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State of the Sandvich: November 2014

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So Halloween's come and gone, and as I mentioned, discussion post on how Oatmeal's been dead.  Here ya go.

 

Us admins have been having discussions amongst ourselves, and even that's been at a standstill.  Initially we were discussing how we could tweak the server.  Stuff like reducing downloads, enabling random crits.  Couldn't come to an agreement on some aspects.

 

We discussed the possibility of making group event announcements along the lines of "Come play with us!".  It was dismissed as being kind of spammy.

 

We debated on running a CS:GO server.  That was quickly shot down, considering there isn't much demand for custom servers in that playerbase.

 

We also had that secret project I was hinting at.  I gave it some thought.  And then some more.  Ultimately, it would end up only catering to a small niche of people, and as fun as it would've been to run with the idea, I decided to can it.  It wasn't worth developing.

 

So things have been a standstill for a long while on that front, and so now I'd like to hear what the rest of us thinks.

 

Do you have any suggestions on what we should do as a community?  Do we care about having new people playing on Oatmeal?  Are we content with having our little corner of the internet stay as it is, regardless of TF2?

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allright so here are my propositions:

 

1.-get back to the youtube videos things. It was the main attractive back then and without any new one it's been really stale. I know the youtube account is lost in the vast sea of ratty's accounts(pika told me) but here are the options:

   *make a new one

   *find a way to recover the old one. There must be a way. (pika and I discussed flagging a video so that it sends an e-mail or something of the sort)

the videos don't even have to be about tf2 if you guys don't want. We could put things like co-op with nommers, M's streaming of horror games, huge mafia games, etc. As long as we sometimes put tf2 int he videos it'd be ok

 

2.- Make events a more common thing. Make the community create projects every now and then. I loved planning the halloween video, but I couldn't play because of exams and because this semester is extra tough for me. But I'd love to keep working in some sort of project again. Make them in bigger scale with more people planning it. The problem is that I'm pretty sure everyone is very busy these days so maybe not a lot of people will be able to join. 

 

3.-Keep it as it is, as of now, the server might be dead but the forums are pretty much alive. I do enjoy looking at what new stuff you guys are saying and keeping it like this isn't so bad. 

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Reducing the amount of downloads would definitely help. I know for a fact that many people will instantly cancel out the moment a client starts downloading sounds or models.

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Any solution to this issue is going to be painful.

 

Stuff has gotten stale, everyone knows everyone. Things are predictable. I think filling the server up with anyone will bring back some of the regulars and breathe some new life into the server.

 

If the server is going to get more attractive to new people, we have to make a lot of changes, mostly removing a lot of the custom stuff that might spook newcomers away (perhaps making it optional forum-only downloads?) or would prevent the server from being listed in matchmaking when vanilla maps are being played. That means turning on random crits and damage spread. When there is a reliable usercount on the server, regardless of who those users actually are, more regulars will show up.

 

Putting in the server title that Nom does custom maps might attract more players from the server browser, since quality custom map servers can be difficult to find.

 

I would love to see moderator induced silliness toned down too. It's fun in small doses but sometimes it happens way too often. I can't count the number of times people have wanted to play X map and it was switched to Desperados instead. It wouldn't be so bad if we were allowed to play seriously.

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To piggy back off of Soul, the youtube thing was actually a good way to attract new people. I remember when I was first on the server I still remember one of the regulars at that time complaining the youtube videos were bringing in too much new blood, get a bunch of videos, with the ip in the description and stuff, that'll help alot.

Isn't the server already set up for random matchmaking?(If not what happened to that, it was at one point) Then it's just a matter of making sure people are there to make the matchmaking work. And on that, making sure people are there helps, I know if you get a few regulars on there it'll usually grow up to a large group, if matchmaking is fixed that'll sustain those numbers as well.

 

 

It wouldn't be so bad if we were allowed to play seriously.

The problem with this is the fact that it goes both ways. Playing seriously all the time gets super stale, playing non-seriously gets stale too. There just needs to be a balance. I've seen the server empty due to either reason.

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I think another big reason why Oatmeal is dead is simply that TF2 in general is dead for almost everyone else.  I know I've been barely played since the start of my semester, and despite the bumpercar shenanigans of last Halloween, I only played a handful of hours.  I don't know if the two are part of some vicious cycle (no one's playing Oatmeal, no one plays TF2.  No one plays TF2, no one plays Oatmeal.) but there's definitely something.

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The problem with this is the fact that it goes both ways. Playing seriously all the time gets super stale, playing non-seriously gets stale too. There just needs to be a balance. I've seen the server empty due to either reason.

It doesn't matter if it's silly or serious, the problem is that it's mandatory. Being silly or serious isn't fun when you don't have a choice. There's this unwritten server rule (that I've only ever seen learned the hard way) that you have to be silly on certain maps and serious on others, otherwise you could get in trouble.

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I think another big reason why Oatmeal is dead is simply that TF2 in general is dead for almost everyone else.  I know I've been barely played since the start of my semester, and despite the bumpercar shenanigans of last Halloween, I only played a handful of hours.  I don't know if the two are part of some vicious cycle (no one's playing Oatmeal, no one plays TF2.  No one plays TF2, no one plays Oatmeal.) but there's definitely something.

