Retaining New Players With Game Play


I haven’t played this game much at all, but I think that switching to +25% speed would make the game feel off in subtle ways and off-putting when you switch to a “pro” mode, so new players would be less likely to play Swirl after playing the casual mode and not more.

If anything, a casual mode should change the metagame and not the core.

There was a player in Unvanquished who joined just to build huge bases, so… I’ld like free building to stay in a casual mode.


What if there was a mode where you could only build, and only bots played combat roles?


This is really the main reason I’m only interested in swirl improvement talk here… unless it also applies to 1.1 and other existing mods.


Isn’t this not exactly 100% fixable? The pros will always be able to stomp on the non-experienced, that’s just how games work, yes we could give the other team say a upper hand, etc but I don’t think it could fully be removed or “fixed” without ruining the game for the pro’s.

High pace games = fun, slow pace games = fun, it goes both ways, it more the less depends on the player and how they want to approach playing the game. Maybe have both options?

Ability to hone your building skills.


That is one of my main points in having the different options in different game modes on the same game mode system.


“Automatic building” is a myth unless you invent some magical tremulous AI that knows your team’s intent.

Player-crafted “pre-built base layouts” to load for either team, within different map zones seems like it’d be much more practical and interesting than “automatically” placing different buildings in random places on the map… Additionally, the creation of these could be “casual”… thoughts?


I agree with this, it’d seem like the best solution as we don’t have that magically incline granger to see into the future what kind of base we want. In addition about the Player crafted “pre-built base layouts”, it kind of seems similar to the current layout system, but perhaps, it’s accessible to anyone or perhaps the layouts change positions on the map randomly, though that might render the whole base useless in some situations, and wouldn’t exactly be easy.


It’s not a problem that “experienced players win”, the problem is that if you don’t do well in the first place, you’ll get less and less resources to work with in the future, while the other team gets battlesuits and tyrants. The game could even be set up to level the playing field somewhat and still not ruin the game, as long as it’s not too much of help.


That is true.

Would there be some specific way to track the skills of a player? Perhaps using like X amount of kills or KDR, then again it’s really odd to have a game where the point is to get evolved and win, but be limited by the fact that the other team plays more than you.


That is one of the possible approaches to automatic building, where there would be different zones defined around the map, and each zone could have multiple zone specific layouts, where one would be randomly selected when on of the teams take control of that zone.

But it is also possible to write an algorithm that would automatically place buildables in a given zone. Such algorithm generated bases might not be as effective as player built bases, but that might not be a bad thing, where if forwards are automatically built, losing forwards wouldn’t be as much of a big deal, and there could be a lot of ongoing base construction/destruction throughout the match. Additionally, a benefit to having an algorithm based auto-generated bases is that there wouldn’t have to be a lot of manual preparation (although @romdos ’ suggestion is interesting that the players could make these layouts, perhaps as spectators, for future matches, although you would probably want to specify which players are allowed to make those layouts) for each layout in each zone of each map, and there would be more variation in zone layouts.

That algorithm based autobuilding would still be specific to conquered zones, and would still depend on teams taking and keeping control of zones.


Note that this is the case even in games without upgrades; the real problem is that if every class is made available from the start, the game would consist solely of tyrants fighting against lucifer cannons and everything else would be obsolete. So the real challenge is to first create a system that limits the use of powerful classes while still being fair.


That can be done with a system that controls the rarity of items well. We will be trying out two different systems. One is dynamic pricing where the prices of each item changes personally, based on the usage of a given item, and other items that have similarities.

Another approach is to essentially give each item its own “currency”, where when you get a kill progress advances for each item, but the progress of one item can’t be transferred to that of another. Higher tier items can require more progress, and thus be used less frequent, however using them wouldn’t sacrifice the lower and mid tier items as options (how annoying is it to save up for an expensive item, lose it quickly, and then only to start out poor again?), so we should also see a lot more variety.


Here’s one testament to the importance of being socialization-friendly environment: there’s another multiplayer game Teeworlds, and it has been essentially taken over by a mod called DDRace. The game is a fighting game like Quake but 2D, and the mod is a cooperative maze-clearing game.

Some mazes are difficult, but the mod is still fundamentally chill and slow-paced. Even though the game does not show mods by unless you uncheck a checkbox, still, as you uncheck it, you will see the player count jump from like 150 to 800.

The “skill syndrome” doesn’t help either, there are only few maps that are played, just like Tremulous ATCS but far worse.


As both a tremulous player and someone trained/experienced in PR I can say that tremulous has much potential, right now I consider Tremulous a diamond in the rough. If we start connecting the Tremulous brand and game to the desires and identity of the gamer we will have an open source product that gains much player interest.

Tremulous From a Public Relations Perspective

Tremulous has some great features: team play, good theme developments, decent graphics, and decent play mechanics, and a built in player base. Tremulous problems exist from a public relations standpoint…and sadly poor PR can sink even the best designed games. Here are some of Tremulous’s PR points for improvement:

  • Tremulous permanently looses any players that visit it and get a poor first impression. If the play experience is not immersive, or there are few human players kicking around, they think its dead and never return…
  • Poor social proof
  • Alien teem has is not very relatable. Not many people can relate to insectoid aliens, personally I do, but thats probably because they are predatory and stealthy. An immersive campaign and backstory could help out with this.
  • The player environment is still toxic, and in some cases hypercompetitive for new players…The key is variable reward, not losing and ABBAB(Always Be Berating and Belittling) from your own team 100% of the time, this is what most new players get, this is not variable reward, not addictive, and not even rewarding. This permanently drives away new players.
  • Currently the lack of a narrative backstory hurts theme development and game immersion.

