BzFlag is dying

All things BZFlag - no [OT] here please
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Re: BzFlag is dying

Post by nic9 » Sat Sep 10, 2011 1:09 am

Hey Joe, apparently I have not looked! I will though, thanks for pointing that out.
Perhaps there could be a contest for looping those videos on the bzflag front page.

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Re: BzFlag is dying

Post by FangUp » Sat Sep 17, 2011 7:27 pm

I agree CH and my dad didnt played he did better things, he upgraded versions and things for fun lol he is kinda weird xD
and yes it is kinda "dying" but look we can post link for download BZFlag on any page but we will get new players, not experienced ones...i could take time for them cuz i know how i started but many ppls wont...
so there isnt pretty much we can do exept if anyone knows email of guys that USED to play and grab them back:P

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Re: BzFlag is dying

Post by yosef » Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:27 am

Any emails that do exist, FangUp, would be found through this forum. You could try to individually PM people, but that's a long and thankless chore. Good luck.
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Re: BzFlag is dying

Post by Sky King » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:59 pm

I am not sure if it as a good sign or a bad sign that my post here was moved out to its own thread!
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Re: BzFlag is dying

Post by Bullet Catcher » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:05 pm

I moved Sky King's article to its own thread in hope that it will result it some constructive discussion about how to improve BZFlag for the future.

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Re: BzFlag is dying

Post by Sky King » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:08 pm

Well, it will not be without controversy, that's for sure... But as you and I have discussed, clinging to the "saftey" of the status quo no longer serves any useful purpose. Thanks!
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Re: BzFlag is dying

Post by Sniper752 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:58 am

a good part of it is probably because of iOS and android devices, so nobody plays many computer games any more, just mobile games. I myself have just gotten back on the forums and the application (and might not be back for awhile after.) just to see how it is holding up; i was disappointed when i saw this topic. A year or two ago, i was on almost every day, and had many friends. now i know nobody and i'm only on once every few months. i remember when the last server on the first page always had at least 5 people. and the first one would have 30-40 people on it.
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Re: BzFlag is dying

Post by blast » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:04 pm

Sniper752 wrote:a good part of it is probably because of iOS and android devices, so nobody plays many computer games any more, just mobile games.
That doesn't have anything to do with it, I'm afraid. ;)
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Re: BzFlag is dying

Post by llrr » Thu Dec 08, 2011 7:22 am

Can I just ask, but how many of you in this thread is regularly playing BZFlag currently? What I've found is, many people are eager to make a thread about the game dying, yet they themselves do not actually play the game or have not played for a long time, or simply join a server in Observer mode and quit after 5mins. That's simply not "playing the game".

While ways to find new players is a must, current and old players are slowly but inevitably bored with the game due to lack of change. What someone pointed out to me, which I've found amusing, is that all the popular maps in the last few years have been "castle" maps. Two Tanks, Castle Warfare, Bloodbath, Missile War 2.3, Original Missile Wars, and now Ziggurat. So why are castle maps so popular? For one I would say that all of them inevitably contain the Genocide flag, and the other is that they offer plenty of "camping" choices with super flags.

You guys were all wrong when you said that BZFlag has become simply war and not a war game, and players just want to hoard points and hunt newbies with Genocide. Just logically think about it, in all the FPS games, points are what's most important. CTF may be the main objective in a game, however killing and scoring points cannot NOT be considered. Then you have a flag like Genocide, how can it NOT promote points hoarding. KDR has long been the most important stat across all types of FPS games, BZFlag is no exception. For Genocide balancing I still firmly believe that awarding the killer 1 point but still killing all the opposite team is the best idea. You get 1 point for the kill, but the flag still implements its effects and causes the whole opposing team to die, each losing 1 point.

As for advertising the game, it would simply become harder and harder as the years go on. Why? Because technology is constant improving and new games are made more and more realistic. People's first impression with games now is "Wow, this game has nice graphics". Many people have asked me why I still play this game, as they've quit long ago, and I tell them it's the community, and most importantly, leagues. It just shows that people don't understand that this game actually takes skill to play, and that graphics isn't everything.

