Suggestion: Chess Clock

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eyerouge
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Suggestion: Chess Clock

Post by eyerouge »

After searching the forum for an answer to why a chess clock isn't implemented already I came up with no real good answer. The discussions have been had several times, even by developers, and I have not read anything against it. The more one thinks about it, the stranger it is the functions is lacking. Thus, here we go again:

Idea
  • Keep current timer system but also add...
  • the option to use a chess clock system.
A chess clock is simply a timer system that lets every player start with x amount of total time. This total amount of time is always ticking downwards every time it becomes your turn. When it reaches zero the player is punished heavily (in chess, the player would lose).

Why?
  • Because it will set an upper limit to how long a Wesnoth game can or is likely to become. That in return benefits a great portion of the multiplayer community. As it is now a game could last forever even with the timer enabled.
  • It will in many cases speed up average game play compared with the timer system today.
How?
  • Implementation of it seems fairly staright forward: Whenever it's the players turn, deduct his wasted time from his/her total time. When it hits zero, something bad happens.
  • In contrast to chess, I don't think a player should insta-lose the game when he/she reaches 0 in time. Something else should happen instead:
The bad thing happening

Examples of what could happen when a player ran out of his total time. These could work alone or combined, and there might be many more beyond these that are worth considering. This is just to give some examples of what seems plausible:
  • Half of his army is auto-killed at random.(Yeah, admittedly not very elegant, but still :eng: Problem is this can be circumvented by saving up gold etc... )
  • His upkeep/tax is always multiplied by 2, making it much more costly to maintain an army.
  • He can't level up units and all already existing lvl 2 or 3 units are auto-killed.
  • He can't recruit new units.
  • Villages occupied by that player produce only 50% gold.
In best of worlds a player could even select when he created the game, by simply using checkboxes, which and what of the above would happen when a player runs out of his/her time.
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Lizard
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Re: Suggestion: Chess Clock

Post by Lizard »

I bet the wesnoth core can already handle the chess clock. The only thing missing is an alternative punishment to instant-ending each of the loosing player's turns

Code: Select all

Init. Limit = 7200
Reservoir = 7200
Turn Bonus = 0
Action Bonus = 0
This would be the settings required for the normal timer, the initial time is two hours (= 7200 seconds). Only the Wesnoth GUI can't take this input.
Now only the punishment remains, which IMHO should be handled by WML.

I got one idea how that might work: It would be nice if some kind of TimerWML allows add-ons to hook into it, just like EraWML alows your add-ons too hook into the Era choice menu.

I think a dropdown should replace the "Time limit" toogle. Mainline might inclue "no time limit", "Default Timer", and "Chess Clock" while some add-on makes the "crazy blue magic timer" available. Each Timer can place custom sliders into the GUI. While the "Chess Clock" requires one slider and an "pick your effect" list the "crazy blue magic timer" has an additional slider labled "number of green unicorns".

This comment, especially my idea would exceed eyerouge's proposal but please don't take it as an attempt to hijack the thread :)
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kill
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Re: Suggestion: Chess Clock

Post by kill »

As Lizard pointed out, the chess clock is already implemented. The punishment part though is a matter of personal preference, I do not like it. It needs some sort of voting to arrive at a rough concensus.
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eyerouge
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Re: Suggestion: Chess Clock

Post by eyerouge »

kill wrote:As Lizard pointed out, the chess clock is already implemented
No it's not. At least nowhere where it's usable by a player. Where exactly do you set the total time? And in what version do you find such a functionality?
. The punishment part though is a matter of personal preference, I do not like it. It needs some sort of voting to arrive at a rough concensus.
I bet faction is a matter of preference, as is map selection, as is selection of leader. It's still in the game. And that's the beauty of it - letting each player select his/her own settings. It needs no consensus whatsoever (more than how and if it should be coded at all, in which case it's up to the devs anyhow...)
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Re: Suggestion: Chess Clock

Post by Lizard »

eyerouge wrote:
kill wrote:As Lizard pointed out, the chess clock is already implemented
No it's not. At least nowhere where it's usable by a player. Where exactly do you set the total time? And in what version do you find such a functionality?
Yeah, I did not want to point that out. I only wanted to mention that it would be - at least in part - easy to implement.
I'd like a Chess Timer option, too. So I guess I'll add my +1
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pauxlo
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Re: Suggestion: Chess Clock

Post by pauxlo »

Your "punishment" ideas look like the player can simply play away after the time is up, only with these one-time penalty.
This has the effect that the game is not really over, when all time is up.

I think, a better system would be this: "When your time is up, the system automatically hits "end turn" for you." So, your units could not move or attack at all, and your opponent can go and kill your units (which would retaliate on attacks, but not on their own turn). If he succeeds to kill your leader (or achieve whatever other win condition there is) until his time is also up, he wins, otherwise it is a draw when his time is also up (or then there are win points calculated etc).

