Development Process Question

Discussion in 'Feedback' started by Grave, Apr 6, 2019.

  1. Grave

    Grave Member

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    Hey guys. I've been in and out of this game for the last decade and a half. I'm not someone who would have been remembered by all, but I have been here nonetheless. I'm hoping this does not come across as pointed but this is a game I've always loved coming back to over the years and I am dismayed at the current state of the game and community, so let us get straight into it.

    What exactly is the design goal, design aesthetic, and development process that is being used to create this game?

    I'm not trying to throw shade, as I have no game development experience, but I do have experience professionally as a software developer in big boring systems involving processing, storing, and visualizing data for large government entities and the development and life-cycle processes needed to sustain these efforts. These are efforts that require us to solicit requirements from the client, which can be a function of what they want, what tangible benefit is provided to them, the purpose of the software, etc. I get the impression that game development may not be completely unrelated. Obviously the differences are there, especially where games don't have a requirements-solicitation phase where you sit with the client in some boring, esoteric meeting and try to glean what they want and sell them to a product through the form of a contract, but at the end of the day, in both we have a product that is used by and serves the client's end.

    So far with the inclusion of the clearly unfinished AI, the very aesthetically jarring hit markers, and many other changes, I (and other more VOCAL members of this community) am getting the impression that there is no unified, agreed-upon, and CLEAR design goal in mind. This design goal is important for the development process as it seems that instead of effecting change to support a clear design direction, the changes made are arbitrary. Consequently, it comes across to the community that these changes do not really serve a purpose other than seeming to be a "cool addition" rather than helping make the game loop a stronger experience for the community.

    Another area with seemingly muddied design is with the design aesthetic. I don't understand what purpose the hit markers serve. In an old source mod where the emphasis is on real time strategy through the lens of the commander and units, what is the point of this arcade-like function? It doesn't affect the gameplay loop in the practical sense and it doesn't actually add any value to the individual player. This isn't a cheap battle royale or arcade shooter. It seems incongruent with the flow of the game play.

    What I've understood, from what I've heard and seen in the community, is that the lofty design goal is to make the game more accessible and retain a larger player count on the base vanilla rule set. This may include some of the aforementioned features. However, it seems like the implementation of this lofty goal has not been so successful.

    Anecdotally, in recent time, I've introduced an IRL friend in to the Empires community. Say what you will about the Hardcore Empires server headed by the infamous Mr. X, which was undoubtedly notorious with it's community, but it still populated on a regular weekend schedule. In this case, the Hardcore Empires server had and executed a consistent and clear design goal, with a specific type of play that was supported by the scripts that Mr. X took the time to balance and create. When my friend was introduced, we had tons of fun on the Hardcore server, namely because the balance he created (even if not considered desirable by some in this community) fostered a particular experience for the player, where the game felt like a game that forced players to make choices, tying yourself to those choices, and then fighting it out. Even if not everyone got a tank or if resources were sparse, X's balance and clear design goal allowed the players to develop each match a fresh and compelling in-game narrative that played to what made Empires so beloved by many of us in this community. This meant that even though not everyone was guaranteed to have a tank or always be super effective in their late-game infantry role, that there was a starting and end point to the game, where the necessity to gain and maintain map control and thus gain resources to pull ahead forced this suspense and emotional investment in each round. My friend, who normally plays modern titles, was able to thoroughly enjoy the time on X's server BECAUSE of this compelling narrative.

    Conversely, the day after X's server shut down, my friend quit playing Empires despite having only played for a short amount of time. Why, you may ask? He simply didn't find the vanilla game to be fun. Sure, everyone got a tank, and sure, research is free, but there is no compelling narrative. There's no reason to do anything. You don't need map control to come ahead, where each game really just comes down to spamming tanks until one side inevitably pulls ahead. There's no pressure of time, there's no sense of falling behind, because chances are that even a being behind in refineries does not amount to much difference. With the infantry upgrade, having end game tanks is no longer as powerful, no longer something that needs to be fought to afford, and fought to keep affording in the late game. The current balance and design goal comes across as muddied, with no clear in-game narrative being told. Yes, I understand, we want to allow newbies to experience the full game without needing to be good at the game immediately, but we have instead created a situation that is not compelling for anything, neither newbie nor veteran. The game's tank and infantry combat simply are not new enough nor compelling enough to convince someone to stick around. It's no longer a struggle, no longer a game with stakes, and hence is now a cursory side-attraction for newbies to gawk at for a day before just uninstalling.