This also. Most of us and regulars have moved onto other games or are in college/university at this point.  The new cosmetics aren't really all that attractive and the game has been going on for 7 years now.  TF2 definitely has had an amazing run but many of us have stopped playing because we want to try something new.

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I want to play, but school is keeping me much too busy. I didn't even play at all over halloween.

That said, even before school started the server was often empty, and no one wants to sit around for a half hour to an hour by themselves or with only 2-4 others waiting for the server to fill because that is SO GODDAMN BORING. At least I didn't want to just wait around.

Unfortunately I cannot think of much in the way of solutions that has not already been mentioned, the foremost of which being announcements (which I understand can be annoying, but I'd kinda like em.) and youtube. Soul made a good point (for a fucking scrub) about the videos not even needing to be TF2 related, so long as some are.

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It doesn't matter if it's silly or serious, the problem is that it's mandatory. Being silly or serious isn't fun when you don't have a choice. There's this unwritten server rule (that I've only ever seen learned the hard way) that you have to be silly on certain maps and serious on others, otherwise you could get in trouble.

I dunno, i've never run into that sort of problem personally. THEN AGAIN I am the type to go boxing heavy on normal maps simply because it's fun and I can make it work, so i'm not exactly a great example of someone who plays seriously so I admit that could have alot to do with it.

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To the people saying make videos, the biggest issue with that there is no active server to record them from.

 

No one's playing.  Where do we get material that actually defines us as a server from?  

 

Aside from source filmmaker videos, we don't really have options.

 

Solely speaking on TF2 content here.

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To the people saying make videos, the biggest issue with that there is no active server to record them from.

 

No one's playing.  Where do we get material that actually defines us as a server from?  

 

Aside from source filmmaker videos, we don't really have options.

Fraps and similar software. The problem is that someone that knows how to do/owns the software it has to be recording. 

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Fraps and similar software. The problem is that someone that knows how to do/owns the software it has to be recording. 

 

The point is no one's playing, ergo nothing to record. It's a chicken and egg sorta thing.

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The point is no one's playing, ergo nothing to record. It's a chicken and egg sorta thing.

I mean, no one is playing now but from time to time we get into the server. That's where we can start. 

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I mean, no one is playing now but from time to time we get into the server. That's where we can start. 

 

Sadly, it's gonna take more planning than that, since if/when that happens, it's spontaneous and sporadic, therefore difficult to be ready for.  

 

Unfortunately activity is at an all-time low, and we would need consistency on the server in order for any of this to work.

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The videos were fun because they were candid, and not staged or forced. We have literally no one playing, and we wouldn't find enough material in only a few days.

 

In addition to that, the demo plugin we're using requires that the bot be on the server taking up an extra slot, knocking our player count off even. At 25 players we aren't available for quick play on either 24 or 30+ player settings.

 

We could try switching to the TF2 replays, but they don't capture voice, and last time we tried (I honestly don't remember when that was) having it enabled really fucked up server performance.

 

Videos would be great, but currently even the mere idea of them is hurting far more than it's helping.

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In addition to that, the demo plugin requires that the bot be on the server taking up an extra slot, knocking our player count off even. At 25 players we aren't available for quick play on either 24 or 30+ player settings.

 

Videos would be great, but currently even the mere idea of them is hurting far more than it's helping.

 

This is the big thing. Right now it would be better for us to sacrifice replays/videos in order to allow the community to come back to life with pubbers. We simply need more people if anything like that is going to work in a way that is genuine.

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This is the big thing. Right now it would be better for us to sacrifice replays/videos in order to allow the community to come back to life with pubbers. We simply need more people if anything like that is going to work in a way that is genuine.

but hasn't that been implemented for a while already? that doesn't seem to be working...

 

I don't know. What do we really want? do we want the server to be full 24/7 like before? or do we just want the community to be bigger? like I said, I'm ok with how things are right now but if we have a clear objective in mind then we have to work towards that, even if it feels a bit forced. We need things to happen if we want something to change. 

 

I suggest a poll of some sort to decide what everyone wants for the community first. 

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but hasn't that been implemented for a while already? that doesn't seem to be working...

 

What we're saying is that even though we're on quickplay, we're on a setting that makes us much harder to find simply because we're neither 24 or 30+. The reason for this is because the replay bot is creating a 25th slot and forcing us to choose an option that is much less populated. Simply taking out the bot and making the server 24 slots will allow us to be seen by the largest pool of people and help get the server populated by random people. 

 

As for your question, the answer is yes. We want both. Pubbers will create activity on the server, which in turns brings the community to life. These things aren't mutually exclusive, and neither one is detrimental to the health of Nom.

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Oh yeah, I'm sorry I didn't clarify that point. Tomato brought this to our attention recently. There are three settings for quick play, 24, 30+, and Don't Care. We can only be found on Don't Care, and we have to be running a stock map. Currently the server with nobody on it is on a custom map, nobody could even join with quick play if they wanted too.

 

I don't think anyone actually has any idea whether or not it would help, but given the new information about the player settings and custom maps, we really haven't even tried.

 

The first Nomtage was released in June 2009, 20 months after TF2 released. The server had already built a decent community without the videos, they just rocketed us up the food chain. We have far fewer players now than we did before the videos.

 

 

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Sorry, I've got to make a really important point here.

 

There's several nommers playing right TF2 at this moment and it's not on the Nom server.

 

That's part of the problem.

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