What was attractive about this game?

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osta
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Re: What was attractive about this game?

Post by osta » Fri Jan 08, 2016 2:55 pm

The current community is so small that's much more interesting to find and fulfill needs of other people instead - if you want to have flourishing new game.
If that'd fit current community needs - then it'll be a nice bonus, but don't let the current players, devs or admins to become a limitation.

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Re: What was attractive about this game?

Post by etigah » Tue Jan 12, 2016 3:33 pm

The good
1- Open source.
2- Simple play yet very challenging against good players (GU/DUC specific.)

The bad
1- No mechanism to get a quick match going.
2- The graphics can get improved, while remaining simple.

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Re: What was attractive about this game?

Post by op90 » Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:36 am

There were several things that made bzflag attractive to me:

(1) It runs on 'old' hardware,
(2) The goal of the game was immediately obvious,
(3) It provides instantaneous fun. No need to level up or figure out stuf. You start driving, shoot and things blow up, instant fun.
(4) You get to play against and with other people, and most of those people are really nice.
(5) The different maps provide diverse game play. Hunt the rabbit has a very different feel to it, than capture the flag or sniper.
(6) You can play it for how ever long or short you want.

What would I change when staring over?

First of all, don't start over. Scrapping an existing code base and starting over is generally a bad idea.
(And that is based on 20 years of experience maintaining legacy applications). It is very appealing to
look at a large messy code base and say, the heck with it, I'll start over.
However there is a lot of hidden knowledge in source code, and when starting from scratch,
you well have to rediscover all that knowledge again. All wasted resources. Better to slowly change
the existing code-base into what you want it to be.

Also, I would not change the graphics much. A lot of the appeal of the game comes from the world being simple.
Boxes and pyramids are easy to understand. You can intuitively understand how the bullets will bounce of.

Now to what to change or add:

(1) No genocide flag. This one is really frustrating for beginners. As a beginner you accept you that get shot all the time because
of lack of skill. But this flag causes your lack of skill to effect teammates and that creates guild.

(2) Although the game is easy to start with. It is hard to get good at. It needs good tutorials or beginner maps that explain
the various flags and things you can do to up your skill level.

(3) An easy way to play again robots in combination with training maps.

(4) Much more PR. For instance Let's Play videos on Youtube or map making tutorials.

(5) A good map editor. (Making maps is as fun as the game).

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Re: What was attractive about this game?

Post by Zehra » Wed Jan 13, 2016 8:06 pm

I agree with op90's suggestions.

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Re: What was attractive about this game?

Post by trpted » Wed Jan 13, 2016 8:52 pm

+1 with Flak 18 (and op90 because Flak 18 agrees with him/her/them). :)

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Re: What was attractive about this game?

Post by macsforme » Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:47 pm

op90 wrote:First of all, don't start over. Scrapping an existing code base and starting over is generally a bad idea.
(And that is based on 20 years of experience maintaining legacy applications). It is very appealing to
look at a large messy code base and say, the heck with it, I'll start over.
However there is a lot of hidden knowledge in source code, and when starting from scratch,
you well have to rediscover all that knowledge again. All wasted resources. Better to slowly change
the existing code-base into what you want it to be.
op90, thanks for your astute post. Generally I would agree with you that starting over rather than retrofitting may not be as good of an idea as it sounds. Let me give a few reasons why I don't think that is the case this time.

The locations of functionality within our source tree do not make sense. There are numerous to-dos in comments scattered around stating that something needs to be moved, modularized, etc. Try doing a fairly invasive project in the code... I've wasted a lot of time trying to sort through confusing side effects when changes are implemented. Could it all be refactored? Yes, but the effort may be less that re-creating it with a proper layout from the start.

Having done some fairly invasive changes myself, I have seen that a lot of developers have been hesitant to remove any functionality, even when replacement functionality is implemented. As a result, nothing gets removed, we have a lot of redundant or unused code, and we have a ton of configuration options of which many are meaningless to the average user. To retrofit, someone needs to come in with a big chisel and do some serious pruning (and the resistance to this might be significant).

