Beacon Persistence (redux)

I feel like it’s time for an update on beacon persistence. This is a really knotty issue, and one that has huge ramifications for Boundless. We’ve put a lot of thought into it, and read all the comments and suggestions, and we’ve come up with a proposal that we’d like to try out for size.

Let’s start by looking at what we’re trying to achieve:

  • We want to prevent “ghost towns”.
  • We want to clear away unused builds in the wilderness to return it to a more natural state.
  • We want to allow active players to re-use key areas of land (e.g. in the middle of a town) which have fallen into disuse.

The proposal we’ve come up with is a simple system, which delivers what we want, and will not take an age to implement. In my experience, when there are many options of varying complexities for a particular system, none of which is a perfect fit, it is normally best to start from a solid, simple base. From there you can see how it works in software decide if iteration is needed, rather than committing to something big which may not work.

After describing the proposal I’ll come back to a couple of extra elements.

What we’ve come up with is this:

  • Placing a beacon does not reserve the space until fuel is added.
  • “Simple Beacon Fuel” is hand crafted from a small number of trunk and leaf blocks.
  • Adding beacon fuel to an un-fueled beacon reserves the plot.
  • It doesn’t take much fuel to fully fuel a beacon, a beacon fully fuelled with “Simple Beacon Fuel” will stay around for two months (exact timings TBD).
  • Using more complex and rare resources you can craft two more advanced beacon fuels which can keep a beacon around for up to four and six months respectively (exact timings TBD).
  • If a beacon gets low on fuel, a graphic is displayed in game, and if the player has registered an email address with the game, then an email is sent to them.
  • A number of emails are sent up to the point when the beacon will be out of fuel.
  • If the beacon is not refuelled, then at the moment the fuel runs out the protection from the beacon is removed. At that point anyone can access the contents of the beacon, or it will naturally regenerate back to the original world state over time.

I’m satisfied that this system covers what we want it to do, and is simple to understand, easy to implement and reasonably forgiving for players. The two areas that give me pause for thought are:

  • Player Control
  • Beacon Contents

My thoughts on those are as follows:

Player Control
There is a strong case in a player-led, and community game like Boundless to have more player control in the removal of beacons. Some of the suggestions in this area have been very good, although they often end up being very complicated. It’s something we should consider adding in future; however, I do have a reservation about it, which is that if removal of a beacon is reliant on you guys “voting” or some other such process then we may fall down on the goal of clearing up the wilderness of detritus. Things would stay messy, until someone found them and took an action to clean up, that seems quite problematic to me.

Beacon Contents
The idea of returning the contents of a beacon to players when that beacon is removed is interesting and would certainly mitigate some of the pain of losing a beacon when you didn’t want to. For that reason I’m quite drawn to it; however, there are a few problems:

  • It would be a bit odd, and against the regeneration concept, for a whole build to disappear in an instant.
  • There is a possibility of an exploit where someone deliberately allows their beacon to expire to get the resources back, and transport them elsewhere, without needing to break the blocks and physically move them.
  • It prevents someone else beaconing, and so preserving, an awesome build. For example if whoever built the dragon is dragon’s watch stopped playing the game and the beacon expired other people in the town could club together to save their iconic statue, rather than have it disappear making the name of the town a bit odd!
  • It’s difficult to implement, with a new system having to be built to allow players to recover possibly thousands of blocks and items somehow. It’s time probably better spent on more fun things.

So there’s a proposal and some background thoughts. I look forward to hearing feedback, and hopefully we can get to a position where as many people as possible are happy with this stuff.


In my opinion this is lacking all of my favourite points from @Karokendo 's proposal but I’ll have to try it out before I decide what to do!

I wish there would be at least a beacon fuel capacity scalling.
Like 20 plots beacon requires 2x more fuel hat 10 plots beacon.

I can’t imagine filling fuel in 40 beacons in pixelgate’s temple just to keep it alive. And every beacon vary from 10 to 100 donated plots.

I have no complaints about this system. If it needs to be changed to fit other people’s criteria, then it can.

