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State of Sim-Monsters (Feb. 2021)


DannyMackey
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Hello everyone.  I would like to take some time and talk about the current state of Sim-Monsters.  There is a lot I want to cover, so this will be a long one.


TheMonsterBlog.com Truck Fest Champions

This is a bit overdue, but I want to start by congratulating Vincent Akard @Vincent Akard and Chris Bialek @Chris B for their wins at the Truck Fest last September.  It took a while, but they both received their respective trophies built by Andrew Wamsley @Wambo and champion’s hoodie provided by TheMonsterBlog.com.

Spoiler

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The Sim-Monsters Discord

Just over 2 years ago we started the official Sim-Monsters Discord and in that time it has amassed nearly 600 users.  The Discord has given everyone a great chance to easily chat and discuss amongst each other.  However over time, it has ballooned into a Discord server that distracts from the forum itself.  The positive of being able to easily and quickly chat has also led to countless instances of toxic behavior, arguments, and issues being blown out of proportion.

After discussing as a staff what we wanted to do, we found that our solutions would work best with a fresh start.  So, next Friday, February 12th, we will be starting a new Sim-Monsters Discord.  On that date we will also be removing all invites to the old server and leaving it in a read-only state.

Here are the major changes we are implementing:

  • The new server will only be accessible to members of this website.  
    • We have added a new feature to the site to make this possible.  By only allowing site members to join the server, we can better ensure who is actually in the server.
  • The new server will have fewer discussion chats.
    • We want to provide a place for everyone to get together and chat.  We will be providing a general chat along with chats for monster trucks, sports, and gaming.
    • A suggestion box will be available for anyone to offer ideas or suggestions for anything related to Sim-Monsters.
    • We will continue to have a “Help and Support” chat for fast troubleshooting.
    • Other topic chats for Rigs of Rods, BeamNG, Roblox, and MTM2 will move back to the forum.
  • All leagues will be hosted through this new Discord server.
    • This is probably the most drastic change and more information will be in the next section.  Overall, we expect this to streamline access to leagues and information.

Why are we doing this?  To be frank, the current server was honestly created as a side project, lacking forethought as to what it could become and as such, we realized the increasingly difficult means of managing it in an efficient manner.  Aside from that, we think that the changes and integrations proposed will make it work hand in hand with the forum.

The forum is a great place to share content and ideas as well as carry out discussions.  The greatest value to it is its lasting nature.  Tutorials are prominently shown with room for discussion below and support threads can be searched through with more popular questions having already been answered.  Plus, who doesn’t want to earn reputation points with the great projects that can be posted in Show Your Projects?  Sure, we nearly created all of this in the Discord, but this forum is far more accessible and lasting.  All in all we are looking to make better use of this site we have had for over a decade and to provide this community a better channel of discussion.


Site Hosted Leagues

The purpose of Sim-Monsters.com is to provide a space for the community to gather, make content, and host leagues.  However, unlike uploading content or participating in the community, hosting a league on this site is a privilege we afford to those able to handle the responsibility and uphold the reputation of the website and community.  We have seen issues arise over the course of the first season RORMJL has hosted on the website and we are addressing these issues with them.  Moving forward we will be more active in supervising leagues hosted on the site and will not tolerate any more toxic behavior or troublemaking.  This goes for league officials and competitors.

Along those lines, we will be implementing changes to how leagues are added to the site and how they can host events.  

  • New leagues looking to be added to the site will need to provide a rule book and sheets for events and points tracking.
  • We will also require the league official(s) to host a fun run on the website that is overseen by a member of the staff to ensure competency.

Furthermore, all leagues will now host their events in the Sim-Monsters Discord.  We will provide a category with the needed chats to host events, along with the roles needed to make announcements and manage competitors.  We are looking to work alongside league owners to provide the best solution for everyone, so feedback will be greatly appreciated.

The benefits to this are twofold; verified community members will be able to easily join your league section in the Discord server and staff will always be able to take control of a situation that cannot be contained by the league officials.  We will be working to ensure that league owners have all the tools needed to effectively run their league in the new Discord server.


Sim-Monsters Anti Cheat Update

Between the Truck Fest and NAMT, the anti cheat system has proven effective in both verifying that trucks are not being modified and allowing lap times to be posted in a convenient space.

