Wesnoth Autohost Project: Matchmaking of the new decade!

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dwarftough
Posts: 171
Joined: August 4th, 2019, 5:27 pm

Wesnoth Autohost Project: Matchmaking of the new decade!

Post by dwarftough »

Hello everyone! This is dwarftough, and I'm excited to introduce to you my Wesnoth Autohost Project. Launched in the beginning of August 2021, the project has already arranged more than 2600 multiplayer games (as of Sep. 4 2021) and this number continues to grow steadily!

What is the essence of the Wesnoth Autohost Project?

The project operates two bots that are online 24h a day in the mp lobby and host rated games. When enough players join the game, the bot immediately starts the game and hosts the new one. When a player (a team of players) wins the game, they report their win to the bot (using in-lobby pms). Interaction with bots such as reporting a win, contesting a false report, examining the leaderboard happens in the lobby, in bots' pms, no external sites or resources needed.

At the moment the project maintains two bots (and rating systems): IsarFoundation for random 4p 2v2 Isar Cross and AfterBot for 1v1 Afterlife game mode (the mappool of three maps: Afterlife, Afteralpha, Laterlife).

Motivation

One might ask 'What is the motivation for bots? Why can't people just host games themselves?'

There are two main reasons behind the project: the demand for competitiveness and the psychological difficulty of manual game hosting.

A significant number of decent players wants to compete, they want challenge and test of their skills. The project sets up rating systems in different most popular game modes. As it doesn't require players to register anywhere or use any external site, participation is easy!

The second point is more obscure and requires a more detailed explanation. It was noted that hosting a game is psychologically difficult. When you host a game, you need to wait and you can't be sure other players will join your particular game. Plenty of players told me that they prefer to join an existing game and just close the game if they don't see any in the lobby. The solution of the project (open games always hosted in the lobby by bots) have two aspects. First, a player doesn't have to host, so they can just join without much thinking about mods and game settings. Second, the bots are well noticed and well known in the lobby, so the joined player is sure that they won't wait for opponents for too long (as long as enough people in the lobby at the moment).

I firmly believe that the project provides much needed way to deal with these factors.

Interaction with the bots

You send commands to bots writing a pm to them. To do so: if you're in lobby you can select the bot from the folks, click the nick and select "Private message". If you're ingame: with the chat field closed type ":m AfterBot ..." or ":m IsarFoundation ..." where your command goes instead of ...

Commands:

won <gameid> (alternative form win <gameid>): reports the game as your win. Example: won 124. How to see the id of the game? It's written in the first bot message in the chat, also in the game title.

me: information about you. Your rating, place in the ranking, ids of your unfinished games, ids of contested games where you played.

contest <gameid>: use this command to complain about a false report (if your opp reported the game they lost as their victory) or a game with some problem or abuse (for example, some player didn't move at turn 1).

leaderboard: top10 best players

playerinfo nick: info about player "nick"

gameinfo <gameid>: info about game gameid.

Guidelines

The philosophy of the project is to be as welcoming and light-hearted as possible. Because of that, I don't want to establish rules or laws. I ask everyone to follow the guidelines below.
  • Be nice to each other, observe common decency
  • Don't false report and don't report until the game is over (everyone said gg and left or leaders are killed)
  • If one of the players doesn't move at turn 1 for too long (5+ mins), all other players can leave, the game is considered void
  • If your opp disconnected during the game, please, try to wait for his return and don't rush to report the win. We all occasionally experience technical difficulties. Waiting 5-15 minutes is a good tone, esp if the opp tries to reconnect
  • Rating points are just some sort of stake to make this more intriguing, but don't be super greedy trying to catch opp on dc or whatnot. Remember that we play to have fun, and that "easy come easy go": cheap points for a technical win are boring
Feedback
The project is open to new ideas, feedback, any help and contribution! If you want to contact me, write here in forum dms, in game in pms (if I don't respond, I might be afk, feel free to ping me again :D ) or in discord catbegemot#6602 or in the discord server of the project "IsarFoundation and Affiliates" https://discord.gg/BTzJF6GZZU

Acknowledgements
I didn't make this project alone, out-of-thin-air. A lot of people in this or that way helped this project to come to existence.

ReNoM, the leader of the Russian community WesnothLife, without his fastbot I would've never written the code myself from scratch.

igorbat99, he was the first to recognize the potential of bots and carried out his amazing Isar Festival, gladly accepted by the audience.

My numerous helpers and advisers in the discord server, your profound feedback and research helps me to steer this ship the best course ;)

You, my fellow players, who play the games hosted by the bots and make all this work meaningful!
Last edited by dwarftough on December 4th, 2021, 11:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
clmates
Posts: 55
Joined: February 17th, 2005, 11:19 pm

Re: Wesnoth Autohost Project: Matchmaking of the new decade!

