|Time span||July 13, 2012 - March 28, 2013|
(8 months and 15 days)
|Ending event||Switch from PieLayer to OVH as the server host|
|Minecraft versions||1.2.5 - 1.4.7|
|MRT era chronology|
Delta (2023, planned)
Alpha is the first MRT era, spanning from the opening of the MRT Server to the switch to OVH as the server host, lasting from July 13, 2012, to March 28, 2013. Alpha is the server's early developing months, setting the tone for the server's future.
Alpha's most notable events include the early development of third-party rail lines and the early formation of a close-knit community. Culture-wise, the era is mostly defined by its staff-driven events such as B29 and the BlobStudios 24-Hour Gaming Livestream. Collaboration was frequent as certain locations on the server served as places for players to show off their builds and personality, including around Spawn Station and the Orwyn Mall. The de facto standards that were created and the issues that arose during Alpha set the groundwork for future rules, including build permissions, third-party rail lines, and community standards.
The lack of server disc space was one of the reasons Frumple looked into hosting the server on a dedicated machine. This led to Omega being scheduled for launch in early 2013 with a dedicated server. This dedicated server would also host the MRT Wiki in addition to the Minecraft server.
The first iteration of the MRT system was showcased by Frumple in the video "Minecart Rapid Transit Line - Part 1 (Minecraft)", posted on December 26, 2010, to YouTube and Reddit. The system featured vertical cart hoppers and perpetual motion boosters. The showcase was made in Minecraft Beta 1.1 and released in two parts. Version 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, 4.0, and 4.1 were released in 2011 and 2012. From May to June 2012, Frumple released timelapses of the four original MRT lines: the MRT Blue Line, the MRT Green Line, the MRT Yellow Line, and the MRT Red Line. The descriptions of the timelapses stated that Frumple was planning to open a server, but still needed to set up plugins. He noted that the server would be a public, creative server where players would have to apply for "builder status".
On July 13, 2012, Frumple posted a video titled "Minecart Rapid Transit Server - Grand Opening And New Website! (Minecraft 1.2.5)" to announce the MRT Server's opening. In the video, Frumple explained the basic concept of the server, highlighting that the server was graylisted, meaning new players would need to apply for membership before becoming a Member. The video gave a first look at the original Dynmap, which used flags to mark MRT stations with their corresponding line colors.
The server rules were displayed on the MRT's website and in-game at Spawn Station. While the MRT's server rules reflected that of most other Minecraft servers, other MRT-specific rules existed, such as players not being allowed to exit their minecart while in motion on an MRT line, a rule which, along with many others, was later removed. The construction of player statues was forbidden during this time, leading to the concept of restricted buildings such as airports and roads later in the server's future. Rules were enforced strictly and warnings were given out often, even for minor infractions, such as a warning being given out for building a lava fountain.
The member application system was put in place for the server opening, containing seven questions, most of which saw little change in future iterations of the application system. Most applications submitted at this time were accepted. Due to Frumple receiving a high number of member applications, the need to establish a staff team, and the need to install some additional server plugins, the member application system was temporarily closed for a day on July 17, 2012. In order to not overwhelm the staff team with a large influx of new members, the member application system was closed again once more on July 30, 2012, and was reopened on August 13, 2012.
Development of MRT staff
After a large influx of new members, Frumple decided to create an MRT staff team. The first Moderator, Biohazard_Stuff, was promoted on July 13, 2012. Shortly after, chiefbozx was promoted to Administrator after teaching Frumple how to use WorldEdit.
MRT staff at the time had full access to WorldEdit, and permission to edit MRT stations. WorldEdit restrictions, such as block limits, were put in place for Moderators over the coming months following a joke involving ariwcharles using WorldEdit to create "lava balls".
15 players were promoted to Moderator on the MRT staff team during the Alpha period. The following dates listed are when the player was promoted to Moderator:
- Biohazard_Stuff (July 13, 2012)
- Benie (July 14, 2012)
- chiefbozx (July 15, 2012)
- xplayman911 (July 15, 2012)
- uugiggi (July 15, 2012)
- ariwcharles (July 17, 2012)
- LDShadowLord (July 17, 2012)
- BossOfGames (July 21, 2012)
- ActualFacts (July 22, 2012)
- computerghost (August 25, 2012)
- kekkomatic (September 15, 2012)
- thomasfyfe (October 22, 2012)
- MinecraftYoshi26 (December 22, 2012)
- Keks63 (February 11, 2013)
- Miner_Tod (February 11, 2013)
Three Moderators were promoted to Administrator on the MRT staff team during the Alpha period. The following dates listed are when the player was promoted to Admin:
Five players left the MRT staff team during the Alpha period. The following dates listed are when the player left the MRT staff team and the reasoning:
- ActualFacts (August 10, 2012; demoted due to behavior issues)
- uugiggi (September 21, 2012; demoted due to abuse of power and behavior issues)
- ariwcharles (September 21, 2012; demoted due to abuse of power and behavior issues)
- Biohazard_Stuff (December 9, 2012; demoted due to inactivity)
- LDShadowLord (December 17, 2012; resigned and requested a ban)
ActualFacts and Giggifest
In September 2012, Frumple demoted three MRT staff members as part of the server's first staff demotions, including ActualFacts, uugiggi, and ariwcharles.
