One More Round on the Map Credits Subject

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Noy
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Post by Noy »

turin wrote:Uhm, the GPL says nothing about preserving credits information, I'm pretty sure. It was the BSD license that had that clause originally, and I'm not sure that it's even present there anymore.
Do we credit individual pieces of art? Or units? I'm not convinced that this should be any different. We credit people who currently develop the project, and thats fine I think, but nothing more than that, partly because its quite difficult to sift out who worked on what... which is epitomized by this issue.

Btw I have no strong feelings on the matter, so whatever people decide I'd be fine with.
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Post by Doc Paterson »

Noy wrote:Do we credit individual pieces of art? Or units? I'm not convinced that this should be any different.
I don't think that's a very good comparison- It seems as though you're saying "a credit is a credit, regardless of function," and that ignores the points that I outlined above and elsewhere. In-game crediting of every unit and image would cause massive clutter and serve no functional purpose, whereas a map credit in the objective window takes up practically no space and increases the flow of balance-related feedback. I've been operating under a policy of "play as much as you can, watch as many good replays as you can, listen to and consider all feedback you receive," but if having the map credit in the objective window (very innocuous in my opinion) improves any of the maps in any way by presenting me with useful information that I wouldn't have otherwise uncovered (or speeds up the information gathering process in any way), it's well worth it.
Noy wrote: Btw I have no strong feelings on the matter, so whatever people decide I'd be fine with.
At the moment, it seems most likely that I'll be leaving the objective window credits as they are and include some of the more detailed information on maps such as "Charge" in a brief sentence or two, in the map description.
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Post by Noy »

Doc Paterson wrote:
Noy wrote:Do we credit individual pieces of art? Or units? I'm not convinced that this should be any different.
I don't think that's a very good comparison- It seems as though you're saying "a credit is a credit, regardless of function," and that ignores the points that I outlined above and elsewhere. In-game crediting of every unit and image would cause massive clutter and serve no functional purpose, whereas a map credit in the objective window takes up practically no space and increases the flow of balance-related feedback. I've been operating under a policy of "play as much as you can, watch as many good replays as you can, listen to and consider all feedback you receive," but if having the map credit in the objective window (very innocuous in my opinion) improves any of the maps in any way by presenting me with useful information that I wouldn't have otherwise uncovered (or speeds up the information gathering process in any way), it's well worth it.
I dispute the notion that it would affect "balance related feedback." I think thats a bit of a lark actually. A casual perusal of the forum or the main credits clearly label you as the person who does map balancing. There are multiple threads on the topic. If there was a map balancing decision to be made for a mainline map it would be under your supervision in any case. Its sorta redundant IMO to have another credit. Here's a question: would you also have your name here on any of these maps, since as you stated before, you've put so much time in them? Now would all the maps you worked on have your name on it? Wouldn't that almost certainly mean your name would be on the majority of these maps? As you put it, why would you put PG's name on these maps: it doesn't help the map balancing process becasue he's not part of it.

I just see this as needless redundancy for little gain. If people have a map balancing problem, its pretty clear they could contact you or another MP dev. If we're trying to put together something that looks professionally done, then I think we should go with convention: if you contributed its gets in the credits.
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turin
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Post by turin »

Uhm, Noy, the whole point is that NOT all feedback should go through Doc:
Doc Paterson wrote:This idea began a long time ago, as detailed above, and has been discussed with several devs. I began to consider map credits as a possibility after careful consideration of a long-standing problem- The channels of feedback are scrambled by the fact that users do not know who to discuss the maps with, who to send complaints to, who to talk to about a potential mod or idea for improvement. I gave Bec autonomy over all of his maps, and yet I very frequently get PMs from users asking me to change things, to explain this or that, even, in slightly-more-informed but equally misguided cases, to "make Bec fix x section of y map." Feedback is extremely, extremely important with these maps, as the immense complexity resulting from the hundreds of potential matchups on all of our official maps create a situation where small problems will slip through the cracks, and will, as has often been the case up to this point, fade away, perhaps circulated in conversation a few times amoung a few players, but ultimately lost. Even many of our more experienced players, from whom feedback would be even more important, have no idea who to talk to about any given map (I recently observed a game in which F8 Binds announced, during a game that included 5-6 spectating "vets," "Paterson made all of the 1v1s. Becephalus made all of the other maps." There was no correcting comment from anyone.)
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Noy
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Post by Noy »