    This leads me to wonder, what exactly is the development process that led to this point? With the choices of release deployment dates, the decision to deploy unfinished, or non-working features in a PRODUCTION environment without having been tested, it has not been made clear exactly what goes on behind the scenes that creates the current end product. How it comes across to those of us in the community is literally that code is written, edited, or removed, then directly pushed to production without having been tested. I understand the dev team is low on resources, but there can definitely be solutions to this problem that don't involve a direct production deployment without balancing/crushing numbers and play testing changes in a development or test environment. A process could include the following tasks:
    • Analyzing the current state of the game, both from balance and code integrity. Does it fit into the projected, unified desired design end goal?
    • Asking yourself, what actionable, feasible, well-implemented and feature-complete steps can we take to put ourselves closer to that goal? What design can we draft that fits our goal?
    • Implement and locally test internally in the dev team the changes and new features
    • Testing the changes on a proper test server and yes, performing regression testing, as boring as regression testing is. It sucks but there's a reason why regression testing is done. At the minimum create a task list of regression tests that need to be completed every release in addition to the new changes that also must be tested.
    • Once everything is in working order, then push to production. Hurray!
    • Start over for the next release cycle!
    This process is clearly just off the cuff, but from experience I can tell you that things get a lot easier when there is an established lifecycle of development with clear and established expectations with each release on a publicly released, timed schedule (aside from emergency releases and such). If we had a clear system of when changes happened and the root cause of changes, then perhaps we would not have had such game-breaking bugs today such as vehicles falling through the ground or poor server stability, as bugs like that could have been undone with reverting code to before they appeared.

    Anyways, it's clear I have typed more than enough, but I will say that I have a lot of sympathy for you devs, as you have a lot on your shoulders and few resources, but at the end of the day the state of the game and community is in arrears. The veteran community is dead, and no newbie community has come to replace it. My wish is that we can come together to create a clear and concise vision of the game that can stand the test of time, as a game truly worth the decades of playtime. With this vision, we can properly execute game changes and new features to their full potential, and do so in a manner that is visible to the community through a proper release schedule.

    In any case, the last decade and a half of Empires has really been quite an experience, but I get a feeling that unless things change, that time has finally come to an end. I wish the devs and the community the best of luck in their endeavors and that no matter what happens, we can come to an end result that we are proud to have been a part of.

    -Grave
     
  2. mrmeow

    mrmeow Member

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    It almost feels more like a tabletop RPG the way you lay it down and I think it has similarities with it. man i love empires.
     
  3. Sgt.Security

    Sgt.Security Member

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    First thing first, whatever your cause may be, I appreciate you for bothering with proper attire, it's rare in this community since the birth of it.

    Just to add on to everything I say below, I've been playing this game since pretty much its birth. That is 13+ years.
    I have seen everything, although I may not have the most accurate memory, but I have seen the ups and downs of this game and the causes.

    Now I would like to cut my one big reply into two replies.

    [1] Our "visions" as you, or some other people may have asked.
    [2] Refuting your defensive points of Mr.X, his server and his actions.



    ---------------------------------------------------
    [1]

    First thing first, even when me, and most of other current dev members signed up, this game was already ~10 years old.
    This is a really, really old game.

    Clearly, there existed two options for us.
    (1) Ditch the current giant piece of ..stuff and create a new one elsewhere.
    (2) Improve whatever we got.
    We picked (2), obviously.
    It's not because (2) would be more effective or anything, but simply because we don't have the organization and the time for (1) to be even remotely feasible.

    "So what are our design goals?"

    Include but not limited to:
    ---Improve retention rate.

    • Make the game easier to start(not master). ==> tutorial/hints/exposing hidden mechanisms...etc
    • Attempt to address the toxic community through direct/indirect ways. ==> Sorry, but classified.
    • Fix the issues of having empty servers. ==> Bots
    ---Improve gameplay.
    • Address existing script issues. ==> Script changes to reduce imbalance issues. https://wiki.empiresmod.com/Change_Log
    • Construct a more dynamic and variant gameplay. ==> By fixing useless stuff to make them become feasible options. Weapons/armors/engines/chassis and even infantry in late game.
    • Address team balance issues. ==> Developing an useful and automatic team-balancer.
    • Reduce the number of dragging games. ==> Wall nerf, artillery rework(also contained in "more dynamic/variant gameplay", ticket bleed, squad revive nerf, repair diminishing effect...etc

    ---Improve general experience or add new elements.
    • New features ==> https://wiki.empiresmod.com/Change_Log
    • New maps
    • New script related things ==> Bio cannon/ tier3 and soon, tier 1 weapons.
    • Art work ==> new models, icons, UI, weapon tracers, sound...etc.

    ---Make new things and old things work better and break less. (fix issues, bugs and exploits)


    * Keep in mind, above examples are NOT the ONLY things we done regarding that category, just the easy examples I could come up instantly.
    **The points above are NOT our "theoretical goals", they actually describe most, if not all of the things we done across our development.


    You could argue there's a specific part of our goals that we aren't improving, say, our auto team-balancer isn't doing its job perfectly, say, the hittick is buggy, say, the scripts are still imbalanced..etc.

    That's merely because we are on the way to something better.
    The more important part is, we are actively doing the job.

    As I've brought up, we may not have most active devs now, in terms of numbers, but we are definitely having a lot more progress in a time span than ever before. With the exception of the old RCs time.

    We have had 13 releases for the past 2 months, that's more than one per week. (the record is right there in our Discord, can't lie to you.)

    EDIT:
    To further add on,

    The truth is, this game is not just a 10 years old game when we took over.
    It was also an amateur project with a mediocre and weird inner-structure, which I am sure, as a software developer you can at least imagine.

    As a result, whenever a developer is trying to do something, let's call this something "C".
    A logical developer would do the thing that does C, and it should be sufficient, right?
    No, not in the world of Empires, you'd get the thing to do B as well, and there you have a weird bug.

