Inserting servers at the top of the list

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Sky King
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Inserting servers at the top of the list

Post by Sky King » Fri Oct 13, 2006 4:18 pm

One of the challenges I have found in administering Boxy is that there is a steady flow of newbies coming in, and TKing...

Since I want to encourage newbies and not scare them off of BZ, I try to send them a couple of messages getting them pointed in the right direction; And all the while I am usually getting hammered by the experienced players who want the newbie banned forever on their first TK.

Well, the problem is that Boxy is often at the top of the list, so it is often the very first server someone encounters after installing BZ. So... here's a question/thought:

Is it possible to insert some very basic servers at the top of the list. In the short term, it would just be nice to have a couple of low population, simple map servers be the first in the list, and THEN have the remainder sorted by population.

In the long term, we could actually design a couple of training servers like some other games have... the first is an intro server, the second is an advanced skills server, and the third is a team play/CTF server...

And perhaps as you drive around these maps, there are signs that have you do certain things (with instructions) like shoot at a target, practice jumping onto a building, lock GM, etc.

I wonder how many people install, come into Boxy or Mofo when they're busy... get slaughtered, kicked for TKing... and just quit and never come back.

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Post by ducktape » Fri Oct 13, 2006 4:30 pm

I agree with all you are saying. And there is a Newbie map/server maybe put that at the top also. and I think the traing idea is a good one.
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Post by Alex135 » Fri Oct 13, 2006 4:30 pm

i know what your point of view is, but to be able to do this, it would either require redoing some of the setup of the server list, or redoing the client so that it would put some servers on the top.

anyway, it would require some kind of special/extra work for the devs/webadministrators to make this work.

Although it is possible to make scripts for these types of maps to make it so that you are supposed to shoot some targets, and have a bzadmin client script tell you what to do, but it would be kinda hard to do.

Its a lot of work, that only a person who knows how to make highpowerd scripts for bzflag would know how to do. sadly, i am not one of those, but Thumper is a good recomendation, along with maby Gnurdux are good script makers from what i know on a friend basis.

I would recomend talking to these to help with makeing the scripts for the map, i could design the map for it, but i dono if this will be even thaught about by the devs, but i fully support the ideah.

hope the project works, ill try and be part of it, maby if the scripts dont work i can alwase go and make the images and signs and stuff for the map. But they would need to be seperate maps. 1 big tutorial map would be to hard to do.

Anyway, goodluck on the ideah. and im sure all of us admins will like the ideah.

P.S. i cant ever get into Boxy wars, it has error connecting to server each time.
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Post by ducktape » Fri Oct 13, 2006 4:33 pm

Alex135 wrote:i know what your point of view is, but to be able to do this, it would either require redoing some of the setup of the server list, or redoing the client so that it would put some servers on the top.
Well we could have like bots orsomething so that it stays up top. and for newbies that would be fine for a CTF traing map that Sky king was talkin about.

PS. i like your sig what did you use to make it.
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Post by JeffM » Fri Oct 13, 2006 4:50 pm

adding bots or moding the server to make it apear at the top of the list is not an acceptable behavor. Same goes for padding player counts, etc.. Doing this can get your server banned from the list ( It just isn't fair ).

we understand the problem, and one feature beeing looked at for 2.2 is better ways to organise the servers, posibly in tabs. This way we can have tabs for "beginer" servers, new servers, perfered servers, leauges, etc...
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Post by L4m3r » Fri Oct 13, 2006 6:07 pm

Boxy war is a newb server anyway, you're going to attract hordes of newbies regardless of where you are on the list.

The map doesn't exactly help things, either- you spawn in a bucket of teammates... most new players probably TK before they even see a tank with a different color. Plus, rico inside the bases adds to the problem.

EDIT: yes, and use of excessive bots to boost list server position is lame, and ruins gameplay on the server too...
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Post by CUPCAKE » Fri Oct 13, 2006 6:29 pm

I would say it's pretty hard for a newbie to TK the first time they sign on. The reaction usually is (at least this is what I find with my friends who I introduce to BZflag): "Look a tank!" *bang*
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Post by Sky King » Fri Oct 13, 2006 7:04 pm

JeffM2501 wrote:adding bots or moding the server to make it apear at the top of the list is not an acceptable behavor.
There are lots of behaviors that, when done secretly and deceptively to manipulate others are unacceptable. And yet, when those same things are done openly, transparently, and in plain view of the community so we know why they're being done, are very acceptable.

