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Expectations for FFA games

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Relocating a conversation from this thread.

CZrankSilent_AI
quote:
To prevent spectators spoiling games for players playing them, would it be possible to implement a function, that when some spectator wants to write something that even players can see, at first the message appears only to other spectators, then there is like a 10 sec delay when other spectators can press a button that prevents that message from showing to players playing the game, and only after this interval it appears to players?

What happens when there is only one spectator in the room? What reasons do people have to write things as a spectator in FFA that players can see?
[Spoiler]

RUrankFantasyZero
quote:
As an example of good solution against spec cheats: Famous DotA game has a mechanic that plays current game to spectators with 30-60 seconds delay. This delay eliminates any possibility of helping spectators to match participants (via chat, discord any other audio chats), but this is deep engine feature, don't think Spring could provide it(?).

Given that rejoining an ongoing game as a spectator involves watching and catching up on the entire game it seems like it should be theoretically possible to just... stop catching up a bit early, but I have been told in the past by people familiar with the Spring engine that it would not be easy in practice.

NLrankmalric
quote:
In my opinion the whole thread is about a disagreement on what are the most generic rules of the FFA. Is it fine if you communicate via another channel (voice versus chat)? Is it fine if you play to support one specific player without planning to win yourself? Is it fine to resign but give strange orders to units?

Any answer is OK (there is no good/bad), but people playing together and thinking the answers are different is a recipe for disaster.

I do not think that this is entirely what the previous thread was about, but the bolded is certainly a pertinent comment about how we should move forward.
+2 / -0



16 days ago
I think CZrankSilent_AI is just solving a problem that has already been solved. Spectator chat is not visible to players in FFA. There isn't a problem there.
+1 / -0


16 days ago
quote:
Spectator chat is not visible to players in FFA. There isn't a problem there.

It's visible to the players who bother to alt-f11 into the chatroom, or simply to be on the right Discord.
+2 / -0
There are so many ways to go around in game chat limitations by barely including outside tools, never mind in game tricks.

The point is more that I think we want to avoid someone who intentionally ruins the game for a specific player or even everyone by just chatting to all, in match, about knowledge players do not currently possess.

It's one thing to block direct interference from a bad actor towards players who take no steps to participate in unsportsmanship conduct, and another entirely to attempt to stop all the possible ways bad actors can cheat.
+1 / -0
16 days ago
I just had another random idea pop up in my head that could make targetting specific players more difficult:

What if the names of the players would not be shown?
For example each player gets a "Random Name" and that one is then shown to everyone for the duration of the game?
The only way to recognize players then is to either have two players in a discord chat which totaly trust each other saying which name they got. Or when you have a player that is extremly recognizable by their playstyle.
+5 / -0

16 days ago
One possibility short of forbidding spec-to-player chat would be for players to mute specs via a command so that none of the players can read their chat anymore. This would be according to the "assume good faith" approach, where the privilege of talking in all chat would be taken away once a spec has violated good faith in the eyes of one of the players.

On the other hand, simply disallowing specs talking in all-chat would be much easier to implement and hardly hurt at all. Tech-assistance is the only reason I can conceive of, why a player would want to read a spec's chat during an ongoing game and often such questions can as well be answered by other players.
+0 / -0
quote:
On the other hand, simply disallowing specs talking in all-chat would be much easier to implement and hardly hurt at all. Tech-assistance is the only reason I can conceive of, why a player would want to read a spec's chat during an ongoing game and often such questions can as well be answered by other players.

Pay attention, this is already the case and has already been mentioned.

quote:
What if the names of the players would not be shown?

People would need to also have their admin rights stripped inside the game since that also identifies a player. Then there are minor issues like CPU and Ping (you can detect people with potato PCs or Australians, respectively) but these are a very soft form of identification. See the dev ticket if somebody has any useful feedback.
+0 / -0
+1 for anonymous ffa and also a separate elo system.

While I have heard from Godde that ffa increases the prediction power of WHR, I think this cannot be true if the metagame (eg. !predict, lets target the highest rated player etc.) dominates which, based on recent trends, seems inevitable.

The only difficulty I see with anonymous ffa is that any pre-game discord teams would have a great advantage here, and there would have to be a strict reliance on the honor code.
+3 / -0
16 days ago
Yah... Discord/Teamspeak/Mumble players will know where they started. They won't know anymore where a specific player/target is, at least right at the beginning, but that information can probably be inferred somewhat quickly as players start to disclose what they see to game chat. A swift squad flies over, Galemesh: mid right has drp 50%.

Heck it won't even require super weapons to know who is who just based on fac preferences, base layout and army composition. At a quick glance you can tell pretty easily how experienced a player is based on what they have built relative to the start of the match.

Anonymous FFA sounds like a good idea on paper, but I'm not so sure it fixes all that much. Would it even encourage people to use outside tools more than they currently do? To a degree, if you can't see who's who anymore, wouldn't that make you more likely to want to leverage outside info? That is, of couse, unless you have some sort of principled stance on what FFA should be.
+1 / -0
16 days ago
I expect to be rushed by fencers by Aerithlyn.
+0 / -0
quote:
For example each player gets a "Random Name" and that one is then shown to everyone for the duration of the game?


