Early Spring cleanup! DNS, Emails and more


The shittiest time of the year aka "winter" is finally coming to an end, and unlike the rest of nature we weren't in hibernation but instead already started early our spring cleanup šŸ˜Š

DNS cleanup & Cloudflare magic (download speed issue fix?)

For those who don't know about it, last year we formed the democratic FAForever association which took over the business from it's predecessor in the USA owned by visionik.

As one of the last steps we moved the domain and dns ownership to the association and this also allowed us to give access to the people actually working with it.

When we looked at it was a huge list of over 75 organically grown records with outdated or redundant information. After a nice cleanup of using wildcards and deleting outdated stuff we are down to 30 records.

This will hopefully speed up some development / deployment processes in the future.

During this we took care of 3 additional things:

  1. Hopefully we fixed some issue with SPF records that caused our emails to be rejected by some mail providers or put them to spam.
  2. We setup a Cloudflare proxy for our main website and the content server. The latter is the more important hopefully fixing a lot of previous issues with download speeds on patches and mods. Please comment your experience!
  3. We tweaked our reverse proxy to use different mechanism for retrieving TLS certificates (but thats mostly internal stuff).

FAF emails leave the stone age

Around a month ago I resolved an issue that bugged me since I started development in FAF but never had the priority to do it. Do you remember the glorious day when you signed up for FAF? Or the last time you requested a password reset? Whenever you looked into your inbox you saw a horrible unformatted text email greeting you with the retro flair of the 90s.

When I first implemented user registration and password reset in the (back then Python in 2016!) api I took over the old server code email template with a note to myself to make it more pretty. Later on I migrated it to the current Java api (around 2 years later), wrapping the unformatted text in unformatted html once more with a reminder to make it more pretty in the future.

Later on we introduced Mautic inspired from the MailJet service. Mailjet allows emails to be predefined as templates that only need to be handed variables during sending. This effectively seperates styling and content of an email. Mautic allowed this on top of a lot of other features. But again it never was a priority and never got actually used for this purpose. Instead it got used for something else: A nicely styled automated welcome email for newjoiners.

Recently I became aware of several security and management issues with Mautic (more details here) and decided to remove it. But that would have caused a feature loss of this nicely styled welcome email. So finally emails receive some priority handling. And thanks to the MailJet company inventing a dedicated email markup language, FAF after 10 years finally received beautiful html emails. Some examples:

Account activation email


Welcome to FAF email


"Nerds have a really complicated relationship with change: Change is awesome when WE'RE the ones doing it. As soon as change is coming from outside of us it becomes untrustworthy and it threatens what we think of is the familiar."
ā€“ Benno Rice