Game analysis - Replay #14886292

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Different people learn differently. There are things you will learn in-game that some other players won't catch unless they watch the replay. And things that you won't learn by playing the game. There are certain mistakes that you could make 100 games in a row without ever having a clue. Maybe for some concepts, the only way for you to learn it is if someone else just tells you. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work because people are different from each other. If you are benefiting from watching replays, then keep it up. If you think it's a waste of time, there are other things you can do.

Some chess players can recite their games from memory. They get out of a game and they could tell you a complete list of the moves both sides made. Other people can't do that. Someone who can't do that would benefit a lot more from watching a "replay" of their game, than someone who already accurately remembers everything that happened.

I definitely agree with the approach of picking 1-3 things to work on improving at a time. Zock himself said to pick just 1 thing, but that every time you go into a match, you always have 1 thing you want to test or improve.

And keep an open mind. It really doesn't hurt for ZappaZapper to think T3 land is silly and T1 spam is best. Sooner or later he will learn the value of moving up to T3 land. As long as he keeps an open mind, when his opponents eventually show him the value of T3 land, he can learn and adapt. In a sense, everything you learn from playing against 500-rated players is dubious. If you only watched games where FLOOD rolled 600-rated noobs, you would learn the wrong lessons about what works and what doesn't work.

If Blackheart or Thomas wants to take ZappaZapper under his wing and play 1v1s against him for 6 hours a day and explain the right way to do things and the right way to understand the game, that would be the best way to get Zappa up to 1900 as fast as possible. Anything else and he will develop bad habits on the way up the ladder. It's basically inevitable that people will get bad ideas and bad habits as they move up and part of moving up is not just adding things, but also discarding things.

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@corvathranoob said in Game analysis - Replay #14886292:

EDIT: So the TL:DR Conclusion is: basically if you can find a game, just play rather than watch a replay. If you can't find a game, there is no downside to analyzing your replays, but it is probably better to watch replays of better players instead of your own games.

That is kind of the situation with me, as I often sit for over an hour waiting to get matched, and also like I said before, I often don't really have the energy to actually play because of work, and I'm not just trying to protect my meager rating, it's more that my goal right now is to improve and there's zero chance that I'll improve if I can't even keep my eyes open. But watching replays and writing an analysis can be done at a much slower pace, and just because I don't think I'm in the proper mindset to play doesn't mean I'm not still interested, so it's a better thing to do than nothing. And just so you know, I do watch other players replays, probably more than my own, it's just that I'm not writing analyses of their games.

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zappazapper said in Game analysis - Replay #14886292:

What's different about playing this game and playing a musical instrument is that playing this game for the first time is a little like picking up a guitar for the very first time and trying to learn "Flight of the Bumblebee". You really should just try and learn "Louie Louie" first or some other dumb schlockey song that you'll never want to be caught dead playing in front of humans (I would) because you're not ready to attempt "Flight of the Bumblebee", just like I'm not really ready to learn how to micro Inties at this point.

It's fine to think this way, but let me use another guitar analogy for you here. When you're learning to play a new song, you learn to play it at a very slow speed, but correctly. You don't play the song incorrectly in order to try and match the tempo right away. Once you commit the correct chord/fret/etc changes to your muscle memory, you can work through them faster and faster until you're doing it at speed. If you commit the incorrect notes/etc to memory. You'll definetly know that it's tough to work them back out of your playing when you are doing them subconciously.

If you do the right things now at a poor speed. It will be much more beneficial for you overall.
I'm not expecting you to go into a game and spam out 100 move orders to do perfect circle micro in your game. I only expect basic moves to shoot down threats and fighting enemy planes when you know you're ahead.

zappazapper said in Game analysis - Replay #14886292:

I can honestly say that reclaim is at the very top of the list of things I would like to improve on.

Reclaim is something you'll be working on thoughout your entire time playing this game. Right now you don't need to make it overly complicated. Ensure you get as much reclaim as possible by any means possible. Lots of people just end up taking engineers and doing attack moves to the other side of the map, for example..

zappazapper said in Game analysis - Replay #14886292:

"You shouldn't focus on your army movements or stuff like that so early on"
Mmm, that's a little bit of a contradiction there. If I don't need to focus on army movements at this point, why do I have to focus on micro'ing air?

