My Thoughts on the Current State of TTT Servers

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.

Introduction
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.
• TODO

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.

Closing statement
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.

Gonna take the lazy route and just bullet point everything I disagree with, anything not mentioned I most likely agree with.

• About RDM, Karma, and administration. There are plenty of situations where traitors pulled genuine trickery on innocents leading them to kill multiple other innocents. How can you leave this up to a karma system that just bans players after RDMing a certain amount of people?

• About Weapons. Sure having long download times and overpowered weapons suck but so can anything if it isn’t done right. CW and TFA are also pretty damn optimized for the amount of features they have. Using these two weapon bases I was able to add a ton of realism and excitement to the server.

• About Pointshop. TTT is a gamemode where everyone should look the same and the traitors should blend in. This doesn’t work if players shout “Kill the deadpool guy”. It also takes up a ton of download time which blows.

As someone who has played TTT as their first GMod gamemode all the way up until the “TTT fun” servers became popular, I can agree with you on every point except your perceived effects by Youtube popularity and RDM administration. Admin abuse and intervention that has ruined the feel of gameplay, and in my opinion, has been a direct result of the massive amounts of people who come in and RDM due to not knowing anything about the game – a product of the hype surrounding the gamemode. While gamemodes like Prop Hunt and Murder stay unaffected due to the little amount of rules and room for abuse, TTT has been plagued by an overly abusive response on the side of administration. Although the karma system is far from perfect and leaves out many cases of legitimate killing of team-mates, the report RDM system and guilty until proven innocent has killed any chance of having a legitimate experience on TTT. Although some forms of this might have existed before the influx of the Youtube community; the induction of SeaNanners, the Creatures, and others as figureheads of the gamemode timed perfectly with the rise of Coderhire and Scriptfodder, creating some nasty addons as core game elements. I am not blaming the way these content creators played the game or made the addons, but rather, the way server owners handled them: they were never meant to be core elements of TTT, but an assistant to regular administration.

Overall, great analysis of cookie-cutter addons and content. I couldn’t agree with you more how customization has died at the hands of premade scripts.

Good point and one I haven’t thought of, actually. The karma system definitely needs tweaks, and in a situation like this, perhaps the innocent should be able to appeal to an admin that the karma be reversed? The karma system being supplemented by an admin kind of defeats the purpose of the system, but it’s something worth thinking about. I’d welcome others’ thoughts on this point. Good point.

First and foremost you haven’t addressed my other main points such as many weapons becoming cookie-cutter and overall pointless in the theme of the game, which I believe far outweight your positives. It sounds like the main reasons you’ve added your weapons are “realism and excitement”, realism which is not necessary in the theme of the game, and actually stands out against the somewhat dated textures and models of the rest of the game. Excitement I can somewhat understand if your weapons include grenade launchers and customizable weaponry, but as my other points on customization include, it often just isn’t necessary. Additionally, it’s hard to make a weapon exciting without being overpowered. Mind sharing some examples?

This is just agreeing with my point?

[editline]15th February 2016[/editline]

Yes, these new players are a problem, however there should be resources (admins) available to them to explain how the game works on that server, and administrative punishment + the karma system should be able to handle them if they don’t shape up.

In my opinion, regulars and admins of a server should be responsible for explaining to new players how they are expected to behave on that specific server. Ideally, the player would then shape up and make the experience more enjoyable for everyone. However, this relies on admins being patient with new users, and not snobby or angry. Additionally, this relies on the player listening to the admin. If they do not listen to the administration, they may be banned. If no administration is available, the karma system (if perfected) would reduce their impact on the game, and eventually lead to them being banned. In this situation, however, they would need to be killed by another innocent in one way or another, leading their karma to become damaged. Perhaps retaliation detection should be implemented into the karma system to handle this.

Additionally, the definition of what makes a player a problem varies; I perceive them as a problem only if they are actual RDM’ers, which can be easily corrected. Another may perceive them as a problem if they don’t understand the caveats of the gamemode, such as the responsibilities of a detective or what makes a good traitor buddy, which can be solved in different ways.

