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Admins and players, what gets people to interact on your server

Discussion in 'Multiplayer' started by Clipboard, Jul 17, 2015.

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This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. Clipboard Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    14
    Hey folks -

    What gets people working or fighting together on your server?

    My hope is to get some ideas about what actually works vs. is just "more work" for anyone participating in MP.

    I'm a co-admin on a fairly popular server (150 boundary, Med density, 14/10/10, minimal restrictions, 3k 0,0,0 neutral zone and public hub). Currently our player base is very active, and folks have pitched in on admin-run design competitons as well as independently taking initiative designing public use structures. What we don't see a lot of is faction growth or interaction, or "stuff happening" in terms of planned events or spontaneous fights/trades/etc.

    As planets loom in the TBD distance we're likely going to wipe and have the opportunity to change mods, rules, setup, etc.

    What do you find (aside from good sim, active admins) contributes to a large and active player base - that do more than turtle?

    There's obviously a lot - from servers with forced central resources (not going to do this), to heavily structured RP servers.

    What gets people moving beyond onky admin-driven events? Universe size? Fast or slow industry settings? Events? Forums?

    Thanks for sharing your experiences!
     
  2. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

    Messages:
    4,955
    I'm thinking of adding a narrative to the server. I have a co-faction member on my own server. I'm thinking of taking my faction and making it a protagonist in some sort of drama and give the players a reason behind their play.

    Currently, there's no anticipation to play. Log-on. Has anyone attacked your stuff? No. Okay... build some more stuff, mine some stuff.. rinse repeat. If there was an unfolding drama, then maybe there would be more player interaction... a hostile faction invades your server and threatens to subjugate all of the players. They're demanding tributes and threatening to conquer every last inch of it. It's up to the players to put a stop to them. Perhaps some players with band together to fight. Maybe some will join the antagonist as mercs.

    You can have the antagonists plop down a heavily defended base right in the middle of the server and let the drama begin. Don't go around blowing up everyone's stuff on day one, but start making threats, demanding tributes, and maybe wipe out one player's stuff to make an example of them.

    I would have you or your co-admin lead the horde and the other lead the rebels. The downside is that you're no longer playing on your server but creating a drama to entertain others.
     
  3. Robbie Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    56
    Perhaps u could do something like this.
    Have 2 factions, both of them have an NPC controlled mothership that will slowly move towards the other NPC's mothership.
    Players will then have to build ships on the mothership to engage the enemy, either attacking the enemy mothership or protecting their own from in comming fighters.
    Or they could upgrade the mothership to have more defensive turrets or armor.

    Cap the ammount of materials that are allowed to be used so they have to make choices. Things like having enough materials to build 8 fully equipped fighters and 4 extra turrets on the mothership, or making the choice to build 10 fighters and no turrets.
     
  4. Robbie Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    56
    An
    Perhaps build some scenario type of block, whenever u destroy it u win.
    I think people are generally more interested in these types of ''mini-games'' then doing the immersed survival type of gameplay every time.
     
  5. PeTeTe809 Apprentice Engineer

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    113
    The deal with sandbox games is that they give you the freedom to do nearly anything you want, space engineers gives you a wealth of features that allows you to reach whatever it is you have in mind in more ways than one, everyone plays the game with different goals in mind, everyone has their own idea and implement it. This is a legitimate way to play. Some people have no problems with this. What happens is that players end up doing their own thing, working together mostly out of convenience but splitting off whenever they can pursue their own vision.

    If you are looking for something more than this might be relevant. Server administrators have many tools at their disposal to drive the direction and focus of the playerbase. Like for example rules that enforces roles, or a lore to the server with rules that serve to uphold the status quo. Now some might say that this would stifle the 'creativity' or 'the freedom' which is at the core of sandbox games. I think that a few well thought out rules while restrictive in some things won't render the game unplayable since there is so much room to be creative elsewhere, the trade off of having your players creating more organized and active groups that interact with each other beats whatever hindrance the 'restrictions' could cause.

    It is firstly a matter of having an idea of what you want the gameplay on the server to be like, what the server should be about and then think about ways tho encourage players towards that goal.

    This is just my opinion and I don't have the cash or time to rent a server and put it into practice.
     
  6. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

    Messages:
    4,955
    I have a spare server and possibly two at the end of the month. If someone has an interesting idea, I'd be happy to give it a whirl.

    I have one FTP accessible server, another with great stats (but no FTP), and I'm at the tail end of building an overclocked box to host MP games locally that require a lot more processing power.
     
  7. Silver IV Trainee Engineer

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    35
    But the freedom is limited by the server performance which is killed really easy w/o rules that limit your freedom.
     
  8. PeTeTe809 Apprentice Engineer

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    113
    Alright, then we will revist this once server performance has been fixed.
     
  9. SPAZZx7 Trainee Engineer

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    5
    An objective... Perhaps a single planet that serves simply as a "King of the Hill" Kinda thing...

    Right now, im going to assume the only real objective for Space Engineers is to simply build... Then Survive... Assuming it has no rules, the goal is to survive raids from other players... So to do that... They dont pick fights... The only problem with this is... It sounds like you don't have anyone willing to pick a fight with anyone... And if they do... it surely wont be with any large group that is actively online.


