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GameSpy Lobby Alternative

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#1
WaeV

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Now that the official Gamespy Halo PC servers are going down, I think it's our chance to make a slick, easy-to-use lobby program to parallel HaloMD for Mac users. Here are some of my thoughts:

  • Only support Halo PC 1.09 for starters. CE support might come later.
  • Bundle HAC2 if Btcc22 thinks that is a good idea.
  • Connect to an existing 3rd party Halo lobby. I know HaloMD has a small set of servers, but the SAPP serverlist looks even bigger! Are there any other alternatives? Provide good filtering mechanisms (players, ping, hide empty servers, etc.)
  • Joining a server would launch directly into the game, bypassing the in-game menus. The default setting would be to match your native resolution, although this could be overridden in settings. Perhaps it could expose field of view control via HAC2?
  • Joining a server would automatically download / update maps if available.

I think a lobby could look pretty slick in a window like this...


 
Other thoughts or suggestions?



#2
NeX

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I think BT's alternate master server that would use hac2 to populate the existing lobby would be less intrusive and more amenable to your average player. Plus it'd serve for any version
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#3
WaeV

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The trouble is installation -- I think having to drop a .dll somewhere in Program Files is too obscure for the average joe player. If the lobby is external, then they can just run it like any normal program, and it does all the work behind the scenes. Plus concepts like updating will make more sense. Dropping a dll is "set and forget" -- nobody goes back and remembers to update those things.



#4
As7raios

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I think you're severely underestimating the "average joe user" if you think it's way over their head to explain how to place one simple file into a directory and then let them play the game exactly as it was before. I walked my mother through setting a static IP/setting up port forwarding over the phone the other night because I forgot to reset changes I made in my router the previous night and wanted to remote in from school. If she can do that, anybody can place a single file in Halo's controls folder. Even then, if that IS a problem, an install file can be made to place it there if that REALLY becomes a problem.

Besides, having an outside program running the lobby would be a massive change that doesn't, in any way, integrate its self into Halo seamlessly which is what HAC2 is built from the ground up to accomplish.

Oh, also, in terms of not remembering to update those things, that's not a problem. HAC2 automatically updates its self every time you start Halo in the background. It's just such as a small file you never notice it.
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#5
WaeV

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Well, then I guess the problem is discoverability.  HAC is titled "Halo Anticheat", but is more notable for its non-anticheat features.

 

Even if it exposes the exact same functionality, people might find a GUI settings pane more friendly than having to look up or remember command-line options.



#6
As7raios

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You don't have to remember command-line functions. Nothing in HAC2 makes it so that you have to use command-line to do things except things that have to do with developer mode. Things like setting FoV are done by pressing function keys (Like F6 for Fov or F7 for sightjacker). Also, I won't say much more on this but there might be something in the works right now for HAC2 to have settings based in Halo's UI integrated to the default UI where you can tweak things like FoV. You also won't have to replace the UI map to do it. It'll update along with everything else that is updated behind the scenes without people even realizing it's happening. I mean, they'll certainly notice the "HAC2 Settings" option.

In terms of how easy it is to discover, it will be as easy as anything else in modifications to PC games. If people look up how to fix certain issues, they'll run into forum threads like this explaining to fix it. They'll probably find us talking on OpenCarnage saying "HAC2 makes it so that you can see servers again!" and they'll just download it. In fact, they might not even figure out what HAC2 stands for but rather what it does.

Also, what do settings have to do with this anyway? The main talk here is about fixing the issue of alternate servers. If... if Bt decides to tackle this issue himself with HAC2, he won't be requiring people to change settings themselves to see other master servers to begin with. They'll just install HAC2 and they'll be able to see it when they go to the game's server list like they always have.

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#7
Btcc22

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On the other hand, why not both?


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#8
As7raios

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Then again... if you could get a chat function working with it, maybe even voice, have it connected to a database of maps that you could view/download...

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#9
WaeV

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I forgot about HAC's upcoming runtime UI modification! Does HAC already extend the in-game server list with the SAPP list, or is that an upcoming feature? If It already does this, I suppose making another lobby program is less urgent an issue.

 

Being able to implement complementary features such as lobby chat is definitely one allure of a standalone lobby. And again, I really like how HaloMD jumps straight into a game, bypassing the built-in menus entirely.



#10
As7raios

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I forgot about HAC's upcoming runtime UI modification! Does HAC already extend the in-game server list with the SAPP list, or is that an upcoming feature? If It already does this, I suppose making another lobby program is less urgent an issue.

What do you mean extend? All the servers on the SAPP list are already on the game's main server list. All that list does is show all the servers that are using SAPP.

If you're talking about support for showing those servers when GameSpy shuts down, It's not a feature that is currently implemented right now. However, if it comes time where we know for sure that Halo is going to lose the GameSpy support without any official action from Microsoft (ex. Steamworks), there will be things done to make it work. Hoping for support from SAPP and Phasor.
 

Being able to implement complementary features such as lobby chat is definitely one allure of a standalone lobby. And again, I really like how HaloMD jumps straight into a game, bypassing the built-in menus entirely.

Yeah, I can definitely see how that could appeal in a big way to a lot of people. Having general community content available through the lobby would be excellent too. I'm not talking about just what's being played currently but a database that's connected. There are already a few databases of maps out there, too. Just... you know... don't use HaloMaps. Never use HaloMaps. :D Oh, also, filters. Lots of filters.

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