Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one time

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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by JeffM » Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:50 pm

BlueCoat wrote:Why? because of various problems with it.
2) Not maintained. No game updates..or very poor ones...graphics really are stuck in the 90's.
7) the coders don't understand how to program for Windows. Bzflag optimal game play is in Linux.
#2 I recommend you talk to the maintainer, we have certainly tried but he seems unwilling to be involved anymore.

#7 I'd like to hear more detail about your feelings on this one. While I agree that by count there are more Linux based developers then windows based ones, I would not think that BZFlag runs poorly on windows. I have spent a LOT of time making sure that we run and build on windows easy and simple. We have a very nice installer, and the windows build system is way easier then the Linux or (don't even get me started ) OSX version. I'd think the fact that the person with the most all time commits to the project uses windows for primary development would mean something.

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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by Pesky_UK » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:47 pm

Almost certainly a stupid question but if the maintainer doesn't want to be involved then why not get another maintainer?

Or am I missing something so bloomin obvious?

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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by JeffM » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:45 pm

The maintainer owns the copyright on the game. Getting another maintainer would be basically forking the project.

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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by psycho » Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:41 pm

It wasn't one thing that destroyed the activity on this game, I was a Missile war 2.3 player, and still a big fan of it. I enjoyed using genocide not because I wanted tons of points but because it was a challenge. I know most of the people that are called "geno wh*res" on that map use it for the same reason, yes it can be a turn off for a newbie.. but so is dying 30 times in a row! also what about league play, that's died down a lot as well and it doesn't have any super flags. We could sit here and debate why this game died for a long time, and it probably had to do with quite a few different reasons. such as lack of innovated graphics, the fact that you have to build up skill and a reputation. Most of the fun in this game for the more experienced players is the community. Maybe leadership had something to do with it, but no matter who you have up there humans are going to make wrong decisions so we can't sit here and say anything would be different if others were in charge. I've tried inviting a lot of people onto this game, they play once or twice say its fun and really don't play it much more.

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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by Mopar Madness » Sat Apr 05, 2014 6:29 am

Geno I seriously doubt played a big role in the decline, it got annoying to be on the losing team at a geno map, but it wasn't ever uninstall the game annoying. Now what made me quit when I was first introduced to the game was the controls. They flat out suck if you're not used to them. Nothing is where you expect it to be, but honestly, there's not really a better place for them. There needs to be a better way to introduce new players to the controls. And I agree the devs having their hands tied by an disinterested maintainer is also hurting growth too.

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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by Bullet Catcher » Sat Apr 05, 2014 3:05 pm

To paraphrase what psycho said, the current BZFlag situation is the result of independent personal choices made by many individual people. The only meaningful restrictions on BZFlag developers are those that they have created in their own minds.

Misquoting President Kennedy: ask not what BZFlag can do for you, ask what can you do for BZFlag. Contribute more than ideas. Recruit new players, learn to write C++, run a game server, etc. Play the game instead of sitting in observer, and I mean that both literally and metaphorically.

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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by Zac » Sun Apr 06, 2014 2:11 am

The learning curve on this game is just too steep. New players join geno dominated servers and then get abused because more experienced players take advantage of them. I can imagine it's quite discouraging to join as a complete newbie and then get cussed or poll banned off a server because you're being targeted by the geno whores. Thats only part of the issue though. Stuff like NoTK, increased tankspeed and shot speed, powered up super flags, all dectract from gameplay and more often then not cater solely to the individual player rather than the team as a whole. The TK function is practical because it means you had to have some regard for your teammates instead of blatantly stealing kills and flags are designed so that they aren't all as good as each other. There isn't a single reason that the game is less enjoyable, it's a number of issues which come together and create a whole.

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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by chickenfarmer » Sat Apr 26, 2014 4:22 am

jhs wrote:I got hooked on BZ via the Missile Wars 2.0 map and thankfully had good players like Joop, chickenfarmer, FA!!!, War Pig, joker, etc to show me the ropes - not only to the actual controls of the game but also to the strategies. I got geno'd occasionally in my early days and got shot a heckuva lot. And those guys would often explain what happened, how to avoid it and how to turn the tables on the other player/team.
Thanks for the shout out, jhs. I agree with you about the community/team aspect. Each person has their own preference to maps. I always think it's funny when people are getting dominated on a team map and PM me and say, "Come to HIX and I'll own you!" Never have really cared for HIX personally. Great place to learn dodging skills, shooting skills, etc., but I like team play the best. That's why you'll rarely see me on one of the HIX sites -- unless there's just NOBODY playing anywhere else.

