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Topic: Pente.org growth
Replies: 12   Views: 5,117   Pages: 1   Last Post: May 21, 2017 10:24 PM by: xtraclassy

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Replies: 12   Views: 5,117   Pages: 1  
rainwolf

Posts: 626
Registered: Apr 12, 2008
From: Belgium
Age: 40
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Pente.org growth
Posted: May 6, 2017 6:33 PM

This is an appeal for some inspiration. You may have noticed that pente.org isn't really growing anymore, and I'm a bit out of ideas on how to remedy that, and I have not yet decided whether that's inherent to the game, or not.

To preemptively spread some calm: I have no intention to take the website offline, I'm happy to say that a lot of bugs have been ironed out and the website needs minimal maintenance, and it manages to pay for most of its expenses.

I welcome any and all input, preferably something that's realizable in a few months at most. For reference, KotH took me a month or 2 to finish (that's for web and the 2 mobile devices), live games for both mobile platforms took me 6 months or less.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯


watsu

Posts: 826
Registered: Dec 16, 2001
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Re: Pente.org growth
Posted: May 7, 2017 4:25 AM

Honestly, I wish I had more ideas or suggestions for you, since I love both the website and the game, but I think that it's tough to draw people into playing a game on a website which they haven't had much knowledge or experience of before. I say this based on having experienced the slow death of several online game websites over the years. Pente as a game likely peaked in popularity around 1983 or 1984 and online pente likely peaked around 2003 or so. However, in case what I'm saying isn't true I'll suggest a few things which I may have mentioned here or in other online locations in the past.
First, I think adding Go and/or renju as games which can be played here might draw in at least a few new players with somewhat minimal effort, since those games are both strategic stone games played with boards of similar size as what we use already and they have followings. Drawing people away from their current favorite sites for playing those games might be challenging, but it might be possible to draw in people who want to learn those games and develop a player pool which would then gradually grow the site as it grew.
The second suggestion is to appeal to current players here to promote the game of Pente offline. Back in the 90s I took a Pente board to a local elementary school chess club and offered $10 to the first person there who could beat me at Pente. I'm not sure how many of the players there kept playing Pente after that, but now that this site exists, I think retaining players of the game has a much better chance of succeeding once people become hooked.
Third, when this site was at the height of its popularity turn based pente wasn't an option here, so the live/social aspect of the game was the biggest draw. I don't know what could be done to try to restore that aspect to the site, but I do know that personally I stopped playing live rated games here due to multiple cases of getting disconnected in the middle of sets and also having difficulties getting into the live game room due to computers/browsers not supporting java.

I don't want to play non tournament rules games. If you take one of my unrated invites, play tourney
rainwolf

Posts: 626
Registered: Apr 12, 2008
From: Belgium
Age: 40
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Re: Pente.org growth
Posted: May 7, 2017 10:13 AM

Thank you for the input. One of the things that has been noticed before is that quite a few people get shut down because they lose too often and stopped enjoying it because of that. Adding controls to challenge similarly rated people hasn't helped much in that regard it seems. A cure I've been toying with, is to create a "pente school" where players get, (semi-)forcibly, matched up with players of similar skill so they can progress more smoothly and win more often. I'm still stuck on working out the details though.

Adding Go (and others) has been on my mind. online-go.com looks like it has a massive audience. On the other hand, Go's audience on BK looks limited. One thing I speculate I have a head start on are the mobile apps, which, for us, provide the largest influx of new players. Neither OGS or BK seems to provide that (for now).

Live play has suffered a lot, though disconnects are no longer an issue caused by the server (I think), I'm not sure what would bring live play back. Turn-based play has flourished more on mobile and playing live is more dependent on a scheduling issue than anything else for me, I don't feel I have big blocks of time to dedicate to live play anymore, and I'm wondering if that goes for most mobile players who can easily find a moment to play a TB move, but not a block of time to play live. Live play could use some tweaking and more tournaments, but both are not that high on my ToDo-list.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
watsu

Posts: 826
Registered: Dec 16, 2001
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Re: Pente.org growth
Posted: May 8, 2017 12:41 AM

One idea that just occurred to me is that allowing non subscribers access to the database for a limited time when they first start here (with ip checks to prevent abuse) might help newer players learn a bit more easily and hold their own with more experienced players who aren't subscribers and also show them the benefits of subscribing. I know that having access to the db for several years definitely improved my game considerably even though I didn't study in it nearly as much as some of the other players who were better than I was. I see what you mean in terms of the time difficulties for live games. Much of my learning here came through live non rated play and teaching from better players in combination with database searches to look at alternative lines played by other players. It's difficult to improve significantly at this game without putting in the hours of play. I like tb play too, but the social learning and db were what kept me playing here for years before tb was here; it could be played tb at pente.net and iyt.com for years before it was here.

