How to make people stay and met together?

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illwieckz
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How to make people stay and met together?

Postby illwieckz » Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:08 am UTC

See that graph:
Image

That's the count of players on my server per month. In blue, the amount of new players per month that were never seen before, in orange, the amount of players per month who were already seen at least one time in one previous month. Note that the graph is underrated for some old months due to the uid bug that shared uid for players. Note also that I lost September, October, and December 2016's logs (they were not recording…).

So I recorded 1371 unique players for the last 10 months. For the first day of October, there was 20 unique players, five known, fifteen who were never seen before. Of course, some of them just had brand new config because re-installing Unvanquished (there was more than 5 known people on our community game, and we know some had to redo their set-up again), but you get a good feeling about the trend.

So, what we have? Just for the past 2017 year, we got 50~200 new players per month. Where are they? How to keep them? How makes them meeting together? How to make them enjoying the game as it was designed for: playing with and against real people?

Seeing that, I revived the scheduled games, and I've configured my server to announce the scheduled games. But it appears players who played scheduled games are not the new ones, except 1 or 2 of them who usually do not return then next Sunday, but keep playing alone on some daily basis for some of them. When I join randomly my server, I play with people I never see on scheduled games.

Just for number lovers, the details (of course the last October entry only counted one day yet):

Code: Select all

month    new  known  unique
2015-01  16   6      22
2015-02  64   13     77
2015-03  120  20     140
2015-04  55   25     80
2015-05  71   24     95
2015-06  124  34     158
2015-07  107  43     150
2015-08  118  33     151
2015-09  260  56     316
2015-10  318  57     375
2015-11  248  62     310
2015-12  147  52     199
2016-01  141  62     203
2016-02  267  54     321
2016-03  104  34     138
2016-04  185  43     228
2016-05  79   29     108
2016-06  102  33     135
2016-07  44   17     61
2016-08  155  54     209
2016-11  211  25     236
2017-01  188  29     217
2017-02  146  92     238
2017-03  61   18     79
2017-04  92   19     111
2017-05  15   29     44
2017-06  138  33     171
2017-07  67   22     89
2017-08  55   22     77
2017-09  79   30     109
2017-10  5    15     20
Last edited by illwieckz on Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:11 pm UTC, edited 3 times in total.
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Tom
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Re: How to make people stay and met together?

Postby Tom » Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:39 pm UTC

Interesting!
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Re: How to make people stay and met together?

Postby lamefun » Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:36 pm UTC

Where are they?


Playing other games because Unvanquished does not provide a playable game, obviously.

How to keep them? How makes them meeting together? How to make them enjoying the game as it was designed for: playing with and against real people?


In the short term:

Add an immediately visible scheduled game countdown to the main menu, with a "Join" button which becomes active if a game is in progress.

It should emphasize the local time and date of the next scheduled game.

It would also be helpful to show the server list right away, without the player having to click anything, with big one-click "Join" buttons.

In the long term:

Provide a players vs bots game mode with automatic bot count adjustment which is fun to play even if you are alone, so that people can have fun while waiting for enough players to gather on the server for a normal game. The training server in particular was certainly very effective for this purpose, this is why I think the time when it was still online was the golden age of Unvanquished.

Improve the usability of the armoury. I've seen a lot of players running around with powerful guns but without any armour, probably because they never realized that the "Upgrades" thing was actually a separate tab. Might not be such an issue now since flat design has been prevalent for quite some time, but I still think that there shouldn't be tabs and the upgrades should be shown all at once.

Add a lobby chat as in Wesnoth, to allow all players who have the client opened to communicate with one another even if they are on a different server or haven't joined any game yet. This will slightly increase the chance of players meeting one another and also make the game more like a mini social network.

Stop flushing game's selling points (aliens and base building) down the drain.

