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PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 15:02 
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I prefer cartoon style too. Mainly because the game does not look realistic/epic at all :)

Crazy impulse makes things fly and crazy shrapnel makes them look like from paper as mentioned here..

It does not look like huge robots, but like small toys.

Also we cannot compete with commercial games in graphics and those are foten serious looking epic dark styles.

Trying to emulate it with content 2 orders below top commercial games will make it look silly imo.

Thats why I would prefer lighter style .. even if units look realistic I would prefer cartoonish loadscreens, gui, perhaps even webside and more humour/parody.
Stuff you wont get in serious title but which can be added to such project.

Unfortunatelly large clique within CA dev team, namely Saktoth, Kingraptor and CarRepairer prefer doom and gloom serious style :)
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PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 15:02 
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imbaczek wrote:
Pxtl wrote:
And Otherside is quite right about the heavy stuff - just because it's available at L1 doesn't mean you can build it.
=> nubtrap


This isn't a typical nubtrap. It's about price, not usefulness. BA's nubtraps are units that should hardly ever be used. CA's nubtraps are units that are just too expensive, at least theoretically. Any unit that really isn't useful very often is a bug - it will be fixed to be so.

To remove that kind of nubtrap, you'd have to gut every expensive unit from L1.
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PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 15:05 
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Well, I think Licho's question is right on, but I think the focus is wrong.

If you want more players, you can get them. If you want more online players, I think you're hosed.



The real question that has to be asked (again) is... why is that the only goal? The last time I brought this up, I got brushed off by people who said that that was the criteria for "success". My question is... how many more years are you guys going to have to fail to meet that goal before you change tactics?

I mean... this is game design. The winner is the one with the most sales, whether that's free downloads or paying customers. Online play is just a drop in the bucket, when it comes to players.



Seriously! Why define "success" in such incredibly narrow terms? Is MP in Spring's Lobby the only thing that's fun about playing games with Spring? No!

If you guys simply finished a campaign that didn't suck, picked up World Builder (or a fork designed with your game balance in mind) so that you could have maps that were incredible looking (trust me, the next version's going to rock) and maybe spent a wee bit more time marketing outside the Spring gulag, you'd be doing well. If you got a bit more serious about your content goals, and started building more single-player games, I think you'd suddenly be the hot thing on this engine. I mean... look... your only real competitor in that area is me, and I'm one guy, vs. a large development team.




But my basic advice is... quit focusing on MP in the Spring Lobby. Develop more cool, single-player experiences, like Chickens, and quit worrying endlessly about a goal that's not worth reaching in the first place.

<cues inevitable flames>

Or, if multiplayer is the only thing you can get motivated about... get serious about it, host your own server, and advertise for players totally outside the Spring pond. You guys are in the same situation I am, but you have more real resources, in terms of people who can Do Things. Hell, you guys have more real resources, in every sense, than I ever have had, in terms of trying to get P.U.R.E. to fly.

Before everybody flames me (more)... let me say this. I've been here longer than almost everybody... and a behind-the-times, really-backwards-technically OTA mod has always held the MP seat, and it's always been about a very tiny number of maps, and a very restricted gameplay.

It's not a curse, or whatever. If BA suddenly goes away for some reason, I do not predict that suddenly P.U.R.E. will be the multiplayer experience... nor do I see CA in that light. Probably XTA, or whatever Caydr's doing. It's just how it is, folks.

RTS games are really complex and have high barriers to entry, for online play. Spring's UI is the most incredibly complex of any RTS available, period... so this narrow focus isn't terribly surprising. People pick up one game- whatever's most popular- and stay there, because games outside that comfort zone are hard to pick up. It's not like single-player, where you can just put it on Easy.

The thing with this game, though, is that most of your real successes have come from innovations that weren't tied to MP (in the case of PlanetWars, I think that it was mainly about offering a genuinely interesting MP experience with continuity, and that's certainly an area to re-examine). Yet I see your core developers spending most of their time on it, which is a strategic error (imo).