There have also been some issues with the rights holders over the years. For example, the bzflag.org domain has had an unreliable DNS server off and on, which affected services significantly at times. Also, as long as the code is licensed under LGPL, some of us can't deploy it to all the platforms we would like to. The copyright holder has yet to indicate willingness to change this.

Finally, one part of the code literally needs a complete re-write. We need to transition from the fixed-function pipeline to the shader pipeline. It's a completely different approach. The current graphics code has some pretty elaborate techniques deeply tied to the fixed-function pipeline, but that is all completely worthless to a well-designed rendering module with a more modern approach.

Based on all of that, I am starting to think that starting over may be the better approach.

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Re: What was attractive about this game?

Post by Monster » Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:41 pm

Ok, I just wrote a novel for this thread and accidentally deleted everything :)

Here is the tl;dr:
1. The game won me over with it's mechanics(ricos, shotspeed variation, superflags)
2. I stayed for the community (in game chat) and the league.
3. I did not like how unintuitive the menue is (server colours? search function complicated to use) and the overcomplicated aspects around the game (spawnlists, registering on a website which you have to find first, again different websites for league play)

4. I do think nicer graphics or at least more detail to the textures would be a good start if one wanted to attract more players.
A appealing online representation would be nice too.
An integration into the steam market could work wonders (I have no clue about license stuff so please don't attack me it's just my thoughts).
In order to foster league play a better cheat detection and an automated bann system would be needed.



PS: Constitution: "and I would fix the glitch that lets you shoot through the ramp or through the base on HiX. :P"
How can nyou say that? ^^ For me those bugs are an essential part of the game and of league play especially :p

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Re: What was attractive about this game?

Post by macsforme » Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:28 pm

Monster wrote:PS: Constitution: "and I would fix the glitch that lets you shoot through the ramp or through the base on HiX. :P"
How can nyou say that? ^^ For me those bugs are an essential part of the game and of league play especially :p
Uh... yeah... because glitches make the same so... interesting. :-P Oh, and so intuitive for new players to jump into.

We can always intentionally make it a shoot-through lattice on the top and bottom, if we really need that.

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Re: What was attractive about this game?

Post by fearless leader » Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:35 pm

Constitution wrote:Uh... yeah... because glitches make the same so... interesting. :-P Oh, and so intuitive for new players to jump into.

We can always intentionally make it a shoot-through lattice on the top and bottom, if we really need that.
I remember the days when good sportsmanship reigned and new players in league were given tips and shown the nuances of hix map.
Having that shot through the wall is no biggy and easily explained to new players. Plus it adds a dimension of skill in the jump...not to hug the wall when you land. I would hate to see that one go.

Now the pyra rico from under base to hit base player....not many can do that and it seems more hit & miss - but correct me if I'm wrong. I wouldn't be sad to see this one go, but *shrug*....it's a luck shot mostly.

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Re: What was attractive about this game?

Post by Spazzy McGee » Thu Jan 21, 2016 10:17 am

I'd say it wasn't the game that kept me engaged, so much as it was the people.

"Back in the day", (man I hate that phrase) we had a blast running servers, making maps, playing pranks, pissing people off at times , subverting the system :wink: , generally hanging out and trying to putting out the best content we could, for people who were like us.

My life has so much less time for that anymore, and I wish it did, but it still never feels quite the same as it did back then.
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." - John Lennon

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Re: What was attractive about this game?

Post by macsforme » Thu Jan 21, 2016 4:36 pm

fearless leader wrote:I remember the days when good sportsmanship reigned and new players in league were given tips and shown the nuances of hix map.
Having that shot through the wall is no biggy and easily explained to new players. Plus it adds a dimension of skill in the jump...not to hug the wall when you land. I would hate to see that one go.

