I have a suggestion that might help with the low multiplayer density.
I would prefer the multiplayer overlay to be a separate program that I can run without steam/airships. Perhaps one of those dashboard app thingies.
That way I could concentrate on my usual work without constantly alt-tabbing to see if anyone is in the lobby, and join when I see an opponent.
I've been super distracted lately. I'm all "Doom On", "Local Disaster", and "Pop-Culture". Not enough Airships - but when this feature in-specific is complete; should have a single page, with optional addon features, that allow you to chat with with an overlay and participate in "long-term" engagements via Disqus. As "Open Ended" "Guest Friendly" as possible.
The feature consists of many micro-features I simply haven't set up yet. But using the established IRC, Auto Hotkey, and Peek Through - this is already a workable feature.
It's a matter of relaying it to a single webpage with a robot and maybe a fancy related background. I might change IRC Hosts for compatibility with OverWolf. OverWolf is clever, but corporately plagued. The idea is to set it up in such a way it's friendly with Single Screens.
I could, however, set up a simple chat system, but then be DDoS vulnerable. It might also seem "less safe", ie "what if my database is collecting the data". etc.
Yes it occurred to me that my suggestion could be expanded to some sort of chat program.
But I don't want to chat, I just want to know when people are in the lobby without going to the trouble of starting up and working through steam and airships.
I was pretty sure two IRC's had been created in the past, there was a "showdown" between myself and another set of players - I lost that popularity battle by a landslide. PLEASE NOTE I haven't found any evidence of it ever occurring. Had a twitter post on it but it was "so outlandish"...
...was also positive the Anti-Spider feature was already written in, wasn't until the IRC thing came up (as just an idea) I even remembered it.
The fact the overlay was pulled... this become a larger demand...
Pure lunacy. Anyway...
In this case I encourage you to steal my notes. It's not far fetched. It's not hard, either. Using IRC linked to a simple "free website" (varying features), a "player ticker" wouldn't be hard. They visit the page, log into IRC via "widget", boom MP logger inside/outside game.
Then comes popularization, and you would have my support.
Done all the homework, simply haven't deployed it. The single missing unpublished element is the widget to the external webpage, and that will vary on your desired webpage setup. Considered using WordPress, but I'm more likely to just use a very, very simple web document.
IRC over Disqus.
I will do it "soon" otherwise.
Mostly targeting IRC for sport, to be honest, not sure who would actually be targeting anyone in the community for DDoS. It could be a million times "more-simplified" with a custom webchat. IRC just makes it deliciously more complicated.
Tapping into the Java code could allow you to pull this off directly.
You could create a window that only logs into the lobby with no strings allowing you to trigger code to other elements of the game. Maybe add a "Launch Game" option. Bundle it with the client. cough
It will take a more advanced decompiler than the popularized "JD GUI" (edit I'd have to dive in, but it might be possible without access MP code altogether). If I remember correctly the MP portion of the code is in Assembly or similar. Generic Java decompilers will become confused at that portion and refuse to recognize the code.
But... you know... just waiting for the "Official OK" to mess with JAVA again. I feel as if it's a no-no at the moment. If I created that tool, then other players might try and exploit other portions of the multiplayer code. To date, my suggestions have been SP driven (for the most part).
I believe some players have tried and failed in "trainer manner" for multiplayer. Such as changing their version number and attempting compatibility with "up-to-date" players. There was a player under the alias "Alien" (I think) who was trying it, a couple of others at less success.
I'm not sure why it hasn't been done already... officially... cough... doable... cough...
I like the idea, though the practical problem would be that there's often people who go into the lobby and then just sort of... sit there without talking to anyone.
Having a way to chat in the lobby without being in-game would actually be more feasible. Could be integrated into this forum.
you strike me as one of those people....
just to refocus on original topic, i dont want to chat to people external to steam, i want to know that people have arrived in the lobby, and its worth my time and effort to startup steam and airships to join them.
So exactly like your multiplayer overlay, but external to steam.
In other news, you really need to quote your multiplayer time GMT, EST or whatever. My personal suggestion would be to have a multiplayer day rather than hour. Maybe choose the day of the week you have noticed is busiest normally anyay.
I think a day would be too diffuse. The best time is unfortunately likely to be when I'm not awake.
I will put the actual info of when the hours are in GMT onto the forums. In-game, it automatically translates it to your local time zone.
automatically translates? oh ok, just add "YOUR TIME" to the notice
It's arguably always "on-topic", it's the same utility just different uses.
Idle is as good as any presence.
Integration? Please do. Battlezone 2: Combat Commander had its Chat re-routed to IRC by the Pandemic Developers... years after Pandemic died. Some dedicated dudes. Then the heart of that community, that still pumps today, can see when players are trying to get games going in a "dead zone".
Not "dead". Just clever setup.
...regardless of platform...
Then you can tie the "Chat" page to the "Calendar" page.
Boom. A place for the elites to hang out. +1
MP traffic is pretty much zero. Think Idles promote hangout. I periodically log in during the week and it's been much lower since losing the overlay feature.
Last multiplayer hour Straker was the only opponent. We played some epic healthy matches with new and optimized designs, but haven't been able to get a match off the ground since.
Issue is the screen not syncing while alt-tabbed. You can't multitask airships at all anymore. Level design had a heartbeat where roughly half of my total matches come from.
The MP hour is always in my AM, making it difficult to attend.
Yes, multiplayer lobby attendance seems to be down 80% since the overlay was removed. Interesting.
Yeah, sad but unsurprising. The overlay will be back, once I make it work in a way that's not awful. But it does mean losing momentum on the multiplayer stuff again, which is frustrating.
How about a poll for when the MP hour should be? Only limitation is that if it's in the CET night-time, I can't be there at all.
Oh, and I'll see if I can convince the game engine to continue running while alt-tabbed away.