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Old 26th Jul 2007, 1:37 PM DefaultDownload issues, QXpress links, and a donation drive #1
Tashiketh
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Hi All,

A lot of you may have noticed the issues we have been having with downloads lately, and are either annoyed or patient about it. This post will explain some of the details behind the problems, as well as cover the currently non-existant QX links, and finally we need a donation drive which will be the final one this year.

Download Issues:

First off, the downloads. Why are they so slow? Why all the issues? Why don't you do this...? Why can't I download?

All these questions have been asked and while some of you have been patient, others haven't. So I'm going to cover the whys and the wherefores here.

The reason the downloads are slow is simply this: They are running at maximum capacity practically 24/7. As a fansite, with limited funding, we do not have unlimited bandwidth to burn. In fact, only 3 of our servers (thumbs, chii and freya) actually have unmetered bandwidth and that's only at 10mbit/s. They also only have so many "slots" available (due to the way the webserver software works) and this is partially why we limit the max connections per person to 2. I've seen people attempting to download with 16 or 32 simulatenous connections, which means that less slots are available to others.

But why are the slots all full? This is a good question and it's essentially down to a number of reasons. Firstly, you may recall earlier this year I made improvements to the core website and the general browsing of www.modthesims2.com. Speeding this up in turn meant more people could browse, which means more pages per day, which means more people trying to download at any given time. Thus, more people on the site means more people downloading. Secondly, the servers cannot have infinite slots. If they did then all your downloads would go at 0.1k/s and would never complete, becuase each of the servers is limited to a set amount of bandwidth a month, which means they can only send data at a set amount per second (roughly 1.1mb per second).

Why can't you change web server software? Becuase, simply put, it wouldn't work. I actually have tried (at this point) 4 different software webservers, and each of which has the same issue - they may be great for serving static content or small files but every single one of them fails utterly when presented with the challenges of the MTS2 download fileservers. For obvious reasons I cannot run the servers at maximum bandwidth (100mbps) because we'd get a huge bandwidth bill, hence they have to be throttled in some way.

How does this throttling work? There are 2 methods that I have tried. The first involves throttling the outgoing port speed downwards, but the module I was using had a knock on effect in that anything that requests a file went into a wait-state (hence why the extremely long load times). The other way is to throttle using the 503 messages. This worked well for download accelerators but unfortunately the module wasn't actually throttling properly, so the average outgoing bandwidth was > 10mbits. This is obviously not ideal.

What is the current situation? Currently I have done 2 things today. First, I upgraded the web server software to apache2 (dont talk to me about lighttpd, please - it sucks for heavy loads like this, and thttpd doesn't work properly either, and if you suggest yahoo groups I will throw bricks at you...). This allowed me to use another throttling module which works as a happy medium. It allows requests to come in, without entering the time-wait sequence, but anything that is above a threshold goes to the 503 message with a twist.

This twist is the status page that you get when you see the 503. Previously you had to manually refresh the download, but this has changed - now you can leave the page open and it will self refresh every 30 seconds. When you are allocated a slot, then your download starts. It's not ideal (but, then, the only thing that would be is dual 100mbps servers), but it's the best medium for now.

This is now active on Chii and Freya, and will be active on the third public download server when it is introduced (see below).

QXpress Links:

A lot of you have noticed that the QX links are gone from MTS2. The reason for this is that, in the process of trying to track down bottlenecks on the main download servers, I needed to limit the outgoing bandwidth to only those 2 servers to see what the load on the switch is. Becuase QXpress is used by a number of people, I had to remove the links from MTS2 in order to get a clean overview of bandwidth.

These links will be returning - most likely in a couple of weeks, once everything has settled down.

Donation drive:

Okay so now the meat of this site news post. As per the download section, you all know that the download servers are maxed out, even with optimisations and software on them. There are basically 2 solutions to this:

1. Leave the existing 2 servers in place, with the 503s/refreshes.
2. Get a new server and upgrade the existing bandwidth on another.

Obviously, given the number of complaints I and the rest of the staff have recieved of late, I would much rather not to the first, and would prefer the second.

In order to do this we would need to buy the following: A new server, with unmetered bandwidth, and also a bandwidth upgrade for one of the existing servers that does not yet have it. This would mean 3 public download servers, with (3300 * 3 + 2300) = 12.2TB assigned between them. In turn this works out to approx 12-13mbits per server (aka 39mbits compared to only 20mbits now), which is almost double. I will also be getting other smaller bandwidth upgrades, but the amount of bandwidth will be minimal (500gb per server) and this will be covered from existing funds. All in all, I expect our monthly bandwidth to rise from 18.9TB up to 25.5TB.

