Author Topic: Simple Multiplayer enhancement with large effect (auto kick idlers)  (Read 6747 times)

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Offline Kobalt

The problem: You join one of the very few servers, maybe even install some special pakset just to be able to access the server, but then you'll find out that 16 of 16 slots are used. Finally you check the players list and find that at least half of the slots are occupied by companies which never were used to do anything. Since nobody is playing them they will never run out of money. The attachment shows the situation where obviously one or several people reserved some slots without playing, unfortunately they are preventing other players from playing.

The solution: Introducing a timelimit to free slots which are obviously occupied without any activity. Let's say after 1 oder 2 hours.

That's it, just an idea from a newbie to Simutrans. As a newbie I know the situation when joining a Simutrans multiplayer server the first time and messing around with the player slots until all of them are occupied suddenly and still not able to play because the way it works is way different than usual. I have a lot of multiplayer experience for many different games and the way to join the game and secure the slot is by far the most tricky one in Simutrans if you never did it before.

If you like some background infos about the experience of a newbie to Simutrans go on reading here: I'm way new to Simutrans and just sticking to it because it has a multiplayer mode now. I remember long time ago stumbling accross Simutrans already, anyway, no multiplayer feature made me delete it again. For years I played Transport Tycoon (actually OpenTTD) instead just because it has a multiplayer mode. The economic model of OpenTTD/TTD/TT is very poor, just transport something somewhere and you will never lose. Therefore I really like the more complex economic model of Simutrans. Anyway, currently there is no running server except for one with all slots occupied and one using nightly builds. - I thought about setting up one myself but neither do I have a machine with a fast connection nor do I could grant a 24/7 running time. That is why I came up with this idea.

Furthermore I'm a little bit annoyed to be forced to answer four questions when I try to register a forum account or even when starting a topic? - I mean, wow, that's spam safe :-).
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 06:51:59 PM by Kobalt »

Offline sdog

Re: Simple Multiplayer enhancement with large effect (auto kick idlers)
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2013, 08:11:11 PM »
Welcome to our forum Kobalt, glad to know we can be certain now you're either human or your creator will win the Turing price!*

I think you are completely right, this is not a good situation. The topic was already discussed a while ago. I think then it was just forgotten. Perhaps some little thread necromancy is appropriate now.


*mentioned it in the internal discussion thread on the new questions -- thanks for your feedback.

Offline Fifty

Re: Simple Multiplayer enhancement with large effect (auto kick idlers)
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2013, 08:21:21 PM »
Hi, and welcome to the forum community!

The problem: You join one of the very few servers, maybe even install some special pakset just to be able to access the server, but then you'll find out that 16 of 16 slots are used. Finally you check the players list and find that at least half of the slots are occupied by companies which never were used to do anything. Since nobody is playing them they will never run out of money. The attachment shows the situation where obviously one or several people reserved some slots without playing, unfortunately they are preventing other players from playing.

The solution: Introducing a timelimit to free slots which are obviously occupied without any activity. Let's say after 1 oder 2 hours.

What you have mentioned above has already been implemented, locked players with no financial activity can be removed after a few game months. Some servers disable this feature, however, so that players who want to play on the server must sign up or otherwise contact the server admin. The slots say "reserviert," which seems to be German for "reserved," so I would assume on this server you need to contact the admin to get a password to play.

On another note, there is currently a lack of Game servers online right now. I hope to get my server up again sometime in the future, but for others, it's very easy to run a server if you have a spare computer lying around and a decent broadband connection.
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Offline IgorEliezer

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Re: Simple Multiplayer enhancement with large effect (auto kick idlers)
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2013, 08:41:06 PM »
Hi Kobalt, welcome to the community.

*mentioned it in the internal discussion thread on the new questions -- thanks for your feedback.
@Kobalt: Hehe, he posted it on the moderator/web room. I had opened 3 days ago a discussion to improve the anti-spam trap since a few new users have complained about it before.

For now, I toned the "spambot trap" down. I imagine you had to fill in a captcha to post the topic too, this is necessary only for the 1st post and for the 1st private message. We made the anti-spam system tough because we were heavily attacked by spams in the past, one year ago or so, some attacks were quite gross. @.@

Sorry for the inconveniences.

Offline prissi

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Re: Simple Multiplayer enhancement with large effect (auto kick idlers)
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2013, 09:08:05 PM »
I case of this specific server, it is german and run with an acompanied thread in the german forum. As such, you can only join there on request.

But as said, other server has the option to kick players without infrastructure or inactive for some time. (Or more correct, just remove their password protection.)

