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#1 Strong Bob

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 09:04 AM

I was just looking through past threads and logs for XCAS and I've come to a disturbing truth.

We haven't had any new recruits in a long time... Aside from someone I tried getting into the game not too long ago, I think we haven't had a single interested player this year. As opposed to last year... When I recall new simmers popping in every month... A couple times we had new simmers for weeks in a row.

What's changed guys? Are we all that welcoming as we think? XCAS seems to have become a bit of a private club between just a few of us. What changed? Have we become a bit high calibur? Maybe too low calibur? To me, the current storyline has never been better... But activity is so low. And since January there's been a sore lack of attendance.

What's up guys? Should we start advertising this sim more? Are we doing something to push away newcomers? I'm personally a bit clueless as to what's changed so much that not even frequent XTC goers even check in. I mean jesus, I think three or four new people sign onto this board every week. There's gotta be something we're not doing right if they won't even look at this place.

Another interesting thing to point out... Some new and old forum goers even joined Loonie's sim upon it's creation. I have a funny feeling those people would not have joined XCAS if Loonie never constructed XCGS, so it must be something we're doing wrong here.

Anybody got any suggestions? SHould we hold another meeting? I have a few ideas of my own, but I doubt they'll help much before I hear some things from the rest of you (Like, all three of you by now).

I was just looking at a post made by Loonie within the first two weeks of my recruiting into XCAS... He was complaining that only 6 people were attending. Now I'm thankful for at least 3 or 4. I enjoy the smaller sims, guys... But it looks like things are slowly degrading. So far, only two of the original members remain in the Alpha sim. (Ego Terrorist and DragonHawk), and I sometimes feel as though you guys only stay as a favor.

C'mon, is it the storyline? Change in sim-style? Difference in crowd? There's obviously been a change in all three of those since I first joined. I just wish I knew what was keeping people away.
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#2 NickAragua

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 02:54 PM

Hmm... well, a couple of bullet-point suggestions.

1. Update the web page.

- An overhaul of the 'stories' page to make it more readable. A 2-column table is nice when you're dealing with lengthy 'chapters', but when you have three or four stories per chapter, you ought to consider some other type of layout.

- The little side bar is very cool. It also takes about half an hour to load on anything other than a T1. Consider using html or a css-stylesheet instead.

- Keep your sim times more prominent. Preferably, in bold font, and a larger size will help too.

2. "Information overload". Long-running sims generally tend to suffer from this, just because of the sheer volume of fiction created for those sims. XCAS has been around for several (3? 4?) years now, and the amount of fiction you guys have on this site (not even counting the roleplay posts) is simply staggering. Awesome, even.

Unfortunately, that means that a potential new recruit (PNR) will have to wade through about 4 years worth of fiction to have a general idea of where the sim is right now. My suggestion: A 'summary' page. Something to give a brief overview of major events that have happened throughout the sim. Things on the scale of 'Kabron pirates attack X-Com base and are repelled', as opposed to 'Dr. Yorke uses medkit to heal Pvt. Jackson'. Something that will allow a PNR to spend about 10-15 minutes reading it and then have an idea of what's going on. Maybe even have appropriate links within this brief summary to more detailed accounts (i.e. logs, stories).

That being said, I read through most of the archives at work. ::smirk::
I'm still a little lost on the specifics, of course (something about friendly sectoids, Kabron pirates, and X-Com resistance forces from Apocalypse? :))

3. Unfortunately, most of the X-Com fan base is 'growing up', as they say. A lot of us are now past the age of 20, and have jobs, university studies and "people that take up valuable X-Com time". So, I would try to attract people from other places - a surprisingly large portion of the UFO:Aftermath, Silent Storm and Laser Squad:Nemesis communities have played X-Com and liked it.

I think I tried to keep this post fairly constructive, hope it helps.

#3 Loonie

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 03:38 PM

Helps for XCGS too on some points. Okay, so we have just recently gotten a new member, but still.  :)
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#4 Ion Mage

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 04:28 PM

Nick, what you just said hit the spot on the money.  I'd vote yes on what you just said if I was still in XCAS :)

Of course, now I can only say yes in XCGS, and we have hardly any fiction up (well, in comparison to XCAS), but its still something for the future.
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#5 Loonie

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 05:00 PM

I'm not too sure about how much fiction XCAS had up after their first 6 months of activity, but I think 4 stories would be quite comparable. :) Plus it didn't have the roleplay on the forums at the beginning liek XCGS does, so we're not doing THAT bad. :) As long as the stories open up possibilities for the future I'd say XCGS will do okay. Maybe not great, but it won't be too bad either. :)

