Plea to the developers to stop breaking our empires!

Discussion in 'General' started by Spike, Mar 1, 2019.

  1. Lazybum

    Lazybum :D Staff Member Moderator

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    I will say I do remember at the time spike was scripting nothing was getting pushed because build server was borked or something stupid, or maybe it was they didn't want to push out anything because they had"BIG PLANS" and wanted one giant update. I really can't remember any play testing of spikes scripts outside of like 2 people and I think that was a big reason he quit, he wanted to make changes and couldn't. Like what I said before, maybe it would have worked but it just needed some adjustments, nothings perfect first time out.

    Mr x is just the most active player in my mind so his name just came up first. Would you feel better if I said steve_uk who I can't even remember out of a tank?
  2. Sgt.Security

    Sgt.Security Member

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    There were some script changes released during his time, the changelog is right there, so it's not he physically couldn't do anything.

    I believe his "big plan" only popped up seriously when he's off the seat, and the only "overhaul" I got to see and test was insanely horrible that we ditched it.

    Like I said, you don't need anything to say you have a "big plan", it's hollow words.

    Also this is exactly what Spike said in page 1,
    "I hope you realize security that i never got chance to add the scripts overhaul i did due to me being removed plus i wasn't really in all that long"

    I guess the reason why he "left" the team is a mystery, then.
  3. bunnyhopper

    bunnyhopper Member

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    @Sgt.Security By infantry player I didn't mean you never got in vehicles.
    I guess it be like saying Steve_uk is also an infantry player.
    Vehicles at 300 ping vs normal ping is different.
    Also when you started scripting you din't even play much. (A problem with developers for a long time).
    I could be wrong about how much you played in vehicles. Maybe because of how much you dominate at infantry.
    Also I have not read your script changes. Going off balance from about a year ago. I have tried the game recently. But the tank turret delay is enough to make me never want to even get into a tank. It was highly disliked before, during, and after it got added. Not sure why that is still in game.
    For new players it also adds to the steep learning curve of Empires for no reason. Other then just to have another unneeded thing.
    Kind of like the sounds. (but we thought the guy who originally worked on the sound wasn't coming back.)
    That has to be the worst reason to add something to a game.
    Well it's shit but the person left so just add it..what ?

    Population retention is the issue.
    It we had lower amounts of new players for years. Even had 0 population growth for that year until the 2013 port. Where no new players could run Empires.
    The problem now is. Your getting massive amounts of new players but not able to keep them..That shout tell you the horrible state the game is in.
    In the past it was an issue of needing more people to just try Empires.

    When spike was doing scripts we had issues with the build server. Current developers didn't want to push updates without having a build server.
    Spike did do some old school testing where he had people download scripts manually to do some testing. But there was reasons that kind of added to him loosing interest.
    Like getting banned from servers for asking people to join a community organized event.

    "dev team has always been open, if someone REALLY wanted to help"
    Part of that issue is "wanted to help" .. If current developers are being close minded and not willing to
    see that maybe some of the so called improvements are bad and need reworked or rolled back.
    It sends the message that only people who agree with current direction are wanted.
    Giving people shit for stepping away kind of discourages people.
    Don't really know spike too well. To be honest always thought he was kind of a dick.
    But I do know he seemed very passionate about scripts and organizing events.
    Just seemed like some..personal issues got in the way. But things change.
    Instead of bashing for what never got finished. Why not hey we understand Empires is kind of broken at the moment and we can't seem to retain new players. Do you have some ideas that might help improve the game.
    Or hey spike haven seen you in a while. What seems to be your concerns with the current state of the game.
    Maybe we can work together to help better the game.

    "Empires doesnt have a license to work on the source engine."
    You may copy, modify, and distribute the SDK and any modifications you make to the
    SDK in source and object code form, but only for free. Any distribution of this SDK must
    include this LICENSE file and thirdpartylegalnotices.txt.

