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#1 2015-03-06 12:05:05

Frosty
Member
Registered: 2014-03-04
Posts: 38

Free Community Server with New Features

Hi everyone,

I really love this game, but since the number of players has gone down, it just hasn't been the same. I think many of you agree and would love to see some "fresh meat" in the community.

Therefore, I made a small attempt on my own and created a new community server. Registration, client download and server access are completely free, even if you do not own the original game! I hope this allows us to get some new players in the short and a more active community in the long run.

Additionally, I implemented several new features into the game!

Bots will create houses based on a list of predefined houses but cannot rob other houses. Once they were robbed completely, they will immediately respawn with a new house. Currently, there are 10 bot players and a list of 25 predefined houses. (All predefined houses are shamelessly taken from forum posts, so please don't be mad if you find yours. wink) The list of predefined houses will expand itself by copying successful houses of real players. However, these houses will only be spawned as bot houses after a certain time has passed (currently 1 week).

Storing/restoring maps allows you to store your current map on the server and reload the it at a later point, even after you have died. Loading the house will have the same cost as creating it manually, but it is a lot faster. No more building from the ground up after every death!

Tapes of your own robberies of other players' houses can now be watched in the tapes section. Your own robberies are marked with "*" while the usual robbery tapes from your house are marked with "@". This should decrease the need for mapping with external tools and allows you to rewatch your biggest heists.

Also: Sharing Maps with Bots, In-Game Statistics and Dual-Account Support.

Detailed information about the new features, server registration, client configuration and download can be found --> HERE <--.

Currently, all features are optional on the client side. This means you can use the original game client to connect and simply have to replace the according configuration files. If you try out the new client, feel free to post here or send  send me an email (frosty77_(at)_gmx.de) if you run into any bugs or problems.

If there is enough interest, I would love to improve the current and add more new features.
Therefore, feel free to share this post with anyone! smile

Best regards,
Frosty

Last edited by Frosty (2015-03-23 12:19:17)

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#2 2015-03-06 15:33:28

JAAM
Member
Registered: 2014-11-22
Posts: 299

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

Wow looks amazing i will definitly let some friends know


You are unique, just like everybody else.

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#3 2015-03-06 16:44:02

eppfel
Member
From: Germany
Registered: 2014-02-01
Posts: 324
Website

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

Du hast eine E-Mail wink

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#4 2015-03-06 19:45:03

mala
Member
Registered: 2014-02-10
Posts: 415

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

JAAM wrote:

Wow looks amazing i will definitly let some friends know

me too, thanks man


Current Incarnation: none
Previous Houses: Ticking Nightmare - Luna's Park - Hightower Mansion - Chang's Place

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#5 2015-03-11 13:08:41

Protagonizzle
Member
Registered: 2015-01-25
Posts: 21

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

This is AWESOME, thanks!

Bit of a glitch with the Mac version, if you manually download the three setting files they arrive as xxx.ini.txt, so the client can't process them, even if you delete the .txt extension.

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#6 2015-03-13 15:50:54

Protagonizzle
Member
Registered: 2015-01-25
Posts: 21

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

Hey Frosty, thanks again for setting up that server and for the client modifications. I'm fooling around there since 2 days or so, and I really like it. You don't encourage multiple accounts, but, full disclosure, I set up two, for the lack of other players, and because I never had the opportunity to do that.

Thought I'd give you some feedback:


-->  I LOVE the house saving function. It makes the game so much more enjoyable if you have at least your base build saved and can rebuild it with a click, necessary funding provided.


--> The 'bot houses' are an excellent idea, too, they bring a constant stream of now content and cash. And it's super nice that they vary in difficulty, particularly if the easier ones are designed in a still entertaining way.

I'm not so sure about this bit here, though. You wrote:

"Maps created by players are automatically added to the list of predefined houses, if they fulfill certain criteria.
Maps created by players can be spawned as bot maps, after a certain amount of time since their creation has passed".

This will make the more paranoid builders uncomfortable, I imagine. Should you plan to further improve your game mechanics I propose a donation button that lets people voluntarily contribute their house designs. This would let players decide when they are ready to part from their old place and move on to a fresh layout.


--> Particularly with the great changes that you have implemented I think that the game would be even more interesting if people would play with 2 accounts, as a standard. True, you can harden your house much faster with the income of the second guy, but on the other hand you are under much heavier attack, since others have those means too. My guess is that this would make the game a bit 'faster', more entertaining, and a bit more casual, in a good way.


