a persistent TF2 world server

Discussion in 'Server Discussion' started by SPHinx, Sep 25, 2009.

  1. SPHinx

    SPHinx L2: Junior Member

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    I have been pondering the possibility of a TF2 server that would respond to BLU or RED victories and select the next map accordingly. Thus allowing a collection of maps to be played in something like a persistent world - or to put it another way - a server that chooses maps something like the way a TC map chooses rounds.

    I am curious what others think of this. Can it be done? Has it already been done? Would it work? Would it be fun? Any thoughts?
     
  2. Terr

    aa Terr Cranky Coder

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    It would definitely be a SourceMod thing*, and AFAIK quite possible. Territorial-control writ large.

    The main problem is that the time span of a full "campaign" is probably large enough that most participants won't really notice during their time there.

    *Theoretically you might be able to make the map do commands in the console for the admin or something, but... eew.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2009
  3. SPHinx

    SPHinx L2: Junior Member

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    This would depend, in part, on how quickly the maps change and how long people tend to stick around with a server's rotation. Even if players come and go (which is very likely), I think it could still add some value to a TF2 experience. For instance:

    (1) If the logical arrangement of maps is done well, it could avoid the "rtv" phenomenon of playing a map and then playing it again 2 map changes later. My guess is that people are probably (somewhat) like me in their playing habits, and will usually stick around on a server for at least 3 map changes (unless 2fort comes up :facepalm:). Moreover, having a sense for what map is next should you win or lose may raise the stakes. Sidenote: This gives me another thought - what if the victorious team gets to vote on which map to play next, thus introducing a bit of strategy to the selection? One choice presents a greater challenge, but a quicker line to the enemy's headquarters.

    (2) Add a bit of depth to the RED v. BLU rivalry, as a player may come to feel an allegiance one way or the other on a particular server. After all, if you spent an hour or two on BLU and pushed RED deep into their own territory, there may be a personal sting and sense of loyalty when you later discover that RED has turned the tables. "Not in my house!" You scream aloud at your computer screen.

    (3) As a purely aesthetic thing, TF2 already has a rich environment. The maps are often infused with a sense that they are somewhere, situated in the time and space of TF2's stylized world. Linking these locations together could take this a step further, so as the player moves from Badlands to Dustbowl to Badwater (say), they are encouraged to feel the RED/BLU conflict shifting across the Arizona (?) landscape.

    So those are some good conceptual points that I can see. I can also imagine some more problems. Like whether or not players should be locked into a choice of RED or BLU as the map changes. Or should the choice be fixed until the campaign resets? Or how best to update the status of the campaign with a nifty little map (again like a TC map) to reflect which side has control of which territory. Is there a way to dynamically change the server's welcome page with an image that responds to victories?

    I will look more into SourceMod. I have a sense that most of this can be done.
     
  4. Caliostro

    Caliostro L6: Sharp Member

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    Wouldn't it be easier to just make a good custom TC map...? That's the whole point of TC after all...
     
  5. SPHinx

    SPHinx L2: Junior Member

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    Considering the development time and balancing issues involved in a TC map, I would estimate that it's easier to write a SourceMod script to select the next map based on which team just won. Of course, I say this without having written it yet.

    In any event, I've been re-thinking this idea a bit . . . moving away from a persistent TF2 world that remembers who controls what territory and toward a dynamic rotation (controlled by aforementioned script) of custom levels with locales based on the wall_map.mdl from tc_hydro.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2009
  6. Jindo

    Jindo L3: Member

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    I could probably write something like this, if anyone is interested.
     
  7. Caliostro

    Caliostro L6: Sharp Member

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    Considering you'd spend just as much, if not more, time in creating custom maps to fit that theme, that ultimately would just be disconnected TC maps, I'd say not really.

    Unless you were considering just chaining up random maps... In which case the whole thing would become a garbled arbitrary mess. "Why are we going waste? - Because Red won... - And? - I'unno...".

    For this to work you'd basically have to create individual maps that would effectively work like a TC map...Thus, might as well make a TC map.
     
  8. SPHinx

    SPHinx L2: Junior Member

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    Jindo, I would be very interested in such a script if you write one.

    Caliostro, let's slow it down. There is surely a lot of middle ground between a single TC map and a "garbled arbitrary mess" of maps. You may note that Valve's maps share a number of common elements, which, amongst other things, works to maintain a consistent aesthetic from one map to the next (on an official map rotation server, of course). All I'm suggesting is really just a variation on this theme. Does that mean a lot of work creating new, fun maps to reflect world locales? Sure it does. But how many new maps come out on tf2maps.net every day? How many talented map makers are there on these forums and others around the web wanting to share their work? I grant you that an original rotation is way too much for 1 person to create all of the content. My hope, however, is that some of these talented folks from around the world might be interested, think it sounds like fun, and want to contribute.
     
