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We need to talk ...


Mmartin

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Hey everyone,

 

The last dozen or so posts we've made have been more or less pragmatic, to inform everyone about updates & what to expect next. It's been a while since I made a post about the server and its direction in general. I want to open a honest dialogue about where the server currently stands, and how we can move onwards and upwards from here. 

 

There's no sugar coating it — we're in a tough position right now, from multiple angles. The player base has been stable for quite a while, but took a major hit in the recent week or two. We had a day and a half of downtime recently caused by network issues and a DDOS attack, and after bringing the server back up we're seeing peak numbers that are lower than we had during the premium only pre-release. Saying it's sub optimal is putting it mildly. I will do my best to avoid any excuses and focus on facts, problems and solutions.

 

If you ask ten people, you'll get ten reasons why the player base has declined. I'll dive into details of some of the issues we currently face. We've solutions for some of those problems, but I'd like to extend the discussion of how to handle some of these issues to you, the community, as well. 

 

Failure to manage expectations

I feel that one of the issues we had from the beginning was our failure to manage the expectations. Handful of us worked on the gamemode for roughly two years, in the spare time we had when we felt like it and weren't working or otherwise busy. The aim from the beginning was to create a barebones MVP, which we could then expand on. I feel that I failed to communicate that, and as a result of that, a lot of the community expected us to be an equal competitor from day one. This led to a massive spike in interest initially, with the player base dwindling over time once more people realized that the experience we offer isn't as complete as they might need. Other players seeing the decline in player base could be another contributing factor to further decline.

 

I feel like there isn't a simple solution for mismanaged expectations after the fact. I will use this as a much needed learning experience.

 

Development not keeping up

Another major contributor to the decline in morale and by proxy in player base is the way development progressed after release. We simply aren't doing enough to measure up. Initially, our main focus was on ensuring stability of the server and fixing critical issues post-release. We got some much-requested features out, but we haven't had more than a handful of completely new features come out since release. That's a major problem.

 

With only a few exceptions (big shout out to Imperium, who has been carrying the team for the past month or so), the majority of our Development Team either became increasingly busy with work after release, or simply burned out. This was my case as well, as I started a new job in May and had to do a lot of adjusting and some travel; the time I had left was mostly spent on maintenance, handling technical issues, legal/biz aspect and managing the server as a whole. The timing was unfortunate, because we all knew that the real work begins post-launch to make sure the needs of our community are met. While some aspects of this can't be affected by me, I still came short — I failed to keep the development team motivated and to make sure people don't burn out. 

 

This, in the end, lead to some promises left behind, which is something I really wanted to leave in the SA-MP era. Unfortunate.

 

There's several solutions that can be applied here. We'll be once again taking in more developers in the coming days to help us with the amount of work that needs to be done. I'll also look for a way to offload my work with managing the system infrastructure, so even fewer things are reliant solely on me and can be handled by another developer as well.

 

Leadership & Communication

I feel that a significant chunk of us in the core team (leadership, team leads and devs) switched to a coasting mode too quickly. We got comfortable and complacent. I believe that motivation and strength comes from top to bottom, and we as the leadership must do better to innovate, push forward, show face and communicate everything with the community. This became harder in the recent weeks and there's no other way about it, we simply must do better.

 

 

Of course the list above isn't exhaustive. We're aware of the frequent shootouts, abundance of weapons in the server, frequent shootouts, jobs becoming stale, etcetera. We put together a two-week plan of action of things we'd like to accomplish. I'll share it with you, but please take it with a grain of salt as it may change and some things may be added, or taken out.

 

Immediate (today/tomorrow)

- Communicate the current state of the server (this post)

- Add more developers to the team

- Reach out to player-owned companies and factions to make sure they've everything they need 

- Reach out to admins regarding long report times, and not answering difficult reports

 

Week 1

- Fix vehicle loan payments, and transfervehicle after paying off loan

- Ability to "trade in" a leased vehicle, with the ability to get a % of your principal back

- Add more clothing mods

- Make Horsepower affect vehicle performance

- Level requirement for equipping a weapon (across all characters) to curb DM

- Add interior presets & interior change

- Add separate group for /setprop access, so property reports aren't reliant on Leads

- Adjust mechanic / vehicle part prices (wheels, etc)

 

Week 2

- Some gambling script (even if just slots, lotto or blackjack)

- Graffiti

- Add more vehicles, whether existing GTA ones to pdm, or modded

- More trucking routes

- Investment into marketing

- Schedule another community meeting

 

To reiterate, we probably won't be able to do all of these, but these are some of the things we've identified need immediate attention.

 

Despite the admittedly grim situation with the player base right now, I believe we can turn things around. The entire situation is very humbling and has been a big reality check and a learning experience for me. We've a lot going for us — we've a great staff team, a lot of knowledgeable and dedicated folk on our side, other major servers providing us assistance whenever we need it. But most importantly, we've fostered an awesome community which is what I focus on when it's time to push forward no matter what. I'm sorry I let some of you down, it hurts especially because I know a lot of people really believe in the project and want it to do well.