    "Vehicle falling through" bug is a prime example of this.

    The issue happened after we enabled lag compensation for vehicles.
    Before that, our vehicle weapons had NO lag compensation, that is you couldn't even hit people reliably with your vehicle MG, which you probably have long taken it for granted.

    Reverting that means to keep settling with no lag compensation, and, the cause of the bug is still there, just the bug not happening.
    And with the bug not happening, there's very little chance we can find clues and track it.
    We let the feature collect as many bugs as possible while we are fixing it.

    We don't revert instantly when we see a bug, because we don't even know if there's other bugs.


    Allow me to use hittick as an example, if we revert when we know that switching player in spec would trigger hittick, it would take us 2 patches to revert & fix that bug, and then we'll run into other bugs, then we revert & fix the bug?

    Can you now see why we don't revert all the time?

    Same goes for reverting any feature in the face of non-completely-unplayable bugs.
    What's completely unplayable? Say, no one can even start the game, then we definitely should revert that.

    Around 2 months ago, we have managed to submit a "very likely" fix and the bug has never happened since then.
    We can almost claim it's been fixed.

    So now we can have vehicle lag compensation AND tanks don't fall through.
    Isn't this revolutionary? For the first time in the past 10 years we have vehicle lag compensation.


    Now, I'd like to bring up the fact that, we have pretty much abandoned the old development process of Empires mod.
    The signature moves of the old process are the public playtests and the long wait time between each patch.

    So did it work?
    Not really. Many bugs and issue survived through playtests.
    The reasons are as such :
    (1) We never really had enough hands to test, even when there's public playtests we had to be lucky to get 10 players, including devs.
    (2) Empires has complicated game mechanics and even more complicated code structure, you can't possibly run easy tests to cover even most of them, within reasonable time.

    So, instead of settling with the old, inefficient development process.

    We are skipping public playtests and we do private tests instead.
    If the feature seems to work and there's no immediate/obvious bug, we release it.
    If there's an issue, we fix it ASAP, instead of waiting for 2 weeks for another test before we release.

    This should be it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
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  4. Spike

    Spike Long Live The King!

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    I hope you realize that all your design goals and plans for the mod are now basically pointless due to the remaining player base being drove away and no longer wanting to play.

    "Fix the issues of having empty servers. ==> Bots" I have to admit this made me laugh its the players that make empries not no one wants to play against terrible bots people want to play empires with other players. Because its the players that make empires not bots

    "Attempt to address the toxic community through direct/indirect ways. ==> Sorry, but classified." This also made me laugh i am now in hysterics i wonder why the community is so toxic toward you maybe its because you broke the game that they loved to play. Sorry to be blunt but you completely broke empries and made it quite unplayable do you really expect people to react nicely toward you especially when people tolerated the broken updates and terrible changes for so long ? The answer is no by the way. And you wonder why people are getting frustrated with you lot.

    The mod currently is in such a broken state that i think its just probably best to revert instead of pushing more updates on top of the broken mess.

    "New maps" I am now pissing my self laughing there is no point having new maps if there is no one left to play them.

    "Make new things and old things work better and break less. (fix issues, bugs and exploits" Fix issues ? i think if you were able to fix the issues you would of done it already you obviously do not have the faintest idea what you are doing due to the mod getting more broken every update. Please think about the player base well whats left of it they do not want to play a broken/unbalanced mess i don't think i can even call it a game at this point due it being so bad. You have fun in games in a broken/unbalanced mess you get frustrated and annoyed due to how bad everything is you will not want to play it due to how frustrated and annoyed you get hense why empires is losing players.

    Sorry if i came across in a somewhat sassy way i must be one of those frustrated players that loved empires i do apologize if you have anything to say about my feedback please provide constructive feedback in the comment section below. Remember kids good feedback is key to making empires better.

    Thank you

    -Spike
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2019
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  5. Sgt.Security

    Sgt.Security Member

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    Steamchart, is, right, there. https://steamcharts.com/app/17740#All

    Jesus I don't even remember how many times I have said this to you or to anyone else that tries to undermine us blindly.

    Spike like, seriously, I lost track how many time have you claimed "no one is playing" "the game is dead"...etc

    It's really, really funny because again, Steamchart is right fucking there.

    It clearly says our current population is the same as the past 1.5~2 years, most of time with our beloved Hardcore server being pretty much the only mainstream server.
    Have you ever complained back then? I don't think so.

    Then why is the same population suddenly an issue for you or for anyone else, like, what's the variable?

    Before the down time, we, the EXACT SAME development team has managed to brought back the game from almost dead pop and had maintained a long term 10+ average pop and even hit 20 average pop.

    I am aware there's a small group of people boycotting because Hardcore server has shut down, but please don't sugarcoat that as if literally everyone is jumping on us.


    EDIT : I felt like I have to literally shove the page info into your face like this to state my point because I think that's how you'd understand.
     

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    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
  6. Sgt.Security

    Sgt.Security Member

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    [2]
    Now, I am going to refute your points, and pretty much the points I heard generally in defense of Mr.X and his work.