I miss the crowd at Missile Wars and whenever I have a foray back into playing, I try to hang out there and drum up a crowd. It's always the same thing: people join, play a while, say, "Man, this was a great map." And I ask them, "Well, why don't YOU hang out here and be the player who draws the crowd?"

Blast even shows up occasionally and (gasp) has played a few times with us. I liked the fact that blast was/is a responsive admin. There have been times cheaters or abusers came on, I reported it, and he would pop in within 5 minutes and take care of the problem.

I wish blast would put about 5 bots in his map so that it would always show up NEAR THE TOP OF THE LIST (hint, hint, wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Maybe people would play there more often if they saw it listed on the first page.

As one of the persons who used geno quite a bit in the old days on MW, I actually am content now to play a game with a team there without having to use it. But then Joop shows up, and that's another story...

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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by JeffM » Sat Apr 26, 2014 6:26 am

chickenfarmer wrote:I wish blast would put about 5 bots in his map so that it would always show up NEAR THE TOP OF THE LIST (hint, hint, wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Maybe people would play there more often if they saw it listed on the first page.
That would be against our usage policy for the list server. Bots are not counted in placement on the server list. In reality he'd not even have to run bots, he runs the list server and could just modify his own standing, but that would be an abuse of power and not cool. That's not how he rolls.

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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by The Purple Panzer » Fri Jun 13, 2014 2:57 pm

For some reason I hadn't seen this thread before - interesting reading. From a purely empirical perspective, major version changes seemed to correlate with a drop in player count. By 'major' I mean changes that won't let an existing, older client play on a newer server. I think these changes were very probably unavoidable, and the underlying reason might have been player laziness - "You mean I have to go find the download site again and do an install?" Sounds trivial, but let's say the player is the younger brother of the guy who installed the game - it can seem to be an insurmountable wall. (I see that much software nowadays, e.g., CCleaner for example, and iTunes for another, offers to do the upgrade download for you - maybe something that trivial might have helped.)

I say 'from an empirical perspective' because I recall watching it happen. There was a similar drop in players when, at one point, registration was required. Not a bad idea, but it added a barrier to new players, and of such trivial things lower player counts may flow. Often I think when we lost players they moved on and never came back. I'm not saying such conduct is very reasonable, just that it happened.

Perhaps we should create a volunteer subgroup to work on marketing - getting ongoing press coverage, encouraging high-profile tournaments, pointing out educational opportunities (I used it to teach kids Cartesian coordinates in a compelling immersive way, and on the software side I think parts could be used as excellent case studies), and other avenues of increasing new player (and eventually new developer) involvement. I posted in another forum (the general one I think) about how BZFlag might be ideal for the Oculus Rift - the search seems to be on for good immersive games that don't require high-end graphics hardware. This 'marketing' idea might seem overly ambitious, but *anything* that would increase the number of new players could have a dramatic result - they tell their friends, it becomes a kind of positive-feedback system.

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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by blast » Fri Jun 13, 2014 4:35 pm

With BZFlag 2.6 (http://wiki.bzflag.org/DevelopmentPlans/2.6.0) I'm hoping we can make it easier for new players get started and learn how to play. If you look at our download stats on Sourceforge, you'll see that there's something like 150 OSX, 230 Windows, and 88 source downloads of 2.4.2 per week. Where are all those players? How many installed/compiled the game? How many got confused once in the game and never went back? I also see we get over 500 downloads of bzedit a week, and I somehow doubt that there's that many map developers.. so people are probably downloading that thinking it's the game, then getting an ancient editor and never getting the actual game.
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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by TheFish » Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:53 am

blast wrote:With BZFlag 2.6 (http://wiki.bzflag.org/DevelopmentPlans/2.6.0) I'm hoping we can make it easier for new players get started and learn how to play. If you look at our download stats on Sourceforge, you'll see that there's something like 150 OSX, 230 Windows, and 88 source downloads of 2.4.2 per week. Where are all those players? How many installed/compiled the game? How many got confused once in the game and never went back? I also see we get over 500 downloads of bzedit a week, and I somehow doubt that there's that many map developers.. so people are probably downloading that thinking it's the game, then getting an ancient editor and never getting the actual game.

As a start, I think I'm going to get back into server hosting. I'll make a tutorial map that has instructions in the bases, no geno flags for the sake of those trying to read said messages, and a few different competitive/practice areas that are separate from each other and only accessible from the 2 bases. I had a feeling that I should log on today, now where is my old Pentium 3 server at?

