Having only started following the FAF forums and news the start of this year I'd not come across the PC election before, but one thing that's surprised me is just how long the process has gone on for. To summarise the timings for the PC election that's almost now finished:
So essentially, 3 months taken up with the PC election.
Regardless of whoever wins the current election, I'd suggest shortening this period significantly, as 1/4 of the PC's time will potentially be in 'election mode'.
I'd therefore suggest allowing 3 weeks for candidates, and then 3 weeks for voting, to halve the time involved overall, for next year's election, while still giving enough of a period to allow most people who might be on holiday at some point in that time to be able to stand and/or vote, without having the election go on for so long.
I'd also be curious if anyone has stats on the timeframe of when votes were cast, as I suspect they will be weighted significantly towards the start of the voting period (which would give further support for there not being a need for a whole month to vote). If this isn't the case and votes tend to be evenly spread over the time period (or even weighted more towards the end of the voting period) then it may still be worth retaining 4 weeks for voting.
I fail to see how anyone could argue astro craters is like sim city with a straight face, even allowing for the way in which many people here (as shown on this thread amongst others) seem to look down with disdain on those of us that play such maps (even though they appear to be the most popular types of maps on FAF, at least for custom games). There's more variety in the gameplay on astro than the majority of 1v1 maps on ladder for those not in the highest ratings , where in most cases for ladder it's a case of 'T1 land spam or die' (with having a good APM being far more significant than making good strategic decisions). Perhaps you've just not played enough astro games to appreciate the range of strategies on it (since if you're using your main profile you don't appear to have any games on the map).
I'd have also thought a focus on "the kind of players that faf wants to attract" (in the context of not wanting to attract people who don't like high APM play) very shortsighted. The more people who play faf (in a non-toxic way) the better its longevity/future prospects. Just using myself as an example, while I may play mostly astro I also sometimes play some 1v1 ladder. I doubt I'm the only person who has a favourite style of map such as astro/gap/setons but who also likes to sometimes play other maps or game modes. If all such players were to leave faf because we're 'not the kind of players that faf wants to attract' you get fewer people playing those maps/game mods you approve of such as 1v1 matchmaker.
I also don't understand the logic proposed both here and in the PC election thread for removing the global ranking system. If you had a team of rank 1500s on astro or dual gap against a team of rank 500s (global rating), almost every time the 1500 ranks would crush the 500 ranks. While you may have a greater variance in ability (especially at lower ratings) than with a 1v1 rating, the rating is still a far far better guide to how well someone will play than having no rating at all. Removing the rating just seems like a way of punishing people who are playing maps that don't meet the personal preferences of those suggesting its removal, especially given how bad opti-balance is at balancing a game when you have newer players. As for manually balancing based on knowledge of players, the majority of my games have been from where I've hosted an all welcome lobby, but on average I won't recognise the names of the majority of people who join, and even of those whose names I recognise I'll only know how well some of them play/favoured strategies (there's probably only 4-5 people I could think of off the top of my head where I know how they tend to play and how good that style of play is).
Going back to the OP, while I'd like the idea of an option to play 'lower APM' 1v1 maps (as opposed to currently where I can be given a 1v1 map on a map that's normally seen in the custom lobby as a 3v3 or 4v4 map), and think it would be a more gentle introduction to newer players, if implemented it'd need to be as an option on the existing matchmaker (e.g. you check the box for if you want to play 'new player friendly only' maps, and/or if you're open to playing the full map pool), or else you dilute the number of people on matchmaker even further.
Since as I understand it something a bit like this is meant to happen (I don't think it's working well if it is though), it may be easier to just improve the current system of starting with a small map pool and then adding more complex maps as rating rises.
The 'stone age' mode also sounds like an interesting idea for teaching the gameplay style that's required for 1v1, although I'm not sure how best it would be implemented (if as an option, people may just not choose it and/or it splits the pool of people queuing too much and makes finding games harder; if its as a tutorial mode with AI then people may not be aware of it and/or the AI may not offer enough of a challenge; if it's forced for the first x games then it could put off people who want to experience the full range of options and not be limited to the first tier).
I thought it was a valid tactic to ctrl k to kill the enemy com-it stops them gaining vet from killing you and surviving, and from being able to run away from you if they have some spam to block you. I’ve done it myself a number of times and would feel very aggrieved to be banned for it (until now id presumed it would count as a draw). If the actual issue can be fixed then great, but if not it shouldn’t be punishable because it should be a legitimate tactic to obtain a draw instead of a loss. Id be happy with a punishment that just involved a manual rating change as well since that would just be an awkward way of fixing the issue.