(This would also be usable on a "per turn timer".)

This guarantees a maximum total play time of the sum of all player time limits.

(And now someone comes and says this is already the default setting of the timer ... I don't really know, since I didn't use it some time.)
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eyerouge
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Re: Suggestion: Chess Clock

Post by eyerouge »

pauxlo wrote:Your "punishment" ideas look like the player can simply play away after the time is up, only with these one-time penalty.
This has the effect that the game is not really over, when all time is up.
Yes and no: Some of the suggested effects are indeed one time only, others and better ones are ongoing, as written.

You are right about the fact that the game wouldn't be over when time ran out. It would however be shortened drastically due to the effects (any of them) and a player would really not want to be in such an disadvantgeous position. Winning despite having one or more of the effects against you is really hard unless you play a player that's really below your skill level (but if you did, how come the time ran out for you then?).

Notice that the same can be said for your idea: The game doesn't end. Does it? ;) If I may improve on what you suggested - what would be better is that the AI takes control over the players units if the players time ran out, instead of just making the player lose control and turn the units into lobotomized crash test dummies that do nothing. (Also, what would the fun be in beating them then? With an AI controlling them at least you'd still have to pull of a minimal effort to beat them...) I'm not against your suggestion, I just don't see anyone that would enjoy what you suggest since it's even worse than playing an AI, nor do I see how it fixes what you criticized yourself.

I'd wish there would be a couple of punishment options a player could choose from when creating the game. If one of them was hardcore chess rule "You lose when time runs out" I wouldn't mind it. Actually I think such a strict option could be included. I myself however would stick to the other forms of punishment, and mainly ongoing ones.
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Re: Suggestion: Chess Clock

Post by kill »

eyerouge wrote:No it's not. At least nowhere where it's usable by a player. Where exactly do you set the total time? And in what version do you find such a functionality?
I thought lizard found a way. If not I got it wrong.
eyerouge wrote:I bet faction is a matter of preference, as is map selection, as is selection of leader. It's still in the game. And that's the beauty of it - letting each player select his/her own settings. It needs no consensus whatsoever (more than how and if it should be coded at all, in which case it's up to the devs anyhow...)
Yep I guess it is all to do with devs(ahem rng, not even option to choose less luck)
Last edited by kill on April 26th, 2010, 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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pauxlo
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Re: Suggestion: Chess Clock

Post by pauxlo »

eyerouge wrote:
pauxlo wrote:Your "punishment" ideas look like the player can simply play away after the time is up, only with these one-time penalty.
This has the effect that the game is not really over, when all time is up.
Yes and no: Some of the suggested effects are indeed one time only, others and better ones are ongoing, as written.

You are right about the fact that the game wouldn't be over when time ran out. It would however be shortened drastically due to the effects (any of them) and a player would really not want to be in such an disadvantgeous position. Winning despite having one or more of the effects against you is really hard unless you play a player that's really below your skill level (but if you did, how come the time ran out for you then?).

Notice that the same can be said for your idea: The game doesn't end. Does it? ;)
It ends when the time is up for all players, or someone has won. So, the maximum total time used is the sum of all player times.
In your case, when the time is up for both players, they both have a similar penalty, and the game can go on eternally.
eyerouge wrote:If I may improve on what you suggested - what would be better is that the AI takes control over the players units if the players time ran out, instead of just making the player lose control and turn the units into lobotomized crash test dummies that do nothing. (Also, what would the fun be in beating them then? With an AI controlling them at least you'd still have to pull of a minimal effort to beat them...) I'm not against your suggestion, I just don't see anyone that would enjoy what you suggest since it's even worse than playing an AI, nor do I see how it fixes what you criticized yourself.
From the fun point you are right, yes. But the AI can still be quite hard to beat, so this is not punishment enough. And it still takes time to do the moves.
eyerouge wrote: I'd wish there would be a couple of punishment options a player could choose from when creating the game. If one of them was hardcore chess rule "You lose when time runs out" I wouldn't mind it. Actually I think such a strict option could be included. I myself however would stick to the other forms of punishment, and mainly ongoing ones.
Maybe we also could have more than one time-limit active in the same game, like this:
  • If you take more than 1 hour, your enemy receives double gold for his villages.
  • If you take more than 2 hours, half your army deserts and fights randomly against anyone near.
  • If you take more than 3 hours, your army gets AI-controlled (or passive).
  • If you take more than 4 hours, you lose.
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eyerouge
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Re: Suggestion: Chess Clock

Post by eyerouge »