Offline Kobalt

Re: Simple Multiplayer enhancement with large effect (auto kick idlers)
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2013, 03:44:49 PM »
Thanks all for your kind replies. I'm sorry that I mentioned a feature already implemented. Since I'm a newbie I wasn't aware that "reserved" slots are really reserved and not just occupied.

Quote from: Fifty
On another note, there is currently a lack of Game servers online right now. I hope to get my server up again sometime in the future, but for others, it's very easy to run a server if you have a spare computer lying around and a decent broadband connection.

I even played on your server already and I think we even chatted there, anyway I had another nick name there. It's a pity it's not running right now :-). Unfortunately I haven't a computer laying around because otherwise I would really like to set one up.

Quote from: IgorEliezer
anti-spam system tough because we were heavily attacked by spams

I'm aware of these (annoying) problems for forum maintainers. Therefore, better to answer four questions than having a spammed forum, anyway four questions was surprising though :-).

Quote from: prissi
I case of this specific server, it is german and run with an acompanied thread in the german forum. As such, you can only join there on request.

I wasn't aware of this. I just noticed that the server's URL (mentioned in the server list) was leading to nowhere (in a webbrowser).  I will have a look into the server thread in the German forum. Thanks for the info.






Offline benjad

Re: Simple Multiplayer enhancement with large effect (auto kick idlers)
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2013, 09:42:15 PM »
Can not stress enough the value of locking out unused players at this point.  On two different servers, have had issues with a person creating a player, then deleting cities, cutting public roads, massive terraforming, etc -- then just going bankrupt and opening another player to do the same.     Very disruptive and obnoxious.  For the moment, the wait to get a slot is a good thing. 

Offline paco_m

Re: Simple Multiplayer enhancement with large effect (auto kick idlers)
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2013, 01:07:52 AM »
Kobalt, the game is removing inactive players automatically.. however we decided to block this slots anyways and it was not easy to achieve this. ;)

The point is that this server is for teamplay and to create a combined passenger network between all the players through public interchange stops. We have more than ten of them so it is highly conencted and the passenger flows are complex.This means that we have to cooperate and adjust networks nearly daily, for this reason we meet in the IRC chat to speak about how to make this. In the last game we had an open game and several problems with anonymous players that just joined and rejected any communication with us. This is the reason why it is now a closed server game only for players that subscribed through the forum or IRC chat.

The problems we encountered in the open gameplay with anonymous players were:
* players using open company slots to remodel the whole landscape and then switch to another slot to play
* players overcrowding public interchange stop which creates heavy diffculties for other players or even destroys their companies financially
* players or at least one player sabotating the others players networks (destroying public streets and building "walls" in front of other players ports)
and overall no way to comunicate with these players.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2013, 11:04:59 AM by paco_m »

Offline DrSuperGood

Re: Simple Multiplayer enhancement with large effect (auto kick idlers)
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2014, 02:07:54 PM »
Quote
The point is that this server is for teamplay and to create a combined passenger network between all the players through public interchange stops. We have more than ten of them so it is highly conencted and the passenger flows are complex.This means that we have to cooperate and adjust networks nearly daily, for this reason we meet in the IRC chat to speak about how to make this. In the last game we had an open game and several problems with anonymous players that just joined and rejected any communication with us. This is the reason why it is now a closed server game only for players that subscribed through the forum or IRC chat.
Why not have all players control a single company then? I mean that way everyone can adjust everything.

Communication does seem to be an issue. I believe if Simutrans was to adjust the standard of "press enter to chat" then more people will communicate. On the other hand I have noticed communication as a whole in games has been decreasing over the years (people just refuse to chat). Currently to chat you need to open the message log and use a multiplayer only feature in there (counter intuitive).

Offline moblet

Re: Simple Multiplayer enhancement with large effect (auto kick idlers)
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2014, 04:05:14 AM »
The problems we encountered in the open gameplay with anonymous players were:
* players using open company slots to remodel the whole landscape and then switch to another slot to play
* players overcrowding public interchange stop which creates heavy diffculties for other players or even destroys their companies financially
* players or at least one player sabotating the others players networks (destroying public streets and building "walls" in front of other players ports)
and overall no way to comunicate with these players.
@Fifty and I managed a short series of controlled multiplayer games a few years ago. If you search the forums for "moblet.simutrans.entropy.me.uk" you can see some of how we did it.

We published the rules for each game, set all the slots to a common password known only to the game admins, and opened a forum thread inviting players to choose a slot. To admit a player we reset the password of their slot and sent it to them by PM. The map had a sign at the splash location directing prospective players to the forum. We knew the forum identity of each player in the game and had no difficulties with any of the players IIRC; occasionally someone would make a minor mistake because they forgot one of the rules but that was it.

