Open Alpha + How to set up a match?

Join the open alpha games and learn how to set up games with friends!

Alpha games are running daily. Join in!

Hello and welcome everyone! After 17 months of active development with the current dev-team we are proudly announcing that BAR is in a fully playable alpha stage now! What exactly do we mean by that? That you can already enjoy the greatness of what BAR game-play has to offer. Open alpha test games are running daily now. At the current stage BAR includes:

  • Two playable factions with a total of 392 functional and distinct units
  • Single-player with a choice of AIs with different difficulty levels
  • Multi-player servers with team, FFA, duel, and coop games
  • Two survival modes - Scavengers (against robots) and Chicken Defense (against alien swarms)
  • 20 BAR-certified quality maps and thousands legacy maps from SpringRTS
  • Two temporary game lobbies for Linux and Windows
  • New goodies coming in every day :)

Below is a guide on how to get started.

BAR awesome!

Since we don't yet have a perfect server/lobby infrastructure we avoided doing any active promotion to allow time to prepare. However, with a gem like BAR it turns out to be impossible to stay under the radar for long. In April, a wild post appeared on Reddit by a fan who randomly stumbled across this project. To our surprise, the reception of BAR by RTS fans was remarkably positive. So, since the post we're no longer in stealth mode. :) It is hard to describe how happy we are with all the kind words and comments we received about our project. You guys are awesome!

1000 members in bar discord

New commanders on the battlefield

Since the information about BAR surfaced, our dev discord has been flooded with new players, developers and content creators interested in contributing. We are already at 1000 members and growing! This has helped us a lot to test the game and get rid of tons of bugs. Big thanks to everyone that took part in that! This also means that almost at any time of the day you can find people willing to play with you.

How to download and run BAR?

Since the dedicated BAR lobby system is currently in construction, we provide with two temporary lobby solutions. Find all relevant information in the download page. Read further to see how to setup a multiplayer match and control basic game settings.

Find players and enjoy!

Join the Discord server and check #looking-for-players channel.

We also suggest to #give-yourself-a-role so that you will always be notified every time when games of your interest are running (1v1s/FFA/teams/coop - you can chose which game types you would like to be notified about).

Single player

For all the lone-wolves and those who just want to check the game before going multiplayer, the way into the game is rather simple. We suggest using Chobby for this. The only inconvenience of singleplayer is that you currently need to either download maps manually or join a multiplayer host so that it downloads a given map for you. More intel below.

Option 1: Using Chobby (recommended)

After opening your lobby client, you will be prompted with a Register/Log-in window. If you want to play alone, you can skip this step - just click cancel. Now, go to the Single player tab, chose a map and add a bot to the opposite team. On default, a bot will be already there, if you want to use a different one right-click on it and kick it. Currently there are few stable AI options to chose from:

  • NullAI - sandbox mode - doesn't spawn anything, good for exploring units, builds etc.
  • SimpleAI - very easy bot, building basic units and sending without much micro
  • DAI - medium level versatile AI, building all types of units and using all tiers
  • STAI - medium level AI, less versatile, using a limited unit roster
  • BARbarian - AI of a level of mediocre player, rather hard for beginners. Being a native AI it needs some additional effort to set up, see the pinned message in #ai on BAR Discord for installation guide.
  • Chicken - survival mode vs aliens, nice for learning defense structures. It comes in 8 difficulty levels.

After adding the bot, just smash the Start button and enjoy!

Option 1: Using Spring Lobby

Disclaimer: there may be bugs on the way! If you see any bug notifications just chill out and ok through them ;)

After logging in to the server (info in downloads), join any of the multiplayer rooms and accept the auto-download of the BAR and game engine. This way you are also able to download the map that is currently set on the auto-host. In order to chose a different map say !map mapname in the chat.

Once all the downloads finish, you can open the "Skirmish" tab. there, on the bottom you should chose the game, map and engine. It will be set to the one you just downloaded on default. Now, hit Add bot. You will se the same selection as in the list above. Click Start and enjoy.

