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DrakeyDev 30/04/2020 04:49 AM

A guide to making a prosperous roleplay server:

Over the years, we've witnessed hundreds of roleplay servers come and go as well as multiple attempts to restart a community. Regardless of however well-developed your script or professional your admin team is, there are multiple steps that server owners miss and need to be taken in order to produce the best outcome for a roleplay server. Not every roleplay server lasts forever but being able to maintain a stable community for a few years is a better outcome than having it up for a few weeks; not to mention, the waste of time/effort/finances that go into the making of the server. There are ways you, server owners, that can prevent this from happening. In this guide, I will list the different steps and resources required in order to make sure that the grand opening of your server that you have long awaited for isn't a complete flop as well as to ensure the necessary steps that need to be taken so that you can keep the players you desperately need to keep your server afloat.

Let us start off with the essentials. Before you are going to start a community, you have to ensure that you have the right resources required for such a project. There are many services that are going to be required and there has to be a source; maybe you are self-funding or with an investor(s), either way, as the owner of the server it is YOUR responsibility to not let anyone down in the process of creating a server due to a lack of funding. How bad will it look if you don't have enough to fund your own server halfway through the making? You cannot just depend on the donation of players, this may be merely enough. There are a handful of resources/services that will be needed.

VPS OR FTP: A virtual private server is a virtual machine that can/will be able to host your server, you can run your server files using a reliable and strong VPS depending on your budget. You can even use a VPS for your website/ucp/forum files, all may be needed with the help of someone who has experience in this field as there may even be some port forwarding involved. If you're looking for a strong and secure VPS, I would suggest OVHcloud. Alternatively, if you're looking for something that is cheaper I would suggest Fasthosts but please make sure that the VPS is fast enough for easy usage.

An FTP, File Transfer Protocol, is an easier and cheaper alternative compared to a VPS. It is a program used to manage and move server files in and out, it can be a bit tedious at times but it works and the simple layout is easy to use for first-timers. Programs such as Filezilla can be used for this. Again, an individual with more experience in this field would be most confident with the management of server files so you should leave this to them to set it up (at least the .amx if you do not trust with the .pwn).

WEBHOST: A web host is the server which is required for your website to run, it is essential to use this so that you can put your domain to use. Without this, your website will NOT be accessible. In our case, for a roleplay server, this would be needed for the server forums. There is a wide-range selection of hosting services that you may choose from, but be cautious, you must review the quality of the service they are providing; read reviews and etc. If you choose the wrong web host, you could be subject to downtimes and other web issues.

DOMAIN: This is pretty self-explanatory. This is basically the URL that is accessible to the public, and in our case, we would need to find a domain that is most suitable to the name of the community. Some cost more than others, depending on their value and if they've been used in the past. Some can even go up to $1,000! This is why it would be most useful to find a community name that hasn't been used before, and this will result in the domain name being cheaper for you. A common domain provider is GoDaddy.

TEAMSPEAK SERVER: This one isn't for everyone as services such as Discord are around now, though if you're looking to put some extra funding into your community from the beginning; a TeamSpeak server may be necessary to improve the roleplay standards within your community. Many roleplay servers have now adapted and changed, TeamSpeak servers are used for communicating with other people and this becomes useful for the realism for police officers in a police department faction and others. It may be needed in pursuits or other types of roleplay situations.

You have the services required to keep a server up! Awesome, now we need manpower. A community is never successful without the hands of other individuals and staff members and this is where some owners start to struggle with setting up the hierarchy of a community. In my opinion, and many others, the most organized administration team would be the following:
  • Community Manager / Co-ordinator (highest level, lead admin assignor)
  • Lead Administrators (a higher-level group of administrators responsible for the management of server)
  • Level 3-1 Administrators (you can name these ranks however you wish, increasing ranks = increasing acmds)

    * Notice how there were no "co-owner / secondary owner" ranks, this is because this is totally the wrong thing to do. By giving someone the ability to become the co-owner of the server will lead to power struggles and eventually lead to backstabbing arguments. Alternatively, you could have a group of lead administrators which would be the best way to go for decisions that need to be taken regarding the server.

And here is some additional advice. Divide the administration up into groups they are responsible for.

