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Finding Stars-players Mon, 20 November 2017 11:48 Go to next message
Altruist is currently offline Altruist

 
Commander

Messages: 1030
Registered: August 2005
Location: Berlin
The player community has certainly shrinked quite a bit.

The question arises how to find enough players to get games going and best, if the experience level is not too different.

One of the advantages of the Home World Forum and autohost: We still have a functioning forum and an excellent interface to automate turn generation.

1) News list
In another thread I have already mentioned to also use the old news list for announcements:
# https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/rec.games.computer.s tars
Best done with also always including a link to the announcement in this forums but it certainly needs a form and topic which clearly distinguishes those announcement from all the spam there.

2) Player communities of other language areas
Another thing where might still lure quite some isolated Stars-players...
Due to the language barriers and also just because there were enough players and it was more convenient for them, there used to be completly independent player communities in:
# France and French speaking areas
# Poland?
# Russia
# Germany
# other?
All languages I can sadly not write and read (except the last one). But I noticed (or rather guess) that in the last years those player communities have more or less fallen apart and lost their forums and websites. I've gotten also the impression that over the years some players form those communities have found their way to "us" here... also because English has become more common.

Have we got any players from those areas or with the approbiate language skills? Who know which places and websites still exist? With whom we could connect to pool players together to get more games going?

3) Direct invitation emails
Experienced hosts with a few games under their belt should/could also directly invite players of former games via email. In my experience this is never seen as spam but highly welcome (and if only to remember the great times they had with Stars).


[Updated on: Mon, 20 November 2017 12:48]

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Re: Finding Stars-players: beginner-game Mon, 20 November 2017 12:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Altruist is currently offline Altruist

 
Commander

Messages: 1030
Registered: August 2005
Location: Berlin
Right now we have a beginner game looking for players:
# Beginner Rematch
and I am sure there would be also quite some players happy to see true games dedicated to intermediate and/or experienced players.

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Re: Finding Stars-players Mon, 20 November 2017 13:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Altruist is currently offline Altruist

 
Commander

Messages: 1030
Registered: August 2005
Location: Berlin
While thinking about new players, and right after trying in another thread to answere some questions about "How to get going with Stars" to a new player, I realized that today it is quite a steep step to "get going":
1) Finding and hearing about Stars
2) Finding this forum
3) Getting Stars to run on a modern computer
4) Which Stars version?
5) Obtaining a unique serial number
Once those steps are done, we have then a huge wealth of articles and utilities to get as in depth as one wants to become with the finer parts of Stars but those first steps aren't really easy at the moment.

Some of the above steps I can easily write together myself but with the more technical stuff I am rather one of the forum members the least competent (no wonder with the concentration of Stars-players being programers of one or the other kind what I am certainly not).
We do have lots of very helpful and competent people in here willing to lead new players step by step how to set up their computer to get Stars running and several threads about it:
# Back after 3 years, Windows 10?
# Windows 7 compatibility issues? Look no further!
But a 34 post thread about it might come a bit overwhelming for the new player.

So it would be great if one of the knowledgable (not me! *grin* as proud as I am that i got the virtual box running) could perhaps summarize it into a single post we could make sticky and use instead of the already existing ones? Quite some work is, I think, already done but, as I said, hidden within quite many posts.

So in general I think it would be a great idea to have a sticky very well sorted and linked thread where a new player can find everything he or she needs to play Stars and to take part in a multiplayer game for the first time. And great if one of the Mods (looking to ccmaster) could maintain and edit the first posts in such a thread to hopefully stop it from becoming too big and confusing.

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Re: Finding Stars-players Fri, 24 November 2017 14:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ManicLurch is currently offline ManicLurch

 
Lt. Junior Grade

Messages: 461
Registered: May 2009
Altruist wrote on Mon, 20 November 2017 11:48


3) Direct invitation emails
Experienced hosts with a few games under their belt should/could also directly invite players of former games via email. In my experience this is never seen as spam but highly welcome (and if only to remember the great times they had with Stars).