Video about attention engineering and social media

In short we need to polish tremulous to go from a struggling multiplayer game to a massive online multiplayer game that captures players and keeps them.

Solutions to the Tremulous PR Problems, Game Play Tweaks

We need to polish the Tremulous game player’s first impression.

  • Before promotion hire or convince people to play and be in the servers so that social proof of the game’s popularity can be realized. At no time should the lobby ever be empty during promotion.
  • Immersive story mode, single player
  • Playing mode that allows some variable reward, random buffs or powerups that makes it possible for noobs to win at least 30% of the time. This should be a mode for noob servers or mix servers.
  • Tie the factions to not only player style, but player self identity, player desires, and make the alien faction part of a narrative. Everyone wants to feel great…important, something which current game play destroys in new players.

Allowing new players to win at least 30% of the time is a good idea. Research suggests that if players do not win or succeed at least 30% of the time they will discontinue play. Furthermore a team win is still not and individual win. If the team wins and the individual feels like either they had not impact or everyone says “yeah we won, no thanks to the noobs” thats not a win, thats still a failure in the eyes of noobs.

Polish the new player experience in these ways and trem will be great again, ignore these points and expect every new player that visits will never return due to a bad first impression.


  • Social Proof, and empty lobby makes us look like loosers, and it makes the product look like crap…we don’t be the Quikymart that has a grand opening with only one customer visit for the whole day… Anyone that sees an empty lobby is a lost player, and a poor first impression cannot be repaired easily…every player that visits an empty lobby or gets trashed in gameplay over and over will leave and
    likely never return
  • Immersive story narrative, without one you require novelty and graphics, like Doom when it first came out, story was not required, it was new, graphic, violent, and had variable reward, suspense, and fear with gibs that were new at the time…trem is not new and does not have cutting edge graphics, don’t skimp on the story.
  • Variable Reward, new players should be able win at least 30% of the time
  • Make different servers for different skill levels as needed, pros beating noobs into a thin red paste over and over again and insulting them on their own teams will cause them to leave and likely never return…

Fix these things, and with some polish Tremulous can be successful and very popular. Ignore these things and tremulous will continue to alienate noobs and new players that are not likely to ever return to our community. A player with a poor first impression is not someone who didn’t stay, its someone who won’t return.

The Story of the Game

Possible idea: tell the future artists to make them colorful and sleek instead of bland, deformed and barnacle-encrusted (suggesting infection and disease) like they did with Unvnquished and most other alien games.

Pictures of various insects


A post was split to a new topic: The Story of the Game


Are you making game for yourself or for the community (others)?


Please elaborate. Is/are there any particular suggestions in this topic so far that you are referring to? For me personally, the answer to your question is both (without taking away from either). What should be taken into consideration when making the game for others?


I think that this is wrong and the right answer is this: for noobs, who are the heart and the soul of any game. Almost any substantial change takes something away from pros or even mid-level players, since skills that come from a deep understanding of the game mechanics are also the most inflexible, and as I’ve already mentioned, learning sucks :face_vomiting:.

And yes, I think it’s now evident that the resource system (i.e. build points, health, credits) has to be “dumbed down” to some extent (the core game, i.e. speed and timing, should stay the same). Here’s the reason:

If you bring up popular commercial games like Overwatch and stuff, it’s important to understand that if you have enough players, you can simply let the game match players up fairly.

Famous games give players another motivation to stay and keep learning, even if the game has flaws in its design: bragging rights. Tremulous obviously doesn’t have nearly as much popularity, so it only thing it has to hold on to a player base is its own merits as a game.


Considering that no one gets paid to develop this game, there has to be some other incentive(s) to develop it. For me part of it is the fun, challenge, and learning experience in the actual developing, and then another part of it is the fun, socializing, and challenge in playing the actual game. For some developers, they might be fully satisfied solely from the development experience, seeing their work put to good use, and it may not matter to them much if they would enjoy playing the game themselves, there is nothing wrong with that, as long as they get the most out of their free time.

But I want more than that, I also want a good game that I would enjoy playing. Of course in order to have a good game that I would enjoy and that would live long and prosper (especially since part of that enjoyment for me is the social aspect), there has to be a sufficient number of players in the player base, the community needs to grow much larger than it is now, and that means that the large majority of the future player base will be noobs at first. So it comes down to the intersection between what I would enjoy, and what a sufficient number of new players would enjoy.

Not everyone will enjoy the same exact things that I enjoy, they don’t have to. I remember reading somewhere that it is estimated that there are around a billion gamers in the world currently, if we had just a tiny fraction of a tiny fraction of that, we might have more players than Tremulous ever had in the past. Additionally, I don’t have to fully enjoy to the same degree every available option to the game, there can be some variations where some people enjoy some aspects better than other people. Variation is good, differing tastes in the community is good, as long as there are fundamental common threads in the community.

For me, the quantity of players in the community isn’t the sole indicator of success in the project. For me the quality of the game and of the community is at least equally important.

Making a game for oneself, and making a game for others, does not have to be mutually exclusive. Selfishness and selflessness does not have to be mutually exclusive, but rather if they are in harmony with each other, they can both thrive. I believe there can be a game that both new player and myself can enjoy a lot.

It depends. I personally enjoy learning if it is intellectually stimulating. I find using the same techniques/strategies over and over on the same map for years and years, with very little learning and change in that time kinda boring. Some people seem to enjoy it, but I don’t think that was satisfying enough for most people, considering that the size of the playerbase shrunk to about one thousandth of what it once was, and there isn’t currently a dozen full 1.1 vanilla servers all playing the original atcs.