It ends when the time is up for all players, or someone has won. So, the maximum total time used is the sum of all player times.
I stand corrected. :) (Although, if only one players time ended the game would indeed continue. This does however only happen if the two players have different time pool to begin with, i.e. one of them has a handicap.)
In your case, when the time is up for both players, they both have a similar penalty, and the game can go on eternally.
Yes and no: If you wish it so, it would be like you describe. "In my cases" players select, when they create a game, what will happen when time runs out, by clicking simple check-boxes. By clicking more than one box you can combine different punishments.
From the fun point you are right, yes. But the AI can still be quite hard to beat, so this is not punishment enough. And it still takes time to do the moves.
To be honest, a player that can't even beat the AI or thinks it's challenging, shouldn't really play a competitive multiplayer game. A competitive game (be it in a frame work like tournament or in private) is the one type of games where my suggestion with the punishment x would be used most often an/or be of greatest value.

The AI is not hard to beat unless one doesn't know the basics of the game. Once one does, you would win over the AI over 90% of the time given we speak of a non-campaing 1vs1 skirmish where a human and the AI play on equal terms without handicap etc.

In any case I do appreciate the fact that Wesnoth should be available and playable by various people with different skills, and that even people still learning the game should be able to play it with chess-clock- & punish-system. For that reason, I still believe players should decide themself what the punishment will be: Letting the AI take control is just a very very simple one to code (it's already there) and was just an idea of how to make your original thought - hitting on scare crows - more engaging for players in general.

Maybe we also could have more than one time-limit active in the same game, like this:
  • If you take more than 1 hour, your enemy receives double gold for his villages.
  • If you take more than 2 hours, half your army deserts and fights randomly against anyone near.
  • If you take more than 3 hours, your army gets AI-controlled (or passive).
  • If you take more than 4 hours, you lose.

Interesting. It takes my suggestion with mutliple optional punishments one step further and makes each one able to associate with time x.

While it wouldn't be bad having it in the game, and while it still allows x to be the same time on every individual option if one wants it to be, I'd personally say this could be on the verge to overly complicate the matter. Besides, logic dictates this would be seldom used:
  1. Why do people play with a chess clock? Because they want to make sure the game will end within a certain amount of time.
  2. Either a player insta-loses when the time ends (an option), or something else happens (other selectable options)
  3. If something else than insta-loss happens, it must still be in accordance with the main purpose of the chess clock (see 1).
  4. While heavy punishment still would quicken the end of the game, it would still require more time from both players than then the original that was given. This in itself goes against the main purpose of the chess clock.
  5. At the same time, having the chess clock coupled with punishment still gives both players very strong incentive to play the game within the original time frame, leading to most of the games ending before or very near the point where time runs out.
  6. By dividing up punishment into several steps as you suggest you would remove parts of the incentive.
  7. In doing so you pro-long the game.
  8. When that happens we go against the original intent of the chess clock (as described in 1) to a larger degree than just having x heavy punishments that are triggered when the timer reaches zero.
Also, people that play the game for 7 hours, or 4 for that matter, usually won't use a chess clock, making the "exponential/partial punishment" as you suggested it something rarely used with the timer settings you used as examples. Even if one would lower the numbers in you examples (puishment 1 after 30 min, Pun 2 after 60 min, Pun 3 after 90 min etc...) the rest of the criticism still remains and on top of that the system becomes complicated to keep track of as a player while playing the game - especially if the punishments and timers vary from game to game.

I believe in a simple system. It has sufficed for chess for god knows how many years and in the world of chess they don't even have the luxury with different punishments: Time ends, you lose the game. Period.

In Wesnoth I think that should be an option for people that want to make the timer work like that and play it hard core/are pressed for time in life. I also think a couple of other options should be offered which makes it very harsh on you if you run out of time, but which still doesn't auto-end the game. I believe that these non-game-ending punishments should be options because time ending the game could very well result in games where the losing player still wins, and pure races against the clock.

Non-auto-loss options when the time runs out gives us the drawback that the game will a) still take more time than originally intended but the benefit that the game outcome still can depend on strategy rather than speed-playing BfW as passive & defensive as possible.

Another benefit, no matter what the punishment is as long as it affects game play in a severe way, is that the system with punishment and chess clock still would result in a huge majority of the games ending either before the time went out or shortly after - greatly shortening hours wasted on games that are passive/defensive which get nowhere due to player behaviour & nature of BfW in games where players are overly cautious and of perceived similar skills. (This is also one of the reasons why there should exist a chess clock - to avoid eternity of nothingness & see "action".)
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Re: Suggestion: Chess Clock

Post by grrr »

Summary:
1. Make timer settings fully accessible (read/write) via WML.
2. Allow the scenario creator to provide default settings to choose from (and now the fancy part: ) in the "create game" dialog! Needs a pregame event. Looks like it could be easily done.
3. Let the user save the last timer choice for this scenario in her preferences.
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Re: Suggestion: Chess Clock

Post by Sapient »

As it is now a game could last forever even with the timer enabled.
FYI... there is a turn limit as well. multiply that by the reservoir limit and you have an upper bound on total time.