ActualFacts was demoted for swearing at wtsfno. He later engaged in "strange behaviour" and griefed parts of the Aether lab in Audenville. He later blamed his behaviour on someone known as "Dan", but it was later revealed that it had in fact been him. ActualFacts was later banned from the server on August 10, 2012.
uugiggi was later demoted by Frumple on September 21, 2012, due to their "abuse of power and behaviour issues". After being demoted, he made several disrespectful comments to members through in-game chat and Mumble. After a Guest named Frodo1212 joined the server and began misbehaving, uugiggi later connected to the server, ranting about how he "would have been able to prevent the guest from misbehaving" if he were still a Moderator. A later IP check revealed that the guest was an alternate account of uugiggi. After being confronted about the incident, uugiggi was banned on September 22, 2012. In the following days, uugiggi flooded the server with multiple alternate spam accounts to disrupt the server, and numerous IP bans were handed out to the alternate accounts. The event became retroactively known as "Giggifest" or "Gigglefest".
Three ranks were present during the opening of the server, including Guest, Member, Moderator (shortened to 'Mod'), and Administrator (shortened to 'Admin'). An 'Owner' rank was later created and used by Frumple.
The Mayor rank was later introduced in 2012, being awarded to Members who had constructed towns on the server, although no official outline for what was considered a town was clarified. Mayor-ranked towns were later given the option to become region-protected through WorldGuard. On January 19, 2013, the requirements for attaining the Mayor rank were officially established, with the requirements being:
- The player must have been a member of the server for at least two weeks
- The player must not have any active warnings and be in "good standing"
- The player's town must contain a town hall declaring the town's Mayor and Deputy Mayor
- The player's town must contain a minimum of 10 buildings
Conductor and Trusted
The Conductor rank was introduced on October 19, 2012. The rank's introduction was an attempt to bridge the gap between staff and non-staff. The Conductor rank was seen by many players as a "de facto MRT staff", which gained players with the rank access to slightly elevated privileges, such as the ability to place water and ice and edit MRT stations.
The conductor rank was often seen as a stepping-stone between a standard member rank and a staff rank and was seen by some as a "test" to see whether a member would be suitable for Moderator. The first Conductor on the server was YoshiJL, who was followed by other players such as Omricon, MinecraftYoshi26, Keks63, and thomasfyfe.
On January 19, 2013, the Conductor rank was retired and replaced by a new "Trusted" rank. The Trusted rank carried the same permissions as Mayors, with the added ability to place water and ice, and the ability to use /home and /sethome. "Trusteds" were selected by Admins, and must have had "good standing" within the community, and not have had any active warnings for at least one month.
Following the removal of the Conductor rank, players who carried the Conductor rank received the Trusted rank instead, and several players who were not Conductors also received the rank of Trusted. Members were later able to nominate new Trusteds by members in Omega.
Towns in the Alpha were typically constructed around MRT stations, with the station seen as a landmark. Houses and Franchises were common in towns, which set precedents for future town evaluations requiring certain structures. Some of the earlier towns constructed on the server include Hollis Swamps, Lighthouse, and Oasis. Larger towns which existed during this period included Inchmuir, Miningstone, and Crystal City.
Throughout Alpha, many areas allowed for increased levels of collaboration where players could work together constructing various different projects, growing the sense of community and unity on the server.
Spawn Station and surrounding areas
With Spawn Station acting as the spawn area of the server, the area surrounding it became a hub for development by many players. The surrounding land was treated as a community building area, where any member would be permitted to build anything. The area around Spawn Station was frequently referred to as "Glowlight Town", but was later officially renamed "Spawn City". Players constructed numerous skyscrapers and various other types of buildings surrounding the city, resulting in neighbouring MRT stations becoming "districts" of Spawn City. Many iconic buildings created around Spawn Station were later marked as historical landmarks, such as the "Ride the MRT" sign.
