As a fellow server admin, I offer this advice...

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As a fellow server admin, I offer this advice...

Postby SnackPatrol on Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:19 pm

Hi, my name's Snack Patrol. I'm not too much of a big deal besides the one server I run, which I won't get into due to my disliking of advertising on other servers/their communities, but suffice it to say, I run a semi-popular TF2 server. I am honestly trying not to brag, and this message is intended in good faith to you:

As a server owner, I know how hard it is to manage a server. Things like, attracting new players, balancing fine details like class limits, respawn times, which maps to run, I've run the gamet. I, unlike UKCS' owner I'm sure, am semi-new to the ordeal, but I think I have some advice to you, particularly on your TF2 server(s), that I would strongly suggest you mind heeding:

1. Respawn times for your Payload server are ridiculous. Instant Respawn does not belong in a Payload server. Why? Because it's terribly unbalanced. Think of Upward. Or Badwater. Last cap. That is intended to be the hardest point for Attackers. Yet, with instant respawn it becomes absolutely impossible for the majority of attacking teams. Honestly, I could go on about this for days, but trust me when I say this: Instant Respawn does not belong on a Payload-only server.. The way you had it before, meaning like, 8 months ago or so, was perfect. That's why I loved this server. It was something like: 6 seconds for Blu, 9 for red. Around there. 3 seconds is the least, mind you, the LEAST any server should ever have for spawn times adjustments. For maps like Badwater & Upward, on a 32 player server, I would hike it up to 6 for Blue, 11 for red. Something like that. I know I"m going to catch flak for this but respawn times that Valve created are not balanced. Sorry, they're just not. Same with Instant respawn. That's not balanced either. There needs to be an equilibrium. 6 seconds for Blu, 11 for Red, is a perfectly fine medium for 32 player servers. Again I just want to remind you this is in good faith.

2. CTF Maps. This is another area which I have a strong opinion of. CTF maps with 32 player servers = a nightmare for me. I strongly, strongly feel that CTF maps are, even without the 32 player addition, terrible turtle-fests due to engies. This has 5 years on the line talking to you. I'm a primeval warrior and have over 10k hours in the game (I'm a loser, I know). What would solve this is simply: An engy cap. I utilize this on my own server, for CTF maps. Class Limits. Here's a great plug-in that does just that. Limit it to 1 (Yes I'm serious), 1 engy, at God-Help-Us-MOST at 2 per CTF map, especially on your 32 player servers. It becomes so much of a stalemate-fest it's ridiculous. I mean, you even run a 2fort server, which lends itself naturally to those stalemates. Too many engies ruin CTF in TF2, I'm sorry.

3. Honestly that's it. I know people cry about these sorts of things, but I can't say that anyone who's not a trader even touches my hours, so know that I have a lot of experience behind this.

I hope that you will change these aspects on your server. I, as a break from mine, very heavily enjoy my time spent on UKCS servers. If you by chance know the server I run, we run very different types of servers, but from one server owner to another, these are crucial issues that will drive players down if they're not addressed correctly.

As an addenum, I want to say this: I am available to assist this server's community in any way, I have my own but if you ever need feedback or input on anything I am open to help.

Lastly, one of your admins, RMS |UKCS| has always been very helpful to me. I don't know how your server's admin community works, but he has been a solid admin from what I've seen on your servers. I think he deserves more recognition.

I hope you will try to take my advice seriously.

Thanks,
Snack Patrol


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Re: As a fellow server admin, I offer this advice...

Postby ApacheFlame on Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:31 pm

Thank you Snack Patrol,

You have provided a lot of information here and I am locking this until I can post a response from the admin team. I will open it up to public opinion once I have posted our response a little later.

Thanks again :)

Apache.
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Re: As a fellow server admin, I offer this advice...

Postby ApacheFlame on Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:05 pm

Dear Snack Patrol,

Apologies for the wait on this, it has been a hectic few days. I will endeavour to address the points that you cover, but to give you some background to what we do here at UKCS it might make the reasoning I give a little clearer. We started 7 years ago (Maybe 8 now?) as a CS community, but evolved to cover most source games. At present we run 6 DoD:S servers, 8 TF2 servers, 4 CS:S Servers and 2 CS:GO servers as well as a couple of others. Each of the game modes has a dedicated team to run that section of UKCS with the VP and Owner overseeing the operation as a whole. We describe ourselves as a democratic community as we like receiving feedback from our users. We do not take server changing decisions lightly and swing changes can alienate our fairly extensive userbase who may not be as vocal on the forums, but have an expectation of the service we provide.

Instant Respawn on Server 8.

You are correct, we used to modify the respawn timers for this server. However this has to be achieved with 3rd party plugins. Valve only hard codes the ability for it to be vanilla or instant. The issue with using a plugin is that all the plugins we have tried have been inherently unstable. This has lead to significant issues in the past and makes the servers more liable to downtime when valve update the core of source. We had vanilla for a while and the feedback we received was that instant would be better. I am afraid the statistics we have gathered since we made the swap to instant respawn on 8 show that this is the case. However we happily acknowledge that it is not everyone's cup of tea.

Class Limits

This comes up as an argument about once a year. I am afraid that it goes against the ethos of UKCS. We do not tell users the way they should play the game (as long as they are not slot wasting!). If a team wants to go all engi then that's the way it is. It is frustrating, but people figure a way around it. I am afraid we certainly wont be imposing class limits on our servers.

