Online Playing for Registered Users

OK, this is kind of ridiculous. I registered SketchFighter because I thought (and still think) that it's worth that $19, but I'm a bit disappointed that some of my $19 happiness is dependent upon others registering the game.

That is, I haven't yet seen a single registered player on the online tracker.

Wouldn't it be more useful and valuable for registered players if they always get to have online play unlocked? i.e.: if there are two unregistered users playing internet play, then things should be locked. But if there is a registered user and an unregistered user playing, things should be unlocked, even for the unregistered user, but just for that session.

Not only would this really cut down on a bit of bitter taste on the part of registered users, but it would also allow unregistered users to see how fun unlocked online play is. Oh, yeah, and it would make us registered users more popular. 😉

What do you guys think?

I can assure you I've seen crowded trackers, and beta testers (who are registered) will tend to be in the tracker to help out new people, when they are awake. And in a few days when more people will have registered, there are going to be people in the tracker. Trust me.

I don't think it should be modified that way, because it would allow a few unregistered people to keep playing full multiplayer games with registered people forever. There's got to be incentives for registering!

@zacha-pedro, on Dec 3 2006, 12:10 PM, said in Online Playing for Registered Users:

I can assure you I've seen crowded trackers, and beta testers (who are registered) will tend to be in the tracker to help out new people, when they are awake. And in a few days when more people will have registered, there are going to be people in the tracker. Trust me.

I don't think it should be modified that way, because it would allow a few unregistered people to keep playing full multiplayer games with registered people forever. There's got to be incentives for registering!

Meh. I still think it's a bit lame to encourage unregistered users to register at the expense of the registered users. As I said, the other way around would still provide an incentive for unregistered users, since they would experience full unlocked internet play.

There's got to be a compromise here, one that's in favor of the registered users. How about making unregistered users have half health when they play with registered users? Or unreg-ed users not being able to user super weapons, or something like that. That would still allow registered users the pleasure of playing internet play without the restrictions; restrictions will just be placed on the unreg-ed user.

This post has been edited by simX : 03 December 2006 - 07:18 AM

Remember, in a few time registered users are going to be the majority, and unregistered users the minority. Then the current rule will make full sense.

@zacha-pedro, on Dec 3 2006, 12:25 PM, said in Online Playing for Registered Users:

Remember, in a few time registered users are going to be the majority, and unregistered users the minority. Then the current rule will make full sense.

I still don't think it makes sense, or that it will make sense. There are going to be times when there are lots of registered users on, but there are always going to be times when there aren't any on besides yourself.

I don't think my experience should have to be dependent on others paying the $19 fee.

This post has been edited by simX : 03 December 2006 - 07:29 AM

You can always play SP. If your fun is determined by others that ain't much fun. 😉

Patience, I think, is key here. You have to go with how things flow – unless you can convince someone else to be on when you are you may see no one at all.

@simx, on Dec 3 2006, 04:28 AM, said in Online Playing for Registered Users:

I still don't think it makes sense, or that it will make sense. There are going to be times when there are lots of registered users on, but there are always going to be times when there aren't any on besides yourself.

I don't think my experience should have to be dependent on others paying the $19 fee.

Well, that's the way any multiplayer game works, right? If you want to play, say, Halo multiplayer, your experience is still determined by the availability of online people. Really, the only thing we can do about this is try to get everybody we know to get this game and play with us. 😉

Veritus: I'm not talking about the availability of online people. I'm talking about the availability of registered online people. There's a difference. Even though I am registered, I have to wait for another registered user to come online before I can play fully unlocked online play. Online unregistered users don't help me. It doesn't have to be this way.

Take StarCraft. If you want to play with someone else who doesn't have the game, no problem! You install a spawn install on their computer and presto, they can online play with you anytime they want. They can't play singleplayer or online play only with people who haven't purchased StarCraft, but they can still play with you, the person who DID buy StarCraft. (You could even play an online game between 1 purchased user and 3 spawn installs, so you could get a taste of real multiplayer gaming in StarCraft, not just 1-on-1.)

Or, another Ambrosia game, pop-pop, I'm pretty sure allowed unfettered online play between registered and unregistered users. Unregistered users were limited from choosing certain characters, but registered users could still choose those characters, meaning that registered users sometimes had an advantage with the characters that had better abilities. I can't test this now because there's nobody in the pop-pop tracker, which, incidentally, is another good reason to allow unfettered play between registered and unregistered users -- if a couple years down the line, a demo user happens to show up in the tracker when I'm there, we can have an unlocked gameplay session. If SketchFighter continues to enforce the rules as it does now, it virtually guarantees poor online play down the road even for registered users, when not too many play the game anymore.