Lets be honest though. It does work like this.
The reality of the situation is that doc is the person most responsible for the maps we have today. Are we going to ask Olof to come back to edit his maps? PG? Should we even let them do so? What is assured is that Doc, by his own admisson here is the main person on this right now. He has the authority on map balancing, at very least he has to coordinate this area. Beceph has effectively left, so once again Doc will have to manage it. And thus almost every map will have his name stamped on it.

Also, if the map creator name was put into the credits would this even make people go and speak to them? I doubt it, if anything they would still go to Doc, particlarly given he has the main forum thread about it. This is the lead paragraph in the Multiplayer Map Readers Digest thread, stickied at the top of the MP forum:
Doc Patterson wrote:This thread will be for all topics related to the balancing, addition or removal of multiplayer maps. If you have any thoughts, complaints, ideas or general questions, post them up here, and I'll do my best to respond to you.
If Doc is getting to many emails about it, its by his own doing, not because we had an error in labeling maps. I doubt putting attributions to these maps would make any difference (particularly since his name would be on most maps anyway.)
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Post by Doc Paterson »

There are good players on the server that rarely, if ever, visit the forums. Most of our top players know the deal, but I do not believe that they have been, by any means, the penultimate source for imbalance detection. Useful at times, of course, and certainly the most reliable and frequent source of good information. I want the average player on the server to be able to know who to talk to, whether that be on the server, on the forums in threads, PMs or otherwise- I do believe that a few hundred average to below average players could and will provide some useful feedback; even if 95 percent of it is useless, that 5 percent matters to me and can have a postive impact. I have gotten useful information from unknown users in the past, but that has been me seeking them out or observing random games (and saying something like, "Thanks for the feedback; I'm the MP map developer, so I'll take a look at that and see what comes of it."). Surely you can understand how general knowledge of the map designer's identity will do much more good than harm.

You want to tell me that it's obvious who to talk to? Like I said in the example above, it's not nearly as obvious as you might think, and many of our more experienced players simply do not know the reality of things. I'm not yet ready to give up on Bec, and I do not like the idea (at least for the time being) of taking complete control over his maps. I think that'd be an unpopular move, amoung other things.

By the way, the credits make it obvious who to talk to, do they?
THE CREDITS wrote: Multiplayer Maps and Balancing
Bartek Waresiak (Dragonking)
Joshua Northey (Becephalus)
Mike Quiñones (Doc Paterson)
Peter Groen (pg)
Richard S. (Noy)
Ruben Philipp Wickenhäuser (The Very Uhu)
Soliton
Tom Chance (telex4)
Zack Kleinfeld - multiplayer maps, unit balancing
At any rate, I do not like the philosophy of "If you have anything useful to say, you already know who to talk to." If you think that this is a "lark," that's fine with me, and you've said yourself that you don't have strong feelings on it, and would be fine with whatever people decide.