    Because, no offense, but these kind of defensive points and claims have been used as propaganda tools.
    So, as much as I'd like to focus on your questions, I felt the necessity to clear them, hopefully once and for all.

    But before I start, I have to bring up the fact that, IRL there are religions, there are idols, most importantly, there are FRIENDS.
    That is, I am fully acknowledged that someone doesn't really need a reasonable reason to support or defend someone, you'd just speak for your friends. You also would hold a much lower standard when it comes to the guy you just want to defend.

    Because I know you've been in REALLY close contact with the guy for the past 2 years, I really don't expect to alter your opinions.
    So, I am actually explaining these things more to everyone else, than to you specifically.

    "I've introduced an IRL friend in to the Empires community"
    I'd question who is your friend, because statement like this is very convenient.
    But I'll let you have it.

    Have you wondered that "your friend" may have enjoyed the game simply because of you? Have you wondered maybe it would've been a completely miserable experience if you weren't holding his hands OR maybe he would've loved Vanilla gameplay too.

    Again, "your friend" is highly susceptible to you, he/she doesn't really make your statement more solid.

    "the Hardcore Empires server had and executed a consistent and clear design goal"
    Okay, this gets interesting.
    I am not sure how much you got involved in his development process, if any.

    But as someone who personally traversed through every single bit of his change log and personally talked to him before we pretty much terminated mutual communications.
    I came to the following conclusions.

    There's one clear design goal in his economy design : To create a infantry-vehicle hybrid combat.
    There's one clear design goal in his script design : To fit his idea of what Empires should be.
    I know, I know, you are going to say, "see, that's a goal and he's done it, all hail the king".

    But no, here's the translated version of his "goals".

    There's one clear design goal in his economy design : To force infantry-vehicle hybrid combat by suppressing all kinds of resources income.
    There's one clear design goal in his script design : To fit his idea of what the numbers should be. The numbers must be sorted properly, gameplay integrity and effect assessment can come second.

    There's also another less visible goal in his changes, that is, he wants the commander role to be much more influential.
    Keep in mind, we don't think commanders should be more influential. Even though Empires is a RTS/FPS hybrid, commanders are only 2 guys, the rest 40 field players constitute the great majority of our playerbase. As a player you don't want to be RTS pawns like those you own in actual RTS games.

    Now, regarding economy design, his goal is to make heavy tanks a rare stuff, which inevitably caused the commanders to restrict "not-as-good" players from accessing powerful tanks.
    With infantry being more of an inferior existence with the removal of RPG upgrade, with only lower-tier vehicles accessible, I am not sure how those lower-level players can even remotely enjoy the game.
    Keep in mind, he has personally stated that he doesn't care about retention rate, I don't think there's anything you can possibly say to defend that.

    Now, regarding scripts, once again, having seen all of his change log, I can confidently say, his "design goal" has one and only one thing : Preference.

    There isn't an actual goal, nor consistency in his changes.

    There's many script changes he's done without proper assessment or even reasons.
    (1) He nerfed 180mm arty to be absolutely worse than 203mm, on Vanilla 180mm has higher DPS but less burst damage and he removed that DPS benefit completely, making 180mm an outright inferior option.

    More to this, his 203mm arty deals 58 DPS with direct hits. For comparison, one single railgun gives 50 DPS.
    And how hard is it to land a 203mm arty directly on enemy tank?

    After a bit of talk, I came to the realization that he did NOT even know that vehicles don't take MAX damage throughout the explosion radius and just assumed it would've been a lot more powerful.

    (2) He changed the "Falloff End" of all weapons from Vanilla value to 10000 (max possible range), and without any sort of compensation. Not knowing that this had changed the damage of all weapons throughout their range without a reliable pattern.

    As long as the numbers look nice, I mean, look at those sexy "10000s", effect assessment is for nubs, right?

    If he had done this in the beginning and worked from that or if he had shipped compensation changes, then I'd agree he at least had a vision in this.

    (3) His infamous 3x headshot modifier, I am actually not sure what he thought this is going to bring him. Simple math, 15*3=45, 20*3=60, that means Rifleman with their higher damage weapon gets even more damage gain from this.
    And, good players have higher headshot rate, so this is also buffing good players.

    So is he trying to buff rifleman, buff vets, or is he just trying to make Empires like his favorite FPS game where headshot is supposed to be devastating?

    And a less notable thing, he also buffed the "peripheral" damage modifier. Arm modifier 0.7->0.9 Leg modifier 0.7->0.8
    Because we actually hit peripherals pretty often, this should also caused more damage done by infantry weapons, and even more by Rifleman specifically.

    (4)"Because engines need to cool more on mediums than on AFV/LTs...just 'cause."
    https://forums.empiresmod.com/index.php?threads/2-14-testing-thread.20995/page-2#post-545511

    (5)He buffed the speed of all missiles then proceeded to nerf missile damage.
    "July 2018" buffing ML speed.
    "Sep 2018" nerfing ML damage.
    Once again, if he done the actions simultaneously I would agree there's a vision, but in this case, separated by 2 months, they definitely don't look organized.

