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On the No-BS Future of Tactical Gamer ArmA

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  • On the No-BS Future of Tactical Gamer ArmA

    I'd like to keep this as brief as possible. As some of you may know, as of tomorrow I'll be without access to a computer for several weeks. This leaves me in an interesting position in that I have spent the last hour or so looking over my history at TG and the course that Armed Assault has taken over its stay at this community. I will keep my thoughts to the point and as impersonal as possible, and encourage others to contribute in the same vein.

    In my experience with ArmA here, I have noticed a steady, if intoxicatingly slow decline in the respect shown both in our servers, on our forums, and in Teamspeak. Although it would be easy to blame any number of factors, myself included, it is my belief that it is simply a result of being host to a game vastly open to interpretation, and one that has consistently been interpreted differently by different members of our community.

    To illustrate my point I could allude to any number of other TG-organized games, most if not all of which do not offer the same freedom of translation that ArmA befits us. This option to take ArmA any number of different ways is evidenced by the numerous in-house squads that it caters to, all of whom play the game based on a common interpretation.

    It is when these interpretations collide -- when players with one set of ideas play with or against players of a different mindset -- that the strife we have all seen evidenced in this community rears its head. How do we combat this? I leave this question open to interpretation, as ArmA has left itself.


    Another point that I have made a note of recording is that of stagnation. Over the course of the last few months I have witnessed fewer and fewer new gamers popping their heads into Teamspeak -- fewer "noobs" clogging the comms and asking how to fire their rocket launchers. This, too, is interesting to me, as we have an entire server dedicated to public ArmA traffic.

    With again my focus turned to brevity, I will be clear: it is the opinion of this grunt that Bravo server is not public enough, nor enticing enough to those TG regulars that play ArmA, to attract not only new players but new ideas. I will elaborate only quickly:

    -Bravo server, to the best of my knowledge, not only requires our version of ACE and its subcontents but also the maps and resources that TG utilizes. In my mind, this more effectively locks out new players than a password.

    -There is not incentive enough for members of this forum to play on Bravo server, as it is both open to the public (wherein the inexperience or unfamiliarity of new players may dampen their experience) and without the proper missions for a pub environment.

    It is my opinion that Bravo would be more conducive to both private (TG forum) and public (unregistered) players were it to adopt what is admittedly a more difficult regimen paid for by both the admin team and the ambassadors that are TG gamers: I believe Bravo server should only play host to ACE and its derivative mods, and that no TG-specific modifications be made to it (this includes downloadable .DLLs like the TS plugin and BattlEye); I believe that only player-tested missions with an emphasis on teamwork and persistence should be uploaded or played on Bravo server, and that they focus on full-JIP, full-respawn battles with a large player-count and, more importantly, few enough leadership positions that TG members can "take lead". This community is more than capable of buckling down and creating these kinds of missions quickly and cooperatively. I believe what Boondock has been doing recently, in organizing events to take place on Bravo server, is a great step in the right direction -- and in that vein, I would strongly encourage that each in-house squad considers "sponsoring" Bravo server a night a week, drawing to them not only potential recruits but potential fellow gamers and friends.



    This thread has already gone well beyond what I meant to convey here, but my fears remain the same: I am concerned about this community and how much further we can continue as a group.

    Whatever your opinion is of me, or of what reasons I've given for this elaborate and long-winded post, I hope that I am being frank and blunt enough in my discussion -- of both the respect in this community and of its stagnation within the confines of Armed Assault -- that this can continue to be discussed, openly and to good results. When I get back, I'd like to see that we've hit the next golden age. All I'm asking is for some help in doing so.
    Last edited by Sc[ + ]pe; 03-20-2010, 06:44 AM.

  • #2
    Re: On the No-BS Future of Tactical Gamer ArmA

    My response is fairly straightforward on this matter:

    1: Players need to show respect to each other, something very lacking recently.
    2: ARMA2's TG entry requirements are too high, people will not "take a punt" on our servers as it required gigs of downloads to check it out.
    3: Players need to play, if all the people (myself included) that I see in the admin and mission editing channel went in game that would typically raise the server count by at least 8, it is my opinion that the server needs a crtical mass of at least 12 players to draw others in.

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    • #3
      Re: On the No-BS Future of Tactical Gamer ArmA

      <Admin Hat Off>
      I must first thank you for your words, I think that honest discussion is the best way that we can help improve our community and uphold the high standards we set for ourselves. Before I get all self deprecating we must look at what we have done to succeed: as a game server one of our servers (alpha) holds the highest global rank of any TG server on Game Tracker, whilst ranking 22nd overall in Arma.

