Kontu

I'm currently in my mid 30's based out of Michigan, USA. I've been in a technical role in a professional capacity for the last ~20 years, working everything from break-fix in a mom and pop shop to doing software quality assurance testing for Western Digital Company. During that time I also spent 5 years doing enterprise technical support for companies like Apple, Facebook, IBM, HPe, Dell, and more.

I started playing in Sigma Draconis Gaming in January of 2020, joining staff shortly after that in March of 2020. We went through a lot of hell as a group dealing with staff turnover, Space Engineers issues, and revamping our entire technical backend and how we handle things. Everything from bringing all the rented servers under one persons account instead of being paid for by 4 different people on 4 different accounts, consolidating work into repo's instead of just passing .zip files around, reorganizing staff teams multiple times, and more.

My roles currently entail:

  • Float everywhere in Draconis, not just SE
  • External relations with other community developers / modders / etc
  • Handling the day to day minutia from a top down perspective
  • Interacting with an entertaining players as well as moderating chats
  • Mr Wiki part 1
  • Tech Team
  • That dude who is always online and sees everything.

Other games I enjoy:

  • Minecraft
  • Rimworld
  • TES series
  • Factorio
  • Creeper World series

Brief history of Draconis 2020 from a backend standpoint:

Everyone knows 2020 has been rather shit (worldwide - not speaking just Draconis there). What a lot of people don't know is the turmoil and pains we've had to work through as staff internally since ~Nov/Dec 2019 till now. I've posted some of it publicly a couple times, but just during conversations where it likely got lost to the majority of players, as we're never looking for sympathy - just patience. Our first internal expected launch date of 4.0 I think was January 30th (I did some digging). Then February 20th. So forth and so forth. Middle of 2019 we had a pile of strong software developers contributing to re-writing foogs server jump (of which we paid for source code so we could modify). We made several good improvements, hell the 20 minute resyncs we had towards the end of using Foogs server jump would have been 40minutes per server and would have had to be done one by one. I came onto staff March 12th of 2020. All those tech team folks and developers? They more or less went missing by the second week in January. Reload was the only active staff on tech team, handling all the Torch issues and tech tickets by himself. I finally started helping him early April with that, and it was just him and I until Demine0 started coming back in July and we got Derekt in August - but Demine0 has been largley Non-SE tech stuff and Derekt has been largely development, not general SE stuff. That's not to say they haven't both been immensely helpful, just that it didn't touch into the day to day management of tech.

Beyond the tech team we also had the majority of our support staff (ticket staff) fade out by January. There were a few steadfast people who stuck around, but most of them had already stopped being around, waiting "for 4.0 to release back in January. You think the playerbase took a hit - staff felt it far worse for far longer unfortunately. When you pair that with the more or less entire loss of our wiki in March (while I managed to save a lot of the player facing wiki, the internal staff one with all our training and materials was >95% toast). Thankfully Awensome put in some major fucking work and rebuilt the entire ticket training/support structure from scratch, including all the documentation for along the way. But it took time. A lot of time. So did getting the new wiki up and filling it with content, and rebuilding the lost internal lore notes, external lore stuff, and more. All of this had to happen again before anyone could touch on 4.0 work again - and even then, most of the work requires a technical mind, and it was still just reload and I for a long while without time to spare for anything beyond the day to day. Operations was more or less just Tek, which was fine except for needing to make all the patron logo's on his own (nobody else had the skillset for the most part); and our repeated attempts for consistent Events and Media teams kept falling through (as did the "Draconis Thong" merch project, there's just nobody with time to manage it). As I said before with losing everything, Az more or less had to rebuild all of lore (Dirk took a several month hiatus to recharge around that time). I believe others like Zardo assisted with that but I can't speak to exactly how much each was involved - There is a level separation as just so much goes on that we can't keep track of everything.

When I joined the server towards the end of January, we were on ticket ~4300. When I joined staff in March we were on ticket 7200 (my modapp was #7197). We just broke 20k a few days ago. We have grown and grown and grown since November 2019 - thankfully due to the hard work of people early in the year (again as I said - Awensome built things back up for support from nothing) we were able to re-grow our staff ranks throughout 2020. Unfortunately that meant more time lost to training others (which long term is a good thing, short term is tricky to deal with). We've had several people out or have to leave due to Covid, military deployment, home issues, work issues, and many more more. We've had people leave because they "didn't play SE anymore so they didn't see a reason to staff anymore" (which we don't blame them - I only quoted it to match their wording). Dirk quit playing and disbanded Nova Empire because players drove him out claiming admin abuse and more so many times. Several others have left for the same reason or certainly similar reasons.

Now to get on to how this all applies to the current state of things and how it's been the last few months. All of these other events and issues have more or less led to a huge loss in what time we have as a body for active moderation. Checking on excessive grids, balancing weapons, fixing larger issues that come up, dealing with player squabbles (either with each other or with staff), adjusting metagame (like koth), and more all…well..I'll be honest they all kind of fell behind. The 122mm meta never should have lasted more than a week or two (to the extreme it was) without seeing adjustments to more balance things out. Same for the LD meta. Also the same for when it was realized LD's were ~113DPS/pcu instead of 45DPS/pcu, explaining why LD's were so much the meta. The overabundance of shields, which is largely a biproduct of 3 things (npc crew boosts, tiered tech power, and the 10x gyro buff) should never have gone on so long. We just didn't have the time and resources to touch on it / deal with it. We've spent the entire year split between maintaining the current environment and working on the giant project that is 4.x, and the current environment suffered due to it. We know this, we hate it, but 4.x always just felt within reach / within grasp if we "just got this one more thing done we might be there". This left us doing larger changes to the current environment (which again were coming in 4.x anyways) to garage and garaging topgrids for example – changes that helped deal with the issues of leapfrogging and excessive grids (not eliminate, but help deal) without requiring active moderation time from the staff, because that time simply isn't available. Even once we enter 4.x we need to not rely on active moderation, we've simply grown too large for that to be sustainable - the systems need to be in place to manage it for us.

After the many thousands of donated manhours, the things we have gained this year will make 4.x something all of us will be proud with. We've reduced the amount of time it takes to maintain, we won't have our time split between 4.x and a "new shiny 5.0", and we'll be able to really give our focus to the live environment. We have much better monitoring and methods to handle things going forward. 4.x will see real love and attention as we nerf and buff things as they come up, rather than months later, so we can do our best to keep it a balanced environment long term. We hope that all of you will love what's coming as much as we have loved creating it this past year.

  • about/kontu.txt
  • Last modified: 2 weeks ago
  • by kontu