One of the big issues I have had with the old GMod server browser is that it did not distinguish between servers belonging to the same “community”.
This had three-fold implications:
- Communities with a lot of servers had more visibility in the server browser simply because they occupied more lines in the listing.
- Contrariwise, smaller communities with multiple servers but small player counts suffered, because individually their servers didn’t amount to a significant player count, but together they might have had a bigger player count.
- Communities with a lot of different servers under different gamemodes had poor discoverability because their servers were spread over different categories.
It would be nice if there was a way to logically group dedicated S&box servers based on which “community” they belong to. The creation of a community would probably involve registering an API token or something akin to that. This can exist in parallel to the easy matchmaking system that @garry suggested.
For example, if a player is browsing the “SboxRP” gamemode category, instead of seeing 5 entries for “MegaRP Community” with 50 players each, they’ll see one entry with 250 players. When they click on that entry, it will expand to show all of the servers in this gamemode belonging to this community. An additional button could take the player to an “overview” of the community where they can discover that this community also has a “Deathmatch” server.
I think a system like this would greatly aid discoverability overall.
Another related use-case would be the support of server-groups that logically form a single “game world” but are hosted on separate machines (or processes, assuming a high-core count server) to better utilize server resources. When a player enters some game area, for example, they would be taken to another server. In this case it could be useful if the community/gamemode tuple could specify a “default” server for players to enter. Still, the player count would be actually reflective of the actual number of people playing on that community.
Overall, I think developers should have a wide range of options to make gamemodes and/or communities that can efficiently scale horizontally, as this is a very severe issue in GMod where a server starts to really struggle at around 50-60 players.