I still feel this is a really cool idea and would help solve the recent disconnect between community and dev team.
So... shameless bump.
@artch I'm sorry to hear about the troubles you've faced. You have my best wishes and I hope the worst has passed. It is certainly not my intention to affect your motivation at the moment when you've finally resurfaced. If you need a sympathetic ear or business/technical advice do not hesitate to contact me. I hope I can be of assistance.
With that said, the issues with engagement and community (mis)management are not recent problems. They may have been exacerbated by your recent misfortunes, but they have been part of the public discourse for years now.
@artch, you have created a unique and extraordinary game that I love. You have a small but fanatical community behind you. Capitalize on your years of hard work! What you need to do is not difficult, it is not complicated. You've already overcome some incredible challenges.
On the code:
These are just some random things off the top of my head, but there's such vast potential here. You have hundreds of willing developers and gamers at your fingertips just hoping to be involved in the development of this project. Let us help you.
I've tried my best to be supportive and hopeful regarding Screeps, but you're not making it easy.
I'm glad to hear about some mystery PTR version in some future. However, I feel the need to provide some friendly advice especially considering this apparent growth in the team behind this game so dear to me. Find a way, some way, anyway, to reserve 2-4 hours for engaging the dying Screeps community out of the regular 40 hour week.
I've been an administrator of the Screeps slack for some time now and can tell you that engagement is at an all-time low. It has been steadily dropping since it's high point 1 year ago with the shard event.
Forget some form of communication once a week, how difficult is it to provide some sign of life once a month?
And I must ask, this upcoming PTR version, where is it being developed? Are you guys using some hidden private repo and then pulling into the public one? If so, why?!
If you check out the activity on the engine repo https://github.com/screeps/engine/graphs/commit-activity there hasn't been anything in 3 months. What magic can we expect in the following weeks? As a humble developer, I have heard of things like frequent atomic commits and git strategies and so on that people are supposed to pay attention to, but you seem not to.
As the original organizer of the Screeps warfare championship, I have difficulties understanding how "Screeps Arena" would solve any of the systemic problems faced by the Screeps game.
Let's cut a different page. I've been involved in entrepreneurship for 7 years now. I've built up a tech startup from 0 employees to 20 and I've seen it grow from 0 revenue to 3m euro+. If you want my advice you need to make some drastic changes to how you manage the community and the development of the screeps engine.
These regular updates don't need to be world-shattering changes. You need to provide the feeling of love and care rather than the current perception of general neglect.
A concerned citizen
Esteemed colleagues and friends,
I see spirits and tensions run as high as they always tend to. I won't feed the conversation surrounding Tedivm and do think it should be discussed somewhere else. This thread is here to hold an important discussion that is likely to yield a useful outcome for the game.
Here are my thoughts around the tick time.
I personally don't believe that the tick rate is a major cause of player loss. I think the tick rate is a simple excuse. A visible thing to point to. Whether the tick rate is 2s, 3.6s or 5s, it's still in the same order of magnitude. This game is (and should be) a slow game with engagement over hours or days. In fact, this is one of the things that has been very attractive to me about the game.
I have been playing mmo games for a long long time now and I've had a special attraction towards mmo strategy games. One of the core problems with most mmo games is that they require time. Lots and lots of time. Which is fine if you're a teenager. Not so much when you've got a job, wife and kids. It's natural for interest to rise and wane over time. The beauty of Screeps is that it allows players to maintain a connection with the game during their low periods.
I'm strongly in favor of a 3.6s tick rate. It makes understanding and translating game events into the real world much easier. An hour is 1k ticks, a day is 24k ticks. You send off an attack and log back in one hour to see it in action. It segments interaction with the game in a clean way.
2.4s is another reasonable choice due to the creep life cycle but does not translate Screeps time to real-time as clearly.
Still, the only reasonable choices IMHO are 3.6s and 2.4s. The choice of which to pick should be made on ideological grounds of how the player is meant to interact with the game and not on which one is the cheaper or fastest choice. A faster game is not necessarily a better one and, again, I seriously doubt that the game's speed is the real reason people would leave.
Personally, I feel faster tick rates benefit established players more than they do new ones. The faster the game, the more automation plays in and new players can't be automated at the required level. My memory of 2s tick times was quite a stressful time when the game was sucking much more time then I could afford to give it. I was close to quitting a number of times due to the game being too intense.
Fundamentally, I think people are not having a problem with the tick time, but with reaching a point of equilibrium with their environment and losing the pressure to survive. Once a player is in that state, it doesn't matter what the tick rate is.
Awesome changes. They open up some really interesting strategies at all levels.
I don't share Rajecz's concerns. The last months of warfare have shown that bunker style rooms or "walls in" strategy have an edge over walls out.
The bunkers have their own issues (traffic management) that are quite tricky to solve, but at the moment there is no known effective strategy at dealing with a properly managed bunker. On the other hand, there are numerous strategies for dealing with the traditional wall structure. The lack of strategies on tackling effective bunkers is certainly not due to lack of trying mind you.
In any case, this change only requires that bunker rooms be constructed around controllers. It makes the layouting of bunker rooms a more complex problem (the very source of bunker rooms was standardizing layout), but I feel they will still be quite effective. Not to mention that this change only turns the game into a cool tug of war over the controller.
As the defender you still have a healthy edge in ensuring effective control over the room controller.