One query though-some have suggested pausing and offering a draw. how do you get a draw? One game my opponent had to leave so we agreed to have our coms shoot each other to death to draw; is there a better/easier way?
With a larger player base I'd be in favour of such a matchmaking idea. My concern though is that you'll only end up with a small number of people queuing at a time (except for very busy periods) similar to the existing matchmakers, and you'll inevitably have some people who are very good at whatever custom mode is highlighted compared to a new player.
That said, one of the biggest issues I have with both the 1v1 and 2v2 matchmakers is that the maps are too much like hard work. That is, if I get a 1v1 map there's a good chance it's some large sprawling map with mexes everywhere that requires me to do a crazy amount of actions a minute to keep up with t1 land spam being mandatory (except on huge maps or naval ones), which ends up being stressful not fun. In 2v2 from what little I've played it's similar, but with the added pressure of a teammate who will be angry that I don't perform as well as they'd like.
I think this is a large part of the reason games like gap, astro, dual gap, pass etc. are popular - you dont have to focus on as many areas of the map at once, and so there's more chance to just have fun, and it's alot easier to get into as a new player. Even setons and isis mirror this to a large extent (ignoring the players who will make your life miserable if you don't conform to the expected way of doing things when starting in a particular slot).
Therefore I like the idea of having lots of different 'fun'/different types of modes that will make a change in gamestyle from the standard 1v1, especially if they include vs AI challenges, I'm just not sure how to solve the issue of too few new players wanting to do it leading to those that do try getting crushed by pros. One possibility might be to showcase it on the news page (e.g. you have a different mode each week, and the news page features it prominently).
I’d suggest taking a screenshot and making a report whenever you come across this so they can be banned/suspended.
On a related note I’m happy to volunteer to go through reports if it would help such issues (and other breaches of faf rules) be dealt with quicker/if you (faf moderation team) need more resource to deal with reports.
After the recent AI tournament I was inspired to have a go at experimenting with AI development to see if I could come up with anything remotely functional, and figured I'd also document some of the steps in doing it to help anyone else who is interested in starting out (assuming I make enough progress for such documentation to be of any use).
Unfortunately I feel I've failed already at a basic first hurdle, and wondered if any of the AI developers might take pity and help me out?
I thought I'd start simple, and just try and adapt an AI's initial build order. I used the MicroAI as a starting point since I understand it's intended for public use for such a purpose:
My presumption with how the AI relating to the intial build order worked from looking through the files is as follows:
So, as a simple test to check if I was right, I changed it so the first item listed was 'T1EnergyProduction', followed by 'T1AirFactory'. However, on loading up the AI on an (offline) custom game, it would still start by building a T1 land factory.
Other changes I made seemed to have some sort of impact (e.g. to try and change the attacks the AI was sending I started messing around with the "MicroAILandBuilder" part of this file, along with the PlatoonTemplates\MicroAITemplates/lua file, which resulted in the AI massing an army of land scouts to attack with - not quite what I was after but at least a noticeable change! So I don't think the issue is with the changes I'm making failing to be reflected in the mod I then load in the offline FAF skirmish)
Searching for articles that might give some basics of how the AI works I found the below which has a section on AI scripting (in the context of custom missions) and a separate guide which gives an overview/diagram of how the AI works:
I've also been able to locate the core game files that are part of FAF (i.e. the Lua file within Supreme Commander Forged Alliance\gamedata), but I couldn't find anything else from a skim of these forums and Discord.
Is anyone able to help either with my query, or alternatively if there's any material aimed at beginners getting into FAF AI development that might explain some of the basics?
Edit: Thanks for the help everyone - now resolved the issue
I'd be ok with a small health drop (e.g. 100 or 200) or stealth energy cost increase (e.g. -150 instead of -60), or a very small damage nerf (so it stays above 2.5k). However nerfing the damage so that it can't take out a UEF T2 mex would be too much.
Either way IMO Aeon is more deserving of a change (small boost) than cybran a nerf.
