DSB improvement tasklist and more

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Beer Hunter
Posts: 540
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:29 pm
Location: Finland

DSB improvement tasklist and more

Post by Beer Hunter »

Greetings DSB!

Because we're getting closer to Steam launch and things need to get more organised again, I do believe it's time to do a list of things what need to be done and also bring the players up to speed on what we're up to right now.


Staff reformation

I've went through this subject before so it's not a new thing - we've rebuilt our staff to have moderators who are able to perform all the tasks neccesary in the zone, from pub moderation to hosting events and league games. This also means that all of our staffers have dropped their Op>, ER> or Rf> tags and roam the galaxy with their regular names - yet they can be identified by having a DSB STAFF squadname and a banner. The training for all the staffers to posses the knowledge of hosting and/or modding is not yet finished but we're working on that front. Everything in staff moves under one roof so there are no different departments anymore - only staff and development team.


ASSS (AS3)

We've been through this before as well - currently DSB server runs with subgame, however we are looking into changing to AS3 server in order to have more possibilities on developing our zone forward. Subgame is very limited in many ways so the new server platform will bring us flexibility and solutions we've only dreamt of before. Once the final formation of our development team is set we will hopefully progress forward with this part of our plan - the idea is to transfer all the bots and important stuff to the new server - test that everything works and then do the final move to shut down the old subgame server and use AS3 server full time. I am personally following this process very closely as I do not want us to move forward with this plan until it has been ensured that everything works on AS3 - switching without proper testing could leave us crippled with non-functional zone for weeks which is not exactly a great way to improve our population.


Public changes

At the moment we have Fly's gameplay concept on public, however in the near future we're hoping to get another kind of gameplay added to public. The biggest improvement in this new public game will be that the area played expands when more players come in and gets smaller when players leave - Fly Swatter has developed this pretty far already and possibly he or our new development team will finish the idea.


New website

This one is pretty obvious, as I previously stated in other thread - the current website is ugly at best even though the functionality was great - as long as it worked. It does not work anymore, practice statistics do not get transferred from DSB practice bot to dsb.com anymore - I noticed it has been like this for a year or so now. Obviously there is some mailfuntion in the databases or somewhere. What we're really looking for here is completely new website with great looks as well as good functionality - something representative and easy to use from player perspective as well as easy for administration. In a way I'd say we're looking for the possibility to move our website to this decade again - I feel like we're stuck with this front on something that was 10 years ago. With any luck the new website would also have a possibility for player profiles where you could gain some sort of medals or something from either pub achievements or league - maybe both depending which way our progress goes in the near future. Obviously league websites would be under the same roof as well - league.nu was great 10 years ago but nowadays I'm afraid it's too outdated and buggy to serve our needs. Especially the administrator end was sometimes really painful to handle. For this project we will need at least two gifted individuals, one to design graphics for the website and the other one to handle the coding required to transfer data back and forth between the website and the game.


Friend-Bot

Luckily ee have some dedicated people around so we are in progress of bringing DSB and possibly whole Continuum a friend-bot. What this basically means is that you can add player x or y as a friend and then stay in touch with them through the bot - possibly see when they are online - message them through the bot and so on. The bot will store like 5 previously received messages from each person and obviously you can message only to people in your friendlist. Other zones have been interested of this idea as well so we're looking into the possibility that this friend-bot system will spread to every zone once the project is finished. There is currently no ETA on this but an early version of the bot is already up in DSB - however the functionality is not finished yet so do not fall in love with it yet. Lets give a big thanks to the person behind this idea - Raminator, thank you!


Leagues (in case of..)

In terms of leagues we're very far away from having such a thing played but lets discuss this briefly anyway. The idea I've toyed with is that in the future all the tourneys and leagues, shorter or longer ones, will be hosted by different people - sort of rotating league coordinators so anybody who is willing and wishes to have their shot at organising a league will get one. Obviously you will get help from the higher staff, meaning myself and Eridu mostly but you are ultimately in charge of planning and organising the league. We will not be stepping in unless you want to or we clearly see something going extremely wrong which may hurt the whole zone. Why we're offering such a chance you may ask - well it's rather simple - the workload can be shared and it's about time to try something completely new. These individuals who will step up can bring their own experience and visions to the leagues as well as gain valuable experience of coordinating a league which is very rewarding in the end - after all the hard work is done.


