How to reduce Player 1 advantage:

Discussion of all aspects of multiplayer development: unit balancing, map development, server development, and so forth.

Moderators: Forum Moderators, Developers

hiro hito
Posts: 201
Joined: November 23rd, 2006, 8:00 am

How to reduce Player 1 advantage:

Post by hiro hito » December 7th, 2009, 8:34 pm

I would like to talk about this rules :
To offset player 1 advantage (if it is significant), you can use village placement to make player 1 run a bit further, or maybe backwards a bit in order to grab all his villages. This is a fine-tuning thing, I suspect, and hard to get right without playtesting. You can also place 'slowing' terrain to inhibit his movement, although you don't want to disadvantage player one for the whole game, just the first couple of moves, so maybe not too much of that.


that we can find here


IMHO, this make some troubles in strategy during fighting turns.
I will take Weldyn channel as example:


Player1

Player2

I think that P2 has an advantage for his villages defense. You can see that both triangles are not the same.
P2 can heal easier a unit that was in the most exposed village. Strategic moves are also easier for P2 because villages are closer. I don't think that the mountain in North in P1's side make the map more balanced....

The problem is that P1 has more difficulties to protect his villages that are placed farther...
7 moves / 5 moves is a big difference in wesnoth strategy. I can try to make a more elaborate demonstration if you ask me and if I have time. I haven't replays but I think mathematics prove it.

There are some other maps like that : Caves of the Basilik, Sullas' Ruins and Silver Head crossing.

This map setting has been made to prevent P1 advantage, but I think that it's unbalancing the map during the fight. It's a particular point that I noticed here, but it can cause some troubles...

I wouldn't talk about it if I hadn't a solution to this problem! (if it's a solution, you will judge...).

I think that a map must be symetrical. I mean perfectly symetrical. But:

P2's villages should not be enable to P1's units for the 3/4 first turns (depends of the map) of the game. (i hope my english is clear enough to be understand :hmm: )
I mean that some lines of code should be write to stop a unit from side 1 to move on the P2's village hexagone. Only P2's units can move on the hexagone. This will take place during the 3 or 4 first turns of the game... At turn 4 or 5, P1's units can grab P2's villages normally.....

The idea is quite simple but I don't know how it can be difficult to code. I know it's easier to say than to do....
But i think that maps could be more balanced, and even their aesthetic can be improve if that rule could change....
"Of course His Majesty is a pacifist. When I told him that to initiate war was a mistake, he agreed.Thus, gradually, he began to lead toward war."-Emperor Shòwa (Enlightened Peace)'s chief cabinet secretary

Caphriel
Posts: 994
Joined: April 21st, 2008, 4:10 pm

Re: How to reduce Player 1 advantage:

Post by Caphriel » December 7th, 2009, 10:26 pm

I've noticed this before, and it's why I prefer to play as player 2 on some maps; in order to offset the P1 advantage, the maps occasionally result in player 2 having an easier position to defend over the course of a longer game.

Hornshark, Caves, and Weldyn are probably the most notable examples. If player 1 doesn't grab an early advantage and leverage it into a win, the tendency of his loosest village to change hands easily often adds up to a growing late-game advantage for player 2.

I don't think this is necessarily bad, per se, but in certain matchups that diminish player 1's early dynamic potential (like rebels against loyalists, where the rebel generally can't attack until the second night), it's hard to gain compensation for the static weakness that a loose, exposed village creates.

User avatar
F8 Binds...
Saurian Cartographer
Posts: 622
Joined: November 26th, 2006, 3:13 pm
Location: Mid-Western United States

Re: How to reduce Player 1 advantage:

Post by F8 Binds... » December 7th, 2009, 10:35 pm

While it is great that you are giving your input on your opinions on the balance of some of the mainline maps in regard to P1 advantage, your suggestion solution would complicate things and wouldn't be the best for gameplay. It's fairly confusing to have a village that you should be able to take if P1 / P2 retreat... yet you can't. For the first few turns, the players would take the village and sit back, dulling the game. As an idea it sounds nice, it just doesn't seem practical.

