Custom map playtest sessions

HowserHowser UKMembers, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow, Subnautica Playtester, Retired Community Developer Join Date: 2010-02-08 Member: 70488Posts: 654 Advanced user
mappers and env. artists wanted for weekly playtests
Today I started renting a 18 player NS2 server, it'll be open to vanilla pub games most the time. The main reason for me paying out for this is to start testing my own work out. However I know it can hard it can be to get enough players on any custom map server, let alone players that can provide valuable feedback. So I've had the idea of starting a group up; level designers and environment artists getting together once or twice a week a set times to play test and discuss each others work. I only had the idea last night so right now I'm just testing the waters to see if people would be interested in getting involved. If there is enough interest, I'll start by setting up a svn/dropbox, mumble server and a steam group. The key people we need are active members of the NS2 community that have maps that are READY for testing. Secondary (but no less important) are the rest of us who have some level of experience in either environment art or level design to fill up the remaining slots and bring valuable insight and feedback into the sessions.
There is only 18 slots as anymore would make the games unrepresentative of a typical game, and probably a bit too noisy. Depending on the level of interest I think people submitting work for testing would always get priory for slots, and for the rest would be first come first serve. I'm looking to create a place where people of any level can come and discuss, play, get feedback and learn. I am not looking to create a place of elitist back-rubbing or a new/separate community from the existing UKE forums.
So if you're even slightly interested or have any suggestions of how we should pursue this please drop a reply so I can get an idea of what I should do.
The server is set in the UK (85.236.100.67:27015) through multi-play, it might be a bit laggy for anyone outside of Europe but the games would be more about design and discussion than having super smooth games; so all are welcome. I was thinking of doing the main test on sundays, about 8pm gmt.
Thanks for your time.
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Comments

  • hookeyedhookeyed Members, Squad Five Blue Join Date: 2007-08-26 Member: 62011Posts: 201
    Hmm, so only playable maps would be included? Personally I would only be interested in this if it could be a showcase of intermediate (unplayable, but accessible) work as well. Obviously playable maps would take priority but I feel this sort of environment would be the most benefit to those who are far away from having an actual playtest, in the early formation stages or somewhere in between.

    Right now there's no public place for that kind of sharing. Looking back I wish I had this myself. There are certain commonly made mistakes which are obvious to some people, and if I had someone catch them early on it would've saved me a lot of frustration. I can see how many people might have given up entirely after facing those brick walls. Anyway, that's just my 2 cents. I might've misread you as well. If you can make that sorta thing happen I would certainly be interested.
    new ns2 map in progress - ns2_tengu
    check out my portfolio - www.danielhookey.ca
  • deathshrouddeathshroud Members Join Date: 2010-04-10 Member: 71291Posts: 1,193 Advanced user
    i agree with hookeyed, most maps would benefit from testing in the early stages and i would be willing to have my map tested sooner rather than later even if that means the layout isnt 100% complete.
    AQ-Brainfood
  • HowserHowser UKMembers, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow, Subnautica Playtester, Retired Community Developer Join Date: 2010-02-08 Member: 70488Posts: 654 Advanced user
    edited January 2013
    Well I meant playable as in the map loads on a s server and we can actually all jump in and test something. Even if testing just means walking around a few rooms, and having a chat about visuals or game-play. Obviously I think anything submitted should reflect at least a week or two's worth of work. But I don't in anyway to expect the maps to be anywhere near game-play complete.
    Essentially all I want to create is a Mod team environment without actually making a mod. The routine tests and reliable feedback make this sort of structured testing sessions the most valuable way of developing your work and skills. forums are all well and good, but personally I don't think they come close to having a game together and chatting about stuff in real time. Further more its a good way to make friends and build a stronger community. I've got a strong belief in this method of testing and intend to do my best to get these week games established. I'll start approaching people if you don't come to me so drop a line if you want your work tested, I would like to have our first game this weekend.
  • Rudy.czRudy.cz Members Join Date: 2012-02-13 Member: 145410Posts: 443
    I fully support this idea :)
    co_Core remake: Info , Workshop | Circus for co_Portals: Info , Workshop | my DJ sets at Soundcloud or Mixcloud | simple Portfolio | Spark Tutorials

