20 Jan 2012 06:07
RE: More players and mobile clients
Collin Pruitt <collin@...>
2012-01-20 05:07:28 GMT
2012-01-20 05:07:28 GMT
I'll just discuss mobile clients first, since that seems to be the big topic of discussion recently:
The only thing that I can think of that would make a mobile (smartphone or Android/iPad tablet) viable is seriously dumbing-down the game, because in it's current form there is simply NO WAY to play the game on a touchscreen interface. There's too much to try to control within the limited framework using a gyroscope and a touchscreen, and you certainly couldn't compete against people playing with a proper computer.
I've had multitudes of experience with touchscreen devices, both phones and tablets, and I can tell you for a fact that none of the games available on those platforms have the same level of intense concentration required to play as Netrek does. Angry Birds is the most that I've seen so far, and that's flinging a stupid bird into a wall of blocks to kill a pig. You're not trying to avoid enemy fire and return it the same, or trying to coordinate a planet capture under heavy enemy fire, or trying to ogg (or counter-ogg) a starbase.
There is NO WAY. Plain and simple.
Furthermore, the only way that I could possibly see for you to dumb the game down would be some strange deathmatch-style game that looks like Netrek with a button for phasers and a button for torpedoes that fire straight in front of you, with the gyroscope as a way to turn. But that's not Netrek at all. There's none of the challenge or team-based gameplay involved in that.
And, about getting more players:
It's a niche game, and you can stop trying to make it into something that it's not, unless you want to fork it and go your own way, because to make it into something that it's not is to make it into something other than Netrek. It was a "mainstream" game back in the days when computers weren't the most mainstream of devices around in the first place and the players weren't typically normal people, and you're trying to make a game like that appeal to a generation that lives off of fancy 3D graphics and particle effects all over the place?
I've tried many, many times to involve people in Netrek - it just doesn't work. It's too hard to learn, too hard to get "good" at. It takes way too much time to get decent at playing it, and time is a rarely-seen commodity in the modern world. And furthermore, who are any of the people that you might just get involved in the game, going to play against? Bots aren't the funnest playmates. The community died out a long time ago. All of the remaining players after that quit over time. I very rarely even check the metaservers, and when I do, it's one or two people playing on Sturgeon and that's it. If you call that a "playerbase", then I had might as well call Netrek "alive and well".
If you want more players, then get the infrastructure for netrek.org into the control of people who actually care about the game and who have played the game in the past year or five. Go out and buy us some Google Advertisement spaces. Put ads on popular Linux/UNIX sites (like DistroWatch, or LWN, or specific distro websites, or Omg!Ubuntu!, or maybe even Linux.com). Get a Facebook movement going. Go and re-build the netrek.org website into something that doesn't look like something I vomited up yesterday. Make our clients look uniform (and decent at that). Make configuration of the clients easier with some sort of a built-in wizard. Start up regular clue games, and get some of our old clue back into the game.
Overall: get the word out (ads and Facebook), make it easier to get started (new website, built-in configuration wizard, helpful old clue), and give people a reason to keep playing; give the game "staying power" (the "dream" of playing in clue games - heck, maybe we could start up the old INL). We might even need a newbie server to prevent new players from getting rewled out of the game by seasoned clue.
Then, maybe (that's a HUGE "maybe"), the game might revive. More than likely, it's too far gone to save. But, you're free to try.
I've hashed and re-hashed these topics many, many times before. If you want to be completely stupid and go off on a wild tangent and keep trying to build some stupid touchscreen-able form of Netrek, then you can keep wasting time on that and not the real problem. If you want to conquer the real problem, then get serious and do some of the things I said to get the community going and stop bickering like idiots.
Get some work done on getting the game going again and get a healthy community back, then you can possibly consider trying to make something for mobile devices. Until then, forget about it.
Drive the notion out of your mind and burn it in a fire.--
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