IS BZ DEAD? (the public servers)

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Pirate
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Post by Pirate » Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:23 pm

maybe it's because there's more servers and they're more spread out?

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Bentusi Elite
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Post by Bentusi Elite » Mon Apr 16, 2007 1:03 am

No, there's always been a lot of servers, and if you look at the list, players are still always concentrated in the ones at the top.

We're talking about a global decrease in players, not just in one place.

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Post by Atari » Mon Apr 16, 2007 5:01 am

boresnake wrote: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.
Hey! I'm humbled to be on the list of names you remember or embarrassed that I played enough to be remembered. :D I think the decline on Silvercat was partly because bots were introduced to fill the low player count times and people other than beginners didn't like them so they wouldn't stick around. I still play I just don't usually use a registered handle except on servers that nag.

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Post by WarPig » Mon Apr 16, 2007 5:54 pm

im at GMT and it seems that during morning antill about 7pm there are quite few players, however it starts to get busy about 9pm. and then stays busy right through antill 2am.

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Re: IS BZ DEAD? (the public servers)

Post by TD-Linux » Tue Apr 17, 2007 10:21 pm

boresnake wrote: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?

boresnake
Make sure you are using a 2.0.x client. I thought the same thing way back when I first started playing until I realized I had 1.10.x.

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Re: IS BZ DEAD? (the public servers)

Post by macsforme » Thu Apr 19, 2007 1:17 am

TD-Linux wrote:Make sure you are using a 2.0.x client. I thought the same thing way back when I first started playing until I realized I had 1.10.x.
Lol, I see boresnake around on 2.0.x servers all the time. :-)

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Post by exu » Thu May 03, 2007 7:08 pm

Greetings! I have played BZFlag off and on for the last few years and now that my 6 year old son is getting interested in such geeky things I have started a dedicated server for him to play on. My point being as those of us who grew up playing games start playing with our kids player bases for games like this are already spanning a generation gap.

My 2 cents. Thanks for such a great game!

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Post by Joss » Thu May 03, 2007 8:37 pm

well guy's i think personally that BZflag has still got it's player's, they just seem to go on server's like "mofo" and "missile war" "hepcat" etc. i myself have all way's liked going on silver cat and it is by my favorite server, and it is really annoying that there is no silver cat server. :( And if some one could get that server running it be nice :D "like the old wars Constitution " :wink:

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Post by macsforme » Fri May 04, 2007 7:05 pm

Joss wrote:And if some one could get that server running it be nice :D "like the old wars Constitution " :wink:
Old wars?

My two maps that were ever played very seriously were Tunnels and London Aerial Invasion... or are you talking about something else?

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Post by Joss » Sat May 12, 2007 11:02 pm

Old wars?

My two maps that were ever played very seriously were Tunnels and London Aerial Invasion... or are you talking about something else?
[quote/]
Constitution, you came on the silvercat server a lot, and i was there i lot of the time too, but that was about 6 months ago or about, and i remember you playing on it quite a bit a few years ago. maybe not so seriously, but quite a bit

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Post by macsforme » Sun May 13, 2007 8:34 pm

Joss wrote:Constitution, you came on the silvercat server a lot, and i was there i lot of the time too, but that was about 6 months ago or about, and i remember you playing on it quite a bit a few years ago. maybe not so seriously, but quite a bit
Ah yes, I remember those days. Good times. Will miss them very much. :(

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Post by gnu-sense » Wed May 16, 2007 2:55 pm

Okay so this is my first forum post. The topic drew me out. I've enjoyed playing with all of you enough to care about the health of the BZ community.

I think it would be possible to get a handle on what things contribute to the health of the BZ player community by making a different use of information that is already available. Specifically, I think an ongoing social network analysis of players and servers, taking into account changes over time on a level meaningful to gameplay, would be most informative. Kinds of information that could be revealed include daily, weekly, and longer temporal cycles; effects of hosting irregularities, bots, cheaters and other events; player ranking metrics and more, depending on the information available. SNA also typically generates visualizations which are interesting and helpful to interpret. It would be possible to read just how cliquey BZ or specific servers become, for example.

The information needed for this already exists in the server list and on the servers themselves, and is collected and served on the players and servers pages here. There would be some technical issues to solve in collecting the information (polling the server, parsing pages that are only served in html, etc.). The larger issues would be in setting up and conducting the analysis of the social network. I've done a bunch of SNA on things like IRC and blogs, and the BZ data stream looks large but tractable, the main challenge being the time-scale of the analysis. I would be happy to work on this as a project for the BZ community, but I would need to be able to get research publications out of it, as it would be a significant amount of work that would take time out of other projects.

