Planetary Annihilation Inc - The Future of PA and Titans

Discussion in 'PA: TITANS: General Discussion' started by panews, August 17, 2018.

  1. felipec

    felipec Active Member

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    Welcome back!!!!
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  2. Killerkiwijuice

    Killerkiwijuice Post Master General

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    Well I've been playing other games lately, but PA has still been my favorite for years. I'm super excited for the future!
    [​IMG]
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  3. Crembels

    Crembels Member

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    Ooooohh... I'm interested for sure :)
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  4. bmb

    bmb Well-Known Member

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    Well, I'm not quite sure what kind of resources you'll have to work with. But I hope it'll be enough to bring the game closer to what was promised. Maybe make craters work properly, less disgusting orbital mechanics, that sort of thing. Maybe fix the camera and strategic view, especially when zoomed out.
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  5. icycalm

    icycalm Post Master General

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    If we are talking development priorities, the absolute number 1 priorities for player retention should be:

    1. Clan controls
    A way to create clans in-game, with the clan tag appearing next to members' names automatically.

    2. Clan rankings
    A way for players to earn points for their clan on a leaderboard by playing both in the 1v1 ladder, and custom team games in general. I have no idea what kind of algorithm could be used to award these points, but look at how they do it for PlanetSide and do something similar: http://www.planetside-universe.com/outfit_leaderboard.php ("outfit" is the PlanetSide name for clans).

    If you awarded points BOTH for being the most skilled AND for being the most active, you would get even mid- and low-level players coming back and "grinding" points for their clans (bad players love grinding, that's why MMOs and JRPGs are popular). ALL other development goals should be lower-priority than player retention, and NOTHING would keep players playing long-term more than that. The mass of players doesn't care about sim speed or the 1v1 map pool or tiny balance changes that they will never even realize have happened: the mass of players cares about having a reason to keep playing the game beyond the first couple of weeks, and you can give it to them with literally ONE EVENING OF WORK, as I assume that the two things I mentioned above shouldn't take more than that for an experienced programmer. But even if they take weeks they would be worth it.

    More generally, I think PA Inc. needs to get a bit smarter than Uber was about priorities. You can spend months on highly laudable goals that a tiny hardcore elite will appreciate, while not gaining a single new player in the process. Don't do that anymore. It's bad for the game, and it's bad even for those elite players, even if they themselves don't realize it.

    And if you need help devising these priorities, talk to me: I know everything (I wrote the best essay on PA that will ever be written: http://culture.vg/reviews/videogame-art/planetary-annihilation.html).
  6. SXX

    SXX Post Master General

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    News that project will continue to live is exciting!
    Congratulations to everyone involved! ;)

    I was fairly away from anything PA-related, but if you guys need any help or more contributors please PM me some invite to whatever platform currently used for coordination (since I'm missed that mattermost invite lol). I now have some expertise in maintaining an open source project and C++ development so might be I could be of help.
    MrTBSC, cdrkf, stuart98 and 3 others like this.
  7. bmb

    bmb Well-Known Member

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    It didn't succeed as an esport the first time around.
  8. felipec

    felipec Active Member

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    What I think would be the best for PA (or maybe what I want), not in order:

    1- New official faction (I don't mind a single faction, but people seems to love that)
    2- Actual multi thread simulation for better late game. The late slowness is what kills the experience
    3- Actual impact simulation (smaller asteroids creating craters and shock waves while big asteroids destroying the whole planet as they do today). The crater should look better, like having lave inside and creating mountains circling the crater (crater shouldn't be passable)
    4- Better planet generation. More features like cracks, mountains, trees, old cities, etc.
    5- Implement clan features
    6- Multi unit transport (land, air and sea)
    7- Air, sea and orbital teleport
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  9. icycalm