    (6) He made ML turrets even more effective by literally doubling turret missile speed.
    Now, ML turrets are already the meta in Vanilla and he solidified it further.
    In every single round the commander has to drop at least 200 of them, and turrets are ridiculously effective at terminating most, if not all early-game contesting attempts.
    Rendering early-game skirmishes more useless.

    early-game skirmishes = early-game map control.

    He doesn't understand that the current missile speed is being thoughtfully placed at 1100 so that fast vehicles have decent survivability against them and there would be enough reaction time. for

    (7) There's also quite a few script changes he's done and had been reverted soon after, some even completely reverted.
    Here's an incomplete list:
    BE APC Max weight 809(vanilla)->834---after I explained why-->819
    NF APC Max weight 774(vanilla)->799---after I explained why-->784
    Looks to me he realized I nerfed them with serious reasons but he's still too shy to put them back to the original places.

    Capacitive Damage To Heat Absorbed 0.02(Vanilla)->0.04->0.02
    Plain, Reactive, Deflective, Regen Damage To Heat Absorbed 0.00(Vanilla)->0.02->0.01
    Again, this is not vision, this is "I think vehicles should gain heat when they take damage but holy shit I did it too much".
    Especially Capacitive, it's like he brainlessly just decided to give every armor 0.02 more heat gen but forgot that Capacitive already had the heat issue.

    Sure, you can say AT LEAST he learned from mistakes, but you are not going to tell me there's a "clear direction" in all that.

    And this is directly from him.
    upload_2019-4-8_20-18-28.png
    I only searched "balance" in Discord and found this within a minute.
    I just found it funny that you guys *can* defend him more than himself.

    To sum things up, trying to defend him by claiming there's a consistent vision and goal in his changes is really, really laughable to someone who actually analyzed the whole pack thoroughly.

    In addition, here's a few things I heard from PYA but yeah I am refuting them altogether.

    "He runs tests."
    Has it occurred to you that we run tests too?
    Also, remember that hilarious HEMG issue happened on Hardcore when it basically killed all vehicles with a few shots?
    Frankly speaking, throughout literally thousands of my changes in the past 3.5 years, I don't think I ever fucked up THAT badly.

    That fuck up alone is a sign that he didn't really test that much, at least not as intense as you or he may have claimed.

    "He makes spreadsheets"
    I have my own spreadsheets too, Spartacus had spreadsheets too.
    Because how hard is it to use Excel/Google Doc to do simple math? Goes to @PwnedYoAss , I actually feel insulted when you'd bring up something as simple as creating a spreadsheet to me like it's something beyond our capabilities.

    I even wrote programs to evaluate weapons and their falloff as partially displayed here https://forums.empiresmod.com/index.php?threads/terms-used-in-scripts-explained.20262/
    upload_2019-4-8_20-23-37.png

    Can I have some nice applause too?


    Now to the ultimate killer, if Mr.X and his Hardcore server had been such a wonderful land,
    then why the population of the game had been decent(10~20 average) before him and then proceeded to DIVED and never recovered ever since Mr.X actually started doing things?
    then why people naturally, and constantly voted for non-Hardcore servers in lobby so much that Mr.X had to resort to get a group of people including you to seed and forcefully vote for his server?
    then why I have personally received and had to redirect exactly 32 complaints about Hardcore scripts to him because they were knocking the wrong door?
    then why nobody bothered with his Pateron page of running his wonderful server on weekdays?
    then why, except for a few hardcore(not Hardcore) supporters, there's pretty much no nuisance after he claimed to shut down the server maybe permanently?


    I am sorry, you have all your rights to like him and his doing, but I feel obliged to think you are the vocal minority.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
  7. Not Kidpaler

    Not Kidpaler Member

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    How have bots negatively impacted you? You usually get on when there aren't bots online. Bots have shown that it increases new players sticking around and trying out the game longer than launching it and seeing everything is empty and leaving. Please explain how these low pop tools have negatively impacted your overall experience.

    Yes. People like you drive off players because you scream and yell for no reason. Theres a reason people don't want you to speak, and theres a reason I had you blocked for over a year and a half. You are toxic. You have always been toxic. Quit acting like this is some recent thing because people "broke" your Empires. Back when you had control of the scripts you were toxic and you were able to make changes. You have quite honestly always been toxic. Look at your posts whenever an update is pushed "DEVS RETARDED, DEVS AFTER AN UPDATE (Pic of guy typing on fire)" and much much more. You yell constantly, you scream at people for being idiots, you push blame on to others. Im not trying to personally attack you here, but dude cmon. You are seriously trying to play this off as its something thats JUST come up because of something devs did? (Oh look, pushing blame on to others. Again.)

    Hell, I remember one update that was pushed that was semi-well received and I clearly remember the first thing you saying "What did Thexa fuck up now" when you hadn't even played it. One person made one comment about it and it wasn't even a bad one. You quite honestly go out of your way to assume the worst and freak out about it.

    To quote you in shoutbox:
    Sure seems like constructive non-toxic feedback.

    I've asked you this before, and I'll ask it again. Please tell me what is specifically broken.

    This is actually a pretty big one. X's server had the same 8 maps playing over and over and over again and it gets boring quick. Variety keeps a game alive.