Anyhow, that's my two cents. Thanks again for your excellent improvements and the server, I really enjoy it. Hope to see more players there soon.

Last edited by Protagonizzle (2015-03-14 04:06:00)

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#7 2015-03-14 12:30:18

mala
Member
Registered: 2014-02-10
Posts: 415

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

Protagonizzle wrote:

I'm not so sure about this bit here, though. You wrote:

"Maps created by players are automatically added to the list of predefined houses, if they fulfill certain criteria.
Maps created by players can be spawned as bot maps, after a certain amount of time since their creation has passed".

This will make the more paranoid builders uncomfortable, I imagine. Should you plan to further improve your game mechanics I propose a donation button that lets people voluntarily contribute their house designs. This would let players decide when they are ready to part from their old place and move on to a fresh layout.

i agree, sometimes you can upgrade the house knowing that only 1-2 players reached a certain point, but if your house spawn as a bot, you'll have no info at all about robbers progression.


Current Incarnation: none
Previous Houses: Ticking Nightmare - Luna's Park - Hightower Mansion - Chang's Place

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#8 2015-03-16 10:26:02

Frosty
Member
Registered: 2014-03-04
Posts: 38

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

Hey everyone,

thanks for all your registrations and respones. I'm really having fun so far. smile Special thanks go to Protagonizzle for the detailed feedback and constant activity. smile Currently, we have 14 registered accounts.

Since I'm a little short on time at the moment, I'll just write down a quick list of fixes and developement ideas. If you have comments or own ideas, I'd love to hear them.

Server Changes
==========
- Fixed missing library in Mac OS X client. (Thanks to eppfel!)

- Fixed download of ".ini" files on registration page in Safari browser. (Thanks to Protagonizzle!)

- Added some bot maps. Currently, there are around 30 maps. But I want to add a lot more. However, finding and checking the maps is really time consuming. Any help would be appreciated here. If you would like to add a map, simply send me an email with a link to the map on castledraft.

- Since bot maps are directly taken from castledraft, there can be maps that are unsolvable without tools. One of them was even missing the vault... Several of these maps have been fixed, but there may be more. If you find such a map, send me an email with the name of the current owner and I'll take a look at it.

- Fixed: Bots were able to spawn with a map that another bot was currently using.

- Fixed: Trying to store a map with a family member and a pet in the same spot returned an error.

Developement Plan
============
- Add more bot maps of varying difficulty.
- Add a "Allow/Disallow as bot map" to enable players to decide, if their current map can be used as a bot map after their death.
- Add "Switch Account" button to allow switching between first and second account without relaunching the client.
- Add a "Statistics" page showing statistics about the player's current life and cummulative statistics of all lives. (e.g., sum of robbed money, number of kills, ...)
- Move "Store/Restore Map" buttons to own page and add 2 additional slots for storing/restoring maps. This should allow storing different houses or different building stages of a house.
- Add a "Show Stored Map" button which allows you to preview the stored map before restoring it. Preview should be similar to build mode but no changes to the stored map can be made.

Best regards,
Frosty

Last edited by Frosty (2015-03-16 10:50:54)

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#9 2015-03-17 01:35:03

Protagonizzle
Member
Registered: 2015-01-25
Posts: 21

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

Frosty wrote:

Special thanks go to Protagonizzle for the detailed feedback and constant activity. smile

Just for the record, I caught a nasty cold and was in bed for a couple of days, which kinda explains my constant activity. wink

Frosty wrote:

- Add a "Allow/Disallow as bot map" to enable players to decide, if their current map can be used as a bot map after their death.

Would be a nice incentive for people to 'donate' their houses if there was a way to credit them for it. Maybe they could input some moniker when clicking the "Allow as bot map" button, and the exit screen of the houses gives credits? I'm sure some players even would enjoy creating maps just for sharing them.
Another way to incentivise house creation / donation would be if players received (some of?) the bounty that the houses they submitted as bot houses generate.

Frosty wrote:

- Add "Switch Account" button to allow switching between first and second account without relaunching the client.

That would be great, and it would somewhat encourage playing two accounts, but not 3 or 10. Also (and much easier to implement), it would be nice if players could register the two accounts in one step and with one email-address.

