Game mode segregation in the server browser

GhoulofGSG9GhoulofGSG9 Join Date: 2013-03-31 Member: 184566Members, Super Administrators, Forum Admins, Forum Moderators, NS2 Developer, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Squad Five Silver, Reinforced - Supporter, WC 2013 - Supporter, Pistachionauts Posts: 2,780 admin
edited May 2016 in NS2 General Discussion
The “NS2” gamemode tag is now selected by default at the server browser instead of the “All” tab

The change above has been one of the most debated changes of the last month. So I thought it might be good to talk about how this change came up and why we decide to do it.

First of all I want to note that i will try to keep this post focused and short as your and my time is limited.

One of the key features of Natural Selection 2 always has been that it’s game logic code is completely available and modifiable to everyone's hearts desire.

The modding scene has been a important part of the Natural Selection community and helped growing the series over the ages.

Hence you can say we believe modification are important for Natural Selection 2’s future.

However one of the major issues NS2 mods always have had is getting recognized. Only very few have managed to get more than 100 players to know their names and content.

We tried to solve this issue in the past with the mod spotlights. However those haven’t been really a success.

Shortly we had to realize that most player with less than 100 hours are effectively unable to tell custom game modes apart from the normal game mode.

When we looked at our steam reviews we found quite a few reviews indicating that a certain number of players actually played and reviewed the game based on custom game modes.

The main issue with people playing custom game modes without being aware is that the availability and quality of those game modes is not guaranteed at all.

Generally custom game modes have the potential to keep players playing the game as they create more variety in what NS2 offers.

However custom game modes have no way to grow if nobody recognizes them.

Our answer to all this was to segregate the game modes more directly.

A visible and active segregation in the server browser makes sure every single player is aware of what they play.

While coming up with this structural solution we kind of overlooked the design aspect of it.

Our hope was that due to this change most would discover the game mode tabs very quickly.

But as the reactions have shown we underestimated how bad the interface design is at the moment.

We will work on making the tabs easier to spot in the future and also hope to look into other ways of informing players about available custom game modes.
Developer, Modder and Server Admin of Survival of the Fattest - Ingame Nick: Ghoul
The_Welsh_WizardmoultanocooliticwoozaPuphBallAlitemigalskiBicsumdevelMBelljrgnRevanCoranacyzedFoxy
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Comments

  • PuphBallPuphBall Join Date: 2013-06-06 Member: 185488Members, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 61 Fully active user
    edited May 2016
    The “NS2” gamemode tag is now selected by default at the server browser instead of the “All” tab


    [...] one of the major issues NS2 mods always have had is getting recognized. Only very few have managed to get more than 100 players to know their names and content.

    We tried to solve this issue in the past with the mod spotlights. However those haven’t been really a success.

    [...] custom game modes have no way to grow if nobody recognizes them.

    Our answer to all this was to segregate the game modes more directly.



    You're going to have to elaborate on this thought. UWE is actively undermining the work of modders, how does this help people recognize the modding community?

    Why should UWE command respect when they do not respect the modding community?
    MBell_INTER_ImmortalKing2coughFoxy
  • The_Welsh_WizardThe_Welsh_Wizard Join Date: 2013-09-10 Member: 188101Members, Reinforced - Supporter Posts: 616 Advanced user
    So you are making the "all" tab default again in the meantime?
    woozaAlite_INTER_ImmortalKingDrNo
  • VetinariVetinari Join Date: 2013-07-23 Member: 186325Members, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Silver Posts: 3,280 Advanced user
    We just got over this... :\

    *sigh*

    Here we go again.
    formerly known as F0rdPrefect
    Wyzcrak
  • IronHorseIronHorse Developer, QA Manager, Technical Support & contributor Join Date: 2010-05-08 Member: 71669Members, Super Administrators, Forum Admins, Forum Moderators, NS2 Developer, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Subnautica Playtester, Subnautica PT Lead, Pistachionauts Posts: 8,134 admin
    @PuphBall

    1) They stated that their oversight on the design did not work as intended so I do not understand why you are asking "how it helps" when they already said it ended up not?
    2) Show me where they are "commanding respect".

    The thing to take away from this PSA is "and also hope to look into other ways of informing players about available custom game modes." Especially if the next adjustment is insufficient..

    @The_Welsh_Wizard

    That was not said from what I can tell? So no.
    It's also not the only solution possible and doing so would again confuse players.
    QUOTE (Techercizer @ Feb 3 2012, 10:47 AM) »
    Every time you ask for troubleshooting without providing system info, ATI adds a rendering bug for an upcoming game.