Let's not start developing strong feelings just for the sake of the argument.
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Post by Noy »

All this tells me is that we need urgently need to reorganize the credits, that doesn't mean we need to add credits to everything else. It doesn't discredit the other facts that I put forward: that you are responsible for most maps at this time, or that you've put yourself in the position as the main person for map balancing, particularly on the forum.
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Post by Doc Paterson »

Noy wrote:that doesn't mean we need to add credits to everything else. It doesn't discredit the other facts that I put forward: that you are responsible for most maps at this time, or that you've put yourself in the position as the main person for map balancing, particularly on the forum.
Speaking of discrediting other facts, did you even read this (just posted) or any of the other more detailed explanations, above?
Doc Paterson wrote:There are good players on the server that rarely, if ever, visit the forums. Most of our top players know the deal, but I do not believe that they have been, by any means, the penultimate source for imbalance detection. Useful at times, of course, and certainly the most reliable and frequent source of good information. I want the average player on the server to be able to know who to talk to, whether that be on the server, on the forums in threads, PMs or otherwise- I do believe that a few hundred average to below average players could and will provide some useful feedback; even if 95 percent of it is useless, that 5 percent matters to me and can have a postive impact. I have gotten useful information from unknown users in the past, but that has been me seeking them out or observing random games (and saying something like, "Thanks for the feedback; I'm the MP map developer, so I'll take a look at that and see what comes of it."). Surely you can understand how general knowledge of the map designer's identity will do much more good than harm.
Let's assume that 25 percent of the carriers of "useful information" read the theoretically new-and-improved credits and know who to find. It changes the ratios a small bit, but honestly doesn't help the issue all that much. Remember that all of this is operating under the probably exhagerated (by me) notion that 95 percent of the information given by such players will be useless. Even assuming that 10 percent of it is useful, how many of those will have actually read the credits? Surely less than half.

In general, I'm speaking from my own personal experiences on the server, and unless you want to somehow argue that these things didn't or don't happen, you should give this argument a rest.

If you do want to keep arguing though, by all means, let's continue.
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Post by Doc Paterson »

Also:
Noy wrote:the other facts that I put forward: that you are responsible for most maps at this time, or that you've put yourself in the position as the main person for map balancing, particularly on the forum.
There are two main issues here:

1. Users not knowing who to talk to about MP map balance-related feedback.
2. Feedback going through the "wrong" channels (me getting Bec's messages, Bec getting my messages, etc.)

You focus mostly on the second, which is practically irrelevant compared to the first.
Last edited by Doc Paterson on September 7th, 2007, 12:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Noyga »

If you take charge which is a good example :
- PG made the first visual appearance of the map. Through the map is now very different and doesn't work the same way, it is still identifiable in the direction of the shape of the center and lateral paths, as well in the position of the main mountain block, or in the position of the 2 swamp area for example.
- Doc turned this into a new, different map.

IMHO some formula like:
Baufo wrote:"Designed by Doc Paterson after a concept by PG"
Would fit well.
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Post by Doc Paterson »

Noyga wrote:If you take charge which is a good example :
- PG made the first visual appearance of the map. Through the map is now very different and doesn't work the same way, it is still identifiable in the direction of the shape of the center and lateral paths,
I want to start this off by saying that I know that you're not really opposing my intentions here, and I do appreciate your comments, but there are a few contrary points that I'd like to make.

I have a very strong suspicion that we identify strong similarities between these maps because we are used to thinking of them relative to one another. When you actually take a detailed look though: (Let's take a look at those "lateral paths")

Here is the right-center side of pg's Charge: (the right-most hexes shown are the edge of the map)

Image

Here is the "same" spot on the modern Charge (as said, it will soon be renamed).

Image

If an outsider were told that the creator of map one was to be credited as a creator for map 2, I think they'd be a bit confused.

You also mentioned the center as being similar:

-A defining characteristic of Old Charge was that it allowed most units complete north to south and northeast to southwest movement through the center. The modern does nothing of the kind- It does not allow the average unit free mobility in either direction. The northeast-southwest axis is now an avenue for side-crossing water units, and is a prohibiting speed buffer for land units. (The central concept of the original is thereby no more.)
Noyga wrote: as well in the position of the main mountain block,
I think that this is one of the central points in people's old-to-new Charge link- conceptions, but in my mind, these regions are near opposites.

