Playtesting concerns and discussion of possible solutions

Discussion in 'Team Fortress 2 Talk' started by Radaka, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. Radaka

    Radaka L7: Fancy Member

    Messages:
    495
    Positive Ratings:
    242
    I've noticed that on a regular basis, playtesting of maps is lacking in players. Each gameday has a second event roughly 2/3 of the way through, calling for more players. When a spur-of-the-moment test happens, it is rare to get more than 10 players in the test. When I first joined TF2Maps, these things seemed like less of a problem.

    1. What happened (or am I just crazy)?
    2. What could help this problem?

    This is not a thread to point fingers at those who do not commonly attend, so let's not get into a flame war here.

    I personally think that the slimming number of playtesters is due to school being back in motion, as I spend most of my time now doing school work and running around between classes (pretty horrible schedule too :().
     
  2. Terr

    aa Terr Cranky Coder

    Messages:
    1,591
    Positive Ratings:
    405
    ... Most people don't want to play for more than an hour continuously and will tend to leave if they hit a map where playing feels like a chore?
     
  3. Jack Riguel

    Jack Riguel L10: Glamorous Member

    Messages:
    721
    Positive Ratings:
    246
    You could use the old 'bait and switch strategy.

    Switch it to something popular like goldrush or dustbowl when the testing population gets down to about 7 or 8 and wait for it to fill back up, then continue on with the testing. You'll be surprised at the amount of people that will stay through a download, even if it's long.

    We used to do this on a friend's server that featured random maps pulled off from here and it kept the server mostly filled (then again there was only 16 slots).

    Worst comes to worst, at least you'll get actual TF2 Players testing the maps, which in many cases is even better then having mappers test maps. (they have a different eye for detail and design)
     
  4. BrokenTripod

    BrokenTripod L5: Dapper Member

    Messages:
    248
    Positive Ratings:
    65
    I think it's a combination of there being school and 4 gamedays.

    I heard recently that gamedays used to just be Saturdays, so by spreading it out for 4 days, people go to a gameday or two and then give up on the other ones, or play for an hour or so on each day, but leaving the server.

    Also, 4 gamedays means we get to test more maps, but it means there's a LOT more downloading involved, because it's about 8 maps per gameday and 4 gamedays a week, and big downloads halfway through the day seem to filter out people who were casually playing and people who were in there to sit out the whole gameday (Notably, Premuda when it got to A7 recently. It was pretty active, but got down to a 7v7.)

    I'm not saying we shouldn't have large maps, but I think we really need to stress predownloading if we're going to have maps with so much custom content. I've heard people a number of times say: "Oh, I should have remembered to predownload.." so it might be nice to give a reminder even 10 minutes before gameday actually starts if there's large map files.

    Also, by having the gamedays from 9-12am (PST!) it filters out the part of the community that isn't available at that time.

    I can't come up with any solutions for that one, but I think those are some of the problems.
     
  5. Waif

    Waif L7: Fancy Member

    Messages:
    413
    Positive Ratings:
    125
    This doesn't work.
    The only real way is to use events to inform people, although people here should add both servers to their favourites so they can tell when testing is on anyway.

    I got a bit frustrated yesterday night EST, I could only get a max of 6 people on the server without any events as there were no mods:(
     
  6. pl

    pl L5: Dapper Member

    Messages:
    248
    Positive Ratings:
    55
    It would be a good idea to change some of the gameday's starting times to a time where most players are online.
    Also, though this is offtopic, it would also help to those who live in countries... such as Australia (me) :D
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  7. Cameron:D

    Cameron:D L6: Sharp Member

    Messages:
    363
    Positive Ratings:
    145
    Me too :)
     
  8. Caliostro

    Caliostro L6: Sharp Member

    Messages:
    261
    Positive Ratings:
    110
    Personally I've just been busy lately... Not even college related since my college hasn't started yet... Just busy. Happens.
     
  9. FleshGolem

    FleshGolem L1: Registered

    Messages:
    25
    Positive Ratings:
    4
    Me three! :p
     
  10. MrAlBobo

    MrAlBobo L13: Stunning Member

    Messages:
    1,059
    Positive Ratings:
    219
    actually...the state of the gamedays have been in has been much worse shape before, just thinking about all the times the server would crash instantly upon immortal joining the game :p

    I don't know, over the summer it was a good idea to tack on some extra gamedays, but with school back on it might be a bit much. The the bi-nightly events (which I quite like btw) may also be contributing to people getting burnt out.

    Realistically though id say to just leave everything how it is for now, things should pick up once people settle into school...
     
