Getting and keeping new players is turning out to be much harder than I originally thought.
The first problem is that the original zone designs called for a minimum of 20 players to be fun. I don’t usually have 20 players simultaneous though, which is a self-defeating prophecy. Plus the zones that I spent the most work on was the larger ones for hundreds of people, so most of my effort isn’t yet visible.
The second problem is that some people still can’t run, or those that used to run no longer can. Part of the problem is Ogre 3D does a full file scan, so older deleted files are still used, and cause errors. Usually the autopatcher deletes these but sometimes I have to reset the autopatcher database so it doesn’t happen.
The third problem is that when there are only a few players online no amount of ship designing is going to make it so that the newbie can sometimes kill the expert. With less than 15 or so people the newbies don’t get those lucky kills and don’t have fun.
The fourth problem is not enough newbies come online at once to play each other. So they sit in the newbie zone for 10 minutes, go to the regular zone, and get wasted as above.
What I might need to do is put Armada (500 players) on hold for a while and work on a zone very friendly to new players, that works well with very low populations. I’ll think for a while on this. Throwing out some possibilities:
1. Speed kill competition in a very small zone with at most 5 players, no spectators allowed. Most kills in time X wins. Since dying doesn’t matter, newbies have more fun.
2. Racing mode, just race around a track
*** EDIT ***
Got a good idea for target drones. Adding that now. I will have them rotate to shoot at you. Shouldn’t be too hard.