Replacing the Menu Screen - Using lobbies as a "Hub" instead


#1

With the recent announcement regarding the Game world server and concerns about the Lobby becoming less important; I had an idea on how this issue could be solved.

So instead of the main menu being the first thing a player sees as they boot up the game. They could be automatically joined to the best available lobby instead. The main menu would still exist but would either act as an overlay once they connect or would be accessible from the ‘escape’ key as per usual.

This kind of method is used in other hub-based games like Modnation Racers, Grand Theft Auto etc.

I think this would really bring back the idea of the lobby being the “hub” of the Tower Unite, it would solve the issue of not enough people having an incentive to go to it as once they’re in the game, it’s right in front of them, they don’t have to go to a menu and then load into it.

The only possible issue I could see with this are the load times - Right now, the lobby takes a long time to connect and load up for most people who aren’t playing off a SSD, I know this is something that’s been worked on a lot however.


Change How Connecting to Game Worlds Works
#2

I like this, I really do. I think it would get people using the lobby more and populate it, there would just have to be some way to set the graphics options before you connected to the lobby.


#3

On the one hand, this sounds like a cool suggestion that would add more of the “connected virtual world” feel into the game. And I’m not gonna lie, I really love the idea of booting the game up and being instantly greeted by the lively, warm Plaza. And generally just being in it more and seeing other players doing their own things. You know, chilling in the tropical resort that the entire game supposedly takes place in. It would feel more immersive and, in a strange way, relaxing than just using the menu, kinda like logging into your favourite virtual world of the past. Especially if things like the server browser would get incorporated directly into the plaza.

On the other hand, forcing the player to connect to a lobby when they don’t need to could feel rather limiting and pointless. Especially when server hopping. I personally know people that would outright hate this change. Perhaps, if last played activity-based spawn points were a thing, the game could initially load only the area around you?


#4

On the other hand, forcing the player to connect to a lobby when they don’t need to could feel rather limiting and pointless.

That’s why I thought maybe making the menu as an overlay on top of the screen when you first spawn would be a good idea. Your player wouldn’t be seen on the lobby map til you came out the overlay, and the overlay background could just be of like a birds eye view of the plaza itself to indicate where you are, coming out of it zooms into your player. I can understand that the load times would be worse and that could annoy people because they might not want to go into a lobby at all. But if the loading/connection times get tweaked I think this could be less of an issue.


#5

i had this idea in another topic which could help people, or maybe instead of being an option in settings, there could be a screen (like the early access or the redeem units from gmod tower) to ask to auto load into lobby or menu, and also below it saying “this can be changed in settings” with the option for auto load menu or lobby in the settings.


#6

Yeah I think you all pretty much nailed it with the pros and cons. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the cons outweigh the pros (more specifically, one of the cons makes it infeasible). This idea is fantastic in theory, but I think that no amount of optimization will make the plaza as easy to join as it would need to be for it to work.

If load times weren’t an issue, I’d be in full support of the suggestion, but since they are, I would say a main menu screen is infinitely more convenient.


#7

The last staement you made about the loading time is were the problems start, although i think it’s a good idea, having to wait 2 minutes to access something every single time adds up.


#8

I really like the idea if its possible to make the plaza load quicker, its very immersive and gives the game a clear theme, since you quite literally arrive at the plaza when you start the game. I understand that some people have issues with performance but i doubt anyone has so much trouble with the plaza to the point that its unplayable or it simply doesn’t work (and the minigames and condo’s do work for them?).


#9

Also think about people who don’t have good ping in the servers. Maybe they just want to play Mini-golf and only being able to join +100 ping Plaza Servers would make them refund it because they can’t even move.


#10

That’s why I figured I should add the part about joining the “best available plaza”, the game would detect which one has the lowest latency for you to join.


#11

But what f you are from South America? #Me


#12

I feel like this is something that should be tried out at least for a day, and if it definitely doesn’t work it can be rolled back.

This suggestion has so much promise and can give so much more “direction” to the game as it currently stands, and means that Tower requires that much less explaining when you boot it for the first time.

by the way love the overlay idea, that is fantastic


#13

I’ve had this thought a few times and absolutely think this should be how the game works. It brings just a couple problems; server selection, load times, and a couple places of the main menu needing to find new homes.
However these can all be designed around; the game booting with a server selection similar to communication based games such as, funnily enough, Club Penguin. Load times can be aided by possibly segmenting the transit station off a little more and creating a divide between the main lobby and the Transit Station. Maybe if you loaded into the game in a small area and could choose from there to go to the gameworld ports, your condo, or the plaza. You could even hop into a train to head there and tie everything together.
I would really love this idea to be applied to TU.


#14

What about replacing the Menu Screen with your Condo? That would at least make load times slower and people would just join a “hub”. I know it’s not the same but having a door in your condo lets you go to the plaza.


#15

I actually really like this idea. Currently, if you go to the condo, it saves the plaza you were just in, so that when you go out the door, you go to that same plaza. They could just add a “Default Server” setting in the settings menu where you can select which server the condo dumps you into and then you’d always be able to load into the plaza of your choice.


#16

I like this variation of the idea the most. Unlike loading into a plaza, a small hub map still allows you to access every part of TU at the same speed you could on the main menu. The hub could even be made customizable like a condo, almost as if you were making your own custom menu.


#17

We’ve had this thought since the beginning of this project. While it would be absolutely nice to have the game load into a Plaza, it takes away too much control from the player and it will only increase load times.

Plus, you can’t show an interactive load screen with Unreal 4 - it completely blocks the input thread while loading occurs.

Even loading into your Condo was something we wanted to try, but then you’d have to load all the items and it just becomes a tedious process. What if you didn’t want to load into the Condo or Plaza? Well, you’d have to wait until it’s loaded to change your mind.

That’s what the menu does. It makes the game start up as fast as it can, and provides you with quick links to where you want to go.

We do plan on adding a “Last Joined Plaza” button very soon. And we will continue to make more Plaza events (with Global Chat tie-ins), eliminate the disconnected feeling between all the Plaza servers, adjust Plaza server amounts based on player counts, improve the ways players connect to and from the Plaza (improving the Condo connection would be a great start), and also improve the menu.


#18

I absolutely love this idea. Having the transit station as a small hub could work out perfectly and still connect with people, because the loading times would be much shorter compared to the loading times in the plaza.

Though that means that their server structure might have to change a bit, because currently, the servers are loading directly to the plaza and there would have to be a bridge-like connection if you join the hub and then towards the plaza, or what if all the servers are filled up? Probably adding a Main-Menu button next to the server screen selection could fix this issue.

I’d be interested to hear Mac’s opinion about this idea, because that could make public servers a little more interesting.