Would be cool imo, be fun everyone trying to guess who is who, yet i think this would be figured out reasonably quickly, yet long enough to stop people rushing or make early strategic decisions based on players.

Some may actually declare at some point (truthfully or not ;)


+0 / -0

16 days ago
quote:
CArankGalamesh: Anonymous FFA sounds like a good idea on paper, but I'm not so sure it fixes all that much. Would it even encourage people to use outside tools more than they currently do? To a degree, if you can't see who's who anymore, wouldn't that make you more likely to want to leverage outside info? That is, of couse, unless you have some sort of principled stance on what FFA should be.


I agree. I like to chat in ts / dc while playing and even if no rules-bending is intended, there is already a tendency to put more trust in the people you are talking to via voice-chat than others you barely know. When the others are merely anonymous colours the imbalance in social dynamics might be too much.
There is a mode called "gunboat" for the boardgame Diplomacy that hides identities but also disallows negotiations. Haven thought about the proposal I do not think anymore it would be viable for 0k.
+0 / -0
16 days ago
Having names be hidden will give a HUGE advantage to those in voice... they will be like, "I am here" and be able to quickly figure out who to target... so its kinda self-defeating if its trying to nerf voice-chat teamwork in FFA.
+2 / -0

16 days ago
I think it's not an attempt to solve voice chatting cooperation but the "target highest rated player first" metagaming.
+2 / -0
16 days ago
Suggestion: test it as an event. See if enough people participate/like it that it seems like they will be willing to abide by an honor system kind of thing.

You could even give each person the name of a famous physicist/scientist to fit the ZK theme...
+3 / -0
16 days ago
Is it considered fine to have personal communication for groups of people in a FFA, done prior to the game and excluding the other players?

Ex:
  • 2 FFA players playing side by side (and seeing their screen/talking/etc)
  • clan members on private voice channel
  • public channel that not everybody knows about

Note: I am not talking about technical ways to enforce that, I think it's not possible. But at least some agreement on what is fine and what is not and if someone brags about it to be able to say "that is not what we want here, please do X"


Is it considered fine that by your action you disadvantage a (subset of) player(s) and you do NOT play to win?

Ex:
  • play until you kill a specific player then resign
  • make an alliance and help an ally then resign after one task (like build walls on one side of the base)

Is it fine to leave units on the map with orders? (this would be fixed technically, when resign all units should at least receive a stop)

Is it fine to vote exit (if not desyncs) for any reason? (ex: game in which 2 players are left, one player with a glaive, the other one with a seawolf, none wants to resign)

Some of the questions/example might be extreme but I was trying to think of intentions/game style not about all the cases. Also I do not play FFA often so probably miss more important questions that are just implied...

+2 / -0
FFA can be played in a variety of modes.
Here are some examples:

1. Hunger Game style
Alliances are made before the game starts and are highly political in nature.
Teammates will have to betray eachother eventually so that there is only 1 remaining victor, but they are likely to remain allied as long as there are still other alliances out there.
I doubt many players would like FFA in Zero-K to be like that.

2. Ingame alliances with different private channels for communication
Currently, players can whisper to specific players with the ingame chat so this is a decent way to form alliances. However, it is kind of a hidden feature and I bet most players doesn't know how to use it.
Voice chat can give an advantage here as it is much easier to communicate while giving inputs to the game, but on the other hand, it can be harder to lie using voicechat rather than just text.
Zero-K used to have a cease-fire function that makes temporary allies not shoot automatically at eachother. I wish this feature was in Zero-K again. It makes the alliances much clearer and distinct.

3. Ingame alliances with only public communication.
There is no whisper function and if voice chat is used, every player has to be in the same voicechannel.

4. Lone wolf FFA.
Alliances are prohibited and kept by a code of honor/gentlemens agreement.
All forms of communication would likely be banned or considered extraneous.


Common sense strategies:
Attacking the most skilled player first and then attacking the players with the strongest position is a way to defeat the odds and give lower skilled players a chance to win. If you can't handle being teamed up on, you should never play any type of diplomatic FFA game.

Never surrender?:
If you want to maximize your chances of winning, you should never surrender in an FFA as long as you have a builder and there are more than 2 sides left.
The innate +2m +2e income that you get can be enough to get you back in the game as long as you have a con and if you can stay under the radar for long enough, you might be able to have a comeback if your opponent keeps fighting eachother.
If you trust opponents and they all agree that one player is by far the strongest, you can surrender if you want to save some time. However, if you do not trust your opponents to tell the truth or communication is non-existent, you should never surrender if you want to maximize your chances of winning.

Metagame strategies:
Like with a Poker hand, how you play your hands affects your opponents strategies and how they view you throughout the game.
We might wish that each FFA game is a new fresh start, but human psychology will persist and even if you yourself can leave all old baggage behind, many can not.

