IS BZ DEAD? (the public servers)

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IS BZ DEAD? (the public servers)

Post by trainee » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:37 am

There seem to be fewer and fewer players.

I log on several times per day, and there are rarely two or three dozen players on the combined public servers.

Just a few months ago, there were players on a dozen servers. There were always players on babel and overlord, but the silvercat maps have disappeared from the server list, and the players have also disappeared.

I know the stats indicated several hundred users per day and two hundred servers, but many of the logged in users are not players.

Is BZ dead?

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Post by Grace F » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:48 am

Perhaps it's just the time difference. Don't forgot everyone has a life and BZFlag isn't always at the top of the "to-do" list :)
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Post by lodxcol » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:51 am

Also don't forget a few months ago was the summer, there was no school.

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Post by Spazzy McGee » Sun Mar 25, 2007 12:15 pm

If i'm not very much mistaken, there are currently more active players than ever before. We have a thriving community here, as well as in the several 'sub communities'.

BZFlag is far from dead.
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Post by Peter » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:31 pm

I agree with Spazzy Mcgee we curently have 11340 registerd players .
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Post by Saber » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:35 pm

You forgot to remove the players who stopped playing and the multiple registrations by a same person. And you should count the non-registered players too.

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Post by Peter » Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:33 pm

The point is that there are more .
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Post by JeffM » Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:38 pm

the list server tracks how many players there are, there are 218 players now ( some of those are bzadmin bots ). We've had that average for about a year.

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Post by trainee » Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:07 pm

Grace F wrote:Don't forgot everyone has a life and BZFlag isn't always at the top of the "to-do" list :)
LOL, Grace F. We did play a little one-on-one last night just after your post, and you kicked my bum.

I forgot about the summer, although when I started playing last year there were usually groups of players on silvercat, notwithstanding the time differences. I know that some players are on private servers, but I never see Sal Monela, Montoya, Atari, KW*, Miller, Emerson, Scribo, Head, etc., etc., etc.

I have a life too, but playing is a good distraction for me, and my eldest daughter also likes to play.

Glad to see the player list is growing. Must just be the servers that I was playing.

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Post by Grace F » Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:58 pm

It is true though that the last generation of players have left. I too no longer see players like Head, Emerson or Scribo around.

I just hope that the amount of players that are leaving is less than the amount of people joining.
boresnake wrote:LOL, Grace F. We did play a little one-on-one last night just after your post, and you kicked my bum.
tehe :twisted:
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Post by macsforme » Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:58 pm

PETER wrote:I agree with Spazzy Mcgee we curently have 11340 registerd players .
"Registered players" means all the players that ever registered, whether they've been playing recently or not. Not really a good indicator of the current playing population.

I wouldn't say that I've seen fewer players online than I used to, although I would say that I've seen a general shift in what most players are interested in these days.

Yes, Silvercat (once by far my favorite server) seems to have been abandoned. Personally I think people just got sick of playing the same maps forever (and yes, we did lose a lot of the dedicated silvercat players). If they change things up a bit, I'm all for a Silvercat comeback! :-)

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Post by Spazzy McGee » Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:29 pm

Trends in bzflag shift in very much the same way as things in popular culture. One of the beauties of this game (and one of the reasons I love it) is that there is costantly a drive to make something new and exiting - and let's face it, where would we be if there wasn't so many creative and innovative people in our community?

Because of this some servers tend to gain and lose popularity in a short period of time, for example Louman's Lasermania, or BZFX BoxyWar.
Some such as Planet MoFo FFA, however, form a more solid fanbase.

I would say that the decrease in popularity of Silvercat, is possibly down to it's original fan base slowly leaving BZFlag. Let's not forget that Silvercat (and it's predecessor Hepcat) is one of the longest running servers out there. I guess the new players simply weren't interested, and it gradually emptied out.

I'm not setting this in stone, but I might hazard a guess that the next really well known server to lose general popularity might be Viper's 2 Castles. This has been around for as long time too, but by the looks of it, it's playercount has been fluctuating recently......
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Post by Bentusi Elite » Mon Mar 26, 2007 1:19 am

I think with the new flags we've got planned for version 3 (LG, HV, FS, BF, FD, the whole list is on the wiki) and the other stuff we're working on, we'll get a lot of new players... Thing is that even if mapmakers mix things up, eventually you run out of options, so we have to make changes that go beyond the maps.


Also of course being part of Google's project won't hurt publicity either. :wink:

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Post by birdie » Mon Mar 26, 2007 10:52 am

some one mentioned here: "maybe people got tired of playing the same maps over and over". Well if you like a map very much, it will be very rarely that you loose interest in it. A perfect example of this is the Hix map, loads of people are playing this for allready years and still like it. Silvercat got the problem that some players left, that the server wasnt that active as before, and the other people who would play on the server from time to time see hardly some one/no one is on, and move to another server to play on.