Thank you for your comments, I understand that you have a large amount of hours in the game, but we have built up experience of what our players expect of us over a number of years and I am afraid that there will be limited changes that arise from your comments at this point in time. Speaking personally, rather than as a member of the admin team, I can see that if valve implement a way of changing default respawn times without the use of plugins I would like to see that implemented on our PL servers.

Thank you for your comments about RMS, it is lovely to see compliments on the forums as it takes a lot of effort to compliment over complain. He is a relatively new admin to the team, but he has certainly proved himself a valuable asset. While I am at it I would like to publicly acknowledge all of our admins hard work both on and off the servers. If you wish to contact me further about this the link to my steam profile is on the left or PM me through the forums.

I am now going to unlock the thread so that forum users can have their say it they wish.

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Re: As a fellow server admin, I offer this advice...

Postby Silkie on Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:34 pm

Ultimately because of the way UKCS works the map set-ups reflect popular opinion because they get tweaked to try and ensure people keep playing on them. The current state reflects popular tastes and that's one of those things that no amount of experience can predict. People like certain maps and play styles in the same way people like certain films and music simply because that's their preference.

There is a fair amount of choice across the servers but the reason certain maps and player sizes are common is because it keeps the servers as full as possible and happy players often contribute to the upkeep.

Now personally I can't stand certain maps (2fort) but it's majority rule and so it's in because people like it and UKCS is a pretty democratic community. I feel it's an attitude that will help extend the life of Team Fortress 2 which is already setting quite a good record for longevity. It would be nice if people tried new maps more often but if all they want to do is play 2Fort or Dustbowl then I can't see UKCS trying to push them as it's too friendly and relaxed which is what the majority of players like.

Just my own opinions. :)
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Re: As a fellow server admin, I offer this advice...

Postby Berath on Sat Dec 22, 2012 10:26 am

By and large I feel UKCS has managed to account for most play styles and tastes across their servers. We have servers ranging from 32-man instaspawn to Vanilla. This is personally my favourite, I need to be in a certain mood for the others but this in itself shows that UKCS does a good job of catering for all.

Whatever I feel like I can find a UKCS server that caters for me. I even get the opportunity to play some custom maps.

(though every time I play on Server 4 it always seems to be just before it changes to turbine or gravelpit........yes, every time)
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Re: As a fellow server admin, I offer this advice...

Postby Gh0st.IRE on Sat Dec 22, 2012 11:12 am

I myself love how the UKCS servers work, and considering we're catering to 173,847 members (as per the official Steam group (and growing)) I would say we're doing one or two things right!
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Re: As a fellow server admin, I offer this advice...

Postby SnackPatrol on Sat Dec 22, 2012 11:52 am

Edit: Was being an asshole. I'm sorry.

Last edited by SnackPatrol on Sat Dec 22, 2012 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: As a fellow server admin, I offer this advice...

Postby Shuriken on Sat Dec 22, 2012 11:59 am

Charming
This is my sandvich. There are many others like it, but this one is mine. My sandvich is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my sandvich is useless. Without my sandvich, I am useless. I must eat my sandvich true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy, who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will. Before lunch I swear this creed: my sandvich and myself are defenders of my country, we are the masters of our enemy, we are the saviors of my life. So be it, until there is no enemy, but sandvich. Om nom.

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Re: As a fellow server admin, I offer this advice...

Postby Ger-h on Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:01 pm

The admin team are not going to change for one person.every night #8 is always full why change something that's not broken
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Re: As a fellow server admin, I offer this advice...

Postby SnackPatrol on Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:04 pm

EDIT: Was being a dick. I apologize.

Last edited by SnackPatrol on Sat Dec 22, 2012 4:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: As a fellow server admin, I offer this advice...

Postby Snowbat on Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:06 pm

I was going to thank you for trying to give us advice, which we politely declined... but seeing your reply I just realized I better simply move along.
Last edited by Snowbat on Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: As a fellow server admin, I offer this advice...

Postby Ger-h on Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:09 pm

Any chance of this being locked just going to go around in circles
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Re: As a fellow server admin, I offer this advice...

Postby ApacheFlame on Sat Dec 22, 2012 1:28 pm

SnackPatrol wrote:Hurr durr it was full when there were custom respawn times too so yeah your point is invalid.

Please read my reply carefully as I took the time to reply in a polite and concise manner.

The reason we don't use custom respawn is that there is no valve implemented way of doing it. Custom plugins are unreliable. We tried both vanilla and instant spawn times. The community have responded and seem on the whole to prefer instant respawn. If we find a reliable solution that allows custom respawn without causing instability then we will review the situation again.

We have shown you a level of respect for voicing your opinions and you respond with rudeness. showing us the same level of respect we show may mean we take you a little more seriously in the process.
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Re: As a fellow server admin, I offer this advice...

Postby 13th Nightmare on Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:48 pm

This isn't me talking as an Admin, or as a member of UKCS, this is me talking as a player of TF2 when I say this:

I see nothing wrong with the servers the way they are. Believe me when I say I have tried other servers, but the ones at UKCS are the ones that keep drawing me back in time after time. So they must be doing something right if they have kept me coming back so many times
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