Last words (of this post..)

Guess you could say in a way that it's all quiet on the western front - basically without the few additions to the list we're still working with the same things as my previous post said - some tasks still requiring people and resources to get done. However we're moving forward with the resources we have at the best speed we can and improving the zone is our priority number one as the Steam launch is getting closer. Obviously we can not get all the things done by then but I would say that we have a good chance to keep the players interested and excited with the possiblities we have in the zone right now. While we slowly move forward on bringing new and exciting additions in the near future. The priority on the first few days and weeks after the Steam launch is to ensure that the new players have fun on public which is fully functional as it is - expanding their gaming experience further takes some time as they need to learn the basics first. Thank you for reading and all the feedback is very welcome - however I ask for constructive feedback/criticism because I can't tell what's wrong if you just tell me to shove something where the sun does not shine.


-Beer Hunter

Super Duper
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:24 pm

Re: DSB improvement tasklist and more

Post by Super Duper »

I think those are all good points. It is nice to see that people still put a lot of time and effort in to DSB.
I don't have any time to contribute myself unfortunately, although here are some thoughts on the steam-launch.

I think the biggest challenge is to sustain a substantial player base.
If the launch is a succes and let's say 50+ players enter the zone during the weekend there will
be 2 radically different player groups; the 'old players' that received an e-mail and the 'new players'
that downloaded the game via steam randomly. In order for a real 'revival' of the zone, both of these groups
should get (re)hooked on the game somehow and I think that only (the prospect of) a competitive league will
achieve that.

The 'old players' will probably enjoy the launch weekend, chatting with some old friends, playing some pub for
old times sake, but without the context of intense, competitive league play, the gameplay will get boring soon.
New players will be looking for a fun new game to play, and they probably have little to none knowledge about
the history of the zone and from playing pub they will not get a real sense of the intensity and skill-based
gameplay that is characteristic of league-play. It will be difficult to get new players to commit
to a game with very poor graphics and an extremely steep learning-curve when there's no competitive
context.

So I suggest the following:

Host a 7vs7 North & East league in the summer.

-North & East were always the most popular sectors and 12 vs 12 is probably not feasible.
-15 players per squad, of which at least half should be new players, encouraging the groups to mingle.
-Depending on how many players sign up there could be different rounds spread over multiple weeks or just one
knock-out tournament that takes a couple of hours.
-This league will keep the old players interested because it offers the potential return of the gameplay they enjoyed most.
-It will also give new players an opportunity to experience the competitive side of DSB which in my opinion has the
biggest potential to get them hooked.

Some other suggestions:
-Make an instructional video for new players explaining the controls and the extensive amount of hotkeys and shortcuts.
The instructions under F1 are probably not really suited for a younger generation.
-Make a short promotion video about DSB which gives new players a sense of what DSB is/was.

Anyways, BH and the rest of staff: keep up the good work!

-Duper

Tembest
Posts: 692
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:12 am

Re: DSB improvement tasklist and more

Post by Tembest »

Just start a prac ladder and duel ladder perhaps. Reset all old prac stats.

This should be competitive enough for veterans to play for a while. The truth is the veterans will only stick with the game for a few months anyway. All focus on newcomers.

I'm sorry I can't be much help in this endeavour. I'm rather busy with work and my new house.
I'll naturally stick around and help how in the little ways I can.

Beer Hunter
Posts: 540
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:29 pm
Location: Finland

Re: DSB improvement tasklist and more

Post by Beer Hunter »

It's very true that veterans will most likely disappear quickly, however Super Duper pointed out quite nicely that competitive league could keep them around. The problem with having a competitive league at this point is that the new players who walk into the zone for the very first time will be lost with the game mechanics and strategies. Obviously we will try to guide them and we're hoping all the veteran players will help us in this task. This will pass on some "silent information" from the very old generation to the new one.

