project reality header
Go Back   Project Reality Forums > PR:BF2 Mod Forums > PR:BF2 General Discussion
20 Jul 2024, 00:00:00 (PRT)
PR:BF2 General Discussion General discussion of the Project Reality: BF2 modification.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 2024-04-20, 16:53   #1
[R-DEV]Suchar
PR:BF2 QA Lead
PR Server License Administrator

Suchar's Avatar
Default PR Population Data: Is Project Reality Dying?

The Data

Since apparently there is a lot of misconception about PR and its population, it is the time to finally have a look at actual hard data. I have read through hundreds of forum threads and discord discussions. Based on both publically available and internal PR Team sources, I have been able to gather quite a lot of information. Most of the publically available sources are listed at the bottom.

During the data gathering process, I have encountered many obstacles which leave the data open to interpretation:
  • Sometimes people vaguely mention just the number of populated servers, usually full servers only.
  • When people actually mention the number of players, especially in the first decade of PR, they might be including bots from COOP as at that time bots were not filtered out. What is worse, I have been unable to pinpoint the exact moment when bots stopped being included in both publically available and internal population stats people often refer to in discussions. I only know for a fact that it was still an issue in February 2010 when the highest peak of over 2k players was reported and at that time, it was (very) generally estimated in an internal PR Team discussion that the actual player count never exceeded 1955 players (which also appears to be the all-time peak).
  • Often it is difficult to say whether the numbers provided are a one time phenomenon, and should be classified as a monthly peak, or a common occurrence and should be considered as a typical weekly peak.
  • EU and NA players report their own peaks and it is difficult to assess which timezone had higher peaks of players at the time.
  • Of course people may not always be correct, especially when recollecting numbers from a few years back (although it is quite rare).

In other words, it is all still a very general overview. However, it does provide an insight into how (more or less) the population has (or, perhaps, has not) been changing over the years.

The Graph

Every dot on the graph below represents the highest peaks in the number of players at the specified time, based on all the gathered data.



For context, here is a list of the most important PR changes and the version in which they were introduced (based on The Great Project Reality Timeline).

Spoiler for Context for versions:
v0.5 — Removed spawning on flags. Added Rally Points. Added Pilot/Crewman kits.
v0.6 — Except for main bases, ALL of the spawning systems are controlled by players AND destroyable.
v0.7 — Removed spawning on Squad Leaders. Removed infantry minimap. Added compass.
v0.8 — Slowed down sight transition and reload times for all weapons.
v0.85 — Added large supply crates from which kits may be requested. Increased wounded time. Increased soldier sprint times and distances.
v0.9 — Rally point expire after 60 seconds. Updated all third person weapon animations to represent a lowered, resting stance when not in action. Added optional Mumble installation in the game installer.
v0.95 — Added thermal vision. Blocked using some of the enemy kits.
v1.0 — Fully integrated PR Mumble. Tweaked Rally Point and FOB overrun systems. Disabled requesting kits at rally points.
v1.3 — The scoreboard no longer shows if an enemy is alive. Removed brief invulnerability after respawning or being revived.
v1.6 — Added dragging. Added unlimited vehicle seats. Improved networking.


The Peaks

Except for a few spikes caused by big updates as well as going standalone, the concurrent number of players appears to be quite stable. Usually, the numbers went back to normal in a matter of weeks or 2-3 months after a significant peak. In that regard, v0.8, v0.9 and v0.95 peaks (~1500, ~2000 and ~1300 players) seem to be completely gone within 2 months after the release that caused an influx of players. The increase in numbers after v1.3 seems to have lasted the longest, around 6 months, which is most likely related to the game no longer requiring Battlefield 2.

For every peak, there was a reported decrease in the quality of players. Before PR Mumble was integrated into the game (v1.0 in 2013), people complained for instance about players being unwilling to download and install Mumble.
In the last few years, people have been complaining mainly about "no mics" (players who do not have, or do not use, a microphone) as well as players not speaking English well (or at all).