There have been a number of servers that created a sealed container and spawned a bot into that container in order to have a certain effect besides manipulating player counts.

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Post by Sky King » Fri Oct 13, 2006 7:19 pm

Alex135 wrote:i know what your point of view is, but to be able to do this, it would either require redoing some of the setup of the server list, or redoing the client so that it would put some servers on the top.

anyway, it would require some kind of special/extra work for the devs/webadministrators to make this work.
Two thoughts; One, as Jeff mentioned, it could be done by creating bogus player counts, but this would require special dispensation by the community. Second, let's not forget we were all newbies once, and in any community, encouraging and proctoring new players is vital to our long-term viability... so expending a little programming effort to improve newbie relations, I think, is a good thing. I'll bet we lose half, or more, of our recruit base on their first day.
Alex135 wrote:Although it is possible to make scripts for these types of maps to make it so that you are supposed to shoot some targets, and have a bzadmin client script tell you what to do, but it would be kinda hard to do.
Actually, it would be pretty straightforward and require no coding or plugins... A sign describing the task to do, and how to do it, would be part of the map, not server/admin broadcasts. Quite a number of maps (including Boxy now) have text signs as part of the routine scenery.
Alex135 wrote:...But they would need to be seperate maps. 1 big tutorial map would be to hard to do.
I think Louman has completely changed all of our perceptions about how complicated a map can be. I think jumping, shooting, flag pick up/drop off, and wings can all be done on one map, and then have an intro to teams and CTF on another map.

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Post by JeffM » Fri Oct 13, 2006 8:04 pm

Sky King wrote:There have been a number of servers that created a sealed container and spawned a bot into that container in order to have a certain effect besides manipulating player counts.
and those servers have been banned when we found out, if they did not stop when we asked.

I'm not saying that people don't and havent', I'm saying that we don't find it acceptable, ether open or closed.

The list server is not a comunity resource, it is run by the project management team. It has it's own set of rules.
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Post by GMMan » Fri Oct 13, 2006 9:56 pm

I do agree with Sky's first post. Too many newbies gets into Boxy, TKs, get angry messages, never come back. I guess experienced players just don't like newbies messing up their play. It would be a good idea to have practice servers. And here's my idea: how about implementing catagories and display the Newbie catagory when BZFlag is first started? The drawback with that is that if you delete your config file, you'd be seeing the Newbie catagory again.
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Post by L4m3r » Fri Oct 13, 2006 10:02 pm

Sky King wrote:There have been a number of servers that created a sealed container and spawned a bot into that container in order to have a certain effect besides manipulating player counts.
That was ONE server, my server, and yes, it was necessary to force a flag to spawn. However, only one bot was used, and within days the code was modified to make the flag spawn without the bot.
Optimism is just a milder alternative to denial.

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Post by Mets » Sat Oct 14, 2006 4:17 am

I agree too. When I first started playing, Boxy was at the top of the list and I was completely amazed at how terrible I did. I eventually figured out the game and what I was supposed to do (although I'm still terrible), some training would have been nice. I think that BZ should come with a tutorial that you would download together with the actual game (like pretty much any other game you would play). Since you can play locally, I can't imagine that would be too hard to do. I sent the game around to my entire dorm and had a whole bunch of people playing, but most of them got completely demolished when they started playing too, and, consequently, quit :(

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Post by Sky King » Sat Oct 14, 2006 8:38 am

Mets wrote:I think that BZ should come with a tutorial that you would download together with the actual game (like pretty much any other game you would play). Since you can play locally, I can't imagine that would be too hard to do.
Doh! I hadn't really even thought about this... Since the client software already has server built in to run maps locally, why not make the map that ships with the client, a training map!

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Post by eagle » Sat Oct 14, 2006 11:07 am

hey...thats a good idea! :) coming with a tutorial would be cool. but who's up to making the map? It might be kind of tough...I don't know. you could also have an advanced training map that you learn and train dodging...a lot of people jump and get killed as they fall.
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Post by GMMan » Sat Oct 14, 2006 1:04 pm

Doesn't starting a server require BZFS?
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Post by JeffM » Sat Oct 14, 2006 3:31 pm

hooks for tutorials are also being worked on for 2.2.

the eventual goal is to have a game that knows it's the first time you have played and asks if you wish to do the tutorials for each game type before you join real servers.