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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by Central Scrutenizer » Thu Jul 31, 2014 3:20 am

Interesting views being aired here - and I am much of the same mind.

Though I'm a newbie here - I've been playing BZ for years, and whilst not an expert player by any means, the essence of the game to me ought to remain embodied in two areas.

The ability to shoot straight and anticipation of the opponent's moves.

I have found that honing these two skills makes for rewarding play.

I have found myself playing many flag-infested maps, deliberately dropping flags - wanting to defeat opponents solely by accurate shooting and antisipation - rather than using the "fire and forget" weapons on offer.

I would even go so far to say that the more "exotic" flags, and their constant accessibility present a distraction from the basic skills mentioned above, so much so that they give rise to opponents who become "one trick ponies" as a result.

I'm not against the flags BTW . . . . I think jumping and ricochet make for a good game, but the others, though "interesting" tend to be more of an annoyance (IMO).

I've just compiled the 2.4.2 Client but am surprised to find only 3 servers available? I've been busy with other stuff and not played for a while - but I seem to remember there being about 20 pages of servers last time . . . .

Where have they all gone?

Best Regards

CS

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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by JeffM » Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:34 am

If you are seeing 3 servers you are not running 2.4, there are currently 130 servers for 2.4.x. My guess is you build 2.4.x but did not install it so you are running your old version. The software will tell you the version number when it starts up.

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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by Central Scruteniser » Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:22 pm

Thanks for that Jeff,

There's something screwy about my system . . . .

The script reported "Client not installed" and sure enough, I can't find it anywhere, but when I enter bzflag and hit return in /Downloads/bzflag-2.4.2/src/bzflag/, it launches

It SAYS 2.4.2 in the header, and works fine but, just the three servers . . . . .

Started over - same result :shock:

Ghost in the machine?

Or just dumarse at the keyboard? :lol-old:

CS

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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by JeffM » Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:29 pm

You must be root or SUDO in order to run make install. Just being in the bzflag folder will not run the bin in that folder unless you define a path, typing just bzflag will run the one installed in on the system. You may want to re-read the readme file that came with the source code.

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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by blast » Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:30 pm

Don't necessarily trust the header either as that's just a texture that gets loaded. Check the version in the chat panel. You should really remove the 2.0 version using your package manager before you install 2.4.2 from source (and you should really just grab the latest 2.4.3 from our Github repo).
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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by Central Scruteniser » Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:06 am

Thanks, <JeffM> and <blast>,

I'll de-install the one that came with the distribution - and try again - checking the documentation . . . . .

I've done this operation before quite ok, but it's been a while, so I've probably overlooked something . . . .

I'll keep at it.

Thanks for the HU on 2.4.3. I'll check it out . . .

CS

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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by dartman » Sun Aug 03, 2014 6:04 pm

Central Scrutenizer wrote:Interesting views being aired here - and I am much of the same mind.

Though I'm a newbie here - I've been playing BZ for years, and whilst not an expert player by any means, the essence of the game to me ought to remain embodied in two areas.

The ability to shoot straight and anticipation of the opponent's moves.

I have found that honing these two skills makes for rewarding play.

I have found myself playing many flag-infested maps, deliberately dropping flags - wanting to defeat opponents solely by accurate shooting and antisipation - rather than using the "fire and forget" weapons on offer.

I would even go so far to say that the more "exotic" flags, and their constant accessibility present a distraction from the basic skills mentioned above, so much so that they give rise to opponents who become "one trick ponies" as a result.

I'm not against the flags BTW . . . . I think jumping and ricochet make for a good game, but the others, though "interesting" tend to be more of an annoyance (IMO).

I've just compiled the 2.4.2 Client but am surprised to find only 3 servers available? I've been busy with other stuff and not played for a while - but I seem to remember there being about 20 pages of servers last time . . . .

Where have they all gone?

Best Regards

CS
Totally agree about the flags. People are going to play the game however they want, but I've seen too many occasions where players just hunt around for one specific flag, like GM or something, and then just camp out in one spot and spam shots and spawnkill repeatedly. They might get a lot of points that way, but they aren't really improving their skill at the game, and they
ruin the experience for other players. And the disheartening part about it is that a lazy tactic like that is usually successful. I see this now on nearly every flags server and it was this kind of BS that made me strongly consider quitting the game until fairly recently when I was invited to join the leagues.

I personally prefer maps where there are either no flags, or a moderate amount with only a few, heavily shot-limited numbers of the really powerful ones that people seek out the most, like GM, SW, L, WG, ST, SB, etc. Keep the focus on the core gameplay, but a few 'mild' flags to add some variety. Even some bad flags can be good to have in there, just to discourage people from constantly flag-shopping instead of actually engaging in the game.