You should practice it in your games, but you do not need to focus on it in your post game analysis.

zappazapper said in Game analysis - Replay #14886292:

A tank that didn't die because another type of unit gave me a slight advantage in one aspect over an opposing force of pure tanks is a tank that I don't have to build again.

Thinking this way is fine for other units, but a lot of the game and your choices within it often revolve around comparing your "X" to the "X" of the enemy. For example, you might count the number of land factories you have to see if you'll eventually have enough tanks to take map control.

While arty and aa are both:

  • Situational units that you might only build if X is present.
  • Still somewhat capable of contributing to battles
  • Cheaper, and take less time to build (somewhat)

Engineers are something else entirely. When your factories are essentially not making land units one 5th of the time, your ability to scout and make choices in the game become obfuscated.

I would suggest making factories exclusively for engineers if you need them. If you end up not needing the engineers later (it's hard to make "too many" engineers), you can always make more tanks instead. Or just reclaim them.

zappazapper said in Game analysis - Replay #14886292:

Anyway, like I said, I hope you don't take these comments to mean anything other than I just want to keep having these discussions and learning. Thanks again for taking the time to watch my replay, read my post, and offer your own insights.

No problem mate. I'm always around to answer questions

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@zappazapper said in Game analysis - Replay #14886292:

@cheeseberry said in Game analysis - Replay #14886292:

Very intriguing read, love it!

I don't quite agree with some of your analysis but you already knew that it's not perfect, so who cares.

As long as you keep going at it with a mindset like this, you are bound to improve. So keep up the good work!

Well, I care!! I'd love to hear your thoughts on specific things you disagreed with, even if I still don't agree with you 😆

Biass already talked about quite a few points that were on my list as well, the most important one being that Sup Com is indeed a game focused on macro, and not micro.

Or phrased differently: Supreme Commander is a game about getting more stuff.

First and foremost, this means that you need to spend your mass on stuff, because mass in the bank does literally nothing for you.

Just spending your mass is imo by far the most important thing to focus on.

Once your massbar is empty, how do you get more stuff? Well you need to get more mass. As a consequence: Supreme Commander is a game about getting more mass.

Why are mexes and reclaim good?
More mass and hence more stuff.

Why is map control good?
Map control leads to more mexes and more reclaim, which leads to more mass. (Also it gives scouting information, but nobody below 1k scouts, so who cares.)

Why are armies good?
Not only do they keep you alive, so that you can spend your mass on stuff, armies are also used to take stuff from your opponent and if your opponent has less stuff, you comparatively have more stuff.

Why are t2 mexes good?
If you don't sacrifice too much to get them, they will lead to more mass and hence more stuff in the future.

The only strategies that fall outside of the "get more stuff" plan are snipes, cheeses and memes. To be clear, all of them are valid strategies sometimes - many tournament games have been won by a well executed snipe after all - they are just not worth focusing on w/o having your fundamentals in order.

Note that I didn't even say what "stuff" you should actually build, because fundamentally it doesn't matter (yet).
If you have twice the total mass of your opponent and you just spend it on something that can attack, it becomes very easy to win the game.

In your analysis you are talking about unit movements, army compositions, attacks that did or didn't work, intie micro, tech levels, pgen adjacency, and so on, none of which matters (yet).

Your final bullet points almost hit the nail on the head as they are all different versions of "I failed to get mass when I had the opportunity."

Crucially though, you do have a full mass bar from minute 6 to minute 14 which you mention only once, even though it's the most important of all of them.

In short: This is a game about more stuff and by extension a game about getting and then spending more mass. Everything else is just details.

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@jip said in Game analysis - Replay #14886292:

@CorvathraNoob You're essentially telling people to not analyze why they failed an exam, but just to make 10 more. In my opinion as a teacher, you're not learning something if you're not willing to take a step back and understand what you did previously.

Again, can people please read what I actually wrote? I never said people shouldn't analyze their mistakes. What I ACTUALLY SAID, hopefully for the last time, is that YOU SHOULD REALIZE YOUR MISTAKES IN GAME, AS YOU BECOME AWARE OF THEM. WATCHING THE REPLAY TO SEE IT AGAIN DOESN'T GIVE YOU NEW INFORMATION. If you aren't becoming aware of your mistakes in game, the most important issue is you still haven't learned where to focus your attention.

