RA

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About RA

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  1. Every so often, I find myself wandering back to see how far along the MTA:SA project has come. I sometimes take a look at the google code and roadmap updates, but find that information to lack the depth that I desire. IRC chat can sometimes give good insight, but is very hit and miss depending on who is there. There also appears to be almost no developer or tester blogs that shine light on the project. So, I decided to grab a few buddies, install the server locally, and test out the latest developer version of MTA:SA 1.0. I hope this can help others looking for similar info. For reference, I am a long-time GTA player who still remembers running over a conga-line of peds in GTA2. I also played MTA:SA Race for a while, and even scripted a very simple game mode. Before this week, I had not attempted to play any nightly developer build of MTA. I fully understand that nightly builds can be flaky and not production quality. This is an opinionated, critical review of a nightly build so take it with a grain of salt. Following the instructions here, I installed mtasadm v1.0r612 (20090410), data v407, and resource v118. I also had my buddies install the same version. Note: They had to install the resources to both server/mods/deathmatch/resources and mods/deathmatch/resources in order to prevent some never-ending "loading resource" message. Before starting the server, I found that there were dozens of "resources" with almost no documentation. I tried researching a few but gave up. There really needs to be better descriptions of what a resource does and how it can be used (e.g. common commands, etc). Next, I tried to start a local LAN server from the UI. Bad idea. Nobody could connect and it took a while to find out that running a dedicated server is (apparently) the only way to get a server running that allows local connections. Even then, people had to quick connect by IP. If you want to do this, I'd recommend looking at server.conf and verifying everything is the way you want. Also, if you want to run a public server (available via the in-game browser), don't ask me as I tried to do this multiple times with no success. Side note: The game itself has a user login requirement for playing online. Thankfully, it can be disabled by the server. This is good since all of my buddies (who did not have MTA community accounts) were unable to get these set up via the in-game registration feature. Yes, I know that it works to register via the community web site, but I still don't see the point. After getting the server set up, about 5 of us were able to connect to the game. We messed around for a while on the default map, which is really just a test-map designed for development. We were able to walk around, get in vehicles, see the sights, etc. It appears that all of the vehicles work, from bicycles to helicopters. There appeared to be no signifiant syncronization problems, and the server never crashed. The graphics and sound (even the radio) worked as expected. However, there were no guns or peds to drive over, so we decided to move on to another map. Not knowing the default game modes or maps was probably the second major annoyance. At first, we didn't even know how to get to the gamemode/map list. After some research, I did find the commands. However, I hope that this eventually turns into an easily discoverable in-game UI. Also, the wiki seemed to be mostly geared towards development, and not helping a newbie understand the game. Fortunately, we figured out what to do, and eventually tried a number of the game modes. Here are all the modes listed by default: assault (Assault) [8 maps] battlefield69 [2 maps] cdm (Classic Death Match) [1 map] ctf (Capture the Flag) [7 maps] cto (Capture the orb) [1 map] ctv (Capture the Vehicle) [1 map] fallout (Fallout) [0 maps] hay (Hay) [0 maps] interstate69 (Interstate 69) [5 maps] race (Race) [20 maps] stealth (Stealth) [6 maps] tdma (Team Death Match Arena) [8 maps] teamwars (Team Wars) [1 map] We went through as many modes as we could, and a few maps in each mode if possible. Some of these modes worked and some didn't. In one mode we couldn't even get past the start screen where you select your team. I fully expect that to get fixed in the future. However one thing I found very annoying was that many of the maps were out-of-vehicle only. That is, there were no vehicles to get into. Frankly, if I would want to play a shooter-only game, there are much better options than GTA. However, one of the best aspects of GTA is that it mixes both in and out of vehicle modes into the same game, producing a game style that is unlike any other game. Please take advantage of this! Also, at least a few built-in maps for each mode would have helped make it easier to take a look at the various modes. One game mode that captured the feel of GTA was "Capture the Vehicle". It had spawn points that two teams would try to bring a neutral vehicle to. You could get out and shoot at each other, or try to drive over your opponent. Unfortunately, the maps were absolutely enormous for 5 players, which quickly became very annoying. It sometimes took us 3-5 minutes to get to each other, only for one of us to quickly die and have to start it all over. This makes for very tedious gameplay. I don't see how 30 players could even do it. So, please provide multiple small maps (or at least the same maps with closer spawn points) for under 10 players in each gamemode. It would be very much appreciated. Another thing I noticed was that many maps have very few guns and or parked cars. Having to fight a pistol battle every time I saw an enemy got boring fast. Also, sometimes when my vehicle got totaled, I would have to walk for 5 minutes to get to a new point, or just kill myself. Please add lots of these everywhere. That said, all of the guns once found did work as expected. Yay! Finally, I'd like to comment on the 3rd-party resources and scripts available online. Many of the scripts looked very promising. There was one or two for "peds" which would have definitely made the party more fun...if I had gotten them to work. I hope to see more information on getting these scripts running in the future. It would also help if there was some kind of review/rating system for the scripts which could help onlookers to know if something is worth trying. In conclusion, the game shows much promise and does work in certain scenarios. I hope the developers continue towards a final release.
  2. Thanks. I ran the dedicated server and was able to get the server running in LAN mode. We didn't set up ASE, so the server didn't show up in the list. Instead, we just manually connected to the local LAN server by IP. P.S. I found it very stupid that starting the in-game (non-dedicated) server did not support LAN mode (even if selecting the "LAN" checkbox). I hope this is just an unfixed bug (which is fine given that MTASA is still in development).
  3. I am trying to set up a local LAN of the latest MTASA nightly build. I can start the server, however nobody else can connect. I have disabled firewalls, etc. Any suggestions?
  4. All we need now is a dozen or more npcs in a conga line about to get splatted by a vehicle.
  5. RA

