Sterlcraft » History
Sterlcraft has an oddly long and complex history for such a small server. Drama has ensued, hacks have succeeded and what-has-it. For those curious, or those seeking nostalgia, here’s a basic rundown of the events occuring prior to today.
Origins: a simple pastime
Before the name-change to Sterlcraft, the string of loosely-related Minecraft servers in question—sharing only the name, owner and basic theme—was known as Derpcraft. In October 2013, my friend Blu and I decided to start our own server. Minecraft was comparatively popular at the time, and was a common pastime on iBrony, a now-defunct social network for fans of a certain cartoon show. A site-sponsored server was already in existence—“Manecraft”, it was called—but we found it to be hog-wild and full of restrictions, regulations and stuffy administration. Because I had a little more of the technical know-how, I hosted the CraftBukkit 1.6.4 server on my Windows 8 home computer, a Dell XPS 8700.
Within a few months, the player base grew to friends, friends-of-friends and fellow iBrony users, reaching over seventy in just about three months. Blu and I were the only administrators, and the position of Moderator hadn’t yet existed. As the userbase expanded, there was a clear need for a hierarchy of staff. We asked three trusted players to hop aboard as mediators and technical specialists on the server: Vinyl Dash, Deca Wrench and Byooki.
Peak popularity & the iBrony exodus
During the eventual fall of iBrony beginning circa January 2014, Manecraft was shut down (partially due to a shift in players) and Derpcraft took over as the de facto site server. When iBrony entirely ceased to exist in April 2014, LightningBlaze and Ratchet Wrench (two former iBrony staff members) soon created a de facto successor, PhilomenaMagikz (recently defunct), becoming the main destination of the post-iBrony exodus.
Derpcraft was now in a second incarnation, as the players wanted a clean world for the 1.7.2 update. The new server—now using the well-optimised Spigot—enjoyed some popularity on the new PhM as well, in fact surpassing all previous records and states. Total unique, regular players peaked at 134, and the most simultaneous online players seen was 17.
Derpcraft players had plateaued, but it was a pretty high and barely manageable plateau. A server started in September 2014 by Vinyl Dash and Deca Wrench (the “Farlands”) soon overtook Derpcraft by claiming better performance and less latency. Admittedly, as much as I tried to reduce server lag and increase performance, my server could barely hold over six or seven simultaneous online players due to the deteriorating copper-wire West Virginia communications infrastructure.
In the end, they weren’t wrong. Staff migrated to the Farlands one-by-one till only myself, Blu and two IRL friends remained as regular players, shifting its purpose to a moreso friends-only server. Drama ensued, as well as malaligned competition, slightly tarnishing my reputation as a server administrator.
In an attempt to give the server purpose, Derpcraft was revitalised and re-advertised after the sudden disappearance of the Farlands. However, not only was the heyday of Minecraft over, but the brony fandom was in an overall decline after reaching its plateau-peak circa 2014–15. A small surge of players came, but went down one-by-one till no one remained whatsoever. By July 2015, Derpcraft was temporarily halted for six months, during which an unaffiliated private server was run.
In January 2016, Derpcraft was restarted in its third incarnation. The intention, however, was not as a community server for a certain fandom or group, but instead as a way for my friends, their friends and anyone in between to collaborate. Instead of focusing on player count and popularity, the staff (only then myself and the current administrator Poukles) strived towards a well-kept, whitelisted server for just the occasional fun.
A significant contributor to the growth and likelihood of the server was my new technological experience and equipment. Derpcraft was then hosted on a dedicated computer with an independent network connection. And as for uptime: there hasn’t been a single minute of unscheduled downtime since it first ran!
The server had steadily grown up until around April 2017, having not been based off serving such a large and volatile community. However, this was around the time my friends (most of which are younger than me) changed going into high school, and said friends ceased to be friends. Poukles and I remained the only players at that point, but the server continued to exist. Even if it was just us, we had a lot of fun.
Small but surviving: the fourth incarnation
In February 2018, a small localised fire along with a system upgrade gone wrong deleted my backups and actual data of the server, respectively. I resultingly opened a new Paper server almost immediately for Poukles and myself; to distinguish it from previous incarnations associated with the brony community (from which I’ve almost completely separated myself), I named it Sterlcraft, the namesake of which is my pseudonym and pen-name Sterling.
The server has gained a player base of what is basically my IRL friends, a bunch of VTuber simps from a Discord server I run, and some of those players’ friends. In May 2021, the data was transferred to an external host to help aleviate some of the pains of the slowly increasing number of average concurrent players; shortly thereafter, an overworld reset was performed at the request of the community, and then another one in November for 1.18.
I can’t help but feel obligated to pay tribute, so-to-speak. The list also includes current staff who were a part of Derpcraft prior to the current incarnation.
- Arishy (M/A/–/–) — Moderator on the first incarnation; administrator on the second.
- Blu (A/A/–/S) — Administrator during the brony incarnations. Co-founder of the whole thing. Took back up his creative Minecraft ambitions recently on Sterlcraft.
- Byooki (–/M/–/–) — Former IRL friend with technological know-how promoted to Moderator. Eventually excommunicated after some drama involving his ex-girlfriend.
- Deca Wrench (P/A/–/–) — Had extensive knowledge of Bukkit/Spigot servers. Partnered with Vinyl Dash and usurped Derpcraft.
- Firekai (M/–/–/–) — Moderator till sudden disappearance off PhM, Skype, Facebook… literally everything. Known for stellar planning and technological know-how.
- Onion Jam (P/M/–/–) — Moderator towards the end of the second incarnation.
- Pinkie Innocent Pie (–/M/P/–) — Moderator on second incarnation; regular player on third. Known for creativity and moderating ability.
- Poukles (–/M/A/S) — Moderator during the second incarnation; staff from third on. Arguably the only reason Sterlcraft survived in its third incarnation.
- Quincy (A/M/P/S) — Administrator during first incarnation; moderator for second till his interest in Minecraft declined. Recently came back and was promoted back to Staff within a few months. Amazing technical know-how and WorldEdit skills.
- Ratchet Wrench (P/M/–/–) — Migrated from Manecraft during the first incarnation; promoted to Moderator after the second. Maintained membership on both Derpcraft and the Farlands till self-removal from the brony community.
- Vinyl Dash (M/M/–/–) — Moderator beginning near the end of the first incarnation. Known for WorldEdit skills and experience in moderating online communities. Partnered with Deca and usurped Derpcraft.
- I’ve done immense digging through what brony forums and websites are still up, as well as contacting old friends from way back. What little descriptive information I’ve successfully gathered aside from my own memories (and a scant donation page) is the Manecraft archive, the most comprehensive piece of which is a YouTube video touring the server in 2013, courtesy of friend and long-time player Sketchy Mane. In fact, you can see my little post-office system at the 3:38 marker.
- Moderator position doesn’t exist in the current incarnation; the staff hierarchy is practically the same as the original, with Admin being replaced by the disambiguous Staff.
- I recently (May 2020) found a backup of the third incarnation in a box of miscellaneous CDs tucked away in my closet. I used optical media for read-only backups well past anyone else; I guess that was ultimately the saving grace of posterity.
- Backups of the world prior to the May 2021 reset are now available.