MC Defiance & Last DefianceA Minecraft Server Project
My First Big Project (2011)
This is by far the oldest project on my site. The Last Defiance was a community funded Minecraft server that I launched in early 2011 during my last few years of high school. We quickly abandoned the original version of the game (Vanilla) and moved over to a new Java API Spout which was also compatible with the Bukkit plugin platform. At this time there were about 10 well known Spout servers and probably 50,000-100,000 (rough estimate) total players on this platform across all Spout servers.
You are probably wondering why I am telling you a story about Minecraft on my professional portfolio. This project was my first introduction to software development, marketing, user studies, applied statistics, web design, and monetization strategies. It was my first real entrepreneurial experience. While other students were talking about these concepts in high school in economy and psychology I took a risk and actually applied them. I enjoyed this project. I enjoyed doing a bit of everything and having real world consequences, good and bad, for my decisions.
How It Worked:
When we first started we were at the bottom of the “Most Popular” servers list. Put simply, your monthly players are added up and the servers are ranked accordingly. First we launched an aggressive campaign to move players from the Vanilla version of the game to our version. We had a heavily modified version of the game that added guns and grenades, and eventually airplanes into the game. We invested all of the donations back into advertising and climbed our way to the top of the “Most Popular” list. And we held this position for about a year.
We had more plugins and additional content then many of the other server. We wrote a backend script that allowed us to generate additional in game items with very little effort. While other servers had 100 items we had thousands. We also had two volunteer software developers that created unique content for our version of the game.
We then monetized the game and created a tier system with our items, players could donate to the server and unlock new items. This strategy is now known as pay-to-win and also micro transactions. It worked, for a while until the game industry started debating the ethics of pay-to-win. And I typically agree with the player consensus: there is a better way. Yet many leaders in the industry still use this strategy.
For the duration of the year we documented many bugs for the Spout community and also helped other server owners fix problems we had already detected. At the same time another platform Forge was competing with Spout. Spout eventually lost this war due to a DMCA take down of the Bukkit project and we sold our server during the decline. Unfortunately, one of Bukkit contributors was bought out or just decided to retract all of his work to the open source project.
- 1). 80%
- 2). 50%
- 3). 75%
- 4). 60%
Over 20,000 Players!
We received over $1000 worth of donations and spent all of it on server hosting and advertising. More impressively over 20,000 player logged on to our server over the course of the year. Essentially, I used $1000 to conduct a social experiment to compare various monetization strategies, and advertising methods. A long the way I gained experience working with java, developing websites with web stores, and configuring high performance servers.