And a little note on when I was complaining about only 6 people: I was a tyrant back then. No joke. 6 people WOULD have been enough really. Although in retrospect...my attitude back then could've kept XCAS afloat for a little longer. It IS possible, but I'd think not LIKELY. So...when you can hardly muster even 3 people to a sim then yes, it is a problem. But if you have something like 5 or 6 guys making it regularly...don't be a tyrant like I was. It WON'T help significantly, I've learned that much. :)
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#6 Strong Bob

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 05:33 PM

Quote

And a little note on when I was complaining about only 6 people: I was a tyrant back then. No joke. 6 people WOULD have been enough really. Although in retrospect...my attitude back then could've kept XCAS afloat for a little longer. It IS possible, but I'd think not LIKELY. So...when you can hardly muster even 3 people to a sim then yes, it is a problem. But if you have something like 5 or 6 guys making it regularly...don't be a tyrant like I was. It WON'T help significantly, I've learned that much.

Please forgive me, Loons, if I made it seem like you were complaining about a small issue. I was not making a personal comparison to you, rather I was simply comparing how sim attendance has drastically changed.

Nick:

1) I've been bugging Derrick about this for a bit. I was told Ghost was working on a page reformat but I haven't heard much news about it for a while. I assumed it was going to take place once this current campaign is over... The frame's been bugging me personally since day one as well.

As for sim times, we used to have the "Next Sim" updated and dated on the site's front page. Following it was a brief blurb... Nobody ever really read it though, so I guess that's why we don't update that anymore.

2) I thought of this too. But I didn't think it was much of a case, because only two truly major events have occured since we haven't gotten any new members. I recall Loonie used my first topic on this board to make such a summary, perhaps I'll use that.

The idea to start over completely has been brought up... I was against the idea at the time and still am. But I would gladly make such a sacrifice, if it meant creating a new influx of new members.

3) Indeed we are. But one thing to realize, currently most are members are pretty much in the adult range already. Our youngest would have to be Shadowblade. In fact, our oldest members are the ones that have kept up a good attendance rate as opposed to the younger ones. But I see exactly what you mean... A newcomer that works every sunday at 19.00 GMT will likely turn his/her back without even bothering with joining.


Now... Can XCAS members reply to this too?  :)
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#7 DragonHawk

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Posted 04 August 2004 - 12:29 PM

I was just agreeing with the fact that X-Com fans are growing up - both XCAS and XCGS draw on a fixed and diminishing pool of X-Commers.  I'd like to think that we'd grow because of X-Com's loyal fanbase, but it's pretty much not possible anymore and hasn't been for the last few months.

I'm surprised to hear the page loads so slowly considering there are so few pictures.  I've already been dinged because the web page is too simplistic, but if it can't even load properly on some computers, what good is it?

With regards to the page reformat, yes, I would like to have that implemented for the end of the current saga, as its hard to only phase it in a part at a time.  I'm not even expecting new members now, and Atzel has been waiting for the current storyline to finish to jump back into the game.  Is the new format done?  No.  Will it be done?  I hope so.  However, I'd like to meet with a few guys to determine what exactly is acceptable and what is not.

With respect to the damn 'next sim' thing, that entry is so purposeless.  I like Loonie's use of news and updates on the first page, but updating the page every week is a huge pain in the ass for so trivial a thing, especially since more people check the forums, which is why I retitled the 'absence board' to focus more on general scheduling.

I think both XCAS and XCGS have work to do in this period of our respective developments.  :)
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#8 ShadowBlade

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Posted 07 August 2004 - 05:08 PM

Yeah, I realize I was the last recruit to stay more than 3 months. It's been a year since I joined and all we had was short-term simmers who left too soon; they didn't even get past Private.

Nick's suggestions are quite useful, really, especially the one about a Summary page. That'd considerably help people interested in joining to get a nice picture of what's going on without having to go through the 43 (!) stories.

I also realize that X-COM gets older a bit every day, and so do its fans and communities. Developers haven't "renewed" the saga for about 5 years know, and all the efforts directed to X-COM ended up in the ill-fated projects Alliance and Genesis. With these sims, both XCAS and XCGS, we're trying to capture and in some way revive the spark of the games.

OK, I went a bit off-topic with that, but what I mean is that we should pay attention to the newer communities about similar games, possible UFO Aftermath and the upcoming UFO Aftershock, because it's unlikely that the X-COM saga will ever continue. I guess we can find a larger source of possible recruits in those places.
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#9 FullAuto

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Posted 08 August 2004 - 02:04 AM

I'm afraid I can't help on the members front, but I'm hip-deep in writing X-Com stuff at the moment.  You blokes are probably swimming in material as it is, but if you need any stories writing, I can do something for you.  Hope this is of help.

