It’s About Time…

Posted in Flash Flash Revolution on June 5th, 2020

History is important and this is going to be a long front-page post. Sorry in advance. Legacy is important. It’s why above all else, the FFR staff has chosen to prioritize keeping songs, scores, replays, forum posts, profiles, and more. This community has been around since early 2002 and we have had some incredible journeys together. The ups and downs… The stories… The business aspect… Friendships… I have seen people get married, have kids, get FFR tattoos, and be inspired to become game developers. Just amazing. At the same though, this is why our FFR database has grown so large over the years. We are not just talking about a few records here, we are talking about hundreds of millions.. maybe billions of records. Almost 70GB worth if you just count the main database and this is just the “text” records. There are another 100GB of code and site files.

So whats up?

Over the past week and a half, I have been working behind the scenes to modernize the infrastructure, database, services running the game, and then move it into a more robust private cloud platform. It’s on that platform right now as we speak. You might also wonder if we are ever going to move the database off of the webserver and give it more than a few GB of RAM? DONE… I wrapped up modifying about a hundred scripts and moved it all over on Sunday night. As a result, you should already start seeing things like level rank generation getting faster, the site should be more responsive and generally more reliable. The exception would be me interrupting you with snapshots or testing deployments in the middle of the night. I have completely replicated FFR as a staging server(s) on my local home machine so that I can quickly deploy, debug, and push to production additional upgrades as we move forward.
The current developers have done an incredible job over the years but they need more support on the infrastructure side and while I do hold a full-time job, I am the most qualified to continue that tradition and essentially take care of that nest. So that’s what I am going to do. With that being said, over the next few days, I will be deploying a significant number of database upgrades, DB configuration optimization, and query optimization. The same will happen on the webserver side. I have a heaping handful of base services I want to make sure are completely up to date as we get closer to planned releases and additional *SECRET* plans. In all, this phase of upgrades means that you can continue to go about your daily FFR lives without interruption with the only thing you notice being is a more responsive site as time moves forward.

While life has taken me in all kinds of twists and turns over the years, I still pay monthly for the infrastructure and along with the admins, developers, and moderators, we keep the game 100% free and void of ads. Just the way it was originally envisioned. It’s best for me to be involved right now and I owe it to everyone to be so. As a community, as a site and as players, we still have some amazing things to accomplish.

So on the subject of history… How many of you have been around since we had a simfile database with tens of thousands of entries for the Stepmania community? FFR was THE source for simfiles for a number of years. I bet you didn’t know those files were held in a RAID array where BOTH drives went bad. Like that, pooooff, they all the files vanished. Tragedy. I kept the drives all these years as some sort of nostalgic piece of history in the corner of my closet. About 6 months ago, I was going through things and I decided it was worth a shot to have them sent off to a company specializing in physical data recovery. That company finally reached back out a few months ago to let me know what was going on…. Should I ruin the surprise? I think you know the answer.

One last thing I want to mention was that Google converted all of our free email accounts that they assigned us access to about 15 years ago into gsuite accounts and started to charge $5 or so a piece for the hundreds of user-based email accounts. Needless to say, that was no bueno. The bad news is that I have been having a hell of a time getting them to switch it back, the good news is that we can pay on a per-account basis if anyone out there needs permanent or even temporary access to this email addresses. I/we will do what we can to get that back on track and I am still working with Google on this.

Enjoy the upgrades so far and please feel free to let me know what you would like to see changed on the site, game, server, or whatever. Stop by on the official FFR Discord to say hello to me and the rest of the devs, moderators, and players if you get the chance.

Feel free to reach out with questions, I’m an open book.

18 years and counting…


29 Responses to “It’s About Time…”

  1. First !

  2. Third time’s the charm.

  3. Déjà vu.

  4. Man I just keep getting earlier don’t I (4th)

  5. welcome back synth (5th)

  6. Let’s keep this rolling.

  7. Upgrading to make it easier for the active staff to work = Awesome

    Throwing the simfile database back up so that record labels and Konami can wreck us in court = not a good idea

    Reason we took that down yeah?

  8. ????

  9. I guess I never wrote emoji support for these comments — welcome back Synth!

  10. Sweet, lost a lot of my AAAs cuz of this update.

  11. chat getting rolled back so fast nobody will

  12. Alas, my “first” post in the 2nd iteration of this post has been forgotten in the annals of time, like a dust mite swept under the rug that is the ever-flowing stream of data that enrobes the fragile snapshot of the Internet.

  13. Alright, Shakespeare. That’s enough outta you.

  14. 3th time Fourteenth – Stuck in a time loop n_n

  15. 2002, wow how long it has lived on. So amazing to see it continue to be supported and thrive, FFR 4ever. <3 Synth

  16. If the DB resurfaces, I’d really love to be able to archive that history in a more digestible format (like being able to download and mirror all of the files into packs instead of one at a time stuff). Things have changed a lot and I’ve got a good 1TB+ of SM content archived in multiple sources for people to check out and to preserve history. If there would be any way to make this possible, please let me know because I’d love to ensure there are more mirrors of now decade old lost content.

  17. bring back the ffrspace hoes

  18. Thank you for all that you’ve done over the years Synth! FFR has brought me many hours of joy, and you’re a big reason for that :) .

  19. Thank you <3

  20. Cool I guess, but rolling updates like this with no QA is just reckless and is just asking for something bad to happen

  21. So surreal seeing Synth’s name at the bottom of a post again.

  22. Never thought I’d live to see the day.

  23. Wow hi again synth!

  24. This is awesome! Hello again there Synth! I am definitely interested in trying to gain even temporary access back to my FFR email so that I could switch some accounts over. Or, if there was a way I could pay for my account myself (and it stays at $5 of course) I would gladly do so!

  25. Thank you!!

  26. That’s amazing! Keep up the good work with these updates, Synth!

  27. I bet DMCA was the reason why the FFR database disappeared. Even SMShare and Bemanistyle were wiped out. I don’t believe it.

    How did all this happen in a year?

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