This post has been edited by simX : 03 December 2006 - 04:31 PM

@simx, on Dec 3 2006, 11:24 PM, said in Online Playing for Registered Users:

Veritus: I'm not talking about the availability of online people. I'm talking about the availability of registered online people. There's a difference. Even though I am registered, I have to wait for another registered user to come online before I can play fully unlocked online play. Online unregistered users don't help me. It doesn't have to be this way.

Take StarCraft. If you want to play with someone else who doesn't have the game, no problem! You install a spawn install on their computer and presto, they can online play with you anytime they want. They can't play singleplayer or online play only with people who haven't purchased StarCraft, but they can still play with you, the person who DID buy StarCraft. (You could even play an online game between 1 purchased user and 3 spawn installs, so you could get a taste of real multiplayer gaming in StarCraft, not just 1-on-1.)

Or, another Ambrosia game, pop-pop, I'm pretty sure allowed unfettered online play between registered and unregistered users. Unregistered users were limited from choosing certain characters, but registered users could still choose those characters, meaning that registered users sometimes had an advantage with the characters that had better abilities.

You want to say that unregistered users which are playing with registered ones should have the ability to play the registered-only-levels too, right?

I don't think that that's a clever idea, because the unregistered players would be able to play every map, so what'd be the reason for them to buy this game any longer? Maybe the 30-days cut-off, but I think that 30-days full of multiplayer playing is enough for (at least) some people and this isn't very good for your online playing as well. 😉

Edit: And you can't really compare this situation with poppop. Imagine you could play every registered poppop character if you're unregistered, just because you play with an registered person. 🙂

This post has been edited by Freq245 : 03 December 2006 - 04:36 PM

@simx, on Dec 3 2006, 01:24 PM, said in Online Playing for Registered Users:

Veritus: I'm not talking about the availability of online people. I'm talking about the availability of registered online people. There's a difference. Even though I am registered, I have to wait for another registered user to come online before I can play fully unlocked online play. Online unregistered users don't help me. It doesn't have to be this way.

Take StarCraft. If you want to play with someone else who doesn't have the game, no problem! You install a spawn install on their computer and presto, they can online play with you anytime they want. They can't play singleplayer or online play only with people who haven't purchased StarCraft, but they can still play with you, the person who DID buy StarCraft. (You could even play an online game between 1 purchased user and 3 spawn installs, so you could get a taste of real multiplayer gaming in StarCraft, not just 1-on-1.)

Or, another Ambrosia game, pop-pop, I'm pretty sure allowed unfettered online play between registered and unregistered users. Unregistered users were limited from choosing certain characters, but registered users could still choose those characters, meaning that registered users sometimes had an advantage with the characters that had better abilities. I can't test this now because there's nobody in the pop-pop tracker, which, incidentally, is another good reason to allow unfettered play between registered and unregistered users -- if a couple years down the line, a demo user happens to show up in the tracker when I'm there, we can have an unlocked gameplay session. If SketchFighter continues to enforce the rules as it does now, it virtually guarantees poor online play down the road even for registered users, when not too many play the game anymore.

My point was that for most games you can only play against people who have bought the game (because they are not shareware). Starcraft is an exception. However, you can only play spawn games with people you know who you can give the CD to. This is much like the local multiplayer option for Sketchfighter- both allow you to play the game with a friend who doesn't own it.

@freq245, on Dec 3 2006, 09:32 PM, said in Online Playing for Registered Users:

And you can't really compare this situation with poppop. Imagine you could play every registered poppop character if you're unregistered, just because you play with an registered person. 🙂

No. Compare it to pop-pop where play between unreg-ed and reg-ed users where the power-ups that you got in-game were limited. i.e.: both players, unreg-ed or reg-ed, couldn't get their paddle expanded, or couldn't get sticky bat because they're playing with an unregistered user. Or where the initial battlefield was limited to certain positions of bricks. Or where you couldn't play different difficulties.

The point is that the registered user is being limited in SketchFighter, whereas they aren't in pop-pop.

And I've said multiple times that it would still give unregistered users an incentive to upgrade, so that they could play all the levels ALL the time. Or, as I also said, unregistered users could be limited from getting certain powerups, but registered users wouldn't.

The point is to NOT penalize registered users.

Not taking away someone else's privileges isn't penalizing those who paid for the game. See, for one, unregistered users don't get Ambrosia's support. Sure, they can come here but we're more fickle than an actual, working business and they're guaranteed to answer those who have paid their cash. Now, sure, unregistered users get all the weapons, but they can't play all the levels and they're stopped early on in the single player game.

