Well, Plasma Man brought up a couple of good points about the online multiplayer in another thread that I thought worth answering but as this is somewhat off topic I thought it worth starting a new topic for it.
Well lets get back to the on line part of it - These are some of the reasons why people are jumping - 1) Name changing - this is now getting really bad and certain people are ruining games. The big problem here is that you dont know if they are a name changer or new player. 2) Lagging - oh god what a way to kill a good 8 player game, when someone goes and lags. 3) Treatment of newcomers - what a great way to make people not come on line - when they get trashed for not being great players. If we want A2 to survive on line then we have to help these people. I want to see A2 survive but if we have the points above not addressed then I fear that it will fall away.
1) - This can actually be stopped. You individually are able to control who enters your games. To explain, every computer has an electronic address called an IP address. This is a series of four groups of numbers (ie 123.45.67.01)
It is possible to get the IP address of a computer connecting to your computer under windows by using many different methods. The easiest for most windows users will be to run netstat from a command line prompt. Netstat will list every connection your computer has open. You could also use a program like Ethereal. Ethereal shows you the TCP IP packets leaving your computer. That or anything else you can think of that will trace TCP connections :)
Once you have identified the IP address of someone causing problems then you can easily stop them from entering your game. This can be accomplished by using a firewall or router.
2) Not much you can do about this apart from pick a smaller map :)
3) Unfortunately, this is more of a social thing that needs to be addressed. You would think that people would realise that they NEED new players for A2 to survive, but apparently not!
Hmm. Maybe we should start some regular tournaments. What ever happened to the anniversary one? If a few of the seasoned players took the newbs under their wings (we could have open tournaments, inviting all) we could kinda start something. Get some new blood, revitalize the community. I don't want to suggest anything like a Clan, but there could be several levels of gameplay, with equal skill leveled players working up to a series of championship matches. I know, I'm suggesting this, so you may ask, "you wanna set it up?" Well, I'd be willing to participate, and help as much as I can, but it's not something I have any experience with and, frankly, all my free time is spent modding. But, if it were something that we could do once a week/month, and only took a few hours, count me in. Sans Souci?
I don't think anything ever happened with the anniversary one.
We could however do games in mods. I did get some interest in the idea before, but due to a couple of administrative problems. (like people incorrectly turning up over a three hour time frame, as they computed the times early, on time and late, respectively.)
One of the reasons we expanded our staffing level was so we could do more, I will give this some thought and see if its something we can do sensibly.
Thanks for considering. I trust your judgment. Let me know if I can help.