We weren't able to continue because I moved and didn't have a suitable internet connection, and @Fifty didn't have time to manage it all on his own. (I now have a suitable internet connection again but have had other things to do and haven't started thinking seriously about running games yet.)



Offline DrSuperGood

Re: Simple Multiplayer enhancement with large effect (auto kick idlers)
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2014, 04:18:45 AM »
This raises the issue that there is no private messaging in the game. I noticed this problem over on the experimental server where a lot of inactive players have been given a "default" password. To communicate the password temporary signs must be used since mentioning it in chat would make the passwords public. I recall OpenTTD having such a feature as well so it is not a strange thing to have.

I would imagine people would be much more willing to share companies if they could securely and privately communicate.

Such a feature should either not persistently store the messages or it should store them in an external file on the server (similar to how company passwords are) to prevent people eves dropping from the save file being transmitted. The server would have to push them only to the appropriate people (such as people inside the company, or specific IP addresses etc).

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Simple Multiplayer enhancement with large effect (auto kick idlers)
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2014, 10:56:29 AM »
This raises the issue that there is no private messaging in the game. I noticed this problem over on the experimental server where a lot of inactive players have been given a "default" password. To communicate the password temporary signs must be used since mentioning it in chat would make the passwords public. I recall OpenTTD having such a feature as well so it is not a strange thing to have.

I would imagine people would be much more willing to share companies if they could securely and privately communicate.

Such a feature should either not persistently store the messages or it should store them in an external file on the server (similar to how company passwords are) to prevent people eves dropping from the save file being transmitted. The server would have to push them only to the appropriate people (such as people inside the company, or specific IP addresses etc).

The idea of private messaging is an interesting one, but, apart from sharing passwords, what sort of things do you think that people would want to discuss privately the inability to do which would dissuade them from sharing a company?
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Offline Michael 'Cruzer'

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Re: Simple Multiplayer enhancement with large effect (auto kick idlers)
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2014, 11:19:14 AM »
I don't think that there is a need for private messaging yet. But there is some need of a popup for new messages related to specific person on login or connection.

At the moment the common way to let some urgent notice for a player is to put a label at the spawn point. Then the player will see the message right after connecting to the server. But this leads to spam the spawn point with a couple of signs.
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Offline Spenk009

Re: Simple Multiplayer enhancement with large effect (auto kick idlers)
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2014, 11:31:56 AM »
It might form a way of logging projects between two companies/players and pave the way for money transfers between companies (a notion I'm interested in seeing in a form of single and scheduled transfers).

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Simple Multiplayer enhancement with large effect (auto kick idlers)
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2014, 12:06:38 PM »
It might form a way of logging projects between two companies/players and pave the way for money transfers between companies (a notion I'm interested in seeing in a form of single and scheduled transfers).

There is much to be said for voluntary money transfers; but can players not use the forum for private messaging?
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Offline Spenk009

Re: Simple Multiplayer enhancement with large effect (auto kick idlers)
« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2014, 02:11:08 PM »
That's a good point. It's probably the simplest way there too.

Allowing the public player to trigger a window, after selecting a tile to trigger from, with a customizable text for a specific client name? It may drown in a sea of messages if something has gone wrong during their absense, but generally these things do catch the attention they're designed to.

Offline DrSuperGood

Re: Simple Multiplayer enhancement with large effect (auto kick idlers)
« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2014, 06:33:30 PM »
Quote
but can players not use the forum for private messaging?
Or they could do it in game... The idea with private messages could be that they are messages that are sent from one company to another. The server should use a separate file to store these messages and re-transmit only the most recent ones once a player logs in to a certain company. The exception being the very first slot (usually allocated as observer) which should allow private messages to be received by anyone currently on the slot (does not care about password) but these messages are not stored.

One day it might also be a good idea to introduce a merger feature. Once both players agree to a merger and an admin approves it then the entire company is transferred into a single slot (based on whoever had the most wealth). This would be useful for people who are retiring yet do not want to see what they did go to waste or leave a slot blocked up.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Simple Multiplayer enhancement with large effect (auto kick idlers)
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2014, 06:41:39 PM »
One day it might also be a good idea to introduce a merger feature. Once both players agree to a merger and an admin approves it then the entire company is transferred into a single slot (based on whoever had the most wealth). This would be useful for people who are retiring yet do not want to see what they did go to waste or leave a slot blocked up.

I was planning on something similar, only without admin approval (requiring either one of the companies to be insolvent or both companies to agree).
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