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Chiquito

24/7 Server

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Posted (edited)

i think the technical issue comes rather attached with the audience, separating the two would be like trying to separate wet from water.

 

mmo type games running servers 24/7 where players can drop in and drop out by their very nature attract those types of players to begin with. that sort of gameplay is what the audience is after.  leaving just the technical or financial investments out of it, imagine more sophisticated steel beasts scenarios requiring breaching and clearing minefields, for example, and imagine getting unknown players without any familiarity with the plan or the task just to perform it or coordinate with it. the types of players who want a 24/7 server to go up against lots of players aren't looking for that experience to begin with per se, unless the task was extremely simplified, like press a hot key, and any unit deploys a mine dozer and can instantly clear an obstacle. in other words, steel beasts gameplay is much more attuned to planning, and time commitments that mmo games don't quite expect of their audiences. it's just the way it is, it's not out of arrogance that this is mentioned, it's out of a realistic sense of two different game styles which are separate for a reason.

 

before steel beasts 2.0 was released, i got interested in red orchestra and battlefield 2.0, and those were fun- but of course the game styles were different from steel beasts, and were very much designed from the get go to have the type of mmo experience where players can spawn in and out and resurrect and this sort of thing. sure. steel beasts was not quite designed like that to begin with- that's the problem. it goes both ways- if you attempt to turn steel beasts into mmo type game, i think it would miss something in the translation, i would rather play those types of games if that's what i was after. likewise i didn't play battlefield to spend as much time planning as i do in steel beasts, the two play styles are different for a reason. as such, the ability to enter and drop with anonymous players is not just a consequence of different game designs- they are necessary for different play styles, the projected audience informs those types of play mechanics and vice versa.

Edited by Captain_Colossus

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Yes - that is another aspect of the short attention span / availability vs 90 - 120 min scenario length that I was alluding to.

 

Anyway sorry for my contribution to the thread derailment and I'll stop now.

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3 minutes ago, Captain_Colossus said:

mmo type games running servers 24/7 where players can drop in and drop out by their very nature attract those types of players to begin with. that sort of gameplay is what the audience

is after.  leaving just the technical or financial investments out of it, imagine more sophisticated steel beasts scenarios requiring breaching and clearing minefields, for example, and imagine

getting unknown players without any familiarity with the plan or the task and just to perform it. the types of players who want a 24/7 server to go up against lots of players aren't looking for that experience to begin with per se, unless the task was extremely simplified, like press a hot key, and any unit deploys a mine dozer and can instantly clear an obstacle. in other words, steel beasts gameplay is much more attuned to planning, and time commitments that mmo games don't quite expect of its audience. it's just the way it is, it's not out of arrogance that this is mentioned, it's out of a realistic sense of two different game styles which are separate for a reason.

The question is how it would work for a tactial  ground warefare game like steelbeasts.

You can have a server running, but either you "force" joining player to take a certain type of vehicle and mission, or  could not really work as a tactical game.

I would just work as a shooter game (like World of tanks or warthunder)

 

 

-

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5 minutes ago, Grenny said:

I would just work as a shooter game (like World of tanks or warthunder)

 

The server mode request have nothing to do with the games you mentioned. 

 

It it is a programming feature that can be added to a good simulation software. You keep the people busy having fun with a 24/7 online MP mode, that feature bring more customers/players to joint to your squad or opforces Whatever. Then we are talking the right language of a big community.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Chiquito said:

 

The server mode request have nothing to do with the games you mentioned. 

 

It it is a programming feature that can be added to a good simulation software. You keep the people busy having fun with a 24/7 online MP mode, that feature bring more customers/players to joint to your squad or opforces Whatever. Then we are talking the right language of a big community.

Then how should a new player jumping in be intergrated into a mission? And who will do that? You just offer fluffy words, not HOW it would work, or what "it" would be inthe first place.

Edited by Grenny

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, Chiquito said:

 

The server mode request have nothing to do with the games you mentioned. 

 

It it is a programming feature that can be added to a good simulation software. You keep the people busy having fun with a 24/7 online MP mode, that feature bring more customers/players to joint to your squad or opforces Whatever. Then we are talking the right language of a big community.

you keep ignoring what has been said and reduce it to 'if you build it they will come'.

 

your position: add a 24/7 server, and the community will balloon. is that a fair understanding? i think it is.

 

problem:  prediction is you will have an empty 24/7 server because the large user base wouldn't appear. i think this has been explained well enough.

 

do you understand you aren't the first person to come along and say some form of this and it never happens? for example, add more vehicles that are not so american or german centric, add more vehicle interiors, add xyz feature, and that's the missing ingredient which would bring in all these new players.