    Server Banner > Join our server and enjoy best selection of community made maps!
    Soul_Rider
  • JanosJanos Members, Constellation, NS2 Playtester Join Date: 2002-08-02 Member: 1050Posts: 390 Fully active user
    QUOTE (Rudy.cz @ Jan 10 2013, 04:24 PM) »
    I fully support this idea :)


    Agreed.
  • HowserHowser UKMembers, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow, Subnautica Playtester, Retired Community Developer Join Date: 2010-02-08 Member: 70488Posts: 654 Advanced user
    Right I'm taking your names then I'll get on the case with chasing people up tomorrow. Rudy I'll try catch you on steam this Friday so we can definitely get yours up for testing!
  • FlaterectomyFlaterectomy NetherlandistanMembers, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Squad Five Silver, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow, Subnautica Playtester, NS2 Community Developer, Pistachionauts Join Date: 2005-02-03 Member: 39643Posts: 939 Advanced user
  • ObliviousSightObliviousSight Members, Reinforced - Shadow Join Date: 2012-09-07 Member: 158306Posts: 160 Fully active user
    Though I don't qualify as an experienced level designer, I heartily concur.
  • MouseMouse The Lighter Side of Pessimism Members, NS1 Playtester, Forum Moderators, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow Join Date: 2002-03-02 Member: 263Posts: 3,567 mod
    Awesome idea. I'd love to join in, but as I'm on the east coast of Australia, I doubt I'd be online/awake at the right times.
    -/AUS/- PS_Mouse
  • hookeyedhookeyed Members, Squad Five Blue Join Date: 2007-08-26 Member: 62011Posts: 201
    Cool, I just misread you then. Sounds awesome, sign me up :)
    new ns2 map in progress - ns2_tengu
    check out my portfolio - www.danielhookey.ca
  • Evil_bOb1Evil_bOb1 Members, Squad Five Blue Join Date: 2002-07-13 Member: 938Posts: 915
    I might not always be available but I would love to take part :)
    ns2_turtle modid=486cef9 Forum thread / duplexgaming page
  • TigTig Members, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Silver Join Date: 2010-05-08 Member: 71674Posts: 977
    edited January 2013
    skyfalls is pretty much finished and is playable, i'd love the chance to have you guys play a few games and give me feedback. i will be publishing it at about 1pm EST today :)

    edit: speeling
  • KazelKazel Members Join Date: 2012-12-22 Member: 175939Posts: 63
    Just post time/sever when you want to test something and I'll try and show. I am by no means a mapper but if you need a prop to make sure the scale of things is right, I'll be there.
  • HowserHowser UKMembers, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow, Subnautica Playtester, Retired Community Developer Join Date: 2010-02-08 Member: 70488Posts: 654 Advanced user
    I've setup a steam group, graphics and name are just placeholders, if we manage to get his off the ground I'd like to have people help come up with a good name and graphics. add me on steam if you would like to participate this Sunday or in the future. my steam address is http://steamcommunity.com/id/howser/
    So far I've only got drydorsity on the line up but I'll be messaging some more people to coax them into getting involved. But feel free to take the initiative and message me!
    Kazel: Its not about the level of persons skill or time invested in mapping. If you're interested in level-design and Natural-selection 2 (and actually intend to do some at some point) that all one can ask. The only people I don't want a people who just want to play custom maps for the sake of it. I don't mind running the maps on my server for this purpose but the routine playtests and group are for people who want to be or are level designers/env. artists.
  • Rudy.czRudy.cz Members Join Date: 2012-02-13 Member: 145410Posts: 443
    Should we install Mumble for voice comunication (i have noticed the server adress)? What about the maps? Should we publish them to Workshop or are you considering different way of distribution (I have noticed something about Dropbox)
    co_Core remake: Info , Workshop | Circus for co_Portals: Info , Workshop | my DJ sets at Soundcloud or Mixcloud | simple Portfolio | Spark Tutorials

