About this project
More than 100 million people play Minecraft and most of them are pre-teens. Do you know who your child is playing Minecraft with? No, you don't. And that's why having a $99 Mineserver™ is so important because it makes the game even better while keeping out the pervs.
Minecraft from Mojang (now Microsoft) is a client-server sandbox game that allows children and adults to build things and then, well, blow them up. You can't play true Minecraft without connecting to a server. There are thousands of Minecraft servers on the Internet but most of them are in some way commercial, typically ad-based. That means advertising to your children.
While every Minecraft server technically has an admin, some do a better job of policing the fun than others. Cyber-bullying on servers is common. The text-based chat in Minecraft can easily get out of hand when players are in survival mode, which generally devolves from building to fighting. A big commercial Minecraft server can have thousands of simultaneous players and if you are a parent there is no way of knowing who is that knave with the diamond sword killing your child and stealing his or her stuff.
But there's a better way -- run your own ad-free Minecraft server. All it takes is an old PC or the server can run in background on Dad or Mom's PC. Multiplayer server software is free from Microsoft. What could be better than that?
Our $99 Mineserver™ is way better.
It's cheaper to run. According to energystar.gov the average home PC costs about $30 per year to run. Our $99 Mineserver™ costs about $1 per year to run. Your PC monitor -- just the monitor -- uses about two watts in sleep mode. Our $99 Mineserver™ doesn't need a monitor and uses two watts to support 20 simultaneous players.
It's cheaper to buy. Try finding another brand-new dedicated plug-and-play server for $99. If you take energy costs into account that old PC in the closet isn't so cheap after all.
It doesn't slow down Dad's PC. You know how Dad hates that.
It boots straight into Minecraft. Your old PC won't do that.
It's easy to find. Every $99 Mineserver™ has a unique name chosen by its owner (wildweasel.mineserver.com for example) and can be discovered by players you like (more on this below) from all over the Internet without ever using an IP address.
It's easy to administer. Most Minecraft servers use a Command Line Interface. How are your Linux sysadmin chops? Not so good, eh? So most home Minecraft servers aren't effectively administered at all. But our $99 Mineserver™ comes with a tiny web server that allows the server to be monitored with a graphical interface from a parental PC or from our free iOS or Android phone apps. From the dairy aisle at the supermarket Mom can reboot the server or ban a specific player who she sees from the scrolling chat log is using bad language. She can even maintain a whitelist of accepted players with all others kept out.
And it's fast -- really fast! You might not expect a $99 Mineserver™ to keep up with big commercial servers but there is a huge advantage to operating on a local network as opposed to the broader Internet. If your Internet connection is rated at 5, 10, or 15 megabits-per-second, which is typical, that's how fast Minecraft can run. But our $99 Mineserver™ lives on a gigabit Ethernet connection generally straight to your home router. That's 10-100 times faster than a commercial Minecraft server.
And our $199 Mineserver Pro™ is even faster! We got a little carried away one day and built a Minecraft supercomputer for those who want even more performance. With twice as many cores and twice as much memory running at a clock speed that's a third faster than our $99 Mineserver™, the $199 Mineserver Pro™ could easily handle 100 players but we limit it to 50 players just to keep things running a bit cooler. It still costs only about $2 per year to run.
CHEAPER. EASIER. SAFER. FASTER. AND EVEN FASTER!
A note about networking. We love Ethernet but to some folks it's a WiFi world so we have a $10 WiFi option for our $99 Mineservers™ and WiFi is built in all our Mineserver Pros™. Now let us talk you out of using it. WiFi (ours is 802.11n) is slower than gig-Ethernet and even if all your computers at home are connected by WiFi you probably don't need WiFi in your Mineserver™ to reach them. That's because the best Mineserver™ installation is plugged directly into an Ethernet port on your router or WiFi access point. Use THAT WiFi, not ours, because using ours introduces yet another WiFi roundtrip hop (router or access point to Mineserver™ and back to router or access point) just slowing the whole thing down when running on a single radio. And don't even think of creating a standalone Minecraft WiFi network because the Minecraft clients have to be able to reach over the Internet Mojang's authorization servers in order to work at all. But if you really, really want WiFi, ORDER IT NOW because it can't be added later to your Mineserver™™. Sorry.
Mineserver™ is not endorsed by or affiliated with Mojang AB. Support not offered by Mojang AB.
Risks and challenges
ONE MORE TIME...Mineserver™ is not endorsed by or affiliated with Mojang AB. Support not offered by Mojang AB.
Mineserver LLC was started more than a year ago by the three Cringely brothers, now 13, 11 and 9. They worked through several generations of hardware and software looking for the right combination at the right price point -- $99. The result is that, unlike many Kickstarter hardware projects, for the $99 Mineserver™ virtually all development work is already done so risks are minimized. If we had cases we could start shipping tomorrow.
We have a reliable supply of computers. The Linux OS, Minecraft server, and admin apps are tuned to operate well together. The dynamic DNS service is globally distributed and protected from DDOS attacks. All that still needs to be finished is the final case tooling, which is coming from a U.S. supplier. That tooling -- and pre-ordering a large enough supply of other components at volume prices -- is what the $15,000 is for.
Full production will begin at the start of November and our goal is to deliver all Mineservers™ -- burned-in and tested -- by Christmas.
Of course with generally pre-teen production labor there may be glitches. Halloween is coming, there's volleyball, cross-country and the science fair, but our production process is honed and simple, testing is automated, and long-suffering parents can always help out if needed.
This is not rocket science... That's next year.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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