 

well, it doesn't really happen like that. each new release draws in people who are areadly interested in a simulation of combined arms tactics, which looks to be a lot fewer than the run and gun crowd who go play those other games. with each new release there also seems to be some users joining the community commenting that steel beasts wasn't what they expected it to be- usually they expected it to be more of a 'game', and they drop out and you don't hear from them again. it really comes down to the matter that steel beasts isn't the type of game everyone wants to play, whether there would be a server allowing more people to join or not. the people you want to attract are already playing the games that they would most likely to prefer playing, and it shows by their behavior.

 

 

Edited by Captain_Colossus

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It is hard - probably impossible (but I may lack the necessary vision) - to combine an MMO style environment where every player can drop in and go as he/she pleases with procedurally generated missions/levels that are tactically sufficiently sophisticated AND offer every player the freedom to pick his preferred combat vehicle while maintaining a realistic simulation at the same time AND to make it a fun experience.

 

The combination of tactical sophistication and realistic simulations (arguably the core of the Steel Beasts Experience) by necessity mandates both a relatively slow pace of action with the requirement for team order and coordination. I just don't see how that's possible in an MMO style environment with respawns etc.; I'm simply not interested in making a "capture the flag"/"battle royale" game with tanks even if that would make me rich and famous (there are more worthy goals in life than satisfying my vanity). I don't know how to create tactical sophistication procedurally either. Maybe there is a genius out there, a Tactics God Walking Among Mere Mortals, that can develop surch level generation algorithms. All I'm saying is, _I_ can't do it. I don't even have a remote inkling how it might be possible. Capturing spawn points of the opposing team is not tactical sophistication, it's about as primitive as it gets from a procedural point of view. I want engineers, mechanized infantry, tanks, IEDs, irregular war fighters among a civilian population, helicopters, artillery support, and a highly variable landscape with a broad spectrum of meaningful missions. I've been working on Steel Beasts for more than 20 years now and I'm still not quite where I want it to be.

 

That's not to say that such games can't be fun. Millions of players worldwide are testament that they enjoy these kinds of games. But they are entirely different kinds of game. You can also compare chess and baseball. Both "games" ... but you can't add bats to chess and a checkered lawn and make it into some kind of basechessball without changing the very nature of the whole game; also, chances are that you don't combine baseball fans and chess fans - rather that both groups would equally hate basechessball (and to be honest, it sounds like a terrible idea - until a genius comes along and we all rub our eyes and admit that "if done right" the idea is absolutely brilliant, why didn't we think of it before?).

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well, you have two types of drop-in multiplayer, team based, and capture the flag. 

the problem with the first one, is the complex planning that usually takes place in a steel beasts multiplayer game. 

the planning phase can often take up to an hour, or more if someone drops out during the planning phase. 

this is mostly to ensure that people are well-coordinated during the action phase, and have familiarized themselves with the map, 

and found appropriate fighting positions for the plan. and it's a large reason why SB

multiplayer feels different from other games, and strangely, even though nothing might happend for the first 20 minutes of 

the game, you are enjoying yourself, because you are working the map to make sure all your units reach the optimal battle positions, 

in support of the plan. 

because you don't drop in and play, steel beasts multiplayer feels far more coordinated than other games. 

your flanks are usually secure, and if a flank is broken, you are usually told so you can pull back along your preplanned retreat route. 

 

that, and the small player base (because graphics looks dated by 15 years, leading people to think game is a cobbled together trashheap) 

along with the fact scenarios usually take 2-3 hours to complete makes this type of drop-in unlikely. 

 

even worse would be a CTF-style mode, where people randomly drop in and respawn into teams. 

then it would no longer be steel beasts. maybe the vehicles would be realistic, but the way they are used would be completely unrealistic, because the scenario would be completely unrealistic. 

maybe it would be fun, and it would train your reaction time and gunnery skills, 

but most likely you'd have some invisible douche spawncamping, and killing you in the flank from 3km away before you even get to do anything. 

 

 

 

 

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this is a very interesting topic, indeed! If I may, I´ll try to add something based in my experience that, although is not yet in SB, it is based in a similar air simulator, DCS.

In DCS you have three kinds of players:

- Single players.

- Players seeking to simulate online the aircraft AND it´s employment in a most realistic way.

- Players seeking to simulate online just the aircraft in a realistic way.

I think that the discussion here is between this two kind of players. In DCS the second kind of players (I belong to them) play only in controlled combats within a clan/VU, because is the only way of simulating not only piloting an aircraft in a realistic way, but also the combat (planning, coordination, different roles, etc..). The third kind of players are happy just piloting a realistic aircraft in a realistic way, sort of, and added to the controlled combats they also use the 24/7 servers that run a more or less persistent world in which you spawn in a base, select one of the available missions and try to accomplish it or just try to seek a dogfight somewhere.

