I know my opinion is extremely unpopular but I’m going to state it here. This started out as a reply tothis thread, but I moved it here as it’s a much more appropriate place for this discussion.
As some background, I ran a TTT server for around 2 years total, through 2 different communities. Our server had the usual: custom scoreboard, HUD, chatbox, T/D weapons, pointshop playermodels, hats (I manually positioned most of the hats which I was very proud of), and of course, weapons. I rose through the ranks of the first server from noob through administration positions to super-admin, then when I learned basic Lua to developer, then to co-owner with a good friend of mine. After that server withered and died I moved to a developer position on a second server where I was also a co-owner in many ways.
Over the years my thoughts have changed on how TTT servers should operate, and what content they should have.
Randomly spawning weapons
When I was running the first server, we had no custom spawnable weapons. We all decided that it would be neat to have some more variety in the weapons on the server, so I added CS:S weapons ported to TTT (galil, famas, tmp, etc.). In all I’d say we had about 20 randomly spawning CS:S rifles and pistols. One problem I ran into during balancing the weapons was variety, it’s extremely difficult to code custom weapons that make the player feel like the server has variety, while keeping the weapons from being extremely overpowered. What resulted was that most of the normal rifles were pretty much the same thing as the standard TTT m4. Most of the SMGs were similar to the MAC-10. There was one other shotgun, which I admit was fairly different from the TTT shotgun, and a silenced sniper which had similar stats to the default sniper, but was silenced and did less damage. Basically we had all these weapon models for the sake of variety, but the vast majority of the weapons did the same thing as existing TTT weapons. In the game these weapons came from, CS:S, balancing was less of a problem due to their additional stat: cost. In TTT however, we have no such stat (rightly so).
Now, if I ever ran a TTT server again I’d do the same thing as we had in my old server: CS:S weapons. This provides a balance of seemingly good variety to players, satisfying their need for variety, as well as avoiding most of the issues I list below. However, I would NEVER add M9K or FAS or CW SWEPs to a TTT server for the following reasons:
• Download times. Self-explanatory. These weapon packs use models and textures that are ridiculously high quality for an engine and game like Garry’s Mod. This problem is somewhat bearable as you only need to download each workshop addon once, but if servers repackage them there’s still a problem.
• Weapons become cookie-cutter. Like the problem I explained above with my problems balancing CS:S weapons, weapon packs with hundreds of guns will likely have only ~10 MAX different types of weapons. The rest are the same as those several with maybe minor stat changes.
• Poorly optimized. I’ve yet to find one of these weapon packs without major code clutter or outright optimization horrors.
• In-game aspect. This one is sort of situational and minor, but still an issue. Say that a map has entirely random weapons, and that your server has 60 different types of weapons. Say also that there are 10-20 people connected. It’s likely that there will be times when a player is using a weapon that there is only one of on the map. If they get a kill with it and are seen with it, it will lead to them being KOS’d quite easily.
• Pointless. TTT as a gamemode should not focus on player customization or weapon customization. It is purely about the gameplay aspect, deciding which of the players is a traitor and eliminating them, or using creative weapons and traps to kill innocent terrorists. I understand that there need to be goals to achieve for player retention purposes, but they can and should be done in much better ways than cluttered weapons or game-breaking player customization. This brings me to my next point.
PointShop and player retention
As I said in the weapons section, I believe that PointShops items are not the way to go about player retention. The major problem with these items is that there really isn’t anything non-game breaking that can be sold in a PointShop. I’ll go over the most common categories and why they’re bad:
• Hats and playermodels: these both serve the same basic purpose, player customization. In TTT however, this is entirely game-breaking as if someone with a custom outfit performs a traitorous act, there is 0 way for them to blend back into a crowd. You could argue that players could switch out of their outfit after they kill someone, but without any in-game evidence such as a pile of clothes dropping to the ground with DNA (which actually would be a pretty rockin’ idea now that I think about it), this becomes game breaking. The first server I ran dealt with this with a rule stating “You can’t KOS someone based on their PointShop outfit” which led to terrible situations of players pretending they didn’t know someone was a traitor until they could find a “real” reason to kill them.
• Permaweapons/buyable weapons: these are decent I guess, but some maps are built with only certain weapons in mind, and permaweapons can break this. This is mainly something that maps should control anyway.
• Purchasable T/D rounds: no. This completely screws with the natural order of the game. These purchases can be handled by servers in two ways:
a. Stripping the traitor role from people who would have it normally. This both screws with the players who would have TTT had the purchasers not intervened.
b. Not stripping the traitor role. This leads to having too many Ts/Ds (whatever was bought) in the game, tipping the balance in one way or another.
Some better ways of earning player retention are: unique T/D weapons, in-game achievements/leaderboards (kill x traitors, use x different t weapons), and friendly regulars/staff.
Another point to consider: maybe player retention is something you shouldn’t strive to achieve in TTT. Sure it can be fun as you can learn the tells of players (much like in games such as Poker, TTT players have them), but often cliques develop, and it can also be fun to mix up who you play with all the time. I personally think a mix is good, player-wise. I as a player spent most of my time (1.4k hours (58 days)) on a single server, and I think that I would’ve been much better off had I also explored other servers. You can spend time with whatever group on your main server, but also experience what else is out there in the way of content.