Being a cockroach:
Persisting and continuing to fight have several advantages in the FFA metagame. Even if your chances of a comeback is slim to none, fighting on against the odds means players will be more scared to attack you in the future if they are not sure they can wipe you out completely. If they might get drawn into a prolonged fight, even if they managed to cripple you with a nuke for example, they have to give much more time to capture your territory which leaves them open to be backstabbed for longer.
Skilled players in Zero-K should have little trouble finishing you off if you have next to nothing left, but trying to scout the whole map for where you are and hunting you down might be costly and require a lot of attention that the player would rather use on fighting the other opponents.
However, I would not recommend trying to prolong the game if there is only you and 1 other opponent left, and it is clear to you that you will lose. You might to be able to bore your opponent to leaving and if they aren't that skilled, they might not know how to properly scout the whole map and find your cloaked units. This is likely to make people less willing to play FFA with you in the future.

Single game vendettas:
How you pursue vendettas during a single game should be consider in logical fashion and not pure anger.
If you are known to start vendettas over any slight transgression, your opponents starting next to you will see you as a higher threat and know they have to take you out before you take them out.
I would say the right time for a vendetta is when you are a dealt a crippling blow. By staying in the game and trying to do your best to tie up resources and hamper your opponents progress, your opponent will know that defeating you isn't easy and just crippling you isn't enough, but that your opponents advantage have to be so big that they can take out you swiftly before they attack you.

Border disputes:
Border disputes over mexes can easily escalate into a vendetta if you are not careful where you are continually trading blows over a longer period of time. Consider using diplomacy and chat to resolve border conflicts but also try to keep track of your opponents strength to know how much your opponent can retaliate.
If you know your opponent is unlikely to use diplomacy to resolve border disputes, consider approaching them carefully and maybe let them have a few mexes, or on the opposite, be ready to to escalate the fight quickly so that you can retaliate in one swift blow and take them out of the game.
However, if you continually fold because your opponent is in a stronger position than you, try to convince other players that your opponent is growing out of control and to team against that opponent.

Multigame vendettas
I wouldn't recommend keeping a vendetta across several games. If your nemesis knows you are coming for them, they will be prepared for your attack and it will likely cripple both of you as you try to defeat eachother while the rest of the players eco and grow their strength.

Robbing players of the win:
It is tempting to rob others of their win in FFA. However, most players find it unfun if you are just prolonging the game in a 1v1 situation and even if they leave out of boredom and you win, isn't it just a pyrrhic where none of you really enjoyed winning or valued the win itself?
Leaving while still having a strong position is also a way to cheapen the win for serious FFA players. They might dislike you for it and avoid playing FFA with you in the future. Consider how casual the players attitude is before you leave a FFA game and if you have time to actually sit out a long FFA game.

Lying and deceit:
Most people dislike being lied to even if it is a game mode or game specifically designed for it.
If you escalate your lying to a level beyond of what all of your opponents are doing, you might be targeted just because you are considered a liar. The other players might even hold a certain unspoken standard of telling the truth that you are not supposed to cross. They might hold a grudge against you in future games if you go beyond this standard.
However, more skilled FFA players are likely to have progressed their level of deceit more so that they are comfortable lying and backstabbing, and will not hold a grudge against you for being deceitful.
People are generally more comfortable telling lies through text than voice, and if you get too good at deceiving players while sounding sincere, it might even bleed off to all the future communication you share with them outside the game.

Choosing your opponents
Some FFA games are lost before they even start. If all your opponents are of the same skill level while your rating is much higher than theirs and they abide by the rule of always taking out the greatest threat first, they might make sure to eliminate you before they fight eachother. Consider waiting to play with them until more high skilled players join so you aren't singled out as easily, or just consider this game as a practice of how to be as strong of a cockroach that you can be.
If you are uncomfortable with the level of lying that some players do, consider not playing with them or try to get similar minded people to see through their lies so that they don't fall for their deceit.
+5 / -0
quote:
Is it considered fine to have personal communication for groups of people in a FFA, done prior to the game and excluding the other players?

I am open to the suggestion that it should not be considered fine.
+2 / -0

14 days ago
quote:
I am open to the suggestion that it should not be considered fine.


The problem with forbidding external communication (e.g. voice communication) are:
1.) I cannot be proven when people violate this rule.
2.) It will hardly change anything w.r.t. unfair teaming. Collusion can just as well occur w/o any communication at all.
3.) The actual problem of collusion can be tackled without any rules about using external communication: Unfair collusion is always visible in the replay and can be sanctioned. Forbidding external com. will not make handling this any easier.
4.) It will make the game a lot less fun for people who just use the game as a background activity while socialising.

bloa and me know each other for sth. like 27 years and now live like 600km apart. Talking while playing games gives a feeling similar to an evening with board games (face 2 face). We still organize such game evenings when we meet with old friends but it has become rather rare for most of us being present as people have moved to different cities.

I would be rather upset if the communicative part of playing would have to end due to some ppl. being paranoid about teaming while at the same time such rules are not even feasible to tackle the actual issue!
+8 / -0


14 days ago
The main reason i dislike hidden communications is that they are not visible to the spectator, or the viewer of the replays, both from the spectacle aspect, and from the self-improvement aspect.

Whisper messages being replayed in the replays would be awesome.
+7 / -0
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