Now moving onto the people who will be assisting the daily operations of your server and will be seen as almost 'trial administrators'. Refer to P2-Finding the right people. There are many titles for such ranks and they can be whatever you want.
  • Lead Helper/Tester/Game Master/Trial Admin
  • Helper/Tester/Game Master/Trial Admin

This is a bit that is totally subjective. It is up to you who you want to involve in creating a team that will work alongside you, actively and appropriately with the same vision and goal in mind. Normally, start-up server owners tend to go for someone they trust, someone who is their friend, and put them in any random position. However, please refrain from this, try to look for someone that has the knowledge of administrating and has previous experience elsewhere because this will be extremely useful for you. By having someone with a good SA-MP reputation and experience(s), it will be helpful in the long term.

These are the people who are the most difficult to find, in comparison to administrators and other staff which are easier to find. The developers you need are people who will stick with you in the long term and provide updates throughout the way. From the startup of the server and till the end, this is because when a developer decides to leave you will be left with no developer, and therefore finding a new developer will be an extreme hassle and very timely. It could also be costly if you're paying. You must choose your developers carefully, try to get them to give you a view of their portfolio, and make sure that they are capable.

As said, above, please ensure that you are not choosing your friends in any random position. Choose someone who knows what they are doing and are motivated to go through this project, someone who has experience in the past in any type of server and of course a good SA-MP reputation. Another tip, don't put too many people in the administrating positions. Limit this, there will be a lot of people attempting to become administrators just for the thrill so do not allow this to happen. This can easily get out of hand. Try only 3-2 people as administrators when starting up and obviously this will increase in due time.

Helpers / Testers:
When creating a server, you're going to need people to help out; spread the word, and assist in testing with developers whilst answering player questions before launch. Administrators cannot be expected to take care of everything! Plus, creating a rank below administrator will allow people to prove themselves and one day is eligible to move up to an administrating crucial rank of the server. Again, do not go on a hiring spree and let a bunch of random people in. Handpick a limited amount of people who are motivated to go forward with this project in the long term.

(P3) PHASE 1:
Building the hype:

I cannot express how important it is to bring everyone together and build the hype, this is mainly done on a platform such as Discord. This is where I'm sure everyone knows, you will post your server announcements and information regarding the server. By creating a Discord server, it will mean that you are able to gather a large audience of people who will be attending the first moments of the server opening and it will also allow them to have general discussions as well as offer advice on what features they'd like to see. It is so important to build the hype, it will all pay off when the server opens and from then onwards you are able to maintain the player base on and on through different ways of which I will explain further up the phases.

(P3) PHASE 2:
Developing, Testing, Developing, Testing:

Before starting work on anything, first of all, you must make sure you have a fully operating and working script. This will take a long time, a very long time if you're creating something from scratch. This is why everyone you bring into the server must be people that you believe will stay throughout the development process and other processes. This is because when you are trying to create a successful script, bug-free, and full of eye-catching features it will take a very long time and it will require the help of your staff members.

A large script means a lot of testing, developers cannot test the whole game mode regularly therefore a quicker and easier method would be to let staff take care of this. They will be able to report any bugs and issues to the development team who can easily add it to their to-do list (e.g. Trello). It is important to not let any regular players see and test the game mode itself, it can result in leaks and spoil the fun!

But saying that, it is important that the development team produce spoilers of the different features they have developed. Not everything, but some stuff which would be of great excitement to the players and will definitely increase the hype that is needed. Meanwhile, you'll have people inviting their friends and checking out these awesome features being posted by the dev team before the server opening.

* A full heavy roleplay gamemode script from scratch can take up to months to develop!

(P3) PHASE 3:
Keeping players onboard:

It is not easy to keep all the players which you have brought to your Discord server, some decide to leave if there isn't enough activity and the Discord server itself goes dull. You want to prevent this from happening. Try to engage with the users more, this will be difficult mainly because of the fact that the server isn't opening but there is a huge time lag when it comes to developing a large script and as a result, there is the difficulty of trying to keep the players excited.

There are certain things you can do to help, you can create polls and keep the users engaged. You can create a suggestions channel and take in their suggestions, and most importantly show them how the progress of the development is going and promote user invitation to the forums and discord so meanwhile, you are able to grow an audience whilst working on the game mode itself.

(P3) PHASE 4:
Set a grand opening date:

Calculate an estimated date of when the development progress will be over. This is important because it lets you know a date and time of when you can create a grand opening, and so that as many people as possible will be able to participate. Create a grand opening date that is 3 weeks in advance. Why do I say this? Because a week is too short and so is two weeks. By creating this extended date, it immediately ups the hype of the server opening and gives people time to set things aside to join the server and spend time on it when it is time to do so. You will see a boost of players joining the Discord.