If people generally support this idea, I'd like to know. I wouldn't want to get too far if there wasn't support or if people didn't like showing up in research publications.

I might add that I'm not aware of any online games that provide automatic, regularly-updated SNA as a service, so if this were an ultimate goal, it could be a first for BZ.

gnu-b

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Post by macsforme » Thu May 17, 2007 1:31 am

gnu-b wrote:If people generally support this idea, I'd like to know. I wouldn't want to get too far if there wasn't support or if people didn't like showing up in research publications.

I might add that I'm not aware of any online games that provide automatic, regularly-updated SNA as a service, so if this were an ultimate goal, it could be a first for BZ.
I think that would be very healthy for the BZFlag community. Good to see where we stand every once in a while.

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Post by trainee » Fri May 18, 2007 5:08 am

gnu-b:

It would seem to be very useful information. Would the data be collected solely from the server and player logs or would surveys/questionaires or other instruments be necessary?

I do not know much about SNA, but I would be willing to help.

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Not many players

Post by trainee » Fri May 18, 2007 2:13 pm

I have played everynight this week (actually, I have played every night for the past year), and aside from mofo, missle wars, IIRC, and a couple of other servers, there were hardly any players. Last night, from about 1100PM until 100AM (GMT-5), there were aproximately 40 active players on the entirety of the listed servers. The other "players" were administrative.

Perhaps it would be helpful if there were more encouragememt within the individual servers to join BZBB and if there were a "new player" section.

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Post by gnu-sense » Fri May 18, 2007 6:12 pm

boresnake wrote:Would the data be collected solely from the server and player logs or would surveys/questionaires or other instruments be necessary?
There's not much point in surveys and questionnaires, IMO. It's hard to get compliance and anyway, the server logs are plenty rich enough, even more than could ge gotten by asking people.

What I would start with is grabbing at 5 min intervals the information provided by http://my.bzflag.org/currentplayers.php . I'd use the rss feed (simplifies parsing), and run that for about a week. My rough calculation suggests that would generate around 201K records, give or take, which is plenty for an initial analysis of some scope. If there were a database dump of this nature for activity from a week or more, that could greatly speed up the work, as I wouldn't have to do a lot of RSS or HTML parsing (which I dislike programming), and could go straight to the analysis. Tadd or mofo or one of the other large hosters may have logfiles that contain a lot of this info as well (for their servers at least) which would be another way to get at it (it can be easier to process logfiles than HTML on occasion).

This would give info on daily cycles, over the span of a week, which would suggest some things to look for in later analysis of weekly and longer-term flux. It would show who meets who on which servers (even on which teams), and would give a sense of how much server connection time is being used on different servers. I wouldn't have any immediate plan to use the scoring information, but would keep it for later analysis.

Other information that I would hope to use later would come from http://my.bzflag.org/serverlist.php (too bad there's no rss for that) and WHOIS records for the various bzf servers (mainly for geographic info). Some way to get at lag statistics could also be useful, but it might be too hard to get.

I'm trying to get started on a YouTube SNA project right now, so it will be a few weeks before I can really do anything. Suggestions are appreciated in the mean time.

gnu-b

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Post by macsforme » Sat May 19, 2007 8:15 am

I'd also be willing to help if you need anything. I have some level of skill in perl (especially regexps), php, bash (a little), real programming languages (C, C++), and may have access to a shell account on a server sometime soon if that would be of any help.

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Post by too much loving » Sat May 19, 2007 10:30 am

I always wondered how new servers become popular. It's fairly boring to sit on a half empty server and wait for other players to arrive, and therefore most players will go to a server that is allready popular. That is one of the reasons why people play the same servers again and again.

Personally I would love to a play new map every day (on a European server), but I am too restless to wait for other players, and therefore I follow the crowd and go to the popular server (which does admittedly have a very good map and some very nice people)

My guess is that in order to become popular a new server must either have one of the following
1) A few very dedicated players that are willing to waste their spare time waiting alone for other players to arrive
2) A group of players that arrange to arrive on the server together.

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Post by strayer » Sat May 19, 2007 10:14 pm

interesting topic (regarding the last posts)

@gnu-b:
You might know my BZFlag stats site..if not, have a look: http://bzstats.strayer.de/

Beside advertising (^^) I want to tell you that I log much more than shown there. In fact, I log nearly everything I can get from the server list and the servers I'm requesting (I request every server that seems to have players on) in a 5min period. I collect and store all server and player data except the score development during a player session since 2006-10-27. (A player sessions starts when a player (re)connects to a server.)