I have been working to improve the tool used to swap between using the anti cheat and using the Rigs of Rods API.  I am hoping to release a new version of the tool as soon as possible.  To further improve the ability to use this in other leagues, I am working on creating a simple web page for league owners to access and use to verify that no one is modifying their trucks or race scripts.  Along with this, I am looking to make this page visible to everyone, but only with lap times visible to avoid witch hunts and accusations not being handled appropriately.

Here is a preview of the new anti cheat tool:
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As you can see, it is as simple as I could make it.  It will also make sure you are not running Rigs of Rods when trying to switch servers.

There is still more work to be done after this is completed, but I hope that these updates will make the anti cheat accessible to all leagues on Sim-Monsters.


Rigs of Rods Update (2021.02)

Rigs of Rods released an update a few days ago (https://www.rigsofrods.org/download).  At the moment, there are a few issues, but otherwise the new version is stable.  We are determined to keep the community on the latest stable release of Rigs of Rods, but if you are not interested in dealing with the issues in the 2021.02, you can stay with version 2020.01 for the time being.  Both 2020.01 and 2021.02 connect to the same multiplayer servers.


Sim-Monsters Moving Forward

Last September, Sim-Monsters turned 10 and last November, we passed 7000 members.  Last year saw users joining at a peak not seen since 2012, with consistent growth that is greater than any time in site history, however we have the slowest activity on the forum that I can recall.  We truly believe that this forum is the best place for this community to discuss, share, and collaborate and we encourage everyone to participate here more.

I implore anyone who has an idea, no matter how small, to bring it up in this thread so we can work together to make Sim-Monsters the best it can be.

I want to thank everyone on the staff as well as everyone in this community for their efforts to create some of the best free content for the monster truck community at large.  I look forward to what we all can achieve moving forward.


tl;dr

  • Congrats to Vincent Akard and Chris Bialek for winning the Truck Fest
  • We are moving to a new Discord that is for site members only with less discussion chats.  Leagues will host their events in this Discord server as well.
  • New leagues will need to verify that they have the needed documents and sheets to host a league.  They will also need to host a fun run monitored by a staff member before being approved.
  • I am working on an update for the Sim-Monsters Anti Cheat tool as well as developing a web page to host the lap times and anti cheat data for league owners.
  • A new stable version of Rigs of Rods was released with a few minor issues (https://www.rigsofrods.org/download).
  • We are strongly encouraging everyone to try and use the forum more for discussion and communication.
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My 2 cents from someone who joined the community less then a year ago.

So far, I've loved being apart of this community, but what I liked the most about it and what has kept me as an active member was the Discord server. Had these ideas which are being implemented been in place a year ago when I joined, I would likely not be here today to write this.

First off, I do like the idea of creating a new discord server which is linked to the sim-monsters. That will be great for keeping the riff-raff off of the discord and also keep discord linked to the site in a meaningful way. It will also be much more manageable for the admins. A ban on discord could also mean a ban on the website!

One thing that I have loved about the leadership of SM since I joined is that there has always been a big push to move the scene and the community forward. This was very evident in the new NAMT settings which are aimed to make the trucks feel more realistic. They obviously aren't complete yet, but I feel like they really do move the community is a great new direction. With that said, moving the discord servers BACK to the forum goes completely against this philosophy. There is a reason that everyone stopped using the forum in favor of the Discord server in the first place and there is a reason that forum's aren't popular on the internet anymore. They're slow and you can't have an immediate conversation on them. Furthermore, they rarely work well on phones and mobile devices.

Forcing the community back onto late 2000s/early 2010s technology instead of keeping up with modern internet trends (Discord) will be detrimental to the community of Sim-Monsters. Much of what you wrote as a reason for doing this is simply not true. Forum's are not more accessible then discord. Searching for anything on this website has always been the worst thing about the SM experience. Discussions are slow on forums and aren't a place which provides instant gratification. Lastly, I don't really think the majority of this community cares about imaginary internet points.

I hope that my views are taken into consideration and same channels which are popular on the current discord will also be apart of the new Discord. Channels like SYP, Screenshots and more should continue to be part of our community. 

All of the other new stuff sounds great though and I'm definitely excited to try out the Anti-Cheat and the new RoR version!

Sim-Monsters needs to continue to move forwards, not move backwards!

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  • 10 months later...
7 minutes ago, Grifdawg said:

Hi all!  This may not be the appropriate spot to post this but I've been having problems with downloading items.  Any mod I try to download I can't.  I'm signed in every time I try and I'm denied access.  Any suggestions?

Hi Grifdawg, I see you just made an account today. I assume that you have hit the download limit for the day. Try again tomorrow!

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