2018 - Year in Review


#1

Good day everyone! So as many of you know it is now 2019 so I thought it would fun to do a year in review post to go over the Good, the Bad, and the Future.

Table of contents

The Good

  1. New Host - So as a fair number of you know we lost the site early summer due to an issue with the old host. The official statement is basically they had entire server rack melt down and they had to replace the whole thing. They did not want to provide us with an ETA and many of Kilif’s requests for information and data where left unanswered. Also, this was not the first time the service provider has caused Weight Gaming issues being responsible for another outages that happened late 2017 – early 2018. In the end we realized these cut rate hosts where just not worth the money, so we started to search for a new hosting service for the site. After evaluating multiple services, we finally decided to settle on Digital Ocean as our provider and we couldn’t be happier. They may be a bit more expensive then our old hosts but they are very on top of their servers and alert us ASAP if they believe any interruption of service could occur or if they are dealing with an issue.

  2. Redesigned Site – With us deciding to switch hosts we thought it would be a good time to redo the site. So, we took this time to switch from the old phpbb framework the newer Discourse forum framework. This brought in a lot of new features to the site such as a tagging system, a better search interface, and an automated backup system. Also, this new system brought a more modern and easier to navigate UI on both desktop and mobile devices. We know there was some push back against the new framework initially but overall most of the feed back we have gotten has been very positive to the change.

  3. Automated Offsite Backups – So one big reason we also chose to go with the Discourse framework was it came standard with an automated backup system. This was a great feature to help us prevent another loss of data like the one we experienced with the site outage mid 2018 that resulted in ~1 year of data being lost. But having an automated backup system is only one piece of the puzzle as these backups where stored on the server and required us to manually download the backups onto our personal computers. This was not optimal as this required us to remember to do this and if we forgot and the site went down, we could have lost a lot of data again. Luckily though Discourse also has Amazon S3 integration and with the generous support of this amazing community through our Patreon we where able to pay for an Amazon S3 subscription allowing us to now automatically create and store these backups off site!

  4. Patreon – Speaking of Patreon lets talk about it. So, we established a Patreon in order to decentralize our funding so if we where not able to cover the expenses ourselves, we would not be forced to shutdown the site. This was also meant to help empower our community allowing the community to take more ownership of the site as well as help more directly with its growth. Thus far I am happy to say its been going really well! At the time of writing we are close to breaching out $100 a month goal that will allow us to invest more into the site’s infrastructure such as redundant and development focused servers. We are very proud to see how the community has stepped up to help support this site and would like to thank you all for being so amazing!

  5. Funding Projects – Since the community has been so good to us, we have pledged to give back to the community where we can using our overflow from Patreon to help fund devs that are in need or just require some cash to get some tools they need, and we got a chance to do just this way sooner than we expected. We saw that Cakehoarder, who was developing Juni’s Appetite at the time, had some unexpected car troubles that would have delayed her production on the game. We contacted her to offer her what we could scrounge together to assist her with her car troubles as well as help with development of the game. During our talks this turned into a partnership that resulted in our Juni’s Appetite raffle. We where very grateful for the opportunity to work with Cakehoarder, but what we saw after release really surprised us. It’s hard for us to know how much can be contributed to Juni’s Appetite as Super Fatty RPG finished its dev around the same time, but we did see a massive increase in traffic to the site after Juni’s Appetite, especially through google searches. Even after the initial spike this still increased our monthly traffic by about 300 users! Now you may be wondering why this is important. Well this is important because it shows that investing in projects leads to a sustained increase in traffic for Weight Gaming, and this makes it even easier for us to justify investing in projects. This is also a good way for us to get our name out into communities like Deviant Art where it tends to be harder to advertise a site like ours compared to sites like Fur Affinity.

  6. Fat Fortnight – We don’t just want to help fund projects but also one of our goals is to help users in our community refine their dev skills. One of the best ways to do this is through Game Jams and thanks to our community’s generous support again we where able to hold our first one this year! It was very successful resulting in 9 submissions and a good few of residuals! We definitely plan on doing more and improving it where we can.

  7. Our Amazing Community in General – Finally we would not be here without you all and time and time again you all show how awesome of a community you are! While not as visible we had two users on our Discord come to us having fallen on hard times. We couldn’t give directly but we offered to help advertise their issue and offer to open the memes channel to encourage donations, and both times the community really stepped up fully funding both members in their time of need! Thank you all again for be such an amazing community!

The Bad

  1. Data Loss – Ok so onto the bad so let’s start with what might have been the worst thing to happen this year, the loss of a years’ worth of data. When the site melted down on the old host we immediately began working on damage control and during that we came to a gut wrenching realization, the last update we took from the server was almost a year ago. We tried everything in our power to try to get access to the old data in the hopes we could salvage it. The old hosting service we used was very resistant to helping us and even got to the point where they began to outright ignore our support requests. While the community at the time was a little divided on if we should continue trying to get access to the old data or move on; we decided that if we waited much longer the sites down time would be more damaging than the data loss so we decided to move forward with bringing the site back up with the back up from 2017. While we have been able to make up for this data loss with new posts and reposts from the original authors the data loss was still a hit to us.