RDM and punishment
I see many people complain about how SeaNanners or other popular YouTubers play TTT, stating that they are just RDM’ers and don’t take the gamemode seriously. However, I believe that they play TTT more “correctly” than most of the servers out there right now. There is simply too much admin intervention and game-breaking rule creation (such as the above dealing with PointShop items). Those YouTubers play the game for entertainment, and don’t cry to an admin if they’ve been killed for a lackluster reason.
Situations concerning innocents killing innocents in TTT should mainly be left up to the karma system, even if it needs a bit of tweaking. Slaynrs and such should not be required to keep your server running smoothly. I’m not saying that servers should go unmoderated; hackers, ghosters, ACTUAL RDM’ers, and minges of all types definitely need admins to keep them in line, but “in-game” kills and such don’t need admin slays and intervention.
When I say actual RDM’ers I mean those who join TTT servers just to freekill. The karma system will eventually deal with them as long as they do not wait long periods of time between freekilling sprees, but it’s just more effective to have admins intervene. Many servers now consider situations RDM that should not be, such as “killing on suspicion”. Circumstantial evidence is a huge part of TTT, especially in games with no or dead detectives. If a player is seen near a chain of recently killed corpses who were killed with the same weapon he is holding, I would shoot them. More often than not, I would be right. If I’m wrong, the karma system would deal with me. I am extremely annoyed when rounds with 8 players take upwards of 5 minutes, simply because all the evidence surrounding a player is “suspicion”.
"Fun" round addons
I believe that “fun” round addons such as PowerRounds are alright additions to average TTT gameplay, as they can mix up the sometimes-occuring monotony of TTT games.
Traitor and detective weapons
Traitor and detective weapons is one area where servers can really shine content-wise. Servers with innovative and fun to play with T/D weapons are servers I’m likely to play on, and there is kind of a lack of new T/D weapons being made as far as I can tell. The post in the developer WAYWO thread containing the guy who made T weapon traps using stencils was one of the coolest things I’ve seen in that thread, and some of the more successful TTT workshop addons I’ve seen (defibrillator, advanced disguiser) really deserve the credit. However, there are a few that I’d like to share my opinion on:
• D “Grappling hook”. This is a common example of a hilariously overpowered Detective item. On most servers, this item allows detectives to hold this gun, and instead of firing bullets, swing around on a rope-like constraint. This is usually an insta-buy for most detectives, and can lead detectives to be less of an asset to innocents and more of a player removed from the game and just swinging around. On one hand, I’ve had quite a bit of fun with how broken this item is. Usually it has infinite usage and no cooldown, so you become a sort of spiderman just playing around on the map. On the other hand, it can break certain maps, where areas meant to be inaccessible are now easy for detectives to reach. Additionally, like I said earlier, it often removes detectives from the game, and as such a core gameplay element. If a player wants this experience, a parkour or similar type of gamemode may be better. It simply doesn’t belong in TTT.
Custom content/lack thereof + script selling sites
In TTT, most custom content falls under 4 main areas: UI, weapons (spawning, t, d), gameplay additions, and administration tools. As a player, I’m not very concerned about what administration tools a server may utilize, so I’ll stick with the first three in this point.
• My personal opinion is that it is better for a server to have a commonly used UI that looks/functions well than a custom UI that looks/functions bad. I think most players (at least those who are not developers) agree with me on that point. I will say that I’m more likely to leave a server with a bad HUD, but a server with a good HUD isn’t really a selling point for me to stay.
• T/D weapons are a huge part of the core fun of TTT. Who doesn’t love finding new places to hide a C4 bomb, or Jihad’ing in a room full of innocent terrorists? I do believe that quality over quantity is a good principle to follow when hosting a TTT server. I bet that every server out there has at least one weapon that is never purchased, and at that point it needs to be either improved or removed. On the opposite side of the coin, many servers probably have overpowered T/D weapons, such as those I talk about in the previous point. Those are often signs of a poorly developed server, but in rare cases can add to the fun of gameplay, if all the players take it lightly. Like I’ll say with gameplay additions, a server with good T/D weapons can keep me coming.
• Gameplay additions (power rounds, spectator deathmatch, etc) are attractions if done right. Additionally, this is the largest place where servers can shine in my eyes. A server with innovative gameplay ideas will keep me coming, especially if they’re the only server where I can experience those gameplay ideas. This however, has become less and less of a good idea for developers due to the rise of CoderHire and its successors.
I’ve only been playing GMod since 2013, so I don’t know what it was like without these sites, but many people like to say that it was a paradise of servers with great custom content, and originality everywhere. Others say this was not the case, and that many servers used terribly coded addons from garrysmod.org and other places, and originality was only slightly more common than it is today. My own thoughts are that script selling sites were an inevitable solution to the problem server owners face with hiring developers and wanting addons, and that they have actually driven the standards of GMod addons up. Developers now are getting paid to write their addons, leading to better addons by the best developers.
In TTT specifically, I’d say script selling sites have helped the gamemode, with new ideas for weapons and gameplay additions coming as a result of these sites. It’s unfortunate that server owners can’t all have access to these, but I see script purchases as a server investment in two ways: the purchase may attract more players to the server/make the existing players stick around, and also the purchase invests in the developer’s skill to improve his existing addons and create more quality addons.
I wasn’t around when TTT won the fretta competition, but in my experience moderating, owning, and playing TTT servers, there is simply too much admin intervention and not enough fun in the gamemode. Owners need to stop listening to the kids who think a server is garbage unless it contains many playermodels and start encouraging fun in a videogame where fun is the point.
I encourage debate over my opinion.