Well, that was stressful…

Today, I logged into HostHavoc for some routine maintenance on our primary cluster. Removed a couple mods, changed some parameters, nothing major. Or so I thought…

I always start our servers one at a time.  Island first (since it’s primary in the cluster) and Ragnarok second. This isn’t necessary, but I like to watch memory/CPU status during startup for any indication things are off. Especially after a major version update.

Today, I had people waiting so I fired up both at once. This likely didn’t cause the problem because there’s no technical reason I can find that it would, but I’m going to blame that for everything going all pear shaped on me.

First, we couldn’t connect to Ragnarok. “Host connection timed out,” everyone’s favorite error.

Shut down the cluster, checked my settings, and everything was in order. So I went in and deleted all of the data in the “mods” folder and reinstalled the mods.

No dice.  Now, it got interesting. Our server came up with double the slots it normally has, the name of the Island server in the cluster, and “ShooterEntry” as the map.  Oh, and DayTime of 00:00.

Something isn’t right here…

 

 

When your server goes all Eeyore on you…
Normal Winnie the Pooh operation…

I could tell the server was crashing because, in the resource monitor, you can watch the processor hover around 12% like normal when booting, but then drop to 0% and the memory drops to

 

At this point, I contacted Host Havoc support and left them a text wall with lots of details that I’m leaving out here for brevity (and relevance), and they suggest renaming the folder where the server-specific data files (characters, tribes, the map, etc.) are stored so the system is forced to create a new one (from scratch…).s

 

At this point, I contacted Host Havoc support and left them a text wall with lots of details that I’m leaving out here for brevity (and relevance), and they suggest renaming the folder where the server-specific data files (characters, tribes, the map, etc.) are stored so the system is forced to create a new one (from scratch…).

Panic set in.

World wipe. Great.

That didn’t work, fortunately. That meant our world was saved!

Sort of…

We still couldn’t boot the server, which meant something else was wrong.  I’m thinking somethin on the back end that launches the game with the startup commands (where the server name, map, player count, etc are set) was at fault, and I was entrenching myself for a long day of back and forth with support like we did back on 5/29 when their Chicago data center (where we are hosted) had issues with a migration gone foul.

But, as usual, Host Havoc’s support was amazing and suggested I delete the entire “steamapps” folder where the actual game files (not the player/map data) is stored and run a Steam update to, essentially, reinstall the game on the server.

Once that was done, I fired up Ragnarok and was on the edge of my seat as it was loading.

I watched as memory would rise and fall, practically holding my breath… but finally it came up.  Showed the right number of users and the processor showed normal activity.

Now for the real test… I started my ARK client and the server showed up right.  Score! But the part that worries me… am I going to get a character creation screen? Or spawn in with my character but no inventory, no structures, and no dinos? After 2 weeks of Abby breeding like a madwomand, Zeus and I building like madmen, the rest of our tribe filling in, and some new randoms on the server – I would probably cry.

It loaded for what seemed like forever. It didn’t take any longer than it normally does, but it sure felt like it.

And I popped up right where I logged off last night! I know it’s just a video game, but we’ve been working hard toward that sweet, sweet tek. I would hate to see all that progress lost.

Thank God for the awesome support over at HostHavoc, well worth the cost of their service, they earned it today!

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