The "PR is dying" myth

So, where does the "pR iS dYiNg" come from? I think there are mainly 2 sources of this myth:

1) We switched to 100 player servers. This effectively cut the number of servers in half and might have created an impression of a significantly decreasing playerbase. This is true especially for people who played during the short-lived 1000+ player peaks with 64 player servers only. They remember seeing 10, 15 or even 20 full servers, so when they join now and see 4, their impression is that "PR is dead". However, if that's how we define the death of PR, then we can also say it was never really alive in the first place, except for a few weeks or months after a few big updates. The impression of "PR dying" is further reinforced by the realization that 2 of these 4 full servers will not be English-speaking most of the time.

2) Compared to the first few years of PR's existence, the number of EU/NA players partially decreased and has been partially replaced by people from eastern Europe, Russia, South East Asia and, most notably, South America. It does not mean PR is dead. However, the playerbase shifted from a homogeneous, English-speaking community into a more diverse mass of people using a variety of languages. It does not necesarily negatively influence the tactics in-game as most people are more than capable of understanding simple orders given in English. However, not everyone may be capable of having elaborate discussions in his second language, impacting the ability of the players to develop relationships.

Other Population Data

In terms of other types of data, PRStats reports over 320,000 (320k, or 320 thousand) PR profiles spotted playing online in the last 4 years (between April 2020 and April 2024).

Conclusion

I hope that concludes all future "PR is dying" threads and discussions which we see every year since 2006.

Spoiler for Sources:


Master server does not record the number of players online unfortunately (only the total number of accounts) so the list below is made of approximate numbers. Some are based on screenshots of in-game server browser or PRSpy, others are based on forum/discord discussions. Sources without links come from internal PR Team data.

2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
  • No data found.

2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
20232024
On some occasions, I have been manually tracking the number of players. Please note the numbers below are the highest numbers documented on a given day. However, they might not actually represent true peaks in the number of players. In other words, the data below might be underestimated as I do not spend the whole evening looking at the number of players on PRSpy. I hope we will be able to come up with an automated tracking once we fully take over PRStats.




On a side note, in this context, the population Squad managed to gain is even more impressive.

https://www.realitymod.com/forum/uploads/signatures/sigpic98978_4.gif
Suchar is online now
Last edited by Suchar; 2024-04-21 at 16:17..
Reply With Quote
Old 2024-04-20, 18:46   #2
dcm1
Default Re: Is Project Reality Dying?

How did you get the data? I recall back in 2007, that one of the r-devs told me that project reality makes up about 10% of all active battlefield 2 players. And it was easy to check back then, because of all the bf2 stats websites. Like tbf2 and bf2s.

Also when people say PR is dying, what they probably mean is that it's not as good as they remember it as being. I'm horribly addicted to PR. I've been playing for 18 years now. I consider .5 to be the golden age of PR, because it was the most fun and best version of PR. Every version before or since has not even come close to the sheer amount of fun I had back then. I still have an old laptop from the era, with PR .5 installed. And even though you cant play online anymore. It's still fun. There's some intrinsic undefinable quality that .5 has that modern PR lacks. I cant put it into words. But I can feel it.
dcm1 is offline Reply With Quote
Old 2024-04-20, 19:26   #3
[R-DEV]Suchar
PR:BF2 QA Lead
PR Server License Administrator

Suchar's Avatar
Default Re: Is Project Reality Dying?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcm1 View Post
How did you get the data?
Most of the public sources are listed at the bottom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcm1 View Post
I recall back in 2007, that one of the r-devs told me that project reality makes up about 10% of all active battlefield 2 players. And it was easy to check back then, because of all the bf2 stats websites. Like tbf2 and bf2s.
This says something else. Personally, I have no idea about BF2 population and I have no data on that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcm1 View Post
Also when people say PR is dying, what they probably mean is that it's not as good as they remember it as being.
No,
I
do
not
think
so

https://www.realitymod.com/forum/uploads/signatures/sigpic98978_4.gif
Suchar is online now Reply With Quote
Old 2024-04-20, 19:56   #4
dcm1
Default Re: Is Project Reality Dying?

I think the problem is two-fold. It has something to do with people's perceptions of PR. And the changing community of PR.

People cant get a good game going during their chosen hours. Either servers are empty, or if they're full, the servers are full of new players, who dont know shit.

And, People have fond memories of PR when they first started playing. And are seeking to recapture this ideal PR that no longer exists. For some it never existed. And for others(like me) their ideal version of PR is long gone.

