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Conversation about OUR future8
Posted by [gb] spr1n on Saturday 23 December 2017 - 19:36:57 Comments: 6
Hello and happy holidays everybody!
I hope you are having good time and will have a wonderful holiday week around the corner!

On a serious note I would like to talk to you about our future, we need to discuss what our community wants and how we can get there. Please notify your fellow gamers about this news, its important! Feel free to come back if you are not able to go through the walls of text in one sitting. Despite declining activity there are still people who enjoy this beautiful game and it would be a pity to let it die out with no effort to prevent that. All you have to say matters, it is YOUR community!

From here on I will try to be open about our situation here and all of our issues:

1. Management. There were no active admins for a long time, obviously. I myself do not have plans to be involved much unfortunately, I can help here and there a bit, give advice etc, but thats it. So we need new management solutions, possibly even transferring community into more capable hands.
That implies new head admin, or several admins that are able to manage priority list and take on different tasks during someones absence, solve problems etc. Keep in mind management is usually more time consuming than segmented work like demochecking. How would you like to see it function?


2. Demo checking. On a positive side we have possible 1-2 helping hands with limited personal time, just enough to start the new year with map and lj release right away. That doesn't mean it is a sustainable model and long lasting solution, when people go inactive. Do we need more democheckers? Training and gaining experience are also time consuming tasks in different ways and become problematic if we have constant rotation of man power, people coming and going all the time. Is there a better solution?

Can we go full transparent? That means making all our demochecking tools and guides public, releasing demos "as-is" without in depth check almost instantly. That would become responsibility of community to check suspicious records and report them, making massive relief of time consuming demo admin man power. On the other hand cheaters would get short spotlight or even can evaluate their efficiency beforehand, to avoid detection according to published demochecking procedures. However our demochecking methods never been as extensive as on XJ, so this threat always existed to some extent, also there are always some people who tell us about new ways to detect cheaters that don't have to be public... Is this something acceptable for our community? Would instant releases be a better trade off for "slightly" increased cheating threats?


3. Website. Our website is not in a bad shape, but barely functioning to be honest, its still old garbage e107 engine. There are some severe bugs, mainly related to records section, sms donation script and auto updating XJ new maps. It will not fall apart without big changes, but neither me nor RemaKe have time to dive into that unfortunately. There is nothing to add here, if anyone experienced is willing to fix and develop the website - that is more than welcome.

We don't have ssh certs, so be careful when using public internet. Don't use the same password on the other sites. I advise you to use password manager and VPN, especially on public wifi etc.

Another aspect is cost. Even though its not much - I've always paid the most for it, and we haven't had nearly enough donations for the past years. Its a subpar hosting that is around 80 EUR/year including domain, due in march and to be honest I'm not very motivated to pay for it further considering current inactivity... if this is unproductive discussion and we can't come up with solutions for the main things - march of 2018 is when it comes to an end.


4. HLDS - public server. We don't have one, but we have all means to run it.
We have old database with old top15 entries and everything including website integration.
We have plugins to provide main kz functions. We also have [routes] on maps that support it.
We can run autocups (and can integrate its status to the website), works on every map, but can improve with admin created waypoints (~1/4 maps supported)
We have private anticheat that is still superior than anything I've ever seen at least few years ago (but could use some tweaking).

Downside is main kz plugin has a lot of old amxx functions from 2006 and can crash server once out of 100-500 maps or so. I have new stable kz plugin by xPaw that was used on XJ too, but less functions and could use some improvements.

If we could get hands on a server it can be set up with existing infrastructure or somebody could take on its development process even further.


5. ROTM, video production. We don't have any movie makers. Do we need any? Could moviemakers just submit their movies to the front page (with a quick review process of course)? How do we encourage people to make movies? Thoughts?


6. Events, interviews, articles, game related news. That's another aspect that requires initiative and probably resources. The only way I see its happening is when individuals take initiative themselves, everyone just needs to encourage it. Writers and event planners need to speak up and you will be green lit, but without anyone stepping up its not happening.

