Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas and Snowballs!

On December 14th we announced our holiday schedule, which included the following items:
- Dec. 14 – All I Want for Christmas Poll
- Dec. 14-25 – Christmas Gift Giveaway
- Dec. 18-19 – Jail Break Parties 2PM, 6PM, Midnight
- Dec. 20 – Drug Transportation Unveiling
- Dec. 22-25 – Snowball Fights
- Christmas Eve (Dec. 24) – Lcuk’s Christmas Riddles
- Christmas Day (Dec. 25) – Peace On Earth, 24 hour ceasefire

The Drugs Transportation Missions launch went quite well, although some players at first didn't realize it's an extra way to rank, and only drugs will be removed from the Drugs & Booze page. Just before the launch the kill records page was renamed to Personal Stats, which includes counters and timers for DTMs, OCs, Crimes, GTA. This page may in the future be used for other statistics as well.

At this moment the Snowball Fights are active, and proved to be quite a lot of fun! Using a special page (link is on the game forum) players can throw virtual snowballs at other players, who will receive a notification, and (in most cases) a small gift (some money, a credit, a car). At the same time, the Shoutbox is updated with a similar notification, visible to all other players.

In addition to the snowball throws in the shoutbox, we figured it would be nice to disable these messages too. Today (24-12-2010) I made the change; two buttons to toggle visibility of jailbreaks or snowball messages were added. While doing this, I also updated the shoutbox in general, allowing possible new features such as network chat and/or personal messages to players. These possible updates haven't been scheduled for creation yet.

Finally, I would like to wish all TMN players (and other readers) a merry Christmas and a great 2011!


Monday, December 6, 2010

Halloween, Thanksgiving, Activity, Shoutbox

And again it's been way too long since I last wrote something. This time I'll cover the recent activities on TMN, for those who missed it (and those who are just generally interested to see the numbers).

Alright, it's been over a month, but it was fun anyway. Devious thought it'd be fun to make collecting a prize somewhat more interactive, so we used a pumpkin to click on in order to claim a prize. I had a friend create an animated 'wheel of fortune' kind of thing, which worked quite well (although there was a bug somewhere...). In the end 28% of the participants got "Scared to death by Marc" and lost 2% health, but the remaining 72% received a better prize. Other prizes included were 5 expensive cars (8%), 5 semi-expensive cars (8%), 5 bombed cars (15%), $1,000,000 (10%), some Experience Points (9%), and 20 credits (11%). The remaining players received bullets, and a few were in the race for a network. In total 546 players participated in the Halloween giveaway.

Because Thanksgiving isn't really a weekend, and the day wasn't a very good one for me personally, we spread it over 2 weekends. During the first weekend we did some forum giveaways (first 10 to post, etc), and let players shoot players with the names of former moderators for a GMW reward. Also everyone who did an OC during the weekend was able to collect $1,000,000 from a special page (188 players did this).
During the second weekend we set the OC timer to 6 hours instead of 8, and did some more giveaways. Using another special page where players could claim a prize, we gave 356 players a total of 19 OCs with Devious and Marc, 290 Arnages 1685 Credits, 14000 Bullets, more than $865,000,000 (exact number is unclear because of less structured giveaways), and 500 lottery tickets.

Shortly after the game economy hit 16bil, partially thanks to our giveaways, it happened... SOA and SI emptied their AWPs and shot hundreds of high ranked players. The economy dropped to below 10bil, and we were unsure on what would happen. Some players had no hope and quit, others stayed and are now quietly ranking. To stimulate the economy, we did some giveaways during Sinterklaas (google it, it's a Dutch national holiday), and increased the money you get from OCs and GTAs. We are now trying to think of and implement ways to keep players interested, and make them realize this was only the first half of the game: the second half is almost starting....


A new feature was added to the game, even though it isn't finished yet: the shoutbox! There's a preview inside the game forum topic, but you can open the pop-up (looks better and is easier to use than the preview) by clicking a link in the right top of all forum topics. There is also a link on the jail page, because the shoutbox displays all jailbreaks as well! This has been requested ever since we disabled the "jail break messages" a few years ago, and now it's live! Devious lead the first couple of jail break contests, and it's up to the players to continue it now. I will keep improving it, and eventually it will most probably replace the Game Forum topic. Other ideas we have for it include notifications of new messages, kills, OC inviations and status and possibly private chats.


