tiny bit better.
          Focus seems to be on

          • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

            At the very worst case, a 16x16x256 chunk of 256 types could be compressed as a 256x256 8-bit PNG file. Since most of the map would be repetitive (either empty space or vast quantities of "ground" or "wall"), it should compress quite well. To keep the world consistant during play, you'd only need to send regular cumulative delta's and an occasional fresh full image.

            Since I don't play the game, I don't have a good idea of the damage/data/etc values, but I dare bet most of them would have a similar repetitiv

            • The 16x16 chunks around each player are also loaded for each player, so the minimum static data per player would be 256 256x256 8-bit PNGs, or 16MB.

              But memory to store the blocks is hardly the main problem, even considering that players can move across a chunk in 3 to 4 seconds unassisted, or much faster in ever-popular powered minecarts. Memory to light and shade (and determine the occlusion of) each block is far more challenging when things other than sun emit light, and many blocks occlude or alter light

            • by Teancum ( 67324 )

              The damage values and data are used for more unusual block types or minor variants, like the material types for stairs or the contents of a chest. Much of that could be put into a custom chunk in a PNG file though that could be expanded or restricted depending on how much detail has been added by players in the area.

              Most chunks in Minecraft are pretty ordinary and mundane, used as a filler to connect one area to another. If you have some very busy players on a very active world with a large number of play

            • PNG uses the same compression as the Minecraft chunk data, actually.

              It's stored via ZLIB (DEFLATE algorithm). The "damage/data/etc values" are 4-bit arrays, and the chunks are split into 16x16x16 slices that are only stored if there is any meaningful data within.

              Pretty good ideas - that's why they used them!

          • I am working on a home-grown Anvil map tool, so I have some insight into how the world is stored.

            Chunks are stored as 1D columns of 16x16x16 3D slices, of which there may be up to 16 vertical slices per chunk, and each slice has several additional 3D blocks of data representing 4 bit data values such as sky/torch lighting, enhanced block IDs (those extra 4 bits that get you from 256-4096), damage values, entities, etc. Some of these additional data blocks are only stored if they contain anything. Each chunk

      • A medium sized server eats 2 gigs of ram easy... if you have a lot of players expect anywhere from 2 to 6 gigs of ram depending on the size of the world.

        Network-wise it eats bandwidth like a fat kid on cake.. (I love mah cake!)

        It is extremely sensitive to latency.. to the point that anything above 100ms makes it extremely dangerous to fight mobs like creepers as they will have blown up by the time you have hit it a second time with your sword.. So in MP it is almost always a 'bow and arrow' thing unless you

      • Java. need more details?

        On a more serious note though, Minceraft (at least the beta's I was playing and I think the server sw was in alpha) were recource hogs. If you had more than 10 active users and a lot of activity you could easily fill 2GB if not more..

        And that is only the server RAM, not OS not JVM.

      • But please explain to me; what could be so resource intensive in minecraft as to justify a server for just 5 players?

        It's written in Java.

        Stop laughing, I'm being serious!

  • Clear Advertising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 15, 2012 @02:29AM (#39361469)

    Can I post advertisements here too?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Commercials aren't articles. Thanks loads.

  • by flimflammer ( 956759 ) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @03:16AM (#39361623)

    Giant advertisement notwithstanding, this whole thing seems a bit pointless to me. First of all, I can't for the life of me find out what the individual specs are for the servers. It certainly matters for Minecraft. Second, you can get a decent enough server for $6-8 a month. Good enough to cover 1-5 players, with the details of the hosting plan plainly laid out before you.

    They only support the stock server which in many ways is inefficient and frustrating. They do mention their intent to support bucket, but that's not available now.

    If the prices were tweaked and they elaborated a little more on the kind of hardware they're offering you for your server, I think this could be an interesting addition to the many many companies already offering minecraft hosting. But right now it just does not seem to interest me.

  • I like my advertising subtle.
  • Doesn't add up. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GuruBuckaroo ( 833982 ) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @03:38AM (#39361707) Homepage
    So let me get this straight: I can pay $14.95 for a 16-player server, or my group can pay a total of $80 to Minefold for the same thing. This is what passes for innovative these days?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      But you get a server FOR minecraft...
      Those other hosting services host all kinds of stuff. It's not for minecraft only. Minecraft only services are way better than anything else when it comes to the awesomeness that is minecraft. You won't want to use some generic hosting for minecraft. It's just wrong to do so.. You need a minecraft server and a minecraft pc and a minecraft chair and a minecraft tablet and a minecraft house! It's meta! You simply must buy minecraft only hosting services or you'r

      • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

        Funny thing is, without support for popular plugins, it's not even a good minecraft host!

        Unless you are playing with a circle of 100% trusted friends (and even then, being able to do a rollback when someone makes a mistake is good) .. this is going to be mostly useless (in addition to being an insane ripoff).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by osu-neko ( 2604 )

      So let me get this straight: I can pay $14.95 for a 16-player server, or my group can pay a total of $80 to Minefold for the same thing. This is what passes for innovative these days?

      If you and your friends have several different servers (more likely when they expand this to include more titles), it doesn't take long for this to actually be cheaper.

    • by yotto ( 590067 )

      Sounds pretty innovative to me!

    • They're probably expensive anyway, yes, but you can't consider all the games alike - a player on Micecraft probably eats way more resources than a player on your average FPS.

      In fact, you can see that in their site: a slot for CS Condition Zero is 0.61E, but for the same game at 1000 fps it's 2.71E.

    • This. Somehow, WoW had a similar arrangement: you paid for whichever server you were running and you played with your friends. Yet, this is innovative?
  • sorry. getting money out of random players won't work.. and per-slot for clan servers it's cheaper to get your own.. even if you have to wrestle donations out of some of your mates.

  • Apparently hosting a Minecraft server for friends is "drawing the short straw"? The thing is easier to set up than a ****ing HTTP server, how are these people supposed to be enticing admins when they insult the intelligence of said admins?

  • You can already get a minecraft server for $5 per month. I pay $5 per month for a 5-slot server for my family; if we were paying per person, it would be $25 per month. If I were playing with 4 friends and didn't want to pay the $5 myself, we could all chip in $1. Why would people pay more for a server they get less control over? I also help admin another server, 150 slots, and the owner pays for it himself. There are hundreds of minecraft servers out there paid for by other people that will let you play, un

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