    Server Banner > Join our server and enjoy best selection of community made maps!
  • HowserHowser UKMembers, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow, Subnautica Playtester, Retired Community Developer Join Date: 2010-02-08 Member: 70488Posts: 654 Advanced user
    I've got a dropbox account setup, i'll just give everyone the details so you can place your latest builds in there and i'll upload them to the server. I'm not entirely happy with mutli-plays service. Uploading files have to be approved so unfortunately the submission date will have to be on the Friday to give us time to get them on.I'll contact them about getting some form of direct access or find a better provider.
    and yes install mumble!
    http://www.mumble.com
  • EldrazorEldrazor Members, Reinforced - Shadow Join Date: 2012-10-21 Member: 162982Posts: 10 Fully active user
    Sounds like an excellent idea.
  • Omar - The WireOmar - The Wire Members Join Date: 2012-11-01 Member: 165320Posts: 280 Fully active user
    Currently, there is no organized, consistent group to playtest maps (that I know of). Swalk is trying to setup maps for ENSL, but that is to increase the map rotation with viable options. I think they do some play testing, but not anything dedicated solely to that. As far as I know there is no group a mapper can turn to say "hey mind putting this in your rotation and giving me a hand with feeling it out?" Whether it is strictly for level design among fellow mappers or a general player testing.

    That being said, I have zero level design experience and zero mapping experience. What I do have is the ability to be insightful as someone who would actually be playing these maps.

    What I'm getting at basically is it should be a play testing group for anyone who wants to help develop new maps. Priority slots go to the map designer and the handful of people they want in there, but otherwise anyone who can, and wants to, join should. It'd be nice to essentially have mappers and experienced level creators in these new maps by the pocketful, but that may not be viable. The amount of people you have willing to try in-the-works maps is going to be relatively small, the amount of them that have experience actually making levels would be even smaller. There input would be invaluable, but at the end something is being designed for the public player is pulling feedback from a rather small sample size. Hence my suggestions to ultimately try to get anyone with the urge to give feedback.

    What I propose you do is (You've done a lot this, I'm just outlining)

    Create a Steam group that is explicitly for map testing. Make it open to join for anyone who'd like to. Also make it clear that matches and overall gameplay aren't quite the focus of this. It's not a new Gather system with custom maps only.

    Do set schedules along with impromptu revisits. Have the mappers submit the map they want to look at and a day that is good for them, a couple days in advance. Stick it on the Steam calendar and then do announcements leading up to it. Word of mouth among the more dedicated would guarantee a consistent group of people who'd come to help out, the announcement for the group in general would probably attract a couple of the less dedicated, but still interested, who happened to be bored and available.