In old Charge, they were not barriers at all. They were more like safety/escape zones in a lot of matchups, and were only fully inhibiting to the Loyalists. Northerners, Knalgans and Drakes passed through them at will, setting up any number of unbalanced scenarios. The current formations in those regions are truly barriers, and are functionally opposite, powering down the abovementioned by limiting their mobility. You said that there were "mountain blocks" in the same locations, and I know that it's easy to group impassible mountains into that category, but they might as well be cavewall for the affect that they have on gameplay. What are we left with then? Two paired strips of "terrain" that have vaguely similar overall shapes (if all of the terrain within them was converted to, shall we say, lava) with functions that are opposites of one another. Is this enough to make a strong argument for their similarity? Again, I think that we are all (myself included) more inclined to see connections between these two maps because we are aquainted with their development.
Noyga wrote: or in the position of the 2 swamp area for example.
Is "vaguely swampy area to the left of a keep" enough to suggest a link? Possibly, and this is in my opinion the strongest potential connection between the two. Let's take a look at the lower left corners of both maps.
(left-most hexes are the edge of the map)

Image

Image

Notice again how the actual functions of these regions are widely divergeant. In the modern, the area to the left of the keep is a viable deployment zone for water units. Water units can pass through this region, flag a village, and move into the side-center regions of the map, where they are poised to strike at key villages or attempt to flank the opponent's back corner swamp villages. In the old, they are not even worth the recruit of a water unit, which would be immensely slowed by the fact that there is no clear channel from one side of the swamp to the other (it's more like two, separated swamps). Any water unit recruited for that region would be completely cut off from the rest of the map, with no connection whatsoever to important combat zones. (Unless of course we consider that the massive P1 advantage will probably bring the fight to player 2's doorstep right away, and force P2 to scramble to defend what few villages that weren't stolen from them. Then again, in many factional matchups, P2 could not even prevent the loss of that village.)

For the fun of it, let's also take a look at the upper-left corners of the old and new:

Image

Image
Noyga wrote: - Doc turned this into a new, different map.
I agree. ;)
Noyga wrote: IMHO some formula like:
Baufo wrote:"Designed by Doc Paterson after a concept by PG"
Would fit well.
It will probably be something like that (in the map description; not the objective window, where "designed by Doc Paterson" will be, for feedback-related reasons discussed many a time, above).

My only issue with that wording is the "after a concept," because that makes it sound as though the concept is similar (when it is actually nearly the opposite), in spite of the appearance being different. I would favor something along the lines of "This map began as Charge, by pg, and was gradually reformed into X-name map...."
Last edited by Doc Paterson on September 7th, 2007, 3:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Dragonking »

Ok.. the names of the creators/developers were added to the maps to allow players who have some feedback go to the right person... I think the reason is good and valid, but way to do this could be much better IMO.

First of all, before I'll start writing what I think about this let's see the crediting issue - everyone who ever contributed to the project is in the credits section. So we can't really say that we forget to mention anyone (besides I can't see Olof as a oryginal creator of the 4p Morituri but that's a different thing).

The reason of the change (adding author(s) name to the map starting message) was, I assume, to let the people know who contact in case of some feedback etc. It was not about showing who made most of the work or something. That's why I think that there are much better ways to show how you can give your feedback.

First of all person on the server should know 1)Where to give feedback 2)Who adress. 1st is noowhere to find, 2nd is now in the map starting message. So even if person knows who adress, he still needs to find a way how and where he can give the feedback.

Since nor in game, nor in the credits you can find a way to contact both Doc and Bec, only way is forum - or by post or by PM. So on the server now, player only learns the name of the map creator - nothing more. And if you are on the forum - you can alreadu find out that Doc is the person who is responsible for the most maps.

And now, if there is only this limited info in the game, and if someone has to join the forum anyway, then why not make a better info about maps on the forum? I propose that instead of those names, make a list of all maps, oryginal creators, people who contributed to the map, and who is now in charge of a map, and put it in the first post in the MP Maps Readers Digest thread. This way it wil be not only clearer, but also will show better who now is working on the map and who isn't anymore - so who you really need to adress when you want to give a feedback.