    icycalm Post Master General

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    It's not about "succeeding", as if there was a universal and objective level of sales or player number above which all games could be considered "successful" regardless of genre lol. Obviously a 5v5 game where you only command one unit or a 1v1 game where the unit cap is 200 and the mechanical complexity is from 1998 will achieve orders of magnitude greater numbers than a game that demands strategic command over thousands of units spread across multiple battlefields in real time. It's genetics: nothing can be done about it. If anyone failed here, it is mankind for having so many low-IQ people who prefer MOBAs and StarCraft to PA, or who struggle to wrap their heads around the concept of a spherical battlefield. PA was NEVER in competition with MOBAs and StarCraft. That's like saying that Nietzsche is in competition with J.K. Rowling lol, or a Ferrari with a Fiat. Of course the Ferrari will sell fewer units. That's what happens when your product is of a world-class level of excellence.

    So it's not a binary "success/failure" issue: it is simply an issue of increasing these numbers: the sales and the playerbase. Any increase is a "success", and the bigger the increase, the greater the success; and what I am saying here is that PA should follow PlanetSide's example to do so. In PlanetSide, the in-game clan controls and clan leaderboard encouraged players -- even BAD players, players of inferior skill -- to form teams and keep playing to increase their team's standings. And that's what we want in PA, because PA is a team game at heart. You cannot play on a multiplanet system solo. Maybe a planet and a small moon, but that's not where PA excels. PA excels at large systems that require co-ordinated teams to properly play, and until the developers start focusing their attention on this part of the game and doing everything in their power to showcase it to the world, the game will remain far from reaching its true potential.

    Put clan controls in and a clan leaderboard and watch the custom game lobby explode with activity. Nothing else you could add to the game would be so easy to do and have such huge and immediate impact in terms of player attraction and retention. Even done BADLY it would be preferable and more beneficial than not doing it at all.
  10. wpmarshall

    wpmarshall Planetary Moderator

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    Imo, clan features should most certainly NOT be a priority, especially when you currently have other organisation methods. People don't play Counter Strike because they can have their clan featured in their name - it's a nice feature for identity, but nothing to write home about. And that goes exactly against what you are trying to achieve - that write-home aspect.
    Imagine a row of terraced housing and one of them was a hotel, but there was no indication that it was a hotel, and all of a sudden that hotel decides to renovate all of its rooms and modernise...BUT... there's still no indication of the hotel existing... will that revamp of those rooms draw in more customers, no.
    You need the sort of change that will draw eyeballs to the game.
    "HEY CHECK OUT THIS GAME - IT HAS CLAN FEATURES" isn't something people tend to say, rather - "CHECK OUT THIS GAME, YOU CAN BLOW UP PLANETS AND S***" is more what they will say.
    Again - you need the write-home features
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  11. Clopse

    Clopse Post Master General

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    Retaining and luring back people who own the game is an easy way to get free advertising. I've bought many games I'd never even consider buying because friends enjoyed them and sold the idea of them to me (I'm looking at you Titan).

    So for me what icy said, along with small ladder improvements are a real nice idea. Better performance will help everyone so that could be a good place to start.
  12. wpmarshall

    wpmarshall Planetary Moderator

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    Oh I never said they're a bad idea, I just feel like they're not as much of a priority as other things perhaps should be.
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  13. icycalm

    icycalm Post Master General

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    Marshall, the "write-home" features you are asking for take HALF A YEAR to make. What I am asking for would take DAYS. Any project manager would tell you that putting the easy tasks with quick gains BEHIND the long-term tasks makes zero sense.

    Another top priority is to let us use our custom servers in the custom lobby for god's sake. GDPR is a poor excuse: Rust and Factorio are some of the most popular MP games on Steam and they allow THOUSANDS of private servers. I was running weekly clan wars with 30+ players for six months in PA, and would still be running them if I could see my server in the custom game lobby. Uber loves to bandy the word "community" around, but when it comes to actually DOING something for the community, forget about it.

    So PLEASE let us use our custom servers again. My clan is paying $140 a month to rent the fastest PA server ever (Xeon E3-1285 v6 with 64GB RAM and an NVMe SSD), and it's just sitting there doing nothing. How on earth does that make any sense, if you actually care about the community of your game???