And some of us, continue playing, hoping to feel that magic, that we felt long ago. Hoping to experience that same feel. It's very similar to what long term drug users go through, when their bodies can no longer experience the same high from their drug of choice. So they either up the dosage or look for a substitute.
dcm1 is offline Reply With Quote
Old 2024-04-20, 20:17   #5
[R-DEV]Suchar
PR:BF2 QA Lead
PR Server License Administrator

Suchar's Avatar
Default Re: Is Project Reality Dying?

If you want to discuss which PR versions were the best, please do so in another thread (like this one). This thread should stick to the topic of population data.

https://www.realitymod.com/forum/uploads/signatures/sigpic98978_4.gif
Suchar is online now Reply With Quote
Old 2024-04-21, 11:10   #6
dcm1
Default Re: PR Population Data: Is Project Reality Dying?

I'm not talking about the best versions of PR. What I'm saying is that people say that "PR is dead", because of their own perceptions. Which are not wrong btw. For older players, they remember PR as being something else than it is now. But for newer players; there is this myth surrounding PR as being this legendary game that birth the modern milsim genre. And when these new players, come here and play PR for the first time? PR doesn't end up meeting their expectations. Not just for being old and outdated. Because, these new players think that PR has a thriving community of thousands of players. These new players are disappointed with the reality, that they cant even get a full server, during peak hours. And usually go back to their prior milsim games. Even if they may like certain aspects of PR much better(I met a couple of squad players who only play PR for CAS and swimming).

Also what's the point of this thread? Have all the "PR is dying" threads finally gotten to the devs? You have the numbers, you can verify that PR is doing very well. But the "PR is dying" threads still dont stop. Do they? Do you guys feel like you're doing something wrong?
dcm1 is offline Reply With Quote
Old 2024-04-21, 12:11   #7
[R-COM]bad_nade
Support Technician
Supporting Member

bad_nade's Avatar
Default Re: PR Population Data: Is Project Reality Dying?

Those numbers are both surprising and relieving. Good to know that PR player base isn't declining. I hope that it will keep DEVs motivated. You are probably right with you assumption that going from 64 to 100 players effectively removed half of the populated servers. Back in the 64 player days there was room and demand for niche servers like Al Basrah 24/7. PR was more arcade back then, though.

What comes to the thread title, it's yet another example of Betteridge's law of headlines
bad_nade is offline Reply With Quote
Old 2024-04-21, 14:43   #8
[R-DEV]Suchar
PR:BF2 QA Lead
PR Server License Administrator

Suchar's Avatar
Default Re: PR Population Data: Is Project Reality Dying?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcm1 View Post
People cant get a good game going during their chosen hours. Either servers are empty, or if they're full, the servers are full of new players, who dont know shit.
I play regularly a few times a week and I do not have that feeling at all. Many veterans returned as well for some reason so it is not like we have just noobs around. Basically, what I said here is still true for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcm1 View Post
And, People have fond memories of PR when they first started playing. And are seeking to recapture this ideal PR that no longer exists. For some it never existed. And for others(like me) their ideal version of PR is long gone.

And some of us, continue playing, hoping to feel that magic, that we felt long ago. Hoping to experience that same feel. It's very similar to what long term drug users go through, when their bodies can no longer experience the same high from their drug of choice. So they either up the dosage or look for a substitute.