I feel like the fuel system is the way to go. Log in time, can be achieved by simple getting into the game and afk’ing, making the job easier for trolls.

Who’s stopping a troll from doing a massive gravel block, and then just logging in to keep it active.

Sure enough there would always be trolls.


The beacons timing would have to be much longer because casual players may need more time to find the rarer resources used in worthwhile beason fuel and then rather not waste them on fuel.
It always painful to have to do effort gaining resources to invest them into “disappearing” in order to keep something you already worked for.

That said, if im being haunted by mails nagging me to play i just want to block boundless and never return. Without mails my content will just vanish… the entire game just becomes one nagging nuisance.
Therefore i like the voting system much better, which is also directly addressing the problem and not awkwardly redirecting it. I think this post also didnt understand the voting system: after 8 months of inactivity, any plot will start regeneration. The mark can extend this period and the votings purpose is only to speed up those 8 months. So there will NOT be any clutter.
Please reconsider! It would be a lot less hassle for those with many different beacons that are all activrly used, as well as community shared beacons. As of now we have no other way to create community buildings than to donate beacons. They need to be able to be preserved even when the player goes away. Fuel doesnt allow this, even if others can interact it would be a crazy job.

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You think 2 months worth of beacon time out of harvesting a few logs and leaves isn’t enough time? I think it’s way too much tbh.

Folks who need a leave of absence over 2 months should contact friends in-game. For those people who want to be hermits, they can hire someone. Especially if fueling beacons is a different permission than building within beacons.

I agree this could be annoying. Maybe an opt-out setting somewhere?


If one could check/uncheck a mail delivery system option whether you get informed about lowfuelled beacons, it could be be helpful.


I really like this proposal. Simple and fair for the vast majority of players. Of course there will be exceptional circumstances like the temple in PixelGate, but this is a good starting point to work from.


The frequency is definitely be something that we would like feedback on, ultimately we don’t want players to opt-out of a system that is there to help not hinder/spam them. What frequency would prevent you from opting out/marking as spam etc?


I’d say probably a total of 3 emails. 2 weeks before the beacon runs out of fuel, 1 week before, 1 day before.

As for the pixelgate concerns brought forth by @DanBeforeTime and @Karokendo, are you really using 40 beacons for one building instead of 40 plots? Remember plots =/= beacons. I’d imagine you could be a little more efficient and find this proposal would work better for you.

Make sure that if more than one beacon is running down, only one email goes out.


The oort temple is a shared build with lots of beacons, Karo would have fuel permission for them all but i doubt I’d contribute fuel with having to fuel my own.

Thing is we need 640 plots, and well no one can give us 640 plots, so we keep it to vertical plots, say 10 plots upwards, so that’s why we have so many beacons. As people can afford donations of 10, 20, 30, etc. But not 200 for example.

@Karokendo sent me a message saying the building is 640 plots. That seems like a community build to me so the community should probably help fuel it…

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Even for casual players 6 months mentioned here should be long enough surely?

I like the system, it’s simple and effective, and I am sure a lot of super active players will be making beacon fuel to sell on their plinths so it will be fairly cheap.

With the returning of goods, how about just things in storage cabinets are returned to the player?


As there are many plots in the city, it’s quite hard to manage all plots, refill etc. Sometimes they are under structures and players would have to destroy their houses in order to fill beacons.
I have an idea. Let’s a make a fueling station that displays all the beacons in certain range available to be refueled.


Maybe the community forum could serve as means of mail delivery. It probably is a bit more discrete to recieve information via forum instead sending it to your email.

All plots owned by the player that are linked to the Beacon Control they own, will share the same fuel source. So you only need to fuel the control to keep all the connected plots active. If you have multiple Controls in the same area, you only need to fuel one of them to keep them all fueled.


Do you mean only if there’s a connected plot bridging the different controls? Or do you mean split controls within one region share fuel sources?

Yep. But the point of this is to open it for debate.

Might be worth considering the second option as well.