    What is getting more broken.
    What is specifically unbalanced.
    How is everything bad.

    I think Empires is currently losing players because we just went through some major drama. We had weekday pires, but then X started griefing games for not being on his server, very often driving up to the enemy and then saying in chat "oh no I got stickied". The drama/server wars dealt a massive blow. I know I took some leave time and so did quite a few others because the drama is just retarded in a mod that is trying to regain its playerbase. No one gets on this game to get yelled at and deal with drama, yet we have ample amounts of it.

    You just asked us to provide constructive feedback on your post where you just said "LOL NO PLAYERS YOU IDIOTS CAUSE YOU KILLED IT". You don't even do constructive criticism yourself and instead do what you always do, scream about vague issues instead of listing out what the actual problems are. Why are you such a hypocrite?
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2019
  8. Lazybum

    Lazybum :D Staff Member Moderator

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    I started to read things and realized I've already read these posts already. Its like walking on a treadmill.

    Anyways I would like to point out in regards to bots and possibly other things I feel like the complaint isn't "why did you add this " but more "why did you spend time on this when you could have done something more useful". Now I know what's more useful changes person to person and I also know it's not a paid thing so people like to work on what interests them, but it is helpful to understand where the complaints are really coming from.

    Making ui better or commanding more friendly would no complaint issues I'd bet, but things that bring less tangible results to both new and old players are gonna receive more flak.
     
  9. SOCS

    SOCS Member

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    Hi,

    Newer player here. Feel free to reach out to me directly. You may hate me after reading this, but I actively want to help.

    I'm the friend that Grave mentioned. I go by SOCS. I enjoyed hardcore because it seemed like it required an actual strategy as opposed to just ending in an all out tank battle as normal Empires became constantly. I'd be happy with just a hardcore server where the game didn't seem as unbalanced. Are there any plans for this Sgt.Security?

    Allow me to retort your point about how I just enjoyed the game just because Grave was playing.

    I didn't enjoy the game simply because Grave was playing it. I enjoyed it because hardcore was fun. It seemed fair. I could be a rifleman without getting blasted every 5 seconds like I did in vanilla.

    I enjoyed playing a game that seemed balanced. A community that seemed engaged, as small as it was.

    I also enjoyed playing with real people who I could talk to. People who could help me learn the game.

    Everyone seems to be so on the high horse of how you all saved the game and "brought it back from the dead". It seems to me though that your game is complete trash as is.

    It just seems like it's a race to get to tanks then it's just world of tanks in normal Empires.

    You're so quick to attack Grave's point of view. I'd actually be willing to recruit friends if the community were receptive to feedback but it seems Grave is right, you're just mad on the idea that you've saved the game without actually listening to the community members that care about it.

    Grave was just trying to give feedback here, and you all saw it as an attack. I wouldn't expect anything else based on what he's told me of this community IRL.

    I enjoyed hardcore, I hated normal, you want to know why? As a noob, I felt like I had a chance to learn in hardcore, and the community was welcoming.

    Whereas in vanilla, I had no clue what I was doing, and the community didn't care. They had no time for noobs. It was like I was lost, and it just became an all out tank fight within a few minutes while I was still getting my bearings.

    I see why Grave had a critical point of view. You all see everything as an attack, and not feedback, and for that the mod will die. You can point to your Steam charts all you like, but it won't save you if you all are toxic, and don't listen to your community.

    With that, I'm out, enjoy your game, or what's left of it :grinnf:.

    -SOCS
     
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  10. Sgt.Security

    Sgt.Security Member

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    You seem to confuse "refute" and "attack".

    Your reply solidifies my points.
    That is, a huge part of your enjoyment and opinions are directly from your friends.

    If the place was truly a heavenly land as you seem to "objectively suggest", that doesn't explain the horrible downfall of the population when it started to do its magic.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
  11. SOCS

    SOCS Member

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    Funny, I don't seem to think so, but I mean it's all a matter of opinion. How you take it isn't my problem now is it?

    I'm not trying to talk shit, I'm simply pointing out that the "balance" in vanilla Empires is non-existent. I actually enjoyed hardcore.

    You can have your opinion, but it doesn't change mine. Clearly you aren't in the business of listening, just talking.

    If you want to have a productive conversation, DM me. Let's talk about what I enjoyed, and what I didn't.

    Better yet, DM Grave, a player who's been playing far longer than I have, and actually listen to what he has to say.

    I said my piece, I don't know what else I can say. Your game is not fun in vanilla, it is fun in hardcore. That's all she wrote mate.

    Good chat.

    -SOCS
     
    mrmeow, Spike and Xyaminou like this.
  12. Spike

    Spike Long Live The King!

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    trying to reason with the developers is like trying to reason with Hitler when he was going mad in his underground bunker being bombed by the allies both hitler and the developers have something in common they both seem to think everything is fine and that they can still win and succeed even though everything is obviously over. And not to mention there are both completely delusional.

    Sadly the empires development team did not win the development war and lost now empires is dead or at least soon to be they were sadly defeated in battle not by the server owners not the player base but there self's, they basically fucked themselves over and empires due to there incompetence, ignorance, arrogance, derpyness, being so far up there own asses they cant see daylight,delusional ideals they see as good when they really are not good and many more negative words.
     
