Let's Talk About Vanilla TTT

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Opalium

Stay awesome
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Messages
770
Hi, Crescent! Let's talk about vanilla TTT.

Over the last few weeks, there have been some discussions within the team on the subject of vanilla TTT and whether or not such a setup would work for Crescent. There are various opinions on this of course, but the general consensus within the team is that we're curious to see how this would work as well. I figured the next logical step is to hear what you, our players, have to say on the matter.

If you were here back in the old Crescent days, you probably remember our first attempt - CTTT Pure, an almost-vanilla setup with some elements of CWB thrown in. Long story short, it wasn't very good, but that's mostly due to lack of preparation and proper planning on our end. Within the chaos of old Crescent, we didn't give it much thought and it ended up as a flop. We'd like to do it right this time, which is why we're starting with this discussion.


Pros and Cons
So... vanilla TTT. Good ol' TTT gameplay, as close as possible to the stock experience. Vanilla TTT servers are very popular, whether standalone or as part of larger communities, and are commonly found with a Minecraft-ish map rotation. There are numerous benefits to vanilla TTT that make it a favorite among many players:
  • Simplified gameplay: vanilla-like TTT servers offer very few (if any at all) changes to the stock gameplay of TTT, the one that comes out of the box. With the exception of the occasional extra weapon or supporting system (e.g. loadout), there aren't any new concepts or mechanics to learn or understand. This makes vanilla very easy to pick up and play over something like our full CTTT experience, which introduces a ton of new ideas and things.
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  • Download free: with few to none changes to the stock game mode, vanilla servers are often playable without downloading anything (or very few assets). This is a big plus, because it makes joining such a server a pretty seamless experience: you just connect and start playing right away. It is known that long download times are a big factor in player retention, something we already see in CTTT.
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  • Easier to maintain: without all the extras, setting up and maintaining a vanilla server is far easier and takes much less effort. For a community like ours, where our main development efforts are centered on CTTT, this is very helpful.

Indeed, vanilla definitely has some strong points which many players find charming, mainly due to how simple and easy to pick up it is.

Unfortunately, there are also some concerns regarding vanilla servers, ones that should be addressed in our discussion as well:
  • Longevity issues: vanilla TTT doesn't offer much to keep one playing, outside of the core gameplay loop of TTT and the community it builds around it. Most people play vanilla to hang out with their friends, rather than due to the gameplay itself. Without a solid player base, vanilla servers may have a difficult time to stay afloat.
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  • There are dozens of them: anyone can make a vanilla server, and many already did. Without any unique aspects to it, it's a fairly difficult task for new vanilla servers to attract enough players and attention to kick-start their growth. Combined with the previous point about longevity, building a strong player base for vanilla servers from scratch is... tough.
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  • Player base separation: this one is true for communities that host other servers, such as Crescent. Starting a new, separate server means splitting the existing player base between the two. This could potentially weaken our main servers and, in turn, lead to the player base as whole decreasing. It happened before to bigger and more established communities than ours.

As you can see, things aren't so straight forward. Hosting a vanilla server for Crescent is not without risk, but perhaps it is one worth taking. This is the dilemma I'd like to discuss in this thread: should we do it? And if so, how?


The Semi-Vanilla Path
One thing that is already clear to us is that a fully vanilla experience is unlikely to work for us. As I pointed out in the negatives, pure vanilla servers are dime-a-dozen and they often don't survive long. If we are to pursue the idea of CTTT Vanilla, it would need at least some additions and twists to make it stand out and attract more players. Of course, we're still talking vanilla here, which means we need to keep these changes lightweight and simple to grasp, yet meaningful enough to have a positive effect.

