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Online play

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Fleet Captain

Joined: 24 Jul 2008
Posts: 1897

PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:39 am    Post subject: Online play Reply with quote

It seems to be hard to run tourneys, and get people interested despite the best efforts of people like Jim. Partly I wonder because they have a fairly hard requirement for deadlines, which can be difficult with people (possibly all over the world) trying to find time before a deadline. The other aspect I suspect is the obvious competitive nature of a tourney, in my experience most potential players are just not that competitive.

Whilst I try to play in them just to get some games in, I personally find it hard to motivate myself with tourneys, I can be somewhat competitive, but the existing format just bores me (same squadron 4 games in a row, basic open map, simple kill all). It also of course tends to prompt more discussion on tourney balance, rather than just playing.

However, my main interest and reason for posting is to fish for ideas on what might get some sort of FC online games going a bit more regularly.

What other forms of online play might get people interested?

In the past I mooted the idea of a campaign, more informal, less emphasis on competition etc. Certainly it is my favorite form of play. They can generate all sorts of games, small to large, with no fixed definition of win, and give you incentives to preserve ships rather than kill the enemy no mater the cost. However I only had a couple of people interested, and it really needs more than that - e.g. multi players per side to avoid issues with someone being unavailable holding up the entire campaign.

The other thing I have wondered about is a 'league', rather than a straight tourney. Every one plays everyone else over say a year (depending on how many are interested). Less emphasis on deadlines per game as long as you are getting through the games as the year progresses. There would be less urgency in organizing a specific match-up, anyone who you hadn't yet played is a possible match-up for your next free slot of playing time. Probably with a different empire per game, and maybe different scenarios that everyone has to do.

Once upon a time in a galaxy far away a couple of people (Eric and Gar from memory) tried to have a regular session each week and encourage anyone else to drop in. Possibly a lot more friendly, social, less competitive and more free form. Requires a couple of people who can play each week as things like that fall down if it is missed on weeks that others just happened to turn up.

Any other ideas?

Who is interested in some form of (semi)regular online play in some format? Or are the tourneys struggling because there really are few people who want to play FC online anyway?
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Lieutenant SG

Joined: 07 Mar 2013
Posts: 147
Location: Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the SFB side of the client they've had some success with the NetKill league: maybe we can look there for some ideas.

SFB Online seems to work because they have enough players who find themselves on line in the evenings and finding a game isn't a problem. I've noticed that they don't use Skype during their SFB games. Players communicate using the chat functionality so agreeing to play is as easy as announcing that you're LFG (Looking For a Game) and setting up a room.

I'm not sure why the same 'critical mass' of players is so difficult to find in FC online. As far as I can tell FC is better-suited to online play than SFB is but maybe I'm missing something?
Does FC have a set of tournament cruisers that are balanced for play?
Is the Skype set up necessary or can players just chat like they do in SFB Online?

Maybe creating that Critical Mass is as easy as generating some buzz about the client by announcing on the forum any upcoming matches--formal, informal, campaign, duel...whatever...and waiting for enough innocent bystanders show up to open another room?
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Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Posts: 769
Location: Chesterfield, MO

PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lee -- I have been similarly ruminating about the possibility of a league or ladder approach instead of a tourney and the use of scenarios rather than the tourney duel.

Sebastian -- Years ago I would commonly hang out on VASSAL (then VASL) for live pickup games of ASL. However, there was much more of a critical mass of folks hanging out to watch games and then join them. FC faces several challenges in this respect:

- It likely has a smaller cadre of very active players than either SFB or ASL

- Folks are reluctant to regularly pay subscription fees without having confidence they will be able to find folks to play games often enough to justify paying the fees

- While there is now a large base of scenarios for FC, correct or not, there is a perception there are play balance and rules hole issues with many of those scenarios. While there are certainly troublesome SFB (and even ASL scenarios) out there, ASL, for example, at least has its ROAR database to provide insight into the popularity and playbalance of scenarios making it much easier to select a scenario on the fly for a pickup game.

I agree Skype makes games a bit less observable and does reduce some of comaraderie (sp?). However, online games are far more enjoyable when using Skype than when just using the online client alone.

One additional issue that exists in general is that we still don't have fully functioning Vudar, ISC and Andromedan ships in the client. However, we may have a chicken and the egg issue with Paul with respect to this if he is not receiving much in the way of FC Online subscription fees.
Jim Dauphinais, Chesterfield, MO

St. Louis Area Fed Comm Group: http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/STL_Federation_Commander/
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Joined: 18 Mar 2008
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of all, I am interested in trying to master this game after having played SFB for 20 years. Hence, this topic is relevant to my situation in that I am not sure how to find opponents. Campaigns or tournaments would seem to be the most effective way of getting people involved. The only suggestion that I have is to try to have more of a presence on the Start Fleet Universe boards.

(So can anyone give me advice on how to find FC games?)
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