Announcing the 15th Anniversary Match Series

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Announcing the 15th Anniversary Match Series

Post by Mailbox » Sun 10. Mar 2019, 23:47

Hey everyone,

After having communication with Ema from CEONSS, I would like to announce the 15th Anniversary Match Series. In celebration of UT2k4's 15th anniversary, we plan to run 1-day game events approximately once every two weeks, with a focus on gametypes that no longer have regular player bases. This will hopefully give people the opportunity to re-experience these gametypes once again, for possibly the first time in years.

Gametypes of interest include:
  • Ballistic Conflict (Counter-Strike-like TDM)
  • Bombing Run
  • Dodgeball
  • Jailbreak
Other gametypes that still have some regular playerbase in Europe, but are no longer active in NA include:
  • Assault
  • Instagib CTF
  • Vehicle CTF
We haven't made any serious plans yet. If there are gametypes that people would like to see played, let us know. Our tentative plan is to have a bunch maps of one gametype on the server, and have "focus times" where we will try to have a high number of players.

Hope to see you at the matches, and thanks for keeping UT2k4 alive!

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Announcing the 15th Anniversary Match Series

Post by Pegasus » Mon 11. Mar 2019, 02:37

Say, were there any other alternatives to this plan that, you know, might actually have something to do with the gametype that both servers have specialized & accumulated substantial experience (and content!) on over the past 10 years, and could therefore competently implement for their extant audiences (but also showcase for others), so as to do proper justice to the coming milestone in UT's history? Because this seems like a pretty ill-conceived idea, for a growing number of reasons the more one might think on it :/. Who benefits from this in the longer-term? How?

Why not look for a more meaningful way to celebrate and promote ONS as the excellent gametype that's united us for all this time, also communicating to people outside the enduring UT community the message that its value in nuanced, engaged, ever-moddable, server-filling, playstyle-pluralistic, strategic, and cooperative gameplay still persists and shines on?
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Announcing the 15th Anniversary Match Series

Post by SysX » Mon 11. Mar 2019, 11:15

Damn you shot this down pretty hard, it seemed like a nice plan but I do understand what you mean.
Besides this plan, we could have themed nights and have custom maps that are not in the rotation... I know there are some halo onslaught maps which can be fun to play for example.

We could also look at mutators that could be fun to play with.
Got a link here for custom mutators: https://www.gamefront.com/games/unreal- ... mutators-1
I've been looking around and there are some fun mutators we could implement for these events, maybe we could make a list of them and vote for it.

Anyway I don't have a lot of idea's atm, just curious in what direction you are thinking when it comes to a event like this.
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Announcing the 15th Anniversary Match Series

Post by Mailbox » Mon 11. Mar 2019, 23:38

Pegasus wrote:Say, were there any other alternatives to this plan that, you know, might actually have something to do with the gametype that both servers have specialized & accumulated substantial experience (and content!) on over the past 10 years, and could therefore competently implement for their extant audiences (but also showcase for others), so as to do proper justice to the coming milestone in UT's history?
ONS is fortunate enough to have 3+ servers (MiA, CEONSS, & OMNI) with a regular playerbase still, whereas there are other good gametypes which feel hard to get multiplayer matches for anymore. We could just do another special ONS event like the CEONSS-OMNI events that I've been organizing, I wouldn't mind doing one, but how would one make that any more special than they've already been? Yeah, such an event could dig into the old map roster catalog, but at the end of the day it's still going to be ONS, which is still easy to find popular servers for.
Pegasus wrote:Who benefits from this in the longer-term? How?
My hope is that this would benefit players here, or on other servers, who would be interested in playing and re-experiencing other gametypes in UT2k4 that no longer have regular playerbases and are hard to find matches for. These gametypes are a different side of UT2k4 that I'd like to promote, besides the good and popular gametypes (ONS, TAM/Freon, INV) that we are fortunate to still have.
Pegasus wrote:Why not look for a more meaningful way to celebrate and promote ONS as the excellent gametype that's united us for all this time, also communicating to people outside the enduring UT community the message that its value in nuanced, engaged, ever-moddable, server-filling, playstyle-pluralistic, strategic, and cooperative gameplay still persists and shines on?
Mind my snark, but the public server here, the community that this place has nurtured, and its healthy population, already does this. It's hard for me right now to think of an ONS-centric event format meant to attract people from the outside community that... couldn't just be done on the regular server. I think that promoting outsiders to the game would be better done with some promotional videos and other media. It's a bit outside of my wheelhouse to do. ONS still has a strong and healthy playerbase, my goal is to give forgotten gametypes a bit of limelight.