      <Admin Hat On>
      With regards to any possible downturn - Personally I attribute this to the time of the year - the January through May period is one of the slowest times of the year for online multiplayer. The winter months are always the busiest and toughest to get through for anyone (let it be stressing over work, school, etc..., or just that every day turns into a sequence of the mundane). We tend to see a spurt of players over the Spring Break periods, and then a varitable explosion of population when school lets out. Judging by posts in the CAA forums as well as new players contact admins in teamspeak, we are in an upwards trend in server population.

      Now, with regards to bravo server - the admin team is working on several things behind closed doors right now and one of these is making bravo more public in nature. The basic setup for Bravo as we have intended has been that Bravo does not use the radio mod for primary communication - that is that in game VON is the primary communications tool - and that only standard TG islands (i.e no CAA1) are used. While this isn't the best option out there since VON can be touchy, and the Yoma downloads means everyone will have everything anyway, we as a team are constantly looking for ways to make it more public friendly.

      One of the things we are in discussion about is the removal of CAA1, I cannot guarantee at this point in time this will or won't happen, just that it is in discussion. Something else that has been recommended that is being looked into is partial modularity, meaning that the @TG setup would become a little more open in nature, with the standard @TG folder, with either a standard maps folder (@StandardMaps) or the standard maps built into @TG, and then maybe an Alpha Server maps folder (@AlphaMaps). We are ALWAYS looking for the communities ideas in regards to how we could do things better. If anyone has any ideas PLEASE post them in the contact an admin section of the forums, we don't bite (well, I don't at least).

      I'll let some others respond to the other points you made before this post turns into a term paper. Thanks again for the post, Scope!




      "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. " - Albert Einstein

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      • #4
        Re: On the No-BS Future of Tactical Gamer ArmA

        Originally posted by ACOGRecon View Post
        One of the things we are in discussion about is the removal of CAA1, I cannot guarantee at this point in time this will or won't happen, just that it is in discussion. Something else that has been recommended that is being looked into is partial modularity, meaning that the @TG setup would become a little more open in nature, with the standard @TG folder, with either a standard maps folder (@StandardMaps) or the standard maps built into @TG, and then maybe an Alpha Server maps folder (@AlphaMaps). We are ALWAYS looking for the communities ideas in regards to how we could do things better. If anyone has any ideas PLEASE post them in the contact an admin section of the forums, we don't bite (well, I don't at least).
        I don't think I have anything constructive to add to this post but my suggestion that, if possible, CAA1 should be separate of the @TG folder. This will allow people that want to try out Bravo to choose not to download an extra gigabyte of data, and allow TG regulars (like me) to deactivate CAA1 when playing on Bravo so that we can use some of the server-populating missions that we have avaiable. ;)
        The other maps are not as big as CAA1 so we could keep them inside the @TG folder and still have missions on Isla Dualla and Podagorsk :)

        By doing this it should be more easy for the random player to try out TG. What would be perfect would be a return to how things were done during the ArmA1 days, when the Bravo server was the server without big requirements to join and the TG rules were slightly more lax so that everyone could be introduced to this style of gaming without being yelled at the moment he did something that was actually perfectly reasonable (like joining the game and asking on side channel what was going on) for a random player. Also we had missions that not only fully supported JIP and respawn, but had clear objectives, allowing a slightly more "casual" approach to them, not penalising players for starting the mission and playing in like a bunch of friend having fun, instead of needing to have a proper military structure* to be able to leave the base.



        *Note that I love missions were things are properly structured, given that for a minimum of extra effort, the mission flows much better and is actually easier to play. But players wanting to try out the server need to be introduced to the concept gradually
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        • #5
          Re: On the No-BS Future of Tactical Gamer ArmA

          separating modfolders will reduce the download size, but will still be a barrier to entry by the nature of using yoma (and not the latest ACE) itself. No easy solutions here. If you don't want to play vanilla, some work is going to need to be done. In this regard I have liked the spurt of effort into the wiki. The more effort we put into making the mod easy to implement to a new player, the better it will be. Without running bravo as vanilla (which the community wouldn't enjoy playing on) the bar to entry stays pretty much the same no matter how much DL there is.