* Don't even think about opening without hundreds of people signed up on your forums and on your discord. Think about it, if you have 50 people registered on your forums and/or on your discord; how many of them are going to be attending your grand opening? About 30-40? How many of those will stay on a daily basis? 15-10.

(P3) PHASE 5:
Maintaining a playerbase:

Once your server has had its grand opening and everyone has had their fun within a 24-hour window, the truth is that will be enough for many people and the daily level of players attending the server will drop- unless, you can intervene which many newly created roleplay servers fail to do. By offering multiple possibilities of roleplay, people won't get bored. Create events by force (don't wait for players to do this, admins need to kickstart roleplay too!). Advertise block-parties, clubs, businesses, bars, or even boxing events; you name it. Get players in and offer donation discounts, try to keep players interested. This is a very hard moment and this is where a lot of servers start to crumble after their grand opening, a lot of players will leave and you will have to find innovative methods in order to make them stay.

Think outside the box but keep it realistic, do not start offering too many OOC prizes and start giving out factions, money, guns to people just so they can stay. Too many servers have done this in order to survive but it won't work. If anything, the serious RPers will leave and you will be left with deathmatching individuals hungry to kill.

* I understand that it is not fun to keep everything so serious, and this all depends on the standard of roleplay you are attempting to uphold in your community.


Thank you for reading this post. I know that it isn't 100% accurate, many owners have taken different approaches and avenues and have managed to run successful servers in the past/present. Nevertheless, this post was created all upon the experiences of many people in the past trying to open servers and have gone wrong one way or another, resulting to complete closure. This can be a minor issue such as even opening the server way too early for the community to enjoy, or even way too late. Either way, it is preventable and this thread will possibly help new visitors to SA-MP who are looking to open their own roleplay servers.

Renisal 30/04/2020 06:01 AM

Re: A guide to making a prosperous roleplay server:
Good guide. ++REP
And advertisement plays an important role as well.

DrakeyDev 30/04/2020 06:13 AM

Re: A guide to making a prosperous roleplay server:

Originally Posted by Renisal (Post 4142924)
Good guide. ++REP
And advertisement plays an important role as well.

Thank you! Completely forgot to add the advertising part haha but 100% you are correct, promoting and advertising is just as important as the other things. You’ll receive an influx of new members if you put your helpers and admins to use by discussing ways that you can reach out to the rest of the SA-MP community.

(I’ll add it in to the main post) Thank you.

Proxus 30/04/2020 09:20 AM

Re: A guide to making a prosperous roleplay server:
This is a really insightful guide! However, this seems to apply to pretty much all servers and so the title: "roleplay server" wouldn't be a great fit. This isn't a critique, it's more of a compliment: you'd probably be able to target your ideas & guide to a lot more servers outside of the roleplay genre.

T7L3R 30/04/2020 10:45 AM

Re: A guide to making a prosperous roleplay server:
I'm In work of something that is really good, and this article of yours hints to It a lot and really helped me to get going more and more, thank ya!

DrakeyDev 30/04/2020 03:00 PM

Re: A guide to making a prosperous roleplay server:
Thank you. I appreciate the feedback. For sure, the guide can definitely be diversified and used for other type of game modes too. I will look into that :).

T7L3R 30/04/2020 03:48 PM

Re: A guide to making a prosperous roleplay server:
Can I have your discord where i can contact you perhaps!?

Sajugs 30/04/2020 03:55 PM

Re: A guide to making a prosperous roleplay server:
A guide to making a successful roleplay server from a guy who made 3 roleplay servers that I've never heard of and are now dead.

DrakeyDev 30/04/2020 04:08 PM

Re: A guide to making a prosperous roleplay server:

Originally Posted by Sajugs (Post 4142997)
A guide to making a successful roleplay server from a guy who made 3 roleplay servers that I've never heard of and are now dead.

All of those servers in my signature were servers I just DEVELOPED on. I did not manage. Either way, all those servers had a stable player base from 60 to 100 and were up from months to years in the past.

Anyways, this isn't about me :D this is about helping people who are looking to open new servers without spending time and money and failing it the next week. No need for your unnecessary comments.

kaisersouse 19/05/2020 07:11 PM

Re: A guide to making a prosperous roleplay server:

Originally Posted by Sajugs (Post 4142997)
A guide to making a successful roleplay server from a guy who made 3 roleplay servers that I've never heard of and are now dead.

Not like you've made any contributions to the community so maybe you should just sit the fuck down and let the grown-ups talk.

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