Now the pyra rico from under base to hit base player....not many can do that and it seems more hit & miss - but correct me if I'm wrong. I wouldn't be sad to see this one go, but *shrug*....it's a luck shot mostly.
The glitches I was talking about are where you use the pyramids under the base to either shoot through the base (literally) or through the ramps adjacent to the base (literally). Killing someone who is up against a thin wall by shooting the wall still makes sense in that you shouldn't get too close to a shell (even if it doesn't go through you) because it can still kill you. Also, regular pyramid shots to kill jumpers to the base, and all other ricochet shots that don't depend on glitches in the physics, are all fine and I wouldn't change anything there.

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Re: What was attractive about this game?

Post by Monster » Fri Jan 22, 2016 12:52 pm

I don't mean to start or pursue an unnecessary discussion but I would like to outline my pov on the matter in more detail:

As long as glitches can be reproduced and are not gamebreaking I'd rather have more of them than less because it gives players the sense that they can find out new things about the game and benefit from their involvement in the game. I agree that it might seem unfair or unintuitive for newer players. Speaking form my perspective though, I am always amazed when someone killed me with such a shot and am eager to learn how to use and abuse it. An example would be the many different ways one can uss the strange pyras under the diagonals to shoot ppl on first level through the floor. It is not overpowered since it is hard to time correctly, aim at the right spot at the right angle, and the "victim" can always chose to jump to the second level and avoid those shots. Personally I don't think that shots through the diagonals first floor or the catwalks are unintuitive because they are rather thin. I agree on the shots through the base because they are in comparison pretty thick. Then again those shots are way harder to perform consistently and generally don't pass the roof as often which over all makes sense imo.

:)

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Re: What was attractive about this game?

Post by Zehra » Fri Jan 22, 2016 4:21 pm

[redacted]
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Those who are critical of me, I'll likely be the same of them. ~Zehra
There's always something to remember and it's been a game I love. ~Zehra
The time spent is a time which can never be regained, so it's a time to enjoy. ~Zehra
The decisions we make are the ones we look forward too and the ones we regret. ~Zehra
There's a difference between knowing my name and knowing me, one shows respect to my name and the other is to who I am. ~Zehra

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Re: What was attractive about this game?

Post by King RuMbl3r » Mon Jan 25, 2016 1:28 am

What was attractive about this game?
    The Glorious population of personnel and also quite simply, the competition and rivalry
      The Learning curve of becoming a pro; the development of general awareness and Reaction time/Reflexes contributing to the fun.
        The various Maps, styles and Flags

        Improvements

        In-game commands need to be displayed ... IN-GAME, either within the 'help' menu or another section called 'Command Edits' e.g: /localset for fps, or the commands for like editing radar shots into having long lines in front in radar (the command that TheRisingSun uses in his riker cup youtube recordings).. I keep forgetting these commands...

        The graphics shouldn't be the primary focus of attracting new players since it's not what makes this game great, welcomed visual improvements should be done by discretion, in terms of how it will impact computer/gaming performance, some people are still using windows XP so consideration for weaker systems must be applied. The primary focus for attracting new players must be general media attention.

        Keep the genocide flag since frustration comes with learning, new players will figure out how to prevent getting hit by geno-flags like we all had to before them... as they build radar awareness skills.
        I disagree with monster regarding the bugs or exploits in certain maps: A player has taken the time to master his surroundings to its maximum potential to get the upper hand against their opposition. This demonstrates an aspiring pro as well as the unpredictability of the game. As the player showcases his new skills and tricks other players will rise-up and take measures into preventing these 'tricks' or even counter them as their awareness improves. Inexperienced players will be forced to learn quickly but practice is all It takes in mastering surroundings

        There should be no shortcuts to becoming a master of the game, since you'll risk losing the unpredictable nature of the game and thus reducing the thrill, enjoyment and satisfaction that comes from staying alive or defeating your opponents. :book:
        "Everyone is entitled to their own deluded opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts... Otherwise the truth would never exist".