The original Admod Building, built by chiefbozx, was constructed just outside the station, and acted as office space for MRT staff members, becoming a status symbol for MRT staff, and an attraction for members to see. The building was later redesigned by chiefbozx and Omricon in August 2012.
Spawn Station featured a mini-map of the MRT system, with cities built around stations on the map marked as they were developed. Retail spaces inside Spawn Station were created, allowing Members to build franchises within the building, but were later removed in 2014 as a result of the Spawn City Delag initiative. 'Warp booths' were created inside Spawn Station, allowing players to warp to other MRT line termini and places of interest which were determined by the MRT staff, such as the Creeperdome Spleef Arena.
An early place of interest in Spawn City was Studio Chief, the filming location for The Snapshot, a weekly news segment created by chiefbozx. During recordings, players lurked in the background and created distractions.
Transit in Spawn City grew rapidly as the city expanded, with Frumple creating a bus station and the Northern Trail.
As the owner of the MRT, Frumple has been the mayor of Spawn City since its creation in July 2012.
The first airport created on the server was the MRT Regional Airport, built by ariwcharles at G21 Station on the MRT Green Line. Planes within this airport served no purpose beyond aesthetics and decoration, and no warp signs were present. Two more airports were constructed, including Miningstone Regional Airport by DasNexus, and the MRT International Airport by BossOfGames.
Being three MRT stations in length, the MRT International Airport was considered by many members to be a relatively ambitious project. Starting as a large, flat area of stone, the nickname "The Chunk Error" was given to the project by players, due to the large gray rectangle on Dynmap resembling a chunk error. The rate of construction for the airport varied, and no official completion date was decided. Many members criticized the project due to its large size and slow pace of construction. This criticism led to a later ban on the construction of new airports, which remained in place for multiple years.
MRT Mail Centre
The MRT Mail Centre is a building created to be a centralized location for members to leave books, notes, and other items to allow communication between members offline. The MRT Mail Centre allowed for members to have a chest, officially known as "P.O. boxes", in which books, dubbed as "mail", could be deposited into. The MRT Mail Centre was constructed by thomasfyfe in Spawn City in 2012.
With the /mail command not being present during Alpha, the MRT Mail Centre served as a social landmark, allowing for interactions and a sense of community to be fostered among members from differing time zones. Checking the MRT Mail Centre was a staple of daily routines for some members.
The Orwyn Mall, also known as the MRT Mall, is a mall built by chiefbozx in October 2012, located at Orwyn on the G8 Station of the MRT Green Line. The five-story mall featured many empty shop spaces for Members to use for the construction of their own franchises. The mall was popular with players, with the top two floors quickly filling to capacity. The mall served as a great location for many members of the community to show off their own franchises and buildings, and it quickly became one of the densest locations of franchises on the server.
Opened in December 2012, the MRT Marina is a community build featuring seven main docks. Members collaborated in building ferries, coast guards, and multiple other buildings. Members were able to collect "slips", which granted them permission to construct their own boats within the Marina. Boats constructed at the marina often served as decoration, but some contained working warps linking to other water-accessible areas within the server. The marina served as the first major boat hub on the server and helped to kickstart the boating industry.
Transit during early Alpha was limited, with the MRT system being the most popular form of transit. Third-party transit first began to develop during this period, and with the concept of third-party transit not being covered in the original server rules, it often saw limited oversight.
At the start of the Alpha period, the MRT system consisted of four minecart rail lines, including the MRT Blue, Green, Red, and Yellow lines. These MRT lines used Version 4.1 of the MRT system. The termini of each line were pre-named by Frumple, with the rest of the stations being named 'Foobar'.
With MRT stations being seen by members as 'landmarks', they often served as markers for possible city-building locations. New guests and members typically used the MRT system as a primary method for exploration, as sprint-flying had not yet been implemented into Minecraft.
The MRT Blue line was extended by one station during Alpha on October 31, 2012, becoming the first MRT line to be extended since the server's opening.
LRT 780 and third-party rail lines
The LRT 780 was the first major intercity, third-party rail line on the MRT Server. The LRT 780 was constructed by YoshiJL with three stops, including Sandstone Fair, Ocelot Bay, and Redstone Gaming Centre (originally known as Foobar of Games). It was marked on Dynmap with a light blue line and colored flags for a short period of time. The LRT 780 is often considered to be the kick-starter of the third-party rail industry on the server.
Soon after the LRT 780 was marked on Dynmap, many new third-party rail lines were constructed, including TerminusConnect and the Cyan Line.
