The one major thing this game is missing is a social element. By that I don’t mean promotion or advertising. I mean the incentive for players to talk to other players. Player to player conversation is the best way to keep a fan base, and these tips are proven to work from other “otherwise dead” games. While I do not expected GSB to change much, they might be things to keep in mind for GTB.
I can only talk about things I can find. So the two things that GSB desperately needed are
Search by ID
Search by Username
The sort we currently have is simply not enough. The quicker finding specific challenges are, the easier players can talk about them. As of right now, users can post their challenge ID here and it just gets ignored. The conversation ends because most people won’t bother finding it. To promote conversation players must be able to easily showcase their work, and others to easily view them.
After people can easily play specific challenges, social events becomes much more possible. Things like “Challenge of the Month” can be a theme based tournament where forum members can submit a challenge (or set of challenges) to be voted on by other forum members. The top 3 winning challenges can then be made into official missions available in the next update patch.
Likewise, official tournaments can be ran using single elimination style. Videos can be made for these events and be placed for youtube, and the top 3 winning challenges can also be made into official missions.
To reduce workloads, you can select forum moderators to run these events. While I never get why people would want to be a forum moderator for free, a lot of sites has them.
For the modding community, similar events can take place. Official “design a ship” or “design a gun” can be hosted and the winning one made official.
These are all win win situation for both the developer and the fans. Most fans would love to have 1 of their contribution used as official, while developer get both free contents and keeps the conversation going.
What’s better for promoting a game than word of mouth? Give anyone who made a purchase on positech a “discount code” so they can give to their friends.
Ranking for everything
Yes the “fetch a bone” method. While I don’t know why a digital number works these magics, somehow just by keeping a clock on how often people play, or how many challenges (aside from their own) they have beaten, people end up playing more. Other stuff might include “toughest challenge maker” which is just a tag on how many challenges with stars 4 or above, “most played” which is just the combination of all the attempts on a player’s challenges. Most people can’t even get over rankings that they rationally know are meaningless, so the possibilities of what to keep tags on are quite endless.
I remember that Cliff was having “fun” with the online challange mode, but i wonder if free of time constraints there could have been a “battleship” mode where you are online with a chat feature. Basically you challange a player, deploy your fleets and both watch the outcome. (However the sim is only run on the host computer and the other person observes that way the outcome is the same)
While the playes are watching the game you have your chat feature for braging, taunting, asking what did they use to design the ship which is tearing up their formation.
It is only my personal opinion that if we had an option like this, you would get some more socialising.
(also you could bring in the stats and achievements idea
The Design a ship competition worked rather well and provided us with some awesome ships to be used in the community mod. The thread clocked up 7800 views and had about 400 posts in there at the time it generated plenty of interest - however the mirror thread over in the GSB steam forum generated none
The Steam forums tend to suck anyway. The only people there are the ones who can’t be bothered to go looking for the official forums (i.e. I have a complaint that I want to vent about right this instant).
I agree with all the ideas presented. See Frozen Synapse for a good example of both socialising and match making in a game (in terms of what it allows and how it provides it, rather than the specific implementation they did).
I think that we have to do another competition, we know that they are pretty good for the forum healt and very fun… but this time we have to apply the post above, telling to our friends, explaining how easy is to make a ship, and things like that, that should create curiosity in some persons, the problem at the en is the prize.
I’m going to be a little less diplomatic than usual in order to make 100% sure that I’m understood here.
An event like that is good for the forum. On the other hand, it is not so good for the poor soul who has to oversee all aspects of a competition and insure that it runs smoothly. With so few players still active on the forums, you’re going to have a very hard time finding a volunteer. Unless you’re putting your own name forward, that is.
Unless each and every one of those friends is already an experienced game-modder in general, or an experienced GSB modder in particular, i see this going nowhere. Think about what you’re saying. What if you’re not a person who has a large circle of friends with initiative who also have plenty of free time on their hands? What if you don’t move among various groups of gamers in real life?
What if you’re already surrounded by time-sucking obligations & responsibilities in every direction? Some of us (myself among them) are only just barely able to have time to play the game at all - not nearly as often as we would prefer - let alone mod anything meaningful for it. This jewel was a happy exception for me.
Besides, it looks like the majority of the active modders still on the forum are so heavily involved with their own personal mod projects (often multiple projects at the same time) that it’s most unlikely they’re going to set them aside for another contest.
I wouldn’t rationally expect most people would want to give a perfect performance to a nearly-empty theater, my friend. We do have some wonderfully generous altruists among us but they’re definitely not in the majority.
Sorry, dude; I know that sounds harsh but look at the Community Mod Race contest. Despite the total number of entries there were actually rather few individuals contributing them. Most of the players still active in the game last winter were either just lurking that thread once in a while, or never went near it at all.
How can I say that with such confidence? Easy:
Only TEN people submitted entrires to the Community Mod Race contest.
Not one of them came from the GSB Steam forums, despite the cross-post that was made there to invite them.
Two of the contestants do not post to the forums, for reasons that we do understand (Praetors’ younger brothers).
