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Dear EBFD community,

I have come back to the Dune franchise as my interest in it has been revived. I would like to today discuss the online community, or lack thereof. After sifting through the sticky posts, I have tried to conjure up some notion of what to expect in the multiplayer community. I'm not sure, so I would appreciate it if anyone would tell me how the state is of the community. That is, is it common, on any given day, to come across, say, a dozen or so players for EBFD online? or do we rarely see such a feat and rather would only expect friends and those close to each other to manage to play multiplayer games?

On a side note, I'm a big fan of the multiplayer aspect of gaming. This is primarily because I enjoy the social aspect of gaming, how games can bring people together, more than just about any other aspect of video gaming. I'm also quite interested in seeing what are otherwise small communities of gamers (e.g., game modifications, or small communities based around "cult" games, etc.) grow to manage a workable and sustainable community of multiplayer gaming. As an exemplar of this issue, I'll refer to Europa Barbarorum. This is a total conversion modification for the PC video game Rome: Total War. Although the mod itself has been downloaded some nearly half million times, let us be generous and assume multiple downloads, and thus bring down the total number of people who have played the game to about 100,000 (i.e., let us assume an average of 5 multiple downloads per person). Now, I have eyeballed the demographics of the community and not only do we have a relatively small number of players who play the game at any given moment (i.e., of those 100,000 players, few still play the game), but we also have many students and others from the northern hemisphere whose schedules in life are arranged such that summer seems to be the prime season during which they are free at all for any semblance of multiplayer gaming on a relatively large scale (e.g., organized tournaments). After some successes, I arranged EB Online, and as can be seen in the spreadsheets and more so in the forums of the community, summertime truly proved to be a success.

Mind my digression, but my question really is, what can one safely expect from EBFD multiplayer? I'm only entering this online community for EBFD, and am not quite up to date on TCP/IP protocol implementation vis-a-vis EBFD. The only thing I do know is that the software I have installed called GameRanger connects people who wish to play games, some of which are quite antiquated. For instance, I know that Age of Empires games, which are no longer playable online as MSN Zone shut down, are now playable on GameRanger as it is an approved game on their game list. There is no need for private Hamachi or other VPN networks for Over-the-Net LAN rooms, as GameRanger appears to have a master server listing people's hosted games. It has a chat feature, lobby and private. All in all it seems to be doing its job. It even has Total War series of games on their list. Dune 2k and EBFD are also on their list, but I did not find any hosted games for those at the moment. Granted, I only checked for a minute or two and perhaps during the wrong hour of the day, but I just wanted to throw this out there in case either 1) the majority of people weren't aware of EBFD's listed status on GameRanger or 2) people do use it and I simply don't know the "right time" to go online.

Apologies for frying your brains with endless chatter.


EDIT: I have learned that, for whatever reason, players are not able to see each other in the LAN multiplayer lobby. The only thing players are able to see are any games that other players have hosted. GameRanger works. Hamachi works. The difference is that GameRanger uses your regular LAN adapter, while for Hamachi you must set EBFD to use the Hamachi IP-correlating virtual adapter. And make certain that GameRanger, Hamachi, and EBFD are all excepted in your Windows Firewall list of exceptions. Also, if you wish to use GameRanger, you must disable the Hamachi adapter from within Control Panel >> Network and Internet >> Network Connections.

The advantage of GameRanger over Hamachi? There are no limits as to how many users may be logged on at the same time, because there are no user-created networks. Users simply host games for EBFD and anybody else, even if they do not have that host player on their buddy list, can see the hosted game on the GameRanger window and subsequently join.

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