We are back again after almost two weeks of vanishing from the Internet. You have probably noticed that everything is different – the domain, the site, the forums. Given all that has happened the team believes the community should know the full story of what happened, so please read on.
Before the full explanation, here are the facts. We have likely lost the following forever:
- Forums (both the original and most recent)
- Some of the backend configuration and content
- Bug tracker and project management data
Here is what was mostly recovered / may be recoverable later:
- Source code
- Assets (previous revisions lost)
- Parts of the website
- moviebattles2.com domain (may take months)
Internally within the team there was the need to do something about the server hosting. Sxx, having retired, did not wish to be involved in this anymore. He had (and still has) ownership of the old domain and server hosting all of the development, site, and forum content. The discussions surrounding this began around March-April (with the old forums being gone it is impossible to verify the exact time).
The only people with both the technical background and trusted access to make this happen were largely not available for many months after Sxx stated his desire to transfer hosting. For significant real life reasons. The topic was placed on the backburner until the issue was forced in September. Payment for the servers over this period went through Sxx’s Paypal account, but the funding was provided by members of the team and the community.
At the beginning of September Sxx made a clear deadline for this server transfer (he had withdrawn payment information from the server hosting after the month’s expenses were paid, so the servers would be shutdown in October). Due to this LoU began the process of making a backup of everything on the evening of the 13th.
Before the backup could complete, all access to the servers and domain were cut off. At first there was a great deal of confusion within the team as nothing should have expired at this point. Why would everything fail at once, both the domain’s configuration and server access? Within a few days we learned from the server provider that access to the Internet had been purposefully cut off at the server side. The only person with the capability of doing this was Sxx.
Needless to say this was unexpected. Before this was learned various team members had attempted to contact Sxx to learn what the situation with the hosting was. These attempts at contact (with a few exceptions) were answered by blocking the individual.
Before we learned the cause, GoodOl’Ben did get one response. Basically a rant stating how Sxx had warned people about needing to move hosting, that anyone could have taken care of the transferring before, and feeling harassed at the messaging asking why the site was down.
Later after learning the cause for the site being down, LoU tried confronting Sxx about it. He requested an explanation and at the very least the chance to backup the data. Sxx’s only response was for LoU to “go fuck himself”.
With communication having broken down, the team was left with whatever had been backed up outside of Sxx’s control (site backups were regularly made to another server, but Sxx owns this as well). What we have left is listed in the previous section. Since Sxx had the hosting and everything else in his name, we have no way of directly recovering the data from the provider unless Sxx permits access again. We do not consider this a likely possibility given recent behavior.
At this point the amount of damage Sxx has done to the Movie Battles project cannot be understated. This kind of betrayal of the community’s trust is unprecedented. Over a decade of history and a lot of effort from the past year has been lost. Despite all of that, Movie Battles development can and will still continue. We will not allow the selfish actions of one individual to destroy the project and tarnish its legacy.
Ultimately the responsibility for this failure falls to the team. For that we offer our sincerest apology to everyone in the community. Those of us who remain to lead are doing what we can to rebuild. For the new site and development, we are learning from this mistake and making changes to ensure no individual has enough control to shut down the entire project on a whim. Not much of a consolation after the fact, but that is the best way we can make the promise that something like this will never happen again.
Focusing on the current game, we will be releasing an update to the launcher soon. This will require a manual download and install as the auto update mechanism was broken with loss of control over the old domain. This launcher update will then install an updated MBII release to fix the in-game server browser. Please watch for an announcement regarding this.
Regarding the forums and site, this is still a work in progress. Parts may be missing for a little while. The forum style is still incomplete. Please be patient while this is all addressed in the coming weeks.