  13. Not Kidpaler

    Not Kidpaler Member

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    I actually don’t disagree much with what you said, except for the community aspect.

    You were part of the in crowd because you were friends with grave. I’ve added well over 100 new people in the last 6 months to gauge feedback on the game and general community reaction. All I can say is, a lot of people hated getting yelled at when they played on hardcore, and before you say “you haven’t played there”, I have. I protested it within the last 4 months because of how horrendous MrX was/is. A LOT of new people couldn't stand the community there because they were yelled at or when they asked a question just flat out ignored. This is the same man who, as security mentioned, publicly stated new people aren't his problem. They are all our problem, for a game that retains less than 1 in 100 people.

    Look at spikes reply. These are the type of people who were hardline supporters of hardcore who simply don’t give feedback and instead tell the devs to kill themselves or compare them to hitler or calling them fuckwads etc. We haven't received genuine feedback on much besides the usual "kill yourself" or "It fucking sucks you fucking morons". Now before you say, "Well, that obviously means they are just passionate", do you REALLY think this is tolerable in almost any other community? I have asked spike for ACTUAL feedback now on so many of his posts and rants and he NEVER provides feedback. He continually goes off about how "THE GAME IS RUINED YOU FUCKED IT UP". He can't even list the issues and we are suppose to fix issues he cant even tell us? Instead he uses drama, as has been the standard for this community for the last 10 years, to try to rile people up to get angry.

    I have gone to Security, Thexa, Destroyer and many others and had ACTUAL conversations and gave feedback that was listened. I know you haven't been around enough to see it, but respect can get you somewhere. In fact, I think its agreed upon that X's server had good economical balance and has a superior playstyle. I think MOST people agree to that however his method of going about achieving that was nefarious and any talk against it resulted in cruel responses. So yes, it is something that EVEN SECURITY HIMSELF said he would work towards and extended a hand out to Mr.X and offered him a spot to help retool the base game map resources. What was his response to this? MrX told security to suck his dick. He was given a chance to legitimately make a difference in the base game and help it out and instead he gave the good ole "fuck you".

    On top of this, when I revived weekdays by inviting people to play and such on weekdays, X and Spike both threw such temper tantrums about it not being on Hardcore that it ruined weekdays. Yes, it did. Lots of people were fed up with the drama of X constantly griefing and basically conducting server wars, especially on weekends. For many weekends in a row X would get on and then grief the games if they were on another server until people just got off, or he'd poach and say "COME TO THIS SERVER". Then when he was finally banned for quite obvious poaching, he went into the community discord and started shit, where everyone went off on him about bitching about a problem he directly caused. Then after this he sent me these messages:
    xoutburst.PNG

    You REALLY think a community ran by someone who flys off the handle, says the N word and trys to play it off as "I don't know what it means" when he clearly uses it in context, constantly tells people to kill themselves as well as getting angry at people for not listening, and begs people to conduct physical violence on the lead dev to be a "friendly" community leader? Yea bullshit, and I don't mean that you are lying, I just mean that you don't know fully what is going on because you haven't been in this community for a while. And this is all fine, but I just want you to know that it's more than likely because you were in that in crowd.
    capture2.PNG
    In fact, after one of his outbursts I had to ban him. Candles, a man who used to be a dev and was actually agreeing with X in a respectable manner, even said this. X had to be banned because he was so vitriolic. Candles is also one of the most level headed people who disagrees with a lot and can agree with a lot. He is the most neutral party ever.


    You can probably ask Grave, we get along pretty well and we've actually had quite a few conversations so hopefully he'd vouch for me and say I'm quite on the level and am pretty reasonable. I made it my goal to help teach new people to the point I'd go out of my way to add them and invite them back when people were playing, even if it was on X's server when I was boycotting it.

    So basically, the problem with this community is the lack of constructive feedback. If people list out what is wrong and why it is wrong while being reasonable and not being a shit bag, there is a higher chance people will listen. The past 2 weeks since X left our discord we've actually had a lot of discussion with people listing out reasons behind why something won't work or why it does. There's been more constructive feedback on the discord in 2 weeks than there has been in the last 6 months.

    All in all, X has NOT fostered a "friendly and welcoming community", but rather a group of vets who believe theyre ideas are all superior and MUST be followed. He's extremely toxic himself and he hasn't done much to foster a friendly community, except around that group of hardcore vets.

    I'm not trying to be rude to you, and I respect your opinions because I think you have valuable feedback. If you want you can PM me actual feedback and I will pass it along to the appropriate channels because I really do value it and it's important to collect.


    Edit: And the fact you liked Spikes post that is him just laughing at the fact that the player count dropped slightly doesn't really make you appear as a neutral party, no offense. Again, he provided no feedback there and instead just laughed at situations that really don't impact much, not even refuting anything Security said. While I don't hold that against you, its just mighty suspicious that you don't actually care about the mod and more care about being right/laughing at situations you haven't really been around long enough to know about. (Forgive me if you have been around for more than 2 years and I haven't recognized you, but yea.)