Moreover, any time you build a genuinely useful new Widget or UI toy, it just gets ported right away, so there is little real competitive advantage, and hardly any market share gained.

You folks have consistently had the most uber-complex UI of any Spring game (far too complex, imo, but you folks are correcting that) and the best special effects technology (although, and again I'm going to get flamed, you guys have done a mediocre job of leveraging jK's LUPS overall, and really should focus on making sure all of your special effects are equally nice, not just a few of them... and getting really serious about debugging it for ATi, if not for Pxtl's Intel chipset, which is Not Doable).

But basically... meh... look at the game as a product, using the tech and techniques you have, where the real goal is to make interesting experiences for people. Not necessarily win an online playerbase.

Remember... over 90% of RTS gamers never play online, or play only very rarely. So... reach out to those people!

As just one example... you guys could build a Tower Defense clone in a week or so (I know, I built the game-logic for one over here in a couple of days, it's really easy).

Boom! New players! And that's just one idea- if you want more, I have plenty of simple ideas that basically involve leveraging a complete game and World Builder, and would not take serious coders much time to develop.

As another example... you guys are sitting on top of the Mission Editor, which I used to build the current P.U.R.E. campaigns. It's a powerful tool, if people know how to use it. However, instead of polishing out the remaining bugs and sitting down and planning a campaign, the CA community has produced just a few Missions, and... uh... they aren't exactly gripping, and have low production values.

Again... focus on the numbers that actually matter, and you can succeed. Are people having fun? Are they coming back for second downloads?

If not, how can you improve the experience? I got excited by all the "let's finally make the UI not such a mess" discussions, but that's just one of many areas where I think that the focus could be changed for the better.

Just one other example of an area where I think the core devs should look... ModelBase is producing models on a regular basis. Some of them are obviously excellent. And I really don't have time to skin them all, much as I'd like to.

Why aren't they being focused on? I know you guys don't have a proper art director atm, but still, that's a major issue. As much as you guys talk about "hurry up and get it done" on content, I see a lot more talking than action.



I can't really comment on the current mp balance at all, but my impression is that it's pretty polished atm.

If I were you guys, I'd look at it as stable, and concentrate on the things that will actually help make your product more attractive overall, and do a better job marketing outside the Spring fishbowl.

But the main thing is... look at your success stories, and learn from them. With better single-player gameplay, which I know that several of you are quite capable of developing, you could have a very nice product. With a little more... eh... focus on the Make It Happen side of content development (for example, get one of your active devs to learn uvmapping and spend a week on that, and then find somebody to paint... and remember, I said I'd do stuff under certain conditions).
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PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 15:11 
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Why we want more online players:

we play online. We want people to play with.
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PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 15:12 
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imo cartoon style especially in the GUI will ruin CA.

Theres a difference and space inbetween Cartoon and Dark/gothic.

the GUI should have a nice professional look on par with commercial titles imo (thats one area we can compete with them in as its a one off thing rather than models and there limitations).

personally CA never felt cartoony just needed a bit more cohesion and less 3do but it never bothered me. Going into a cartoon style would be lulsfail
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PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 15:15 
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Quote:
Why we want more online players:

we play online. We want people to play with.
I totally understand that, from a fan perspective. But basically I'm arguing that the current strategic focus is getting things backward. If they want more online players, they should be picking up as many players as possible... and that means offering a much richer single-player experience.

Given their competition can't easily port that kind of content, it's also a winner in terms of the GPL arms race, whereas UI enhancements (whilst desirable and worth doing) will not.


Last edited by Argh on 26 Aug 2009, 15:16, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 15:16 
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This is not intended as a troll but from my experience the CA strategy has always been "How can we get more players" rather than "Why should players want to play CA.

I honestly think a shift in focus from new flashy things to looking at the content you have already (including how the UI looks from a completely fresh install) would help a great deal, also as a stalker of the CA changelog i've noticed the focus has not been on gameplay tweaks which has given me the impression that balance has either been declared done or given 2nd place, if it's the second I think you should refocus on this until the game plays as well as possible.