Frosty wrote:

- Add a "Statistics" page showing statistics about the player's current life and cummulative statistics of all lives. (e.g., sum of robbed money, number of kills, ...)

Would people have a general in-game moniker, these statistics could be ranked and people could compare.

Frosty wrote:

- Move "Store/Restore Map" buttons to own page and add 2 additional slots for storing/restoring maps. This should allow storing different houses or different building stages of a house.

Yeah, three slots would be perfect!

Frosty wrote:

- Add a "Show Stored Map" button which allows you to preview the stored map before restoring it. Preview should be similar to build mode but no changes to the stored map can be made.

Maybe it would be more user-friendly (and probably easier to implement) if the preview would just link to the imported house on Castle Draft. But of course you'd depend on the ongoing availability of Castle Draft then...

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#10 2015-03-17 10:21:32

JAAM
Member
Registered: 2014-11-22
Posts: 299

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

This is all sounding quite exciting honestly these all sound like a great addition.

Now just curiouse is this server browser capable of interacting with the main server?


You are unique, just like everybody else.

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#11 2015-03-18 08:15:13

Frosty
Member
Registered: 2014-03-04
Posts: 38

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

Protagonizzle wrote:

Maybe they could input some moniker when clicking the "Allow as bot map" button, and the exit screen of the houses gives credits? I'm sure some players even would enjoy creating maps just for sharing them.

Great idea! I will do this. For now, I'll just use the name the user registered his account with.

Protagonizzle wrote:

it would be nice if players could register the two accounts in one step and with one email-address.

The current implementation requires a unique email address for each ticket, but I'll take a look.

Protagonizzle wrote:

Would people have a general in-game moniker, these statistics could be ranked and people could compare.

If we have the statistics, a ranking makes sense. But I don't know how hard it would be to implement, yet. Will think about it.

Protagonizzle wrote:

Maybe it would be more user-friendly (and probably easier to implement) if the preview would just link to the imported house on Castle Draft. But of course you'd depend on the ongoing availability of Castle Draft then...

Would definetely be easier. Problem is, I don't know how the castledraft URLs encode the house information or a way to prefill the house map into the "Import field" of castledraft.

JAAM wrote:

Now just curiouse is this server browser capable of interacting with the main server?

While the modified client (v36) is able to connect to the official server (uses same shared secret), please do not do this! The added functionalities won't be available (since they depend on modifications of the server) and I'm not 100% sure how the official server reacts to the modified/added requests.

Thanks for the feedback, keep it coming! smile

Switching accounts is already implemented and works well. I'll have some spare time in the next week and will try to add the remaining features. So stay tuned for version v37. smile

Last edited by Frosty (2015-03-18 08:17:36)

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#12 2015-03-18 20:36:25

JAAM
Member
Registered: 2014-11-22
Posts: 299

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

hmm i'm curious if one feature could be a copy and paste of one of those numerical house translations. so a castle draft house could be copy and pasted in without the actual site. And any old log of a house can be imported from a replay.


You are unique, just like everybody else.

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#13 2015-03-23 12:09:49

Frosty
Member
Registered: 2014-03-04
Posts: 38

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

Hi everyone,

I've had the time to implement some of the promised changes. smile While all old game clients are still compatible with the new server version, an update of the game client is necessary to use the new features. You can download the new modified client (version 37) from HERE. I've also updated the server description on the registration page (see here).

Remember to make a backup of your settings files (email.ini, downloadCode.ini, reflectorURL.ini) before updating your old client to the new version!

Here is a short summary of all changes:
- Added a "Statistics" page that shows over 30 different metrics about your robbery career. More or other metrics are easily possible, suggestions are welcome. There are statistics for your "Current Life" and "Overall" statistics. The overall statistics are collected since 2015-03-23.

- Moved storing/restoring maps to own page.
- Added 2 new slots for storing maps.
- Stored maps and their cost for restoring can now be previewed with the "Show Map" button.

- Instead of automatically adding maps to the list of predefined bot maps, each player is now able do this manually trough the "Share Map with Bots" button.
- The creator of a shared map is credited by name on the "leaving screen" every time someone attempts to rob a bot with this map.
- The creator name of all predefined maps is "<unknown>" for now.
- Currently, a player can only share one map per life! Repeated sharing of maps within the same life will only keep the last shared map!
- There are some minimum requirements to be able to share a map with bots. See the registration page for details.