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#10 DragonHawk

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Posted 08 August 2004 - 03:51 PM

Thanks for the offer, FullAuto.  If we need some extra background or ideas, we'll contact you.  As far as the progression of XCAS with respect to what people thought Alliance was to be, we decided to depart somewhat, so things are a bit different than the accepted storyline.
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#11 FullAuto

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Posted 08 August 2004 - 03:57 PM

No problem.  I'm not that familiar with it anyway, so when the time comes just tell me what you need and I'll write it.  If you want to check I'm good enough, I've got posts in the main fic and my own 'Agents' fic which you can read, if you want, to make sure I'm up to par.

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#12 Strong Bob

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Posted 09 August 2004 - 06:51 PM

http://www.x-com.co....ge/Summary.html

Derrick threw this at me the other day, for reference. It's not done yet though.
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#13 Ego Terrorist

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Posted 13 August 2004 - 07:59 PM

If an over haul of the website is needed then I am available plus able and willing to give it a shot at pulling together a new format (don't look to me about keeping updated mind! :) ), but don't expect any fancy coding, I can whip together some decent graphics and a cool looking webpage but none of this fancy new-age hippy php stuff (so if you want php then find someone who knows it :)

As for recruitment issues, I think its time we looked outside of the X-Com community, there is a massive role-play community and if we advertise, we might get lucky and interest a few gamers to X-Com, they may not know much about the game or the background but then it's not absolutly nessecery.

Anyway, I'm tired, and I think an early night is in order, but yes, we really could do with some fresh blood to bring to the boil. And thanks Nick for the suggestions and to everyone else who has offered suggestions and such like, if anybody else has any suggestions then please post it.
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#14 Strong Bob

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Posted 13 August 2004 - 11:53 PM

I dunno if advertising will work well. Nobody ever reads advertising posts, banners, pop-ups, mail, or even people that pop into other roleplaying chats to link. (I think you know we've had a fair share of the latter in #XCAS before.)

Essentially, the best form of advertising would be word from mouth. Telling two friends whom in turn tell two friends, and so on... Works as long as you have friends. :)

But a fancy website is definitely what we need. I'm not aesthetic enough in that aspect to really suggest much, Derrick was talking to me about modding the site the other night... Sad to say, I'm not much help.
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#15 DragonHawk

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Posted 14 August 2004 - 12:14 PM

I agree and then I don't.  It would be nice to have a really nice site, but unless its done right, you sacrifice your modifiability.  At the end of the day though, we play a text-based game.  To me, this is the ultimate in limiting factors - no matter how complicated the page.  A certain degree of complexity is good, but don't overdo it, I guess is what I'm saying.
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#16 Ki-tat Chung

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Posted 24 August 2004 - 10:49 AM

:: glances around ::
uhhh....hey guys. i dunno if im still welcome around here...well anyway, most of you know my little problem: time. and of course, it itsn't really adjustable. personaly, when i first joined up, i just read the first few stories and i was hooked. and yes, i do think that a summary page would be wonderful for those PNR's. it really is a shame about the time, otherwise i would share to others around me. and yes, i do think that it is quite sad how the franchise is growing older, and we need "new blood"...the thing is, i think that the market is simply overflooded with new technology, and mmost people would glance over X-com and wouldn't even bat an eyelid. not to say that people wouldn't play it, but there needs to be something new, and as all of you guys know, so far every new X-com project has bitten the dust...
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#17 Strong Bob

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Posted 24 August 2004 - 08:44 PM

It had occured to me, recently, that XCAS seems to cater to a slightly different audience than X-COM. The X-COM series was based mostly on numbers and strategy and XCAS is based on character and creativity. The most creative you can get in X-COM is naming your own characters and bases. Strategy still exists in XCAS, however, though I've noticed that is moreover reserved for higher ranking personal. (The fellahs that give the orders.)

The two things don't fit too well. Especially since there's not an ounce of roleplay element to any of the X-COM games. So really, I don't think advertising with the X-COM population is the key. But rather reaching out to other fields. I don't know where I could possibly advertise, and I don't want to effectively "spam" anyone. Though it might be possible to make a banner and get site advertising at warcry or some other RPG related site.
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#18 DragonHawk

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Posted 25 August 2004 - 04:03 AM

Kitat, you're always welcome around here.  :)  Your time issue, again, is nothing that I can solve unless you are willing to show up at the either the main or alternative times.  You're young yet though, and you have a number of restrictions on your person which prevent you from showing up.

I do roleplay with a lot of Australians so I know the time zone differences, but I understand that you have no real desire to contribute to the science porton of your character nor to the forums.  I still maintain that you could contribute whatever you so wished, minus your involvement with the in-mission portion of the sim.  Roleplaying is not just about playing CS on mIRC, it's about creativity and character, as Strong_Bob mentioned.

Obviously, in the future, we'll be looking to limit the number of players wanting to take the part of support personnel in sim.
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