 

This is where I'll turn the post towards you. If you're good at something and want to use your skill to help us make the server better, please reach out. If you've opinions you want to share, please do so below. I welcome opinions of anyone with the best interest of the server at heart.

 

Martin

 

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First off, thanks for your honesty.
For the reaching out to companies / factions part. Who do we talk to / post this?

 

And I'd love to help out more with the server. Making (news) posts for the main site, keeping up communications with the community. I've said this before and it still stands. Just reach out through Discord.

 

Most hardcore LS-RP players will always support the server. We see the potential of the whole team and we're sure that the server will thrive again.

Edited by Yaffa
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I am still dedicated, I just think players have lost interest due to how late the release was no offence we should've been released the server but it was a lot of things going on around the times of developing and getting everything together and that maybe burnt some of the staff team members out. I feel like the start to success is doing what you guys are doing now and that is to continue to develop the script/server and don't give up. I certainly won't. #LSRP4L

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As someone who has been part of the community for years and played rival servers, I think LSRPs script is so CLEAN. The MDC and UI of the server is very well done and clearly the time and care has been placed into that. The biggest issue is missing features, which is something to be expected but I left the FD recently because there's not even a fire script.

 

What the server needs is more attention to the parts that matter, every person wants to have cool things to do, that's why the lawn job got so much interest. Give the LSFD Fires, the gangs graffities, police more ANPR speed traps, radar guns, give the government the ability to interact with the city (Takedown lampposts etc).  Give players more jobs that are varied, and more customization.

 

The support for businesses is great so far and glad to see that part so open. 

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Every single "divisional lead" from the administration should take a page from @Dos Santosbook and see what he is doing and how.

 

Whereas many areas of the server and its administrative infrastructure feel lacking, the company team is thriving.

 

Business owners are (afaik) for the most part happy with everything that is being done and the way it is being done.

 

It wasn't always like that. It took Dos Santos, the company team  and business owners themselves a lot of time and discussions to reach to a place where both sides are satisfied and are actually co-operating for the good of the server.

 

If you're looking for people with the right mindset and abilities to help steer the server in the right direction - look no further than @Sal

 

But actually enable him to make a difference.

Edited by SCANDALOUZ
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I sent this to Dos Santos as per his request for company feedback, but I'll also leave it here.

 

As someone who just started a company, the biggest problem that I, and many of the other who've recently had their companies accepted, have been facing is mapping.

Mapping is incredibly time consuming and the current system is very abysmal and barebones. On top of that, finding a mapper is increasingly difficult. The only active, reliable mapper is Natasha Valentine who is backlogged for weeks with requests.

My suggestion is a two-parter.

The first part is to upgrade the furniture UI. A few examples of this would be:

  • Allowing for duplication of an object in any direction to avoid having to manually spawn, place and align each floor/wall piece.
  • Allowing flight/noclipping during furnishing.
  • Continuous furnishing. For example, not removing you from the furniture menu every time you save an object.
  • Provide picture previews for objects and furniture in the menu.
  • Allow stacking, which would work the same as duplication except it would connect two different objects.
  • The ability to freeze moving objects. i.e moving lights, rustling leaves and vines.

I am by no means a developer so the technical limitations to these are lost on me but having even some of them would GREATLY improve the furnishing experience.

 

The second part would be to create a dedicated staff team for mapping. Since the money used to pay mappers is already reimbursed by staff, I think it would be beneficial to have a team that can be applied for that would basically put you on call for mapping purposes. Instead of staff reimbursing the company owner, staff could just flat out pay members of said mapping team a set amount for the interior they're mapping. Differing amounts based on size, number of floors, number of rooms, etc. This would:

  • Eliminate the drought of active mappers.
  • Eliminate the need to apply and wait for reimbursement
  • Eliminate unrealistic interiors, since the team would be held to a certain standard
  • It would pump money into the economy which people seem to find difficult to come across.

 

As I stated before, I'm still quite new to owning a company on this server but in the relatively short time that I've had one, this has been the biggest obstacle by a significant margin.

Mapping in general is irritating, tiresome, time-consuming and inefficient. The need to map a business if you're no good at it can stall RP for weeks at a time while you try to get your business up and running. After having to apply for the business, apply for all the licenses, have a lead admin set up your company and business, you STILL need to pray to god that either you or someone you know personally is capable of mapping because if not, you're simply SOL until Natasha Valentine magically becomes available.

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A proper GPS system would be nice to be honest, its hard for me to sometimes locate areas and I am new to GTA V Roleplay systems so I am totally unaware of streets and areas so its hard to navigate my way through the streets of V map.