If you have any ideas in particular on attracting new players, I am all ears. It's just that I do think this series does have a good purpose, just not necessarily that one.
SysX wrote:Damn you shot this down pretty hard, it seemed like a nice plan but I do understand what you mean.
Besides this plan, we could have themed nights and have custom maps that are not in the rotation... I know there are some halo onslaught maps which can be fun to play for example.

We could also look at mutators that could be fun to play with.
Got a link here for custom mutators: https://www.gamefront.com/games/unreal- ... mutators-1
I've been looking around and there are some fun mutators we could implement for these events, maybe we could make a list of them and vote for it.
By all means. If other people have ideas for the 15th anniversary, bring them up. This match series isn't meant to be the only way it will be celebrated period. I don't consider myself a regular here, so that would be for others to bring up and suggest.
SysX wrote:Anyway I don't have a lot of idea's atm, just curious in what direction you are thinking when it comes to a event like this.
The plan is to find out what multiplayer-inactive gametypes people would be interested in playing. Once a gametype is determined, contact would be made with another server that still runs that gametype to see if they'd be interested in hosting, or the Event Server here would be set up with that gametype and some maps. A date would be set, and it could possibly be set up as a part public day event, part pick up game (PUG). This could then be repeated for other game types.

Thanks for the feedback.

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Announcing the 15th Anniversary Match Series

Post by SysX » Mon 11. Mar 2019, 23:50

Tbh the last part of my reply was directed at pegasus :>
I know what the original plan was and the reasoning behind it, it's just for feedback purposes where everyone can have their say in the matter.

Would be nice if more people would chime in the discussion so we can get some idea's on how to move forward with this event.
Just throw a idea or a concept in here and let's see what we end up with.
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Announcing the 15th Anniversary Match Series

Post by Pegasus » Tue 12. Mar 2019, 03:53

There's two reasons this plan comes off as unfitting and confusing to me.

For one, it's like two neighbours discussing how they should decorate the shed between their properties for New Year's: the accommodation's scale hardly fits the circumstance. A pair of still vibrant UT-ONS[Plus] servers - or more, no need to exclude other eager participants - willing to celebrate UT-Y15 (or however we'd call it) could easily justify going bigger, and targeting both the surviving UT community at large with our "offering", possibly even triggering a wave of other gametypes' servers also responding in their own, unique fashion, as well as outsiders, with some kinda campaign (via some social media posts, streaming or whatnot), inspiring them to take a peek and maybe even join themselves.

The other reason is because in every facet this idea seems like the wrong size glove for these two specific servers to try n' wear. Generally, I'm loathe to presume others' tastes n' preferences when making suggestions, but it's probably a safe bet that both Omni's and CEONSS' communities have settled around these servers because ONS addresses their playstyle preferences or, broader yet, still meets their expectations for an MP arena FPS PC game with some strategic depth to it. Similarly, the staffers, modders and content adoption standards these servers have cultivated over the past 10 years would reflect the evolving needs and desires of this particular gametype and the expectations of those still playing it, rather than anything else. If all of a sudden said staffers jointly tried to curate content for - what was it again - Ballistic Conflict (Counter-Strike-like TDM) or Dodgeball (Carball?) or Jailbreak or InstaCTF or whatnot (VTDM was also mentioned in this thread's Omni counterpart), in order to present a concise, quality sampling for a good time (or quickly edit found offerings so as to reach such a state), who's to say they'd know what they'd be doing or even where to start? Personally, I'd be daunted just by the prospect of acquiring such additional knowledge and expertise to carry out such a task in general, to say nothing of the short notice factor. Moreover, could anyone vouch that any found content deemed relevant would be safe (read not crash-prone) and compatible enough to use on a server already set up for ONS needs, that its size would be sensible enough to grab and distribute beforehand (I remember getting Ballistic alone being a pretty heavy affair even a decade ago), or that the staffers would be able to reasonably quickly wrap their heads around its functionality so as to configure and operate properly for the festivities? And on and on...