I believe that the YouTubers do not RDM, and that they play the game to find the traitor in some scenario, not to RDM, thus making them not a problem. It is then not really the fault of the YouTubers that kids join and RDM, only that publicity of any sort draws more players to the gamemode, some of which will certainly be bad apples, at least at first.

I never actually talked about this :v:, but I’ll edit the OP to add this in. My cookie-cutter comment was mainly to talk about weapons that have the same stats but different models just for the sake of ~variety~.

Here is my huge server concern: Staff curuption

I am making a ttt server right now. I am yet to find a perfect staff system wich is non-corrupt.

Here is my plan. #2 to 3 server community#
Owner —me
Supervisor—My irl friends who will be good—2ppl
Admin–some people I played with before may be reliable 4ppl
Moderator–randoms 4ppl
Trusted—randoms 3ppl

For promotion to higher ranks ex. 2 mods one has been one for 1 month the other has been for 3 weeks. The one who has had the position longer will be auto promoted when there is a opening unless he wants to stay where he is at.

To initially apply for trusted I’m not sure what I will do yet.

Anyone got any tips or systems they can share for people starting up a server?

Administration setup (server staff)
This isn’t related to the TTT gamemode in a large amount, but I thought I’d share my opinions stemming from my experience. This obviously varies from server to server depending on player count and server count. What I’ll say here is directed towards a single-server TTT setup with ~8-16 connected players on average (what I believe to be the perfect amount), and is solely based on my experience as a server owner.

• Ranks, amount, powers:
Owner - 1 - all power. The guy who pays the bills (you). Should step in to administrative positions as sees fit.
Super-Administrator - 1/2 - all power. Highly trusted admins, have seniority in administrative positions and are trusted by the owner. Must have friendly personalities and ability to settle disputes between players.
Administrator - at least 2 - permaban + moderator powers. Senior moderators. There should be an obvious line of promotion from moderator to admin as long as they do not screw anything up as moderator. Must have friendly personalities and ability to settle disputes between players. Also must be fairly active on the server and understand the culture thoroughly.
Moderator - at least 3 - kick, tempban, gag, mute. Community members who have an interest in moderating and higher admins believe would benefit the server. Must be decently active on the server as well as having friendly personalities and ability to settle disputes between players. Should be trained by higher staff.

This is set up so that there will always be one person of power on the server at any given time. There should be a clear line of promotion from moderator to administrator as long as the moderator proves competent.
The owner and super-administrator(s) should decide who becomes moderator and who is promoted from moderator to administrator; no auto-promote. Additionally, actions of and mentoring of lesser staff should be supervised by higher staff.
If any staff is found incompetent or corrupt, try getting them to fix their behavior. If not, demote them. As long as you have a playerbase, there will always be players with potential to become good staff.

IRL friends can be administrators when the server is first starting out, but in my experience they will never take the position as seriously as players from within your server.

Decisions should be made taking into account input from all super administrators and administrators. An important note is to remember to listen to these guys as they are likely on the server more often than you, and know the playerbase better in some cases.

Thx

I also think you need to be careful with this - if you’re making friends admins then you need the ability recognize bad behavior instead of attempting to justify it and actually have the courage to call them out on it

And that can be hard, it’s not nice to tell your friend to stop being a dick and there’s a chance they’ll just brush it off too

I’ve had a massive influx of work as of lately, so I’ve been trying to just settle down and play some fun gamemodes when I get some free time. But with the sorry state of TTT servers here in Europe, that has been more stressful than the work I’m doing. I can’t find a decent TTT server anymore. Most servers are full of tags such as |FUN|1-hit Knife| and all this sort of stuff. These are typically the servers that have all sort of downloads and bloated loading screens. The only vanilla TTT server in sight is a 24/7 minecraft server.

Honestly, I was thinking of setting down and just making my own decent TTT server, but time doesn’t allow it. I have to rely on what the community provides, which is a bloated mess.

Also, am I the only one here who’s annoyed with all the ranks people make?
Trusted
Donor
Vip 1
Vip 2
Admin
Head Admin
Head Head Admin
Co-owner
Owner’s friend
Etc…

Heh, your thread practically praises my server.
I disagree on a few things but YourStalker pretty much stated them all.

