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FI_FlimFlam
03-19-2006, 11:26 AM
I got to thinking on a topic that might be a good addittion to the next iteration - really any game that UBI makes.

It's a built in friends list. Now don't freak out people when I mention consoles.... http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Anyway XBox live has a robust friends list. It works because there is a global database that all users must login to when accessing XBL. I got to thinking about UBI's requirement for logging into UBI.com. This could be utilized similarly to what XBL does allowing for fast and easy location of friends. Believe it or not Lockdown PC did something halfway decently - it's friends list actually made it easy to find your friends who were online playing LD. It also was an easy way to create favorites for servers and find them if they didn't show up in the bugged server browser - this was because of the requirement of admins to use a UBI login ID when hosting their server on the internet.

Now if they implemented a better friends list it would be great.

Here's how I envision it. Much like the server browser, you would have a tab for LAN, Interent, and Friends. The friends list would populate based on who you have added, either manually out of game, or in game (more on ingame friends in a second). This would show their ingame Alias and UBI ID, if they are online, and the server they are in if they are playing the same game as you. I would think it would be possible to know if they were playing the game you booted up or if they were in another game since it's all handled by UBI.com. Note this would only apply to UBI.com based games not other games. I'm not asking to remake ASE or Xfire.

In game friends. It should be possible to ask for a friend ingame. In the in game player list, perhaps give the client the option to ask a player to be able to add them to their friends list. For example, I am enjoying the game I am having with Woosy, and I want to add her to my friends list so in the future I can find her quickly to play in the same server. I would open up the player list and click on Woosy and "Request Friend". Then Woosy is notified of the request, and must acknowledge it in order for her to be added to my list. Woosy is given the option to allow, allow and add me to her friends list, or block me from seeing her online. The last may be alittle too much to ask and not possible without changes to the UBI.com system but it would be a nice option. This style of acknowledgement is a safeguard of obtaining UBI ID's and cutting down on stalking. You have to know the player's UBI id to add them to the friends list manually. In game it is automatic, but requires consent to be added.

I'm not sure I want a messaging system again I think that would require re-tooling of the UBI.com server. However, I think the rest of the options (besides the blocking of people) can be handled by the game client alone with the current information available with UBI.com.

FI_FlimFlam
03-19-2006, 11:26 AM
I got to thinking on a topic that might be a good addittion to the next iteration - really any game that UBI makes.

It's a built in friends list. Now don't freak out people when I mention consoles.... http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Anyway XBox live has a robust friends list. It works because there is a global database that all users must login to when accessing XBL. I got to thinking about UBI's requirement for logging into UBI.com. This could be utilized similarly to what XBL does allowing for fast and easy location of friends. Believe it or not Lockdown PC did something halfway decently - it's friends list actually made it easy to find your friends who were online playing LD. It also was an easy way to create favorites for servers and find them if they didn't show up in the bugged server browser - this was because of the requirement of admins to use a UBI login ID when hosting their server on the internet.

Now if they implemented a better friends list it would be great.

Here's how I envision it. Much like the server browser, you would have a tab for LAN, Interent, and Friends. The friends list would populate based on who you have added, either manually out of game, or in game (more on ingame friends in a second). This would show their ingame Alias and UBI ID, if they are online, and the server they are in if they are playing the same game as you. I would think it would be possible to know if they were playing the game you booted up or if they were in another game since it's all handled by UBI.com. Note this would only apply to UBI.com based games not other games. I'm not asking to remake ASE or Xfire.

In game friends. It should be possible to ask for a friend ingame. In the in game player list, perhaps give the client the option to ask a player to be able to add them to their friends list. For example, I am enjoying the game I am having with Woosy, and I want to add her to my friends list so in the future I can find her quickly to play in the same server. I would open up the player list and click on Woosy and "Request Friend". Then Woosy is notified of the request, and must acknowledge it in order for her to be added to my list. Woosy is given the option to allow, allow and add me to her friends list, or block me from seeing her online. The last may be alittle too much to ask and not possible without changes to the UBI.com system but it would be a nice option. This style of acknowledgement is a safeguard of obtaining UBI ID's and cutting down on stalking. You have to know the player's UBI id to add them to the friends list manually. In game it is automatic, but requires consent to be added.