In my point of view this kind of server may probably be technically feasible for SB, but does not make sense at all. Not only because I´m the second kind of player, but also because a tank or armored vehicle is not a fighter. A tank never goes alone and you cannot reallistically use a tank without planning, coordination, people around you, etc... and that mean that the kind of play that you find in a 24/7 server cannot be extrapolated to the simulation that SB requires.

If it is done, you may have a World of tanks kind of play but with reallistically simulated tanks. Is that a hardcore simulator? Yes, in the sense that the platform is realistically simulated, but you cannot simulate realistically the tank employment without the aforementioned steps that simply cannot be done in a 24/7 server.

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4 hours ago, Ssnake said:

...plus, there's WoT, War Thunder, Armored Warfare for that.

Quick and precice market analysis xD

 

PS.: I like the "basechessball" analogy, you should put a copyright on that one.

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Jumping in late for this,

But one thing that would be great is a dedicated server file which does not render graphics on the server.

this would enable some of us to then host sb on a AWS or google cloud instance like i do for ARMA 3. 

 

And i will admit i dont know how hard or easy it would be to implement and make a dedicated server for SB. 

@Ssnake ??

 

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The thought occurred to us, too. Unfortunately, while it is desirable for a number of reasons (the least of which is the server application case, that would be a mere fringe benefit), it is also very hard to do.

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19 hours ago, Ssnake said:

I've been working on Steel Beasts for more than 20 years now and I'm still not quite where I want it to be.

 

 

 

for what it's worth- you picked a path and you followed it rather than hedging and trying to appease the entire consumer market. insofar as the 5 year attrition rate on your average startup is notoriously brutal, you probably beat the odds in the software world. you've been around longer than microprose, even though microprose developed many more different games with higher returns (and losses). you could have done things entirely differently and been successful at it and still things could have went south and you may have been acquired by different publishers selling off your back catalog, and then finally reduced to a web domain (whoever owns the rights and the name to microprose these days has a bare bones website reminiscing about all the good times, seems to imply that microprose is still around, but you quickly figure out this site is a mere placeholder with some effort put into a couple of clickable libraries, it's otherwise meaningless):

 

http://www.microprose.com/

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Most simulations can be played any way you want to. There´s no real right or wrong way of doing so. There´s quite alot of descusions out there where devs admit that although they intended there game to be played in a certain way, people have totally made there own way of playing it.

 

How you "sim" is up to you, whether you want to plan, train or go 70% by the book, and I say 70% because a sim is a tool, you wont be doing a RL 100%, without saying that for starters you don´t have ALL the hardware a tank/airplane/submarine or what ever in front of you.  You sim for rutines, workflows, communications, strategies, awarness, team cohesion, and other situations/enviorments/issues for your benefit/practise, but your not obligated to do so.  You may enjoy it more or less, achieve a excelent outcome or not, but again there´s no wrong or right because nothing is set in stone.  Even with all the effort to planning, RL know how (mil) and what have you, things still can go wrong, or someone will go his/her own way (unrealisticly) which again brings up the same point, "is this right"?  Each one has there own goal, if any, and there´s no better then other, just different.  If one understands that, then there´s a bunch of ways to enjoy these "tools" (sims).

 

Red

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1 minute ago, Red2112 said:

Most simulations can be played any way you want to. There´s no real right or wrong way of doing so. There´s quite alot of descusions out there where devs admit that although they intended there game to be played in a certain way, people have totally made there own way of playing it.

 

How you "sim" is up to you, whether you want to plan, train or go 70% by the book, and I say 70% because a sim is a tool, you wont be doing a RL 100%, without saying that for starters you don´t have ALL the hardware a tank/airplane/submarine or what ever in front of you.  You sim for rutines, workflows, communications, strategies, awarness, team cohesion, and other situations/enviorments/issues for your benefit/practise, but your not obligated to do so.  You may enjoy it more or less, achieve a excelent outcome or not, but again there´s no wrong or right because nothing is set in stone.  Even with all the effort to planning, RL know how (mil) and what have you, things still can go wrong, or someone will go his/her own way (unrealisticly) which again brings up the same point, "is this right"?  Each one has there own goal, if any, and there´s no better then other, just different.  If one understands that, then there´s a bunch of ways to enjoy these "tools" (sims).

 

Red

And you can do that with steelbeasts currently.

Heck you could even run a 24/7 server if you want to(just needs someone to conastantly operate it)

Question is, would it it we worth it to invest the rare programmer resources into making a "persistant world" or "Spawn/join mode" for steelbeasts?

The way can be done by most other games currently, only cathers to the type one and 3 players. Not the "type 2" that currently makes up for most of the SB online session players.

7 hours ago, marques said:

... three kinds of players:

- Single players.

- Players seeking to simulate online the aircraft AND it´s employment in a most realistic way.

- Players seeking to simulate online just the aircraft in a realistic way.