Summary of points I'd written before since I don't want to retype:
I joined a few months ago, some of the things that almost made me quit and things that could be done to improve things:
-Toxic players - not much you can do, every multiplayer game has them
-Specific map expectations - having a high level summary/guide of expectations for some of the most popular maps and expectations of what you do if you start somewhere could help
-1v1 - initial matchups were horrible, start new players out against low rank players instead of high rank players
-Being kicked for being grey - Rank/game quality should be based on the displayed rank, not the 'trueskill' value. E.g. a rank 0 with 4 games in multiplayer is seen as similar quality to a rank 1000 with 200 games. Maybe if it was based on the displayed rank (e.g. rank 0 is treated as rank 0 not 1000 or so) then people would be less likely to kick newer players
I only just realised that when a new version of the FAF client is released, there's no obvious notification of this, other than a strange icon in the top right that doesn't seem to bear much relation to the point. Since others have also posted (e.g. in the thread asking for feedback from new players) of not being aware of this, my suggestion is simple:
Until I saw a post from someone mentioning about some icon in the top right that you had to click to update your version I was left puzzled by the news that a 2v2 team matchmaker had been released yet no 2v2 option was showing up as an alternative to the 1v1 and custom tabs, and I doubt I'm the only one.
Sign me up - I'm around 800-850 1v1 rating.
Note I've never done a tournament before (so let me know if I need anything more than being able to type in chat on discord and using the join command FtX has noted), and there's a chance I won't be able to make it on the day and/or for all of the games (depends on family commitments) - since it's an AI tourney I'm assuming it isn't a big deal if I'm a no show or have to drop out.
If making such a change I'd suggest still having an e cost so power stalling costs you mass - e.g. this could just be the same as a T2 mass fab (-100 e) so it's far less proportionately while still punishing you for stalling (and meaning that if you mindlessly spam them forever you'll also end up stalling)
I found my biggest improvement (moving from c.400 rank to 800) was primarily from watching replays where i got crushed and figuring out what my opponent did. Playing more games instead wouldn’t have taught me that anywhere near as quickly.
I also found sandboxing initial strategies numerous times to both figure out what works and to memorise it was better than just starting a game and trying to think about it on the spot (as I was frequently finding i would be close to overflowing mass despite trying to build more factories early) - sandboxing and replays helped me realise i was sending my acu to the front too early and that i should get it to build more factories first.
I see this as something that could be useful not just for reclaim but more generally
e.g. instead of needing to select a group of bombers, and then shift-click on every enemy in an area before using spread-attack, you just click the 'attack area' button, click to drag over the area in question, and they will randomly target any enemy in the area (at the time the command is issued, so it's a 1-off order).
Similarly with engineers they would randomly reclaim anything in that area, and keep reclaiming until the area is cleared of reclaim.
Yeah some way of easily telling tree groups would help - I just don't bother and use attack move as I don't have the time to try and figure out what's a tree group and what isn't, but would be nice to have better information on this so if I wanted to I could try and make better use of tree groups without needing to memorise the map in question. I'd probably prefer including the mass and energy values for tree groups (but not individual trees, to avoid too much information on the overlay), or some special icon/other visual indication (that happens when activating the reclaim overlay), over 'zoom out to a particular level and you can see tree groups but not individual trees', although the zoom out option would still be better than nothing.
Tbh in any RTS game I've played, I can breeze through the campaign on hardest difficulty, then try a multiplayer match and get absolutely crushed (and I also expect to be). I don't think FAF is anything different in this regards - there's an established meta (since it's not a brand new game) and that meta is different to how you can win in the campaign.
Challenge maps/improved tutorials would still help, but it requires someone to do it (although improving the tutorials section of the client to include links to the various guides I'd like to think would be an 'easy win').
I'd prefer option 2 or option 3.
I'd also see this as having a benefit from a gameplay perspective (not just a performance perspective) because it always seemed counter-intuitive to me that an ACU which kills an experimental by itself gets only 1 rank of vet, whereas an ACU that kills some T2 tanks that are a fraction of the mass value can get multiple vet ranks easily. That said though, it's also slightly more intuitive that you gain veterancy when a unit dies rather than when you damage it, though I've seen RTS's that take either approach.
However, it would generally make veterancy more powerful, so might need some sort of slight tweak to compensate. E.g. any unit with moderate or better health that would benefit from an earlier vet would get a benefit when attacking a high health unit with a higher mass cost, such that the veterancy bonus or mass requirement might need adjusting.
Could you give a source for 95% of games being on gap? If I was to guess I’d have thought it closer to 20-30%, and thats counting both gap and dual gap, and ignoring 1v1 ladder
Thanks for foes no longer being able to join your games!