One of the new admins will be adding a few unofficial maps every week/month, which I think is a good idea. That may not be enough to change anything drastically, but its a good start, don't you think? Do you think we should do something instead? Do you think we should do something more and how do we achieve that?


7. Alternative development. Ambitious initiative would be to expand to every country and take over (or via cooperation) national communities. Of course that would require a lot of resources to change the website (coding) and pay for a better hosting, but return would be great too with a lot more activity and with the right management even surpassing XJ.
KZ-Baltic maybe small dying community, but the fact is our infrastructure is far superior than anything XJ or other communities ever had (I've been admin on XJ for a long time so I know what I'm talking about). Even cooperation and possible merges can produce fruitful results in this context. Unfortunately neither me nor other admins were never fully active, never had considerable spare resources to have such ambition, even though it is doable. We really need to take a look at other big gaming community models to understand how to make it big, its not hard really given even minimal resources... That is just idealistic perspective on where and how far it could go.


PS. KZ-Baltic would benefit from any kind of help, so don't hesitate to speak up and step up. It is YOUR community and everyone of you can influence its future shape. Its a conversation what is best for us and how do we get there. Do you know someone or are are you yourself ambitious enough to take on some of the above mentioned tasks? Either that or something small - tell us! Use application form or comments down below to let us know how you would be able to help out. Questions are welcome and I can elaborate if anything was unclear.


tl:dr we need your opinions, voice it! we want the best for our community and willing to make changes.

Comments
[lv] zmokiE on 24 Dec, 14:11
Comments: 19
Registered: 09 Jan, 23:47
Good Luck with all of those things, ye website can be improved with more functionable things. And if u would like to see the server online contact me im able to host it.

[ee] botik on 26 Dec, 15:21
Comments: 83
Registered: 25 Sep, 18:39
The cup plugin was nice. Some realtime competition on our level. I don't remember that feature on other servers (except xj maybe?). A server would still probably be the most reliable source to bring in active players, esp since the other baltic servers i used to frequent were loaded with junk plugins.

That said i can't care for the game anymore. It's nice to hear of your ambitions and the state of this site though, best of luck.

[ee] Kristofuz on 30 Dec, 22:21
Comments: 34
Registered: 17 Mar, 15:43
Thanks for the heads up!

What i think is that all things, good and bad, have to come to an end eventually. I just feel like a new, motivated administration is something that our small community can not provide. I believe was practically one of the last fresh recorders and the last active estonian recorder when i came here in 2014 and during those 3 years, no one else has really stepped it up.

It just seems inevitable, although i would like to see this page not die, that in march this site will have to be closed. I'm actually still pretty young, you wouldn't believe it, i think some day i still would've recorded a demo here and there just because of all the great memories i have had in 1.6.

If the server were to be set up, i would definitely join in and jump around for a little bit one more time, just for the sake of it.

So, to sum it up, since we haven't seen anyone new come forth here in a while and show some true motivation for changes, i don't see a future for much longer.

[lv] laachux on 06 Jan, 02:12
Comments: 87
Registered: 26 Sep, 19:40
Hi Sprin, the community, friends,

Happy New Year to you personally and to everyone else as well!
First of all, thank you for the time spent and effort put in to this topic. Any kind of activity is appreciated, even more if it comes from the owners. I will also take my time to comment the below points.

1. Management. Quite frankly speaking, I think we were in serious need for a presence from either one of the head admins. Ultimately, you both guys are who runs the house. Or atleast ran. If this place wishes to continue to exist, someone who manages and pushes others from time to time to remember what their job is, is really necessary. And to be honest, I think this is the second most important ingredient this site needs besides the players themselves. Myself I have really no excuses of my absence for so long other than life itself. My work sucks the energy out from me to the last drop and after that I have no willingness to do anything. Otherwise I would still be one of the players myself. So yes, new management or extra management is necessary.