Setting up a multiplayer room

In the long term BAR is mainly focused on a multiplayer experience. Be sure to try it with friends and other random folks you stumble across. It features games with up to tens of players participating, which is arguably the biggest fun of this game. Here we explain how to do it:

Once you log in, and open the multiplayer tab you will see a couple of battle rooms. These are called auto-hosts as they are able to be used as a surrogate of a self-hosted LAN game. Auto-hosts are controlled with chat commands. Using them you can modify almost everything about the game. Below we list the most essential commands that will help you set up a decent match with your friends (don't type in the brackets):

If there are many players in the host every preset/map change will have to be voted for. Say !vote y or !vote n to give your vote.
Note that you can join a running game too, clicking the Spectate button.

I. Chose a proper preset:

  • !preset teams - creates two teams, and sets a start position type to "Chose in game" which means you and your enemies will be able to chose starting positions within restricted start boxes. These boxes are in hosts memory for most maps, if not you need to set them up manually.
  • !preset FFA - free-for-all, puts all players alone in separate teams and sets start position type to "Fixed". It means that once game loads, everyone will be spawned in locations pre-determined by the map. FFA maps are designed in a way that makes all start positions equally good. This preset may be also used for 1v1 matches.

II. Chose a map and set start positions:

  • !list maps - sends you a PM with list of all maps available on the host
  • !map [mapname] - will set the map to the one you named
  • !nextmap - chooses a random map from the pool
  • !split [v/h/c1/c2/s] [number] - creates start boxes (only for team games), ie. "!split h 20" puts two boxes on west and east ends of the map spanning a 20% of the map total area. h is for horizontal, v for vertical, c1 for corners (top left and bottom right), c2 for the opposite corners, s is for all sides (4 teams). Don't create boxes in FFA/1v1 games as they use fixed start positions.

III. Balance the teams:

If you chose the teams preset the teams will be balanced automatically using the estimate of players true skill (TS). For first few games this balance way will not work very well, because server needs more data to estimate players skill ranking. In order to put players in teams manually you need to do the following:

  • !autobalance off - will tell the host to stop balancing the teams using TS. "on" toggles it again.

Now everyone is free to chose their teams manually. In Springlobby team choice is in the panel between the chat and the player list.

Important: Make sure you change "Ally" number instead of "Team" number. Players with the same Ally number are allied, players with the same Team number share the same units (coop).

Alternatively you can try:

  • !balancemode random - puts players in random teams, disregarding TS
  • !rebalance - rolls the dice again

IV. Ready and go!

Once the map and balance is set make sure that every player has downloaded all the needed content (map, game, engine). If there is something missing, a player will be displayed a s unsynced and the game wont be able to run. Everyone now should click the Ready button. If using Chobby, disregard that - you are automatically ready if you are in a team.

  • !ring - notifies the sleepy folks that they are not ready yet
  • !ring [playername] - notifies a given person. Harass those annoying AFKers with it ;)
  • !start - finally runs the match, provided that everyone is ready
  • !forcestart - needed to run an uneven ie. 2v3 (unbalanced teams) game. Needs voting

Additional useful commands:

  • !s - checks the status of a running game
  • !spec [playername] - if someone is AFK, you can force him out of teams, he will be set as a spectator
  • !stop - kills the game. Use it if you messed something up with settings or ie. some player can't join the game. Needs a vote to happen. Note that if you crash, you can still reconnect to a running game clicking Start (in Springlobby) or Rejoin (in Chobby).
  • !help - lists all auto-hosts commands use it to learn stuff beyond this guide :)

Final remarks

Auto-hosts can also be used for coop games against AI, or survival modes. You can also mix human players with bots within the same teams. In both lobbies there is a button for adding bots to the game. Play around with the settings and see what interesting games you can come up with.

We are preparing separate guide for the coop/survival modes setup. Stay tuned!

And this is it. We hope this guide is comprehensive enough to make you able to run your own multiplayer games. Note that these solutions are just a makeshift way to be able to run alpha games during development. There is a whole new Lobby system in works now and it will provide witch much friendlier UI and match control and overall easier player experience. Before that happens though, if you stumble across any problems don't hesitate to ask in our Discord channel.

See you on the battlefield!

Relevant images

Mentionable team members


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