Yes, there is a slight tactical and defensive advantage on various non-symmetrical maps in mainline. However, this advantage is there to counteract the P1 advantage you've already mentioned. We (I'm fairly sure I can justify saying this...) believe it to be a sound way of dealing with P1 advantage.

No, it's not perfect. But I feel you're exaggerating the actual difference between the two players' defensive capabilities, that's all. :wink:
Proud creator of 4p- Underworld. Fascinated by Multiplayer design and balance.
I am the lone revenant of the n3t clan.

User avatar
Doc Paterson
Drake Cartographer
Posts: 1973
Joined: February 21st, 2005, 9:37 pm
Location: Kazakh
Contact:

Re: How to reduce Player 1 advantage:

Post by Doc Paterson » December 8th, 2009, 1:52 am

Hiro Hito: You're missing something if you think it's as simple as that. In spite of what you said about Weldyn (for example), I'll bet that if you downloaded 100 Weldyn replays from the ladder of players within 200 points of one another, you'd see player 1 winning about 60-70 percent of the time.

In aggressive, opposite alignment (or even neutral vs. chaotic or lawful) matches, having TOD change right before your turn, as opposed to your opponent's, is a big deal. Experiencing the guessing game of how much gold to divert to weaker-in-battle scouts as P2, to prevent village theft, is a big deal (whereas player 1 need not recruit more than one, or even any, if they feel like it).

That's largely why I've made the maps as I have, and why I've taken even further measures, with many of the 1v1s now starting P2 with a flagged village. Individual cases of potential P2 overpowering are adjusted when the evidence is there- the mod of Caves OTB that I did a few months ago being one such example.
I will not tell you my corner / where threads don't get locked because of mostly no reason /
because I don't want your hostile disease / to spread all over the world.
I prefer that corner to remain hidden /
without your noses.
-Nosebane, Sorcerer Supreme

hiro hito
Posts: 201
Joined: November 23rd, 2006, 8:00 am

Re: How to reduce Player 1 advantage:

Post by hiro hito » December 8th, 2009, 8:04 pm

I think my english is really bad or i was too tired yesterday to explain myself :?
I will try to do best...
It's fairly confusing to have a village that you should be able to take if P1 / P2 retreat... yet you can't. For the first few turns, the players would take the village and sit back, dulling the game.
In traditional 1vs1 matchup, turn 1 to turn 3 (or 4) it's the time for both players to take their respective villages.
P1 and P2 don't have to sit back or retreat.... right?
The problem is that P1 has advantage because he can grab P2 's village before P2's turn.

The current solution to this problem is to put at least one P1's village one (or more) hex farther than it should be, right?
My suggestion is to have a perfect symetrical map, but P1 cannot reach P2's village: let's say that P2's villages are like impassable mountain for P1. But this happens during turns 1 to turns 3 (or 4), after P2's villages take their normal caracteristics and gameplay is normal....

It won't be perfect, but I think balancing should be more precise if both sides are the same.

Hiro Hito: You're missing something if you think it's as simple as that. In spite of what you said about Weldyn (for example), I'll bet that if you downloaded 100 Weldyn replays from the ladder of players within 200 points of one another, you'd see player 1 winning about 60-70 percent of the time.
I am sorry but I don't want to enter in this kind of discussion. You certainly right but I fear that we will have to talk about some other (dangerous) topics if we want to persuade one of us :lol2:
In aggressive, opposite alignment (or even neutral vs. chaotic or lawful) matches, having TOD change right before your turn, as opposed to your opponent's, is a big deal. Experiencing the guessing game of how much gold to divert to weaker-in-battle scouts as P2, to prevent village theft, is a big deal (whereas player 1 need not recruit more than one, or even any, if they feel like it).
I don't understand your words.
P1 has advantage at the beginning of the match, let's say for the 4 first turns.... right?
My solution has effect on this lap of time only.