1. Aliens are not very accessible to new players. The problem with alien game play is that it's behind the elitist gatekeeper which is the dretch: if you don't know to aim WAY up, even when you're on the floor, you'll just constantly die and not get any upgrades at all. Also, the dretch does not prepare you for having to actually aim because of its auto-fire. Any player now matter how inexperienced should be able to START with aliens without having to look up wikis and tutorials or spending time playing humans with their generic FPS gameplay.

2. If you are new to the game and try to build, you'll probably get flamed by other players or banned for building ineffective defenses (I remember a game in which a new player got very excited about building forward bases and fed almost all build points to the enemy). The building system should be somehow redesigned to allow new players to build without putting your team at a disadvantage (although I don't see any immediately obvious way to accomplish this in the main game mode), or maybe a new game mode should be created for this purpose.
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Re: How to make people stay and met together?

Postby illwieckz » Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:03 pm UTC

It would also be helpful to show the server list right away, without the player having to click anything, with big one-click "Join" buttons.


Yes.

Firstly, provide a players vs bots game mode with automatic bot count adjustment which is fun to play even if you are alone, so that people can have fun while waiting for enough players to gather on the server for a normal game. The training server in particular was certainly very effective for this purpose, this is why I think the time when it was still online was the golden age of Unvanquished.


My backport server already provides “automatic bot count adjustment” since 8 month. We had talk to revive the survival mode (== training) some days ago on IRC. But unlike what we did before, we must set-up the server to automatically switch to non-training games once enough people has joined.

Secondly, improve the usability of the armoury. I've seen a lot of players running around with powerful guns but without any armour, probably because they never realized that the "Upgrades" thing was actually a separate tab. Might not be such an issue now since flat design has been prevalent for quite some time, but I still think that there shouldn't be tabs and the upgrades should be shown all at once.


New players not knowing what to buy is a real issue, but showing everything can be hard since there is so much stuff… I hope there is another way than filling the screen… By the way new people have to learn, the problem is not people having to learn, but make them able to learn (they must find by themselves what must be learned) and guided.

Aliens are not very accessible to new players. […]

Generic trem-like game problem. Some stuff can probably be made easier but you can't remove that problem without removing the game itself. New player starts with human classes for a reason and that's not bad. It's better having them learning about resources managements, building etc. while keeping them comfortable with known weapon combat mechanism. Once they got resource management, building etc. then they can learn new combat mechanism (alien). So, in fact that's not a problem. We must help them getting those skills, but the basic logic is not wrong.

2. If you are new to the game and try to build, you'll probably get flamed by other players or banned for building ineffective defenses […]

Generic trem-like game problem, and since we don't have a large enough player base, not yet a problem at this time. It will be, it's not yet.

By the way I recall one stuff I told on IRC. Sometime I join my server and I find people enjoying themselves building very advanced bases, playing for hours on the same map, just mining and building stuff, just caring enough about alien bots to protect their impressive bases, not attacking them. For sure, when I join this kind of game, I do a special effort to not nade-flame the alien base in one round, ending the game in seconds, hence frustrating the newcomer to enjoy himself building a giant base, because at this time he just wants to enjoy himself building a base.

I enjoy myself playing 0 A.D in sandbox mode. I just discovered some people do it with Unvanquished too. Could be good to help people starting games like that as single player (i.e. proper local default game with some bots). If we make the server browser displayed by default with en emphasis on actually played online game, this kind of people can enjoy themselves learning the basics of the game and enjoying building bases etc. then sometime be appealed by some visible games and jump in.
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Re: How to make people stay and met together?

Postby lamefun » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:17 pm UTC

illwieckz wrote:I enjoy myself playing 0 A.D in sandbox mode. I just discovered some people do it with Unvanquished too. Could be good to help people starting games like that as single player (i.e. proper local default game with some bots).