    In a dangerous world, there is only a few reasons anyone would pick a fight, unless they are exclusive raiders... Excluding role-play.
    For resources... To trade resources... To own something that cannot be moved... Or to negotiate for something... Probably resources...

    As i mentioned before, the only goal current is to build and survive... So that means to exclude your activities from any other group as to mask something they might want, and freak out whenever you actually see something that probably does not even know you exist, and equally wants to be left alone...
     
  10. PeTeTe809 Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    113
    Indeed, survive and build are the current 'goals' but server admins have the power to change this around. I do believe that more than playing the game, those running the server should also be providing some of the gameplay experiences.

    It seems that they are most of the time more interested in playing as if they where another player, either play a large unintrusive (sometimes) benevolant role.

    How about a server with an admin faction that is antagonistic to everyone? This would make the players band together to take them down. Of course, whoever is running this server must not be willing to give a fair fight and not cheat.
     
  11. kittle Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,086
    This can be a fun goal.. but its not really sustainable.

    Once the admin faction is taken down .... whats next?
    Another faction? ... a bigger faction?... more of the same? Some people DO like the fight, but not everyone works that way. Yes you can have the non-fighters support the fighters, but it quickly goes back to "whats next?"

    Yes the admins can create more content and stuff to do, but it will be a never ending race. Almost every content creator/designer will tell you that players can consume content at a MUCH MUCH MUCH faster rate than designers can create it -- especially quality content.

    IMO Whats needed is to go in the direction of procedurally generated stuff like keen has done with the asteroids, and where they are trying to go with the exploration ships
     
  12. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

    Messages:
    4,955
    You can't have a fair fight. You have to play the antagonist and play to lose. Your players will work in a loose association. So there won't be many organized defenses. If you waste one of them, they'll cry like a baby that you're being unfair and leave the server when their days/weeks of effort go up in smoke.
     
  13. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

    Messages:
    4,955
    I'm thinking of setting up a solar power only server using SE Extender and modifying the Spawn ships to be a solar rig. I think that might add some challenge to a server. Perhaps setting a limit on the number of solar panels as well. Solar means having to manage your power a little better. Honestly, once you find a nice vein of uranium, you're guaranteed almost unlimited power and very easy survival. Having to save up power to batteries and use it wisely might make for some interesting results.

    Example... if your base runs on solar/battery power, you're not going to spam a ton of refineries or have monster mining rigs. You'll have to weigh the power consumption of a block very heavily.

    Raiding another player would be more rewarding, since he's already expended all of that energy into producing ingots and components. However, you could easily lose a lot of your own resources conducting a raid and would, of course, devote production to creating ships capable of raiding rather than adding to your base's defenses or expanding production.
     
  14. buggsy Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    86
    As long as the player can do it all themselves, there's no reason to interact.

    Take a look at SWG-emu server, you can have 10 characters and 2 online simultaneously. You can "do it all", therefore you don't need to buy-sell interact with anyone else.
     
  15. Two Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    300
    If you take vanilla SE with unrestricted settings, players have unlimited resources after 1 or 2 days of playing (and speed settings just increase or decrease that time), and from that point on there is very little incentive to play, actually there is more incentive to not interact with others, as it will just destroy your stuff.

    So for players to actually interact, several things must happen:

    - Players need to feel safe enough to risk something. No one will bring a ship, if it is everything they have, or if they are afraid to loose what they leave behind.
    - There actually needs to be something to gain. You can hardly motivate someone to leave their safe haven with 1k Uranium, if they have 100k at home.

    The main problem with SE are obviously resources, since you get them from asteroids in insane quantities. So once you mined through a few ones, the only resource left is time it takes to assemble something, and just increasing that time means players will just come back next week to build their base. In addition the SE crowd is a special case, because most just love to assemble things on their own and you should not take that away from them. If you now want to motivate someone, things get difficult, as players already have everything they want.

    Considering that players usually take the easiest path to victory, there are 2 ways to approach this:

    Limit resources, but make sure players have a solid main base

    This can be done by giving players a near-complete starter ship, but drastically either reduce the refining values, or remove asteroids altogether. In this situation players actually need to get their resources from contested areas like the few remaining asteroids, random encounters or other players, so player interaction is ensured.

    The downside is that new players will be faced with a dire situation, as they stand alone against huge forces. It is necessary to come up with a plan to integrate new players as fast as possible, e.g. make sure that being a traitor is severely discouraged, as otherwise factions will no longer take new players. Also it will be common for players to log back in and have everything stolen from them over-night, so there must always be an option for a quick restart.

    Give players things to fight for

    The other option is to allow the usual resource grind, but give players things to fight for. For example you can place several bases all around a defined area and set all non-combat parts to indestructible. These pre-constructed bases must come in all sizes, so that single players and big alliances alike have something to fight for. And again new players are to be considered, for example by having many small mining bases constructed in a way that expansion is close to impossible (like inside the asteroid) or discouraged, and conquering them is easy. At the same time make sure that constructing a base of your own is much more difficult by increasing production time (welding/grinding, assembler efficiency) and giving the player close to nothing as a starter ship.