@maudlin27 "figuring out what my opponent did"
Exactly what I said: analyze what better players do.
Also, sandboxing build orders and analyzing replays are different things. I completely agree that sandboxing starting builds can be very helpful to remember build orders better and make fewer mistakes.

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@corvathranoob

I did read what you wrote. And my metaphor fits. You want people to assess the game while playing. Similarly, it is telling a student to be able to assess a certain mathematical rule exists during an exam while he doesn't know about the rule, but lets get on with the next exam right after.

Inspecting your gameplay (or exam) and comparing it with your direct opponent (or answer sheet) can never hurt, whether you won or lost. It doesn't have to take forever - you can run it at +5 or +10 for all I care. Briefly taking a step back and understanding what you did wrong (or right) is better than just diving in right away again and again.

Talking with a trainer about your replay is like talking with your professor about your exam results 🙂 .

Back on topic, I think it is great that @zappazapper is looking at his replays and trying to understand by essentially talking to his (graduate) peers right now whether his insights make sense.

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Hmm. @CorvathraNoob I think both sides of this are correct. I'll explain from my own personal experience.

Several months ago I decided to get into playing ladder. I was around ~900 ladder rating at the time iirc, which was massively underrated for me so I was winning basically every game even though each game I knew I was making massive and obvious mistakes. As long as I was able to leave each game knowing the huge mistakes I was making, I didn't bother watching the replay. I'm certainly not at the level of Arch or Turin for instance but my game knowledge and skill is still far better than a 900 rated ladder player's game knowledge, even at this time. I basically was just needing to get my muscle memory up to par with that in a game mode I never really played while coming from being mostly a Setoner.

I very quickly improved and I stopped making as many mistakes that were glaringly obvious to me in game. Up until I got up to about ~1300 ladder I basically didn't lose any games other than some purely cheesy cancer ones where I didn't adapt well or ones where I just completely messed up something basic for whatever reason - usually me first timing a map and not reading it correctly vs someone who played the map a lot.

Around this time I ran into a problem. I was still making glaringly obvious mistakes that I recognized in game, but the issue is that these mistakes were getting harder for me to fix. Things like general map awareness, spending apm on the right things, not over/under ecoing (huge one for me atm, but I digress), and misreading new maps are all mistakes I was easily able to recognize in game but have proven hard for me to fix. These are muscle memory flaws I have and need to address. While I work on these though there are a thousand other flaws in my gameplay that I can address. But at this point I have to watch replays to actually address them.

A lot of those things I mentioned, and the thousand more things plaguing my gameplay, are all things that have a bunch of tiny components that watching replays now all helps me improve on. Yes I know in game I'm making mistakes, I'm actually frustratingly good at recognizing mistakes in game at this point. It's a bit depressing to play knowing I'm playing like pure shit every game but I'm digressing again. The issue is often times these mistakes are things that happened before I recognized them. They often are coming about from different sources than what I realized. Watching replays helps me with this. This long winded rant now brings me to my point.

If you're able to leave the game with an immediate, obvious, and small thing you can do better in the future and quickly improve on, then watching the replay might not be that helpful while you work on that. If the main errors you're seeing are more nebulous and take reworking your muscle memory and a lot of time and effort, then it's important to watch replays so you can keep making the smaller improvements while working on the big stuff that'll take time and experience.

TL;DR: In my opinion people on both sides of this are correct, depending on which stage of ladder experience the player is in. If you can make easy and obvious improvements each game then watching replays might just take time away from making those improvements, if not then watching replays is important.

Edit: I am also coming from the perspective of someone who has played Supcom on and off since the first one came out in 2007. When I got into ladder earlier this year I had far more experience and game knowledge to call on than someone who is relatively new. A new player doesn't have this advantage, and therefore will most likely need to spend more time watching replays earlier on.

