Hail the noobs....

General Stuff about Armagetron, That doesn't belong anywhere else...
User avatar
ed
Match Winner
Posts: 613
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2006 12:34 pm
Location: UK

Hail the noobs....

Post by ed »

I play mainly on Bugfarm Fortress and CT Wild.

One thing they have in common is the impatience towards the "noobs". Not everyone, but enough people to matter.
Where the reality is that with out these new players (Player 1 included) the game will be slower to grow to it's full potential.

I have been told in the past that CT Wild is full of noobs, I think great, new players. That wasn't what they were getting at.

Imagine Gary, likes video games, loves the tron film, has heard about this armagetron game that's supposed to be good, so downloads it and installs it. Has a few rounds then jumps onto the internet section, picks a popular one and joins the match.

There's these strange circles rotating at each end. He appears to be part of a team now but he's not sure. Then he starts seeing "Gary man, grind!", that's just confusing, Gary doesn't even know how to talk in this game. "Teamkiller! Noob! Nongrinder!" and before he knows it, he's been kicked out of the game.
Gary doesn't like the atmosphere of armagetron much, get's back to his programming and map design for first person shooters.

What if there were a noob fortress.
No offence to Gary but he wasn't helping his team.
With kick reasons now. If the reason was "send him to noobville" or whatever, then, when kicked he would find himself at noobville, which is a clone of bugfarm, with maybe more rubber and noob friendly settings. With a hints and tips. Maybe random tips with each round. A link to a "how to play tron fortress" webpage where they can read the basics.

Because just knowing the basics is usually enough to not get kicked for being a noob. Grind the center, Don't kill your teammates. With 15 other experienced players, this can be difficult for a noob.
If Gary had been given the time to learn these, then his skills could have developed and he might have become a key part of the tron community.

Maybe, of all the people who voted to kick Gary, one of them is chosen at randon to go to noobville with Gary and teach him how to play. It would certainly keep the noob kicks down, people might have a bit more time for noobs then.
Gary and noobkicker would then get a redirect from Bugfarm to noobville whenever they tried to login for an hour or something.

The idea needs work, but I'm more inclined to teach a noob than reject him.
I started this game before fortress came along, non team tron is a whole different game.

You might say to tell Gary to try a different server first, a single player one. Have you seen the amount of rubber some of these places have now? It's a crazy doublebinding, wall grinding fiasco. Although he doesn't get kicked, it's not the best introduction to the game (this is purely my opinion - each to his own).

Pezz
On Lightcycle Grid
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 12:03 pm

Post by Pezz »

i agree that kickign peopel cause they are noobs is dumb, but it can be very annoying when they jsut dont understand. I like to think i'm pretty patient with nubbers and never initiate kick votes on peopel for being noobs but can understand why it happens a lot. Maybe just coming up witha few instant chats that regulars can add that contain basic info etc would be a start in teh right direction at least.

most of the time noobs dont understand what grind the ******* center means and it gets repeatedly at them so need to come up with a good defination of what grind the ******* centre actually means in noon speak :D

User avatar
belenus
Round Winner
Posts: 269
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2005 6:22 pm
Location: Cologne
Contact:

Post by belenus »

Not being able to read is the biggest problem people have.

There is a nice into message when joining fortress and some other servers got that also, but people just don't read it.

Would it be possible to let people enter as spectator, make that message appear full screen and when they hit enter they become a regular player.

That way everyone could list some game rules for his/her server and be sure that people had the chance to read it, if they don't well, can still kick for stupidity.
- bel

User avatar
wrtlprnft
Reverse Outside Corner Grinder
Posts: 1679
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 4:42 am
Location: 0x08048000
Contact:

Post by wrtlprnft »

belenus wrote:There is a nice into message when joining fortress and some other servers got that also, but people just don't read it.
That message appears for about 2 seconds on the average join, and if you don't know how to scroll up you have no chance to read it. Random tips every round are the way to go IMHO and easy to do.
There's no place like ::1

User avatar
philippeqc
Long Poster - Project Developer - Sage
Posts: 1526
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2004 8:55 am
Location: Stockholm
Contact:

Post by philippeqc »

I agree with ed's analysis. Something is needed to make the environment more friendly toward new players. A good brooming of the notion that BugFarm is a "Pro" or "leet" server reserved to some crowd could be a start. That destructive mentality has started to spread around, and must be costing quite a few new players.

I dont mind them making their little secret clubs with their secret hand shakes. I just mind them doing it in public places, and to spit their venom onto innocent new players.