This means I could tell you who played between 2006-10-27 and now how often and when on which server (the reference is the callsign). I can also tell you when server X changed it's game options, IP or description. Since a few weeks I'm also displaying a possible server location by using a free IP-2-location service.
So...if you want to get some test data to expand your data base for further SNA-like analyses I might be able to help you.
A pessimist is an optimist with experience... ;o)

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Post by too much loving » Mon May 21, 2007 10:32 am

gnu-b wrote: This would give info on daily cycles, over the span of a week, which would suggest some things to look for in later analysis of weekly and longer-term flux. It would show who meets who on which servers (even on which teams), and would give a sense of how much server connection time is being used on different servers.
My impression is that bzflag-players tend to seek out opponents with a given skill level and perhaps with an interest in team play. Personally I stop playing if I lose too much, but I have also seen great masters leave because they were bored.

Therefore it might be dangerous to try to interpret the data in terms of social networks if you don't account for the score. In a social network model it will look as if dislike the personalities of the great masters, but the truth is that I just hate losing too much.

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Post by Lt-Kirby2007 » Mon May 21, 2007 11:17 am

na i dont think BZFlag is dying as such because lets be honest....its school term atm. I mean the only reason im on here on a monday is cos i am on study leave for my exams and cant be bothered to revise lol.

i admit that the servers do seem alot quieter in the weekends in comparison to that of a about a year ago, but im hoping that again, that thats down to school term.

I have seen servers come and go over the last couple of years that ive been playing, some have been good (which is a shame they went) and others to be honest, well.....lets just say, they were challenge with lack of imagination.

On the plus though, map creators are trying new and more exciting things....like yesterday i went on a server that was just like a pinball machine...although i cant remember wot it was called.

In one of my other threads i came up with the idea of having different style tank looks for each teams

Like the ones here:-
http://www.3-d-models.com/3d-model_files/ww1.jpg (obviously not the plane though lol)

http://www.3-d-models.com/3d-model_files/371m752.htm

i have had a little bit of praise for this idea, and i personally feel that this would add a new element to the game and make it even more interesting :D.

~Lt-Kirby2007~
:twisted: MAKING THE WORLD A DEADLIER PLACE TO BE IN :twisted:
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Post by Grace F » Mon May 21, 2007 11:38 am

The new tanks would add...well, new tanks :P but not alot if anything to the gameplay. I stand by my opinion in your other thread - That is that I would love to see these upgrades.

BZFlag isn't on death road :) If anything, it's hit a road block :P Come around 2.2 BZFlag will attract more and more users.
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Post by gnu-sense » Mon May 21, 2007 7:00 pm

too much loving wrote:My impression is that bzflag-players tend to seek out opponents with a given skill level and perhaps with an interest in team play. Personally I stop playing if I lose too much, but I have also seen great masters leave because they were bored.

Therefore it might be dangerous to try to interpret the data in terms of social networks if you don't account for the score. In a social network model it will look as if dislike the personalities of the great masters, but the truth is that I just hate losing too much.
This is my impression too, although experienced players I've encountered vary a lot in this respect. TML is right to point out the need to be cautious in interpreting the SNA, and that score is an important variable.

The most important questions have to do with community health and its relation to gameplay, where I take community health to be something like (but I'm not dogmatic on this) that there are enough opportunities for play that are satisfying for all levels of players that regularly visit, and that there are sufficient pathways between levels to keep the community cohesive, and pathways for new players to come in, to keep the community replenished and vibrant.

One of the reasons I think SNA would be useful is the many ways in which it is directly relevant to gameplay, e.g. teamwork in bzf requires coordination, mutual support, etc., which are potentially readable from SNA, and can be compared to measurable outcomes (score). Other things can be done with SNA at different levels of analysis, but the interpretation has to fit the data which is used.

Should this be made a new thread?

gnu-b

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Post by macsforme » Sun Jun 03, 2007 5:12 am

With Missile Wars and a few good Overlord battles over the last few months, I think BFlag is doing okay these days. Just need to keep the good maps coming and have some well-organized and well-run servers. The speed of development is also, of course, an important factor.

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IS BZ DEAD?

Post by zaddo » Sun Jun 03, 2007 10:07 am

I run my own server on a private network and play with a few friends. The public servers wouldn't be aware I existed. I am sure there are thousands of others like myself out there.

I Love BZFlag, I have loads of off the shelf games, but I get tired of them soon after I buy them. I never get tired of BZ Flag because it is just SO MUCH FUN :!: :!:

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