Edit part 2: Thought I'd give some more specific examples to illustrate my point using my comment about over/under ecoing. The over ecoing part isn't surprising to either myself or anyone who knows me: I'm a Setoner and ecoing is the name of the game there usually. The under ecoing is the more interesting one. One big reason that it happens is because I know I have a tendency to over eco, so I intentionally just try to make more and more units without ecoing to compensate - often times I'll go overboard there. However, outside of previous tendencies there were some glaring mistakes I was making leading to this happening that I had to use replays to discover. Lots of components here but the two big ones are: my early expansion was far too slow leading to me having less mass than I should early on, and two is that I didn't have enough engineers in the right places to get reclaim. I still have a lot of work to do, but I don't think I would have realized just how pathetically slow my expansion still was and that I was misplacing engineers as quickly as I did without replays. I knew the overall mistake, messing up eco, but couldn't identify all the components of it without replays.

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@jip said in Game analysis - Replay #14886292:

I did read what you wrote. And my metaphor fits. You want people to assess the game while playing. Similarly, it is telling a student to be able to assess a certain mathematical rule exists during an exam while he doesn't know about the rule, but lets get on with the next exam right after.

Not even close. Critical incorrect assumption: "while he doesn't know about the rule." If you return to my very first post, I said how can watching the replay help the noob understand what they did wrong, if they don't really understand what their mistakes even are? If you don't know power stalling or walking t1 tanks into walled t1 pd is very bad, watching the replay doesn't help. If you know they are bad, you see them in game and learn nothing by watching the replay.

Now you bring up talking with a trainer? Well of course that is useful to teach the noob what they are doing wrong. That's completely outside the discussion of whether a noob should watch their own replays WITHOUT a trainer (which is what I was clearly discussing before). The trainer gives them new knowledge, which is obviously helpful. I never said getting advice from a better player is bad. A noob watching their own replay when they don't know what the optimal strategies are is a far worse way of trying to figure it out. It's obviously a lot easier to learn math than to invent it. Again, this is why I said it's more useful to watch better players to learn from them than watching your own replays.

@Exselsior I understand everything you are saying, and thing only thing I would slightly disagree with is "They often are coming about from different sources than what I realized. Watching replays helps me with this." This would return to my point of just emphasizing that we need to first learn what things to focus on in game (or how much attention to pay to certain things, but you should at least notice when your units die from bad micro/formations and your eco balance). I still don't think replays should be too useful, but in any case I think they're less useful for noobs than players over about 1200 rating. This certainly is the case when you switch to ladder from teamgames and especially from setons. I'm terrible at a lot of things in ladder because there is a lot more to focus on that I'm not used to nor a good bo for most maps, and typically one of the most important takeaways is where to adjust your focus to be more efficient (sometimes you need more or less manual reclaiming and more micro, etc.). But I can typically understand what went wrong and where to adjust focus without watching the replay for my mistakes. And also a HUGE part of it is just learning good build orders for specific maps, which just takes practice and/or copying someone better than you. Also getting used to the ladder style/meta compared to teamgames...I also struggle significantly with the exact same things like over/under ecoing and not building enough spam on the very rare occasions I play ladder.
See, e.g. for laughs:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghfY2626wbc&t=664s

P.S. Janus OP

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Some interesting comments, and the thread is getting a little off the topic of this specific replay and more into a discussion on the best way to improve, and that's fine, and I think all the points being made are valid. I remember a math teacher saying that the reason we learn math in high school that we probably won't ever use is because we're learning how to learn, so a discussion on the best way to improve my play is at least as important on a discussion of the specific aspects of this specific replay.

I will say one thing, and this kind of relates to some discussions I've seen and participated in on this forum recently, about the struggle for player retention and the possibility that one of the main reasons it might be hard to keep players around is that this is actually an incredibly difficult game and new players often become frustrated and since it's not fun to get gutted, they leave. And this community does make an effort that is rarely seen in gaming to share knowledge and try to improve play in general, but I do think that there are perhaps some assumptions being made by those who feel they have something to offer other players in that attempt to improve, some bias among the high rated players.

@arma473 said in Game analysis - Replay #14886292:

If Blackheart or Thomas wants to take ZappaZapper under his wing and play 1v1s against him for 6 hours a day and explain the right way to do things and the right way to understand the game, that would be the best way to get Zappa up to 1900 as fast as possible.