    The downside here is that the universe is in constant battle, and friends will be hard to find. Also new players will have a tough time getting into it, as the very first thing you have to do is to fight. And big alliances could potentially booby-trap all new player bases, so this needs to be prevented either by a server rule or other measures. And then someone actually needs to build all those bases beforehand.
     
  16. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

    Messages:
    4,955
    If you're going to give players something to fight for, I'd suggest using NPC characters. That way they aren't fighting against each other. However, it's hard to both play on a server and script one as well.

    Example: create a monster NPC ship that is remoted to fly by some of your most prominent players' bases (within gun range). Now I have to look up everyone's GPS locations, create a flight-path, the ship, etc.

    Example 2: create a honey pot of resources on a central asteroid but have it defended by an NPC base.

    No matter how you choose to spice up your server, it means managing it rather than playing on it.


    On my solar server, my goal was to create enough of a challenging environment to get old players interested in playing again. As stated above, once you get a reactor full of ingots, the rest is just grinding for ore and then taking on a big build or two. It's not very rewarding after that. So I took away reactors and turned on meteor storms. Presenting a new challenge was enough to get me playing again.
     
  17. mredge73 Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    104
    Time is the most valuable resource in this game so maybe create a time limited server with specific (changing) goals.
    This would require an active community, persistent factions (with member count limit), public message board, and dedicated moderators.
    For example, build an indestructible "artifact" in the center of the map. Wining faction is one that holds it for the longest amount of time; after 10-30 days the server resets and a winner is crowned.
    Next iteration there could be a different 10-30 day challenge but should always stay competitive and fresh. New players can join anytime but new factions would be handicapped if they do not get their start on day one.

    I have played on servers that tried to be persistent but they all die out in 90 days or less. People tend to build big and drag the server to a hault; everyone eventually leaves or the server craps out.
    This forces players to use it or lose it and gives them an objective to complete with a due date.
     
  18. Mike55520 Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    438
    the threat of inter faction war tends to breed interaction and politics between factions.
     
  19. OPTIMAUZ Trainee Engineer

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    2
    I don't know if it is possible (or if it already exists), but maybe if there was a huge "trade station" built somewhere by admins with indestructible blocks where players could meet, communicate and trade. If the station is built so that no ships can get in - only players through doors, that would prevent players from going berserk with armed ships. Even better would be if there was a possibility to toggle all weapons off in certain areas. Almost like the spawning areas on some minecraft servers (ex faction-based servers). SE also has the advantage of being played out in space which means that camping outside the safe-zone becomes rather difficult: given that one has to cover all three axes (yes the plural form of axis (x,y,z)) to kill players departing the safe-zone. Being able to, by the use of some form off currency, buy raw materials at said station would be an incentive for players to be there.

    Thus players and factions would meet and communicate and the "infinite" universe would have a "center" where all players spent some time. Forcing players and factions to meet would most likely trigger things such as trade and conflict between them. In the future that station could ofcourse be located on a planet.

    Antother thing to do is to request that further means of communication be implemented in to the game: voice-chat for example (which would stutter and then fuzz when communication are broken becasue of antenna max range or destroid antenna). Maybe also somehow use the ingame screens to transmit videos (why these screens are not yet connected with the cameras is a mystery to me). This would make it so much easier to communicate with random people in the game. It is quite annoying to play SE with someone and try to communicate through text.

    PS: The "tade-station" would of course have ship-hangars on the outside, preferably multiple ones that could be closed from the inside so that no one could destroy your ship while you are in the station trading. Or maybe it would be possible for factions to buy hangars on the trade-station that only members of the faction could open and use. ("Buy" - with said "ingame currency").
     
  20. mredge73 Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    104
    What reason does someone have to go to a "trade station" unless you have a very uneven distribution of resources.
    If I find asteroid fields that have a little of everything I have no reason to ever risk my ship or home base location to do any trade.

    Now if there is uneven distribution you will be forced to trade or forced to fight. For example if my faction holds the magnesium asteroid and yours holds the titanium asteroid, I can make bullets and you can make thrusters. We either trade for mutual benefit or I slowly roll my lumbering gunship over to push you out while you try to defend with quick melee (grinding) ships, suicide drones, and boarding parties. This would make for some interesting battles.
     
  21. OPTIMAUZ Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    2
    The distribution of resources does not have to be uneven for this concept to work, at least in my opinion. It just makes early gameplay a little easier since one can find a certain resource, sell it and then buy other more rare resources one might need. And it also affects later gameplay - a faction that has been around for a while and has saved some capital does not have to mine as much anymore (since they can buy the needed resources) and can therefore focus on expanding, building, searching for other factions and waging wars.

    According to me one of the current issues with online gameplay in SE is that the universes are so big that you can play on a server without ever bumping in to another player, especially since the jumpdrive. The infinite universes is something I love with the game, but for 100+ player servers to be fun (when they have fixed the netcode) a centrepoint of some sort (trade station or not) where players could meet would enchant the experience.
     
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