The online racing simulator
Current CTRA state
(96 posts, closed, started )
#1 - SamH
Current CTRA state
During the closing months of 2008, I examined the possibility of restructuring the CTRA to add a new service layer that would pay for the server, add monthly prizes that would pwn anything offered by anyone to date, and possibly even create something close to a salary for me.

However, despite my best efforts I haven't been able to create a realistic business plan based on the CTRA public server structure. Despite certain angry little claims to the contrary, the fact is that the CTRA as it exists can and will only ever be staffed voluntarily. I have a good deal of experience creating and running start-ups and I've explored every avenue. There is no money in it.

While I'm very proud of the work that I've put in over the last couple of years, originally developing the database backend to support Becky's fantastic X-System, building the CTRA website from the ground up, devising an extremely functional administrative website for report handling, extending the X-System featureset a little and processing multiple thousands of reports, after 2 years I have to report that I'm just about out of steam.

For the past 6 weeks I have been suffering complete burn-out. Not just regarding CTRA but in all aspects of my life. The number of hours per day/week required to keep CTRA at the standard that we set out to achieve became unsustainable. I'm knackered. At this time, the future of the CTRA system is uncertain.

I've discussed the current state of affairs with other members of UKCT and I can report that there is resistance to my suggestion that we close CTRA. Because of that, I am not making any permanent decisions at this point. Keeping a time-intensive LFS project like CTRA running continuously for this amount of time is an achievement in itself, and one that I don't think has been matched by anyone, so regardless of future decisions, I view the CTRA as a definite "win".

I had suggested closing CTRA temporarily, taking a time-out to recharge and to get on top of some of the issues within the X-System that need addressing, rewriting the last of the unstable code, making some optimisations on the MyCTRA website and clearing the backlog of reports. There is also resistence to short-term closing, fearing that the CTRA would lose its appeal and become forgotten - resulting in empty servers when we re-open, and wasting the time and effort spent getting things back on top.

I'm posting this to bring folks up to speed. I'm not really fielding opinions at the moment - you all know I don't apply forum chatter to LFS server decisions anyway - I just wanted to get into a situation where I was up-front with everyone and where everyone who's interested understands what's happening right now. I will do my best to keep people informed as and when the current situation changes, and in what way.
I'm sad to hear that. .Without CTRA LFS wouldn't be the same. I hope that you'll keep it up.

Is there any way to recrut new moderators btw? I'm sure that a lot of people would done this with pleasure and nicely.

Good luck for your personal future, to UKCT's and to CTRA's one. You've done an astonishing work so far, I would be sad if it'd end like that.
(Gil07) DELETED by Gil07
#3 - Fuse5
Oh well. It was too good to be true. Was fun while it lasted.

And if the people around here really are enthusiastic about LFS, it will be matched. If not beaten.
A system like this could only last so long; voluntarily manning suite of 7 servers containing thousands of drivers and reports would always be a tough job and would have always cost a lot of time and money.

I would very much miss CTRA if it went down, even for a little while, and I think that many other drivers would share that sentiment. The statistics say it all.

I would say outsource and get some new volunteers on board, but it's clearly not as simple as finding some helpful people and saying 'hey, come help us, please'. If something is becoming a detriment to your life, then it's best to close it for a while or for good. Or downgrade it so you don't have to do so much work for a while.

Good luck, whatever your plans are; us humble racers can do nothing than thank all of you guys for the massive amount of work you have put in over the last couple of years to bring us award-winning servers time and time again... Long may it continue (if you want).
As astra said, new volunteers will help a lot, MoE survived huge crisis like that and you guys can too.
Unfortunately I don't have the time nor knowledge needed to help.

Long live CTRA :bowdown:
That's very bad news, I can only wonder what pickup racing will turn into in the aftermath of CTRA's demise, was that the only possible solution.

Assuming a worst case scenario, I just want to thank you Sam and all the others for what CTRA has been so far.

Of course I hope it will be possible to set up a soft landing for it, Passo's suggestions sound good to me.
Why on earth would you close CTRA?

Doing so would be an incredibily stupid, but since you're not going to take anything we guys have to say, you probably won't even read it.

If you're that "knackered out" from running CTRA (although I can't, tbh, see why, maybe I'm missing something ), how about get some help? Would be the logical thing to do.

GL with whatever you do.
That's sad news Sam. CTRA or STCC system as it was before is what got me really hooked on sim you owe me my life back you barstuard!

I understand that the system must take up most of your life mate and for no return to even cover costs is not good.

I can't speak for others but I would certainly be happy to pay something towards the upkeep of what is the best server sytem in LFS, if not sim racing in general.

All the best to you anyway what ever happens
#9 - Joris
Sad to read this but not suprising. The past years must have been quite a sacrifice.

Just keep in mind the CTRA community owes you a lot, not the other way around.
#10 - Jakg
Quote from S14 DRIFT :
If you're that "knackered out" from running CTRA (although I can't, tbh, see why, maybe I'm missing something ), how about get some help? Would be the logical thing to do.

Sam has done 2,000 reports since CTRA was opened - he also puts a lot of work in updating the websites, sorting out stats, fixing the app etc.