A server hack that request a "password" (/pass secret-handshake) to pass players from spectator to active could be the technical part of the solution. They could make their own private treehouse and be free of new players.

Of course, this would only be a band-aid over the problem, pushing it aside. I'd like to see that emerging mentality being addressed before more harm is done, but alsa it fall way off my communication skills.

-ph

sorry for this semi-rant
Canis meus id comedit.

User avatar
Lucifer
Project Developer & Local Moonshiner
Posts: 8610
Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2004 3:32 pm
Location: Republic of Texas
Contact:

Post by Lucifer »

I'll tell you what, I've used 3 different names the last week, and every time people have been extremely intolerant. Take for example the following:

I played early in the day at MaZuffer's side, right? He can take the late break, so we broke really late and tended to overwhelm the doublegrinder opposite us. :) (doublegrinding is lame!) When we didn't, it was tight, but we pulled through. I go in under my faker-than-normal name, and still have this habit. The guy puts up a kick poll without so much as saying "could you break a little earlier?"

Later on, with another guy, I made what was for all intents and purposes a pretty good attack. The other team had both of their extra defensive players allocated to stopping me. This guy on my team just stupidly follows me (he's an old player, too, not any new guy). So I'm moving all around trying to get around these guys, and he's just following me. Tells me I'm trying to block him from attacking. Attacking what? He'd have hit the same block I hit. A good wingman should have gone wide and attacked those two guys from behind, then we could have finished them off and moved against the zone. Instead, I'm int rouble, I guess for not killing myself and letting my "better" through.

Same guy watching, with another guy following, similar situation. Going down the left side approaching the zone, and outer defender moves to intercept me. I turn around, and there's another guy following me (a guy I think was Your_mom in disguise). He didn't die, but he at least turned around and moved to go wide. So I sat there and waited for the wall to recede so I could continue to attack. The guy watching says I'm blocking attackers from attacking and trying to teamkill.

All this because it's an unfamilliar name, no other reason.

An interesting aside, on CT Wild Fortress a guy seeing me named "Player Juan" ran up a poll as soon as he saw me. Apparently Player Juan is a fake name you don't want to pick.

Yeah, definitely a problem with dealing with unfamilliar names. I get threated kicks automatically for the slightest deviation from what near as I can tell is a level of skill nobody reaches anyway. But if it's a familiar name, you forgive them, for some reason. When it's not, kick kick kick. Except spidey went in and did a bunch of crap that wasn't quite not grinding, not quite a teamkill, and no poll (again under an unknown name). Weird.

Well, I don't know that I want to go back in with my regular name. Maybe some of us older players going in under fake names is a way to deal with it. Wanna try? You guys that can really waste a group of light cycles want to start cycling through some faker-than-normal names? Get people used to seeing unfamiliar names doing things they like...
Image

Be the devil's own, Lucifer's my name.
- Iron Maiden

meriton
Round Winner
Posts: 256
Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2005 3:33 am

Post by meriton »

We might also consider improving the quality of chatting. One of the reasons I can hardly train noobs is that I simply get no time to do it. During most of the round, I am alive and have to focus on playing (and most definitely can't afford to hand control over to a chat bot). Typing between rounds is next to impossible because:

1) Armagetron tends to loose keypresses of you type quickly between rounds.
2) Kick votes require attention.
3) There's only a few seconds time (unless you are center, and the center player is in a poor position to oversee and comment on the startup behaviour of the team, as it happends behind him).

As a consequence, I am loosing several seconds time to set up goalie box if I chat.

If you want people to communicate, you must provide the means and the opportunity for them to do so.

----

I have never understood why the server's welcome message has to be drowned by announcing every changing setting. Again, no one has time to read these notifications, so why not drop them (most people don't understand them anyway)? Putting new players in a waiting mode while they digest the welcome message might help, too.

Also, a substantial part of the flak noobs get is that their behavior can be indistinguishable from malice at first sight - and there are malicous people out there.

And another idea: If the starting position were different, the opening would be less crucial, suiciding noobs would not hurt the team anymore and could therefore be left in peace.

Edit: Interesting idea, Lucifer. I think I'll do this on occasion.