The other options might work out great, but I think option 3 is a very good one. I used to check the forum at least every other day. But as the community grew smaller and the forum activity declined, I now sometimes go weeks/months without checking. I would bet there are former players who don't check at all anymore, but if they received an email with a new game announcement they might be tempted to play again.

I would have a hard time finding the email addresses of the players for games that are older than a year or two. Maybe we can start a new game mailing list where all former and current stars players get an email for new game announcements. We can put all the autohost members on it initially, with an option to opt out of the list. This way former players don't have to check the forums to get notified of new games. If we only allow new game announcements on this mail list, I would think most will not opt out.

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Re: Finding Stars-players Mon, 01 January 2018 15:59 Go to previous messageGo to next message
talkingbologna is currently offline talkingbologna

 
Chief Petty Officer

Messages: 73
Registered: November 2016
Location: 1947
On top of the given suggestions, what about a new area? Like a small business, we need to get our name out there. Stars! has fallen into general obscurity in the wider world. If I hadn't fiddled with it when I was a kid and thus tried to find it again, I don't think I'd ever have found it while looking for interesting games I'd never played before. In the effort of advertisement we could...



    Start a social media page (or three) like FaceBook, Twitter, or a Yahoo group or a blog. Add screenshots and some juicy game stories.

    Contact websites with lists of old computer games and 4x and/or strategy games and see if they don't have and would add Stars! (anyone remember Jumbo. com?)

    Stir interest on sites frequented by programmers or other professions/hobbies with target audiences who would play.

    See if news media like magazines with such target audiences allow blog sections or would do a piece on us (I don't know how that all works, actually, but maybe).


How much is it to secure advertising time on some mainstream TV channel or in a keyword ad on a search engine? Maybe if enough people saw it we'd get a few people through here. And with enough people through here, maybe a few would stick around long enough to play. It's probably a considerable amount more than I'd be able to put into it, but I'm considering all options.

I will continue my search for methods of marketing stuff I'm not actually selling, but this is what I can think of, so far.

Edit: Pay-per-click, billboards, skywriting!!!


[Updated on: Mon, 01 January 2018 16:23]

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Re: Finding Stars-players Wed, 07 March 2018 02:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ricks03 is currently offline ricks03

 
Crewman 1st Class

Messages: 34
Registered: January 2012
Location: NC
Altruist wrote on Mon, 20 November 2017 13:39
While thinking about new players, and right after trying in another thread to answere some questions about "How to get going with Stars" to a new player, I realized that today it is quite a steep step to "get going":
1) Finding and hearing about Stars
2) Finding this forum
3) Getting Stars to run on a modern computer
4) Which Stars version?
5) Obtaining a unique serial number


Modifications to the ini file
Pointer to the original Strategy Guide is a good start (the myriad of articles can be a bit overwhelming) [Disclosure that I'm one of the author/editors]

In some respects, Stars! is wildly easier to get running than it used to be just after the transition to 64-bit, with the proliferation of emulators. Virtual PC (XP Mode) in Win 7, Oracle's Virtual Box, and VMWare make getting a 32-bit Windows environment a lot more accessible.



http://www.irelandbybicycle.com
http://totalhost.sinister.net:999

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Re: Finding Stars-players Tue, 03 April 2018 23:33 Go to previous messageGo to next message
F1ange is currently offline F1ange

 
Crewman 3rd Class

Messages: 7
Registered: February 2012
Location: Canada
I still pla7 stars! with a group of friends which varies from 6-12 we've been playing a game consistently off and on for the last 15 years, I think we've played about 30 so far. I'll try to point them at this site for more games....

Its a long way from the old blitz games but its still fun. (-:

F1



See you in space

F1ange

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Re: Finding Stars-players Thu, 12 April 2018 20:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
m.a@stars is currently offline m.a@stars

 
Commander

Messages: 2745
Registered: October 2004
Location: Third star to the left
What about keeping players from leaving?

1) Curb bugs, cheats, and other abuses.

2) Use sane(r) rules and schedules.

3) Maybe improve scenario creation.



So many Stars, so few Missiles!

