Getting people to join map tests.

Discussion in 'Site Discussion' started by kimangroo, Apr 14, 2008.

  1. kimangroo

    kimangroo L3: Member

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    There was a very small map test the other day of Taotd's map on Warmecha's server the other day. I was browsing the forum at the time and happened to come across the thread saying the map testing was starting in 15 minutes. I had some time on my hands so I hopped over and joined the server. Altogether there were about 6 people there, 4 seemed to be from tf2maps.net.

    Thing is I came across that thread by chance and was wondering if there wasn't a better way to get forum users over to the servers for map tests. I bet there were a bunch of people browsing tf2maps.net at the time who would have popped over to the map test had they known about it.

    So my suggestion is:

    How about having a friendly text banner just below the main navigation in a nice large font and bright color that linked to any map testing server and invited the viewer to join. It would be viewable on all pages of the site. All it would need is the map being tested and the connect to server steam link. (a bonus would be the number of players online etc). When no map testing event is being held, it would simply show the time and info of the next event to be held. (maybe the font size and color would become smaller and more subdued.) With a bit of php shouldn't be too difficult to rig it up to a small database of future play tests that admins could fill in via a form.

    I recommend a simple text banner rather than a graphic, because funnily enough I think text actually stands out more. Most people I think now have an automatic "ignore graphics/images" mechanism when they browse the web because of the massive spamming of adverts whereever we go. Case in point, I completely hadn't realised there was that graphic link to the official tf2 server on the left-hand side! I'd just seen images, assumed it was an ad, and phased it out subconsciously.

    I hope something like this could be implemented. I think it would allow many more, casual map tests to be held on different servers at times that suited the server admins/map makers. :thumbup:
     
  2. drp

    aa drp

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    Hey kimangroo,

    this has actually been proposed by a few members. We are looking for a way to integrate this in to the site.
     
  3. kimangroo

    kimangroo L3: Member

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    Good stuff!
     
  4. xgloryx

    xgloryx L1: Registered

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    If you're willing to spend a little extra per month, you could get a game-monitor.com "advanced" or "community" membership and use an XML feed. Shouldn't be too hard to incorporate a little code for that in vB.
     
  5. drp

    aa drp

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    wait, what? details? :drool1:
     
  6. xgloryx

    xgloryx L1: Registered

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    LOL, check out this page for info.

    Depending on how many servers you want to track, the Advanced and Community packages have RSS and XML feeds available. The example "Server Info - RSS Feed" would probably be what you would end up using, just setup a small cron to hit the RSS once every 15 minutes or so (depends on what kind of limits GM has) and cache the status of the servers.

    I know bf2s.com used to have something like that, I think they even had a special arrangement with GM for more frequent data requests.

    Edit - I also just noticed they are working on an SDK as well, which could make the process even simpler.
     
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  7. drp

    aa drp

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    damn thats pretty sweet. will have to look in to it a littler more when i get some time.
    thanks
     
  8. MacNetron

    MacNetron L5: Dapper Member

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    Are people really paying $4.35 per month to have a small script run every 12 minutes to show on a webpage which map is running on a server? Damn... I could have been rich already
     
  9. trainRiderJ

    trainRiderJ L5: Dapper Member

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    I'm sure the tf2maps.net staff would love to hear any suggestions on how you would go about writing such a script :)
     
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  10. xgloryx

    xgloryx L1: Registered

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    Theoretically it would not be hard to write a script to hit the query port for a tf2 server and store the result. GM just has a simplicity and convenience angle for a pretty nominal fee.
     
  11. kimangroo

    kimangroo L3: Member

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    ok I'm a little confused now. :huh: That graphic on the left hand side of the front page... it seems it's just a static graphic... I guess you guys are using it as a placeholder of sorts.

    So the premium script that xgloryx is talking about would mean it actually showed the number of players, the map being played on the servers etc?
    That would be very cool and all but actually what I was thinking about would be a bit simpler.