    Edit 2: Also graves question was answered on discord and when I gave him the answer in a steam message he said it doesn't really concern him.
    [Monday 1:33 AM]
    Grave:
    did he respond on discord? soz I've been busy the last couple of days

    [Monday 1:33 AM]
    Sovietshark:
    Yea he did
    he gave a wiki article on the guiding principles of Empires

    [Monday 1:33 AM]
    Grave:
    it didn't answer my question
    it was far too high level
    but to be honest it's not my concern

    [Monday 1:36 AM]
    Sovietshark:
    Uh okay
    But it did?

    I respect Grave a lot. In fact, I recently found out he is one of the few Outcast players still around from long ago but if he doesn't even want his question answered and doesnt think it concerns him then this just kinda comes off as starting drama. Im more than likely wrong, but yea. Theres still been no real feedback given on any of the issues people bring up. Every other development community asks for very specific stuff to get to the bottom of the issue which we still haven't ever gotten.

    Edit 3: Heres some more screenshots just in the last 2 months.

    x214.PNG
    x421.PNG
    x32.PNG
    These aren't by date or in order. Just various time's hes proven to be extremely toxic. I can get you more if you'd like. There's ample examples. I also didn't intentionally clip these to force a narrative. You can view all of the context in the discord.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
  14. mrmeow

    mrmeow Member

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    dude he's literally a new player and he's telling you what he thinks. just listen to the new players and stop living in a fantasy world. wow
     
  15. Sgt.Security

    Sgt.Security Member

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    You mean, listen to the new players, or listen to a specific new player?
    Our fantasy world is that when the place he seems to like got to become the only playground, our population and retention rate went downhill.

    Call that our fantasy world if you want, but you can’t change the fact that people vote with their feet.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
  16. Not Kidpaler

    Not Kidpaler Member

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    I’ve added a lot of new people and some say the exact opposite of what this guy said. So what are we suppose to do then?

    It’s almost like you cant design a whole game around one person but instead need a collection.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
  17. Misfire

    Misfire Always Lost

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    I'm sure this is a mistake, but here I go anyway....

    PlayerA you did not bring in players with your server hosting.
    PlayerB you did not bring in players with your other server hosting.
    PlayerC you did not bring in players with your plugins.
    PlayerD you did not bring in players with your scripts.
    PlayerE you did not bring in players with your code changes.
    PlayerF you did not bring in players with your discord channel.
    PlayerG you did not bring in players with your map making.
    PlayerH you did not bring in players with your seeding....

    Slowing, painfully WE ALL brought in new players as a group, a team, as fellow lovers of this unique quirky strategy game.
    Trouble is, every time this group sees a bit of success the old rivalries pop back to kill any advances.
    On top of that every person A-H want's to claim sole victory over the others. Madness.

    H was the reason... full speed ahead with more H!!!!
    No, E was the reason... full speed ahead with nothing but E!!!
    No way!! C was definitely the deciding factor... damn the others and full speed ahead with X10 C!!!!!!

    One more note. It should be clear by everyone's own posts here.... Few want one single flavor empires box.
    Variety is the spice of life. True as ever.
    We had just begun to see more than one server active at a time. One set to mild, the other set to hot and player count was moving up.
    More versions would have been great. Within reason server operators should be able customize at will.

    It took me 15 whole life minutes to get this out. I hope it wasn't all wasted.
     
  18. Sgt.Security

    Sgt.Security Member

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    It's kinda weird to hear this from you because you have seen it all, and pretty much the ugliest part of it.

    The cruel fact is, we had much more population before the playground sunk into cut-throat competition and pretty much all other server operators were driven out. Once again, steamchart is right there to always support this, it's not something I can talk out of my ass.

    Only recently we got lucky and a few wild server operators found us and are willing to contribute, and there was an attempt to rebuild the community 2 months ago, and guess what, the cut-throat competition never went away, and here we are again.

    Do the posts show that? I mean I am only seeing people claiming "something is better" or "I like something over something".
    There's a difference in "people want variety" and "people like a different thing".

    I am guessing you support variety, so let's talk about "variety" itself because it's an interesting topic and this is in fact part of our current development.

    I know you probably missed out quite a few times that this was discussed, but let me fill you in.
    This illustration I made 2 years ago would be helpful.

    upload_2019-4-11_11-51-28.png

    I am not sure how far do you think servers should be able to go under the "variety" flag, but it shouldn't go beyond plugins.

    We are not Garry's mod or Minecraft or Factorio, aka Sandbox games.

    We are more of a competitive game with a lot of hidden variables, and almost all displayed information use client-side information. (that is you don't even know when servers are using different values.)

    Code & scripts make up the solid playgrounds to ensure that people can follow-up on the game with little difficulty and have even slightly reliable experience to learn, for vet and nub.
    Keyword: experience.

    You don't think it's that bad with 2 versions, you will get the taste of it with 3.

    A prime example would be Counter-Strike, there are a ton of server variables but the bottom-line is, their guns behave the same on all servers.
     

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    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
  19. ugandan_knuckles

    ugandan_knuckles Member

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    The empires devs do not know de wey we must show them de wey my brothers to a better empires

    [​IMG]
     

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