To wrap up the concerns, not only do I think Omni and CEONSS staffers would probably be the wrong people to organize this particular gig, but, likewise, it'd likely be the wrong show for their communities, too - perhaps with fractional exceptions for the scant few who used to play and still specifically ache for Ballistic, Jailbreak or other, similarly specialized fare, even after they settled into ONS for the game's sunset years. Yes, showcasing such gametypes, however effectively, would present something most ONS players may not have tried out before, but, even then, to what end? Even if someone were to conclude that one of those other gametypes is comparably worthwhile to ONS, and chose to pursue that as a side-interest, they'd still quickly, and depressingly, get reminded there's no UT venue to do that in anymore; the whole thing would just become an exercise in false hope at that point. Conversely, the people who "mainlined" the aforementioned gametypes probably won't even hear about any of this to come and enjoy it, and even if a few did, it's unlikely that alone would be enough to convince 'em to take up ONS (again?) instead.


More constructively speaking now, UT2004's 15th anniversary IMO represents a good opportunity for outreach and collective reflection n' appreciation, which should preclude relegating it to a Match Server-tier type event that only a dozen people from both communities combined could get to partake in at any given moment (IIRC, that's close to the Match server's support ceiling). Instead (and ideally), any commemorative/celebratory event Omni and CEONSS (and others!) might arrange to mark it by should be conducted through the lens of the gametype we know, appreciate, understand and can competently showcase to the outside world, thus also securing broad buy-in from both our communities and beyond; that is Onslaught, not Ballistic InstaCarball.
What that might look like exactly, I'm afraid I cannot say and would probably be the wrong person to tap for initial inspiration; as a congenital optimizer I've always been at home in the headspace/niche of understanding, analyzing and optimizing systems and implementations rather than in front of a clean, blank slate. I may lack a surfeit of creative imagination, but give me some raw ideas and I could probably come up with a number of ways to improve on 'em soon enough. Right now, on my own, I can only offer some abstract, half-baked bits to chew on, like maybe a "full-on 24hr/32p/50pts marathon match" across servers component or "ONS content/standards through the years" concept or a "charity" aspect of some kind, all stitched together by some vigorous Twitch/Twitter PR campaigning, maybe also reaching out to notable people involved with creating the game or important past authors/admins to the community, I dunno.
What's also complicating things is the very tight timeframe here, what with the US anniversary now being only 4 days away, and the EU one just 3 short days after it. Moving this thread to the Public CEONSS section and adjusting its title to reflect larger aspirations might help in any case though. Again, ideally, we should be talking and planning all this two months ago, but as things stand, I'd lean toward putting together something that feels right even if it means being a bit late, rather than just rushing something out and most people still playing this game barely bothering to acknowledge it happened.

In closing, and to be clear, I don't mean for any of the above to be taken as me coming down on anybody else who cares enough to organize something, anything, for the upcoming UT anniversary as if they were doing something bad; the thought and effort to put together an event the rest of the community might enjoy and find uplifting as the game ages past its 15th year is definitely appreciated, and I'll happily thank each of those involved either way. I simply believe there's more to this opportunity than we're currently reaching for, and that it's definitely within our grasp n' abilities to aim higher and achieve it, for all the reasons and potential benefits covered above. It also goes without saying, that if you need my help with anything regarding this, I'll be happy to assist in any way I reasonably can. Just please don't ask me to play InstaCarball.
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Announcing the 15th Anniversary Match Series

Post by Mailbox » Thu 14. Mar 2019, 22:32

tl;dr: This isn't happening on the date of the anniversary, bigger would be nicer but don't feel up to it, will be advertising to and getting help from places other than here and OMNI, this is just me putting my thoughts out and my thoughts only
Pegasus wrote:There's two reasons this plan comes off as unfitting and confusing to me.

For one, it's like two neighbours discussing how they should decorate the shed between their properties for New Year's: the accommodation's scale hardly fits the circumstance. A pair of still vibrant UT-ONS[Plus] servers - or more, no need to exclude other eager participants - willing to celebrate UT-Y15 (or however we'd call it) could easily justify going bigger, and targeting both the surviving UT community at large with our "offering", possibly even triggering a wave of other gametypes' servers also responding in their own, unique fashion, as well as outsiders, with some kinda campaign (via some social media posts, streaming or whatnot), inspiring them to take a peek and maybe even join themselves.
I agree that this is a rather small celebration for the 15th anniversary of this long-lasting game. However, I feel like to do bigger would be too big for my britches. I think if this series turns out well, this could be a stepping stone for something bigger like what you are suggesting. But at the moment I don't have any particularly strong ideas for what that could be, so I think it's best not to pursue it at the moment.
Pegasus wrote:The other reason is because in every facet this idea seems like the wrong size glove for these two specific servers to try n' wear. Generally, I'm loathe to presume others' tastes n' preferences when making suggestions, but it's probably a safe bet that both Omni's and CEONSS' communities have settled around these servers because ONS addresses their playstyle preferences or, broader yet, still meets their expectations for an MP arena FPS PC game with some strategic depth to it.
Speaking for myself, if AS still had a playerbase in the Americas, I would probably be playing that and not ONS.