2. Demo checking. The short term solution is perfect if there are those 2 people. Volume vise there is no need for permanent democheckers quite honestly. That's at this point. Our community already have got used to irregular releases. Which is not a good thing on its own of course. But with this activity, I think a monthly release would be enough. If the volumes along with the activity would grow, then we will need stable guys who check demos regularly.
Transparancy. I have mixed feelings about the transparent way. IF and ONLY there are people passionate enough to check and watch demos after the release would this work. Cheaters will not necessarily break the old record by suspicious time. Which in my eyes is the first whistle blower. If the old record gets beaten by a few milliseconds and none checks it, however it was cheated? It brings some risk, just as you said, but there was always a possibility of human error when doing the process manually. From a player point-of-view however, I would like to see at least weekly releases even if they are automated. And also this might bring the activity up. There is really no point of tryharding a map if your demos don't get acknowledged and released, right? With that said, myself, I'm not against this idea. I like risks.

3. I have nothing to add for the website part as I have a limited knowledge. It is always possible to make a website more user friendly and more appealing to the eye. It is functioning and it is good enough to continue existing. If a few things here and there are fixed, I think for the time being it might stay as it is. Even though a new beginning would look good with a new design.
About the cost. Second thank you goes to you for paying all these years. I, along with others probably have forgot to appreciate that someone is keeping the site running despite the activity. So yes, thank you! I think there's no shame in making some topic about the yearly cost for this website and asking for a help even if there is no problem to pay it. Not in any way I think you have to pay it alone. There's still time until March. We could make the above idea a reality and bring some sort of attention to this and maybe someone would like to take part in paying the yearly cost. When the March comes, I can help you with the cost if you are willing to still pay something at all. I cannot pay it all, however a split between us is possible for the least from my side. I still want to see this place come to life, don't want to enter the address and realize it's down.

4. Server. Yes, simply yes. Every community has to have their meeting place. Also implement the new plugin I think. Better fewer functions than crashing. Improving newer plugin with functions I think is easier than fixing an old one. I might be wrong as I have knowledge equal to zero in this area. Also along with the server we could make a discord server (because I think the majority are not using Teamspeak anymore despite the fact that I still do) to really bring the active players together. It is more fun to play when communicating.

5. ROTM. This is a case on its own. Yes, the community needs it, because it's like a little medal if your demo is chosen to be the run of the month, however we do not have any movie makers as you said, so I think this could be postponed until all other things are becoming more stable.

6. Events. Do we need this? Yes. However it is similar to ROTM's. It's something extra. At this point we need to work stabilizing the foundation which is people and demos rather than creating extra work with the limited human resources we have, taking in consideration that we recruit.

7. Alternative ways. Sadly, but I must say yes to this. In my opinion Baltic states do not have enough players to even need a community itself. To some we where the community to develop their skills as XJ has higher level of player skill and not everyone can get records there. We had fun. 'Opening borders' and letting other nationality players to compete might bring something good, might bring the activity we need. Also I am really open minded about unofficial maps. I doubt that just official maps will bring the attention we need.

I am really willing to continue this conversation and as I previously mentioned 'keeping this site alive'. If you guys decide not to cut me down due to my inactivity, I can help with the managerial part. I have no intent to get myself back into demo checking, because of how time consuming it is and I simply will burn out. That I don't want for personal reasons obviously. However when it comes to management without the deeper knowledge in programming and technical stuff, I can be of help if needed.

Hope everyone has a great start of the year and I encourage to give your opinion on this topic as it affects everyone who still wants to visit kz-baltic.

[lv] Dalxins2 on 14 Feb, 02:40
Comments: 23
Registered: 04 Sep, 21:46
[blocked by admin]

[lv] Dalxins2 on 08 Mar, 12:35
Comments: 23
Registered: 04 Sep, 21:46
Norm.Raud ka jaizsaka viedoklis,kad izsaku,nobloke komentaru.Saku reali ka ir.Saits ir javer ciet un miers.Te vairs nav neviena kas butu aktivs.kzblt nomira tapat ka visi parejie mazie komuni.


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