Thus I would propose and prefer this way of doing it. But that's not all...

As I mentioned IMO we lack info for newbies about where to write your opinions about map (or balancing or anything) - so I would propose something like MP-FAQ for newbies mentioned in the server's welcome message - something like mp.wesnoth.org for example. There player could find for example server rules, but also links to important forum threads - like in this case - map balancing. And in the first post he would get all needed info about posting feedback - along with map creators. So we can keep everything in one place, and do not put useless (sorry - no offence intended - I appretiate your work but I really think that mentioning your name in front of everyone every time game starts is not needed for 99% of the players, and you are still in the credits and in the maps thread - for example why I can't see something simmilar in the campaigns starting menu?) information in the map staring message.
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Post by Doc Paterson »

Dragonking wrote:Ok.. the names of the creators/developers were added to the maps to allow players who have some feedback go to the right person... I think the reason is good and valid, but way to do this could be much better IMO.

First of all, before I'll start writing what I think about this let's see the crediting issue - everyone who ever contributed to the project is in the credits section. So we can't really say that we forget to mention anyone (besides I can't see Olof as a oryginal creator of the 4p Morituri but that's a different thing).

The reason of the change (adding author(s) name to the map starting message) was, I assume, to let the people know who contact in case of some feedback etc. It was not about showing who made most of the work or something. That's why I think that there are much better ways to show how you can give your feedback.

First of all person on the server should know 1)Where to give feedback 2)Who adress. 1st is noowhere to find, 2nd is now in the map starting message. So even if person knows who adress, he still needs to find a way how and where he can give the feedback.

Since nor in game, nor in the credits you can find a way to contact both Doc and Bec, only way is forum - or by post or by PM. So on the server now, player only learns the name of the map creator - nothing more. And if you are on the forum - you can alreadu find out that Doc is the person who is responsible for the most maps.

And now, if there is only this limited info in the game, and if someone has to join the forum anyway, then why not make a better info about maps on the forum? I propose that instead of those names, make a list of all maps, oryginal creators, people who contributed to the map, and who is now in charge of a map, and put it in the first post in the MP Maps Readers Digest thread. This way it wil be not only clearer, but also will show better who now is working on the map and who isn't anymore - so who you really need to adress when you want to give a feedback.

Thus I would propose and prefer this way of doing it. But that's not all...

As I mentioned IMO we lack info for newbies about where to write your opinions about map (or balancing or anything) - so I would propose something like MP-FAQ for newbies mentioned in the server's welcome message - something like mp.wesnoth.org for example. There player could find for example server rules, but also links to important forum threads - like in this case - map balancing. And in the first post he would get all needed info about posting feedback - along with map creators. So we can keep everything in one place, and do not put useless (sorry - no offence intended - I appretiate your work but I really think that mentioning your name in front of everyone every time game starts is not needed for 99% of the players, and you are still in the credits and in the maps thread - for example why I can't see something simmilar in the campaigns starting menu?) information in the map staring message.
Very good ideas. On the matter of someone knowing the designer name but not where to find them, I'd assumed that any kind of google or yahoo search would work, seeing as knowing a name is often the only thing needed on the internet to contact someone. For example, this is the first return on a google search for "Doc Paterson": http://www.wesnoth.org/forum/profile.ph ... 12a05ac9e6

I like your idea about the server message directing users to a thread that tells all about the maps and fascilitates discussion. I'd not considered that as an option, but I think it could work to achieve the same ends as this current concept.

I don't think it should be the Map Reader's Digest though- As it's fairly disorganized and somewhat hard to follow, I think I'd have to create something new and more all-encompassing.

I'd be in favor of keeping the current credit system for as long as it takes to set these things in place. (Probably not very long.)

