Perhaps this is a pointless post, don’t read it if your time is important to you haha. I’m stating the obvious thought, along with stating that I state the obvious but I feel I want to talk about something I feel is essential to s&box’ success. This is a sandbox game, a big part will be single player, not going to talk about that here as it isn’t affected by the general issues of… multiplayer. Multiplayer servers on Garry’s Mod are fun because of the other people and the content of them. If those players aren’t there on said game mode, then no ones going to play it. This brings me to the depressing state of Garry’s Mod Australia, as of now, it’s completely dead, but even if you go back a few or many years, it’s the same to a degree. There is now a lack of players all together, but there was always a lack of players for anything but the very biggest game modes. Whilst many may be different, I personally don’t really look at servers globally. The more players playing and the more developers developing, the better the game becomes. My point is to make s&box fun and have a wide variety of things to play and do, the game must be as accessible as humanly possible for players, developers and community owners. I have a handful of things that come to mind that I want people to think about. I know s&box can be a game much more than generic base DarkRP, TTT, StarwarsRP, sandbox and a handful of others. But whether it WILL in more places than just USA is what I really want it to do. Again, sorry for my messy, unorganized and pointless rambling post.
I believe this has already been addressed as something that Garry wants to make major change to, compared to gmod but this is incredibly important. The current browser does not encourage joining international servers, it does not encourage players to try new and different game modes, it does not tell players anything about the server before joining. Whilst I still want a server browser, this needs to be re-thought to allow a large amount of awesome game modes to flourish.
A trivial and far from simple, I aware it’s not just as simple as ‘oh, just make sure the game is well optimized’ but simply, if anyone can run the game, even on their low end laptops then more people are going to play and enjoy the game. Garry’s Mod is easy as pie to run, too an extent, once you start adding addons, that very quickly changes. Not to mention the jerky experience of loading servers and addons in Garry’s Mod, the unavoidable freezing etc. It seems already that this game is encouraging game modes which think outside the box, I see lots of awesome indie game modes in s&box being a thing which would obviously be easy to run comparatively to open world RP. Also, this applies to servers too, if servers are easier to run they will be cheaper, which will lower the barrier to entry for people to start new servers and communities. I am stating the obvious here, echo chamber style and it’s not a simple task but I feel the points I make here are some defining factors towards the games popularity and henceforth, ‘success’ and fun!
Networking / High latency experience
Here, another mission impossible. Perhaps my perspective and experience differs from most due to the fact I am on what is both an island and continent, in the middle of nowhere with only 25 million people (plus our 5 million neighbours). But truthfully, in Garry’s Mod I find it painful playing on international servers. The stuttering and latency is quite off putting, bearable, but because of it, I actively avoid playing anything but AU servers. I’m not a developer and perhaps that is more than blatantly obvious but if it was possible to significantly improve the high latency multiplayer experience on s&box over Garry’s Mod that would be INCREDIBLE. My door would be open too thousands of servers I normally would never even consider. I don’t know how, whether it be with client-side rendering and big brain fancy interpolation magic, I really don’t know but that would be HUGE, and I think it would be massively beneficial to many players. I hear Americans who live on the West Coast complain about playing on West Coast or vice versa because of the 50ms of added latency, but here I am with 150ms to Los Angeles and 200-300 to other parts of USA and Europe. Perhaps the people who are in my situation who either only have a very small amount of local servers or have high latency to other places is only a small minority but at least personally, if s&box could somehow a GOOD experience with 300ms that would be incredible. That said, I’m sure that would be mission impossible for the type of the game that s&box is, Source 2 and whotnot.
Ease of development and finding resources
Again, stating the obvious. I can only speak from the experience of a player and someone who ran some Garry’s Mod servers, not a developer or mapper. However, I think it’s intrinsic for a s&box game to thrive that the process of making content is as easy as possible. I think it’s important that we have official or unofficial places for people to find/download/buy/sell models, textures and other resources. Official or unofficial places to buy/sell/find gamemodes and addons for both servers and players. In depth and clear documentation, quality of life things like hot loading etc. Whilst many may disagree with what I said above, I think that paid addons/mods/resources are perfectly fine if they are low cost, for servers and/or there was a huge amount of work that went into them. People shouldn’t have to spend heaps in microtransactions to play the game, 99% of public content should be free but certain paid content/resources really does encourage development. I personally think gmodstore for the most part is a great thing. I think if there was officially run ‘monthly addon/map competitions’ would be awesome.
Ok, a random thought that popped in to my head but potentially there should me more moderation of the community as opposed to the very free Garry’s Mod. Whether it be servers with dodgy tactics, ping spoofing, perhaps even over charging players should be moderated. I see servers which are just a stock game mode which are pay to win get donations in the 1000s and ones which have so much work put in to them just die and don’t get anywhere because they aren’t pay/play to win. Whilst complex, perhaps the server browser / game finder should allow rating and commenting on servers, it could bring light to toxic and deceitful communities.
[nearly] End of ramble post. If people post any other key points, I may edit and add on. Ultimately, this is a game whose community itself is what brings the players in. Less players and less developers = less to play, lower quality content to play and a worse overall experience. Anyways, I look forward to the future of s&box. A true sandbox game is rather complex isn’t it…