However - I do thinks Player Models should be a part of the game, but not custom ones.
Disregarding player models with broken hitboxes/non-default structure (Like a Pokémon), a player can choose to buy a player model because it looks awesome. I, for example, always buy & equip the following:

  • Breen
  • Fedora hat
  • Aviators

It looks really awesome and I am fine with players saying “KOS Breen” because whether it’s meant to be in the game or not - it is a valid accusation and can be acted upon.
I just add player models that are included in Gmod by default (Grigori, Eli, etc.)

One of the things I love about TTT is oddly enough the roleplay side of it. While it’s not really designed with that in mind, it can be super fun to put on a role and just run with it. When I get a detective round sometimes I’ll pretend to be a Sheriff in a western town, or an FBI member. And sometimes when I’m a traitor I’ll coordinate with my teammates to kill eachother, so that other people think we’re innocent. This actually works really well, as nobody really expects it.

One of the other problems with TTT is that nobody actually knows the intricacies of how some of the more advanced gameplay mechanics work, many people have no clue what a DNA scanner does, or what a Visualiser is. Maybe this can be chalked up to bad game design, but I guarantee literally 99.9% of players don’t know you can collect DNA from weapons that have been dropped. Actually using reasoning to find out who the traitor is can be so rewarding, and it’s pretty sad that nobody likes to play as detective.

As for pointshops I agree with what you guys have said, it kind of ruins the point of TTT when you can tell whose sniping you from across the map because they have 17 shiny hats and a gold material equipped. This could probably be fixed with a kind of Advanced Disguiser, which would allow you to steal a dead player’s items and wear them, but I’m not too sure how that would play out in an actual round.

Yeah. See my reply at the bottom.

Yeah, the will and ability to roll these kinds of setups is part of what makes TTT and GMod overall a great experience. Unfortunately it seems there is currently an impression among players that TTT is a rigid gamemode with no room for playstyles like yours and those of popular YouTubers, when it’s really up to the players to make the fun.

I agree. It seems like the average detective nowadays is mainly focused on flying around or hiding instead of actually functioning to help the innocents, slowing the game down and tipping balance in favor of Ts. So many of the greatly innovative mechanics of the detective have been either shunted by rules (limiting what the detective can do to the point where it encourages this solo behavior) or, as you said, fallen into obscure facts.

Yeah, the advanced disguiser and pile of clothes dropping on outfit switch would improve how pointshop outfits play out in TTT.

I think I’ll actually work on a TTT+PointShop addon that contains both of these features; on outfit switch you’ll drop a pile of clothes with DNA, and an advanced disguiser that can copy the outfit of a player. Hopefully it would smooth relations between the two addons.

Having your own friends as admins to your server can be good and awful for a lot of reasons. The good part is that your friend trust you and presumably you trust them enough to give them a good amount of influence. However, the trust you give them is a double edged sword. Lets say hypothetically your friend is an awful admin all around; bad decisions, hardly active, bans people for stupid reasons, etc. In a normal situation, you’d just remove the persons power and be done with it. With them being your friend it becomes a lot harder to take away their rank, it could lead to them becoming angry towards you.

While you should be friends with your volunteer admins, putting too much trust in them could lead to some large headaches down the road. I speak from experiences when I say being an admin on a TTT server is a special kind of cancer. You have to deal with the lowest common denominator on a regular basis and sort through reports practically every single round. It makes playing the gamemode not fun at all unless you have an extremely streamlined report/punishment system.

what you said is mostly agreeable, I wont lie and say I read all of it. I also loved TTT but came to accept that player needs, and the gamemode (and perhaps gmod as a whole) had evolved into something new and I no loner enjoyed it (or perhaps I had just played enough? who knows). I’m sure you’ll find earlier gmod players saying the same about RP etc.

Not to mention as I progressed, both playing more TTT and coding more, TTT is realy badly coded and networked and I grew frustrated with how this effected the game.

All that aside, the real key to enjoying TTT and having a popular server is nothing to do with addons and shit. Good friends and players, who you can have a laugh with and play the game with is what it’s all about! Not to sound nerdy here, but some of my favorite memories have been of playing with good friends on TTT , Niandra included in that ;). Truthfully, that’s what I miss not a ‘good’ TTT server!