    When you feel you need to be rude or angry about a game, just read these links and remember what role you are playing:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_disinhibition_effect
    http://www.eldergame.com/2008/06/taming-the-forum-tiger/
  • PuphBallPuphBall Join Date: 2013-06-06 Member: 185488Members, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 61 Fully active user
    edited May 2016
    The idea itself is flawed, and the fact that it is being defended with sugar-coated excuses makes me doubt that UWE cares about the modding community. Does Ghoul really believe this is good for the modding community? He seems to think so, and this fact worries me to no end.

    @IronHorse UWE certainly commands respect when they scorn the community this many times and act like they aren't doing anything wrong.

    UWE literally just told me that my community is better off without visibility.
    The “NS2” gamemode tag is now selected by default at the server browser instead of the “All” tab


    [...] one of the major issues NS2 mods always have had is getting recognized. Only very few have managed to get more than 100 players to know their names and content.

    We tried to solve this issue in the past with the mod spotlights. However those haven’t been really a success.

    [...] custom game modes have no way to grow if nobody recognizes them.

    Our answer to all this was to segregate the game modes more directly.

    I can't begin to express how ridiculous this statement is.
    ImmortalKing
  • NordicNordic Long term camping in Kodiak Join Date: 2012-05-13 Member: 151995Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Silver, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 4,375 Advanced user
    ...we underestimated how bad the interface design is at the moment.
    UWE recognizes there is a problem.
    We will work on making the tabs easier to spot in the future and also hope to look into other ways of informing players about available custom game modes.
    UWE is going to do something about the problem.


    I don't see much to discuss on this topic until we see what UWE does about the problem.
    When you aim for perfect balance, you discover it's a moving target.
    Perfect balance is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellent gameplay.
    NS2 is a moving, breathing thing. We have to be willing to constantly evolve. Perfect balance is constant transformation.
    IronHorseMBell
  • PuphBallPuphBall Join Date: 2013-06-06 Member: 185488Members, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 61 Fully active user
    edited May 2016
    UWE has made moves to address the problem and they had little-to-no effect on the visibility and sustainability of the modding community. This post is damage control, I don't see it having much bearing on reality. You tell me that the last sentence is the take-away, but I took away something else entirely. That UWE doesn't care if modding gets unpopular. Look at the quote I posted earlier. It's literally a lie, mods don't benefit from reduced visibility.
    ImmortalKing
  • ZycaRZycaR Join Date: 2002-11-12 Member: 8263Members Posts: 539 Advanced user
    edited May 2016
    ... did you "all" go fully insane ?
    You should look at even more ways how to bring mods to players. .. Separate icon on desktop/Start Menu ... modify UI in steam to directly access modded servers ...


    Please do not forget that NS1 itself was mod over HalfLife (and you should be aware of success of HL1 mods like CS) they raise community you have ... it brings money for NS2 .. and be honest everything is about money.

    I ... as player of that ancient ages ... without ability to place separate "NS" icon on my desktop, I'll forget about NS1 in like week. With that icon I was able to just enter NS1 menu and play game I liked ... without digging into HL1 menu (originally bought game) to change some tabs, select mods , run workshop items ... to finally reach desired NS.

    No-one cares about HL1multiplayer .. everyone was playing CS/NS/DoD, but Valve was still happy ... they sell HL1 because without it you can't play mods you want :)

    once again ... Please keep it at mind when you are going to design new UI, which will help separate mods from vanilla.
    ImmortalKing
  • MoFo1MoFo1 United States Join Date: 2014-07-25 Member: 197612Members Posts: 580 Advanced user
    PuphBall wrote: »
    UWE literally just told me that my community is better off without visibility.

    That's not what they said at all. Segregating the mods as different game modes (which is basically what they are) does not make them "invisible" by any stretch of the word.

    If there are really people out there too inept to see the tabs and know what they are then that's their own fault. Besides they already stated they're going to try to make mods more visible...

    What more do you want? Oh wait, you want the "NS2" tab to show all game mods.. That way someone looking for "NS2" will be forced to sift through all the various modded servers.. Because you think that would somehow make modded servers populated 24/7..




    _INTER_
  • PuphBallPuphBall Join Date: 2013-06-06 Member: 185488Members, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 61 Fully active user
    edited May 2016
    You make some dangerous assumptions, @Mofo1.

