Repopulating the GrangerPub game server is something that we do want to do. To repopulate the GrangerPub server, and keep it populated with a good environment, it is important to consider the issues directly related to the current situation, to address those issues and to think outside of the box.
If I had the sparetime, I could sit on GrangerPub ready to play at anytime (just sitting in spec alone would not be enough, someone has to be ready to play whenever someone else connects) in my waking hours for a week, and with anyone else who would be available at various times, and then it would be likely that GrangerPub would repopulate to regular activity in that time. But there would still be some underlining issues that would get in the way again for the long term.
The current QVM that is currently on GrangerPub is a multiprotocol version of the old 1.1 slacker's QVM. This QVM has many bugs and exploits that make griefing very easy and very disruptive. For that reason, a lot of admins are needed to keep an eye on things and try to keep the matches running smoothly, and even then matches can still be disrupted.
Up to the time that the players migrated from GrangerPub relatively recently, we had over 50 admins and about 2/3 of those admins were active. That is a large number of admins to need for a single game server, even for one that is active around the clock. Having that many admins to manage creates a lot of potential for interpersonal issues, as well as a lot of potential for admin drama. That is more than the number of employees that most small businesses have. However, unlike a business, in trem no one gets paid for their participation, trem is a hobby that people participate in, and it is important to generally have fun with a hobby otherwise there is no point. Ideally, even a game server that is active 24/7, only at most a half dozen admins should be needed.
With the combination of the number of admins needed, and the extent of the involvement needed from the admins to compensate for the issues and inadequacies of the technology in-use, we put into place and further developed comprehensive policies and protocols for the administration to provide the best practical environment for the players under the circumstances. But managing such an administration under such circumstances consumes a lot of attention and energy, and a lot of administration related issues would pop-up, and some admin drama would occur behind the scenes. The migration of GrangerPub's players to Der Bunker by some admins in the GrangerPub administration was actually the result of admin drama.
What we are focusing on now is, through development of 1.3, greatly reducing the easy and effectiveness of griefing, and thus greatly reduce the need for admin involvement, which would greatly reduce the size and complexity required for a trem game server administration to provide good service to the players. There are some other related issues that we are working on addressing in 1.3, like how a certain minimum number of players are needed to have fun matches, and thus the need for a certain number of players on a game server in order for more players to be attracted to it.
Such improvements in trem servers would not only make it easier for GrangerPub to populate and to manage with a good environment, but it would also help other potential independent server owners to do the same. Game servers should compete on a fair playing field, where players can choose to play on a server because they like the environment, atmosphere, and what the server has to offer, and not make their choice in servers solely based on the number of players playing there. Additionally, game server owners should not need a lot of resources, maintenance, and manpower to provide a good environment and atmosphere on a single game server.
There is something else very important to consider. Tremulous needs more players. At the moment there are generally only enough players to keep one game server decently active at a time. We need to take actions that would grow the community with new players, and not be in the situation where servers are fighting over enough players for just one of them. Tremulous needs to have many good simultaneously active game servers to choose from, and with multiple independent game server owners.
When we opened GrangerPub, we weren't looking to have a monopoly over the Tremulous player base in a single server. We opened GrangerPub to provide a good game server option for the community that sets a good example to other game servers, we did this even with the technological insufficiencies and the amount of attention it would require (away from focusing on the long term solutions) because at the time the Tremulous community lacked such an option and we felt that the community was close to dissolving if we didn't take such an action, and no one else was going to do it.
Video game drama isn't something new, excessive drama has been a problem that the Tremulous community has faced long before GrangerHub, and imo is the primary reason for so many players and contributors left over the years. This is an overall issue we have been working to address at GrangerHub, and I think we made a lot of good progress. As with the case when actually implementing any project, our efforts haven't been perfect, issues came up, but we have worked towards addressing those issues and learning from them for improvement.
While managing the GrangerPub server hasn't been easy, and at times we encountered obstacles, I'm under the impression that the playerbase generally enjoyed playing on GrangerPub, and I view the problems encountered as a learning opportunity to help come up with something better than before. So lets do that, learn from the situation, and make something even better than what existed prior.
I believe that the most important thing to do at this point in time is to finally now address the long term issues of the big picture for Tremulous which would in-turn address the immediate short-term activity issue of the GrangerPub server.