I don't want to play non tournament rules games. If you take one of my unrated invites, play tourney
mikaelh

Posts: 18
Registered: Nov 24, 2016
From: Sweden
Re: Pente.org growth
Posted: May 8, 2017 7:01 AM

To add new games as watsu suggest might be an idea - even though it off course takes a lot off effort to do that. If so, I think that it is a good idea then to choose as familiar games as possible. Renju rather than Go.
I also suggest that you invent D-Keryo-Pente (perhaps under a shorter name though).
Promoting Pente offline is a problem in Sweden where the game to my knowledge is not marketed anymore.

rainwolf

Posts: 626
Registered: Apr 12, 2008
From: Belgium
Age: 40
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Re: Pente.org growth
Posted: May 9, 2017 5:11 PM

I'm in the process of adding D-Keryo, that's also my learning curve to learn the internals, I might attempt Go and/or Renju after that, but foresee an order of magnitude more work there, both on the coding side and learning the games. Is Renju played on a 15x15 board instead of a 19x19?

Database access for newbies is a good idea, I'll do that too.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
watsu

Posts: 826
Registered: Dec 16, 2001
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Re: Pente.org growth
Posted: May 9, 2017 6:00 PM

Yes, renju is played on a 15x15 board. I'm thinking that for Go at least there might be some open source programs available which might cut down on the amount of learning/programming you might otherwise need to do.

I don't want to play non tournament rules games. If you take one of my unrated invites, play tourney
mikaelh

Posts: 18
Registered: Nov 24, 2016
From: Sweden
Re: Pente.org growth
Posted: May 9, 2017 7:01 PM

Message was edited by: mikaelh at May 16, 2017 11:08 PM


Message was edited by: mikaelh at May 17, 2017 12:10 AM


madmike

Posts: 89
Registered: May 27, 2014
From: Houston
Age: 64
Re: Pente.org growth
Posted: May 17, 2017 1:31 AM

add backgammon?

rainwolf

Posts: 626
Registered: Apr 12, 2008
From: Belgium
Age: 40
Home page
Re: Pente.org growth
Posted: May 17, 2017 8:13 AM

I will consider it after and if I get Go and Renju to work, I can't make any promises though

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
xtraclassy

Posts: 66
Registered: Dec 13, 2008
From: New York City
Age: 58
Re: Pente.org growth
Posted: May 19, 2017 5:19 PM

You may want to consider trying to attract the older retired and semi-retired population. I think AARP games may be amenable to placing a link to your site on their site.

Most games that take too long are dying. Rated live games where someone decides to select 20 minutes per player could easily run you into sets lasting 3 hours or more. There is also a lengthy delay between the first game and second game of rated sets I play. It may be an Apple/MAC thing since I play live on a MAC Vmware client running on Windows 10 these days.

It is interesting to note that the last live tournament to finish in a reasonable time here was Seventh Heaven with only 7 minutes on the clock. I find just watching a 20 minute per player game of any kind painful; not to mention a whole set.

rainwolf

Posts: 626
Registered: Apr 12, 2008
From: Belgium
Age: 40
Home page
Re: Pente.org growth
Posted: May 21, 2017 10:03 PM

Valid points, I think the easiest way forward with live tournaments is to do speed tournaments at first, to gauge interest, since those can be completed in one evening.

I had a look at the AARP games and it seems, at first glance, they self-host, I'll see if I can reach out to them.

I don't think the delay you experience is an Apple thing. I don't usually play inside a VM but native on my mac, I do experience same behavior on both. The 2nd game is subject to both players pressing play to start it, and the Java client has an additional issue that it updates the UI not on the main thread, and UI updates are controlled by the server as well. As an example to illustrate the latter: when you place a stone, it is sent to the server that you placed a stone, and then the server sends to everyone necessary (including you) that you've placed a stone, and your view only updates on commands it receives from the server, not from you placing a stone directly. That accounts for some of the delay.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
xtraclassy

Posts: 66
Registered: Dec 13, 2008
From: New York City
Age: 58
Re: Pente.org growth
Posted: May 21, 2017 10:24 PM

Thanks for explanation.

Thank you for doing a great job.

Regards,

Clyde

Replies: 12   Views: 5,117   Pages: 1  
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