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        Re: What was attractive about this game?

        Post by blast » Mon Jan 25, 2016 2:18 am

        The development plans for 2.6.0 should hopefully address a lot of the issues that keep us from retaining new players.

        https://wiki.bzflag.org/DevelopmentPlans/2.6.0
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        Re: What was attractive about this game?

        Post by PhaseShifter » Mon Jan 25, 2016 6:23 am

        I love how there are league tournaments for those who want them, but there are also plenty of servers where it's no big deal just to log in and shoot other tanks for a few minutes while I'm waiting for dinner to cook.

        One improvement I can think of--how about a way to disable the observer ability to follow your tank, or tanks with the ST/CL flags?
        A few months back, I was playing on the Urban Jungle server, and when I picked up the ST flag some jerk logged in as observer, followed my tank, and kept using the chat feature to tell everyone where I was going.

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        Re: What was attractive about this game?

        Post by blast » Mon Jan 25, 2016 11:02 am

        PhaseShifter wrote:A few months back, I was playing on the Urban Jungle server, and when I picked up the ST flag some jerk logged in as observer, followed my tank, and kept using the chat feature to tell everyone where I was going.
        I'd think on most servers that should be a bannable offense, since using observer to reveal details like that should be considered cheating. So, an admin or cop should have been able to take care of that. We don't need a technical solution to every problem.
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        Re: What was attractive about this game?

        Post by PhaseShifter » Mon Jan 25, 2016 8:30 pm

        blast wrote:
        PhaseShifter wrote:A few months back, I was playing on the Urban Jungle server, and when I picked up the ST flag some jerk logged in as observer, followed my tank, and kept using the chat feature to tell everyone where I was going.
        I'd think on most servers that should be a bannable offense, since using observer to reveal details like that should be considered cheating. So, an admin or cop should have been able to take care of that. We don't need a technical solution to every problem.
        I'd like to believe that, but it's trivial to get around most bans by changing your IP address or username.
        Also, the admins can't be logged in 24/7.

        Yeah, I know the drill.
        I'm starting to look at the BZFS source now.

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        Re: What was attractive about this game?

        Post by macsforme » Mon Jan 25, 2016 9:46 pm

        I'm starting to envision an ST + CL flag that has some other weakness (such as an engage/disengage period during which you cannot fire) so that positions of STCL'd tanks do not need to be transmitted to other clients at all. This is in keeping with our guideline of not trusting the client as much as possible.

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        Re: What was attractive about this game?

        Post by Zehra » Tue Jan 26, 2016 12:12 am

        Constitution wrote:I'm starting to envision an ST + CL flag that has some other weakness (such as an engage/disengage period during which you cannot fire) so that positions of STCL'd tanks do not need to be transmitted to other clients at all. This is in keeping with our guideline of not trusting the client as much as possible.
        It sure would be interesting to see this in a new flag.
        Might need something to get a users attention that this is STCL'd tank, such as putting it on hunt and make it appear and disappear for around twenty seconds on both radar and HUD and then be placed on hunt by all the other tanks when it would reappear.

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        Those who are critical of me, I'll likely be the same of them. ~Zehra
        There's always something to remember and it's been a game I love. ~Zehra
        The time spent is a time which can never be regained, so it's a time to enjoy. ~Zehra
        The decisions we make are the ones we look forward too and the ones we regret. ~Zehra
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        Re: What was attractive about this game?

        Post by kliksf » Fri Jan 29, 2016 9:57 pm

        I think my favorite thing early on and on some maps was how the sun would rise and set and it would get dark out, there's even a bout twenty minutes of twilight and dawn each day, in real time with how light or dark it was outside. Suck a small touch but one that made the world seem a lot more tangible.

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        Re: What was attractive about this game?

