GMT and TU differences in social aspects and how they could be fixed

So it’s been some long since I kept hearing from people that GMT worked way better as a social experience, as in finding friends to hang out with and stuff. Not even all of those are unhappy with that - some just accept that TU is a different game and stuff.
Well, for me the social potential of TU is a pretty big deal and one of the biggest reasons I got hooked on it when I first saw it. I had barely played GMT back in the days of its activity, but I decided to make this thread for you guys to share, why exactly you think GMT worked better in social kind of things (if you do, of course), and also how you think it could be fixed in TU. Not necessarily both in one post - you can share either your experience or just ways to improve social experience in TU if you like.
This is my first time making a general thread; hope I haven’t misunderstood its place =)

just so that I could figure whether this thread isn’t actually useless. I decided to build a poll
Would you like TU to become more socially populated?

  • Yes
  • I’m fine with how things are
  • No, I wouldn’t

0 voters

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So I’ll just start with things I remember about this myself:
Lobby probably gathered people betterin GMT because they actually had to join it in order to go to their condo, or go to the gameports to play the games. Hopping in and out of the suites/condos seemed to work great.
As for making it different in TU, it’s more difficult, because it doesn’t feel really right to just force people into plaza instead of using the main menu. I know though that the condo lobby is going to work again sometime. and it can feel a bit more fun to surf through the condos by using it; though it will obviously take more time than it did in GMT.
Though who knows - maybe someday some neat optimizing tricks are going to be implemented which would allow, for example, to “fast-load” the Plaza server you were on when hopping back to the condo lobby? This is rather a dream as of right now, but that would be pretty nice in the future


Oh well, I just remembered about one possibly pretty important detail affecting chatting spaces.
I think the reason more people choose TU as games platform rather than chatting one is because people seeking for casual chatting don’t usually go for paid games for that.
I’ve actually had an idea on this some time ago, but I don’t have an idea how strange it’d sound to others. It was about “Free mode” for Tower Unite, for people to be able to play the game for free, but with limited possibilities, like for example not being able to play any games and thus also getting any units other than for the achievements. That would limit free players’ possibilities pretty significantly, but the space they’ll have like condos and plaza will be giving them environment to explore and chat.
Not only rising the social experience like that, it would also help to attract more people to the game as you could call it some sort of a “demo” mode, which would then help them to decide whether they want to buy it and get everything the game has to offer.
At some point you can feel sour with having such limited version of gameplay on one hand, but on the other - with things how they are right now, they just can’t play the game at all, so it’s actually a positive movement rather than negative relatively to the playing experience.
I think that move would also give more work to the moderators, which is pretty much unavoidable. But then I thought about it again - if the game does get more socially populated, the mods will eventually have more work to do one way or another, so it will happen some time anyway, and thus you can’t tell that this way is inherently worse, right?

because it doesn’t feel really right to just force people into plaza instead of using the main menu

I believe that in this case convenience should be sacrificed for the sake of increasing the chance of social interaction. However, this should come together with a guarantee that there will be enough capacity, in this case plaza servers, for everyone that comes in.

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I just realize it’s simply a bad choice because there will be people who will be disappointed, if not mad, with them being forced into a server right from the startup. The thing is, there are people who may just not even want any high socialization at the first place, and they have the right for their opinion regarding this game as well.
So choosing the forceful option would push them away, which does not feel like the right thing. Although I myself wouldn’t mind this game to be hub-based.

I think it’s possible though to make Plaza to be the hub by default, while leaving a setting for everyone to start the game with the main menu screen if they wish? Though again, that does take away the necessity factor the GMT’s lobby had

I feel like this part hits the nail in the head for the main issue I’d have with a free/demo mode as you’re describing. While yes, they don’t currently have access to the game at all so it’s more gameplay than they have now, this also might paint the wrong picture for new players.

If I log onto a game and see that half the content is missing or unplayable, I’m going to be turned away from the game. Also, regardless of how active and fun the community is, if I can’t earn units, progress, build my own condo, or play games with those people, it’s going to be boring.

I feel that if we were to attract a larger audience to Tower Unite, we should show them everything the game has to offer and make them want to buy the game. If the free version sucks, that’s not much of an advertisement.

The best middle ground I can think of is to occasionally host a free weekend where anyone can download and play the full game for a few days and see if they like it. I think the devs have said they’d consider this sort of thing once they’re out of early access or close to it so I’m not really worried about establishing a community.

Also to briefly comment on the rest of this post, it is true that GMT and TU had vastly different experiences. I think ultimately it boils down to how GMT put all of its players into 2 servers and every single person was in the plaza or in a game that would automatically reconnect to the plaza afterwards. As a standalone game, neither of those things are feasible. I think Pixeltail’s plans of simplifying the plaza joining process and trying to connect the various modes is honestly the most they can do without alienating a large portion of their audience. Just takes time to improve on server backends and actually implement those sorts of changes but I feel like eventually everything will be in a spot where this game can handle a larger community and embrace that social aspect again (although I don’t necessarily think the game needs to go in that direction either).

Sorry for the long post, there were just a lot of interesting ideas to talk about here :sweat_smile:

not a long one to me
I guess free weekend to play the game is a nice choice. Though not as nice to build a stable ground for the circle of people coming in the game just to chat and chill (rather than play and grind), but it would be bad if that demo thing would push people away like you said. I guess I don’t feel like it would push me though as I’d feel exactly how I described - “you can just buy it once and get everything, and right now I’m only playing a demo, so it’s understandable why my possibilities are limited”.

Also about

I think one big problem of Plazas is their capacity, unfortunately. Well, it’s just that GMT servers’ capacity was same and they worked fine, but- It’s also true that to build larger social sphere, in my opinion. Plazas would have to be able to handle at least ~300 people per serveer without noticeable lags.
But I’m really not sure how soon that vast optimization would be possible, unfortunately, if actually ever

I completely agree. I feel like the game as it is now lags terribly with more than maybe 30 people in the same spot. It’s obviously gotten better since the game first came out but I find that I’m always gravitating towards empty servers just because that’s the only way to have a stable framerate and not rubberband around the map. I’m sure it’s just a matter of UE4 being more demanding than Source, but maybe the devs can eventually figure out how to smooth things out since Epic Games made some good server changes for Fortnite. If we can eventually have even just 64 player servers that don’t lag at all that’d be a huge improvement, though the dream would be something like 128 :stuck_out_tongue:

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We are moving towards wrapping up development that connects Condos to the Condo Lobby, along with quicker ways to matchmake into the Plaza, which will greatly change how the game connects players.

This has been something we’ve been working on in the background and developing the backend to handle these features. The Trello card for it is here:

This unfortunately will never be possible. Tower Unite was not designed to be an MMO. The changes to make that happen would require us to remove large chunks of gameplay interactions with other players.

well, if at least the optimization would reach to plaza servers/clients joining them doing well with 60-100 players at a time, it would already be awesome. So i’ll be hoping a lot.
Maybe it requires to lower down the amount of networking going through the server or clients, or some optimization regarding workshop playermodels taking ram/v-ram space.
If the latter is going to be optimized, it will also mean making a huge part of condos accesible for people with average PCs, cause workshop items also increase load a lot, which would also be pretty meaningful as, well - currently that part of condos is just out of the game for me, at all (and many others too I guess)