In space no one can hear you scheme! Deal

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Re: Finding Stars-players Fri, 13 April 2018 08:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mrvan is currently offline mrvan

 
Chief Warrant Officer 2

Messages: 160
Registered: May 2014
So, I just played the first 30-odd years in the new beginner's game. It was my first game online, played a lot of PvE and hotseat stars! back in the nineties.

I really dislike the slow pace of things here, especially in getting started with games and communicating. The newbeg game was announced in May 2017, and started in January. So, it took 6 months to get going, and then was abandoned after a month of play.

I withdrew from an earlier game (ARNLT) because it was taking forever to get started (also around 6 months) and I wasn't sure about my schedule anymore.

I would love to play more games, but surely we should be able to find a way to actually get games started within a week or so? Or, if we want to testbed races for specific conditions, at least have the roster and deadlines setup quickly?

Maybe I should just care less, but for me it's just frustrating how glacial everything is. I can understand that games take long, especially comms games, but does it really need to take half a year to get a game going...?

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Re: Finding Stars-players Fri, 13 April 2018 17:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ManicLurch is currently offline ManicLurch

 
Lt. Junior Grade

Messages: 461
Registered: May 2009
Quote:
I really dislike the slow pace of things here, especially in getting started with games and communicating. The newbeg game was announced in May 2017, and started in January. So, it took 6 months to get going, and then was abandoned after a month of play.


That game is the longest I have seen to get started. When the community was more active, I played in many games that took about 1 month to get started from the date of announcement to the first turn. When there are more players, the games can fill up on the first week of announcement and get going faster. I think the pace problem will be solved if the player count problem is solved.

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Re: Finding Stars-players Fri, 13 April 2018 17:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ManicLurch is currently offline ManicLurch

 
Lt. Junior Grade

Messages: 461
Registered: May 2009
Another thing that could speed up starting of games is automating the game creation. Right now a person has to manually get all the race files, check them to make sure they pass the rules, gen the game and universe. In some instances they have to move planets, or do multiple gens to make sure starting positions are fair, etc. Depending on how busy the host is, this can take a week or two. If we had some scripts to do this, it could happen the same day all racefiles were in. I don't think this is an easy task though to build this.

(Edit) Well I just looked at the forum and someone is working on automating this:

https://starsautohost.org/sahforum2/index.php?t=msg&th=5 173&start=0&rid=1316


[Updated on: Fri, 13 April 2018 18:11]

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Re: Finding Stars-players Fri, 13 April 2018 18:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mrvan is currently offline mrvan

 
Chief Warrant Officer 2

Messages: 160
Registered: May 2014
Well it's possible of course that I was unlucky to be involved in two games (ARNSL and newbeg) that were very slow to start. But in any case it is demotivating for someone who is quite eager to get back to the game.

Note that I don't blame you at all, you're hosting this in your spare time without playing yourself, so thanks for that!

As a true nerd, I always believe in technical solutions for problems. Maybe the hosting program advertised in the other thread could help, but if multiple regens are needed it will always take some manual time. At least the other hosting program allows players to upload race files etc themselves. Do you think the sanity check part can be automated somehow, i.e. a script that takes the generated game files and can check whether it abides by some rules such as mostly equal starting distances, enough planets within two warps, etc? What kind of things do you check as a host?

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Re: Finding Stars-players Fri, 13 April 2018 20:18 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ricks03 is currently offline ricks03

 
Crewman 1st Class

Messages: 34
Registered: January 2012
Location: NC
ManicLurch wrote on Fri, 13 April 2018 17:45
Another thing that could speed up starting of games is automating the game creation. Right now a person has to manually get all the race files, check them to make sure they pass the rules, gen the game and universe. In some instances they have to move planets, or do multiple gens to make sure starting positions are fair, etc. Depending on how busy the host is, this can take a week or two. If we had some scripts to do this, it could happen the same day all racefiles were in. I don't think this is an easy task though to build this.