- Added "Switch Account" functionality to simplify dual account use. The second account can be enabled by adding the files "email2.ini" and "downloadCode2.ini" to the settings directory.

Your feedback and suggestions are welcome! If you encounter any bugs or problems, feel free to write me an email. In the next days I will focus on fixing bugs and adding maps to the list of predefined bot maps.

I'm especially looking forward to your shared maps! It doesn't matter if small or big, easy or hard - any shared map helps, so don't hesitate! smile

Thanks for playing!
Regards,
Frosty

JAAM wrote:

hmm i'm curious if one feature could be a copy and paste of one of those numerical house translations. so a castle draft house could be copy and pasted in without the actual site. And any old log of a house can be imported from a replay.

Directly importing an encoded map is a bit problematic, since I'd have to a do lot of integrity checks to the map (e.g. if it is the right size, if all exterior walls are there, etc.). By only allowing the import of maps build directly with the game client, these checks are not necessary. Also, I'd like to keep all interaction directly in the game, instead of relying on external representations or tools.

Last edited by Frosty (2015-03-23 12:39:17)

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#14 2015-03-23 15:22:41

Protagonizzle
Member
Registered: 2015-01-25
Posts: 21

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

Wow, you are a fast coder. Gonna download the client now, thanks!

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#15 2015-03-23 15:45:55

Protagonizzle
Member
Registered: 2015-01-25
Posts: 21

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

Hey Frosty, the Mac client refuses to start, sent you the error report via email. Cheers.

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#16 2015-03-23 22:56:46

Frosty
Member
Registered: 2014-03-04
Posts: 38

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

Protagonizzle wrote:

Wow, you are a fast coder. Gonna download the client now, thanks!

Didn't do much else the last days beside coding, but I think it was worth it. smile Future developement will be a bit slower, however. ^^

Protagonizzle wrote:

Hey Frosty, the Mac client refuses to start, sent you the error report via email. Cheers.

Thanks for the report. This should be fixed now.

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#17 2015-03-24 02:00:43

Protagonizzle
Member
Registered: 2015-01-25
Posts: 21

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

Frosty wrote:

Thanks for the report. This should be fixed now.

It is, works like a charm now. Here are my first impressions:


- The account switching works smooth and super fast. One thing to consider though: If you switch accounts while in your house, your character gets automatically and instantly removed from the house - which in turn puts the house on the house list, so others can enter it. Maybe it would be better to leave that decision to the player and list it only after the regular 5 idle-minutes. But maybe that's not possible due to the client's mechanics, I guess it evacuates you from your house once you quit the game (which is essentially what happens when you switch, from the client's perspective, probably).

Also, if you die, you can not switch to the other account without first clicking Fresh Start. In other words, you can not stay dead with one account and play with the other, should you wish to do so. Quitting the client doesn't solve that either, since it starts with the last account you played with, before quitting.


- Love the rankings, tempted to start from scratch to get the full data of my career(s).


- Love the house storage/restore/show/share function, it's perfect. Are the credits given to the game-generated character name? Guess they are, since there is no unique, eternal player name. Would be nice could players input an overall moniker for themselves (like "Frosty" or "Protagonizzle"), for that purpose.


Cheers

Last edited by Protagonizzle (2015-03-24 02:21:57)

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#18 2015-03-24 04:51:57

Frosty
Member
Registered: 2014-03-04
Posts: 38

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

Thanks for the feedback! smile

Protagonizzle wrote:

One thing to consider though: If you switch accounts while in your house, your character gets automatically and instantly removed from the house - which in turn puts the house on the house list, so others can enter it. Maybe it would be better to leave that decision to the player and list it only after the regular 5 idle-minutes. But maybe that's not possible due to the client's mechanics, I guess it evacuates you from your house once you quit the game (which is essentially what happens when you switch, from the client's perspective, probably).

Also, if you die, you can not switch to the other account without first clicking Fresh Start. In other words, you can not stay dead with one account and play with the other, should you wish to do so. Quitting the client doesn't solve that either, since it starts with the last account you played with, before quitting.

Good points, I haven't considered that. I'll give it some thought.

Protagonizzle wrote:

Are the credits given to the game-generated character name? Guess they are, since there is no unique, eternal player name. Would be nice could players input an overall moniker for themselves (like "Frosty" or "Protagonizzle"), for that purpose.