          The best way to get new members is to get outside of the community and advertise. We need more banner adds at armaholic, people should be loading up the steam forums with invites to our community. Go make friends in the other TG communities, especially games that are getting older. And we DEFINITELY should do this when ARMA2 comes on sale again.

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          • #6
            Re: On the No-BS Future of Tactical Gamer ArmA

            From the perspective of one of those recent noobs...

            I didn't find the entry requirements too high or too perplexing. I think I asked maybe one question on setting up AddOn Sync, and the new Wiki pages, when fully flushed out, would have mitigated that.

            I was not a big fan of the radio system, but as I expected I have gotten more used to it and it seems to be working better, if not perfectly. The plug-in is still a bit too buggy and slow, but hopefully the pending rewrite will help there.

            One thing that would help greatly is for the various leadership roles to start identifying themselves on the radio. As new players join, it is important to realize that we don't know your voices and frankly, with rare exceptions, everyone sounds the same to me on TS. Hearing "OK, follow me" really doesn't do it, and its worse when FTs and/or squads are in close proximity. We don't need a full comms preamble for that level of communication but something like "Fireteam 2, follow me" or "Bravo 2, follow me" would go a long way to eliminating confusion.

            As for Bravo, I like that its configuration is the same as Alpha. It allows me to check my updates, try out new things when the ACE Proving Grounds is loaded, etc. I'd hate to see that get changed. I'd love to see some organized training missions there, similar to the classes held on Charlie but with a full mission focus. This would allow some of the TG veterans to instruct the noobs, like me, without the pressures of trying to win the mission. Approach it as a training op, and if you die, you die and respawn in again quickly. It would also be a good opportunity to begin developing leaders, letting the noobs take leadership roles and working their way up to CO, with the vets serving in the squads and acting as mentors, but being willing to follow someone's boneheaded orders and then critique it in an AAR. That would be awesome...

            As for Alpha, there has been an increasing amount of Rambo-ing going on lately, or so it seems to me... people charging in, ignoring orders, not covering areas they were assigned simply because they aren't busy and have nothing to shoot at. This isn't Doom, or Quake or any of the other mindless shooters. I think if you can't stand playing a mil-sim game, with its accompanying occasional periods of boredom, in a realistic fashion, which seems to be what TG is about and the reason I like it, then you probably ought not to be here. What's that old cliche about combat? "Hours of sheer boredom punctuated by moments of terror" or something like that...

            Other than that observation, game play on Alpha has been a lot of fun. The usual COs and upper level leaders know their stuff, the comms are improving and the missions have been very enjoyable. There's always room for improvement, of course, in things like tactics, comms, etc. so let's keep working to get better. I've really been enjoying myself here!
            |TG-18th| Cutter

            Long-time Gamer - ArmA 2 Noob - Certified Old Fart

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            • #7
              Re: On the No-BS Future of Tactical Gamer ArmA

              There's alot in the top post to think about, and I like the responses from Hot and ACOG... Hotmachina's synopsis is right-on in every way, and ACOG's post helps to share the thought processes of the admins regarding barrier-to-entry. I like the idea to make Bravo easier to access... just vanilla ACE2 on Bravo is fine in my opinion.

              Any time we can play as a community on Bravo is a good thing. Losing a few extra "toys" with mods is really not going to break my heart. I love me some Bravo... but I've been *slammed* with a personal responsibilities lately. Very little gaming so far in 2010. :(

              Anyway, I hope everyone is showing proper TG respect to each other, I hope the barrier to entry for Bravo is lowered, and I seriously hope my schedule stabilizes soon so I can get back in the game with you all.

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              • #8
                Re: On the No-BS Future of Tactical Gamer ArmA

                Hi Everyone,

                I feel that I may have some value to add to this thread so here goes. With little kids at home, I don't get to play Arma nearly as much as I would like to. Due to the infrequency of game time, I find it very difficult to get back into the swing of things because so much has changed. It seems that when I get time to play, I end up spending all of my time downloading new add-ons, searching the forums, running scripts, etc. to get Arma to the level that I can play on TG servers. Just today, I have spent literally all day downloading and patching just so that I could get into the server and be told I still need to do something else to be able to play. On top of that, every mission that was loaded was buggy and I still have yet to play Arma in something other than single player. To say the least, this has been very discouraging for me. I find it very difficult to keep up with what needs to be done here.

                In the past, I have had a phenomenal experience playing on TG servers. I really love the tactical non-arcade style of game play and I wish I could play more often. I, for one, am in favor of keeping the bravo server as simple as possible so people can get in and get the flavor of what TG is about. That will help bring in new-comers as well as help some of us that don't get to play often keep in touch with the group.