TerminusConnect, an underground rail system created to connect the eight termini stations of the MRT system on a single line, was created by chiefbozx in October 2012.
The Cyan Line, a circular rail line connecting the towns and cities of Inchmuir, Miningstone, Bluemont, and Silver Spring, was created by thomasfyfe in 2012. The Cyan Line was the first line created by Cyan Labs, a company that designed and distributed a range of transit stations that would later become a major player in the third-party rail space.
In the early months of third-party rail lines, no rules existed for developing rail lines near other players' builds. This allowed for lines to be built without requiring permission from nearby town owners. Rules were created in the following months to explicitly clarify that rail constructors would need permission from town owners if the line were to pass through a town.
The first major road to be constructed on the MRT was the MRT Highway, located on the south side of Spawn Station, built by Benie shortly after the server's opening. Benie was responsible for the construction multiple other roads on the MRT, including the Northern Highway, which became a collaborative effort between MRT members.
The MRT Highway was eventually connected to the InterMap 0 or I-0, the server's first major road, constructed by Benie. The road initially stretched from Gund Valley to the MRT International Airport. These roads marked the beginning of the InterMap Highway System and road networks. As a result, many other players were also inspired to construct their own roads to connect towns across the server to one other. Despite pigs with saddles being the only method of traversing roads at the time, the roads were still widely known and used on the server.
Benie's roads laid the groundwork for larger road networks, regulations, and standards to be established in the future.
With the opening of the server, a sense of community developed through community collaboration in towns and franchises, games and events, and voice chat. Through various means of communication, players formed bonds to one another, and in-jokes developed within the community.
As new towns developed, many members desired to collaborate by creating buildings for their towns. Members created restaurants, stores, and various other franchises across the server. Some franchises later developed into brands as members created brand identities and role-play menus and services. Some popular franchises in Alpha include Kalmar Fried Chicken, Inverted Horizon Bookstore, and Cola Burgers.
The use of franchises grew in popularity on the server, propagated by the creation of multiple centralized areas for franchises to be constructed, such as at the Orwyn Mall and the lower levels of Spawn Station.
This later led to the rise of for-fun role-play rivalries between franchises. This involved many franchises racing to construct new locations and increase their brand recognition over their competitors. One major early rivalry was between the food companies Kalmar Fried Chicken and Prubourne Steak. While rivalries did not represent a major part of Alpha's culture, rivalries between companies became the precursor to widespread competition in later MRT eras in both the franchise industry and the transit industry.
Opened in July 2012, the MRT Server had an official Mumble server for voice chat. The voice chat allowed members to interact and get to know each other better, establishing a sense of community beyond text chat. Memes and in-jokes were created on voice chat, such as ariwcharles being associated with lava balls.
As the server was new, Frumple needed to pick staff to help moderate the server. Through Mumble, Frumple was able to chat with members and get to know them, which helped him to pick members who he believed would be able to effectively enforce rules and help run the server smoothly.
The Mumble server would later go on to be used by many members for hanging out, and for hosting various events. The Mumble server is planned to be closed at the beginning of Delta, being replaced by Discord.
Games and events
Games and events were popular among Members, allowing players to spend time together and form an increased sense of community culture. Many of the major games and events during the Alpha era were led by MRT staff, specifically thomasfyfe.
Major areas where games were held include the Redstone Gaming Centre and Silver Spring. Located at G11 on the MRT Green Line, the Redstone Gaming Centre has redstone-operated games including tic-tac-toe and Connect 4. Located at R9 on the MRT Red Line, Silver Spring is home to the Creeperdome Spleef Arena. The arena was the server's most popular spleef venue, with most major games being held there. Both the games at the Redstone Gaming Centre and the Creeperdome Spleef Arena propagated the concept of games as a staple of the server's culture.
Towards the end of 2012, the Winter Events saw multiple different events being held each day. Although some of these events were cancelled, most major events of the week were successfully held, including thomasfyfe's Christmas adventure map. The adventure map was the first Christmas-themed adventure map on the MRT, and paved the way for future story-driven adventure maps to be created. As Christmas rolled in around the world, the MRT staff placed a Christmas tree built by thomasfyfe outside of Spawn Station. Members were allowed to create gifts for one another underneath the tree to be opened on Christmas Day. This became an annual Christmas tradition held in various Christmas islands across the MRT, which saw an increasing need for space as the server community expanded.