    Have random testing sessions. After the group fleshes out a little bit, go ahead and load up with maybe 3 or 4 other people. The mapper doesn't need to always be present as a map bugs can be found by anyone at anytime. Post an announcement/message a few people and do that. It doesn't always have to be structured.
    4:07 AM - PaLaGi: bend it like beckham used to be on hbo or showtime, and i think i may have watched it more than once
    4:07 AM - Omar - The Wire: rofl
    4:08 AM - PaLaGi: actually dont save that comment :/
  • HowserHowser UKMembers, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow, Subnautica Playtester, Retired Community Developer Join Date: 2010-02-08 Member: 70488Posts: 654 Advanced user
    Thanks for the input omar, I apologize if this makes people feel excluded or that I'm trying to make something elitist. But what I am trying to start up is a very specific testing environment.The kind of environment I want to create with this group and regular meetings is one of learning and debate and that is entirely focused on improving our understanding of level-design and creating art for NS2. These tests are not designed to be representative of typical public games; they may be completely unplayable, very rough segments of map, we might be role-playing game play scenarios or just walking around a space and talking about the design. Furthermore we only have 18 slots and while its very doubtful we'll fill these, I do not believe that'll be an issue. I would rather have a low head count retrain a controlled and focused environment, than have people there for more traditional testing purposes.
    That said, the maps will be on the server and I'll empower more people with admin rights as soon as I can. This will hopefully lead to much more open, and on-going play-test, that the rest of the community can get involved with. People are more than welcome to use the server if they fancy arranging such tests and I'll help make that happen, just drop me a line. I wont be pursuing or arranging typical test games myself for the time being.
    Thanks
  • Omar - The WireOmar - The Wire Members Join Date: 2012-11-01 Member: 165320Posts: 280 Fully active user
    QUOTE (Howser @ Jan 12 2013, 03:05 PM) »
    Thanks for the input omar, I apologize if this makes people feel excluded
    You didn't at all. Wasn't a complaint on my end, if it sounded like that.


    QUOTE (Howser @ Jan 12 2013, 03:05 PM) »
    But what I am trying to start up is a very specific testing environment.The kind of environment I want to create with this group and regular meetings is one of learning and debate and that is entirely focused on improving our understanding of level-design and creating art for NS2. These tests are not designed to be representative of typical public games; they may be completely unplayable, very rough segments of map, we might be role-playing game play scenarios or just walking around a space and talking about the design. Furthermore we only have 18 slots and while its very doubtful we'll fill these, I do not believe that'll be an issue.
    Totally understandable... but see below,

    QUOTE (Howser @ Jan 12 2013, 03:05 PM) »
    I would rather have a low head count retrain a controlled and focused environment, than have people there for more traditional testing purposes.
    I'm saying I think you'd be hard pressed to get even 9 people. You're worried about "only having 18 slots" but I think, realistically, even if you made this an absolutely open playtesting you would be hard pressed to fill them. I feel you should do everything you can to maximize the base you want to pull from because you'd be hard pressed to consistently get people to actually test. The more people, mappers, creators, or just average joes you have, the more likely you are to get consistent groups. Varied feedback is better than little to no feedback.


    QUOTE (Howser @ Jan 12 2013, 03:05 PM) »
    That said, the maps will be on the server and I'll empower more people with admin rights as soon as I can. This will hopefully lead to much more open, and on-going play-test, that the rest of the community can get involved with. People are more than welcome to use the server if they fancy arranging such tests and I'll help make that happen, just drop me a line. I wont be pursuing or arranging typical test games myself for the time being.
    Thanks
    Useful, thanks.
    4:07 AM - PaLaGi: bend it like beckham used to be on hbo or showtime, and i think i may have watched it more than once
    4:07 AM - Omar - The Wire: rofl
    4:08 AM - PaLaGi: actually dont save that comment :/
  • HowserHowser UKMembers, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow, Subnautica Playtester, Retired Community Developer Join Date: 2010-02-08 Member: 70488Posts: 654 Advanced user
    Points taken on board,and I think you could be totally right. Although I would like to try it out how I originally intended. After a week or two, i'll see where we stand. If people feel making the tests open (and in turn my full) will be better I'll go along with that. I just feel it'll be easier to get this off the ground and test the waters with my original idea, then change the rules once we understand where we are. I would just feel a bit rude if I was telling people to leave or not attend if it did not work out the way I wanted. I'm not entirely sure if we're sticking with anything yet, I think the first meet will be just discussing what we want and how to achieve that. I am not set on any ideas, and things will probably change soon, we'll keep people informed.
    Thanks again
  • hookeyedhookeyed Members, Squad Five Blue Join Date: 2007-08-26 Member: 62011Posts: 201
    Alright, I've offered my graphic services to the group. Tomorrow we're gunna rename the group to The Editor's Table, and I made the following graphic to represent us:

