It's been a longtime coming, but it is time for KoG to go...
My eyes are tearing up as I write this, as I have had such a great time on KoG and a lot of fun playing with friends. Before we finally shut down the servers and say thank you, I, Avolicious, would like to share some of what has happened in the background over the lifespan of KoG. But before I start, I would like to thank the administration, the moderation team, our clan and of course you. Because King of Gores would not have become what it is today, a network for everyone, without the community itself.
Let's wind the clock back to 2012
11 years ago, on the 25th of November, King of Gores was founded by a small community of players. Thus began active development to create a server dedicated to the "gores" mode. The initial name of the server was "Gores Mod Server by QshaR". QshaR rented server space from teevision at the time. Over the years, as the administrative overhead became significantly larger, server development slowed down.
While the initial server run on XXLDDRace, we knew we needed to get away from this for the community to grow.
First updates & domain
In 2013, QshaR registered the domain "qshar.com" and started to edit the gameserver source code to add more features. The first change ever made was to give every player strong hook.
As months went on and players started using "QshaR Team" in their clantag, the community clamored to create a real space for KoG players. Thus the name "King of Gores" was used for this community, and KoG as we know it was born.
TeeVision & first tournament
After two years of existence, QshaR decided the time was right to run the first ever KoG tournament. A big milestone was hit, as 32 people participated.
As this was happening, TeeVision received a lot of DDoS and hateful messages in the background & had to shutdown its services. Nearly half of the entire server base at the time went offline. KoG instantly began to search for hosters in europe, and NFO became our first server hoster.
The year of expansion
2015 was the year first year of expansion, buying new servers around the world. Server numbers increased and so did the size of the administration team to match. Unfortunately, KoG was never built to scale this fast.
Back in 2016, a new milestone was hit with the introduction of "Moving Tiles". Even now, they are still only available on KoG.
In addition a new map called "Impossible" was released. It took the player base 2 years, 5 months, 3 days and 14 hours to finish this map.
The first Insane map "LamaBro" was also released in 2016.
Skype, Teamspeak, Discord
Before Destin created our community discord in 2017, communication primarily took place over Skype. Lots of Skype groups, Teamspeak servers etc migrated to Discord and the playerbase increased significantly as a result of this unification.
The account system, PVP System
During this year the account system was introduced to fight fakers and punish players who break the rules. In addition, new benefits for KoG members were introduced, including double votes and join messages.
With the implementation of the account system, this allowed another new feature to be added: the PvP system. This presented an opportunity to compete against other players on special gores maps designed for two players. The PvP system is only activated for special times. Since then, sporadic PvP events have been run as a surprise treat for the community.
This is where I enter the fray...
In late 2019, I was working in the background with QshaR on improvements for the account system and he asked me if I'd like to help administer and develop King of Gores.
After a few days I agreed via Discord and as such started to take a closer look at the infrastructure of King of Gores. I quickly learned how everything works and how to make updates without everything crashing immediately. My first attempt failed miserably, within a few minutes I crashed all the servers. QshaR and I had to fix all the servers long into the night to restore functionality.
I remember it vividly because it took less than 5 minutes for my Discord inbox to fill up with comments, some of them hateful. I considered quitting because I didn't realize how much effort it would take from me. QshaR and my friends advised me to just keep going and not respond to the messages.
Money, Lawyers and motivation loss
In 2020, active development of both the game server and the next version, King of Gores 2.0, began. It was exciting to plunge into a new world and innovate for the next version through a massive rebuild. So, I started to rebuild the whole network. If I had to guess, I probably spent 1500 hours in research, configuration and testing. After I was mostly finished, I wrote a now infamous PDF detailing the proposed changes. I quickly realized how much effort implementation would be, but I was up for the challenge. And so it began, the great upheaval.
Money, lawyers and my motivation, these are all things that have driven KoG forward in the background. After less than 2 years, I officially resigned from the administration because I was fed up with all the hate mail, insults and death threats. I decided to only run the project in the background and to take myself out of the active administration. That also worked very well and luckily, in Niclas and David, I found two very trustworthy, active administrators who dealt with and managed everything until the very end.
Expansion & Branding
In 2021 we nearly doubled our infrastructure in terms of size and locations. Servers have been upgraded and a lot of time and effort had been put into the stabilization of the network. Scaling is now less of a problem, because we upgraded our tech-stack to a whole new system.
We also changed our branding from QshaR.com to KoG.tw and came up with a new logo and identity to match.
Updates & personal refinement
A lot of updates happened this year! Our server is now compatible with the latest DDNet releases and in this year alone the community clocked 670.000 finishes.
During the year, we were working hard on the King of Gores background infrastructure -- rebuilding it for global scale, less maintenance than before and higher availability without major incidents. We learned a lot from the OVH incident and looked towards new technologies to solve our issues.
For the geeks:
- K3s (Kubernetes) for the global scale, automated container management
- ArgoCD for automated builds and deployment
- Terraform + Ansible for a gitops ready declarative infrastructure
- Vault for secret management and brokering
- WireGuard for our global internal network
- gRPC for our internal cluster communication
- Grafana + Prometheus for some nice monitoring & statistics
Those are just a few platforms, mostly unseen to the public eye, that I have implemented into KoG for the benefit of all. A lot of hours went into learning how to operate them on production without interruptions.
This now brings us to the present day, and the need to share somber news with everyone. A lot has changed in my private life and I am not able to run and develop KoG in the background anymore. Servers are getting more expensive, updates are becoming required more frequently and to keep everything running is also a huge task besides my private life. Simply put, I can no longer put with and commit the amount of time required to KoG.
Some people have been complaining for months already about how servers are running, talking bad about me, the admin/moderation team, so I have come to the difficult decision to shutdown the network. Everyone is working hard in the background during their spare time, but people dont respect that you dont want a second full-time job. Unfortunately, it only takes a few to ruin what was once a space for everyone.
Last famous words
In the end, all I have to say is thank you very much for the last 3 years, it was incredible what I was allowed to learn and I did it with heart, but now the line has been crossed. After countless insults and hateful comments towards me and my family as well as the team, the project will be discontinued.
To put some financial context into this, in the last 4 years I have personally spent almost 8,000 USD for server costs and 12,000 USD for legal fees and lawsuits. Through all of this, I lost all my motivation for development. I would never have thought how big King of Gores would become and what was in store for us in the future, but after more than 3 years of active development and almost 20 hours of daily availability, I have decided I need to end my involvement in the project.
After the countdown has passed, all information needed to run KoG ( server files, source code, configuration, ansible playbooks ) will be made public.
Much of Love, Avolicious