We must also look into this from new player's perspective - how much fun for them will it be to have a league very soon as the learning curve for the game is so much different depending on each individual, their past with online gaming and some other personal features. Not to mention that the gap between public and leagues is very high - the hardest league is most likely 12 vs 12 stylish full DSB game - even North and East might seem challenging. This is why we're offering them BABL, it's much easier to learn and more simplified gameplay helps them to realise that the point of our zone is to have a flag - control it. This way the journey towards greater number of flags and bigger leagues starts much more nicely. At least this is my theory.

The very first league we will have once we know how big population we have will be done as a draft league - BABL or Sector league, we will see which one. The reason behind this is very simple, we do not want to have a team of professional players from the past to own it up - instead we will promote more competition by mixing the veterans and new players together. Another of my theories for the length of the league is that shorter tourney type leagues work best during the summer - perhaps 3-4 week tourney at best and a winner being declared after that. These tourneys would probably go through different types of leagues so people would get to know all we have to offer. Perhaps even make everybody feel a bit special and have some special mentions about some rather odd "achievements".

As for the other things Duper mentioned, good ideas with the video stuff. I could edit something together if I get somebody to provide me videos for example - I've toyed around with different kind of ideas for the video but I need material and then see what comes out of it. If you have HD videos of DSB gameplay - both public and league, send em to me (beer(at)deathstarbattle.com) - by this I mean the original video footage I'd rather not start downloading anything from youtube. Although I have camera equipment and even a studio available to do kind of professional material I'd rather want to stay on the background if somebody is more interested or willing (for the instruction video) - I have enough work as it is. :lol:

Tembest
Posts: 692
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:12 am

Re: DSB improvement tasklist and more

Post by Tembest »

Just stating that the last time league has been competitive was almost 10 years ago. We do not want to rush with another failure league, but rather grow some player base first with ladders, events, etc.

They're new to all squads, ideas etc, so hosting any league right after the steam launch could be stupid.

Beer Hunter
Posts: 540
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:29 pm
Location: Finland

Re: DSB improvement tasklist and more

Post by Beer Hunter »

Obviously failure is not an option here and the options will be looked into carefully before going one way or another. It's a calculated risk either way - the biggest risk without a league or something similar is to lose the veterans who are very much needed in order to establish sort of stable population - even if these veterans will not be so dedicated as they once were. These veterans still are and will be the main structure of our success or failure - like I pointed out - if no veterans show up to make DSB appear populated on the launch date and the days after - we're simply done.

I have no real desire to favour any group here but some sort of a golden way from the middle must be found which would keep everybody at least a bit satisfied until we're sure we've established stable and possibly growing population from the new players. I acknowledge very well our history with the veterans and try to look into the future with open mind.

With the draft based squad solutions we're looking to solve the issue of having these new players stepping into the league or competitive game too soon. Basically some of them will be looking for the team aspect and that's what really makes it all more interesting and the individual effort is only one part of that - as a team you must play together towards the success and learning should be fun in the group as well. I remember when I started, obviously I was first looking only at my own success playing public but at the same time admiring the ones with more skill on individual level - however later I realised that the best way to move forward is as a group because that can give you more and everybody needs to pull their weight in order to succeed.

Team aspect is probably familiar to most of these new players because there are so many games nowadays which are entirely based on communicating and playing in a team instead of "single player" efforts. Hell, even on Facebook the games are basically dependant on having some people around you for better success - without that you can fail - unless it's a game which rewards only your individual efforts.

Basically if we look into the past, the discovery of leagues for the public players has been a long process because their talent may not have been enough to join sort of a professional or even amateur squad - neither did these squads really seek people from public very much as they kept themselves satisfied with cycling people who were familiar with leagues and played practices. Cycling meaning that when a player A was not satisfied with his playing time in squad X he changed to squad Y or then simply the personalities in the team did not mix well. In a way we kept consuming the same material over and over until the material was so used that it disappeared or just slowly faded away. This is one of the main things to be changed, faster movement from public to league so the players get their first time in league sooner and understand some of the goals in the leagues. It's a slow process and different for each player but it must be tried, if we just grow another public generation which does not realise of move fast enough towards leagues this could mean all the players disappear or fade away again. The public is a good place to start your "career" in DSB but it is very limited especially when looking at the team aspect.