    Been that way since 2013 sdk released.
    Older sdk basically had the same thing.
    Only need a payed licence for paid games
  4. Not Kidpaler

    Not Kidpaler Member

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    This doesn't make any sense. You know that even when the game was on the older versions that Empires had a population issue right? You know that this is one thing that Empires has ALWAYS struggled with (Except at the very beginning). Blaming the "current version" is just an excuse, especially since there has been great effort to actually do things that improve new people sticking around and are marginally working. Many many many bugs have been fixed, new features that aid new people are being added, and general QOL changes have been done to make sure its playable at almost any population. Nothing is great, because of course it's done by volunteers, but you can not seriously blame the current version for lack of player base. It's, of course, a very complex issue with no black and white.

    Just to list out some other issues:
    - The game looks old
    - The game plays poorly compared to modern shooters
    - Vehicle handling is kinda bad
    - Newer games are coming out
    - No real advertising (Not really needed though)
    - It still has "Mod" in the title (which I'm sure can be a turn off to some)
    - The FPS genre, unless it's a BR, has taken a hit
    - The RTS Genre is really dead
    - The game has mechanics that make it really easy for 1 new player to ruin the game for everyone, meaning that they get bitched at and driven out
    - The game has an absolutely high skill cliff that you have to rock climb without a tether before you can really play and enjoy it - By this, I mean there are a lot of small things that vets know and use to gain an edge, whereas new players don't know these things. I watched a new player one time struggle for a little over 2 minutes trying to jump over a freshly placed wall. It's also not clear that if you hold left click with the RPG it becomes a guided rocket. There's tons of stuff like this that makes the game SO much more enjoyable but is locked behind "common knowledge"

    Look at the current reviews. Pretty much every review in the last couple years has been extremely positive. That obviously means it isn't "shit" if random people and old returning players are still rating it positive even after all the "shit" changes.

    The most common complaint is the lack of players, which bot's are suppose to help solve. If you can make the game playable and enjoyable at any population, then more people will stick around and hopefully fix that common complaint.

    I'm pretty sure he was able to push some patches through. I also partook in his script branch back before he was extremely toxic towards me, and while I agree he did some things good, overall I didn't like a lot of his changes. I did like the weird beam weapon he made or whatever it was. And the bio grenades. However, I don't think those really have a place in Empires, sadly.

    Also regarding "banned from servers" for asking people to join a community event, if you are referring to recent bans it's because they aren't really "community organized". If you are referring to past PUG's and Leagues then yea I guess you have a point, but I stand by it's a good thing those died because it killed the game outside of the designated play time.

    You are 100% mistaking this. The dev team takes on pretty much everyone, EXCEPT if you, oh I don't know, scream at the devs to roll back the game. We are all pretty much adults here and acting like children and screaming and crying is something that isn't needed on the dev team. Seriously, when I was a normal player back before I started mapping and before my name was pretty well known, I'd actually talk to the devs on and off and people are MUCH more receptive if you aren't a dick. Theres a difference between "constructive criticism", and "fuck you fuck everyone you piece of shit roll the game back". In fact, it's gotten so bad by specific people recently that moderation has been enforced because its been so vitriolic.

    Plus, "Some improvements are bad and need reworked" you hear from a small vocal minority. Could this be representative of the whole? Yea, it could be. Could this be just a small vocal minority? Yea it could be, and in this case then its this small vocal minority continuing to carry these complaints onward into the future. Granted, I agree with some of it, but it's also hard to associate with any of these demands they have because they are so toxic.

    Edit: I'm not trying to dissuade you from giving criticism. In fact, it's welcome so long as its respectful. However, I know a lot of changes have been done to code that require changes in the visuals and therefore we get what we get. It's done in order to improve stability and overall improve the game. It makes it easier for people with those specific subset of skills to come on and fix.

    Not to bash spike, he's horrendous. I had him blocked for almost 2 years because of just how crappy he can be. Very cruel, very mean, blamed everyone for his failures when organizing events, and complains about everything. When pressed on his complaints, he also doesn't back it up with anything. Seriously, read this very thread. I asked him for specific examples and instead he linked me to a post someone made about him being "a qt twink". You can't sit there and tell me that anyone should take that seriously when the man can't even provide examples.

