As we push forward into the future of Dark Gaming, the benefits of Dimensions become more apparent. Dimensions was created to allow a previously monolithic server application to be split up into smaller servers, with each server being dedicated to a particular set of activities. After Dimensions was first integrated and services started to be separated from the old monolith the question was then about how to make it obvious that those services still existed and how to get to them.
The solution to the service explanation problem was the Lobby area. Which is now the (Dimensional) Rift. I’m sure the design can be improved (nudge nudge) but the functionality is the most important part to begin with. A clear label paired with an entrance point makes up each Rift Exit, which is a chat-less way to switch Dimensions and an effective way to convey what activities are available. This is actually very important, because people don’t read signs that often and most people won’t engage in chat (from what I’ve seen) the simplest and most effective way to enable them to use this feature is to make it embedded into the walkable area. So far I don’t think anyone has been unable to use the Rift Exits.
Moreover, with the Rift in place on Mirror it became obvious that Main/Mirror, the old pair that saved our souls from lag, had become outdated and were no longer necessary. Their names convey no useful information anymore (because Mirror is no longer a mirror of Main) and therefore cannot be listed in the Rift. The temporary solution was simply to make them each a Rift, which started to happen on Mirror. However, this still held on to the old monolithic setup of the pre-Dimensions era. The ideal solution is that the Rift be its own service.
Terraria Server Lite
Now we get on to our latest update. The Rift’s job is to provide a set of Rift Exits to (almost) every other Dimension. However, it almost seems overkill for the Rift to run the entire game simulation to provide this service. That is why we now have TSL, a new service that follows (mostly) the Terraria Multiplayer Protocol but does not run the game code. End result: less resources are wasted on simulating the game word, more resources available for the services that need them to do just that.
Now whenever you join on the default 7777 port, you will be connected to the Rift. You will notice that you cannot see anyone else there, even if they are also on the Rift. This is a feature of the Rift, not a bug. The reason for doing this is to cut down on synchronising clients when they don’t need to interact here (since they are expected to move to one of the exits) and to also clear up the Rift area so that users are not distracted by or have their fps cut down by others.
Now with TSL in place for live testing there are a few changes already and new ones coming. Structural changes made now:
- Main renamed to Build
- Mirror renamed to Items
- Mirror spawn moved to the items area
- Rift added as default Dimension
The naming should give you a hint at what is going on here. Main is going to be converted to a new Build Dimension. A place just for building, not limited to Crew members. When I say not limited, I simply mean the Sandbox is going to be made bigger and the entire spawn swapped out for a new one (nudge nudge again, anyone?). Importantly, the entire world will be changed, all the old builds will be archived (as usual) and the rock layer (underground) will be set much lower than usual, to make the surface a lot bigger. More on that when it happens.
Further, Mirror is going to be stripped of its build role and, by the rename, will be dedicated to providing a service for all things Items. The chest area will be slightly re-organised to account for the new items and to be made a little more clear (chest names anyone?). The loadouts area will carry over and will also be slightly overhauled (to avoid those people accidentally using it and getting mad that their old loadout is gone). Might be a little less obvious, but this is also another service that does not require the game to be simulated and as such this will be run using TSL too (in good time, it’s not quite ready yet).
Already I have mentioned about the requirement to redesign and build things from scratch In case the nudges haven’t woken you up to the realisation, this is a great opportunity for anyone looking to earn an Architect Badge (counts as 1 of the 2 you need for a Staff Role, I know I’ve yet to formally explain badges, but I thought I’d start here, ask Unikram or Rofle about it if you’re interested because I know for sure that Unikram and I know what the new badges are).
To infinity and beyond
There is still one more thing TSL is going to be used for, MyBuild. MyBuild is a user-based Dimension. It’s a service that loads your very own building Dimension. You’ll get to decide who can view and join you at your building Dimension and what build spaces they can view. You’ll get to create a new build space for each build if you like, which has its own permissions for viewing and editing, so you can create a space for you and a friend to work on something. It’ll come with its own World Edit for you and anyone with edit permissions to use and you’ll be able to upload/download builds that you make.