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Post by Grace F » Wed Mar 28, 2007 11:00 am

Ok, nah BZflag seems to be less populated now.

A month ago MissleWars was full, it's now at a loss of about 5-7 players. Not only MissleWars, other maps too have lost players. I logged into a map BY MY SELF and It jumped to 4th - 5th on the list! :P

Where's everyone gone!? :)
Last edited by Grace F on Mon Nov 17, 2008 5:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by BinarySpike » Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:32 pm

Grace F wrote:It is true though that the last generation of players have left. I too no longer see players like Head, Emerson or Scribo around.
Scribo is the only one I know of that bunch.

See I don't even know those people, and you call them "last generation"? Last generation to me is Manu and REDNECK and Snickersnack and cassandra. And torture2m (viper and hix folks should know him)


Also player counts on online games, gain in the summer when kids don't have school and slowly fall until summer again. You see "next generation" people leaving especially because nothing "new" is being added to bzflag.

When I joined bzflag there were 96 servers on average, now there are 200... that's double in 2 years.
Bentus wrote:I think with the new flags we've got planned for version 3 (LG, HV, FS, BF, FD, the whole list is on the wiki) and the other stuff we're working on, we'll get a lot of new players...
The next release will be 2.2, And those flags won't get implemented unless someone does it. They don't appear magically.

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Post by Bentusi Elite » Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:53 pm

I know they don't... that's why I said 3 and not 2.2...

Lol we are so lazy.

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Post by Sky King » Sat Apr 07, 2007 6:17 am

I do agree with the general premise... no matter what the number of servers, or registration head-counts might imply... I think just about all of us who are on the servers a lot will agree, that since roughly December, things have slowed way down. It didn't feel to me like just the end of summer and the start of school... Rather, I really felt the "thud" of declining users come on suddenly over the Christmas break of December 2006.

To me it is very palpable. Back in November '06, it seemed like almost any day, around the evening in the US time zones, the top 10 servers on the list might have a total of 150 people and the 5th most populated server might have about 15 players. Now it seems like most evenings the top 10 have about 80 players and the 5th most populated might have about 8 or 9.

Some of the maps that have gained recent popularity--the reincarnation of Two Tanks, and Missle Wars, for instance--are not on stable servers. They come and go, and that dramatically reduces their popularity.

But I think the biggest problem, bar none, is the community. When I first started playing BZ, I was so impressed by the tolerance and patience everyone had with newbies.

Not anymore. Now when a new player makes a mistake, or commits their inevitable first TK, the screams for harsh permanent bans are instantaneous. No one wants to ride with or coach newbies anymore, and it seems like the number of admins who do this actively is down to just 2 of us that I can think of. And players message them and tell them "not to TK" as if a newbie knows what "TK" means.

I have proposed the idea of having some kind of training servers at the top of the list, and other ideas to help newbies get started. But overall, I think our attitude has to change. We need to find ways to welcome new players here and encourage them to become active and stay. Like a lot of established communities, we have become very cliquey, somewhat elitist, and make it harder for newbies to come into the fold. Like a fraternity or lodge, we have an "us and them" mentality toward newbies. Without a steady diet of newbies that install, play, and get hooked, we cannot thrive.
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Post by meeba » Sat Apr 07, 2007 1:30 pm

Sky King wrote:I do agree with the general premise... no matter what the number of servers, or registration head-counts might imply... I think just about all of us who are on the servers a lot will agree, that since roughly December, things have slowed way down. It didn't feel to me like just the end of summer and the start of school... Rather, I really felt the "thud" of declining users come on suddenly over the Christmas break of December 2006.

To me it is very palpable. Back in November '06, it seemed like almost any day, around the evening in the US time zones, the top 10 servers on the list might have a total of 150 people and the 5th most populated server might have about 15 players. Now it seems like most evenings the top 10 have about 80 players and the 5th most populated might have about 8 or 9.

Some of the maps that have gained recent popularity--the reincarnation of Two Tanks, and Missle Wars, for instance--are not on stable servers. They come and go, and that dramatically reduces their popularity.

But I think the biggest problem, bar none, is the community. When I first started playing BZ, I was so impressed by the tolerance and patience everyone had with newbies.

Not anymore. Now when a new player makes a mistake, or commits their inevitable first TK, the screams for harsh permanent bans are instantaneous. No one wants to ride with or coach newbies anymore, and it seems like the number of admins who do this actively is down to just 2 of us that I can think of. And players message them and tell them "not to TK" as if a newbie knows what "TK" means.