Monday, October 25, 2010

About me

As many players have asked questions about me, I thought I'd dedicate an entire blog post to it. I hope you'll enjoy reading it!

My name is Marc, and I'm 22 years old (19-05-1988). I live in the Netherlands, and have a Bachelor's degree in Information and Communication Technology (BICT). I'm currently in university (Radboud University Nijmegen) doing a MSc in Information Science, which will probably take another 2 years. It is fair to say that I got my degree partially thanks to TMN and its creator DragonCurse.

How it started
Back in June 2004, DragonCurse asked me if I was interested in testing somehing. I ended up testing and later managing the game we now know as TMN. We grew from 0 players to 2200 players online at the same time within a year, and even though we had our share of corrupt moderators, it was a great time.

With no knowledge of programming, databases or even webdesign, DragonCurse trusted me with administrator access to the server (this was early 2005). He explained the (very) basics of getting data from a database, and soon I was on the way learning T-SQL. About 2 years later (January 2007, I was in the first year of my ICT study), I started programming in ASP.NET. I e-mailed my first code updates to DC on January 12th 2007 (although I may have updated more before that).

Because we were still too young to handle a successful game, TMN kept shrinking... From 2200 players online we shrunk back to less than 500 online, so halfway through 2007 we thought it'd be good to launch a new version of TMN: tmnX. We launched the game in January 2008, but unfortunately we misjudged the TMN players, who really didn't want another game! After 8 months of tmnX we decided to pull the plug and update TMN to a version we could manage: TMN Classic was born. TMN Classic was a 90% recoded version of TMN that performed a lot better and was easier to manage.

More recent
In 2010 the game had shrunk to less than 12 players online at times, and since I was in the middle of graduating (February - June 2010), I didn't have much time on my hands. Eventually TMN went offline. Because I personally wasn't done with TMN (and realized the players weren't either), I stepped forward and started working again. The rest can be read in the previous few blog posts.

We can't predict the future, but we won't expect any luck (like in 2004). For that reason we'll be carefully planning new features, advertising, updates and promotional events such as holiday weekends. From the credit purchases we don't need to worry about server fees, but we do need to make sure the game attracts new players and keeps its current players. We may continue to work with DragonCurse and his new game (TMN4).


Monday, October 11, 2010

Polls, new possible feature

On October 8th a poll system was introduced to the TMN players. This system allows the TMN staff to attach a poll (with unlimited amount of answers) to a topic, so all players can vote (once). As a first test, we asked players how old they are. The result of this poll (after 3 days) is shown on the image below.

This poll was only the start though! On 11-10-2010 another poll was added to a forum topic. In this topic a new feature is explained, and player opinions are requested through replies and the poll. The idea s the result of a brainstorm session the TMN staff had, and may be a fun addition to the game. I won't explain the feature in this blog post, but it is related to Drugs, and it will function as a middle-type crime that gets more XP than GTAs and Crimes, but less than an OC.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Upgrade 1, 2, 3!

Moving the database
Yesterday we transfered the database to the VPS, which (long story short) caused a rollback of roughly two hours, and about 4 hours of downtime. Since I was in uni, I couldn't do much to sort it out any faster. When I got TMN back online it lagged a lot, so I was forced to disable jail. We decided to move the files and the domain ( to the VPS on Friday morning, and hoped that would solve the lag...

From hosting package to VPS
Unfortunately this VPS was not powerful enough, causing even more lag! CPU usage was at 100% constantly, and every single file update by me would cause 5 minutes of even more lag! Even for me it was too slow to handle, so I kept jail closed and ordered another upgrade.

This upgrade really seemed a lot better (doubled the memory, and opened up another CPU core), and it was quite responsive at first. Unfortunately this only lasted until (you guessed it) jail was reopened! This was simply too much, so jail was once again disabled, and the 3rd upgrade was ordered. This upgrade will have again double the memory, and another CPU core opened. We're now waiting for it to become active (the hosting provider needs to read his e-mail first ;))


Monday, September 27, 2010

Too busy to write a blog post...