Then advertise lots
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PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 15:17 
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I dont think we will ever measure success in single player gamers. Problem is all CA devs are mainly online gamers. We all want to play our game. We are gamers and then devs. We tried to make great game and now we want to play it, but we cannot because CA does not have enough players..


And about that "make it happen" stuff.. you are alone but you are more productive than whole CA circus.
Devs are not organized at all, except for voting system, and Im increasingly seeing this as a problem. Project is perhaps too open so it lacks focus.

We have nobody to assign 2 people to polish gui and 2 people to texturing models. People wont listen, everybody does what interests him. Also artists are often out of sync with coders. You can do both, obvious advantage. While I have to keep asking for icons/textures in wider spring community, seeing CA devs are just too lazy to help me..
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PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 15:20 
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TFC - balance and gameplay is basically done..
Game is more or less finished. We cannot expect dramatic gameplay changes...

There are small tweaks and balance is constantly monitored and improved ,but nothing dramatic anymore .. gameplay changes are now similar or smaller than BA inter version changes recently.

Focus is on players because we need players. Without players, there is no motivation for me to work on the project. I work on it because I play it. If there are no players I cannot play it and i have no motivation to improve it.
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PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 15:21 
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To clarify, by "cartoony", I think we all mean Star Control 2, F-Zero, Megaman X or Star Fox. Bright, clean, and adolescent.

not Spongebob.

Think SNES game, not Wii game.

Imagine it's 1996 and you're at an arcade. There's a big machine with a trackball and a lot of buttons sandwiched between the Virtual On cabinet and the Golden Axe 2 cabinet. That's CA.

At least, that's how I always imagined CA. A kind of '90s arcade feel.
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PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 15:21 
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Pxtl wrote:
And am I the only one who likes CA's cartoony style?


Yes, You and Mr.D
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PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 15:22 

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Indeed the UI and massive widget spam is what turns most people down imo.
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PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 15:24 
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F-ZERO ?? if it wasnt for the drivers wearing spandex and having stuff like gold nipples or being totally random and q-q (Mr.EAD) it would be a pretty serious game and visually it can look it, seeing as you dont see drivers most of the time

But this is off topic (Fzero fanboy)

P.S get rid of car or stop him committing widgets he killed CA
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PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 15:49 
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I hear you on all of that stuff, Licho.

On organization: CA's probably a bit like "herding cats". Can't help you there. There are no easy solutions, other than open discussion about how to improve your situation.

The best single thing you could do on the artistic front is to find a proper art director who can do the work and keep people motivated. You guys attract a lot of artists- ModelBase is a very successful project, in terms of raw output. The key is to get that raw output converted into final output, and that requires a lot of focus. Those people are hard to find, though- very few of them with the skills you need will work for free. I sure wouldn't, for a project with as large of a need as you have. If somebody wants to pay me a living wage, though... ;)

But all joking aside... and I can't emphasize this enough... World Builder is finally starting to resemble a fairly complete content collection, for non-core assets, whether or not people are interested in any of its features beyond just the content. I only wish I had enough spare time to leverage it myself, but not until I release the next major update for P.U.R.E., at which point I'm going to develop some new game ideas that I've been sitting on for quite a while now.

Quote:
And about that "make it happen" stuff.. you are alone but you are more productive than whole CA circus.
In some ways, sure. However, you guys have much deeper real resources, in terms of coding talent. Look at it this way- with me, I can either choose to be an extremely productive content developer, or a fairly mediocre coder, or a marketing guy, but I can't do all of it at once, as much as I'd prefer otherwise.

Quote:
We have nobody to assign 2 people to polish gui and 2 people to texturing models. People wont listen, everybody does what interests him. Also artists are often out of sync with coders. You can do both, obvious advantage. While I have to keep asking for icons/textures in wider spring community, seeing CA devs are just too lazy to help me..
Well, that's a problem, sure. Happens on any free project where there isn't a huge amount of excitement. That's why I pointed out that TD clone idea- it's something that's easy on the coder end, wouldn't require much in the way of new art assets, and would create some buzz in a hurry.