                I was also discussing Arma with a co-worker on Friday and highly recommended that he play on TG servers since I have had such a good experience here in the past. After today, I felt almost embarrased that I recommended the TG servers and thought that there is no way Arma will actually stick with my co-worker because it is so complicated to get all of this stuff set up. It seems that we are lost in the scripting and customization elements of Arma and really need to just focus on good old tactical gameplay.

                Just my 2 cents :)\

                Edit: I just found the wiki with the quickstart info and found it to be very helpful. I had difficulty earlier because I saw in the hostname of the server that I had to have CAA1, Ace, etc. so I went about downloading all of that stuff from armaholic, the hard way. In my case, I think it would have been helpful is there was somehow a URL directing me over to the wiki rather than saying what add-ons I needed.
                Last edited by odie532; 03-21-2010, 01:00 AM.

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                • #9
                  Re: On the No-BS Future of Tactical Gamer ArmA

                  If we go back to spearating out the modfolders, and put maps and TG specific stuff in the @TG folder, you could have just ACE for Bravo (as scope suggested) and nothing else. Having no other requirement other than ACE would be the best method to draw people in. Then for Alpha you would have what we have now. Only problem of course is that the frequent updates to ACE will mean people who don't use yoma to get it (new people - the people we are looking for) may have newer versions. So keeping bravo right up to date might be a consideration.

                  From the start I wasn't sure whether conslidating everything into a single modfolder was a good idea anyway - at least with ACE inside it.
                  "Can't waste a day when the night brings a hearse
                  So make a move and plead the fifth 'cause you can't plead the first."

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                  • #10
                    Re: On the No-BS Future of Tactical Gamer ArmA

                    Echoing 'ace only for bravo'. ACE is popular enough that a fair amount of people are looking for games using it. Of course the only downside to this is most people keep their ace updated as updates are released, which under our own current update schedule means no weekend gaming on bravo without constant version errors. Playing on bravo should require nothing except that person to have got ace from ace's own sources and to have clicked on TG Bravo server in the game browser. If we rely on them to know what tg is or to update using our own yoma then we're missing the point of a bravo server.

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                    • #11
                      Re: On the No-BS Future of Tactical Gamer ArmA

                      yep I second that. IF in any way possible Bravo should be updated with the latest ace version always. I dont really know how much work this involves from the Admins side but I believe it would help drag new faces in. Stock Arma2 with Ace2 and some good loose teamwork oriented missions = Bravo FTW



                      sigpic

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                      • #12
                        Re: On the No-BS Future of Tactical Gamer ArmA

                        The admins will be seperating the mod folders. We will have @TG which is filled with ACE and only ace. Well have @TG maps which will have map files and misc files like mandos. Well have @CAA1 which is only CAA1. This means bravo will run ACE only. The only downside to this is that as mentioned before people would still get version errors. TG could have an @TGBravo folder which is updated whenever ace updates are available but that means a lot more work for admins and players. Furthermore, in the past ace versions released during the week have been buggy compared to monday releases as the devs have had time to work on the bugs over the weekend.
                        |TG-73rd|Socomseal
                        |TG-73rd Member| Former TG Irregular ArmA Platoon Leader| Former TG ArmA Admin XO| TG Pathfinder - Spartan 1 |TGU ArmA Instructor |Former TG-18th Member| |Former TG-1st Member|

                        "Its easy to argue about issues from afar. But until you have experienced the issue first hand, you have not seen all the facts."

                        Carver you will be cut off for a long time before reinforcements can reach you "I am the reinforcements the main force is only coming to bring me body bags and to clean up the mess Im about to make" - General Carver

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                        • #13
                          Re: On the No-BS Future of Tactical Gamer ArmA

                          I read that because ACE2 is now out of beta and stable (lol) the update schedule may to change to something less radical... no idea if that means only 1 update a week or 3 updates but with a smaller changelog.

                          Anyway, good solution admins, thx for listening.

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                          • #14
                            Re: On the No-BS Future of Tactical Gamer ArmA

                            I think they are going to pair down to 2 updates a week in the near future. I forget where it was said so I don't have a source, sorry.




                            "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. " - Albert Einstein

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                            • #15
                              Re: On the No-BS Future of Tactical Gamer ArmA

                              Mondays and Fridays is the new update schedule since the latest RC release

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