In our discussions, we tried to come up with such a combination, one that would balance simplicity with interest. One option we generally liked is porting some features and ideas (that would fit the vanilla play style) from CTTT, in a simplified way. Here are some examples I came up with:
  • Role weapons: weapons like Jihad bomb, KASTA, health vial and such, which add some interesting concepts without being too game-changing, could be ported over from CTTT. The custom assets could be replaced with built-in assets to avoid requiring downloads.
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  • Loadout: a simplified version of the loadout system. Since it's unlikely our vanilla server will have an inventory, having a way to spawn in with your favorite weapons would probably be a nice touch.
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  • Soundbits: since our Soundbits are dynamically downloaded during gameplay, they require no downloads when connecting. This could be a nice way to customize without extending the content footprint.
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  • CWB gun mechanics(?): some of CWB's gun mechanics could be ported into the stock weapon base. I personally don't think this is a good idea though, because it changes the gun play significantly and could confuse new players as well as complicate this too much.
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  • Core balance changes: many of the stock weapons in TTT suffer from sub-optimal balance. Role weapons like the binoculars, newton launcher, USP and such are highly ineffective, and some of the base weapons are very unbalanced. Tweaking these is probably a good idea, all while still remaining true to the stock experience.
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  • Fun rounds: these don't require any special assets and can be easily ported over. I can't see any reason not to include these.
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  • CrescentUI: our custom UI system doesn't require any downloads, and is far superior to the stock UI. Porting over features like our fully customizable HUD and custom scoreboard is a prime example of improving the vanilla experience without adding much clutter.
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  • Crescent Chat: like our UI system, our chat system can also be ported over to replace the built in chat system, all without requiring any downloads.
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  • Other systems: we already have a lot of systems that improve and fix many quirks in the stock TTT experience and in GMod in general. Things like our RDM manager, map patches, customizable radio commands, sprays, Traitor warnings, etc.

These are only suggestions, of course. I just want to give you an idea of ways we can customize CTTT vanilla without straying too far from the vanilla experience. There are probably more examples, and we'd love to hear what you think.


Map Rotation
Many vanilla servers offer a Minecraft-only map rotation. MC maps are very popular among vanilla players, especially those new to the game. There is also a very advantage to MC maps over most other maps: they don't require CS:S (since all the textures are included in the map file). These reasons make an MC-only map rotation a very good choice for vanilla servers, especially with how many good MC maps were released and improved over the years.

This is the preferred route for us too, but we understand some players dislike this kind of maps. We're open to discuss this as well, and we'd love to hear of alternatives you might have.


Let's hear you out then, Crescent! What do you think? Should we pursue the concept of a vanilla TTT server, and if so, how should we go about it? I hope the points raised above will help you understand the considerations at hand, though you are more than welcome to raise any other ideas/concerns you might have regarding this.

Cheers! 🧡
~Opalium
 
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Pigeon

Pijon mustard
Crescent Plus
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
318
I personally think that a large portion of the appeal of vanilla ttt is familiarity. Sure distinguishing ourselves from other vanilla servers is important, but we absolutely can't stray too far from pure vanilla ttt.

The basic rules to follow should be: Guns, gun models, and player models should all be default ttt. Maps shouldn't need css. Inventory shouldn't be a factor (although there should be some incentive to play on vanilla, otherwise staff and regulars will be disconnected from the vanilla playerbase. If you retain the passive shard gain somehow, it would also help people ease into cttt from vanilla.) End round songs probably shouldn't be part of vanilla, or should be disabled by default.

Things that are okay to change: Some of the easy to use t and d items are okay to bring over (not the grenade launcher). Balancing existing vanilla content is probably a good idea. Loadouts independent of inventory are a good idea.


In my experience, people stick around vanilla servers if they like the community, not so much the gameplay. Less is more.
 

Acnologia

Shining Justice
Crescent Plus
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
95
As long as the AK and Shotgun remain broken in Vanilla like classic TTT i won't mind.
 

Flire

Penguins > Pigeons
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
162
I'm happy either way as it'll hopefully grow the community so maybe the more OG TTT players can have more of a say on what version but hopefully it'll pop off either way
 

derpeyman28

New Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
5
Deathmatch mode is a must. Whenever I die, I always alt+tab out of gmod to watch a video until the next round starts, and sometimes I end up missing a round start and die, before i even realize a new round began. That is, unless there is Deathmatch. Some servers let players type "!dm" to play deathmatch when they die. They can still play the game, have fun, and be ready for the next round, all at the same time. I think this is something CTTT needs as well.