Thoughts, anyone?
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Post by Noy »

What DK just posted is my preferred outcome.
Doc Paterson wrote:Also:
Noy wrote:the other facts that I put forward: that you are responsible for most maps at this time, or that you've put yourself in the position as the main person for map balancing, particularly on the forum.
There are two main issues here:

1. Users not knowing who to talk to about MP map balance-related feedback.
2. Feedback going through the "wrong" channels (me getting Bec's messages, Bec getting my messages, etc.)

You focus mostly on the second, which is practically irrelevant compared to the first.
Actually I've commented on both, which I think you're not reading in full. Ultimately my main point is this. Yes I understand that there needs to be a way to get balancing recommendations to the right people. But the current reality of the situation is that the implications of what you want I don't think is acceptable.


You have argued, that you are the person to go to for balancing. If this was about attributing maps to the right person, then PG's name has to be on it, and everybody else who worked on it, despite all the changes made. (in the fashion suggested by noyga.) Yes there have been innumerable changes since, but that does not mean that the map itself was derived in part from his original design. It still bears the name given to it. I'm not denying you've put alot of work, and the map itself is completely different, from what it was before, but at one point the current map was worked on by him, and since then you've made innumerable changes, but his contribution cannot be ignored.

However thats not the point, because this is about attribution merely for feedback, by your own words. If anything PG's name shouldn't be on there because it would create more confusion. Only the person who was responsible for the current map balance should be there. The reality of the situation is that you are the only person responsible for balancing. How its going to the "right person" is irrellevant since there is only one person, and likely to be only one for the near future. And I can say with some confidence that Bec will likely not be back, and if he does, he probably won't resume his duties given his personal committments.

As DK pointed out, to contact anybody, they would have to go to the forums, and immediately see what I posted above, in the MP Digest thread. Alternatively they could find someone on IRC, or ask someone online. Yet really since you don't play online as you claim, and Bec doesn't play at all, thats not a realistic place to get balancing suggestions in any case. So they would go to the forum and see a stickied thread. If that thread needs to be clearer, if we need better ending credits, or a new MP Faq, thats fine, I agree fully. Actually if anything that is something that we pointed out needed writing a while ago, and has been stalled.

Instead what I don't want to see is a situation where every map is labeled with the same name in the game, because the logically thats what would have to happen at this point if people were to know who to go to. Its not equitable to others and their contribution, and arguably of limited benefit, with better alternatives (as brought forward by DK). Its not as if we label each piece of code in the game with someone's name just so that if there is a problem a player can immediately contact the responsible person. (Instead we do that in other ways, only accessable to devs). But thats not done for the polished game.

More or less I've pointed all of this out before. Yes we need to have good balancing feedback, but what you were proposing from the start I never believed to be either fair, or the best solution to the problem.
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Post by Noyga »

Doc Paterson wrote:What are we left with then? Two paired strips of "terrain" that have vaguely similar overall shapes (if all of the terrain within them was converted to, shall we say, lava) with functions that are opposites of one another. Is this enough to make a strong argument for their similarity? Again, I think that we are all (myself included) more inclined to see connections between these two maps because we are aquainted with their development.
That's what i meant, vaguelly overal similar shapes and this happens on most of the map (i was talking about the "artistic" overall appearance ) of the map, nothing to do with balancing).
When i was talking about lateral patch i also had in mind the patches of open ground.
There is a lot of similarities in the overal shape but when you look closer, it is different and in a gameplay point of view they work different.
Dragonking wrote:The reason of the change (adding author(s) name to the map starting message) was, I assume, to let the people know who contact in case of some feedback etc. It was not about showing who made most of the work or something. That's why I think that there are much better ways to show how you can give your feedback.
Then the term we should use should probably be "Maintainer". This one is not subject to debate. :)
"Ooh, man, my mage had a 30% chance to miss, but he still managed to hit! Awesome!" ;) -- xtifr

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