Again, I'd recommend joining the GU and/or Ducati leagues if you want to see more of a focus on pure skill and the core gameplay. No superflags, lots of skill required, and a good sense of sportsmanship and friendly competition. I get my ass handed to me on a regular basis in the leagues, but I'm okay with that because my opponents tactics practically never feel unfair or cheap--just rigorously practiced--and my skills at the game in general have improved, even though I still have a long way to go.

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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by Green Manalishi » Sun Aug 03, 2014 10:28 pm

hix and ducati are the best places to learn jumping and dodging respectively, no doubt. the gameplay however is incredibly boring for many bz players.. using and defending against flags sharpens your bz skills too, those are just additional skills non-existent in a ducati or hix game. you can get better at sneaking up behind enemies with st (not making a sound, not shooting before getting close enough), you can learn to dodge a gm by sticking to a 90 degree angle or moving your tank forward and backward, be wise enough not to rely on your radar when opponent has ib, drop your laser in time and shoot when they are charging you with cl, just drive away or jump to face them at a safe enough distance when they have sw, don't jump or only perform a turning jump when they have wg, watch out for gm or sw paranoidly when you have wg, launch a surprise attack on a higher placed opponent dropping your oo in the air, irritate or surprise them near a teleport with pz etc etc. some of those may not be strictly technical skills like dodging or aiming but they are nevertheless abilities you learn or develop over time by playing.

so, flags give more variety to the game and make it more fun imo. it's all up to the mapmaker and the server owner (keyword: settings) to offer a decently balanced suw33t gameplay. ideally, a map might be so well designed, it would exclude any need for shot limits. if they fail, the flags aren't to be blamed for that (some new flags like the 50 pointer ARE ridiculous though, let's make no mistake). same with plugins. they can add to or ruin the gameplay on a map. in short, don't listen to dart, play public server ffa maps and quit gu and ducati leagues asap. :mrgreen:

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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by dartman » Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:43 pm

I'm totally with you on the fact that flags add some variety and an extra layer of strategy to the game when used wisely, and I'd say you're one of the players who knows how to use flags properly...just grab a flag and enjoy it for a while instead of being overly picky and limiting yourself to only the obvious powerful ones. People will drop very powerful flags like OO, PZ, IB, T, CL, N, V, A, etc. just to hunt down the easily spammable ones like GM and L (not to say that there aren't strategies to use with those flags). I love to see a player who's good at the core gameplay and also knows how to make good use of every flag to mix things up a bit, as opposed to relying on only a small handful of splodey flags as a crutch, without which they're unable to fend for themselves and haven't even learned basic dodging/jumping skills.

tl;dr I'm all for using flags to add variety and strategy, but only in addition to learning the basic skills of the game and not as a crutch. If you need a certain flag to do well, then you probably need to practice the basic game to improve.

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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by Green Manalishi » Mon Aug 04, 2014 1:17 am

thanks, same with you & tru dat. that's what people including myself have been whining about since the first camping/sniping/geno-shopping ctf maps have gained prominence. people aren't learning the basic skills on them, and newbs get discouraged by overambitious pissed teammates. i believe those maps are the main culprit for the downfall of bz. beside the difficulty of incorporating young blood, also a lot of regulars have left the game not seeing a worthy map near the top of the server list too often for too long. even i was on the brink of it until ahs came up with riot ffa and good old fashioned ffa got a kiss of life.. they say it's supply and demand, what can you do? i say ban those servers and their owners too. 8) :roll:

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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by Central Scruteniser » Mon Aug 04, 2014 2:18 pm

JeffM wrote:You may want to re-read the readme file that came with the source code.
After completing 15 years in tech. support - now retired . . . . (albeit in the Music Dept. of a UK University) - I should have followed my OWN advice so often given . . . to RTFM :lol-old:

The readme contained ALL i needed.

acquiring and installing the required extras resulted in a smooth (and longer) install . . .

BZF 2.4.2 now runs as sweet as a nut . . .

Thanks for your "patience" . . .

CS

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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by Fred From France » Thu Nov 13, 2014 10:40 am

Ou est le temps ou les serveurs principaux étaient pris d'assault.
Where is the time who BZFlag server wher totally occuped.

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Re: Why are there only like 30 people playing BZFLAG at one

Post by Fred From France » Thu Nov 13, 2014 2:43 pm

Geno flag or like is a very bad issue for the game.

This is not strategic. just for some ******* who stay with this flag to make scoring.

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