    You are geniuses in game design and development. Please do something to improve your PR capabilities as well.
  14. icycalm

    icycalm Post Master General

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    The only higher priority than any priority is a roadmap of priorities.

    PA needs this: https://rust.facepunch.com/roadmap/

    Put it on a new PA Inc. site, and watch how much buzz it will generate, without you actually having added anything to the game.

    Of course, after that you will have to start delivering. But, as long as you are confident in your ability to do this, nothing will generate as much immediate momentum, and as cheaply, as a clear and easily accessible roadmap. And the disclaimer that the Rust devs used at the top is golden: just copy-paste it into yours.

    Last edited: August 20, 2018
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  15. wpmarshall

    wpmarshall Planetary Moderator

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    Are these short term gains for the game in general, or more for you?
    What project managers will also do is prioritise impact over doing short tasks for the sake of getting them out of the way. Hence my previous point.

    This is a much more pertinent suggestion becasue it as you say 'generates buzz'... Are clan features really likely to do that? Forgive my scepticism...
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  16. icycalm

    icycalm Post Master General

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    PA is a fundamentally team-based game whose developers have focused ALL of their efforts, as regards competitive play, to the 1v1 mode.

    This makes bollock-all sense, and it is the ONLY long-term factor that is keeping the game from realizing its full potential.

    Last summer there were 0 clans left in the game. Then I started my Clan Wars, and within weeks there were 12. And today there are probably at least 20. And that's DESPITE mikey doing his best to shut the event down, and finally succeeding. Who knows where we'd be if he'd actually supported us instead of actively sabotaging us?

    So just humor the weird Greek guy and put the damn clan controls in the damn game. Even if NO ONE believes in the EXPLOSION in team games that I believe will happen, it is worth "wasting" a few days to put that stuff in on the off chance that I am right. Put the clan leaderboard right next to the 1v1 rankings, and see how quickly we get to 50 or 100 clans and beyond, vying to climb up the ultimate ladder.

    I have no other arguments to present. To me, it is common sense that a team game needs team features to flourish. Help the players make these teams and maintain them, and give them goals to achieve, by giving them the tools they need to do so. No one will notice a 10% increase in sim speed except a couple dozen nerds (and I'll be one of them, and I will love it -- that's why my clan is stumping up $140 a month for our own server), but a clan leaderboard will capture everyone's imagination the moment they fire up the game again.
    optimi likes this.
  17. acesoyster

    acesoyster Active Member

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    I don't think simplifying the idea of project management to the extent you are is really conducive to a worthwhile discussion. It's a nice idea, and the new team will probably consider how they think it fits within their current plans. It's still early days.
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  18. icycalm

    icycalm Post Master General

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    And for everyone's information, performance increase, at this point, is a red herring. So okay, instead of lag kicking in at 5,000 units, it will kick in at 5,500. Whoop de doo. People will still be complaining.

    In a game with no unit caps, you don't eliminate lag by increasing performance. It will literally NEVER HAPPEN that way. You eliminate lag by INTELLIGENT SYSTEM DESIGN. End of story. And if you want to know how to design systems for 3-hour 20-player clan wars with ZERO LAG, talk to the expert:



    Of course we still want performance increase, for the simple reason that more is better, but there are far higher priorities than that, so let's make performance a lower-level background task, as it should be.
  19. tatsujb

    tatsujb Post Master General

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    yeah but PA could do with further optimizations. more than 4 mid+ sized-planets or a single very big planet is still something that will take decades to generate and might crash or be unplayable from lag on load when in all reasonableness they're not that imposing by comparison to maps other games load nowadays.
    Last edited: August 20, 2018
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  20. DeathByDenim

    DeathByDenim Post Master General

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    Well, yeah, there is always room for improvement of course. The post I replied to made it sound like there was currently no multithreading, at least that's how I interpreted it.

    Also, I'm sure PA has been around for less than a decade, so I question your claim that very big planets take decades to load. :p
    tatsujb likes this.

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