I agree wholeheartedly with a tier system for maps, and another ranking system. All players should be required to register, and then they will need to obtain xxx kills and xxx caps on their tier of maps before allowing to join more complex maps. I don't think tutorials are necessary, people play games for fun, not to spend hours learning it first. I've rarely ever played tutorials in games, most of the times it can be learnt on the fly. So then after a certain rank is achieved people will be allowed to register for leagues. This structure would give new players the incentive to get to keep playing, to get to the top quickly. Higher ranked players may have the same maps but it's in another "pool" of maps, so they can't simply join a lower rank map and "pwn" noobs. These ranks would server mostly as a bridge between new and old players (if you're not sure what I'm talking about, check out the free FPS game Combat Arms).

Too many people seem to have forgotten that competition may be what's keeping people playing a game. I myself love competitive gaming, and without the leagues I probably wouldn't be here now, 4 years after first starting to play. Unlike some people believe, competing is just as fun, it's a different kind of fun. It drives you to be better, to beat better players. It gives you a sense of satisfaction to finally be able to beat a top tier team and win 40+ points. Of course, experienced players should no way be rude or disrespectful towards new players.

All in all, BZFlag is dying, there is no doubt. However I believe the main reason is lack of change. Nobody has been daring enough to make large changes to the game to improve it. We have a dev team, not one person, and I believe all of them know enough about the game to change it for the good, instead of worrying about what would happen if the game completely died due to the changes made. If that were to happen it would be better to happen sooner so a new project can be started. There will always be pros and cons to everything in life, and as long as the pros outweigh the cons, it's good enough. BZFlag just need this, it needs changes that will keep players playing (for example look at Combat Arms once again, you may play it for free but there are new contents all the time to keep players interested year after year).

To sum it up, the fact that Missile War 2.3 stayed on the top of the list for almost 3yrs is why the game is dying.

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Re: BzFlag is dying

Post by blast » Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:19 pm

America's Army has extensive training, some of which you have to do before you can actually get into public games (unless that changed.. it's been years since I played AA).

Stuff like Combat Arms have a business model. They may be "free to play", but people still shovel in a good bit of money to them for special equipment and items. You want a new character model? $3! You want a supply crate? $4! You want a custom reticle? $1.50! It's these micro-transactions that get funds to actually pay people to develop the software and create more content.

I think the real problem is that we don't sell hats. It's all about the hats now!

Also, I think you're exaggerating. A map cannot kill a game. It was the player's choice to play on that map. But sure, if you want a scapegoat, go for that. Whatever you want.

In any case, have you looked over the stuff here? http://opencombat.net/wiki/
JeffM was documenting some of his ideas for how a new game could be run. Leagues would be a built-in feature, registration would be required, and there would be tiers of servers that you could get on depending on if you completed the tutorial mode and if you paid a fee. League creation would require a small fee to help prevent too many of them from being created. The main servers would be all run by the project itself.
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Re: BzFlag is dying

Post by Avatar » Thu Dec 08, 2011 11:08 pm

blast wrote:In any case, have you looked over the stuff here? http://opencombat.net/wiki/
JeffM was documenting some of his ideas for how a new game could be run. Leagues would be a built-in feature, registration would be required, and there would be tiers of servers that you could get on depending on if you completed the tutorial mode and if you paid a fee. League creation would require a small fee to help prevent too many of them from being created. The main servers would be all run by the project itself.
What?! Are you kidding?! That's...

...actually a pretty decent operating model. ;)
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Re: BzFlag is dying

Post by JeffM » Fri Dec 09, 2011 5:44 pm

If the project has a funding model it will be much more motivated to continue development and improvement.
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Re: BzFlag is dying

Post by Propane Tank » Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:42 am

For those that made the comment about a BZFlag for Noobs website, me, Swigg, and possibly Yosef are going to head that project. If anyone is interested in joining in with us, you can send me a PM or comment on this thread. We are looking to do some screen casts and use a lot of visuals. Words tend to bore people, so people who can do that kind of stuff are what is needed/eligible to join in. We would also need content editors who would read thru and make sure things make sense and everything is spelled correctly, I use a spell checker, but others might not and depending on which CMS I use, it may or may not have one built in. Another thing that is needed, unless we could get a subdomain of BZFlag.org, is donations for getting our own domain. Our own domain would look cooler anyways, but nothing beats free.