Starting a local server is already as easy as it can get. Some points though:

- Default map (eg. Platform 23) should be pre-selected.
- Add bot count and difficulty fields in the server start dialog, possibly other options.
- It needs more options available through GUI, and GUI for cheats and pausing.
- Add a Sandbox menu item which is the same as the Local Server menu items, but does not have "Name" and "Password" fields and enables cheats.
- There should be a cheat to go poltergeist (like a spectator, but in a team and able to build).
- In sandbox, you should go poltergeist if you lose all spawns and die instead of losing the game.
- If the other team loses all spawns, the game should not end as well.
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Re: How to make people stay and met together?

Postby illwieckz » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:02 am UTC

- Default map (eg. Platform 23) should be pre-selected.
- Add bot count and difficulty fields in the server start dialog, possibly other options.


Good idea, but for adding bot count from gui, some code has to be written (it's currently done by scripts, not by cvar)

- It needs more options available through GUI, and GUI for cheats and pausing.


Why not

- Add a Sandbox menu item which is the same as the Local Server menu items, but does not have "Name" and "Password" fields and enables cheats.


Just the sandbox tickbox enabling cheat would be enough at first.

- There should be a cheat to go poltergeist (like a spectator, but in a team and able to build).


Why not. Currently there is noclip and it's enough for a mapper (see below), but it's not good for a sandbox game.
Note that as poltergeist we must add rolling and pitch movement (to build on wall or ceiling).

- In sandbox, you should go poltergeist if you lose all spawns and die instead of losing the game.
- If the other team loses all spawns, the game should not end as well.


In fact I'm already working on some of these points to help mapping process. The idea I have is to not have to put any models in your map in radiant, and be able to do the layout in game.

What has been done: g_neverEnd, if true when played as a devmap, the game never end if spawn is missing (also allows to load foreign map from other games without spawn to have a look).
What has to be done: being able to spawn without spawn.
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Re: How to make people stay and met together?

Postby lamefun » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:48 am UTC

illwieckz wrote:Note that as poltergeist we must add rolling and pitch movement (to build on wall or ceiling).


Why do poltergeists have to build the same way as normal players? Just let people build wherever the mouse is pointed at in this mode, without worrying about the distance or angle. It would also be nice to be able to build enemy structures.

illwieckz wrote:
- Add a Sandbox menu item which is the same as the Local Server menu items, but does not have "Name" and "Password" fields and enables cheats.


Just the sandbox tickbox enabling cheat would be enough at first.


To let new players know that there is in fact a proper purposefully designed sandbox mode.
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Re: How to make people stay and met together?

Postby illwieckz » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:56 pm UTC

To let new players know that there is in fact a proper purposefully designed sandbox mode.


That's why I called it a “sandbox“ tickbox. The idea would be to provide player a "sandbox" mode.

The developer, the one who knows™, knows the sandbox mode is also a development mode, but for end-user, the one who don't knows™, it would be advertised as a game mode so he does not have to look for it. It wants to create a game? he discovers he can play in sandbox mode.

We can also add an interface to save layouts (which would be useful for developers too).
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Re: How to make people stay and met together?

Postby lamefun » Sun Oct 08, 2017 5:48 pm UTC

Here are some observations. Firstly, probably most of new players are total beginners to the game. Secondly, new players seem to really really really really like to build. Maybe the drill yield should be increased in at least one server. And they seem to like to join aliens too (this is why I'm complaining so much about dretch CHEATbite). Here's the reaction that I predict: I'll be told about "low sample size" and "unrepresentative data", but don't worry, I don't believe in statistics, so this won't work on me.
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Re: How to make people stay and met together?

Postby illwieckz » Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:09 pm UTC

Yes there is a lot of new players, I talked to many of them, and it looks like most of new player in my servers are newcomers to this game. Also, it's true they like to build, something this game provide instead of a csgo-like game, it's also true they like to play as alien probably for the same reason.

This means we don't have to focus on people having nostalgia about tremulous (these ones already know us btw), but to reach brand new players. That's why on the about page I moved the tremulous reference from the very first sentence to the third paragraph: It's not relevant any more to define ourselves as related to tremulous, we must at first define ourselves according to what we are proud of.
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