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Widgets in competitive games

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Actual forum thread for continuing discussion about widgets in modern Zero-K. Long discussions on battle replays are not user friendly.

Reference replays:
[Spoiler]
Googlefrog reply
[Spoiler]
+1 / -0
- I do not think that one can give a generalized answer to "should widgets be allowed". It depends on the widget itself and on the situation.

- I think as well that the problem here is more about the intransparency. I simply do not know what my opponent is using. I am willing to use widgets myself, but I am willing to take the opinion of my opponent into account. As Randy said, when we queue up we somehow (more or less) expect an even playing field. And to dismiss that as a pure excuse for "progress-opposition" (someone tell me the right word for that in english please), I would say that there is a very poor understanding behind it. Yes, zk is a thing where people can play around with their code. But it is also a social space. It doesn`t even really matter if you are wrong or right if you will end up not getting a game because noone wants to play with you anymore.


EErankAdminAnarchid

Well, as said, that depends on what game you want. Even without this subversion you mentioned, zk has many more things that i feel make it unique.
Me mentioning "schism" was in awareness of that. (And just to make it clear: that might not even be a bad thing)
+0 / -0
2 months ago
Based on replays I assume this is more of an issue in 1v1 (which I do not play often), but I would be curious what people would think about the following idea: append any non-default widgets used during the game to the replay, and display what is used during the replay (to easily understand what the opponent used).

The way I see it everybody that plays the game makes an effort to learn what is possible and not (ex: units, stats, strategies, default widget configurations, etc.). For me this is a continuous process, and if with some effort you can learn/use something your opponent has used, I do not see a huge issue if you loose a couple of games. This would be similar to Godde beating you without any special widgets and you watching the replay to try to understand how he does that (unit order, strategy, etc.). The fact that you should check if he uses any widgets/configs is just one more aspect to take into account.

Even currently, sometimes I wonder "from the huge list of default widget, who uses what? how do they configure them?"
+1 / -0
2 months ago
Since nobody mentioned the elephant in the room, biggest problem is that the widget enthusiasts are also ones most likely to be (potential) contributors to game development. So pissing them off by removing their game advantages will hurt the game more in the long run than some unfair matches. A kind of realpolitik opinion on why it is tolerated.
+1 / -0
2 months ago
Restating my opinion for this thread - personal custom widgets that automate unit behavior in inhuman ways are harmful to the 1vs1 matchmaking environment. Everyone should have access to all of the same tools in the competitive mode. If a widget tests well and fits into the zero-k ecosystem, I'm okay with it being added to the list of selectable widgets everyone can use and being folded into the matchmaking ecosystem. There are probably some kinds of widgets that could ruin the fun of playing for me, but that's separate.

Custom or casual games are an acceptable place for such widgets to be tested or used, though I think it would be in poor taste to not inform people you're playing with about it.
+5 / -0
quote:
NLrankmalric The way I see it everybody that plays the game makes an effort to learn what is possible and not (ex: units, stats, strategies, default widget configurations, etc.). For me this is a continuous process, and if with some effort you can learn/use something your opponent has used, I do not see a huge issue if you loose a couple of games. This would be similar to Godde beating you without any special widgets and you watching the replay to try to understand how he does that (unit order, strategy, etc.). The fact that you should check if he uses any widgets/configs is just one more aspect to take into account.


A problem with many of these widgets is they change the balance of units, making them stronger than intended, if this badger widget was suddenly adopted by everyone, I'd expect very quickly nearly every game will become rover vs rover with badgers in abundance.

One from a couple of years ago was a kodachi pre-fire widget, basically increasing the range of the unit - a previously chosen range that was set to be balanced and fair. Sure everyone could apply this widget, and Googlefrog nerf the range of Kodachi to re-balance the game, but then what has been achieved?
+2 / -0
USrankAdminBakuhatsu puts it really well, for me.

I'm interested to ask that if this opinion becomes concensus, what means do we have available to impose a stricter reality upon ranked games?
+1 / -0
quote:
One from a couple of years ago was a kodachi pre-fire widget, basically increasing the range of the unit - a previously chosen range that was set to be balanced and fair. Sure everyone could apply this widget, and Googlefrog nerf the range of Kodachi to re-balance the game, but then what has been achieved?


To add to this, the Kodachi prefire widget wreaked havoc on the ability to balance Kodachi. Almost a year of patches after the prefire widget came out had to address this in various ways. Kodachi specifically had to be hit with numerous "is-this-a-nerf-or-a-buff" patches to address it being able to kite every other raider in the game mostly for free, and many (or all, I forget) other units also had their behavior changed to match what the new kodachi was given, which among other things resulted in all units with an AoE attack effectively gaining an increased attack range. These aren't simple changes and had a huge impact on how zero-k plays.
+1 / -0

2 months ago
>One from a couple of years ago was a kodachi pre-fire widget, basically increasing the range of the unit - a previously chosen range that was set to be balanced and fair. Sure everyone could apply this widget, and Googlefrog nerf the range of Kodachi to re-balance the game, but then what has been achieved?

