Networks and Lobbies

This is kind of a different take on this but essentially the idea goes like this:
Instead of listing individual servers meaning that the top servers are full of big networks multiple servers meaning less exposure for small ones, allow servers to have “hubs” or “lobbies” similar to how big minecraft networks have it which redirect players to the individual servers or sublobbies.

As a benefit for using this system, you get to have all of your players on servers in the same gamemode summed up in the serverlist and can also choose to automatically redirect players to gamemode specific lobbies (while still being able to do things like randomly putting them into a server in that mode, or putting them into the last server they were on depending on what you want).

Now some server owners might just want to ignore this to take up more space like before but to combat that i suggest the following:

  1. Only allow servers that use this network function to redirect people to other servers while ingame, so you cant just bypass it by moving players around while still having the benefit of seperate servers
  2. Lower the “score” in the server lists for servers running off of the same PC that arent in a network together

This isnt perfect as it could in theory still be bypassed with VMs and making people use connect commands from the server to redirect them but i think having built in support for connecting servers like this would be very helpful for both big and small servers so
val- i mean facepunch pls fix

Simply genius. Someone mentioned grouping by style -> mode -> communities -> servers -> shards (?).

E.g. Roleplay -> SWRP -> BigStarNetworks -> BSN Clone Wars #1 -> Felucia System Shard


Seems extremely unnecessary to me. Why should server owners running multiple servers be punished with a lower score if they don’t want to make a hub/lobby? The issue of server redirection is a minor one (which we don’t even know will be an issue in s&box yet) and I don’t see any way to execute this without introducing unnecessary discrimination.

Creation/programming of and usage of hubs/lobbies should be left entirely up to the discretion of developers. If server owners abuse the system, players should avoid those servers.


So you want big networks to just dominate every category?

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Exactly the opposite. You could have a community compromised of one server and one shard (shards are smaller servers if you have really big maps (e.g. star system in star wars, world region in warcraft, continent in flight simulator etc)

And it would still have the same importance as big star networks because they’re both communities and have the same importance regardless of how many servers they have.

The player can sort communities by player counts if they wish to, but they can also search by trending (most new players), fresh (new servers), and possibly lots more well thought out criteria (not too much though, let’s not make this too confusing)

And that’s only once you selected a mode

You can sort modes in a style in a similar fashion.

And styles i think are going to be more or less static, and there’s going to only be a few of them (Roleplay, Fun, Construction, Scenic, Random) but if that’s not true they can be sorted as well (e.g. most popular this week etc)

And on top of that there may still be a fresh, trending, facepunch picks, etc in the main menu from all categories, and styles. You could also have a feeling lucky button which would connect you to a completely random community’s hub or main server.

And even if you wanted to iterate further on the feeling lucky button, it could have separate feelings to choose from “feeling big server” “feeling new stuff” “feeling original mode” etc etc.

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Or the built-in game/community/server browser
Will be very simple BUT there will be an option for devs to create their own browsers, so everyone will just use whichever they like the most


I don’t know exactly how is the best way to tackle discoverability yet, however, this specifically I don’t like, because it would invariably disadvantage the servers that need to use the “random” category, because it will be a catch all for very different gamemodes, instead of accomplishing what the other styles do. hurting their discoverability compared to the servers in those other styles.

No matter how many categories are used, there will be a section that will be alienated because they would need to be bunched simply because they don’t fit in the rest, instead of following a theme

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maybe i was wrong about styles or maybe there need to be different ones or dynamic ones but the rest still holds, or maybe all servers fall under one of these. there could also be a ‘competetive’ style

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Speaking of competitive, I would really like if the game allowed you to create some sort of matchmaking for your game.

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you could already do that in gmod

it is just a bit complex tho

edit: reply on mobile may not work

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Matchmaking is something Garry wants to do. I’ll be interested in the amount of control we’ll get over lobbies and parties.

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That’s good news. And definitely, that can make or break certain game ideas before you even get into the game itself.

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The server browser should be whatever is the best for players: there is no consideration whether “big networks” “dominate” or not.


big networks dominating is worse for players…

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basicly they are not really worse for players, just scroll a bit more down or sort by anything other than “score”

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I don’t see the reason we need to use a server browser. I think a full discoverabillity overhaul with pages dedicated to gamemodes is the better way to do it. The server browser makes sense when you’re basically playing only one game type, but in s&box’s case, any server can be a completely different game, even when they share addons.

We aren’t limited to specific “gamemode” addons, and it would not make much sense to try and foce gmod’s current searching system onto the new one.

Also need to remember that some games would not want you from directly connecting servers, like matchmaking games or even ones that work with sharding and a shared worldspace.

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The issue is that every gamemode will have different addons and stuff, and that will make finding servers to frequent/dedicate harder. Sometimes people really do not want to sit there and pop around in new servers. You have to cater to them too.

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I think there are a few other considerations when thinking about how server discoverability could change for the better.

My biggest concern: how are lobbies legitimized, or how can you prevent one server network from hosting multiple, etc. This issue introduces moderation in the server browser, meaning more work for Facepunch. We already saw issues where one server host was taking up the entire server listing for TTT by falsifying server numbers. It take years for anything to be done about it.

I am curious if Facepunch will go the route of Discord with regard to server discoverability - a s&box server network must become affiliated or verified with Facepunch by meeting certain criteria in order to get listed on a server browser. This could even lead to consistent community standards for all verified s&box servers, but for some I’m sure it crosses the line of how much control people want over their servers.

Ultimately, I think we are going to get a basic server browser upon launch, and it will be quite some time until this issue is actually looked at closely.


Right now they have a super simple join-via-steam system going on. I think this’ll be the method until they finally get to making a proper gamemode browsing system and matchmaking after the alpha testers expected in Q1 2021.

Server verification is an interesting idea. While I think s&box is going to take a more gamemode-oriented approach compared to gmod’s server-approach perhaps we could have ‘official servers’ for each gamemode? Discoverabilty is a hard thing to implement; especially with a very wide variety of gamemodes and servers s&box will have, we have an issue of different gamemodes and different servers.

While this is likely to happen, I personally think that we should stop thinking per-server for different experiences, and just see servers as a means of hosting custom gamemodes created by communities. Gmod is very server-centric where each server can be seen as a unique community with different addons and communication between servers never happen (If two servers have the same addons, they have different communities entirely)

Obviously discoverabillity and gamemode difference are going to have some influence from gmod, but the issue is people tring to fit s&box into expectations and completely ignore the powerful game api that it actually is.

An issue that would undoubtedly come up are servers that pretend to be game servers for official matchmaking gamemodes that have different addons / mods than expected, and are used for stuff like boosting or obtaining items that are used as an exploit, in this case we are guarenteed to have gamemodes wth only allowed servers.