@mackilroy, on Dec 4 2006, 03:54 AM, said in Online Playing for Registered Users:

Not taking away someone else's privileges isn't penalizing those who paid for the game. See, for one, unregistered users don't get Ambrosia's support. Sure, they can come here but we're more fickle than an actual, working business and they're guaranteed to answer those who have paid their cash. Now, sure, unregistered users get all the weapons, but they can't play all the levels and they're stopped early on in the single player game.

Err... what..?

I'm not talking about unregistered users. I'm talking about registered users. I don't care about how unregistered users are limited -- I'm a registered user. If Ambrosia wants to make unregistered users answer a difficult riddle every 5 minutes in order to continue paying, that's their choice. But I don't want to be artificially limited just because I'm playing with an unregistered user.

Let me put in another way. When SketchFighter is unregistered, the notice says, "Registered users can play further than the second boss in solo mission, make and play custom levels, play all the two player arenas and score network highscores!" This is a bit of a disingenuous statement, because I am not always able to play the two player arenas; specifically, when playing with an unregistered user, I cannot.

It's like saying, "When you download a music file from iTunes, you can play it anywhere you want or anytime you want. Oh, wait, but when you're in the presence of someone who hasn't paid for the music, you won't be able to hear it either just because this other person is in the room. But we don't actually tell you that."

This post has been edited by simX : 04 December 2006 - 12:51 AM

@simx, on Dec 4 2006, 07:44 AM, said in Online Playing for Registered Users:

Err... what..?

I'm not talking about unregistered users. I'm talking about registered users. I don't care about how unregistered users are limited -- I'm a registered user. If Ambrosia wants to make unregistered users answer a difficult riddle every 5 minutes in order to continue paying, that's their choice. But I don't want to be artificially limited just because I'm playing with an unregistered user.

Let me put in another way. When SketchFighter is unregistered, the notice says, "Registered users can play further than the second boss in solo mission, make and play custom levels, play all the two player arenas and score network highscores!" This is a bit of a disingenuous statement, because I am not always able to play the two player arenas; specifically, when playing with an unregistered user, I cannot.

You are able to play with people the areas you and they "unlocked" (with playing or with registrating), if this game was the way you mentioned the unregistered players would be able to play the entire multiplayer and as I said before, this could be enough for them.

@simx, on Dec 4 2006, 07:44 AM, said in Online Playing for Registered Users:

It's like saying, "When you download a music file from iTunes, you can play it anywhere you want or anytime you want. Oh, wait, but when you're in the presence of someone who hasn't paid for the music, you won't be able to hear it either just because this other person is in the room. But we don't actually tell you that."

That's this local and online playing part. If the other person stands near to you (local) it'll be able to hear your music, if you are just connected through the 'net it won't be able to do so, because you don't have the allowance to share your music with everyone you meet, especially not with strangers.

@simx, on Dec 4 2006, 01:44 AM, said in Online Playing for Registered Users:

Let me put in another way. When SketchFighter is unregistered, the notice says, "Registered users can play further than the second boss in solo mission, make and play custom levels, play all the two player arenas and score network highscores!" This is a bit of a disingenuous statement, because I am not always able to play the two player arenas; specifically, when playing with an unregistered user, I cannot.

Then don't play with unregistered users. I don't mean to be short, but no one is making you play with them. You only have to submit to those limits if you want to play with an unregistered player. Your argument depends on you having to do something, while it's a choice instead. And if you do play with an unregistered user, why not just enjoy what you can do? After all, it's an incentive for them to buy the game if they want to play more levels with you in multiplayer, thus rendering your point moot.

@freq245, on Dec 4 2006, 05:59 AM, said in Online Playing for Registered Users:

You are able to play with people the areas you and they "unlocked" (with playing or with registrating), if this game was the way you mentioned the unregistered players would be able to play the entire multiplayer and as I said before, this could be enough for them.

Well, I think that's not true since they'll still be limited in the single-player mode, and they'll always have to play with registered users to play full multiplayer mode.

But if Ambrosia is really worried about that, then they could limit multiplayer in other ways so as not to penalize the registered user -- as I already suggested above, preventing unregistered users from getting super power-ups in network play, or starting them off with half-health or something like that.

The point is to penalize the un registered user, not the registered user.

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That's this local and online playing part. If the other person stands near to you (local) it'll be able to hear your music, if you are just connected through the 'net it won't be able to do so, because you don't have the allowance to share your music with everyone you meet, especially not with strangers.

But the difference is that music is not predicated upon someone else listening to it with you. A key feature of SketchFighter is being able to play with someone else. So in order to be able to listen to the music (i.e.: play unfettered 2-player games), you have to wait until the other person purchases the music before you can listen to it.

I don't understand why everyone seems so resistant to moving to a StarCraft-like model of online play.

