Armagetron ON Steam (2019) with steam direct

What do you want to see in Armagetron soon? Any new feature ideas? Let's ponder these ground breaking ideas...
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Z-Man
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Re: Armagetron ON Steam (2019) with steam direct

Post by Z-Man »

aP - Cake wrote:I made a reply but somehow it didn't go through and I cba to re-write it all.
That's the approval system for new users. Sorry for the inconvenience, your old post is now visible. I left both despite the obvious redundancy, for many reasons, one of them being that I can't get enough of people agreeing with me :)

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Re: Armagetron ON Steam (2019) with steam direct

Post by Rnoodles »

I think your'e spot on Z-man and Gene. I think the biggest issue you guys mentioned could be players opening up tron and not being able to find many active servers. It almost feels like the chicken and the egg situation. Armagetronad already has some good advantages in my opinion. I know so many people that know about Armagetronad because its on all of the school computers over here in Australia (not sure about the rest of the world), one of the videos you uploaded z-man about steam direct, stated that "bike" games are easily one of the most popular games on steam direct. The Disney tron movie and other tron games may also bring alot more "Tron" search results on steam then we think.

There is also a chance that uploading it could bring more developers to the community that want to help you guys out?
If there are any advertisement costs id also like to help where possible.
I've added you gene i'm keen to help smash out some of these Youtube videos.
I'm not sure if its a realistic time frame but a launch to steam around Christmas time could be tactical? I know alot more tronners are active around holiday times.

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Re: Armagetron ON Steam (2019) with steam direct

Post by szopin »

Z-Man wrote:I'd have no problem paying the 100$ to get a steam direct spot. There are potential benefits. Auto-Updates of the client being my favourite. However,
bebad wrote: with the hopes that it might stand out from the 1000's of new games released monthly and maybe get some new players interested in joining us on the grid.
That does not happen any more on Steam. If you just put out your game on Steam and do nothing else, no matter how good it is, it just drowns in the flood of new releases. Like compguygene says, a successful Steam release needs to be accompanied by a publicity push. And then, if the "launch" is successful, Steams almighty recommendation algorithm may help keep a game afloat.
Helpful video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WycVOCbeKqQ (it's for games that cost money, but still helpful)
How about nintendo switch? There's only a handful of free games on it, it would get massive attention especially since the format fits (and come on, arma on the go sounds great, will be trying build it on cosmo communicator soon)

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Re: Armagetron ON Steam (2019) with steam direct

Post by Z-Man »

I'd love to do that! I'm even already registered at the Nintendo Developer Portal. However, right now, they only give out dev tools for 3DS and Wii U for unknowns like me. I suppose you need a publisher or approach them with a known-to-be-portable game already, such as one developed with Unity or Unreal. There's a company offering ports of Godot games to Switch, too, though I don't know whether they had any customers so far. And console SDKs are typically the opposite of open source, so as long as we're tied to the GPL, whether a console release would even be allowed is debatable (the 'it's legal' side could refer to the exception for linking with system libraries).

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Re: Armagetron ON Steam (2019) with steam direct

Post by szopin »

Z-Man wrote:I'd love to do that! I'm even already registered at the Nintendo Developer Portal. However, right now, they only give out dev tools for 3DS and Wii U for unknowns like me. I suppose you need a publisher or approach them with a known-to-be-portable game already, such as one developed with Unity or Unreal. There's a company offering ports of Godot games to Switch, too, though I don't know whether they had any customers so far. And console SDKs are typically the opposite of open source, so as long as we're tied to the GPL, whether a console release would even be allowed is debatable (the 'it's legal' side could refer to the exception for linking with system libraries).
Right, I guess the fact all indies are getting now published on switch is because of unity. What about the Nintendo Dev Interface? It's supposed to support different IDEs:
Our newest gem in the box is the NDI Client. NDI stands for Nintendo Dev Interface, but it’s really going to be your new best friend. The NDI Client will help make sure you have the optimal development environment on your development system — by downloading and installing it all for you! You can tailor it to the platform you’re developing for, the SDK you want, even the region you’re working in. It allows for easy download of all the relevant guidelines and documentation you need to do your work. It even allows you to update the firmware of certain development kits.
Something like QtCreator would probably be supported, if so would need a rewrite/simplification of the UI in qml for console and the C/C++ could mostly stay the same. Passing their QA might be a bitch as crashing apps could be used by homebrew scene. Is it not available for you on their website or is the description totally misleading? Or does that NDI only support unity/UE?
edit: reading some more looks like probably the NDI is not offering any switch SDK (and on top of that NDAs in place so really hard to find info on this), seems like it would need to be visual studio project, forget QtCreator.
edit2: from gbatemp:
You can still enter right now, but you can't develop for Switch without passing additional verification and pitching your project (If I understand it correctly from outside sources anyway).
Additionally, only sign up if you are actually going to develop for Nintendo consoles, the NDA is very legally binding and has the potential to land you in serious legal danger if you disclose any of the resources or use them for anything not covered by the NDA.
Then again as main developer of arma you have at least that going for you, still would need some kind of a pitch for them to accept it I guess

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Re: Armagetron ON Steam (2019) with steam direct

Post by Z-Man »

I'll try to keep the above in mind, but for now: Steam Time! I just paid the entry fee and jumped through the tax form hoops so they can deduct 0$ from the 0$ income or something. I simply put myself up as the rights holder, because under the GPL, anyone could have done that, as long as the GPL is respected.