Three of them (SirJamon, Coinich, Wasabi of IP) have pretty much left the forums since then due to real-life pressures or loss of interest in GSB.
One of them is a relentless forum troll who has apparently contributed little or nothing mod-wise to the community since that single contest entry.
Only the four contestants remaining are still active with either commenting on or developing mod content or both at Gratuitous Modding: ponyus, CptFox, Nemesis and myself.
Five months after that contest, the situation is even worse. The number of modders who are still actively posting to the forum has dwindled to a tiny hardcore group.
I realize that not all of the people still modding and still active at Gratuitous Modding bother to take the time to poke their noses out of their local environment, but the other four GSB sub-forums are deserted ghost towns. Almost the only people left who are posting there are…other modders. Just like this thread. BTW I wasn’t counting modders who are absent for weeks or months at a time and then boomerang back in here to post a bit before vanishing again. Likewise also not counting players who, while active on the forums, contribute little or nothing in a practical sense to helping the modder community.
Long before you get to that point, the problem at the beginning is that there simply are not enough modders remaining in this game who:
Are willing and enthusiastic about modding as part of an external public event instead of creating mod content for themselves alone
Actually have enough skill to mod in a purely technical sense, or to use graphic-editing programs to their advantage
Can easily attain the level of artistic inspiration needed in order to make their work stand out above all the others
Again, I really am sorry to have to lay these unpleasant facts out so plainly. It is important that we remain realistic about what can still be accomplished with the people that we have left.
A big advantage is that the people we do still have here are generally pretty devoted to the game because they’re still very enthusiastic & happy about it. Better still, they’re generally good at what they do. Maybe not great all the time, but not terrible either. While a lack of technical skill can sometimes be painfully cringe-worthy for others to observe, ultimately it is a teachable set of data. Major enthusiasm is much less common and far more valuable. You can’t learn that; it can’t be imposed from outside. You develop it for yourself.
While neither of these factors by themselves are decisive, they do count for something in a larger context.
That “larger context” becomes the real battlefield…
A big problem is that the number of active forum posters remaining is likely too small to have enough individual free time to pool together into the amount of “mental bandwidth” needed for brainstorming together and accomplishing larger goals. If this place was a political legislature, we probably wouldn’t have enough warm bodies present to achieve a quorum and actually pass laws, you know? There is a certain level of activity needed to achieve larger projects and goals, and that comes directly from having a certain amount of people here. Depending on the task, a cohesive groupcan often do what a number of lone, semi-isolated individualscannot do.
123stw, you’ve sparked a very interesting thread; one that has relevance for all of us. I need to return to it again as soon as I have time to comment on other points that have been made here. Thank you for beginning it.
I find myself wishing that we were having this discussion about ten months ago; back around the time that Cliff released the Nomads expansion, when there was still a lot of people here.
Well I am not hoping too much from GSB at this point. 10 months ago I was busy with NEC, then when the competitive community collapse I blamed it on balance/Tribe, then I was busy with Ancient vs Microbe, then left due to lack of interest. Only on hindsight do I see the problem wasn’t balance or game-play, but the barriers preventing social interactions.
I am just hoping GTB don’t make the same mistakes. Keeping the fans can be just as important to an online product as getting them to buy from the start, because the total amount of active players directly dictates the product’s shelf life.
Though if another “design a ship” did get hosted, I will try to submit at least 1 ship.
Personally though, I think GSB lacks players more than modders. It’s hard to go through with making a mod when you don’t expect anyone to actually play it. I pulled the plug for Infinity because the reception for Microbe was so bad (I think maybe 3 people downloaded it)?
I play almost every day. The problem is as above the interaction is pretty - meaningless. I play so much I cannot even tell which challenges I have played or not and am now selecting random ‘old’ challenges. But the challenges have gotten stale. In addition to some sort of interaction some sort of self-regulating online ladder / competition would be beneficial. I know I never got too deep into SAC/NEC but sometimes a simpler form of step-up ladder battles would be nice.
It has been done before - but besides the fighting online there needed to be someone monitoring the challenges and fighting other peoples fleets vs other people fleets if ties were consistent.
Its probably the biggest complain I’ve had when trading fleet vs fleet action.
Obviously I only have 24 hours in a day, and 25 of those are currently used up by GTB and a new race for GSB, so the chances of any immediate new features to GSB are slim to none right now (although I may investigate some server issues today).
Take heart that I know exactly what people mean by the lack of proper social and online features in GSB. When GSB was designed, I had no idea if anyone would get into the challenges idea at all. I’d do it all differently now, and I will be doing it all differently, and much better for GTB.
I haven’t even written a single line of online, challenge or server code for GTB yet, so I’m planning on getting a proper big design for it done before I start, and avoid locking myself in to any dead ends like I did with the code for GSB.
Hopefully releasing the next race (Parasites) will give a little jolt to the existing GSB community.
And still, GSB is one of the best games ive ever played, and i played a lot if u put your new ideas on GTB the result could be epic, a better online gameplay with better social features?? then its probably that the success of GSB is going to be just a shadow of GTB. And that will be the best thing that could happen.
Parasites, sounds great. Maybe another new weapon included ^^?- well that will be great gheeez…