    I believe there was a different license for mods, I could be wrong but that's what I heard from two people. Again, I can be wrong, but just letting you know what I've heard.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
  5. Sgt.Security

    Sgt.Security Member

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    First thing first, I’d like to know, did you actually form all these opinions(including previous ones) on your own, or have you been talking to someone with similar opinions ? Because I actually came across a few guys who threw out exactly what you are saying, and later we figured out that they were just being told by someone who’s trying to undermine the team.

    Because this is even more laughable.
    If anything, I played the game much, much more when I signed up.

    Again, unless you stalked my Steam profile page and/or you are holding some sort of server statistics that can display my game hour, you are throwing out fake and hollow accusations, and I am telling you, I don’t like them one bit, no one would.

    Now, regarding sounds, first, I believe I heard the opinions from both sides. That is, I don’t think literally everyone(or at least most people) hate the new sounds. If you ask me, I think it’s mixed, there’s some new sounds that sound more distinguishable, while there’s a few sounds that I personally prefer the old sounds, as well.

    Again, I am pretty sure a big reason why we decided to replace sounds is that the new sound guy is right here and can change anything swiftly if needed, and he know what to do to his own sounds the most.

    You are right about that population is an issue, but you don’t see that it has ALWAYS been an issue, for 10+ years.

    You are actually not getting it.

    The dev team has been right, damn, here for 14 years, as long as how people would tell you that they’ve been playing the game. So they didn’t sign up when they liked the game, and they don’t sign up when they dislike the game, so when will they sign up?
    I am revealing the answer for you, they will sign up when they actually care.

    To be fair, we tried and the only thing we heard is pretty much the same as what we are still hearing.
  6. bunnyhopper

    bunnyhopper Member

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    @Sgt.Security I am going my own observations. As for your lack of play time. It's possible you just was not on when I was. But I was pretty much on all the time.
    Or maybe you played under another name or an alt. But I do remember a lot of people saying you kind of moved onto a new game after taking on scripts.

    Population issue - Like I said it's 2 different issues. In the past it was a issue of no new people. Lack of people noticing and the issue we had where new installs did not work.
    That's why candles had to rush a 2013 sdk port. Now you have an issue of lots of new players that just don't like Empires.
    If we had the same amount of new people in the past we would have retained more.

    Dev team - I understand it 's open to anyone. The issue is creating a welcoming environment that people would want to join.
    I do appreciate the time and effort people put in to Empires. I just think you guys get to focused sometimes.
    It helps with any group project to kind of sit back and look at it from an outsiders perspective.
    Maybe even reach out to some new players that didn't stick around and find out what they disliked about the game.
    Pretty sure it's wouldn't be hard to just grab steam ids and total play time.

    Also a suggestion- Set up a Empires twitch account. Have it auto host any one streaming Empires related things.
    (Mostly ddddestroyer) and setup twitch bots in servers. You never know .. Empires twitch channel could
    get randomly picked to be advertised on front page of twitch. Or could be suggested for people who watch similar streams.

    The not allowed to share was from around the time Empires was first on steam.
    You had to own a source game (Empires was a mod)
    June 2011 After Team Fortress 2 became free-to-play, Source SDK was effectively made open to all Steam users.. As Empires no longer requires a source game to run it is a stand alone game. Before that time developers did need to pay for source access (Like gmod) to be a stand alone game or require the clients own a source game(be a mod).
    Almost 8 years later still saying it's nda.. the only restriction Valve has is that it include this LICENSE file and thirdpartylegalnotices.txt.
    They are already included.
  7. Not Kidpaler

    Not Kidpaler Member

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    I actually do this quite frequently. I message new people after they play and add them and just pop a few questions about what they thought of the game. I've also been doing this as a means to get them in the community discord so it's easier to keep more people in the loop and the idea of Empires in their mind.

    People who don't talk at all are almost impossible to ask.