The best way to keep your team motivated, I suspect, is to give them stuff to look at that will generate successes that are obvious and maybe go outside the box. I suspect a lot of your core crew have become demotivated precisely because you folks have been trying, and mainly failing, to achieve your stated objective, while doing very little about the many other cool things you could do instead. It's been nearly a year since this project generated any major excitement. Again, there's absolutely nothing wrong with your current focus on UI redevelopment- that's great, the game really needs to be more approachable and easier to learn. But it's not going to get you far in terms of new players.

That whole Chickens thing is very instructive, frankly. One little mini-game... and suddenly people were really interested in CA.

Quote:
And am I the only one who likes CA's cartoony style?
I like it, but it's not complete enough for serious critique, either. That's the major problem atm. When the 3DOs are finally gone, it's time to start weeding out the junk (most of which will just need a re-skin to be a better fit).
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PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 16:04 
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Let's examine the facts.
CA Team develops tons of new stuff.
BA "team" develops almost nothing.
CA states it wants to change and progress.
BA states it wants to stay static.
BA "team" constantly takes NEW things,that the CA team developed,and uses it for BA thereby leeching CA's potential playerbase that would join it as a result of its progress and new material.

TBH I can understand if the CA team does not feel a strong urge to share stuff with the other TA projects that hardly do any work at all in comparison.
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PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 16:16 
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+1 on host your own server. We've had a bot in #s44 recently that tracks people who arrive from our installer (join #s44 but not #main, #springlobby, or #newbies). At any given point, we have 3-4 people who used the S44 installer and arrived here with the expectation of S44, but are playing BA. We have springlobby configured to mask non 1944 games by default, but it does next to nothing.
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PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 16:19 
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Gota wrote:
Let's examine the facts.
CA Team develops tons of new stuff.
BA "team" develops almost nothing.
CA states it wants to change and progress.
BA states it wants to stay static.
BA "team" constantly takes NEW things,that the CA team developed,and uses it for BA thereby leeching CA's potential playerbase that would join it as a result of its progress and new material.

TBH I can understand if the CA team does not feel a strong urge to share stuff with the other TA projects that hardly do any work at all in comparison.

This is a troll. The only really large feature that this applies to was chicken defense was used with permission months and months ago and has had many many hours of development work to make it work well with BA.

I can understand why people would want to believe this but it's just not true...
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PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 16:23 
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Nemo wrote:
+1 on host your own server. We've had a bot in #s44 recently that tracks people who arrive from our installer (join #s44 but not #main, #springlobby, or #newbies). At any given point, we have 3-4 people who used the S44 installer and arrived here with the expectation of S44, but are playing BA. We have springlobby configured to mask non 1944 games by default, but it does next to nothing.


That's gotta hurt.
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PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 16:23 
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The oonly reason I dont play CA, but BA or XTA or SA :

My comp is 5 years old and I can play BA, XTA and SA with descent framerate. But when i play CA, i got too low fps after ~7mins

PS: my setting all are at the lowest preset.
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PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 16:24 
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TheFatController wrote:
Gota wrote:
Let's examine the facts.
CA Team develops tons of new stuff.
BA "team" develops almost nothing.
CA states it wants to change and progress.
BA states it wants to stay static.
BA "team" constantly takes NEW things,that the CA team developed,and uses it for BA thereby leeching CA's potential playerbase that would join it as a result of its progress and new material.

TBH I can understand if the CA team does not feel a strong urge to share stuff with the other TA projects that hardly do any work at all in comparison.

This is a troll. The only really large feature that this applies to was chicken defense was used with permission months and months ago and has had many many hours of development work to make it work well with BA.

I can understand why people would want to believe this but it's just not true...


So if CA had not made chicken defense BA would still have a chicken defense mutator?
I ca kept chicken defense to itself they might have had many more players now.Might not have but it's a possibility.

"The only really large feature that this applies to" what other large features were added to BA?
It is obvious though that several devs would generate much more material than a single one...
The only question is if you want to remain the sole developer.


Last edited by Gota on 26 Aug 2009, 16:39, edited 2 times in total.
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