I'm not talking about the best versions of PR. What I'm saying is that people say that "PR is dead", because of their own perceptions. Which are not wrong btw. For older players, they remember PR as being something else than it is now. But for newer players; there is this myth surrounding PR as being this legendary game that birth the modern milsim genre. And when these new players, come here and play PR for the first time? PR doesn't end up meeting their expectations. Not just for being old and outdated. Because, these new players think that PR has a thriving community of thousands of players. These new players are disappointed with the reality, that they cant even get a full server, during peak hours. And usually go back to their prior milsim games. Even if they may like certain aspects of PR much better(I met a couple of squad players who only play PR for CAS and swimming).
You are very much talking about other versions of PR. Over the years, PR became a much more teamwork-based game. There is plenty of games around without deviation and other features you or other players from way back may not like. PR has changed a lot since the early versions, it is really a completely different game in many aspects, and it is not a surprise that people who enjoyed the more arcade versions do not like the current gameplay. But again, this is not the topic of this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcm1 View Post
Also what's the point of this thread?
I have met too many PR veterans claiming PR is dead (as in, saying it has empty servers compared to the "good old times"). Looking at the stats now, I do not know whether those veterans only ever played PR after major updates or if the nostalgia completely erased their memories of having less than 10 full 64-player servers, but either way - now all the stories about PR being dead sound even more ridiculous than they used to. Some servers, clans and communities may have disappeared. It would be strange if it did not happen in a 20 year old mod. However, new ones appeared in their place and the game is just as close to being dead as it was 10 years ago - meaning it is very far from dying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcm1 View Post
Have all the "PR is dying" threads finally gotten to the devs? You have the numbers, you can verify that PR is doing very well. But the "PR is dying" threads still dont stop. Do they? Do you guys feel like you're doing something wrong?
I do not feel like we are doing anything wrong. If a 20 year old game keeps a population this stable over the years, I think it is a huge success and a solid indication that we are doing a lot of things correctly. Release peaks may not be as high anymore but it is not really a surprise since PR is not exactly a new game and unlike in the past, now we have an actual competition. 10 years ago there was just Arma with much more realistic gameplay. Now there are games like Hell Let Loose, Squad or Squad 44, all of which based their gameplay on PR, and all these are now fully developed games - not just early access tech demos.
And yet, PR is still here.

https://www.realitymod.com/forum/uploads/signatures/sigpic98978_4.gif
Suchar is online now Reply With Quote
Old 2024-04-21, 15:42   #9
[R-CON]​CAS_ual_TY
PR:BF2 Contributor
Supporting Member
PR Server License Moderator

CAS_ual_TY's Avatar
Default Re: PR Population Data: Is Project Reality Dying?

I enjoyed PR more 5+ years ago. But I also recognize that PR is in a much healthier state right now. Player base is less elitist and a lot bigger and I am learning to enjoy the game more than I did all those years ago.

Think about how many games came in and died in almost 20 years pr together strong


CAS_ual_TY is offline Reply With Quote
Old 2024-04-23, 04:52   #10
Grump/Gump.45
Exclamation Re: PR Population Data: Is Project Reality Dying?

I noticed the night population dying. Population goes down when people play like ass. Not being fun team mates or fun enemies to fight.

It feels like any other normal FPS when EVERY new player on shoots at what they can actively see, which they only see something 5% or less of the time.

If the DEVs gave them combat tips and such. Officially teaching things like grazing fire and recon by fire, it would get more interesting with the way people use projectiles. Suppression and speculative fire to control sectors and manipulate enemies.

Then the way vehicles are used by new players who don't learn, it is demoralizing, waiting till they see some enemy when they have 1000 rounds of ammo. You can't even get that many kills in a round, so there is not such thing as wasting ammo when you have a main base to re-supply from.

They expect every enemy to be easy to see, not even realizing enemy hides when they hear loud armored vehicle. So you shoot into areas you can't see into well or at all. Must cultivate a logic within them, because they do this same thing over and over never learning or growing. Use ammo to survive or you won't survive to use ammo, plus re-arming keeps you safe.

Give them tips so they can grow in skill as players by playing the game. Basic tactical positioning of "1 man per piece of cover, 1 man hit per tank shell formation", encouragement and reminders of other skills like camouflage, how to save friendly by being in view, one big booby trap as a unit. Then the firing techniques. Same to armored vehicles, but used differently because of their range, sound and value.

They will come back to learn more. For me, shooting has mostly positive effects, so no reason to not shoot, just sitting there watching and questioning me shoot. Its what separates this game from all other FPS. I shoot at tracers, sounds of enemy gunfire in distance, any sign of enemy or potential approach snapping rounds deep over terrain.

Not to sound like an ass, but when I play less, their minds are not as stimulated or seeing much demonstration of full game capabilities. Body, terrain, projectiles. This game is very realistic minus limitations of certain aspects, it just shows how things would go however you move.

One last thing on population currently, its getting close to college/high school exam season, people like me also don't want to play Project Reality too much because playing too much can ruin how much I want to play. Stressful game, mostly from depending on a lack of skill I must teach.

1 man per piece of cover, suppression, all these things all are not me. Its just a re-wording of tactics, I want a formation without being too complicated with squad column wedges, but I can and do teach that. Use the VBS videos.
Grump/Gump.45 is offline Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT. The time now is 10:57.