To achieve this requires money, and this breaks down as follows:

Additional server, with dual network cards, 1gb ram, 100mbps uplink, on a private switch: $140/m

(Yes, I know you can see cheaper ones online, but the additional uplink, private switch and dual cards push the price up, and extremely cheap machines would crumble under the strain)

Additional bandwidth upgrade for above machine, to unmetered 10mbit/s (3300GB per month): $100/m

Additional bandwidth upgrade for existing machine, to unmetered 10mbit/s: $100/m

Total cost per month: $340/m

Now, given than the Sims 3 comes out late next year, and I really don't like doing donation drives (and we'll have to do one early next year anyway unless we get a lot of overspill), what I want to do is to pay for this up front for 1 year. This means guaranteed bandwidth for that time period.

So, the total figure is: $4,080, which is the target for our donation drive.

Once we have the third server in, configured and running, this should result in much less 503s and downtime, and I have other plans to speed up things that wont cost anything except time, but they are a ways off yet.

I realise it's a large figure, but remember this is for an entire year of hosting and it is highly unlikely that we will do another donation drive this year, so if you've wanted to donate but have waited, now is your chance to do so.

I will be putting up the donation drive counter here: http://db.modthesims2.com/donations.php so you can track it in real time.

I will also be putting up a banner on the top for all users which should disappear once you donate or if you have ads turned off.

I hope you understand why this neccessary, and I apologise for not explaining about the downloads and QX before, but I have been very busy (and stressed too) trying to figure out some kind of solution without having to spend money and unfortunately I'm flat out of ideas.

To sum up:

Donation drive target: $4,080
Donation drive counter: http://db.modthesims2.com/donations.php
To donate: http://www.modthesims2.com/donate.php or click the link in the navbar or click the paypal button in the banner.

Thanks for understanding, and lets try and make this the last upgrade we need for the site until it shuts down.

Edit: People who donated in the last drive wont see the banner, nor will MTS2 subscribers. If you still wish to donate you must use the donate page.

Edit: Look! Pretty graph:

Regards
Delphy

Story books are full of fairy tales, of Kings and Queens, and the bluest skies.
Last edited by Delphy : 26th Jul 2007 at 2:43 PM.
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Old 26th Jul 2007, 2:03 PM #2
OwaizooDE
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so we shouldnt use download accelerators,right?
i use 1 but i set it to 1 download per time because it makes it slow to have many downloads at the same time so it downloads 1 file at a time...so is it ok to use download accelerator or not?
Old 26th Jul 2007, 2:12 PM #3
Nysha
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Download accelerators configured to only use one connection at a time (aka download managers) are just fine, it's anything above that that becomes an issue.

Gah, let's hope EA are as late on TS3 as they are on Spore. I'd be bored as hell without MTS2. All that time in which nothing needs be done...

What I lack in decorum, I make up for with an absence of tact.
Old 26th Jul 2007, 2:10 PM #4
Tramen
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Just sent a donation; it's not alot but it's what I can give at the moment
Old 26th Jul 2007, 2:12 PM #5
Fat D
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if you download with only one connection, it's no longer accelerating anything, because that comes from multiple connections. at least as far as I know.

However, ANY acceleration comes to the cost of others, because you use more of the limited stuff (bandwidth) for yourself.
Old 26th Jul 2007, 2:14 PM #6
OwaizooDE
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ok thanks
it will stay to 1
lol
Old 26th Jul 2007, 2:21 PM #7
Mihura
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Thanks for the explanations Delphy ! With the auto refresh page I have been able to finally download the second drinks pack of Fansee and Fireflies. So it's useful.

But right, a third server is necessary on the long range. I can resubscribe. Long live to MTS !

All of nature is within us and we are part of all nature (Chief White Cloud)
Old 26th Jul 2007, 2:26 PM #8
zolabee
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I sent donation. But this is really a thanks for all that you have done. You give an amazing amount of time and effort to this and it is appreciated.
Old 26th Jul 2007, 2:38 PM #9
RiotGirlK
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I love this site, and I'm sad when downloads are off-line, so of course I made a donation! Not much, but if each of us just puts in a little, we should be able to help out.

Please feel free to upload my walls and floors in your finished lots as long as they are not offered on any paysites, TSR, or the Exchange. You may recolour them as long as you give credit and link back to the original.
Old 26th Jul 2007, 3:13 PM #10
ctripp924
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Gah! As soon as myself and hubby get paid again we will be donating. I use this site soooo much and it's been hands down my favorite Sims2 site.
Old 26th Jul 2007, 3:20 PM #11
___heartattack
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Thanks for explaining everything and clearing it all up! I'll donate what I can.
Old 26th Jul 2007, 3:35 PM #12
Uartige-Pigebarn
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First of all, thank you for explaining the problems and making the hard stuff easy to understand. I really appreciate all the hard work and effort put into this site. I really do.