B29 station on the MRT Blue Line, while originally not a part of the MRT network, was added to the MRT Blue line in Halloween 2012 when the server updated to Minecraft version 1.4. Prior to Halloween, the MRT staff made teasers about a B29 or Cactusville Station being created, involving signs and broadcasts proclaiming B29 to be real, with the phrase "Now you're closer. :)", and an indestructible pumpkin east of Nanthaven. MRT staff denied the existence of B29 and lied about any involvement or knowledge of any incidents surrounding the event.
B29 later was announced to be real on October 31, 2012. Spawn Station had been decorated for Halloween, with signs being placed indicating the existence of B29. A book by kekkomatic titled 'The Mystery' was found in the MRT Library and in PO boxes at the MRT Mail Centre, confirming the rumors that B29 did exist. Some players made their way to the location to find a puzzle map, designed by kekkomatic.
B29 was the first major event run by MRT staff to be successfully completed.
Blobstudios 24-Hour Gaming Livestream
Prior to the MRT, thomasfyfe had hosted a 24-hour gaming livestream playing various games for 24 hours. A couple of weeks after being promoted to Moderator, thomasfyfe proposed hosting his channel's 24-hour gaming livestream on the server. The livestream event allowed members from the MRT and guest players watching from the livestream to build a town in one day. The livestream involved a number of different games during the 24-hour period, and would periodically visit to see how the town had progressed. The livestream was announced in a segment of The Snapshot.
With the server being graylisted, a temporary system was put in place where Guests would need to press a button to gain permission to build within the event area. No players took advantage of temporary build permissions.
Taking place on November 17, 2012, thomasfyfe and the other livestream hosts were given a special magenta "Livestream Host" tag. The north side of G22 station on the MRT Green Line was chosen to be the location for the event. thomasfyfe set up a small welcome area with a list of recommended building materials, and chiefbozx created an instructional video to be shown during the livestream for those looking to get involved. The town of Whelburn was constructed during the livestream event.
Following the event, the livestream hosts were given full server membership without having to apply. One of the hosts, cal76, later became a Moderator and held the position for nearly seven years.
The Snapshot was a weekly series giving updates on the MRT server, created by chiefbozx. First launched on August 26, 2012, the series featured several sections including a featured station, station name changes, and staff promotions. The Snapshot's 46th episode was the series' final broadcast of its original run, which premiered on December 22, 2013, during Omega..
The Snapshot was largely popular with Members and is credited as being the server's first major video series besides Frumple's. Members of the community would gather and "troll" in the background of videos while chiefbozx was filming. The gatherings are regarded as one of the server's earliest events, seeing the community come together. The series later acted as a historical record for the various events which took place during Alpha, and topics covered during Snapshot episodes would influence the server's culture with items featured in the series deemed as newsworthy.
The Snapshot was revived two years later on December 15, 2015, hosted by new hosts; Just_robinho and kekkomatic. Episodes were released on a monthly basis, with a total of ten episodes being released. The revival had its final broadcast on September 30, 2016, and later had a special episode released in 2020 for the server's eighth anniversary.
MinecraftYoshi26 created PVP Arenas located at B20 on the MRT Blue Line. These arenas allowed players to compete with one another through PVP fights within the various map styles. In early 2013, due to the popularity of the arenas, a plugin named PVPArena was installed on the server to enhance the arena's functionality. The plugin allowed players to have multiple lives, choose between predetermined classes, and spectate games.
The PVP matches were a great way for player's to interact with each other, and the popularity of the arenas grew following the installation of the plugin, with resulting games and events becoming a staple of MRT culture.
The MRT Wiki is a free-content online encyclopedia focused on MRT content written and maintained by a community of volunteers. The original MRT Wiki was hosted on a Wikispace before later being moved to MediaWiki. Only Members and above could edit the Wiki. The foundation of the Wiki was spearheaded by chiefbozx and was started in March 2013.
The MRT Wiki served as the server's first major place to record history and information about people's towns, franchises, and general server history. The establishment of the MRT Wiki allowed for a community culture to develop as, during the Alpha era, players were able to make Wiki pages to showcase their creations on the server. The MRT Wiki would continue to have a lasting effect on the server's atmosphere as it served as a hub for players to make announcements and gave players a space to collaborate on projects.
At least 255 players became Members during Alpha. Members that were accepted came from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom.[a]
The following is a non-comprehensive list of players that became members during Alpha, taken from the Member List listed in alphabetical order:[b]
- Location data was self-reported through member applications.
- Some players' usernames may not reflect their username when they were accepted for Member, as this list was taken from the Member List in August 2023. Alternate accounts are not listed.
- Currently banned
- Joined through the Blobstudios 24-Hour Livestream and did not fill out the Member application