    Anyway, off the top of my head here are some of the most common complaints from the many new people I've added. Please note the order doesn't indicate the amount of complaints or the severity of the complaints.
    1. Tutorial was useless. New people are told to "go check the tutorial" and then they return and say "It didnt teach me anything". This is being fixed.
    2. Community is mean. This is a pretty common complaint that people generally don't care or don't answer questions they have. People also have gotten yelled at for playing scout, or for wasting tanks. Tanks are a pretty big part of this game and getting locked out of it as a new player isn't exactly enjoyable since it is a major draw.
    3. No one plays. This is a pretty common one you can find on the discussions and reviews of empires. This is being fixed by having SOMETHING to do by shooting bots. Other than that its hard to fix.
    4. The Gameplay. This is also a pretty big one for people that don't stick around. It's just not appealing. Not much we can do about this without altering the game completely.
    5. Didn't understand the mechanics. Kinda goes along with the tutorial, but the game is also just unintuitive in a lot of ways.
    6. The game just isnt for me. People didnt particularly hate it, they just didnt particularly like it. I guess this is similar to #4, but still... at least they tried it.
    Edit: 7. Commander role is hard. I've seen 4 new people who said they loved RTS games and wanted to learn how to command. They tried learning at low pop then went to high pop and they haven't played since then. I've shot them messages to try again sometime but they have no interest because they said people were extremely cruel to them while they were learning.

    I haven't talked to a new person yet who has been driven off by sounds, bots, xp, rank, etc. Even some of the big bugs new people find interesting, like tanks falling through the map for the first time usually makes them laugh. However, after a couple rounds of it happening they get tired of it. Other bugs they don't really notice, nothing that people usually scream about. Most bugs have been fixed that are "game breaking", now it's just small bugs that aren't noticeable unless you know the in depth mechanics of the game.

    Double Edit: The characters Ive met doing this have been insane, such as people who said the dev team was racist for no characters of color, people linking me directly to nazi propaganda etc. Really diverse group we've had play Empires.

    I'm not 100%, but Thexa indicated we couldn't. Would the license from back then carry over to now? I'm not fully sure. I was just repeating what I have heard.

    I also don't think this is true at all. Id wager that the amount of players that downloaded the game is decreased compared to years past and retention was still shit. Only reason it would have been true was because Source mods were king and the amount of games available were considerably less. It's not because of the "state of the game". Community was a lot more toxic back then and cannibalized new people even more so than now.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
  8. Sgt.Security

    Sgt.Security Member

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    I was gonna ask you to show me your personal game time on Empires because "pretty much on all the time" are the usual strong but hollow words, you just can't be on all the time.

    But instead of questioning your credibility, here, let me show you what I got, and hopefully this will clear the question for good.


    "What's this?"

    That's part of my 212 top scoreboard screenshots during Jun 2015~Jun 2017, around 0.3 per day.

    "So you play 1 game every 4 days?"

    Keep in mind, there's only games on weekend for around 50% of that time span, that is, only 2/7 of a week is populated.
    We did have more population later on, but overall I'd say AT MAX we had players for half of the days, which is around 365 days and if you do the math again, that's 0.6 per day.
    Now, those are the games I played (excluding spec pire), I played the whole game AND I have taken the top scoreboard.

    I spent a lot of time in spec as well, if you add them together, you get the result.

    I think this is self-evident enough that I not only played, I played a lot and I have been maintaining my top level of understanding and mastery of the game.

    I don't think you, or anyone can say with a straight face that "I wasn't playing a lot", except to undermine me without logic, which is exactly why this thread started.

    Goes to everyone, I am fully aware that you don't need to be logical or have an actual reason to undermine me, I am used to it.
    If you don't have actual stuff to support your statement, talking loud with a strong tone doesn't work on me.

    To be honest, our problem is not that we don't know why we aren't retaining players.

    In fact, we know exactly why, or at least most of the reasons.

    Kidpaler already cover most of the reasons. So, what's stopping us?

    1: We simply don't have enough hands to tend to the issues.
    Just so you know, the number of active devs is around 5~7 and a couple of them only pop up from time to time. If you only count programmers we have exactly 2 "kinda active" programmers.

    2: There are people off doing their own stuff that nullify our work.
    Mr. X. the server owner of Hardcore Empires has publicly said that he doesn't care about retention rate. Yes, as much as he doesn't care to say this publicly, I am not gonna just say "a server owner".
    The playstyle encouraged on his server is not newb-friendly at all.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
    Xyaminou likes this.

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