I've used this site almost every day since I joined and it's creators and community has made sure I got the most out of my game. I'd love to donate so that myself and other can continue to come here and enjoy the 'space', but I'm afraid I'm having a minor problem with the quality of the uploaded stuff lately. The uploaded 'others' sims are being closely controlled due to the amount of sim uploads and that's great, but what about lots, make-up, clothes and so on? Lately MTS2 has become a haven for low quality creators and where I used to download 5-6 things a day, I now download perhaps 1 a day. Perhaps. There has been taken steps to eliminate the 'support' to pay-stuff and that's admirable, but the low quality of this site needs to be minimized if MTS2 wants to redeem itself. I love being a part of this place, but I don't see why the standards has to be the same as when it was launched. Maybe higher quality and a more strict quality control will do your bandwidth problems and inspire more people to donate.

I know I'm not alone in this opinion, but I'm not trying to step on anyone's toes or make anyone angry or insulted.

Thank you for working hard and doing your best.

Never kiss a cow's bottom with your tongue!
Last edited by Uartige-Pigebarn : 26th Jul 2007 at 3:46 PM.
Old 26th Jul 2007, 3:40 PM #13
RealGanacampo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delphy
Thanks for understanding, and lets try and make this the last upgrade we need for the site until it shuts down.


I wish TS3 would never come out.

Thx for the info.
Old 26th Jul 2007, 3:44 PM #14
syn28
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Sorry. I could only do $20 bucks at the moment. Least it's something though.

Think of it this way if everyone put in just $10 bucks this drive would be over in no time.

"The opposite of war is not peace. It's creation."

Now making sportswear for the Sims 3 Universe

Old 26th Jul 2007, 3:55 PM #15
tish85
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Thanks for the explanations Delphy and sorry but i can't donate cause i have bad experience with on-line shopping,but mts2 have a lot good peoples,and i am sure everything will be ok!regards
Old 26th Jul 2007, 3:58 PM #16
Angelkins
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I donated, but unfortunately I can only spare $5 dollars. When we are getting closer to reaching the final goal, I'm sure I can swing another 5 or 10!
Old 26th Jul 2007, 4:04 PM #17
Tashiketh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uartige-Pigebarn
First of all, thank you for explaining the problems and making the hard stuff easy to understand. I really appreciate all the hard work and effort put into this site. I really do.

I've used this site almost every day since I joined and it's creators and community has made sure I got the most out of my game. I'd love to donate so that myself and other can continue to come here and enjoy the 'space', but I'm afraid I'm having a minor problem with the quality of the uploaded stuff lately. The uploaded 'others' sims are being closely controlled due to the amount of sim uploads and that's great, but what about lots, make-up, clothes and so on? Lately MTS2 has become a haven for low quality creators and where I used to download 5-6 things a day, I now download perhaps 1 a day. Perhaps. There has been taken steps to eliminate the 'support' to pay-stuff and that's admirable, but the low quality of this site needs to be minimized if MTS2 wants to redeem itself. I love being a part of this place, but I don't see why the standards has to be the same as when it was launched. Maybe higher quality and a more strict quality control will do your bandwidth problems and inspire more people to donate.

I know I'm not alone in this opinion, but I'm not trying to step on anyone's toes or make anyone angry or insulted.

Thank you for working hard and doing your best.


Well, I suggest you read back past news, becuase we've introduced a lot of rules and guidelines since the site was launched, so you certainly can't say that nothing has changed there.

We've actually been moderating more nowadays than back then when nothing was. I suspect any percieved "low quality" is simply becuase you either 1) aren't showing all downloads and thus are filtered, 2) you are looking at the featured items, or 3) that the actual number of innovations in the field have gone down - remember we are looking at a 3 year old game now, and it's limited in what we can do with it, but with the release of wes's animation toolkit, we are beginning to see some really good items again.

I'm sure a lot of people don't share your sentiment about the quality going down. We have an active Creator Feedback section, and anything that is really bad is tagged and moved out of downloads, but as staff we can't check everything currently on the site so some things that aren't up to spec may slip through - and remember that not everything is actually moderated. Some people upload recolours as new meshes (which aren't moderated) and attempt to get round the queue that way but rest assured we reject a lot of stuff each day.