@mackilroy, on Dec 4 2006, 06:07 AM, said in Online Playing for Registered Users:

Then don't play with unregistered users. I don't mean to be short, but no one is making you play with them. You only have to submit to those limits if you want to play with an unregistered player. Your argument depends on you having to do something, while it's a choice instead.

WTF? The point is that there aren't always registered users on the tracker! So, no, it is not always a choice. If I want to play SketchFighter over the internet, I am sometimes forced to play with unregistered users.

Actually, consider when there are 7 registered users on a tracker. There will be 3 registered-registered user games, but then one registered user is left out, and is forced to play with unregistered users and be limited in what arenas he plays. Why? Why should this registered user not be able to play the arenas that were supposedly unlocked when he paid? Why should he be forced to wait for another registered player to come on just so he can play those other arenas?

Again I refer you to my other previous example: consider down the road 3 years from now when the tracker becomes pretty lifeless. But I happen to be on the tracker when an unregistered user comes on. This might be the only time in a week or two that I'll be able to play networked SketchFighter. Why should I be limited to the arenas that I paid to unlock, just because the only person that happens to be on at that time is an unregistered user?

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And if you do play with an unregistered user, why not just enjoy what you can do? After all, it's an incentive for them to buy the game if they want to play more levels with you in multiplayer, thus rendering your point moot.

But it is an incentive for me to become annoyed, because I am not always able to play the arenas that were supposedly unlocked. Why should I care about whether another person registers or not? If I paid for unlocking those arenas, I think I should be able to play those arenas, regardless of what the other player has or has not done.

This post has been edited by simX : 04 December 2006 - 01:25 AM

As an rather-early registerer of Redline, I am somewhat familiar with this phenomenon-for the longest time I had to only play on the City and Loop tracks because so many people were unregistered. Now, it's a complete non-issue. This game has been out for less than a week; give it a little time and there're be plenty of registered players. Patience, friend!

@simx, on Dec 3 2006, 10:16 PM, said in Online Playing for Registered Users:

I don't understand why everyone seems so resistant to moving to a StarCraft-like model of online play.

Here's my perspective- take it or leave it.

In starcraft there are two types of games: spawned games, which are with your friends on a LAN or internet, and full-version games.

In sketchfighter there are also two types of games, local games, which are with your friends at the same computer, and full-version games.

If you ignore the unregistered players, the two multiplayer systems are very close- the main difference is that you actually have to be sitting next to your friends to both play a multiplayer game off the same program. Given that in sketchfighter you're sharing a screen anyway, this isn't that big of a deal.

Now, think of playing with the unregistered people as a little bonus on top of this system. They get to try out the online mode, and you get a larger pool of players to play against. Of course, there's always a catch. But if you get sick of the limited modes available to unregistered players, don't join their games. Because sketchfighter, unlike starcraft, hasn't sold nine million copies, this will affect your pool of players, but it's not fair to blame Ambrosia for this- after all, they want more people to register as much, if not more, than you do. 🙂

Of course, the good news is that the pool of registered players will only increase, while after the initial rush there will only be a trickle of unregistered people. Until then, I suggest that you hunt for registered players interested in a match. I, for one, haven't gotten to play the Crazy Zone yet, and would be highly interested in any chance to. 🙂

@simx, on Dec 3 2006, 04:24 PM, said in Online Playing for Registered Users:

I'm talking about the availability of registered online people. There's a difference. Even though I am registered, I have to wait for another registered user to come online before I can play fully unlocked online play. Online unregistered users don't help me. It doesn't have to be this way.

Well, obviously we'd love to have lots of registered players in the lobby ready to play whenever you are looking for a game. However, the first weekend after release means that people are still trying the game, playing solo missions, holiday shopping, whatever. Sometimes the tracker is empty, other times there were 20 people online playing.

During the design process, we decided that both the network and solo versions would limit the game to a few levels. This was both for simplicity as well as to encourage people to register, without revealing too much of the game. It's certainly not intended as a penalty for registered users.

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If you want to play with someone else who doesn't have the game, no problem! You install a spawn install on their computer and presto, they can online play with you anytime they want. They can't play singleplayer or online play only with people who haven't purchased StarCraft, but they can still play with you, the person who DID buy StarCraft.

Similar ideas were floated after the release of Redline, a "light" version that would be playable for a discount or unregistered players. Unfortunately, SketchFighter was too far into development at the time to make such a major change. That said, we'll definitely consider such features for future projects.

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If SketchFighter continues to enforce the rules as it does now, it virtually guarantees poor online play down the road even for registered users, when not too many play the game anymore.

We have no plans to change the registration limits at this time.

@fprefect, on Dec 4 2006, 06:53 AM, said in Online Playing for Registered Users:

We have no plans to change the registration limits at this time.

Fair enough.

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