User avatar
Lackadaisical
Shutout Match Winner
Posts: 822
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2003 4:58 pm
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Contact:

Post by Lackadaisical »

meriton wrote:And another idea: If the starting position were different, the opening would be less crucial, suiciding noobs would not hurt the team anymore and could therefore be left in peace.
Hasn't this been tried before? I can faintly remember a time where the starting positions were moved a bit to the front side of the zone instead of in the center. Can't really remember why we switched back though, it might have something to do with any change being bad in the eyes of the majority ;)

User avatar
Z-Man
God & Project Admin
Posts: 11253
Joined: Sun Jan 23, 2005 6:01 pm
Location: Cologne, Jabber: [email protected]
Contact:

Post by Z-Man »

Yeah, it was that :)

I already switched the "you got kicked" message to something friendlier on Fortress. Doing it like on my Spoon server or CT Sumo, that you have to enter a team through the menu, could help as well.

Random hints between rounds are nice, but if they're random, the crucial hint will probably come too late.

Meriton: unfortunately, it's SDL that swallows/shuffles the keypresses. Can't do much against that. It's possible to set an option so that everyone can delay the round start while he's chatting; of course, it got abused really quickly when it was set that way once. So, if you truly want to coach a new player, you've got to switch to spectator mode and have 0.2.8.2 running, obviously.

I'll consider adding redirection facilities for 0.2.8.3, it sounds simple enough. The general problem with a noob friendly extra server is, though, that it simply will be empty; you can't properly practice the startup there. And the kick votes don't and can't know the reason for the kick, so we can't push the vote issuer to Noob Fortress as well. Unless we make it a principle that the vote issuer, or randomly one of the vote supporters, always get kicked/sent to Noobland. That would be evil, but it also may help to bring down silly kick votes in general.

Perhaps it's time to dig out a stupid idea. Let the client keep track of time spent playing and time spent playing online. Send that information to the servers so they can act on it; new players could then automatically be redirected or just not let in.

Nevertheless, I have to say that the smarter new players get along fine. They have two or three rounds at least before someone spawns on their outside, so they have a fair chance to watch what the others do and follow along.

meriton
Round Winner
Posts: 256
Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2005 3:33 am

Post by meriton »

Oops, I expressed myself badly about the starting positions. What I meant was not to move the team's starting point, but scatter the team mates more (evenly spaced across the entire width of the arena, for instance) so that grinding takes longer and isn't that much of a benefit anymore.

"hungry" SDL: I don't know SDL, but wouldn't polling more frequently mitigate the problem?

Inter-Round Delay: Hm, perhaps you could make it so that the waiting times are cumulative, but inidivudual contributions shorter? For instance, every player has a reservoir of m seconds he can delay the round start, but if k people with non-empty reservoir are chatting, their reservoirs empty at rate 1/k each? The reservoirs could also be reset once per match, instead of once per round. That way, a single disruptive player has little influence, but any sufficiently large group of players can delay the start sufficiently on occasion.

Playing history recorded by client: Erm, and what if I lose the data file in a hard disk crash? Do I really have to play newbie servers for a week?

User avatar
wrtlprnft
Reverse Outside Corner Grinder
Posts: 1679
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 4:42 am
Location: 0x08048000
Contact:

Post by wrtlprnft »

z-man wrote:Perhaps it's time to dig out a stupid idea. Let the client keep track of time spent playing and time spent playing online. Send that information to the servers so they can act on it; new players could then automatically be redirected or just not let in.
That means I can't log into BF fortress for testing purposes with my freshly compiled SVN checkout?
There's no place like ::1

User avatar
Z-Man
God & Project Admin
Posts: 11253
Joined: Sun Jan 23, 2005 6:01 pm
Location: Cologne, Jabber: [email protected]
Contact:

Post by Z-Man »

Of course, the time spent will be saved in user.cfg :)

User avatar
Lucifer
Project Developer & Local Moonshiner
Posts: 8610
Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2004 3:32 pm
Location: Republic of Texas
Contact:

Post by Lucifer »

I'm afraid the solution is going to be something else, and may be unreachable in the 0.2.8 series. :(

We need a server welcome screen where the server admin can put text that the user has to read before he can move on. Old players can just click through it quickly, new players will get to read it. That takes the screenful of information that we all just ignore and puts it in a place where we can easily ignore it, and new players can easily ignore it too, but they have a chance to read it before being dropped in the middle of everything.

Other than that, I'd say we need to approach it as a social problem. :) Log in and pretend to be noobs, and respond first quickly, later slowly. If some one or more of us have the ability to kick people being mean, then we can do that, keeping people who are being nice. But make sure we respond. There are genuine new players that come in and don't listen, and don't seem to get that there aren't any games anywhere where screwing over your teammates is considered "good play", and genuinely deserve a kick. OTOH, some of those players probably just don't speak english and arguably would do better if someone knew their language.