We have a couple of days while they process the tax information before we can actually do anything, and a total of 30 days before we can publish. Sounds like a long wait, and I won't mind if that makes it come too late as virus induced quarantine relief, but there is a lot to do.

Version to publish: I'd go with builds from the 0.2.8 branch. 0.2.8.3 is ancient by now. Master has too many loose ends, but could be offered as opt-in beta, if I understand it correctly.

Name: I'd go with Armacycles, like on Red Hat. There is too much to worry about already and I'd like to steer clear of trademark trouble.
That means we need a new title screen. Personally, I'd just make it look like someone erased the tron and replaced it with cycles written with a sharpie :)

Authentication: It's still pretty broken and should be fixed three years ago. Ideally, Steam users would be able to sign in with their Steam accounts. That requires us to talk to Steam on the client via some API. I'll have to check whether that is possible without GPL violations, that is, without directly linking in and distributing GPL-noncompatible components ourselves. In my reading, linking dynamically with the Steam stuff already present on the client PC should be equivalent to accessing the OS, which is an explicit exception in the GPL. That's all my job and what I'll focus on.

Marketing Material! Every game needs a store page with screenshots, videos and text. This collection should describe the what and how:
https://partner.steamgames.com/doc/store
Any help would be appreciated there, but take your time. I haven't even begun reading this stuff. If you write texts, they should obviously avoid referencing Tron in any direct way, but I suppose links back to here (Wiki, Forums, Main Page, GitLab/Hub pages) are fine. We don't want it to look like an asset flip by some unrelated jerk who does not even give proper credit.

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Re: Armagetron ON Steam (2019) with steam direct

Post by Rnoodles »

:D :D :D Thankyou for doing this Zman, alot of tronners in the community are very excited to hear this news.
I have been talking with the community and have gathered some feedback, I think it would be most effective if we created a Discord group with the people active and wanting to help, it is much easier to get in contact with people this way and we can voice chat if needed.

The steam authentication sounds really good it would help prevent trolls or banned players if they need to re create a steam account each time. It could also lead to some form of stat tracking which is very appealing to the players. The servers with high scores get alot of attention, if it were somehow easier to have a more accurate, possibly elo based leader board/ high scores that would be really cool.
Another thing that most of the players agree should be implemented is a client authentication, to have the full potential of trons competitive side there needs to be some way to prevent players using a modified client. Players are known to use these to cheat in normal game play and in tournaments. Also if trons playerbase really succeeds to the point where cash prize tournaments are on the communities mind, players wont play with cheaters.

The community also feels like there could be some more things built into the Tron client such as:
- Ability to change movie pack details like the bike shape, tail patterns and colours and background movie packs within the client, or even better make it some form of unlockable for example, access to a unique bike after 50 global server kills ect. I remember i used to have a pacman movie pack, it was really cool but difficult to setup by myself as im noob on a computer.
- Tutorials
- Leaderboards
- more is being discussed, alot of the community doesnt really know what is possible, which is where i think better communication between the community and the coders, marketers, server hosts ect would be beneficial, Discord is definitely the way to go, players can easily get in contact and contribute their videos, screen shots ect and most importantly devs can let the people wanting to help on the project know what needs to be done.

Some other things that have been discussed:
- Donation page setup for work that needs to be done by coders or other? There are alot of players willing to donate to improve this game whether it be graphic design or changes to the coding to improve lag, better servers ect.
- Once tron/Armacycles is uploaded to tron, will the dev team be open to other more active devs finding and liking this game, coming on board to help improve for example graphic design?

There have been some efforts from the community already, alot of players more motivated to help how ever they can. There are now around 7-10 server hosts that i can think of, all helping organise tournaments and help with scripting. Light and Nelg have been very helpful with improvements and i'm interested to hear from them.

There is so much potential for tron on steam. I like to look at a game called rocket league as an example. It is a basic concept, soccer played with cars, you unlock different cars and cosmetic features and play social or ranked games. It has pretty nice graphics and million dollar prize tournaments.
It has the 3 most important things a game needs for online success, an extremely high competitive skill ceiling, satisfying gameplay and a good social aspect, all of which Tron has. If Tron had more features and ways you can progress like some of the things mentioned above, that alone would be enough to massively increase and hold Trons player base. Improved gfx would help but come second to the basics and i feel would be improved as the dev team grows and becomes more active?

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Re: Armagetron ON Steam (2019) with steam direct

Post by aP|Nelg »

Z-Man wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 10:12 pm
Version to publish: I'd go with builds from the 0.2.8 branch. 0.2.8.3 is ancient by now. Master has too many loose ends, but could be offered as opt-in beta, if I understand it correctly.
I'd personally prefer if 0.4 were used instead of 0.2. 0.2 has bad font scaling (which looks suspiciously a lot like OCR-A), doesn't really have any custom HUD support, lacks ZonesV2, and as far as I'm aware lacks the tutorials 0.4 has.