Post by clmates »

Congrats for the system and the success

Good job
Best regards

clmates
dwarftough
Posts: 171
Joined: August 4th, 2019, 5:27 pm

Re: Wesnoth Autohost Project: Matchmaking of the new decade!

Post by dwarftough »

clmates wrote: September 4th, 2021, 2:06 pm Congrats for the system and the success

Good job
Thank you for your kind words!
dwarftough
Posts: 171
Joined: August 4th, 2019, 5:27 pm

Re: Wesnoth Autohost Project: Matchmaking of the new decade!

Post by dwarftough »

The highlight of the week:
AfterBot's addon has changed. The mappool was reduced to only two maps: old Afterlife and Afteralpha. These two maps turned out to be the only maps that got universal acceptance. In times before the project had started, Afteralpha was the most popular map and old Afterlife was the second popular.
The situation with the third map in the pool was more complicated. Initially, after analysing the mp reports, the third map I added to the pool was Laterlife, it was the third map by popularity. But this map is much larger than other two. Its reception was mixed and far from universal. Some people liked it for its deeper strategic potential and more profound interesting gameplay, others complained about too long games on this map. Of course I value the gameplay qualities a lot, but the fact that other maps lead to shorter games created a dissonance: AfterBot always was a bot for quick afterlife, but the third map was long. And this is a factor I could not ignore. To cope with it, I chose another map, Afterbalance, quite a misleading name, as it turned out. My choice was rather arbitrary, but excuses I had for that maps was that it has a water village which I thought to be an interesting gameplay element (you need a fish to hold it). And also this map was smaller (although it was still a bit larger than Afteralpha). But this map's reception was even worse. Despite its name, it proved quite imbalanced because of the abudance of swamps. That benefits drakes a lot (flyers + saurian swamp dwellers) while other factions like elves struggle badly. Considering all of this, I decided to delete it from the mappool and leave the mappool with only two maps. If there is no third map with similar acceptance of the players, then two maps are enough.

The second important thing is that the bot's addon no longer requires to be downloaded. It turned out to be a big deal because part of the audience can't access the addon server and install addons. So this problem is solved for now.

The third thing is the update of the Plan Unit Advancements mods. Its ad is no longer shown at the start of the game. Why is it a big deal? Because many people join the game and go afk and wait for the turn bell sound to call them for a game when it starts. With the mod's ad appearing at the start of the game, the turn bell doesn't ring until you click through the ad. So this ad caused a lot of games be finished at turn 1 just because one guy went afk and wasn't called by the sound. Quite a subtlety!

Discussion of the weak
The ongoing discussion of the project community is the rating system, especially Isar's 2v2 rating system. How to make it fair and not too painful and risky for high-rated players (who face the problem of enormous punishment for losses with modest gains for wins, as most games are played with average ratings).

Have something to say or propose? Join the discussion! Post your opinion here in the forum topic, in our discord or in pms to me. Thank you!
xx1
Posts: 1
Joined: May 28th, 2018, 7:20 pm

Re: Wesnoth Autohost Project: Matchmaking of the new decade!

Post by xx1 »

This project is great. Congratulations!
dwarftough
Posts: 171
Joined: August 4th, 2019, 5:27 pm

Re: Wesnoth Autohost Project: Matchmaking of the new decade!

Post by dwarftough »

xx1 wrote: September 23rd, 2021, 11:19 am This project is great. Congratulations!
Thanks! Glad you like it!
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radarsu
Posts: 20
Joined: November 14th, 2018, 5:49 pm

Re: Wesnoth Autohost Project: Matchmaking of the new decade!

Post by radarsu »

Will there be update of bots for Wesnoth 1.16?
dwarftough
Posts: 171
Joined: August 4th, 2019, 5:27 pm

Re: Wesnoth Autohost Project: Matchmaking of the new decade!

Post by dwarftough »

radarsu wrote: November 1st, 2021, 10:02 am Will there be update of bots for Wesnoth 1.16?
Sure! I think I have solved the main technical obstacle and bots on 1.16 will appear in the nearest future
dwarftough
Posts: 171
Joined: August 4th, 2019, 5:27 pm

Re: Wesnoth Autohost Project: Matchmaking of the new decade!

Post by dwarftough »

So folks, a lot have happened, the project has arranged more than 10k games (8k+ afters and 2k+ isar) on 1.14 since August and 1.5k+ games on 1.16 since November.

Now we want to start a new 1v1 Christmas league, but there is a question, which era to use? I'd like to experiment with Default + Dunefolk in 1v1 but I know that era causes some controversy. So I have opened the poll viewtopic.php?t=55209. You can also voice your opinion here or in our discord
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