    First of all, moving something away from the main list has an effect of reducing visibility. I challenge you to dispute this fact.

    Second, UWE has a track record of ignoring the elephant in the room. UWE is not overly concerned with modding, it has been made clear. Did you even read my quote? Ghoul believes that hiding mods from the default browser is healthy for the modding community. Here, lets go over it again

    "However custom game modes have no way to grow if nobody recognizes them.

    Our answer to all this was to segregate the game modes more directly."
    - Ghoul

    Third, I want the default tab to have all games in it. I don't want mods under the NS2 tab.

    Do us all a favor and quit making brash assumptions.


    Honestly, I didn't spend 3000 hours and 150$ USD on this game to be told that my community benefits from being cast aside.


  • NordicNordic Long term camping in Kodiak Join Date: 2012-05-13 Member: 151995Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Silver, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 4,375 Advanced user
    edited May 2016
    This is how I see the situation.

    Rookies don't know the difference between vanilla ns2 and a gameplay mod. I remember many times in combat mod, faded, and skulks with shotguns where we had a rookie join who did not realize this was not the main game. I have seen rookies do this. Ghoul said that this has shown up in the game reviews. Rookies can not tell the difference. UWE recognized this issue, so they added a "feature" to the server browser to address that issue.

    UWE put in the "feature". The "feature" highlighted how bad the interface design is at the moment, as ghoul had said. I think they may have put this feature in too early, but that is a byproduct of how they have been operating with this rapid development cycle.

    UWE needs address the issue they highlighted. They said they will. Ghoul said they want to make tabs easier to see. UWE has had this card for a new server browser on trello since June. In December, a concept server browser was added to the trello card. It looks like just a fancier version of what we have now.

    UWE has said they recognize how bad the interface design is. UWE said they need a way to make tabs easier to see and inform players of available game modes. Because of that, I don't think they will use the concept server browser in the trello card. As far as I can tell, the concept server browser does not make tabs easier to see or inform players of available game modes. In my opinion, UWE needs a new concept for the server browser.

    In my opinion, NS2 needs a server browser that differentiates mods from the main game while also highlighting and informing players that there are alternative gamemodes. The main game mode must be differentiated from mods. Rookies can't tell the difference otherwise. But alternative gamemodes are important. Alternative gamemodes extend the playability of NS2 and I think have the highest chance of increasing player retention. If UWE does it right, a new server browser that differentiates mods from the main game while also highlighting and informing players that there are alternative gamemodes could be the best change to NS2 since launch.

    The Rust server browser
    does a good job at differentiating the main gamemode from modded gamemodes while also highlighting modded gamemodes. Maybe the NS2 server browser can borrow some of the better design elements from Rust's server browser. Maybe other games do it better and have elements NS2 can borrow from. The bottom line is that NS2 needs a server browser that differentiates mods from the main game while also highlighting and informing players that there are alternative gamemodes
    Post edited by Nordic on
    When you aim for perfect balance, you discover it's a moving target.
    Perfect balance is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellent gameplay.
    NS2 is a moving, breathing thing. We have to be willing to constantly evolve. Perfect balance is constant transformation.
    BicsumMBell_INTER_
  • PuphBallPuphBall Join Date: 2013-06-06 Member: 185488Members, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 61 Fully active user
    edited May 2016
    Rust can get away with hiding mods, they had a peak of 30k players today. If NS2 had 30,000 players, custom game modes would get seeded instantly and nobody would have a problem. Therefore I think Rust is irrelevant to this conversation.

    UWE has undermined the modding community by shoving it under the rug in favor of rookies. Do you not understand how disrespectful that is, @Nordic? This issue has been going on for 2 weeks and 2 patches, we're past the point of "understanding and waiting", as you suggest. Not to mention all the cookie-cutter, damage control responses...

    UWE has made many attempts at highlighting alternative game modes. They all ended in failure or backlash.

    If UWE is going to undermine my favorite communities, why shouldn't I make it my life's work to undermine all of UWE's products?
  • ZycaRZycaR Join Date: 2002-11-12 Member: 8263Members Posts: 539 Advanced user
    edited May 2016
    @Nordic ... just remember my words (I'm talking generally, not only about server browser):
    Rapid development is not good for already released game. It makes more harm then good. Ask siege community .. rly.
    ImmortalKingcyzed
  • kaokao france Join Date: 2015-12-20 Member: 210122Members Posts: 13 Fully active user
    edited May 2016
    In fact , are we really need that , when the full list of "no-empty" servers fit in less than a single page ?