I was looking to use Drupal, but if anyone has a favorite CMS, you can send me a PM of what it is a link to either download or demo it or both. It also has to be a service that can be ran off of my server (I run Apache and MySQL).
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Re: BzFlag is dying

Post by blast » Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:56 pm

So, you're going to run a fan site? That's all it sounds like..
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Re: BzFlag is dying

Post by Propane Tank » Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:05 pm

blast wrote:So, you're going to run a fan site?
Blast, you read it wrong; but sure, you could in a way call it a fan site, but one that isn't like hey, this is BZFlag and here are my maps that are hosted. It will go in detail into things like basic maneuvers for dodging and ways to kill someone that doesn't involve jumping and the like. It will allow people who find the game, try it out, die a whole lot, and leave the game permanently because they can't kill anyone to learn the ropes and find the game rather fun and continue to play.

Hope this helps those that seem a bit skeptical about it to see the direction we wish to go.
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Re: BzFlag is dying

Post by Agent West » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:00 pm

First of all, i appologise for not playing in so long! (don't have good internet any more)

Second: TF2 (Team Fortress 2) and games similar to it (even those little facebook games) are so popular cause one can upgrade their stuff, like llrr pointed out. Don't know about 2.4, is it still client-based? If not, it won't be too hard to implement some visual upgrades that probably don't even improve the perfomance of the tank, thus rewarding people with more then the satisfaction of a good tank-kicking! :)

Third: the Store don't have much. Just checked, could only see one kind of t-shirt. What about something like actual flags from the game to go on your car's windows? Or even bumper stickers? Something small like that?

Fourth: speaking of flags, need to put mine back on the truck! :)

Fifth: how many people are in the Development group? Mapmakers? Players? Design team (for sites and such)?

Sixs: lemme know if y'all need help with something in particular (like design or map-making, although i won't mind trying to learn the code-writing if nesessary).

Send me a Private Message if nesessary, it gets forwarded to my e-mail and WILL be answered rather quickly.
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Re: BzFlag is dying

Post by Deadalot » Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:50 am

One thing that might help a newb not commit humilicide would be a rating system based on who is on the map at join time. It might help if a newb understands they are about to jump into a shark tank.

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Re: BzFlag is dying

Post by Beardy » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:05 pm

Gerbil wrote:Most servers just throw up a map taken from the archive and rarely alter the default settings or add their own--or do so with no thought at all to the effects.
There is a problem with that: Most flag-settings are not done in the map itself, and thus get lost when saving it locally. It makes it impossible to learn by looking at what others have done in the past.

Currently the only way to get such data seems to be to get in direct contact with the site-owner and ask him to give you a copy of the configuration-file -- and contacting such a person is not always easy. See the ever-lasting map-glitches in 'A*A bridge' as an example.

I have at least one map saved ('medieval mayhem' -- long gone) for which I would really like to have those flag-settings, and it would definatily not hurt to have them for the other maps I've saved either.

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Re: BzFlag is dying

Post by Figlen » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:03 pm

Wow, this thread is an interesting read.

I thought BZFlag was doing fine until the change to the new version. Being an almost exclusively Castle Warfare player, I was disappointed to see that the map went from top 2 listing in the map menu to only occasionally having people on it. Overnight. Same thing seemed to happen to Missile Wars.

There are some excellent comments above in relation to the new user's experience: tutorials, training maps that you have to complete to progress etc. I think those would be excellent. I agree with some of the negative sentiment towards the Geno flag. Personally, as Duane Dibbley said, I don't use it and get on fine, but it can be frustrating when you have a few people who are utterly determined to get the geno and nothing else. I don't' think it needs to be removed altogether though, just maybe managed better.

UX I think is the key though. I think there are some excellent comments above about better integration between the public maps and the leagues. There seems to be 2 completely separated versions of BZFlag, which is a shame, because they could be feeding off each other a lot better, I think. You should be able to find out about messages sent to you from, say, the forum, while in-game. Just a more integrated approach. There are too many bits. Get them all pulled together.

There is of course the major issue, which always seems to be weighing our JeffM down. The fact that an overhaul of BZFlag takes time, resources and more importantly, money. There's no easy solution to this of course, but as someone who is now reasonably experienced at the game, I would be happy to give some time (if I can give it) to helping in some way, whether it be helping to write training docs or something, or graphics (my programming skills are a work in progress) and I could donate a little cash (not bloody much, mind).

I don't think the game will die. It's too good. But I do think it could do with an overhaul in terms of the experience of the game outside of the actual playing.

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Re: BzFlag is dying

Post by DeltaFlame » Sat Feb 04, 2012 1:11 pm

ChMetal wrote:I think i speak for everyone when i say making friends with bznoobs isn't exactly the greatest.
Thats not nice :(
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