        Post by Landon » Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:18 am

        The games mechanics seemed fun and innovative back in 2004, but I think BZFlag really needs an overhaul/makeover to bring it into 2016, I doubt the manpower exists for that at this stage though. What we can do now is try to bring a central web interface for every branch of the community, as was pointed out earlier in this thread, there are way too many websites all over the place for what should really all be accessible from one site, that would be a good place to start. If we can decrease the learning curve, make things more intuitive and give a significant upgrade to UI and textures we can probably renew interest in the project to some degree, and with renewed interest comes people who may be interested in contributing time and effort into getting some new versions of the game out.

        Also, thanks to the people who've made major contributions to the game, I've actually learned a lot about how computers and video games work from you guys over the years.

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        Re: What was attractive about this game?

        Post by Zehra » Fri Feb 12, 2016 7:53 pm

        [redacted]
        Last edited by Zehra on Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
        Those who are critical of me, I'll likely be the same of them. ~Zehra
        There's always something to remember and it's been a game I love. ~Zehra
        The time spent is a time which can never be regained, so it's a time to enjoy. ~Zehra
        The decisions we make are the ones we look forward too and the ones we regret. ~Zehra
        There's a difference between knowing my name and knowing me, one shows respect to my name and the other is to who I am. ~Zehra

        See where I've last been active at Strayers.

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        Re: What was attractive about this game?

        Post by a wanted tank » Fri Apr 15, 2016 6:34 pm

        When I first got the game the wings and burrow flags weren't even in existence. I was very young so the thing that appealed to me the most were the power flags and they are still one of my favorite parts of the game. The game was simple but the power flags brought more to the game. There are powerful flags such as guided missile, laser, and super bullet that seem unstoppable at times. Flags that help hide the player like of stealth and cloaking. There are bizarre flags like phantom zone and steamroller that are odd but in the right hands and conditions are very good. Then the new flags were introduced and the game became even more interesting. Wings for multiple jumps, burrow for nigh invulnerability, masquerade was evil on maps with no radar. and seer to counter MQ, ST, and CL (IB too I think). When I heard that Bzflag was going to add even more flags I was excited but that fell through. I kinda wish that BzFlag would get a little more official flags implemented. I remember when the others were added it was a very hype moment for BzFlag. I hope someday that the cloaked shot flag comes back.

        I also love the game modes. There's free for all if you just want to shoot some people up. There's capture the flag in which sometimes the team must actually work as a team in order to complete the objective (something that some modern games kind of lack but that may just be the players). Then there's my favorite: Rabbit Hunt. This game mode caught my eye because it is very unique. The rabbit is not more powerful then the other players in any way (besides power flags). As the rabbit it's a 1vAll and trying to survive can be very fun. Although some maps would let too many players on which made it a little too hectic. Perhaps more game modes could be made. There could be ones that are found in many other games such as king of the hill or capture points but I'd also like to see more unique game modes like rabbit hunt.

        I think adding more to these categories would help make the game more interesting.

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        Re: What was attractive about this game?

        Post by [honc] » Mon Apr 18, 2016 2:02 pm

        Constitution wrote: What did you find attractive about this game when you first found it? And what did you find that made you want to stay?

        Also, if this game was re-made, what parts of it would you definitely want to see again? What parts would you be more than happy to get rid of?

        What would I change if we started over?

        What would your desires be?

        - First time i had a look on BZF was on a visit @maneater's home .. i did not understand what he is shooting at .. he just said ..'look at the radar'
        there was noting to see for me lol but i was looking for a fast online shooter so i get the source and it was fun to figure how to bring it to life
        then i start noobing around died a zillion times and i want revenge i want to get all the skill cheater that seems to get me all the times .. and then
        they start talking to me giving hints and let me die trying there where some epic battles and most of the time friendly people

        - If the game gets a facelifting i like to see .. the same simple gameplay as it is now maybe some new things like the passing of flags like in
        bzmatchball a great plugin btw and i like to see some training maps like the dodge trainer that might be useful for new players

        - and i desire that more humans find the way to our game :-)
        may the tool's be with you

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