wt-replays.org: Could it be? Maybe…
To start things off, let me recap the rather volatile history of this site – it makes for boring reading, but it’s required. Sorry.
The site itself got it’s start somewhere in April 2012; it mainly started off as an exercise “to see if I could”, and a way for me to store my own replays. I’m often not too interested in the actual replay, more in the data that comes out of them, so it seemed logical to build something to deal with it. Turned out that I had enough people telling me that it was nice and I should open it to the public that I did. And for about 9 months things were going okay. In September of 2011 I got well and truly fed up with the way WG tends to ignore things that you point out (granted, it was a security issue, not a superbly big one but still, big enough to warrant attention) so I stopped playing the game altogether.
Of course, when you stop playing a game, it doesn’t make much sense to keep a fansite running dedicated to that game, because it means that updating it for new patches and other such things tends to be a pain in the you-know-what, and it always has been a hobby, not a job. Unfortunately the whole thing managed to occur right around a new patch, so that sort of decided the fate of the site right then and there. However…
It was not to be. At the tail end of 2012 I fell back into playing WoT due to having finally made the jump from EU to SEA (since I live in SEA it resulted in a much nicer ping and game experience), and there we went right back to the original reason why the site was built in the first place. This time around I put more effort into making it look good than I did in actually making it work fast, which has been a rather big issue during it’s (limited) life time. And then things went wrong.
I got an email from my monitoring system that one of the 2 HDD’s in the dedicated server had fallen out of the RAID array, and further investigation revealed it had well and proper croaked. Smugly I sit there going “see, I knew RAID1 was a good idea” and not half a day later, the monitoring emails come in hot, heavy, and full of impending doom. The 2nd HDD had failed as well. This is at a point where the 1st faulty HDD was swapped out for a working one and the array was busy synchronising. When you lose the 2nd HDD it means whatever was on there is irrevocably gone.
That in itself sucked, I have backups of code and web assets, but the replay files themselves took up well over 150Gb. I already used my 100Gb backup space to store the database, which weighed in around 50Gb, so it left me without any replays for people to download. On top of that, the domain was about to expire, and my real life situation got hectic enough to the point I just didn’t have time to even start thinking about what to do about all of it. So I took the “easy” way out and shut the place down. Again.
Turns out, strangely enough, that around the same time most other replay sites vanished into thin air as well. mwreplays went and hasn’t been seen, mywotreplays.ru vanished, and while a lot of sites (noobmeter, +1!) stepped in and took up the “host your replays here” baton, I do feel they never approached the feature set of a site dedicated to replay hosting.
Well now, that just won’t do. Since the 2nd shutdown, a lot of interesting things have happened on the replay decoding front, enough to at least temporarily perk my interest, which lead to the re-installation of WoT, which lead to… (you can see this coming, right?) the exact same issue that caused the site to be built in the first place.
Third time is the charm, they always say, except this time around I’m taking a different approach. Let me sum that up:
- The domain will be wt-replays.org, not wot-replays.org due to the latter having been snaffled up by some cybersquatter, and to be honest the ‘o’ in WoT is small so it’s not significant enough to warrant being part of the domain name. (Also WarThunder has replays so hey… it works for both).
- This time you will*have to log in to upload; works via WG’s OpenID service so it doesn’t require any registration, but you do have to log in.
- You can*not*upload replays that aren’t yours; in the past this happened quite a few times and caused issues a few times.
- Any replay that gets uploaded has it’s stat page and all associated things generated, and the replay file will be available for download for a minimum of 30 days; after that, if the replay page and/or the replay file get no hits for at least a week, first the replay file is removed and it’s download obviously disabled.
- If you really want to use wt-replays.org as a replay file archival service, you can – but it’ll cost real money, because while HDD’s may not be super expensive these days, they’re not cheap enough that I’ll start providing unlimited space out of the kindness of my heart.
- Combining the above two items obviously leads to: “free” accounts have the limits enforced, “premium” accounts do not. How much a premium account will run you is something I’ve yet to decide, but it will most likely be a couple bucks a year.
- I may be able to integrate the Dropbox API, so if you store your replays on Dropbox, the site will automatically update for any new ones it finds. Obviously downloads and replay files will never be disabled or removed in that case. But you’ll have to make your files public. Yeah.
That’s about the gist of things.