Players already have to enter a name when they register a ticket. These names are used. They are not unique, but this should be fine for this purpose.

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#19 2015-03-24 09:45:37

Protagonizzle
Member
Registered: 2015-01-25
Posts: 21

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

Frosty wrote:

Players already have to enter a name when they register a ticket. These names are used. They are not unique, but this should be fine for this purpose.

Ah, cool, didn't realise that. Outstanding work!

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#20 2015-03-25 04:21:57

Protagonizzle
Member
Registered: 2015-01-25
Posts: 21

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

Frosty, some additional thoughts:

- Some of the bot houses spawn with cash only deposited at the wife, but with an empty/cracked vault. So if a player reaches the vault, but his way back is blocked, he'll die, because he can not exit through the vault.

- I think it would be good to offer the "Share Map with Bots" option with (or after) the Screen of Death, too. Chances are much higher that people will share their maps after they got killed, than while their chars are alive and well.

Cheers

Last edited by Protagonizzle (2015-03-25 07:13:57)

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#21 2015-03-25 10:31:17

iceman
Member
Registered: 2013-11-09
Posts: 687
Website

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

Protagonizzle wrote:

Also, if you die, you can not switch to the other account without first clicking Fresh Start. In other words, you can not stay dead with one account and play with the other, should you wish to do so. Quitting the client doesn't solve that either, since it starts with the last account you played with, before quitting.

Just to let you know, after you click Fresh Start you're still "kinda" dead, in the sense that your house will never show up on the list (and you won't get kicked out for inactivity).  It only starts adding your house to the list after you finish the self test.


Fortress Theory Mod - New objects, tools, and paintings!

I keep dying of a natural cause - Stupidity
The biggest thing that Castle Doctrine has taught me is that the price of your house is proportional to the stupidity of the mistake that kills you.

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#22 2015-03-25 12:17:04

Protagonizzle
Member
Registered: 2015-01-25
Posts: 21

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

iceman wrote:

It only starts adding your house to the list after you finish the self test.

Ah, of course, you are right.

So when will you come and play with us, here at Frosty's place?

Last edited by Protagonizzle (2015-03-25 12:20:16)

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#23 2015-03-26 10:03:32

iceman
Member
Registered: 2013-11-09
Posts: 687
Website

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

Protagonizzle wrote:

So when will you come and play with us, here at Frosty's place?

It looks awesome, but unfortunately, probably not any time soon.  School just keeps robbing my time =P


Fortress Theory Mod - New objects, tools, and paintings!

I keep dying of a natural cause - Stupidity
The biggest thing that Castle Doctrine has taught me is that the price of your house is proportional to the stupidity of the mistake that kills you.

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#24 2015-03-31 14:37:28

Frosty
Member
Registered: 2014-03-04
Posts: 38

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

Hi everyone,

thanks for all your registrations and activity. I'm happy to say that we have 30 registered accounts and daily activity. smile
Also, a new version (v38) is out. smile

You can download the new version HERE.
As before, all old client versions should still be compatible.

Here is the list of additions and changes.
- Switch Account is now possible in edit mode as long as nothing was changed. Switching from there will not log your current account directly out and instead let it timeout so that you leave your house after 5 idle minutes.
- Added request for sharing the player's previous map on death screens. It will only be asked if the map fullfiled all minimum criteria for bot maps before the player's death. Otherwise the usual death screen will be shown. (Thanks to Protagonizzle for the idea.)
- Added "Undo All", "Redo" and "Redo All" functionallities to edit mode.
- Added ranking system for bot maps based on upvotes and downvotes. Maps with a lot of upvotes will be preferred when bots select a new map after their death. Accordingly, maps with a lot of downvotes will be less likely to be selected.
- The buttons for upvoting and downvoting and the overall score are displayed on the leaving screen of a bot map. Every player (account) has only one vote per map, but can always change his vote later on.

I did not have the time to add or improve the list of predefined bot maps. But it is definitely my next todo.

As always, your feedback and suggestions are welcome! If you encounter any bugs or problems, feel free to write me an email.

Thanks for playing!
Best regards,
Frosty

Last edited by Frosty (2015-03-31 16:08:28)

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#25 2015-04-02 01:26:50

Protagonizzle
Member
Registered: 2015-01-25
Posts: 21

Re: Free Community Server with New Features

Excellent ideas, Frosty.! Gonna check over the WE.

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