  2. Site Outages – Next to the data loss the site outages (mainly the longer 2-3month one experienced in the late spring, early summer) was also a big hit for us. Site outages of any significant length of time are very dangerous especially for smaller sites. As soon as a site goes down the site begins to lose its search ranking and those who frequent the site start to wonder if the owner just up and left like so many other sites like it. This means every day the site is down the harder we will have to work to rebuild our discoverability and try to regain the traffic we lost. Now why is this so important, well it is because the more traffic we have, and the more discoverable Weight Gaming is the more likely it is we can attract more members that want to participate in the community and even make or help in making games. To give you an example of how hard it is to rebuild after an outage like that we only started to recover back to our pre-outage numbers around December.

  3. The Ability to Communicate During the Outage – The outage’s damage could have been contained if we had a better way of communicating with the community during the outage. Unfortunately, only those in the Weight Gaming discord were privy to the information about what was going on and we relied heavily on word of mouth to spread the information to those not on the discord. This was the driving force behind us starting the Weight Gaming twitter account back up, as this now gives us a public platform where we can announce if there are any issues with the site and can be accessed by everyone and not just those on the discord.

  4. Blocked in Russia – So one of the more surprising things that happen to us this year was Weight Gaming was blocked in Russia. This was brought to our attention after we switched hosts to Digital Ocean. We had a few Russian users on our discord contact us complaining about not being able to get onto the site. After a bit of research, we found out that the reason for this was because Digital Ocean is used to host a chat program (I think it was telegram but not sure) that was popular with Russian political dissidents, so the Russian government ordered its ISPs to blacklist all IPs that come from Digital Ocean. This is a bummer for our Russian users, but this is unfortunately out of our control and we can only hope they find ways around it or Russia decides to unblock Digital Ocean.

  5. Article 13 – So finally I wanted to wrap this up with some talk about Article 13. This hasn’t impacted us much yet as it is in the final rounds of deliberation but did force us to have to start considering how to deal with it if it is passed. For those who don’t know Article 13 will make us as a site liable for copyrighted material posted by our users. This means we can be sued under this directive if one of our users violates copyright. This is very dangerous for a small site like ours, so it is important we plan for how to deal with it if it is passed. Luckily public resistance to Article 13 seems to be building within the EU, and for better or for worse though we look forward to seeing the result of the final deliberations this February.

The Future

Finally, lets talk about whet 2019 will hold for Weight Gaming. So, our biggest focus for 2019, now that the forums are stable is working, is developing our main site. As of time of writing we have already began taking steps to set up our dev server for developing the main site. In the end though this may require us to bring up some more additional servers for testing and development as the need arises, so we expect to see our server costs to also be going up this year.

That being said not all the servers we will be bringing up will be for Weight Gaming. We have already begun working with PeachClamNine to move over his awesome game, Valentine at Shibo Mansion, to a server ran by Weight Gaming so those of you who have loved playing it thus far can keep playing without restriction. After we finish moving VSM over to one of our servers we hope to work with Peach to continue development on the game.

Finally, expect to see us doing more small projects like videos on topics like copyright, looking for projects to fund, and doing another game jam.

Well I think that covers about everything major for this year. Thank you all again for being such an awesome community and making last year so awesome! I am sure that everyone is looking forward to what we will all accomplish in 2019!

Shameless Plug

If you like what we have been doing here and want to support our development of the site or future projects check out our Patreon!


#2

This may be silly, but is there any word on if there might be any extra work put toward Valentine at Shibo Mansion? I mean if not, that’s fine, still fun, I’m just curious~


#3

We have already begun working with PeachClamNine to move over his awesome game, Valentine at Shibo Mansion , to a server ran by Weight Gaming so those of you who have loved playing it thus far can keep playing without restriction. After we finish moving VSM over to one of our servers we hope to work with Peach to continue development on the game.

I believe this is the answer your looking for.


#4

It is really good to know we have the Discord group & Twitter account.

But Mr. Grot (@grotlover2), can I ask you what do you think about the Twitter account?

I mean, I know that so far it only for announce about the site maintenance and some games, and for wish good holidays to us all…, but I do not feel it “works” so good as the Discord group. Being honest.

What I really want to ask is if this 2019, can the Twitter account have more love? Or at least an upgrade image, because Discord did but Twitter did not at Christmas time.


#5

no, I already read that part, I was asking if there would be an additions to the little game ^ .^;;


#6

@MakoDebu to answer your question, it’s too early to tell what might be done with @PeachClamNine Valentime at Shibo Mansion. Right now the focus is shifting it to our servers. After that though we hope to have more information for you all regarding its further development.

@LaCabra keep in mind that Discord and Twitter fill 2 completely different roles and trying compare one to the other is not a good comparison. That being said we do need to give our Twitter some more love, but for right now it’s a fairly low priority for us since it is serving it’s intended purpose well. We do plan on continuing to develop it though as time goes on like we did with the Discord.


#7

Best of luck, hun ^ -^