    "omg im a rookie looking at 10 servers , 2 of them seems to not be normal games like uwe want to see me playing , im sooooo confused now because my brain cant deal with that !"
  • PuphBallPuphBall Join Date: 2013-06-06 Member: 185488Members, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 61 Fully active user
    edited May 2016
    Brute wrote: »
    While a UI overhaul is certainly preferable, I think there is a solution everyone could live with:

    1) Show rookies a server browser that is filtered for "NS2", with rookie only servers enabled, no full, (no empty?), no passworded
    2) The moment they lose their rookie status (currently hive level 5), forcefully change the filter to "ALL" and no rookies-only servers. Maybe sort by mod in a way that "NS2" is on top and inform them of that change via popup.
    3) If the user touches the filters/sorting, save that and restore the exact values the next time they open the server browser. (that's implemented already)

    The important part is that the forced change from vanilla to all servers in step 2 is one time only.
    Rookies are directed to the vanilla servers, while non-rookies see all servers where they possibly find some mods. If rookies want a modded experience they can have it, but it requires a deliberate step (click) on their end. Same for non-rookie players that prefer the vanilla experience and don't want to see the mods.

    Personally, this is the best solution I've seen. As long as it doesn't take too long for "ALL" to get enabled, I think it would benefit everyone's (stated) goals. Something like this should have been implemented from the start instead of going through this whole song and dance.
  • ZycaRZycaR Join Date: 2002-11-12 Member: 8263Members Posts: 539 Advanced user
    +1 Brute .. smart and acceptable.
    Nordic
  • MoFo1MoFo1 United States Join Date: 2014-07-25 Member: 197612Members Posts: 580 Advanced user
    edited May 2016
    Brute wrote: »
    Maybe sort by mod in a way that "NS2" is on top.

    This would be required.. Any non NS2 mod needs to be at the bottom of the NS2 servers no matter how they get sorted.

    After all the big reason this change was needed was due to large servers always at the top of the browser siphoning players and rookies from normal servers.

    Post edited by MoFo1 on
    _INTER_
  • jrgnjrgn Join Date: 2006-11-03 Member: 58289Members Posts: 110 Advanced user
    It is pretty natural that a commercial game needs to show a certain responsibility about servers and their performance and to deliver a experience that is NOT on the edge of what the engine can handle. If you have a mod that have about 10 % of connected players suffering from red plugs and other latency problems despite of having some of the fastest CPU, skilled techs and ops lowering rates to compensate, you get a impression of the game that is impossible to stand behind as developer. When some "modders" and their "subcommunities" starts to behave like UWE/PDT is evil I just would like to see some more maturity on these issues and the feedback to UWE. Wars just create more problems, you know...
    I'm pretty sure that we can get a lot done if we focus on collaboration instead of negativism and bitterness, which ONLY hurts all servers and ALL NS2 players.
    Also considering the numbers of players these days seem to make some blame these changes for player loss which is outright stoopid and even hillarious.

    Every mod wants a big button above all other servers in the server browser, I am pretty sure about that.

    And I love ns2large gameplay, at least 32 players...I support PDT on the road forward but i also hope that ns2large and all other mods can live and prosper! :) Please see the big picture.

    Just adapt, that is what natural selection is all about ;) and remember we are all fighting to survive! :#

    /Kvasir, ex-admin on some of the larger servers

    PS. If i was a "modder" that felt this bitter and angry like some do, i would personally leave the game and move on to something else instead of fighting like a Don Quijote, but what do i know, i'm just a simple permagorge, stuck in a vent?

  • MartigenMartigen Australia Join Date: 2002-11-01 Member: 2714Members, NS1 Playtester, Contributor, Reinforced - Onos Posts: 784 Fully active user
    edited May 2016
    PM sent. -Wyz
    Post edited by Wyzcrak on
    stf // martigen
  • IeptBarakatIeptBarakat The most difficult name to speak ingame. Join Date: 2009-07-10 Member: 68107Members, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Diamond, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 2,612 Advanced user
    MoFo1 wrote: »
    After all the big reason this change was needed was due to large servers always at the top of the browser siphoning players and rookies from normal servers.

    A better way to solve that would be to change the playercount filter to prioritize servers with a higher fill ratio rather than strictly by the playercount of said server.