I prefer to have some constraint during this lap of time: while each player has to grab their own village and where strategical fighting moves have no really effect on the game.

What I find annoying is that the current solution can have effect on the gameplay... P1 can say: why I should have a fast unit to defend this village while P2 need a 4 or 5 moves unit only to defend the same village.... or why P2's leader cannot heal because a village is too far while P1 can ;) .
It's the case on Weldyn channel with the extrem south and extrem north villages on my pictures:
most P2's leader can heal in 2 villages in one turn while P1's leader can heal only in 1 village in one turn. It's only one of many examples that I can give....
"Of course His Majesty is a pacifist. When I told him that to initiate war was a mistake, he agreed.Thus, gradually, he began to lead toward war."-Emperor Shòwa (Enlightened Peace)'s chief cabinet secretary

Yoyobuae
Posts: 408
Joined: July 24th, 2009, 8:38 pm

Re: How to reduce Player 1 advantage:

Post by Yoyobuae » December 9th, 2009, 9:25 pm

For one I would like to be drakes as P2 with your solution. I could disregard the villages during those turns and go on the offensive while day/dusk lasts. But somehow I doubt that was the point of the original idea.

User avatar
Doc Paterson
Drake Cartographer
Posts: 1973
Joined: February 21st, 2005, 9:37 pm
Location: Kazakh
Contact:

Re: How to reduce Player 1 advantage:

Post by Doc Paterson » December 10th, 2009, 12:38 am

hiro hito wrote:
P1 has advantage at the beginning of the match, let's say for the 4 first turns.... right?
No, you missed the point. You're not considering things like the fact that when player 1 initiates combat, they have "behind them" one more full turn of moving and recruiting. That affect goes beyond early game. TOD changing right before their turn is often very significant as well in the above mentioned matches. Never mind though; I don't think anything productive will come from convincing you. That solution of yours is nothing new anyway- Sauron tried it years ago, and something similar to it is being used on a 1v1 that is in development. It has its pluses and minuses.

If you want to show me that there is a P2 advantage for games lasting more than "X" turns on a specific map, show me some data, because your theory about the village positions and healing options outweighing the influences of all of the above (that I mentioned in my last post) goes against everything that I've experienced and observed in 5-6 years of 1v1s, and is unconvincing to me.
I will not tell you my corner / where threads don't get locked because of mostly no reason /
because I don't want your hostile disease / to spread all over the world.
I prefer that corner to remain hidden /
without your noses.
-Nosebane, Sorcerer Supreme

hiro hito
Posts: 201
Joined: November 23rd, 2006, 8:00 am

Re: How to reduce Player 1 advantage:

Post by hiro hito » December 10th, 2009, 8:36 pm

No, you missed the point. You're not considering things like the fact that when player 1 initiates combat, they have "behind them" one more full turn of moving and recruiting. That affect goes beyond early game. TOD changing right before their turn is often very significant as well in the above mentioned matches. Never mind though; I don't think anything productive will come from convincing you. That solution of yours is nothing new anyway- Sauron tried it years ago, and something similar to it is being used on a 1v1 that is in development. It has its pluses and minuses.

If you want to show me that there is a P2 advantage for games lasting more than "X" turns on a specific map, show me some data, because your theory about the village positions and healing options outweighing the influences of all of the above (that I mentioned in my last post) goes against everything that I've experienced and observed in 5-6 years of 1v1s, and is unconvincing to me.
I didn't advance some theory but just noticed some mathematical differences between two sides map and I don't want to convice someone....


Now I don't understand the point that you show:
No, you missed the point. You're not considering things like the fact that when player 1 initiates combat, they have "behind them" one more full turn of moving and recruiting. That affect goes beyond early game. TOD changing right before their turn is often very significant as well in the above mentioned matches.
I don't understand why placing a village father can prevent this effect and why if it's so necessary it's not appear on all maps?