Get rid of the giant clock though... a lot of people hate that :P

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Re: Armagetron ON Steam (2019) with steam direct

Post by Tank Program »

Great news Z-man, although I'm afraid I probably won't be much help. (I'm just checking in during my semi-regular forums upkeep.)

I've had some experience with Steam authentication type-things via the WordPress Social Login plugin. Probably not directly relevant, but it was fairly straight forward to deal with. I imagine that if you can't get the game to hook-in directly for authentication, that something web-based would be possible, but require https. Annoyingly the only real option for an https library in C++ is OpenSSL IIRC, but it would be nice to see authentication going over https.
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Re: Armagetron ON Steam (2019) with steam direct

Post by Z-Man »

Rnoodles wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 2:39 pm
- Once tron/Armacycles is uploaded to tron, will the dev team be open to other more active devs finding and liking this game, coming on board to help improve for example graphic design?
Sure. Right now, we're on the early Linux model. I'm sole manager of the GitHub/GitLab presence and handle merge/pull requests as they come in. I haven't advertised that enough yet :) Should be in README.md.
[/quote]

Tank: Technically, Steam auth is super simple. Over a client API call, you get a auth token. You present that to the server, the server verifies it with Steam's systems. The verification is available as a web service. Now, don't ask me how they protect against token stealing. They're only valid for a limited time, sure, but I don't see how I can't use your token to impersonate you on another server while you're playing on mine. Anyway, the problem there is that the API you get the client token from is proprietary and I think the library it is in needs to be distributed with the game. Those are some murky GPL waters there, not impossible to navigate in, but difficult. For example, we could put all the critical bits into its own package technically available separately as DLC, have the game work without it. Then it's a separate work and the combining of the GPL and proprietary work into one happens purely on the user's PC, a procedure naturally allowed in other instances (like, running GPL'ed software on Windows or installing every other Linux distribution).

Oh hey, they have a page about that: https://partner.steamgames.com/doc/sdk/ ... opensource
Aaargh, and that only covers the publishing, not even using the API. Even that can be considered problematic because the upload is only possible via a proprietary tool.
The page wrote:But I saw a GPL-licensed application on Steam!
This can happen if the author of the code that is GPL-licensed has given the permission to do so. The author can of course always (a) decide to grant Valve a different license than the author grants everyone else or (b) decide that what the Steamworks SDK does is just a communication with a service that does not invoke the copyleft requirement of the GPL.
(b) for sure, provided what lands on the user's drive is precisely what we feed it. Then it's just a fancy async rsync.

But yeah, a purely web auth based system would work. Steam users would have to log in again over the browser even though the client was already started over Steam, but they're likely already remembered by the browser.

Oh, my tax stuff went through, I can now edit the stuff. I watched a single video on Marketing on Steam and naturally, now I'm an expert, so I know the most important thing are the four screenshots that land on the main page. Send kickass screenshots my way, please. Preferably 1920x1080, definitely from either 0.2.8.3.X or the 0.2.8 branch. Apparently people also dig UI screenshots (not in the top four), so if anyone has one of the server browser from a time where more than 13 people were online, I'd be happy about that too. Take care that none of the server or player names depicted are offensive :)

There is also the long description to write. Nobody reads it, but it should be there. Does anyone feel inspired? I think I can do a decent enough job at it if not.

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Re: Armagetron ON Steam (2019) with steam direct

Post by Z-Man »

Native Steam Authentication won't happen, at least not any time soon. The Web API servers can use to verify a client's identity? They're for SECURE web servers, that is web servers the developer fully controls. The API functions are protected by some authentication key the developer has to get, so that would either be a job for every server owner or we'd have to so the task on a central auth server the game servers communicate with. That also explains the lack of Man in the Middle protection, the client is not supposed to just hand out their ID card to Joe Shmoe's server.

The regular way to authenticate steam users on game servers requires that the servers link to the Steam SDK. Clearly, that is not an option.

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Re: Armagetron ON Steam (2019) with steam direct

Post by Z-Man »

Our Steam store page just went online:
https://store.steampowered.com/app/1306180/Retrocycles/

TODO for everybody with a Steam account: Go there and put it on your wishlist! Wishlists are Valve's best measure to estimate interest and have high influence on how well the game is promoted come launch day (22nd of July).

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Re: Armagetron ON Steam (2019) with steam direct

Post by Galaxip »

before it goes live would it be possible to change the default player names from Player 1 ... 4 to Steam 1 .. 4 ?

we would know at a glance how many noobs have joined from steam :lol:
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Re: Armagetron ON Steam (2019) with steam direct

Post by Z-Man »

What do you care where the newbies are coming from? Be nice to all of them! :moustache:

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Re: Armagetron ON Steam (2019) with steam direct

Post by kyle »

Z-Man wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 11:09 pm
What do you care where the newbies are coming from? Be nice to all of them! :moustache:
an instance where I'd have just reacted to your post with a thumbs up
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