  11. A Boojum Snark

    aa A Boojum Snark Toraipoddodezain Mazahabado

    Messages:
    4,769
    Positive Ratings:
    5,531
    I've been observing to see if/when I should drop one. Though if I do it will most likely be friday, cause I think the mid-week one to spread it out a little is good.
     
  12. MrAlBobo

    MrAlBobo L13: Stunning Member

    Messages:
    1,059
    Positive Ratings:
    219
    I would agree, though the "spontaneous" events do serve that purpose far better then a gameday would.
     
  13. Radaka

    Radaka L7: Fancy Member

    Messages:
    495
    Positive Ratings:
    242
    I agree with most of the people on here; I feel burnt out many times. It would feel more fun if they were rarer, so I think it might be a good idea to cut one out. Adjusting the event times would also be helpful.
     
  14. Dr. Spud

    aa Dr. Spud Grossly Incandescent

    Messages:
    879
    Positive Ratings:
    802
    From my experience, this is what I think causes gamedays to lose population:

    -School is starting.
    -Four events a week is a bit too much.
    -People have no incentive to stick around for anything except the best maps (eg furnace creek getting a full 24 players, and the following map having 12).
    -It seems that nearly every gameday, there's 1 map that's totally not ready for testing and clears the server.
     
  15. jpr

    aa jpr

    Messages:
    1,095
    Positive Ratings:
    507
    One word:
    School
     
  16. Caliostro

    Caliostro L6: Sharp Member

    Messages:
    261
    Positive Ratings:
    110
    I think it's due to a combination of things:

    1 - School starting means people have less time to map.

    2 - A lot of the maps started for the "contest" are now maturing to a phase that requires longer testing... Which, together with the lessening of available time (as mentioned in 1) leads to...

    3 - ...A much bigger flow of impromptu testing.


    The final result is less available people, with less time available to map for themselves, being asked to test more often... You don't need a degree in advanced mathematics to realize this doesn't add up well...

    Is the solution cutting down on gamedays? Honestly, don't think so... Mostly because, last I've seen, gamedays are still as packed as always. Unless I've missed something, we still have a great flow of maps to test every gameday. Cutting down on gamedays is just going to pack them even more.


    I say for now we should stick to two "solutions":

    1 - Give people time to settle down into their "working" schedules.

    2 - "Less impromptu" in the impromptu testing. I know one of the benefits of donating is the ability to upload maps yourself, but, and this also goes to the mods, be a bit more responsible with your call for testing. Do you REALLY need to call up an officially announced test asking everyone to join up just to test that new lightning and set of doors you just included? It REALLY can't wait for gameday? And if you have a legitimate need for testing, try to gather at least one or two more maps to go after yours. Coordinate a bit. It feels really pointless and almost unnerving to have 2 testing sessions within 4 hours of each other... Or even in the same day... Particularly when I go in and notice I've played that exact same version of the map that week...

    ...Maybe use that donator's forum to plan ahead like "hey guys I'm planning on testing my map tomorrow around noon", "hey if you make it around 7 I can join in mine!", etc. And if you can, save it for gameday.
     
  17. Wegason

    Wegason L4: Comfortable Member

    Messages:
    150
    Positive Ratings:
    61
    I have trouble getting on on gamedays, often waiting five minutes or so for a slot to come free.
     
  18. MrAlBobo

    MrAlBobo L13: Stunning Member

    Messages:
    1,059
    Positive Ratings:
    219
    First, I like the impromptu testing far more then I like gameday testing. I enjoy playing custom maps, and I enjoy playing them everyday. The very fact that we can have these on-the-tests is an excellent improvement on having a dead server 5 days a week and a full one 2 days. There are really only 2 levels where that could be better, if people would just join the server on their own (self populating) or if the server was always in use.

    Second, you don't really go to very many do you? Sure the event notice may only list one map but usually we end up playing 3-4, just from people in the server suggesting that their map goes up next. And alot of the maps we do at this time are significantly further down the road in development, at this stage the maps need alot of testing, which means yes, we will play the same more then once a week <_<

    Yes, it is usually full near the start, but then near the end people start leaving and the tests get less useful.
     
  19. Jack Riguel

    Jack Riguel L10: Glamorous Member

    Messages:
    721
    Positive Ratings:
    246
    I think more then anything it's the time problem. The american test days is hard because of School and College reasons. Most students have a hard time joining in so early in the morning. Perhaps if the US game-day times were at the same time that the EU game-day times are? (time-zone wise).