Dateline: One of our x86 Linux systems serving MMO in 32-bit for some reason.
One of the monsters we’ve created via Kickstarter – known as The Fun Pimps – has pioneered the use of paid alpha status as a mechanism to violently subjugate its users, client- and server-side alike. Fans of their sandbox zombie horror survival project entitled 7 Days to Die have willingly given money to the developers for the right to play as well as for the right to serve an instance of the game. We usually don’t do citations in grapevine MOTDs, but, if someone could pull one up supporting the claim that it’s not possible to legally serve an instance of 7 Days to Die Alpha without paying for the game that you’ll be hosting for free, it would be appreciated since the claim is so outrageous that, without citation, it sort of sounds like I’m either an internet troll or wildly misinformed.
Anywhatever, we at the grapevine love this little game and have been proudly serving it since it became available for Linux. We have been using the game in tandem with our developing openly pro-open source project known as TNA, an acronym for TNA’s Not API. We chose to implement the specification of TNA using 7 Days to Die because the game so perfectly embodies everything we think is wrong with software development. For example, although the server instance will leak to fill the 2GB allotted for a 32-bit process much more quickly than it would were the game open source, it is still The Fun Pimp’s prerogative not to bother with producing a functional 64-bit build of the closed-source Linux dedicated server. In addition to the inarguable assessment that a 32-bit version would leak more slowly if it were open source, let us note that if the project were not closed source, we wouldn’t be running a f’cking 32-bit server instance of a game whose installer service’s application (someone grab a citation for this one too please) literally requires 64-bit Linux to run. To recap, you cannot download the 7 Days to Die dedicated Linux server – which forces the user to run 32-bit – unless your operating system is 64-bit.
In addition to this x86/64-bit issue – which we don’t particularly mind at the grapevine, but which does cause us a lot of extra effort when we build our instance at friend-and-hero-of-the-grapevine, SDF.org, on 32-bit CentOS – 7 Days to Die contains within itself a wondrously quintessential example of something closed-source software vendors do in order to justify their being closed: implement a sloppy Application Programming Interface so that third-party developers can, very awkwardly, interact with the back-end of the closed software running on the local machine, through some trivial communication protocol such as TELNET, SSH or TCP. Here we discover the source of the name, “TNA’s Not API” — TNA is, at its heart, a specification for dealing with broken closed-source software. While the specification remains unpublished at this moment (but available upon request to members of the grapevine or arpa-level members of sdf ) the implementations, such as TNA For 7 Days To Die Dedicated are all open-source in entirety.
Today we officially launch our server instance for 7 Days to Die A13.
The modus operandi of the TNA specification is to identify commonalities in broken closed-source software, then to predict both universal and uncommon properties in the inevitable interactive afterthought mechanisms built by the closed-source developers, then to plot a simple course to the eventually-automated plugging in of efficient communication with the broken-closed process somewhere between the process itself and the level of the operating system, and have at-the-ready obvious modules that fix &or augment the broken-closed software so that it is at least possible to debug and at best possible to use as if it weren’t the product of an antiquated paradigm in software development. Our artistic goal is to prove our fairly-obvious point, that closed-source is an outdated model, by adapting to support the bananas out of a program’s new – or even first – alpha, & to do it so quickly – at day zero – as to make everyone (including ourselves) embarrassed with accentuated predictability of the shortcomings of a closed-source release. Our practical goal is to keep our sanity in a world full of subjugated software users who won’t wake up and show Windows to the door, no matter how hard we shake them.
In the specific instance of TNA’s application to 7 Days to Die, our additional and perhaps most important (or at least most relatable) goal is, of course, to provide for ourselves, as a community, a working version of a silly little grindhouse zombie-horror mmo survival video game that, although certainly lacking in execution on many fronts, is simultaneously wildly special, and indeed – to all of us here at the grapevine – a silly little zombie game that we sincerely find to be a truly wondrous and beautiful concept to share in and experience with one another.