I think the arguments about the chess clock were lost in one of the forum crashes, because I do remember a discussion of the "Fischer clock" but the search didn't turn anything up. There are big differences between Wesnoth and Chess, though, for example you can have odd situations such as a 2v2 where one of the players was eliminated and his ally takes over his previous holdings. Then according to a straightforward Fischer clock, one team would have half as much time as the other making it pretty much impossible to continue.
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Re: Suggestion: Chess Clock

Post by eyerouge »

Sapient wrote:
As it is now a game could last forever even with the timer enabled.
FYI... there is a turn limit as well. multiply that by the reservoir limit and you have an upper bound on total time.
Yes, but it doesn't negate the fact that there is no way whatsoever to predict how long a game will last the most. Hence, it can "last forever", even if this is of course false from a logical point of view (most people die of age, etc etc)

As it stands currently it's not possible to set a max time of a game by using the already existing timer settings.
Sapient wrote:There are big differences between Wesnoth and Chess, though, for example you can have odd situations such as a 2v2 where one of the players was eliminated and his ally takes over his previous holdings. Then according to a straightforward Fischer clock, one team would have half as much time as the other making it pretty much impossible to continue.
Yes, if one would use some kind of stupid implementation of the Fischer, it would be true. I do however imagine that each team would have one and the same amount of time, so that every team member shares/uses up his/her teams time. If so, then the problem you mention won't be a problem at all.

Example: 2 teams, 2 players in each team (P1 & P2 in Team 1, P3 and P4 in Team 2) = Only two timers: Team-1's-Timer, and Team-2's-Timer.

All that said, Fischer would probably not be used by the average joe or in team situations. My wild guess is that it would mainly be used in 1vs1 games and by competitive players or players that don't want to risk wasting 2-3 h on a game which "should normally" take half that time to complete. Let's keep in mind that I don't opt for Fischer clock being something mandatory for games or as a replacement for the current timer system: I only want to see it is a complementary option for those that would indeed like to use it.
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Re: Suggestion: Chess Clock

Post by Sapient »

The idea of sharing a timer with your other teammates is an interesting one and I think it has merit. Some people would dislike it, of course, but I think it would add to the team cooperation aspect of the game. That may be a good idea to try out for the experimental branch.
eyerouge wrote:
Sapient wrote: FYI... there is a turn limit as well. multiply that by the reservoir limit and you have an upper bound on total time.
Yes, but it doesn't negate the fact that there is no way whatsoever to predict how long a game will last the most. Hence, it can "last forever", even if this is of course false from a logical point of view (most people die of age, etc etc)
Maybe I'm missing something, but that statement seems false. If you want to control total time without affecting the maximum number of turns, could you not set a large "Initial Timer" and then take away turn and action bonus?

Edit: OK, I just checked in 1.8 and the maximum "init timer" you can set is 25 minutes. I am not sure when that changed, but the limit was much higher in some previous versions.
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Re: Suggestion: Chess Clock

Post by eyerouge »

Sapient wrote:
eye wrote: Yes, but it doesn't negate the fact that there is no way whatsoever to predict how long a game will last the most. Hence, it can "last forever", even if this is of course false from a logical point of view (most people die of age, etc etc)
Maybe I'm missing something, but that statement seems false. If you want to control total time without affecting the maximum number of turns, could you not set a large "Initial Timer" and then take away turn and action bonus?
What I want is for Wesnoth to have a timer that works like any normal globally recognized chess clock. It's typically used in 1vs1 situations (although there could easily be 2vs2 etc implementations of it in theory if somebody wanted to) and it

a) simply guarantees that each player gets the same amount of total time while playing the game and that - and here's half the point -

b) that when the total time time runs out something very bad happens (i.e. you lose, or 50% of your army dies at random, or whatever that would actually work)

c) could be used to set a max total time of a game. That, is, to my knowledge, totally impossible with the current timer system: We can keep playing the game for zillion turns and keep on getting new replenished timer all the time. (Notice: Capping the number of turns the game lasts isn't at all the same thing. That's comparable with only letting a chessgame be i.e. 20 turns.. which has very little to do with the initial idea here.)

The timer I suggest would make all the sense in the world as an option in BfW, especially when wanting to play multiplayer and having a max. amount of time to tie up in the game. Example: I want to play a blitz game, a 1vs1, and I set the timer to 30 min per player. Now I know that the game can never last more than 1h, no matter what happens (granted people doesn't paus it and take a hike...;) )
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