I tried to do some reports the night before last - I put in a few hours and chewed through about 5 - 24 hours later I checked the page and 15 new reports had come through - with Sam down they have been coming in faster than we can get through them...
I can understand your position Sadly just hear it now. Was fun while it lasted. Hopefully would last even longer! like s14 drift said, maybe you are just in that situtation, that you just need to call somekind of "outside" help. Im sure that there are some peoples who would be glad to help you But lets see what gonna happen.. lets afraid for the worst and hope for the best.
Sam & Co,
You did a really great job making and maintaining CTRA X-System. It's a brilliant among other LFS servers/systems. Thank you very much for all the happy hours a lot of people had at CTRA servers!
I hope you'll find a solution to the problem.

I will be really happy to see CTRA in the future because it is the very thing that keeps me racing.
#13 - Jakg
What would the LFS community think to a weeks downtime, on the condition it comes back online with all reports processed?
Good job Sam and others on the system. Its great, i really do hope it stays online in the future, like others said without it racing online on LFS wouldnt be the same Good luck!
Quote from Jakg :What would the LFS community think to a weeks downtime, on the condition it comes back online with all reports processed?

it would suck, but you gotta do what you gotta do... i'd probably die if ctra disappeared forever though.

sam - sorry for being a pain in the ass.
Quote from Jakg :What would the LFS community think to a weeks downtime, on the condition it comes back online with all reports processed?

Or, how about don't run a system you can't maintain?

No offense, there are PLENTY of trusted users that, I'm sure, would help to admin CTRA servers by doing some of the reports if asked, or if I an application thing was made..

Wouldn't a better idea, surely, be to simply remove the ability to report people for a week while you deal with the backlog? An ever better idea would have been to stay on top of the reports, hiring help if and when you needed it, rather than pretending there wasn't an issue/not bothering to fix it when you guys realised you had a problem..

I couldn't care less for reports... what I couldn care less about was not having a (decent ish) STD racing server.

Since most of the reports come from the busy servers (race1/ufbr) how about you just close them, since then the silver+ STD racers would use race 2 and above would use race 3/combination of the two..

sldsdfbsdjkbfksdjbfjksdb gjksdfg jkf

Excuse me if I see rude in my post, I just couldn't think of any other way to word it..

I don't drive arount on CTRA very much anymore, but i've had lot's of fun there. Goodluck with whatever solution you will choose.

I can understand that such a project becomes to much if it doesn't pay the bills and you have to do it all in your spare time.
Quote from Jakg :What would the LFS community think to a weeks downtime, on the condition it comes back online with all reports processed?

If that is your biggest problem, i'm sure you can find volunteers for that. Keeping the servers up and the code running with future updates of LFS was what i was thinking you had trouble with.
It's really sad to hear that such a large base for the LFS community is on it's last legs. CTRA has brought clean racing without the hassle of joining leagues etc. We all owe Sam and all the moderators alot for the work they've done for the community
Too many reports to deal with, no idea why as I have rarely seen deliberate wreckers on CTRA servers.

I've never reported anyone, apart from reporting myself for being slow .

Maybe people should calm down before sending in reports. It really should be only real wreckers that are reported and not people out for some fun on a pick up server who happen to make a mistake or two or are new.
I'm guessing you looked at IRacing and thought if they could make a living off regular subs etc then with 20,000 members paying 50p per month etc etc.

That will never work. You will never, ever be able to run a simple pickup server system and make a living off it. Charge even 1p a month and everyone will disappear to Redline or Conedodgers.

Make CTRA manageable or close it. It's a great facility but probably not worth devoting all your spare time to for no reward.
I'd donate, say.. £5-£10 a month... But things would have to change in terms of how CTRA is run...

If it became a "pay to play" thing, if no-one else bothered, I wouldn't either. No point racing the same 5 people...

Just cut down on the bandwidth.. keep the logging thing.. get rid of the report system and get normal admin manning/reporting by PM.. as it could cut down bandwidth..
#22 - Jakg
Bandwidth or cost isn't the issue - after all the people who pay for the server (i.e. UKCT members) are paying for a dedicated box with pretty much unlimited bandwidth rather than a 500servers dedi or something.
I've been expecting this post since way before Xmas,Really enjoyed my time on the servers, have a break and see how things look.

Many thanks
Quote from Jakg :What would the LFS community think to a weeks downtime, on the condition it comes back online with all reports processed?

Don't get stuck up on all this reporting business. It's only a small element in my view. I have only reported someone once, and that was because he was using a speed hack. Maybe just delete the whole backlog of reports, I'm sure it won't cause any harm.

Seriously, just let the racing flow. Take a break, and come back stronger than ever.

Best of luck with whatever you choose to do
If you decide to turn off the system for a few weeks, sure I'll be disappointed, but I can live with it. It was the same when the STCC servers disappeared (different reason I know but the point stand) for a while only to come back better and stronger as the CTRA servers.....sometimes a break can be a good thing.

If you want any volunteers to help with the back log, well it has been offered before, and I'm sure the offer still stands from some. I'll through my hat into the ring also.
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Current CTRA state
(96 posts, closed, started )