    Donations

    I realize the MTA team does not require (or even expect) payment for MTA. However, I know of a number of volunteer projects that provided the option for its users to donate. In the case of games, all they received was a little icon next to their name. Nevertheless, this did generate a notable amount of revenue. Throughout the development of MTA, there have been long delays, some attributable to the lives and jobs of the developers taking precedence. If the developers could either use this as a justification to spending more time on the project, or the ability to hire others to do it, perhaps it would be easier to develop and continue to support MTA once it is released. Perhaps there is some licensing agreement with RockStar that precludes this from happening, but it would be interesting to know how many people would be willing to pay $5 to support a game they like.
  6. What is a beta test for, if not to find bugs? People would know when they download the beta that it is not yet fully polished. As long as it is generally playable and doesn't consistently crash, players will be satisfied. If the devs feel it has to be perfect before they release, then they should never release it at all.
  7. I thought public beta was a given, in light of the most recent front page update.
  8. I was hoping that "soon" would be sooner. Thats how development goes, but it would be nice to get an update nonetheless. Did the team run into unexpected problems?
  9. Perhaps the devs will provide some kind of option to disable the anti-cheat checks. Of course, the server would have to have this disabled as well.
  10. It has become apparent that many of the requested features will be readily implementable via Lua, and this is a good thing. Of these features, however, there are probably a number of scripts that would benefit the majority. That is to say that these scripts are probably best packaged with the game so that everyone doesn't have to go to the trouble of downloading them. I propose that during the beta, if a script is determined to be something that lots of people use, it be added to the final DM server release, and that they be enabled by default. If the server admin decides they do not want them, they would be easy to remove. If this is not acceptable, then at least an additional official package of recommended scripts would be nice to have.
  11. This could be an optional feature to help a server self-regulate spammers. Text messages and voice (if implemented) would be limited based on the number of kills or score of the player. Each player would start with a configurable base amount - like 10 text messages and 10 seconds of voice. Each additional kill/point would increase the allowed messages by a configurable amount, like 2 text messages and 4 seconds. Teamkills would subtract that much. Once a player got down to zero, they would not be allowed to send messages until they scored again, reconnect, or the map restarts.
  12. RA

    The Future

    Perhaps this is premature, but I was wondering what the plans are for the MTA team after DM (final) has been released. There will probably have to be a maintenance update for minor issues, but I can't see that as taking a significant amount of effort. So, are there lots of new neat features that have been put off for now that will be taken back up for a future "2.0" release? Or will the team move onto building mods for the now "complete" engine? Or maybe this is close to the end? Some projects run their course and the main developers loose the motivation needed to implement new features.
  13. RA

    Only race mode?

    I don't think most people are expecting the semi-intelligent bot-peds like there were in GTA:SA single player. For starters, all that is needed are plain peds that walk a predefined path, and don't mind getting run over by a speeding player. Thinking back to GTA 1/2, one thing that made the multiplayer games much more fun was the incidental "contact" with random peds while in a high speed car chase with another human player. The conga lines were memorable as well. Another point to make was that peds are much more important in small multiplayer games, since the number of real players was limited. In larger games, with 20+ players, they will probably be less important since you have a better chance of finding a human player.
  14. The next version of MTA:SA will support "deathmatch" mode, but it has not yet been released to the public, even in beta form. It is not known how long it will be before it is released. It could be this month, or it could be next year. Don't spend your time waiting for it or you will go crazy.
  15. The recent front page post mentions that the dev team is in need of volunteers to help script game modes for DM. Is this request for people to help right now? I'm sure there are lots of people, myself included, that would like to help how we can. However, I don't really know how that is possible without access to the game. Help us help you!