    Basically the front page is the premium space on the website and you don't want to clutter it up with too much stuff. If you had only one line in red announcing that there was a map test right now at this place for this map, connect here. That would be enough really. You wouldn't have to say how many people were playing even though that would be nice. I don't think you'd need much more than that, so the only script you'd have to write would be a really basic custom form/database/display thing in php (surely vbulletin has a customizable plugin that could do this?). Admins would enter upcoming events via the form into the db. The display part would display the red "currently testing xxx map here" message when appropriate and a more subdued "next map test will be xxx map at this time, here" message at other times.

    A list that actively showed all the maps being played, number of players etc of all affiliated tf2maps.net servers is great, but is slightly different and I don't think it's as important unless it really highlights any "events". Reason being is I'm much more tempted to join a small "map testing event" that I've been actively "invited" to, than a half-full tf2maps.net server that happens to be playing a certain map. I mean who knows if any tf2maps.netters are even playing there etc...

    Hope im making sense! :)
     
  12. TheBladeRoden

    TheBladeRoden L7: Fancy Member

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    Aw, the downloads section got moved down :(
     
  13. MacNetron

    MacNetron L5: Dapper Member

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    Hehehe, ouch :)
    But:

    indeed I can get rich now. One evening of googling (quite difficult to get the necessary info) and programming gives me (reading Youme's Custom Map Lab at Coltsplayground.net):
    Code:
    acknowledge       :I
    networkVersionByte:14
    serverName        :Youmes Custom Map Lab - coltsplayground.net|TF2Maps.net
    mapName           :ctf_torch_b1
    gameDir           :tf
    gameName          :Team Fortress
    appID             :184
    numberPlayers     :1
    maxPlayers        :25
    numberBots        :1
    dedicated         :d
    serverOS          :w
    passwordFlag      :false
    vacSecuredFlag    :true
    gameVersion       :1.0.2.3
    stillUnknown      :À‡iŒiTF2maps.net | PlaygroundTV - Map Lab
    Java code (proof of concept, not very tidy and not heavily documented) available at request.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2008
  14. Dox

    Dox L8: Fancy Shmancy Member

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    also, in response to the original topic, another way to get testers for an alpha is in our steam group chatroom. most of the time there are people there willing to aid in an alpha/beta test.
     
  15. Colt Seavers

    Colt Seavers L6: Sharp Member

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    we'll always be happy to test alpha's on Youme's map lab and Beta's on the Playground Teamplay server - in fact if an alpha is already playing well it is possible for it to make it on the main server.

    We're mostly gamers, not mappers, over in the Playground - but there's lots of us so if you all pop over to the forum at coltsplayground.net and register, then stick a post in the Steam Friends thread in the welcome section, I will make sure your're added to our Teamplay group. There 280 or so active members and it's never difficult to get a load together for a map test since we are all very enthusiastic about custom mapping and our support for the custom mapping community is as strong as ever (we love you guys :) ) ! If you are a keen mapper and stick around, showing us how friendly and positive you are to game with, you may even get admin on the map lab, then you can test your maps when you like. This is done on our discretion and should not be requested ;) It's our way of saying thanks for being great to game with.

    Ask Youme - we test maps pretty hard in the playground ;)
     
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    Last edited: May 21, 2008
  16. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    Aye, all my maps have seen very thorough testing and even when an area doesn't work well and isnt that fun to play we get none of that "this map sucks" stuff that you get on other servers.

    Whilst the maplab generally remains dormant it's always available for testing maps, stick a post over on coltsplayground.net asking to get your map tested then once its up spam all your steam friends with the IP asking them to help you test it (tf2map.net steam chat is always a good place to try that, plenty of people willing to test) You'll soon have enough people for a propper game.
    Setting up HLSW is high on my to-do list (just after 'pass exam tomorrow and friday') and once I've got that set up just send me a steam chat message and I'll change the map for you. (I'm sure colt and the other admins will also be happy to do that if they're not busy with something else)
    Then there are those times when the teamplay server is down, we all use the maplab instead at that point so thats a great time to find an admin to queue your map up next.
     
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