I think there's assumptions being made that
a) I'm/everybody's capable of being a 1900 rated player
b) It's important for me/everybody to be a 1900 rated player
c) That I want/everbody wants to be a 1900 rated player as fast as possible

I don't care what my rating is. I've been playing vanilla for 10 years and have dipped my toe into the FAF waters a few times over the past 3 or 4 years and have recently decided that I'm really cheating myself out of something special by allowing myself to be so frustrated as to abandon the best aspect of my favorite game - playing against other humans. And so my only goal is to improve so that I can play well enough to have the enthusiasm to keep playing, be continually learning and improving, and if I'm being honest, if I am actually ever capable of being a 1900 rated player, I hope it takes me 20 years to get there, because it will be 20 years of what I think this game really has to offer over most other games - a sense of accomplishment. And I think maybe a part of the overall player retention issue lies in the goals of those who seek to help others improve, versus the goals of those of us who would like to improve. Maybe we're not all trying to be 1900 rated players, and maybe it's not actually important to address every bad habit immediately, or maybe not ever. And maybe part of what frustrates new players is not just the game itself, but the message they're given when they seek advice - "this is what you need to do to become a 1900 rated player as soon as possible". That can be very intimidating.

Anyway, thanks so much to everybody for all the insight into things I need to work on and ways to work on them, and I hope to continue having these discussions into the future. Also, I hope I provided a little insight into the mindset of the low rated player, because I know part of this playing this game is being part of this community, and being part of a community means helping in whatever small ways one can.

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@zappazapper said in Game analysis - Replay #14886292:

Maybe we're not all trying to be 1900 rated players, and maybe it's not actually important to address every bad habit immediately, or maybe not ever. And maybe part of what frustrates new players is not just the game itself, but the message they're given when they seek advice - "this is what you need to do to become a 1900 rated player as soon as possible". That can be very intimidating.

I totally agree with you on this. I stopped trying to improve years ago, lol.
And I want to add another thing that I never explicitly stated, but I'm assuming pretty much everyone enjoys playing the game more than analyzing their replays for mistakes. So if that's the case then you especially should just play the game more and it will eventually come to you (with more enjoyment, AND faster, as long as you are consciously trying to improve on specific things).

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@corvathranoob said in Game analysis - Replay #14886292:

@zappazapper said in Game analysis - Replay #14886292:

Maybe we're not all trying to be 1900 rated players, and maybe it's not actually important to address every bad habit immediately, or maybe not ever. And maybe part of what frustrates new players is not just the game itself, but the message they're given when they seek advice - "this is what you need to do to become a 1900 rated player as soon as possible". That can be very intimidating.

I totally agree with you on this. I stopped trying to improve years ago, lol.
And I want to add another thing that I never explicitly stated, but I'm assuming pretty much everyone enjoys playing the game more than analyzing their replays for mistakes. So if that's the case then you especially should just play the game more and it will eventually come to you (with more enjoyment, AND faster, as long as you are consciously trying to improve on specific things).

Well, you yourself said it was an assumption, so I guess I can hardly fault you on it, but yes, I think that's just an assumption. I rather enjoyed watching the replay and writing this analysis. And I question the wisdom of presenting analysis like it's some kind of loathsome chore. To use another musical analogy, I usually enjoy rehearsing with my band more than I enjoy actually playing the gigs. We all kind of do. Most musicians kind of do. And similarly, I don't consider analysis as some kind of negative consequence of making a genuine attempt to improve; I look at it like "WHAT?! I get to write analyses of my games TOO?!" I dunno, maybe everybody just looks at this like it's a video game. I can think of no other game where anybody would even think of doing an analysis of how well they're playing and what they have to do to improve. Usually you play the game and either you're good or you're not, and mostly the rest of the people playing the game are happy when you're not. There's just something different going on with this game, and like I said, I just recently decided that I wasn't going to deny myself the experience anymore. I'm GOING to write analyses. Lots of them. I might write analyses more than I actually play. I might start writing analyses of YOUR games 😆

Seriously though, whether it's been beneficial or not is debatable, but what's not is that it CAN be genuinely enjoyable if you allow yourself to enjoy it. We're all different.