I'm not sure I want a messaging system again I think that would require re-tooling of the UBI.com server. However, I think the rest of the options (besides the blocking of people) can be handled by the game client alone with the current information available with UBI.com.

Aj6627
03-19-2006, 01:01 PM
There is something similar in Chaos Theory.
It basically worked like you described this friends list, but it didn't have a request feature, you just added someone from your players list to either your friends list or to your black list.
It showed if they were in CT, if they were in a server, what map they were playing(if in a server), and it let you join them if possible.
It didn't work as well as XBOX LIVE, but other than Xfire, it was the best one I have seen on PC for a friends list.

Woosy
03-19-2006, 01:28 PM
That sounds pretty cool, the closest one I can think of that maybe a good example, that I think you're talking about is like steam friends? It will tell you what server they're playing on and what games or mod on the steam platform. It was very easy to follow someone or message them along with the server list there was no need to alt-tab. If it's somthing like that you're talking about it would be very good and very handy to have.

Defuser
03-19-2006, 02:04 PM
I can't see any argument against the implementation of this - for those that don't like it, a global 'ignore' checkbox is all that's needed.

As long as we can specify whether or not we want to recieve messages when in matches (have the system return a message of 'Player can't respond right now, they are in a match' if preferred), and whether or not we want to be seen while 'logged in' (a simple 'don't sign in to friends network' checkbox would suffice) then there is no reason that such a system would compromise gameplay or privacy.

Modern games with multiplayer should, by standard, make it easy for you to find, communicate with and compete with players without having to resort to outside programs. Games such as BF2, with their integrated stats viewer and player comparison features, but no way to track and follow your friends into games, or converse outside of the server they are in, is a shocking misuse of resources. If the BF2 programmers had spent as much effort in facilitating greater player networking as opposed to gathering statistics, they'd have a much more connected and cogent gaming community.

Woosy
03-19-2006, 02:23 PM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/agreepost.gif

FI_FlimFlam
03-19-2006, 08:30 PM
Kind of Woosy but I'm thinking from in game rather than an external browser and game launcher. I don't like having to exit the game to find friends or favorite servers. (I don't know if Steam does that since I don't really play multiplayer Steam powered games).

The only problem I see is the messaging.

The UBI.com service would need to be changed to support it since it doesn't support anything like that currently. However it does support all the other features that I mentioned and would make finding friends in game much easier and quicker.

Manual friends like in LD would work but I like the ease of having an in-game/while playing option to add someone to your firends list to simplify and quicken the process of adding to your list.

The only concern I had was potential stalking and people you don't want getting your UBI ID. That is where the "permission" or acknowledgement from the player you wish to add would be necessary.

This one thing alone would help grow communities and gather friends together more easily being able to at a glance see who is online and where.

Woosy
03-19-2006, 09:30 PM
Ooh I think I may have you mcfuddled.http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/35.gif What I'm talking about is when I'm in-game in counter-strike source for example: I press escape to the menu screen for the game settings, I can click friends or server browser while in-game it brings up a gui like xfire. You can do it externaly out the game also, but I mean't in-game like that? Because from that I can follow friends and check what games and servers they are playing to even messaging. You can do what Defuser said by putting your status to away, as not to be disturbed I don't think there is any options for customised away messages i can't remember, but anyways thats how their system works.

KungFu_CIA
03-19-2006, 10:26 PM
The Friends List in Steam is finally getting the bugs worked out (still in beta after two years) and it sometimes works better than the default server browser -- Which is bugged and the fact it counts HLTV and severs with bots as "full" and "real servers" even when there is no one on -- And is a nice, INTEGRATED -- key -- Feature Steam has over other major online gaming communities.

I definitely support something like this in the next R6 game because of its ease-of-use... That key aspect we're all trying to work on as a Community... And the added benefits it automatically creates by growing the Community as a whole because of this ease-of-use.