I have proposed the idea of having some kind of training servers at the top of the list, and other ideas to help newbies get started. But overall, I think our attitude has to change. We need to find ways to welcome new players here and encourage them to become active and stay. Like a lot of established communities, we have become very cliquey, somewhat elitist, and make it harder for newbies to come into the fold. Like a fraternity or lodge, we have an "us and them" mentality toward newbies. Without a steady diet of newbies that install, play, and get hooked, we cannot thrive.
We should get a list of recommended servers in-game, so new people might be able to try those. Among said recommended servers should be BZFlag Olympics: Tank Driving 101. I think playing that would be a great way for people to join in the game. Learn how to move around with skill, avoiding world weapons and such.

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Post by Hannibal » Sat Apr 07, 2007 5:15 pm

I really don't think there needs to be any new player tutorial system. If they don't want to take the little bit of time to learn how to play, then I don't think we really want them around playing. The best way to spread the word is to tell your friends. Show them the game, let them watch you play, then let them have a shot at it. If they like it, they'll install it, if not, we can't say we didn't try.
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Post by Joe-Schmoe » Sun Apr 08, 2007 6:44 pm

Hannibal wrote:I really don't think there needs to be any new player tutorial system. If they don't want to take the little bit of time to learn how to play, then I don't think we really want them around playing. The best way to spread the word is to tell your friends. Show them the game, let them watch you play, then let them have a shot at it. If they like it, they'll install it, if not, we can't say we didn't try.
I don't see how that logic follows. Anything we do to alleviate teething problems will help.

How is a game that is difficult to learn, but fun when you know how any better than the same game but easy to learn and fun when you know how?

And I did tell my freinds, one of them said "Yeah, I tried that game, but I sucked at it."

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Post by Sky King » Tue Apr 10, 2007 2:04 pm

Joe-Schmoe wrote:
Hannibal wrote:If they don't want to take the little bit of time to learn how to play, then I don't think we really want them around playing.
I don't see how that logic follows. Anything we do to alleviate teething problems will help.
Joe, I agree wholeheartedly, and here's why:

If you were a military recruiter, or a corporate recruiter, or a sales rep, or ran a non-profit, or were looking for donors, or running a club... and you said "I'm not really gonna try and talk them into it, if they don't really want to join, we don't need them..." You'd be fired pretty quickly.

In any community, the onus is on the COMMUNITY to invite and encourage new members, and is never on the new recruit. BZ has a learning curve, it has cliques, it has its own lingo... and making newbies overcome all that as a rite of passage, to prove their will, is a fatal mistake.

Very few organizations have so high a "payoff" for their members that they can sit back and put the impetus on their new recruits to provide the emotional momentum to become members.

WE, the existing members are the benefactors, WE are the ones that benefit from new members coming in, becoming active, gaining experience.

Now I DO agree with Hannibal, that the single most effective way to do that is personal recruiting, by inviting a friend to play... But if you read the threads here about how people learned about BZ, you'll find the vast majority "found it"... it didn't find them in the form a friend.
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Post by that exploding tank » Tue Apr 10, 2007 3:24 pm

I agree with Sky King, especially the part about "finding" BZ. I think personal recruitment, such as showing a friend the game, would help, but I also think that placing BZ in, say, a packet of free games offered to the public would be more effective. Even better, offer it as a free download on one of the very popular gaming websites, such as freewebgames.com (which, by the way, is not devoted solely to games that can be played in a browser). It's just a suggestion, but I think this would help out a lot.

By the way, BZ is very far from dead.

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Post by scottyboy » Tue Apr 10, 2007 3:42 pm

From a noob point of view I downloaded the game at 2pm 2day went online (Got shot up a lot :D ) and only 2 of the games had players on them am on UK time and find from other games were i aint a noob timezones can thin out a game no matter how many members
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Post by Hannibal » Tue Apr 10, 2007 9:58 pm

Joe
Maybe I worded it wrong, but my point is that this game, with its small learning curve, is easy to learn. Nearly anyone with any intelligence can play. If someone doesn't have the patience to learn for maybe 10 minutes, then that person probably isn't a quality person, and won't have the patience to deal with players. We don't want classless punks (and there aren't many, but there are some, not gonna name anyone) playing and being total jerks to the players who do play.

If someone finds the game, and doesn't think its worth playing, for whatever reason, fine, don't try to force them to stay.
Scottyboy here is a good example of what I'm saying. He found it, and joined a game. Played, learned, and now he's here, very possibly to stay.

I don't think there's a problem with players, and do we really want a few million people playing? That number of people attracts other, less classy people who want to harm others as well as the game (cheaters, spammers, etc).
Last edited by Hannibal on Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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