Wow, it's been 22 days since I last wrote a blog post, you can guess the reason for that: I've been busy!

On the player side things seem to work out nicely, I've seen players from 2005-2006 return, and the online players list is steady at more or less 300 players (max was 421 players). People are reporting possible improvements on a daily basis, and I've already updated over 25% of all pages since September 1st (and over 50% of all pages since I gained control).

As for my side of things, I've been seeing a lot of good numbers, I'll list a few:
- Direct traffic to TMN has gone up to 81%, where linking websites take roughly 14% of the traffic, and search engines the remaining 5%;
- Google Adsense reports that 15 million ads have been displayed on TMN (an average of 555,000 a day!);
- Most TMN players are from the UK, USA, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Canada, Finland;
- We're still consuming roughly 11GB of bandwidth each day;
- We have had roughly 6400 unique visitors since September 1st;

Bullet Factories
Yesterday was the big day for anyone wanting a Bullet Factory; everyone ranked hitman+ had a fair chance at winning one. Although my alarm didn't go off at 10AM, and I wasn't awake yet at noon, I did manage to complete the entire process before 12:40.
The next few hours were very interesting; anyone who held a BF seemed to have a cross-hair on their heads, and most of them died. It was a very interesting day (for anyone who didn't get shot).

Two players haven't claimed their BF yet, they have one more day to collect it (or the 8th and 9th winners of the lottery will get it). The 4th winner violated the TOS (just a small violation, but still) so he didn't get his BF.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Properties, Performance, Bandwidth

I will start dropping properties on today (September 6th), but this process will take at least a few weeks. That way players will get a chance to rank to Hitman too. I will use a random order, and I will not drop (for instance) London before Amsterdam or New York. Messages regarding the dropping of properties are not answered, as it's unfair to give one player a bigger chance of getting a property than others. Please don't ask me (or any mod) what time the next property will drop, or what property is next.

Bandwidth and performance
Being Dutch, saving money is in my nature. That's why we are running on a (cheap) hosting package with only 300 megabytes of space, and 6 gigabytes of bandwidth each month. Of course the possibility of reaching the 6GB limit crossed my mind, but I didn't expect it to hit 6GB each day!

At the moment we are consuming betwen 10 and 13GB a day. This results in over 300GB of bandwidth each month. Going with the 'official' prices, this will make the hosting package about 8 times more expensive (still reasonably priced though). A somewhat surprising fact is, that the traffic is not caused by images; it's simply the pages that are loaded (16,353,539 in 5 days)! Although I am trying to improve this, it seems like we'll be upgrading big time soon. I'm thinking a VPS is probably better than the hosting package. The hosting provider offered to discuss it by the end of this month, so we'll have to wait for that...


Monday, August 30, 2010

We're back!

We're back! And to understand why I think this day was successful, you'll have to know my targets... Here they are:
- I was hoping to hit 150 registered accounts on Friday 27th of August (we did not get that amount until Saturday).
- I was hoping to hit 450 registered accounts on the day of the launch (we got roughly 500 accounts).
- I was hoping to get 10 credit purchases on the first day (we hit that about 2.5 hours after the launch).

Not everything went so great... I forgot to create a phone and plan for the first few hours (while only System has a phone provider), and found a bug creating them too. There were also a few smaller problems, and complaints about the logouts (that occured mostly because I was fixing these issues). A few hours after the launch it started to look like it was going alright.

At this moment, there are roughly 200 users online, including 2 mods, 2 forum mods (including DragonCurse, who offered his help too) and one admin (myself). OCs are starting to pop up, the forum is quite active, and more than once a player told me this is what he/she had been waiting for: TMN. TMN is back.

Altogether, it seems like this round will be interesting!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

TMN Launch

I hope many people have been expecting this post, but unfortunately I've been more busy than expected. Here it is anyway!

Next Friday, August 27th, you can pre-register your TMN account for next round. That way you can reserve your name even if you aren't available at the launch day. This pre-registration opens at 16:00 in the GMT+1 timezone (10:00 AM in EST).
The pre-registration process works as shown on screenshots a few blog posts back, but the username + password combination won't log you in just yet.