Back when )o(Analog was still around, we could get a good dozen people on a server for an assault night, and that was just advertising within the OMNI community (and grabbing a couple people I know). Now, not all of these gametypes are Assault of course, but I will try to reach out more once things are scheduled and I think we can get a good turnout for a event server-sized event. I would also like to think that many people would be open to trying something a bit different every once in a while, and aren't playing this game exclusively for ONS.

That's also the reason why I haven't slapped a particular community name to this event, because I do want it to be a more open thing. I'm starting here because these are communities I am familiar with, that I know have good people, and have a strong number of people that could participate in this event.
Pegasus wrote:Similarly, the staffers, modders and content adoption standards these servers have cultivated over the past 10 years would reflect the evolving needs and desires of this particular gametype and the expectations of those still playing it, rather than anything else. If all of a sudden said staffers jointly tried to curate content for - what was it again - Ballistic Conflict (Counter-Strike-like TDM) or Dodgeball (Carball?) or Jailbreak or InstaCTF or whatnot (VTDM was also mentioned in this thread's Omni counterpart), in order to present a concise, quality sampling for a good time (or quickly edit found offerings so as to reach such a state), who's to say they'd know what they'd be doing or even where to start? Personally, I'd be daunted just by the prospect of acquiring such additional knowledge and expertise to carry out such a task in general, to say nothing of the short notice factor. Moreover, could anyone vouch that any found content deemed relevant would be safe (read not crash-prone) and compatible enough to use on a server already set up for ONS needs, that its size would be sensible enough to grab and distribute beforehand (I remember getting Ballistic alone being a pretty heavy affair even a decade ago), or that the staffers would be able to reasonably quickly wrap their heads around its functionality so as to configure and operate properly for the festivities? And on and on...
So, a few things:

1. This event won't be starting on the date of the 15th anniversary of this game. I know, I know, it sounds even more disappointing when put that way. But you are right in saying that it would be a great amount of work to do in a few days, which is why I have not given any dates yet. I would like to figure out which gametypes people would like to see, and then let people know the decided dates at least two weeks in advance. So this would be a "oh, it's the 15th year, let's run some special events a bit more often while we're in it", rather than a big celebration that's focused around the anniversary day itself.

2. Speaking from the OMNI side, I think you overrate us, Peg. OMNI's not really in a great state at the moment to really do anything new or different ONS-wise, IMO. Our mapper core is gone. Our server host is afk. Our active staff at this point are an admin who hasn't really played on the server for years but manages server things and a bunch of regular players without any particular mapping or scripting experience. The person trying to organize this never really played ONS outside of stock maps until 2016.