The Totalhost websige I wrote includes game creation. It's fairly trivial to add the ability to upload manually created games (in case there were custom conditions) were there ever interest. http://totalhost.sinister.net:999

Then again, Autohost should be able to meet that specific "custom game" need now.

With .def files, scripting game creation is easy unless you have to pay attention to input validation.


[Updated on: Fri, 13 April 2018 20:34]




http://www.irelandbybicycle.com
http://totalhost.sinister.net:999

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Re: Finding Stars-players Fri, 13 April 2018 20:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ricks03 is currently offline ricks03

 
Crewman 1st Class

Messages: 34
Registered: January 2012
Location: NC
I think Stars! also completely missed the social media phase. I see someone created a Stars! facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1431617593805831

If you want to foster communication, moving to a tool that more people use, that pops up activity in their feed, might improve communication?



http://www.irelandbybicycle.com
http://totalhost.sinister.net:999

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Re: Finding Stars-players Fri, 13 April 2018 22:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ManicLurch is currently offline ManicLurch

 
Lt. Junior Grade

Messages: 461
Registered: May 2009
Quote:
With .def files, scripting game creation is easy unless you have to pay attention to input validation.


Most games have some specific rules. Like no CA. Or Joat cannot take NAS. Or everyone has to take Weapons expensive. We do this because we CA is unbalanced and the others are to mix things up as we get bored of vanilla games. So if the game generation could have a set of rules, and validate the races against those rules, that would be ideal.

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Re: Finding Stars-players Sat, 14 April 2018 03:06 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Altruist is currently offline Altruist

 
Commander

Messages: 1030
Registered: August 2005
Location: Berlin
mrvan wrote on Fri, 13 April 2018 14:00
I really dislike the slow pace of things here, especially in getting started with games and communicating. The newbeg game was announced in May 2017, and started in January. So, it took 6 months to get going, and then was abandoned after a month of play.


Well, 7-8 month until a game starts is a bit excessive.

Out of curiousity I've just checked the last 4 games I hosted. As a preparation I emailed players from games before, sent the announcement via the news-list and made the central subscibing post here. From announcement to start of the game it took between 9-18 days with 6-9 players in each game taking part. 9 days from announcement to start is quite wild, though, I doubt I haven't seen that again. But it took only 3 days until 9 players had gathered and then I gave them another 6 days to get their race files tested and done. That was a few years ago, though. Mmmh, as a matter of fact perhaps a few years too long ago. Thinking about it... I would like to host a game again... well, perhaps, when the present newbie game will be finished.

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Re: Finding Stars-players Sat, 14 April 2018 08:57 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mrvan is currently offline mrvan

 
Chief Warrant Officer 2

Messages: 160
Registered: May 2014
I'm pretty sure the current newbeg game is dead. Last turn is from 3 weeks ago. It turned into a 2v1v1 alliance and one of the outnumbered players called a vote. We tried to find some way to continue it by breaking the alliance or letting a vet take over the outnumbered player, but nothing seems to be happening, so I'm assuming that the game is over. I guess with 4 players it should either be no-alliances or fixed-alliances to make it work?

Anyway, if you're willing to host a new game, I'd love to play. Maybe it shouldn't be all-beginners since it seems that there are to few newbs. Maybe a game with fixed alliances between newbs and vets?

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Re: Finding Stars-players Sun, 15 April 2018 18:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ricks03 is currently offline ricks03

 
Crewman 1st Class

Messages: 34
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Location: NC
Another thing to think about is perhaps not using complicated game setups? If you're trying to get novices to play, complicated or quirky setups are likely the wrong way to go.

Pick something simple, dense/packed planets but not a big universe, and set the win conditions to be something that's not going to run for a year.



http://www.irelandbybicycle.com
http://totalhost.sinister.net:999

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new game Mon, 16 April 2018 09:21 Go to previous message
Altruist is currently offline Altruist

 
Commander

Messages: 1030
Registered: August 2005
Location: Berlin
Ok, then here we go, a new game for beginners, lower intermediates, rusty oldtimers: Fledgling Admirals IX

[Updated on: Mon, 16 April 2018 13:07]

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