Next Monday, August 30th, TMN 2010 will launch, and you will be able to use the login information from the e-mail to login to TMN. This will happen at 16:00 in the GMT+1 timezone (10:00 AM in EST).

I also announced that I picked two moderators already, their names are Devious and Mercer. Both have proven to me in the past that they are loyal members who are always willing to help. Devious during her time as a moderator (2007), and Mercer during his time as forum mod (2009). I wish them a lot of fun on TMN, and I hope the players will appreciate my decision!

Besides these two mods, the team of testers consisted of the following members: mama1971, PDX, InfernoRain, Stev, Stipe, Kazirem and RBG. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all for the useful input as well as testing results they have provided me with. At the launch a few forum moderators will be selected from the testers team, I will ask them before I post their names.

I look forward to seeing all of you on TMN!


Thursday, August 19, 2010


Unfortunately I will not be using the old domain for TMN. This because DC wishes to keep that domain himself, for possible future projects. I am trying to convince him to update the announcement and add a link to, so players know where to find TMN.

I am allowed to use, another domain we've had in the past. This domain is the one I always used when browsing to TMN, as it's nice and short, and easy to type.


ps. No status updates at this time, have a look at the twitter page for the latest news.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Some players on IRC asked if I could upload some screenshots, so I did. The registration process has changed somewhat, and the cities page has had an upgrade as well (although that one isn't finished). Screenshots are below.

Update #1:
This is the new Cities page (old screenshot can be found here)

Update #2:
Below you'll find a screenshot of the new Bullets Factory page:

Friday, August 13, 2010

update, testing, IRC

- Registration is now fully functional (although disabled for players)
- Double Up needs some more work
- I think TMN will launch before september 1st
- I set up a page where you can chat to others (including me, at times) using IRC
- I was unable to setup paypal at this moment, will have to do that later

Today I invited 7 (former) players to help me test TMN. As practically all pages have been updated, there's a lot of work to do.
I also asked 2 of them how they'd feel about becoming moderator (I will publish the name when they say yes). The others will probably become forum moderator at first (they may be promoted to mod later).

Rage and Silentbob host an IRC server that can be used for TMN. You can use the pjirc script I set up, or use your own IRC client (server:, channel: #jail) to start chatting.


Ps. Keep advertising the TMN website, blog, twitter, facebook group. The more players we get, the more fun it'll be for everyone!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Help needed!

Since details related to weapons, explosives and protections were lost, I request the following:
If you have screenshots of the inventory page from last round (2009-2010) or the round before (2008-2009) please send those to my e-mail address or upload them and post a link in the comments.

Thanks in advance!

Quick update:
I opened up a twitter account for TMN, it's called TMNOfficial. I am not a fan of twitter, and don't personally use it, but for "spreading the word" and providing more updates than large blog posts, I think it's good to have one for TMN. On the right side of the blog you'll see the latest few tweets.

In the past few days I fixed about 14 pages and tested most of them too. Two important pages have't been tested yet, as they rely on data requested above (weapon, explosive, protection): Organized Crime and Killing.
I'm still having trouble getting registration to work, it seems like there's abug in reCaptcha (it was reported too), but I can't seem to fix it. I'm looking into alternative registration possibilities now.


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Game and features

I announced that I'd provide a full update. Unfortunately the decisions I wanted to post about haven't been made yet, so I haven't posted that update yet either.

The most important thing is that I will be the one to host and run the game. For the rest there are a few things I don't know for sure yet:
- The name of thegame might change (by adding a prefix or suffix);
- The original domains (, may be used (I'd prefer this, but DC is the owner of those domains, and you can guess they are worth a lot of money);

As for features, I heard many of you want Double Up back as casino game. No problem, except for the fact that I can't remember why we ever took it out! Could anyone answer that question? I still have the source code, so with about 5 hours of work I could get it back in action.

Are there any more (old) features you'd want to see back? Post them in the comments!


Ps. Thanks for the support guys, it's really appreciated!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Good news: I have registered

Since I didn't receive any reply from DC, I decided to simply continue where I left off. The next logical step was to register a domain, order a hosting package (no more dedicated server, I hope it'll work out), and get something online. already hosts the "portal" used during the last round of TMN. Soon it'll be expanded with the rest of TMN, although there's still some work to do.