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My feedback to Dos-Santos also for what it's worth as he is the ONLY one that is making a difference.

 

I can only speak for myself and findings but currently your running of the business section is exemplary, the auto reimbursement has been tied down to a fine knot and working well in my business it's not too much and it's not too little, you have given us as business owners all the tools needed and support to make it work, so far from what I have seen there has been no failings specifically in business.    What is letting business down is the external factors that are effecting the entire server and it's dwindling player base, last night I logged on at peak time and there was 55 players on, I opened and didn't have single person walk through my doors, and I have seen this with other business openings even for a bar I've walked in and there has been 3 people.  

 

I know you are NOT responsible for this but it all leads back to the same problems, one of the major contributors is the Faction team who are the complete polar opposite to you in terms of how things are running they are failing horribly with no repercussions, unlike in the Business discord any suggestions and comments are met with open mindedness and constructive conversation, in the FT it's met with childish and gang mentality style conversation, I got kicked out of the FT team discord for pointing out that the lead FT can't even string a sentence together in English and talks to the community like he is IC it was a perfectly fair criticism as it was true.    This was all lead up to by members trying to offer constructive criticism of the failings of that team and why the server is pretty much cops and robbers, Foco TDM 24/7.    The server was flooded with cheap guns and drugs which mean nothing to anyone now, poor RPers are met with little to no resistance I've reported several DMs and the players are still roaming with as little as a verbal warning, another example there was a weapons hacker on the server two nights ago and he was finally banned after being warned three times.... He should have been banned first, if not second at the earliest.  

 

Apologies for the length of this feedback but I believe those external factors are the single reason for any failings, my other issue which again comes from leads in general but heavily focused towards the FT is they all have vested interests in street gangs that is ALL they are interested in to the point where Mitcholodo himself in the Discord intimated that 'the only type of illegal rp is street gang rp' which is absolutely ridiculous.   Unlike other communities when they start and the staff team help build the community up with engagement I.e. helping with businesses by as little as visiting them, at a push having an alt to help run them even if it's a short term whilst the community builds.  I have had advertisements up for over a fortnight for staff and nobody is interested, i've seen in other communities if you are encouraging good RP the staff will lend a hand whilst the community builds, you don't see this here because they are all in Davis doing exactly the same thing rather than putting the community interest first it's their own which is bizarre because it will result in them being the only people stood in Davis.

 

The good RPers in this server are trying their best, a great example is the good chaps who are heavily invested in the servers GOV they are trying to hard to deal with some of these problems IC a good example is the LS Splash events which I was lucky enough to get the catering for as Sushi Dai's that event should have had at least 20% of the PB online at the time turn up maybe more there was 150 players online and 12-15 people turned up, next to NO staff / Admins / Leads turned up ICly to those events because it 'doesn't match the street gang rp appeal' it's a huge problem it's effecting all levels of RP especially business because there is just no interest there because it doesn't involve the following, guns, drugs or ending up in prison, a shoot out or calling each other the N word.

 

I fully appreciate you was looking for feedback in regards to script support, what you can do specifically and i'm sure I could offer some of that but if the issues i've highlighted aren't addressed there won't be any decent players left to write scripts for truly believe that unfortunately.  Reduce /cad spam it's horrible lines and lines of green text in between RP, when business owners call it '/cad wars' highlights a problem in itself.

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Hey Martin,

 

Kudos for the super honest post about our server. It's cool that you're keeping it real with us. Your points make total sense, like how we didn't set the right expectations and how the development pace needs a boost.

 

Those action steps you listed are smart, especially involving the community more and fixing up the gameplay. But about the admins, maybe we could make things even smoother. If some of them are too busy, we could think about giving their spots to folks who can be around more. You know, to keep things running smoothly and help players out better. E.g. I've been waiting for a response to my business leasing application for 6 days! I sense incompetence...

 

Big props for your honesty and dedication. We're all in this together, and with some smart moves, we can totally get the server back on track.

 

See you in game,

koso

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Long live LS-RP.

 

Unfortunately, I think it might be a case of being several years too late on the scene. I hope to see the player base improve though.

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It takes integrity to admit one’s mistakes along the way. My hope is that LS-RP:V will serve as an adequate development climate for a move to GTA VI in 2025 or whenever it releases. If the script is gradually perfected and sufficiently modular, the community will easily be able to jump into the Vice City era!

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And why should we believe you, considering you already let the community down with many broken promises followed by a script that missed many basic features you'd expect after 2 years of development? 

If you want people to actually believe you this time, you come with solid work that shows you're still willing to contribute, or hand the development over to someone that's way more passionate. 

"Our team is burnt out" is not a fucking excuse. 

 

You wanna save the ship? Start by making sure people can actually roleplay (especially legal factions) and give us the scripts LSRPV was supposed to have from the start. Stop coming with the "Week 69" "Week Y" plans that are obviously going to get missed. 

 

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