  9. Terr

    aa Terr Cranky Coder

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    One issue is that there'd be no real continuity. Many folks who "won" the first map would be scattered into separate teams for the next one, unless you forced individual users to always be RED or always be BLU on a server... which in-turn could cause some nasty team-stacking whenever enough perma-RED or perma-BLU players aren't on.

    Some maps might never be played because the "winning path" never leads through them.
     
  10. Jindo

    Jindo L3: Member

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    Another problem would be if red and blue both go in to a pattern of winning, causing the same 2 maps to be played over and over.
     
  11. SPHinx

    SPHinx L2: Junior Member

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    @Terr & Jindo - Those are both good points. I hesitate to do this before fleshing out my thoughts more, but if you two are interested, you can head over here:
    http://sites.google.com/site/tf2worldserver/. I'm posting up a project proposal on this idea, and may eventually pitch it to some TF2 communities to see if people are interested. If you give it a gander, any feedback is very welcome.

    I think I have a solution (or at least the beginnings of one) to your concern Jindo. I've added it to the above site (under "rotation theory") but Terr's worry I am still undecided about. I am leaning towards doing nothing to stop players switching teams, whether for balance or otherwise. This does break up the continuity of any real RED v. BLU conflict; however, given that most servers have zero continuity, I think maybe just giving players a little reason to stick to one side or the other could add something. I know that when I play, I always just take the random door and don't even think about it. But if I had just been on BLU and we won and there was something in it for BLU to keep winning, I would probably want to stick with BLU.

    Would everyone on the server then want to switch to the winning team? Hard to say. That could be a problem though. The worst case scenario is that teams are re-shuffled every round and the server plays like a normal server.

    Not sure if that's really a satisfying solution yet. More thought still needed.
     
  12. Martham112

    Martham112 L2: Junior Member

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    I know this is quite a bit of a bump, but I feel that I have points to make.

    At the moment, there are, what, 5 or 6 maps being made or planned. The project is a go in my eyes. But we still need more help! 5 or 6 maps isn't good enough. For the 36 dots on the map, we need a map. Any help is appreciated!
     
  13. Trotim

    aa Trotim

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    Oh wow, this actually isn't dead? Very nice. I'd actually like to see this work... but 36 maps is a little steep. Doesn't the rotation work with... 9 maps? Or 18 if 9 isn't enough?

    And there is no way to implement a proper RED PL HUD (with RED pushing a red cart), is there?

    I like the "winning team gets to vote for next map" idea, actually, even for a normal server, this might be worth trying. It might lead to more stacking etc. but one would have to at least try, right?

    Where is number 20 on the map exactly? To me (as German) it looks more like Switzerland and not Germany anymore, but it's really hard to pinpoint.
     
  14. SPHinx

    SPHinx L2: Junior Member

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    Nope, not dead just yet. :p

    Although I should point out that the project (at least for now) is moving away from a dynamic rotation. As you point out, there are restrictions on gametypes. Plus, I still don't know how to do any of the SourceMod stuff. From what I've read and heard here on the forums, it can be done. I am less confident now that it would really be worth it. A bunch of fun maps now seems like a worthy enough goal.

    Our plan for the moment is to rent a server for testing once we have about 6 playable maps. Hopefully this will be a draw (*as he looks around expectantly*) for some folks who have been toying with the idea of mapping with us. "Map for the project, get your map tested a lot!" The final goal of 36 maps is a long shot, I admit. The few folks involved now are pretty keen, so I hope that if we can get enough of a community going to support it, it's a reachable number.

    And yeah, I'm not too sure about #20 either. (For those who read this and have no idea what the heck #20 refers to, I will post the pic below.) At first I thought it was Switzerland, but I think it could really be either there or Germany. Whoever the awesome and lucky mapper is that snaps it up gets to decide.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Fraz

    aa Fraz Blu Hatte, Greyscale Backdrop.

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    21 is more of the switzerland area, look here So 20 could probably be germany, austria or luxembourg.

    Use Italys boot as a reference :L
     
  16. gamemaster1996

    gamemaster1996 L13: Stunning Member

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    May need to include customs like canada etc for some parts but i think this would work but i think there'd have to be a tad of map editing and making it so that if you win 1 map you'd have to continue on the points.

    I think this may be too difficult for a plugin i think it'd have to be a mod.
     
  17. Martham112

    Martham112 L2: Junior Member

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    You don't understand. All of these are custom maps. "Dustbowl" is not a place. :p

    I hope we can get the rotation working, but I have no idea how to code anything apart from simple addition. We should get ourselves a programmer in.
     
  18. gamemaster1996

    gamemaster1996 L13: Stunning Member

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    I beleive on the 1st page of this thread somebody wanted to help.
     
  19. Trotim

    aa Trotim

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    But 21 is Italy already. D;

    Though I'm sure a map set in Germany would be a bit more popular than a Switzerland one. Could 20 even be the Schwarzwald?
     
  20. SPHinx

    SPHinx L2: Junior Member

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    Is someone volunteering to do a super-cool Schwarzwald map? ;)