Story books are full of fairy tales, of Kings and Queens, and the bluest skies.
Old 26th Jul 2007, 4:06 PM #18
losonogo
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TS3, omg, i barely keep up with the current game packs
Oh and delphy? dude your a legend, you deserve a pay rise lol
I donated, does that mean i can have a little icon next to my cup
Thanks MTS2, you make my simming life less simful
Losonogo

I read all the comments you leave, even if they are made a year later, thank you all:)

Any lot building requests are considered, just pm me:)
Old 26th Jul 2007, 4:06 PM #19
Phaenoh
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Once I check my bank account I'll prolly be putting in $50. I love this site so much, great crowd, helpful tutorials, nice people. I agree with RealGana, I don't want TS3 to come out anytime soon, it feels like we have barely broken into this one (might just be my own experience though).

The autorefresh feature is WONDERFUL, however, when i open new tabs for things to download in, the page keeps autorefreshing, even after its been downloaded, I end up with two copies of files if i don't pay attention. I don't need two copies, and you guys don't need me downloading more than I wanted. Is there a way to make the autofresh stop after the file has been downloaded?
Old 26th Jul 2007, 4:13 PM #20
verenaheu
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Thanks for taking the time and explaining all to us, and thanks for the immense effort of maintaining this huge project! I admire you for putting all this up for us!
Why should MTS2 shut down? Until Sims 3 will be going like Sims2 it will take a long time and we need our MTS2! Please, pretty please!
And after, we will maybe see MTS3, won´t we?
Old 26th Jul 2007, 4:14 PM #21
nerina
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thanks for the explanation, Delphy, I never complained because I think it's a silly thing to do to a free and generous site as this, but I've noticed the slowness lately. But I didn't know about this new 503 system, pretty cool, I'll be using it often. Time to resubcribe, I've just sent five dollars, little I know but as soon as I put some money in my prepaid card I'll give more. MTS2's totally worth it.
Old 26th Jul 2007, 4:16 PM #22
Nouk
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Are you closing down the site after Sims 3 comes out? I think alot of people will still like to mod the Sims 2.
Donated!

Please visit WickedNoukFamily Forum for my creations.
Can't take requests, I'm completely swamped with unfinished projects! :O
Old 26th Jul 2007, 4:20 PM #23
maxpax318
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Thanks so much for your hard work Delphy, hopefully when TS3 comes out you'll create a new site because hopefully we'll be able to do so much more with it...

I'll get my donation in as soon as my Dad comes home because I can't remember the password to our paypal account :P

Thanks again for your hard work! :D
Old 26th Jul 2007, 4:27 PM #24
Uartige-Pigebarn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delphy
Well, I suggest you read back past news, becuase we've introduced a lot of rules and guidelines since the site was launched, so you certainly can't say that nothing has changed there.

We've actually been moderating more nowadays than back then when nothing was. I suspect any percieved "low quality" is simply becuase you either 1) aren't showing all downloads and thus are filtered, 2) you are looking at the featured items, or 3) that the actual number of innovations in the field have gone down - remember we are looking at a 3 year old game now, and it's limited in what we can do with it, but with the release of wes's animation toolkit, we are beginning to see some really good items again.

I'm sure a lot of people don't share your sentiment about the quality going down. We have an active Creator Feedback section, and anything that is really bad is tagged and moved out of downloads, but as staff we can't check everything currently on the site so some things that aren't up to spec may slip through - and remember that not everything is actually moderated. Some people upload recolours as new meshes (which aren't moderated) and attempt to get round the queue that way but rest assured we reject a lot of stuff each day.


You don't have to be defensive, it's not anything personal. I have read all the news posted lately and I'm glad to see that something is being done. I realize that the moderators spend a lot of their own time on this page. Please do not take my criticism personally, I simply uttered an opinion.

I do in fact see all the downloads and it may very well be that there are fewer innovations, but that doesn't mean you have to accept them all. There's been an explosion in lot uploads and too many of which are low quality - I even saw one without a front door!

I know for fact that others share my opinion and that some users/creators has even left this site and deleted their uploads, so please don't assume that I'm grasping things out of thin air.

Increased low quality or not, I really like this place as it is still a free home to many talented creators and a satisfying center of the simming community.

Never kiss a cow's bottom with your tongue!
Old 26th Jul 2007, 4:52 PM #25
patzeep
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First of all, I'd like to say I love this site and have donated previously and will again. And Delphy, thank you for all your hard work. And all you creaters have so much imagination and do wonderful things! I thank you very much. I couldn't do it which is why I am here.
However, that being said- and I know you are trying to keep this a free site, but truely, donators should get something in return. (such as 1st in line to download!) I do realise this is something you are trying to stay away from, buttttt, I have been waiting now for over 30minutes for a 64k download. I never had a problem until my 1st donation was made a couple of weeks ago. Again, I will donate in hopes things get better, but this kind of thing makes me want to stay away from the site and I hate that. As most of us, I'm sure, I have limited time to play. Thank you again.
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