This article represents a response to Tom's (RTS Florida 24/7 host) olive branch wish that we find a way to possibly work together as one. I wanted to go into this a little tonight (though as I write this I'm getting tired, and the last paper I wrote took a long time), so I'll try and be as detailed yet brief as possible.
The ideas here are simply my analysis of the common ground we may be able to find together. But also how feasible unification is. I'm open to comments and further suggestions by all parties involved.
Brief History Edit
I don't recall the exact year, but let's say a few years back when Florida became available I was looking for a willing host for a 2nd server. I didn't have the funds to host more than 1 24/7 server, and Tom was the 2nd of 3 full time hosts who have run 24/7 servers.
There was a brief discussion as I did initial research that Tom would take over California, and I would start in Florida. However as it became clear how much I enjoyed the hump and operations of California at the time, that Tom would be taking over Florida and I would stick to California.
Of course Mike and Smiley came along later on. Mike relieved me of California duties, and Smiley to this day still runs a part time server for Selkirk Mohawk. I focused on other activities and eventually after Mike gave up RTS California I looked into session servers once again.
With the expansion to Waycross on the horizon, I looked for a replacement for what was my last venture into Selkirk Mohawk operations. I chose Selkirk/Mohawk so not to confuse or cause any issues with Florida RTS. But when I was not satisfied with Selkirk Mohawk operations I looked to Waycross as a means to get me into running a session server again. At this point on Labour Day 2017, I've only developed the server, and it remains a single player world. It was around this time where Tom expressed his desire and hope to see if there was a way we could both find what we needed in 1 server.
24/7 Servers Edit
As mentioned in my RTS2 article, 24/7 servers what a scheme I started that would give RTS an edge and improve the number of clients to our network. The concept for me was simple that if anarchy dispatching worked and was at least protected by logs or passwords, why not run a server all day and night. I made the step, and it caught on almost immediately. To this day it's debated that I wasn't the first to do this, but really I know I was, and I don't care if I was or not as it has no meaning. Bragging rights mean nothing, it's just the facts I want to make clear and why I did it.
Having people be able to access at any time would allow people anywhere anytime access and run trains on our servers. Without AI or the immediate need for dispatchers, clients could guide their own trains and perform their own work. This is used on most 24/7 servers today with little to no exceptions.
The AI Revolution for V2 Edit
With AI coming into the picture we didn't know what to expect at first. But I was already before release trying to figure out how it would play. I was no longer the RTS host for California, and was trying to make RTS more of a forum and software provider for our community. However since California was always my base, Mike and I had lots in common in the goals we wanted for California.
In order to keep 24/7 running, while focusing on the new AI we thought having 2 modes of operations would server most people well. With planned sessions allowing the clock to move along with the trains. When no dispatcher was on duty however the clock would be frozen, and only operations involving switching in yards would be accepted.
For most who enjoyed running switching, dispatching, and appreciated the busy traffic AI brought this worked well. However this wasn't universally pleasing for all. Many former RTS users (and I say this knowing it drove some away) who didn't care about the AI as much as simply running when they wanted no longer had that option.