I don't understand why a leader need 2 turns to reach a village is as balanced than a leader who need only 1 turn to reach similar village? Especially when this village is not the most exposed but particulary usefull for leader healing or strategical retreat...

Now I don't want to be aggressive or anything else, but just to bring some improvements if I can. (That's why we read the forum after all!)

if you can explain theses few points, if you have time, that will be productive for everyone :wink:
"Of course His Majesty is a pacifist. When I told him that to initiate war was a mistake, he agreed.Thus, gradually, he began to lead toward war."-Emperor Shòwa (Enlightened Peace)'s chief cabinet secretary

User avatar
Doc Paterson
Drake Cartographer
Posts: 1973
Joined: February 21st, 2005, 9:37 pm
Location: Kazakh
Contact:

Re: How to reduce Player 1 advantage:

Post by Doc Paterson » December 10th, 2009, 9:53 pm

Arg. Okay........

Sides can have different kinds of advantages, and the real complexity of many 1v1s lies in the synthesis of these different attributes. To say it another way, there are different factors/options/qualities on each side that can add up to a match in which skill is the primary determinant of the winner.

If you don't understand that, I'll try to explain this by asking you a question. Let's say you want to make a 1v1 that is completely asymmetrical, with no sections of the map looking particularly similar to any other section. What thoughts go through your mind when you are thinking about how to do this? Don't tell me that it can't be done; just give me some of the ideas you'd have when attempting such a thing. Remember, no noticeable similarities between sides at all, but you want to give each side an equal opportunity to win through superior strategy and tactics.

If someone else thinks they understand what I'm getting at, go ahead and speak up. ;)
I will not tell you my corner / where threads don't get locked because of mostly no reason /
because I don't want your hostile disease / to spread all over the world.
I prefer that corner to remain hidden /
without your noses.
-Nosebane, Sorcerer Supreme

hiro hito
Posts: 201
Joined: November 23rd, 2006, 8:00 am

Re: How to reduce Player 1 advantage:

Post by hiro hito » December 10th, 2009, 10:08 pm

Answer a question by another question... Don't you think There is easier solution?...
"Of course His Majesty is a pacifist. When I told him that to initiate war was a mistake, he agreed.Thus, gradually, he began to lead toward war."-Emperor Shòwa (Enlightened Peace)'s chief cabinet secretary

User avatar
Turuk
Sithslayer
Posts: 5283
Joined: February 28th, 2007, 8:58 pm
Contact:

Re: How to reduce Player 1 advantage:

Post by Turuk » December 10th, 2009, 11:15 pm

hiro hito wrote:Answer a question by another question... Don't you think There is easier solution?...
Ooo, let me pose a question in response to a question asked of a question.

Sure, the easiest solution would be to accept the fact that Doc has been doing this for a long period of time now and has tested his thoughts, ideas and theories on which maps work the best for reducing the advantage of one side over the other as much as possible. Is it always going to be perfect? No, not at all. But when he is patiently trying to explain to you some of the thoughts he applies in the process of reducing this advantage in a map and you reduce it just to pose a silly question that shows you really have not thought your side through, what purpose does that serve?
Mainline Maintainer: AOI, DM, NR, TB and THoT.
UMC Maintainer: Forward They Cried, A Few Logs, A Few More Logs, Start of the War, and Battle Against Time

Caphriel
Posts: 994
Joined: April 21st, 2008, 4:10 pm

Re: How to reduce Player 1 advantage:

Post by Caphriel » December 11th, 2009, 3:40 am

Doc Paterson wrote:If someone else thinks they understand what I'm getting at, go ahead and speak up. ;)
I'll toss some thoughts out there, then...