    As in a 18/24 server is on the top as 75% full, and 24/48 server would be below that as a 50% full. It would give lower max playercount servers a better chance of filling up as well.
  • develdevel Join Date: 2014-09-13 Member: 198444Members Posts: 348 Advanced user
    Should be two separate big buttons. Like in Dota:
    5cebqnkc1t2v.jpg
    jrgnmigalski
  • NordicNordic Long term camping in Kodiak Join Date: 2012-05-13 Member: 151995Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Silver, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 4,375 Advanced user
    devel wrote: »
    Should be two separate big buttons. Like in Dota:
    5cebqnkc1t2v.jpg
    Do you think Dota does a better job at highlighting and informing players of alternative gamemodes, or does rust do it better? Is there another game that does it better?
    When you aim for perfect balance, you discover it's a moving target.
    Perfect balance is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellent gameplay.
    NS2 is a moving, breathing thing. We have to be willing to constantly evolve. Perfect balance is constant transformation.
  • MartigenMartigen Australia Join Date: 2002-11-01 Member: 2714Members, NS1 Playtester, Contributor, Reinforced - Onos Posts: 784 Fully active user
    MoFo1 wrote: »
    After all the big reason this change was needed was due to large servers always at the top of the browser siphoning players and rookies from normal servers.

    A better way to solve that would be to change the playercount filter to prioritize servers with a higher fill ratio rather than strictly by the playercount of said server.

    As in a 18/24 server is on the top as 75% full, and 24/48 server would be below that as a 50% full. It would give lower max playercount servers a better chance of filling up as well.
    That's a great idea.

    And for once, sensible.
    stf // martigen
  • develdevel Join Date: 2014-09-13 Member: 198444Members Posts: 348 Advanced user
    Nordic wrote: »
    Do you think Dota does a better job at highlighting and informing players of alternative gamemodes, or does rust do it better? Is there another game that does it better?

    I have no experience of any other games with serious modding. (and I can't access that Rust screenshot)

    The thing I like is a huge picture that each Dota mod has (it's seen on the screenshot). Then there is also a description on the page of the mod.
  • IronHorseIronHorse Developer, QA Manager, Technical Support & contributor Join Date: 2010-05-08 Member: 71669Members, Super Administrators, Forum Admins, Forum Moderators, NS2 Developer, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Subnautica Playtester, Subnautica PT Lead, Pistachionauts Posts: 8,134 admin
    edited May 2016
    So, rust, basically.

    You realize the likes of puphball and wooza still don't approve of this because they want ALL gamemodes and mods on the same list, right?
    Not to be morbid but if that's the requirement to keeping mods alive in this game, (And if community highlights dont help) then it suggests to me that they were DOA anyways.
    QUOTE (Techercizer @ Feb 3 2012, 10:47 AM) »
    Every time you ask for troubleshooting without providing system info, ATI adds a rendering bug for an upcoming game.

    When you feel you need to be rude or angry about a game, just read these links and remember what role you are playing:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_disinhibition_effect
    http://www.eldergame.com/2008/06/taming-the-forum-tiger/
    NordicWyzcrak_INTER_Foxy
  • ZavaroZavaro Tucson, Arizona Join Date: 2005-02-14 Member: 41174Members, Super Administrators, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Squad Five Silver, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Silver, Subnautica Playtester, Community Dev Team, Pistachionauts Posts: 704 admin
    edited May 2016
    IronHorse wrote: »
    So, rust, basically.

    You realize the likes of puphball and wooza still don't approve of this because they want ALL gamemodes and mods on the same list, right?
    Not to be morbid but if that's the requirement to keeping mods alive in this game, (And if community highlights dont help) then it suggests to me that they were DOA anyways.

    I would wait on what they have say. Pictures do a significant amount of good, especially given the currently in place alternative is terrible buttons in a cluttered UI. And tons of people played Last Stand, when the highlight actually happened. It was a good experience.

    Honestly trying to find a compmod server two nights ago confused the hell out of me, as I forgot about the change, so they're not wrong. It took me two entire minutes to figure out my mistake.

    I believe this way is the best way to both adhere to what UWE is attempting and give modders the attention they are missing. In fact, it may even give them more attention, seeing as a big-ass button is pretty hard to miss, whereas hundreds of servers in a server list is hard to sort through.
    CDT Map Testing Lead and NA Playtesting Whip
    Steam / Watch live video from zavaro on Twitch / Twitter
    Have a bug in NS2? Report it in the thread! If you can, post how to reproduce it, or private message me on the forum!
    Nordic
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