Lets not forget that the very reason most of us are still here or were for so long time is that you made friends with people and formed teams around them. Having fun together - that's what this all is about.

That's my 60 cents for now. :lol:

Super Duper
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:24 pm

Re: DSB improvement tasklist and more

Post by Super Duper »

Tembest wrote:Just stating that the last time league has been competitive was almost 10 years ago. We do not want to rush with another failure league, but rather grow some player base first with ladders, events, etc.

They're new to all squads, ideas etc, so hosting any league right after the steam launch could be stupid.
I'm not saying we host a league right after the steam launch. I would suggest it would take place end of august or begin september. My point is that it could keep old players interested if such a league was announced at the launch. It would give them a reason to stick around, to prac, and to (re-)form squads.

Furthermore, by forcing squads to consist of 50% (could be even more) of new players, veterans will be motivated (or forced, if you like) to recruit new players to their squad, prac with them, teach them about tactics, etc. This will also make matches more even and prevent new players from being slaughtered by a team of veterans. And as BH pointed out, one of the most fun elements of DSB is being part of squad and just having fun and messing around together. So by having a league in the nearby future, you'd also stimulate veterans/newbie squad formations. This is also the reason why I think a draft league won't cut it. Drafted squads do not have the identity and character that a 'normal' squad does. If you announce a league at the launch, there will be plenty of time for new squads to grow, train new players, create a FB-page or whatever. This way members of a squad can get to know each other and the squad will have the time to develop an identity.

Anyways, I think the natural tendency is to wait and see first before planning any major events. But in this case I think that would be counterproductive because I think that without the elements of competitive play and squad formation the gameplay itself, even with prac ladders and pub-themes, will not be enough to keep either new players or veterans interested for very long.

Another suggestion: I remember SuperGM007 and others making some pretty good DSB-Radio back in the days. If there's anybody able and willing it would be nice to have some DSB-Radioshows during the launch weekend. This will be fun for new players as well. Just commentating on what is happening in pub, making some announcements about events and such.

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Ssseth
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Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:27 pm

Re: DSB improvement tasklist and more

Post by Ssseth »

Quick wins are important. Things as simple as duel tournaments for example.

Anyway, it's really neat to see some life blown back into this thing. Hopefully it last beyond the weekend!
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." -Albert Einstein

Tembest
Posts: 692
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:12 am

Re: DSB improvement tasklist and more

Post by Tembest »

It took years before we had the first league running in DSB. Also the veterans do not gain Anything from playing with complete newbies in a draft league. This game is about squads and community and we should enforce the idea.

You can have bunch of other competitive games going on but a league, just telling you that any league in 2015 will be a huge failure. What you should do however is to start advertising with arena messages etc. that League xx will begin in eg. February, gather your teams, practice etc.

Grow some hype and give the newbies a bloody chance to learn the game.

Super Duper
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:24 pm

Re: DSB improvement tasklist and more

Post by Super Duper »

Tembest wrote:It took years before we had the first league running in DSB. Also the veterans do not gain Anything from playing with complete newbies in a draft league. This game is about squads and community and we should enforce the idea.

I guess we agree on how shitty draft-league is.
You can have bunch of other competitive games going on but a league, just telling you that any league in 2015 will be a huge failure. What you should do however is to start advertising with arena messages etc. that League xx will begin in eg. February, gather your teams, practice etc.

Grow some hype and give the newbies a bloody chance to learn the game.
February? that's 7 months from now. A hype will not last that long. Hosting a league soon might be risky, but waiting that long will be a 100% failure. We need veterans to start new squads and recruit new players, right from the weekend of the launch. And with a league happening somewhere next year there's just no incentive for them to do so.

3 months from now would be perfect. A small league. Half of the DS. 4-6 squads with lot's of new players in it. Sure, this first league might not be as competitive yet as before. But by having an equal amount of newbies in each squad the gameplay will be relatively even and equally fun for vets and new players.

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