3. Where possible, I'd like to pair up with existing servers that still run some of these gametypes, and they could provide additional assistance regarding knowledge of these gametypes. They can know which maps are good, and stable maps that they might already run on their server. If not, I think we could try to get a set of ~10 maps or so tested privately to make sure things are alright before scheduling a date for a particular gametype. I spoke with Freeman from Black Mesa Server, a EU-based server that has maps from a lot of gametypes, and they're willing to help host for this series.
Pegasus wrote:To wrap up the concerns, not only do I think Omni and CEONSS staffers would probably be the wrong people to organize this particular gig, but, likewise, it'd likely be the wrong show for their communities, too - perhaps with fractional exceptions for the scant few who used to play and still specifically ache for Ballistic, Jailbreak or other, similarly specialized fare, even after they settled into ONS for the game's sunset years. Yes, showcasing such gametypes, however effectively, would present something most ONS players may not have tried out before, but, even then, to what end? Even if someone were to conclude that one of those other gametypes is comparably worthwhile to ONS, and chose to pursue that as a side-interest, they'd still quickly, and depressingly, get reminded there's no UT venue to do that in anymore; the whole thing would just become an exercise in false hope at that point. Conversely, the people who "mainlined" the aforementioned gametypes probably won't even hear about any of this to come and enjoy it, and even if a few did, it's unlikely that alone would be enough to convince 'em to take up ONS (again?) instead.
I don't think this event will singlehandedly revive some of these gametypes. I just think that it will be nice for myself and others to have a trip down the history of this game, and have some fun playing some older gametypes that don't get many people these days. Nothing more, nothing less. Even if this would only serve as a disappointing reminder of a gametype that once was, I think reviving one for a day is better than leaving it dead forever. And I'm aware that this won't be for everyone, either, hence it being targeted as an event server-sized event.
Pegasus wrote:More constructively speaking now, UT2004's 15th anniversary IMO represents a good opportunity for outreach and collective reflection n' appreciation, which should preclude relegating it to a Match Server-tier type event that only a dozen people from both communities combined could get to partake in at any given moment (IIRC, that's close to the Match server's support ceiling). Instead (and ideally), any commemorative/celebratory event Omni and CEONSS (and others!) might arrange to mark it by should be conducted through the lens of the gametype we know, appreciate, understand and can competently showcase to the outside world, thus also securing broad buy-in from both our communities and beyond; that is Onslaught, not Ballistic InstaCarball.
What that might look like exactly, I'm afraid I cannot say and would probably be the wrong person to tap for initial inspiration; as a congenital optimizer I've always been at home in the headspace/niche of understanding, analyzing and optimizing systems and implementations rather than in front of a clean, blank slate. I may lack a surfeit of creative imagination, but give me some raw ideas and I could probably come up with a number of ways to improve on 'em soon enough. Right now, on my own, I can only offer some abstract, half-baked bits to chew on, like maybe a "full-on 24hr/32p/50pts marathon match" across servers component or "ONS content/standards through the years" concept or a "charity" aspect of some kind, all stitched together by some vigorous Twitch/Twitter PR campaigning, maybe also reaching out to notable people involved with creating the game or important past authors/admins to the community, I dunno.
What's also complicating things is the very tight timeframe here, what with the US anniversary now being only 4 days away, and the EU one just 3 short days after it. Moving this thread to the Public CEONSS section and adjusting its title to reflect larger aspirations might help in any case though. Again, ideally, we should be talking and planning all this two months ago, but as things stand, I'd lean toward putting together something that feels right even if it means being a bit late, rather than just rushing something out and most people still playing this game barely bothering to acknowledge it happened.
I'll echo my number list from earlier in this reply. I am not that delusional to think that this sort of thing could be pulled off in just a week's time in our current situation. The "half-baked bits" you offer all sound like interesting ideas, but I feel like we'd need more... everything to make that a reality. More social media presence, more people with connections to the ONS' past (i.e. not me), more admins with experience...

Were this a couple of years ago, with Analog and several mappers still around, I'd be pretty confident that we could pull our (OMNI's) end of something like you're suggesting off. But as of now, to do something that big would just mean Ema & Co. having to lug a heavy American suitcase around, more so than the time and effort she has already gratefully volunteered to make the CEONSS-OMNI matches a reality.

You're right in saying this probably should have been announced well before it actually was. I'm not that great with scheduling things, and I didn't feel comfortable managing this and a relatively compressed-schedule CEONSS-OMNI match at the same time. I'm also not that fast with these things. I've probably been working for at least an hour on this reply.

Now, to be 100% clear, with all of this I am speaking only from my own limited perspective. I haven't communicated with other OMNI or CEONSS staff with regards to the things you have mentioned here. Maybe the CEONSS admins think they could do the lifting needed for something like you're suggesting. Maybe I'm underselling our capabilities at OMNI. Maybe some high profile players or streamers who've moved to UT4 or other games from 2k4 would be willing to come back for something like this. But these are just my feelings, and why I've chosen going with something like this rather than something like a big celebration.
Pegasus wrote:In closing, and to be clear, I don't mean for any of the above to be taken as me coming down on anybody else who cares enough to organize something, anything, for the upcoming UT anniversary as if they were doing something bad; the thought and effort to put together an event the rest of the community might enjoy and find uplifting as the game ages past its 15th year is definitely appreciated, and I'll happily thank each of those involved either way. I simply believe there's more to this opportunity than we're currently reaching for, and that it's definitely within our grasp n' abilities to aim higher and achieve it, for all the reasons and potential benefits covered above. It also goes without saying, that if you need my help with anything regarding this, I'll be happy to assist in any way I reasonably can. Just please don't ask me to play InstaCarball.
I didn't take what you said that way, Pegasus, don't worry. I agree that a 15th anniversary event should be bigger than this thing is. I just don't feel ready for organizing something that big at this point, for the reasons I've stated. If someone wants to take up that mantle, I'm all for it and will try to help.

Appreciate your thoughts again.