    image

    Thought I'd post it here as the cups and ashtrays aren't as visible in the thumbnail. Essential details. :)
    new ns2 map in progress - ns2_tengu
    check out my portfolio - www.danielhookey.ca
    eliotmat
  • TigTig Members, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Silver Join Date: 2010-05-08 Member: 71674Posts: 977
    QUOTE (hookeyed @ Jan 12 2013, 08:18 PM) »
    Alright, I've offered my graphic services to the group. Tomorrow we're gunna rename the group to The Editor's Table, and I made the following graphic to represent us:

    image

    Thought I'd post it here as the cups and ashtrays aren't as visible in the thumbnail. Essential details. :)


    approved.
  • HowserHowser UKMembers, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow, Subnautica Playtester, Retired Community Developer Join Date: 2010-02-08 Member: 70488Posts: 654 Advanced user
    HAHA that made me chuckle! I like it!
  • Rudy.czRudy.cz Members Join Date: 2012-02-13 Member: 145410Posts: 443
    Cool! We are the Spark builders, we are the MACs :)
    co_Core remake: Info , Workshop | Circus for co_Portals: Info , Workshop | my DJ sets at Soundcloud or Mixcloud | simple Portfolio | Spark Tutorials

    Server Banner > Join our server and enjoy best selection of community made maps!
  • FlaterectomyFlaterectomy NetherlandistanMembers, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Squad Five Silver, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow, Subnautica Playtester, NS2 Community Developer, Pistachionauts Join Date: 2005-02-03 Member: 39643Posts: 939 Advanced user
    With our first Sunday night of testing just behind us, I'm very excited to continue these play tests. It was great talking with you guys, sharing suggestions/ideas for these maps and tackling the odd bug here and there. I'm looking forward to getting a new version of Caged out for one of these tests, and will gladly be testing other people's work again with all of you next Sunday.
  • HowserHowser UKMembers, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow, Subnautica Playtester, Retired Community Developer Join Date: 2010-02-08 Member: 70488Posts: 654 Advanced user
    Yeah it was a better turn out than expected! Thanks to everyone who came, it was good fun and it was nice to talk with a few fellow mappers. I think to a few changes will be made to improve the games for next Sunday: Password the server, preset the map play-list, only start when the majority of people have arrived and try get some more people involved.
    Again, the groups open to all who are interested or invested in mapping for NS2! don't be shy :P
  • [AwE]Sentinel[AwE]Sentinel Members Join Date: 2012-06-05 Member: 152949Posts: 681 Fully active user
    edited January 2013
    That's a great idea! I missed it this time but i am looking forward to join one of the next sessions :D It is hard to get a good feedback on your map if you are not in a clan. I would be glad to play you maps and to get yakushima and honorguard (almost ready for alpha release) improved this way!

    Edit: The link to the group ain't working.
    "Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win" - 孫子 "When you think you win, tighten the strap of your helmet"

    ns2_yakushima, ns2_honorguard
  • HowserHowser UKMembers, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow, Subnautica Playtester, Retired Community Developer Join Date: 2010-02-08 Member: 70488Posts: 654 Advanced user
    Yeah sorry hookedeyed came up with a better name. So we're changing it to the Editors Table now try http://steamcommunity.com/groups/theeditorstable
    but its currently invite only due to the fact I have to set people up with a few details when they join. so add me on steam and I'll hook you up with all the bits and bobs
    http://steamcommunity.com/id/howser/
  • SkackySkacky Members Join Date: 2005-06-05 Member: 53189Posts: 195
    edited January 2013
    Hey there, I would love to test some maps with you guys. I've worked in the industry a bit as a level designer and I can give precise feedback, and I'm planning on making a level for NS2 so this looks like the perfect opportunity to test maps and get mine tested as well.
    Punching Gorges in the face since 2002. --Gorge Clooney in game
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