 

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6 minutes ago, Red2112 said:

Most simulations can be played any way you want to. There´s no real right or wrong way of doing so. There´s quite alot of descusions out there where devs admit that although they intended there game to be played in a certain way, people have totally made there own way of playing it.

 

How you "sim" is up to you, whether you want to plan, train or go 70% by the book, and I say 70% because a sim is a tool, you wont be doing a RL 100%, without saying that for starters you don´t have ALL the hardware a tank/airplane/submarine or what ever in front of you.  You sim for rutines, workflows, communications, strategies, awarness, team cohesion, and other situations/enviorments/issues for your benefit/practise, but your not obligated to do so.  You may enjoy it more or less, achieve a excelent outcome or not, but again there´s no wrong or right because nothing is set in stone.  Even with all the effort to planning, RL know how (mil) and what have you, things still can go wrong, or someone will go his/her own way (unrealisticly) which again brings up the same point, "is this right"?  Each one has there own goal, if any, and there´s no better then other, just different.  If one understands that, then there´s a bunch of ways to enjoy these "tools" (sims).

 

Red

all simulations can be played anyway you want to provided that the code allows it.when talking about multi-player, there are community standards which set rules about the 'right' and 'wrong' way to play, not on some deep meta level but implicit or explicit agreements to make sure everyone knows what to expect. otherwise cheats and exploits may enter into it, or people can violate rules and codes of conduct, or turn everyone else's experience into something less enjoyable when they hijack the session to do something for kicks. so in the context of this discussion, the reasoning is that there is a 'right' way that steel beasts would be played, since players dropping in, making a mess of a scenario and dropping out again may just ruin all the prep time and actual game time invested in the session.

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Iam talking about serious people/gamers, not some kids getting there kicks.  We all know whats out there, and even with SB there´s who can ruin a match or more, so no game is extent of bad manners or someones "lousy day" at work.

 

Red

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Posted (edited)

that's all well and good, but with 24/7 servers, how would you guarantee serious players, sort of serious players, not so serious players, emotionally immature players, players with vendettas, players who don't or can't work with teams, players who only have 10-30 minutes at most time to commit, and assorted what have you. honestly, what makes you think the outside world is ready to play steel beasts at the entry fee of at least $125 cash money (or somewhat cheaper second hand)?- assuming you're taking the side of the 24/7 server which is why i ask. when i played other online games, you got all those type of players- which was ok, because that's what you expected, you wouldn't or shouldn't play those games if you hoped to get something different. it wouldn't make sense.

 

where does this sense that most or more people out there want to play steel beasts as opposed to the other top selling mmo games out there but for some reason aren't here already come from? even with the cheaper time limited licenses, my subjective sense is that the public appetite isn't as large for steel beasts, which may be saying something. do i understand it? no, i like steel beasts after all, i can't imagine what it is not to like it, but then i think golf is boring and enough people like it. i think even if steel beasts had free to play models it still wouldn't attract the serious players you want to have. it's not a 'fault' of steel beasts by any means, the market isn't as broad, it's more of a hobbyist interest rather than general public.

 

first, out of the few online games i played in the past, even the most popular at the time, battlefield 2, which was very easy to pick up and play and had a system in place to encourage cooperation still had lots of open servers that were empty, or were mostly empty at certain times. the user base of battlefield 2.0 was much larger than steel beasts, and even still you had lots of empty 24/7 servers running. then after the expected shelf life expired, increasingly you saw only empty servers most of the time and you got the sense the gig was up, the public's attention span had moved on.

 

second, and related to the first point, i don't presume to speak for esim, but from their own statements to the public they have said that public sales of the software is a small percentage compared to their professional customers. so there you have it- you can infer from that their existence by and large doesn't come from relying on revenue from the general public, if it did, this whole thing would have likely went a different direction, may have closed shop by now or warped into some gamey travesty by someone else who picked up the rights. so you can't really depend on having this large user base show up on the 24/7 servers, because i don't think it exists. what steel beasts does well it does different- and what it does different by its very nature tends to attract certain types of players who commit to or associate with dedicated clans and groups of players with the same specialized interest.

Edited by Captain_Colossus

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It's a bit of a phantom debate anyway. Even if we wanted to implement such a server, we couldn't on a short notice. And while it is everyone of our customers' prerogative to play Steel Beasts in ways that we didn't anticipate (heck, I've used it as a multiplayer racing simulation one evening), there's still an intended use that largely determines the priorities in our development. It should be abundantly clear by now that the implementation of a 24/7 game server would have far-reaching consequences with respect to gameplay, and the audience that such a feature would target. Irrespective of the amount of effort necessary, this would be more than a technicality.

 

Not that I want to shut down this thread, feel free to discuss the merits of a 24/7 game server. I have outlined my thoughts about design implications, beyond that I could but repeat myself.

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