I don't have much more to tell you guys, just the fact that I repaired phones, phone plans and phone providers today.


Update: (28-07-2010)
For DC's side of the story, view the original domain.

Update #2: (28-07-2010)
DragonCurse replied to another e-mail, things are looking promising, and he'll be online somewhere today I hope.
TMN now runs on but is not accessible to players yet, I still need to do a lot of repairing, but at least I got it working on the new host. I hope DC and I can come to an agreement so we can run TMN on all existing domains, and provide a fun game + community again.

Update #3: (28-07-2010)
I will post a full update tomorrow, but from the chat I had with DC, there's one easy conclusion to draw: The TMN2010 project (still need a cooler codename) will continue.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


As some of you may have read in the blog comments of last post, through facebook, or from other TMN players, I finally got a response from DC at July 21st. This of course is good news, but the response was as quick as "Hey Marc, did you get my text message? Let me know your schedule and we'll talk soon". I did not get any text message, and my schedule for TMN-related things is as easy as 'any time you are available'. I didn't receive any replies since that day.

Since I returned from holiday (I spent 8 days in Crete, Greece) last monday I haven't done too much on TMN, but today I continued where I left off. I worked on the following items:
- Online players page
- Friends List
- Online / Offline status improvements (also for performance)
- Gambling on Blackjack now works (others should as well, need to test that)
- Casino owner panel now works
- Registration process improvements
- Travel to other cities now working
- Performance updates regarding game forum

As you can read I'm still not waiting for DC to fix TMN, although getting the most recent files from him would actually speed up the process.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Stayin' busy

Celebrating my graduation, enjoying the good weather, drinking beers with people I haven't spoken in a while... Yeah, I've been enjoying myself since I graduated! But in the meantime I'm working quite hard to earn some money, to try and contact DC, and to 'repair' my version of TMN for possible future usage.

With small steps I'm getting the game ready, but since I don't have any recent database backup (I was busy with the graduation project and never thought of making one), it's a time-consuming and difficult job. Because I do have the entire source code it isn't an impossible job (I wouldn't have started doing it in that case), but it still takes a lot of time.

I started off with a database from 2008, which is one major version and hundreds of minor versions previous to the "TMNClassic" we used last round (October 2009 - March 2010). I couldn't login, register, or even attempt anything. I'm now at a stage in which I'm able to "fake" an account, login, and view my mailbox without getting any errors (see screenshot below).

What most of you will want to know, is whether or not I'll be bringing TMN back online. I can't really answer that question, but if there were no hope at all I wouldn't be repairing it. I've done everything I can to contact DC, so I'm not waiting for him. There are however a few things I will need to do before I can bring it back online, here's a quick list:
- Repair the database and test the game
- Port database to mySQL to save about $50 a month
- Research possibilities to run TMN on a cheap (virtual) Linux server
- Beg for money to cover at least 3 months of server fees
- Request support from players willing to help moderate the game (and forums)


ps. Besides e-mails, text messages, voice-mail messages and messages in paypal money transfers could you think of any way to contact DC? let me know if you do, I'm out of ideas!

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Wow, and this had to be the title of the next post!

I assume everyone who reads this already knows TMN is off-line, but the bad news is that I don't know why and for how long (though I could guess, I won't). After numerous e-mails and text messages, and even some messages on facebook, I still haven't heard from DC.

So, what's next? That's my question really... If DC's had enough of TMN, I'll buy the domains and cut him a deal as I'm sure players are willing to help and revive the TMN community. I'll be busy as always (although the 55-hour weeks of graduation are over), but with some help from people who actually communicate it might work.

For now all we can do is wait, sadly.

If you would like to stay updated, you could either join the Facebook group ("TheMafiaNetwork") or keep watching the TMN domains (, and this blog.


Ps. The message below was posted on Facebook earlier this week:
Since TMN has been offline, I've been trying to contact DC to figure out why... I assume he just 'let it die'. Especially since he has ignored text messages as well as e-mails on all e-mail addresses I know, I'm afraid I'm right.

Anyway, if he responds, we'll see what we can do. The least we could do is get a website o...nline to explain things. As for now: the future is unknown.