Basically we'll set up special servers that run you through a tutorial for the game type, and then have the tutorial end with you playing a small game with server side bots, or any other players on the tutorial server. Then you'll be shown the rest of the servers of that type in the server list.

sadly just running a server locally doesn't give a player any info on HOW to play the game. That is why we are adding support to have the server prompt the user with info. Like "drive here, and shoot this dummy tank".
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Post by CUPCAKE » Sat Oct 14, 2006 7:27 pm

A tutorial map? Sounds like a good idea. I was lucky, I got a tutorial from my brother when we first got high speed. But a tutorial map would work nicely, and be very handy.

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Post by Sky King » Sat Oct 14, 2006 11:15 pm

JeffM2501 wrote:the eventual goal is to have a game that knows it's the first time you have played and asks if you wish to do the tutorials for each game type before you join real servers.
I have done a lot of GUI work in the past and have done a couple of projects where I incorporated user levels... in the options, the user can select User Level: Novice / Advanced / Expert... with each level providing a little less help/friendliness and more shortcuts/complexity.
JeffM2501 wrote:sadly just running a server locally doesn't give a player any info on HOW to play the game. That is why we are adding support to have the server prompt the user with info. Like "drive here, and shoot this dummy tank".
True... which is why I was thinking of creating a tutorial map, that has instructions on how to do things on signs embedded as textures in the map... and then making that the default map if you run the server locally from the client GUI. This would require that the tutorial map be added to the distribution kit but wouldn't require code changes.

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Post by JeffM » Sun Oct 15, 2006 4:22 am

we will need tutorial maps, but we have no plans to do another 2.0.x release.

so there will not be another distribution to add any maps too, that does not contain code changes.

when we have all the hooks in, we would welcome your help in designing tutorial maps for the 2.2 release.
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Post by macsforme » Sun Oct 15, 2006 5:55 am

This is all good stuff. As for newbie teamkillers, though, I personally think that "You joined the game as the Red team" and "Don't shoot teammates!" is fairly straightforward, and don't quite see how it could be so difficult to understand. Yes, you may have to work through it with them two or three times... but I just don't see how that can be such a big deal. Tutorial maps, however, are definitely a good idea.

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Post by BinarySpike » Sun Oct 15, 2006 2:09 pm

We need to think about fps too!

Some kid might be playing from his laptop, run bzflag, and it go super slow, so he quits and never downloads it again.

I think it would be better to run multiple maps instead of one big map with everything in it.

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Post by Longhair » Mon Oct 16, 2006 4:10 pm

How about a hack to bzbb that would automatically add people to a beginners group when they first register their callsign on bzbb and keep them there for 30 days.

Then server owners could use -advertise to decide whether or not the members of the beginners group would see their servers. I know that you are able to specify which groups CAN see your server listing, but i'm not sure if you can specify who CAN'T see your server. If you can't do the latter, perhaps a "experienced" group is in order where once you have been a bzbb member for a certain period of time (say, 30 days) you are automatically made a member. Then, you'd use -advertise EXPERIENCED to only show the server to members of the "experienced" group.

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Post by TD-Linux » Mon Oct 16, 2006 10:31 pm

It isn't good to force people to do anything. It would probably be quite aggravating to someone who just globaly registered after playing BZ for 6 months, to find that they can't play at their favorite servers anymore...

What we need are tabs, and the ability to control categorization. IE:
Tutorial (real actual tutorials)
Practice (like tutorials, but only the map and no popups)
Newbie
Moderate (this one probably isn't really needed)
Experienced
Explore (i.e. BZLand, Olympics...)
League

A server can fit under any category. It should be a server parameter, for the server owner to decide.

BZFlag n00bs are going to gravitate toward the Tutorial and Practice tabs, for certain. Even if we don't force it on them, just about every new player wants a tutorial.

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Post by Goodbye2U » Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:08 pm

BinarySpike wrote: Some kid might be playing from his laptop, run bzflag, and it go super slow, so he quits and never downloads it again.
I know how that feels :x it's annoying.

how about we make this idea work?
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