We can also help some with documentation elsewhere. For example in the About pages on the website, describe team play and mention a few things about it (nicely, of course), and also mention that it's bad manners to screw over your team and not communicate with them. You know, so people reading about the game before they download it can see it.

We need to start working in online help to the game somehow, and this is waaay outside of reach for 0.2.8. But we need some way for people to get help locally, on their own machines. For example, keep track of whether or not the user has gone to servers with certain conditions, like teammates > 1, and if not, popup some helpful text when they join such a server. Maybe add a "random hint" key the user can press, and the client will pick one taking into account server configuration when it picks. Then we can cycle in a lot of this stuff, and even put on the default cockpit a helpful message saying "Press shift-escape for hints!"

Finally, we can really and truly make it shift-escape for hints, since that's what everyone tells noobs anyway.
Image

Be the devil's own, Lucifer's my name.
- Iron Maiden

User avatar
Z-Man
God & Project Admin
Posts: 11253
Joined: Sun Jan 23, 2005 6:01 pm
Location: Cologne, Jabber: [email protected]
Contact:

Post by Z-Man »

The welcome screen thing is a good idea, and we *can* have in in 0.2.8.3. We have fullscreen text display for important messages ( "You've been kicked!" "The server was shut down" ), we just need a way to get them over the network, just like we have a way to get console and center messages over the network. A problem here may be that currently, nothing happens while the screen is displayed, so there'd be network timeouts if you look at it too long. This shouldn't be too hard, we have it for the ingame menu, we can do it here.

Another possible remedy for right now would be to make the servers unattractive to the uninitiated players. New players join because the servers are full; that must mean it's a fun server, right? Well, just let it report the wrong number of players.

Yeah, we've got three problems here:
- players join servers inadequate to their personal experience levels
- the servers have no way to inform the players of that
- some players already on the server have zero noob tolerance

I have the time to ban the occasional real ass from Bugfarm, like Pimp. I don't have time for many educational bans, and you know I'd rather not set and give out an admin password. So what should we do?

User avatar
Lucifer
Project Developer & Local Moonshiner
Posts: 8610
Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2004 3:32 pm
Location: Republic of Texas
Contact:

Post by Lucifer »

OK, since you ask, here's what I think we should do now and what we should work on in the trunk. :)

If you say we can do the welcome screen, then let's have it. Seems to me it should be like the scoreboard, where you can toggle it on or off and it'll overlay the grid. Can we have it like that? Then add to the fortress config in examples the all-important text that Ed will volunteer to write for us. :)

Update the website if it hasn't been already with several things. A quick-start guide for new players, some long text for the about the game section, and some addition text somewhere on our download page. I'll volunteer to write this stuff, I'd like some help collecting screenshots (just because I'm lazy about screenshots). And make some more prominent links from the website to the wiki where the more dynamic user-generated stuff (and more detailed) is.

If you don't mind, add in wrtlprnft's random hint generator. The main advantage to that that I can see is actually in how it'll influence the atmosphere. some players are just hopeless snobs, but I don't think that's true about most players. I think having a helpful hint between each round would help to clean up the air a bit and get people thinking about the fact that there really are new players, and we'd like to have new blood to beat up every now and then.

In the trunk:

This part's easy. We need to work on the input system a bit, but we need to be able to tie any arbitrary number of input keys to toggle widgets in the cockpit. I'd like to have a real quote generator in there somewhere, like fortune. :) Making the callback and the widget to show it and hooking it up to input is damn straightforward, we just need the generator.

We need the overlay on the cockpit that gives help that I mentioned somewhere else, but we need a version of it that shows actual help for the server. Stuff like the welcome screen, but more, and configured by the server admin. Appropriate defaults set in the examples and other config files, of course.

That's all I'm coming up with for right now, short of designing servers to help new players. If those servers were to materialize, I'd be more interested in being able to kick a player from one server to another server, but without the learning servers there's very little reason to make something like this.

Edit: I've toyed with the idea of having an embedded web browser. Actually, we don't need that, we can work out an interface to put the wiki into the game. It would be nice if server admins could set a config item with a readme for their server, and we could have an area on the wiki for them to maintain it, and if we work out a way to deal with links, they could link in their readme to tactics and strategy pages. It's helpful to be able to read the how-to while you're trying to implement it. :)
Image

Be the devil's own, Lucifer's my name.
- Iron Maiden

Post Reply