Updated! Please read this important news article before asking any questions. The old post can be found after the break.
I've always been afraid of causing false hope due to personal reasons that I won't go into detail with, but it's safe to say that I want to be very certain about something before turning it into an announcement or official statement. Please read the original post (below the page break) first if you haven't seen it before.
In August this year I was 100% certain that I've had enough time to debate what I wanted to do with R-FS in the future... The decision that I wanted to close down the server was certain and thought out. I did everything I felt that was necessary to make sure I wouldn't make up my mind and regret it. Things like the fact that nobody seemed to notice when the server was down for months is a great example. Another one is that I've made sure to discuss the issue with Miracoli multiple times.
Originally it was pretty clear that there would be some replies to this announcement related to people wanting to keep the forums online, or reacting in a personal and heart touching way. This was not a surprise at all... But I never expected so many people to respond to what I thought were the dead remains of a once great community. Of course it wasn't easy to make this decision and it didn't help one bit how bad I felt after reading the many comments on the forums.
Now, I did mention how I wouldn't get rid of any website or game server files simply because the amount of time spent on it is in no way replacable, and it is part of the history of R-FS. Everything must be archived, but people clearly wanted to have access to it. I refuse paying for expensive hosting (okay, it's not that expensive, but with so little activity it isn't worth it...), so I silently transfered the website over to my local server. A fair amount of setting up and configuring things lead me to a case where I'll be able to amortise the hosting account all together. Everything I need is a 13 euro/year domain name (www.samp-funserver.com, because I don't want to lose that or change it risking more people to leave). The website itself is within my hands now, and the domain name is currently renewed for one year and vailid until September the 12th of 2016!
I want to thank gtasarules14 a million times for giving me the motivation and the required money to renew the domain name so that the website can stay up for another year. We've had daily conversations for a week or so, and it really helped a lot. Seeing how much people want the site to be up was something I can't ignore. But it doesn't stop there... You may notice that a lot of things are working again that were broken since forever, including the webstats stuff and the loading speeds. This is also made possible because of extremely long sessions where I've worked on the problems and asked some help from a great collegue who wanted to spend some private time looking at it with me.
The reminder of people still caring for the server, how much gtasarules14 and the forum posts by a large chunk of the regular members shared their interest in R-FS and the ability to have people help me with problems I never thought were solvable without dedicating months of work towards it are what made me active again. I really have no idea about the future of the server, and since I mentioned the part about false hope at the beginning of the post for a good reason I won't go into much detail right now... but this story definitely has a next chapter.
I'll be doing stuff when I can and hopefully I can get it clear to myself this time. Please spead the word to everybody who played here or posts/posted on the forums recently! They must know that the source of R-FS will remain publically accessible and updated when nececarry.
Thanks for reading this!
Ricardo signing off.
Original post (August 31):
As you may already know, the SA:MP server has been unreachable for a long time now. For the past 8 long months it was no longer possible to host R-FS due to financial problems. It simply became too expensive to host the server somewhere and the problems with SmartBytesHosting didn't help maintaining the player base either.
I've taken my time to completely redesign the website after the old one became vulnerable due to the outdated Joomla! version, and spent forever on setting up a local server so that players were still able to access the server. For some reason the R-FS server has been dealing with crashes for a long time, which is probably related to SA:MP. After moving the server there have barely been any players online at any given time, so I stopped turning the server back on when it crashed the past few times.
Because the server was basically dead anyway, we've never finished the update R-FS v6.3 either. This was noticible especially because of the partially implemented Duel System that didn't work at all. Working on an empty server was no longer worth it for us, but it was very hard for me to admit that to myself. There didn't seem to be any way to keep the server alive without starting from scratch (with a different gamemode). I knew that there was no way that I was going to do that, so I kept myself quiet for some time trying to figure out what to do...
Miracoli and I have been discussing the problem a few times and neither of us have the time to get R-FS to become popular again, but it's probably true that SA:MP is not as big as it used to be.
About 2 weeks ago I've received an e-mail about the website expiring. After a lot of debating there doesn't seem to be any other option besides closing down Ricardo's Funserver.
Five years ago Garsino wanted to stop working on the original Garsino's Funserver gamemode. It's been a very long time and I am very certain that we've done a great job on extending the life of the server. The past few months were pretty hopeless, but the years 2011, 2012 and 2013 were great years for the server and players. In 2014 I was way more inactive than ever before, but I did everything I can to make sure there were enough updates to keep the server from dying. I am glad that the server was a success even though there were some minor and sometimes (slightly) less minor issues and technical difficulties. There were some problems, but owning the server has been a great job for me and I enjoyed every moment of it when I got reminded how awesome the regular players are to chat and play with.
This is why I want to thank everybody for all the good times in the past. I will never forget the things that kept the server running and the amazing time I had all the way back to when I first started up SA:MP and visited G-FS.
For everybody who wants to stay in contact I will keep the R-FS Facebook page around for the time being. Even though there won't be any regular updates on there, it'll still be a way for people to stay in contact.
The server is still turned off and unreachable, but the website will close down on Saturday September the 12th! Make sure you save anything from the site or forum that you want to keep. I'll definitely save a backup on a secure location, but it won't be available online.
Closing down the server is the hardest decision that I've made over the past 10 years or so. Thanks again for everything and feel free to visit the Facebook page if you can. The support has been amazing!