One feature/design paradigm I particularly like about zero-k is that it arrives to have a "physics based combat model"; projectiles obey laws of physics, units don't have hidden bonus damages or armor types, and balance is achieved through tweaking these physical properties rather than artificially handicapping units. The prefire widget was a natural use of in-game physics to improve unit performance, and a physically accurate one at that. I would argue that the net result of the widget and rebalance is that the game is a more accurate combat simulation, which is something I value. The net result in terms of gameplay may be the same but there is value in staying true to the principles of the game's design.
+4 / -0
2 months ago
How hard would it be to disallow custom widgets from giving commands to units in MM/Pro 1v1 games?
+1 / -0

2 months ago
It's probably to the benefit of Zero-K to balance a situation where widgets don't *in practise* provide a huge advantage, vs giving widget developers some space to play in. And I think it does a pretty good job of this, albeit gradually having to reduce the scope of what widget developers can do.

If I could wish for one change now it would be to improve reporting on which widgets a player is using - drawing attention to anything non-bundled in particular - and potentially attach any non-bundled widget lua to the replay.
+0 / -0



2 months ago
quote:
If I could wish for one change now it would be to improve reporting on which widgets a player is using - drawing attention to anything non-bundled in particular - and potentially attach any non-bundled widget lua to the replay.


Even if not the full long exhaustive list, a "discrepancy" report would be great too.
+0 / -0
Been avoiding reading the other thread or too much here for mental health reasons. My £0.02:


I like people being able to customize the game and add improvements to it. This is much more easily done (psychologically) if there's no need to worry about your work being made useless because the gatekeeper (@GoogleFrog) doesn't like the code quality. Being able to design and test your setup and commands for your own style gives a freedom not found elsewhere.

The other reason I like widgets is because it's a push to automate away trivial tasks and annoyances (the kind I wish most people in office jobs would automate away). I was one of the best at using micro to abuse Kodachi's persistent AoE vs chasing units, but I'm still glad it's gone. The game gradually improves over time as more and more trivial timewasters are automated and UX and UI improve.

There are a long list of widgets I'd like to add when I have the energy. For example a circle (F)ollow command like the circle (G)uard command but that doesn't have all my entire Flee screen running away to try and chase down that Emissary that just hit my detriment. Or a Scatter command that tells my units to spread out a bit while continuing their current orders (whether that's moving or attacking or whatever). Or a "even distribution" line move command that means that when I line move there's no risk of my aegis all ending up at one end of the line.
As it currently stands I'm likely to end up implementing something that's not quite polished enough for AUrankAdminGoogleFrog to accept as a standard widget, but my hope is that others will try them, like them and then push for me (or someone else like AUrankAdminGoogleFrog) to polish them up enough for inclusion.


My ideal world would have a list of other people's enabled widgets available at the end (and start?) of a match so that you can just grab whichever you like the look of. Allowing a rapid evolution of widgets as people share the good ones and improve/tweak them over time.
+10 / -0



2 months ago
quote:
There are a long list of widgets I'd like to add when I have the energy. For example a circle (F)ollow command like the circle (G)uard command but that doesn't have all my entire Flee screen running away to try and chase down that Emissary that just hit my detriment. Or a Scatter command that tells my units to spread out a bit while continuing their current orders (whether that's moving or attacking or whatever). Or a "even distribution" line move command that means that when I line move there's no risk of my aegis all ending up at one end of the line.


Now we're talking. These are all non-unit specific usability tweaks I can totally appreciate, because they're just additional commands. Whilst we're at it, can we add an offensive circling command for raiders too? I would absolutely love to have my glaives circle a crab / grizzly / whatever at a pre-specified radius (though this might make halberd aoe-baiting more problematic in some cases).
+1 / -0


2 months ago
Those you suggest Dyth are all great quality of life improvements which I'm all for and have no issue with, different from those widget's that don't add value but make the users units OP.
+2 / -0

2 months ago
Yes I also agree with a lot of that, and I really like those ideas, especially the "even distribution" line move, and the other ones are cool too. But as GBrankPRO_rANDY said it's not the same as widgets that make units OP. Also:

quote:
The game gradually improves over time as more and more trivial timewasters are automated and UX and UI improve.


That is true, but you have to find the right balance, because eventually it starts going downhill because all those exciting things get automated and then you end up with almost everything automated and then it's just not fun.

+0 / -0
quote:
Whilst we're at it, can we add an offensive circling command for raiders too? I would absolutely love to have my glaives circle a crab / grizzly / whatever at a pre-specified radius (though this might make halberd aoe-baiting more problematic in some cases).


Draw circle, move formation with alt. Not exactly what you want, but quite close to it. Just to shorten the time for you until that command comes out.
+0 / -0
2 months ago
Hot take: all allowed widgets should be publically available and the wiki should inform what they are and how to get them.
+1 / -0
2 months ago
quote:
Hot take: all allowed widgets should be publically available and the wiki should inform what they are and how to get them.
For me this is not sound as good enough. I want to know what widgets and how are they configured in a particular game, otherwise seems that what we will end up with is a very long list of half-baked, not great widgets, out of which a couple are amazing - but hard to find. Not to mention the whole mess that might be keeping a wiki list up to date with latest versions of ZK (remove useless/inefficient ones). Competitive people will do that for their local install because they want to win.
+1 / -0
2 months ago
The game would be fair at least.
+0 / -0
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