Village count, defensibility, openness, useful terrain, keep and castle size and positioning can all be balanced against each other, in theory. I'm sure I'm missing other attributes, and the ones I listed also interact with P1-ness and P2-ness... For instance, a map could probably be balanced wherein one player had more villages in their territory, but only one castle and keep, and that a few turns away from the action; and their villages less defensible by the layout of the terrain and their front is wide open, while the other player has several forward keeps with smaller castles, less villages, and easier territory to defend with several usable choke points that they can retreat to without yielding many/any villages.

To provide a more concrete example, one player could have a network of caves with a mid-size castle near the center (probably not real cave territory, though) with several exits maybe 1/3 of the way across the map and a two-three hex castle behind each one, probably configured so that movement behind them is generally faster than movement in front of them, with most or all of his villages behind the exits. The other player controls a more traditional terrain area with the terrain laid out so that neither player can form great defensive lines, that contains some amount more villages than the cave area, some fraction of which are fairly contestable, and one large castle all the way at the back. Theoretically, the cave player would have to whittle down the enemy force and try to level his own by defeating smaller defensive groups in detail, while the other player would try to build up enough mass of units that he could push through the cave entrances, by trying to catch any attacking forces before they could retreat to the caves, etc.

Balancing something like this for all faction matchups would be really hard, though :( Using some actual cave in the space between the entrances and the other player's territory might slow down the drakes enough and give the dwarf units enough of a mobility advantage over other units that they'd actually be usable offensively. Maybe make that section of the map thematically an antechamber cavern (or caverns), or something. Ideally play around each entrance would be different. Probably at least one of the entrances would have a river running through it. I'd probably make the cave player side 1 to give him the initiative when attacking. Also, his villages would be a bit better positioned for healing without being as much at risk.

hiro hito
Posts: 201
Joined: November 23rd, 2006, 8:00 am

Re: How to reduce Player 1 advantage:

Post by hiro hito » December 12th, 2009, 8:30 am

Remember, no noticeable similarities between sides at all, but you want to give each side an equal opportunity to win through superior strategy and tactics.
I still don't follow you: almost all default maps are almost symetrical.....
"Of course His Majesty is a pacifist. When I told him that to initiate war was a mistake, he agreed.Thus, gradually, he began to lead toward war."-Emperor Shòwa (Enlightened Peace)'s chief cabinet secretary

Scatha
Posts: 111
Joined: March 29th, 2008, 2:55 pm

Re: How to reduce Player 1 advantage:

Post by Scatha » December 13th, 2009, 11:28 am

Caphriel: I'd love to see that map.

I have an aesthetic preference for quite strongly asymmetric maps. So long as it were moderately well balanced, I wouldn't mind too much if the balance weren't as precise as for the more traditionally symmetric maps.

General query: how would giving player 1 a primary castle with a hex fewer affect the tempo advantage? This doesn't seem to be used much (at all?) as a balancing device, so there's probably a reason, but I'd be curious to know what it was.

User avatar
Doc Paterson
Drake Cartographer
Posts: 1973
Joined: February 21st, 2005, 9:37 pm
Location: Kazakh
Contact:

Re: How to reduce Player 1 advantage:

Post by Doc Paterson » December 13th, 2009, 1:36 pm

hiro hito wrote:
Remember, no noticeable similarities between sides at all, but you want to give each side an equal opportunity to win through superior strategy and tactics.
I still don't follow you: almost all default maps are almost symetrical.....
I know.

I'm trying to lead your mind into a certain understanding in a way that I think you may eventually understand. You may not see how the above question relates; just answer it, and we will move to the next step. If you want to give up, I'll give up on trying to convince you, the discussion will end there, and you can try to prove an imbalance with replays and hard data.
I will not tell you my corner / where threads don't get locked because of mostly no reason /
because I don't want your hostile disease / to spread all over the world.
I prefer that corner to remain hidden /
without your noses.
-Nosebane, Sorcerer Supreme

Post Reply