FI_FlimFlam
03-20-2006, 10:01 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Defuser:

Modern games with multiplayer should, by standard, make it easy for you to find, communicate with and compete with players without having to resort to outside programs. Games such as BF2, with their integrated stats viewer and player comparison features, but no way to track and follow your friends into games, or converse outside of the server they are in, is a shocking misuse of resources. If the BF2 programmers had spent as much effort in facilitating greater player networking as opposed to gathering statistics, they'd have a much more connected and cogent gaming community. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

The only issue with that is infrastructure. In past years, PC gaming was designed to have no central key infrastructure. Except perhaps a master serverlist - which was not essential if you knew the servers you wanted to join. Developers let all servers and game servers be almost completely independent. There were benefits with this design in that it was not reliant on one central point of failure. Lately with UBI.com, Steam, and EA that has been changing. If the UBI.com servers fails, or steam crashes, or the EA accout server crashes you are absolutely stuck without being able to play online. Without their central infrastructure you are stuck to singleplayer only - with BF2 I'm not sure if you can even play single player (been a while since I played SP BF2). Addittionally if after a few years the publisher/developer decides to pull the plug on the game or resources for the centralized information, players become stranded. Example would be Tribes when Sierra pulled the master server. Luckily players were able to compile a master list of servers that could be distributed to the commuity keeping the game alive. With current game account models that would be impossible.

The advantages of a centralized required infrastructure is the ability to do much more in regards to friends lists, stats, messenging, etc. It's a progression and depending on the game/service depends on what it is currently capable of.

I wonder how soon it will be before MS offers XBL capability to any PC developer who wishes to integrate it into a game - providing the community capabilities to the PC crowd that XBOX owners have enjoyed. This would be a harder sell however considering the nature of the internet and the already thriving communities that form around games in the form of official forums, fan sites, team/clan sites, etc. I would invision a global service that any developer could sign up on and would track players and game servers. It would be a breakthrough for PC gaminig IMO.

I would also think that Gamespy has the potential to move into this if they wanted to as that many games use(or are starting to) their server listing/browser technology and account services.

I know I'm going a little off topic but it's an interesting thought.

Defuser
03-20-2006, 11:19 AM
Absolutely, and I think it's fair to that this is where the future of mutliplayer gaming lies - greater communication, both cross program and cross platform. Xfire gives us a tantilising if scaled back vision of what multiplayer could be if people wished to be more centralised. The ease of use of simply logging into xfire, coupled with the compatibility and connectivity of getting into a game, is revolutionary.

The unfortunate fact of the matter is that publishers want privatisation in the field of player communication rather than an industry standard. Players communicating in YOUR software, with YOUR adverts running down the side of the screen, playing YOUR games. Steam [friends], while it facilitates the communication (at least when it leaves beta) programs such as xfire have, without the cost of a download and greater integration, are steam-specific. While xfire can detect over and above steam, you need to have both running to find your friends on either side of the fence. Two programs running, for one purpose. Not good.

As we see more and more delivery platforms like Steam popping up, like the EA downloader, we're going to see more and more integrated solutions like that of the steam friends list. Greater choice over incompatible communications is the mother of greater division in gaming community. Suddenly you get the attack of the bloatware - to play online, you need to sign into not only your distributor's choice of software, but all the others to make sure you're keeping tabs on your friends, should they want a game PLUS xfire should you need it. Gone is the nonchalance of simply logging on to check if your friends are playing - instead there is the need to go through each program trying to get a game together. A frightening prospect if none of your friends subscribe to a centralised service, even a reduced one like xfire.

Right now, I think it's important to get game specific communication right, because I don't think anybody's got it truly perfect yet. There's no model to take cues from for an industry standard. There are attempts, but nothing spectacular. By showing what could be possible by looking at and possibly taking on board some of the ideas in this thread, Ubisoft could be the first to demonstrate the sort of forward thinking and awareness that has been sorely lacking in their recent releases.

FI_FlimFlam
03-20-2006, 11:51 AM
The closest model right now is XBL. Owned lock stock and barrel by Microsoft. Of course XBOX was a Microsoft Product and MS could leverage developers to get on board with XBL. That is partially what allowed it to become what it is today.

I believe you are correct when it comes to a publisher allowing another companies technology to be integrated into it's software. It would probably take an independent startup to accomplish it. Certainly there would be a huge amount of reluctance to integrate a competitors product/solution into your own game especially if there was no financial incentive to do so (or in some cases negative incentive with potential loss of advertising revenue). That is why I believe it would have to be an independent startup company with no ties to any one publisher. It could be done if publishers could be convinced to get on board. But the risk of tieing everything into a 3rd party would be high - especially if that 3rd party were to fold, it would cripple your game.

Gillyy
04-11-2006, 12:48 PM
I dont want a friend list. It is only nice for others but no one of my friends play it.