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Trapfix consequences

Posted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 12:45 am
by dnielsen
I want to make a general point about ALL so-called trapfixes.

Let us first note that our beloved Kick Off 2 has a quite complicated procedure to figure out whether to slide or not to slide (ie. trap) at or after button press based around a concept of possession. John Wilson discovered and investigated this and described his findings in detail here:


Some things to take away from his investigation is that a number of things all influence whether you will trap or slide:

I) The distance between you and the opponent.
II) The last action on the ball (shot, pass, dribble touch, throw in, chip).
III) New actions on the ball (ie. a reception by the opponent after a shot).
IV) Whether you centered the joystick for a split-second (causing you to sometimes lose possession).

Let us also note that players with a bit of practice of Kick Off 2 learn to keenly sense whether they will trap or slide when they press the button (or keep it pressed), even without being aware of or thinking about the possession concept. Some examples we can all recognize:

1) The opponent closes in on you while you dribble. You would slide if you pressed the button. (This creates a more challenging attacker-defender dynamics.)

2) You touch the ball in your own box, breaking the opponent attack. You want to now trap the ball and change direction fowards. However, you are afraid to trap because you sense that there is an opponent waiting in the path of your dribble which would cause you to slide and give a penalty. (This creates a risk-reward situation.)

3) Your opponent makes a flat shotpass. If you press the button now, during the shot path, you will not slide (last action was a shot), but if you keep the button pressed, you will make a slide the moment the opponent receives the ball with a new player. (This creates a challenge for you to try to intercept with an immediate button press, but to give up your trapping attempt before the opponent receives the ball with another player.)

4) Due to wishing to enter "trap mode" (keeping the button pressed in defense without risking a slide any longer), you may try to "get the slide out of the way" in midfield (since you can only make one slide pr. button press). This creates another risk-reward decision to make.

Let us also note here once and for all that pressing the button does not ONLY decide whether you slide or trap. Button press ALSO influences player switching in a very big way. Without button press, Kick Off 2 has a rather complicated player switching mechanism. When the button is pressed, however, you will always (with a few exceptions) change control to the player nearest to the ball.

The slide mechanics are thus interlinked with the player switching mechanics. Changing the slide mechanics (causing players to press button to trap in new situations where it would normally be impossible without a slide) thus has a ripple effect for the player switching gameplay, causing it to be more simplified and less challenging. Overall, the whole decision making scheme is disrupted in a very complex way.

Now, at some point someone got the idea to "fix" the trap-slide mechanism due to something conceived by some to be a problem: That you sometimes slide when it "should be obvious" that you want to trap the ball (because you are closer to the ball than the opponent).

Two "objective" arguments were put forward for "fixing":

- That the slides in question were a bug (being unintended by the creator in some sense)
- That the slides in question were unintended by the player (ie. unexpected) and thus somehow should be fixed.

Let us note in passing that Dino has come forward in 2015 to explain that the concept of opponent proximity to your own player influencing the slide mechanism was indeed INTENDED and not a bug. This piece of information is also consistent with the code snippet given in John Wilson's analysis from 2008. Personally, I do not even think it is right to use "it is a bug" as an argument for removing stuff, but it is worth pointing out that the bug claim used for years by trapfix proponents was just plain false.

Here, however, my main point concerns the "unexpected" part.

Let us first discuss briefly the two trapfixes given as option in KO2CV in 2008 and 2012.

"Old trapfix" from 2008
Two changes were made (Camber may please correct me if I am imprecise):

- Don't slide if you are closer to the ball than the opponent.
- Don't slide if you have been holding the fire button for over 5 frames.

This so-called fix had two huge effects on the gameplay:

First, it made stop-and-go dribbling much easier since you did not risk sliding even though the defender closed in, and you also no longer risked slides when "running into" players in your forward path. So challenge 1) and 2) above were removed, causing a rather huge simplification of the gameplay (also taking away defender options, making him feel more powerless).

Secondly, the fix made it much easier to "enter trapmode" while defending, without cost or risk. Simply press the button during an opponent shot and keep it pressed.

Let us quote one participant from the 2011 WC where the "old trapfix" was the default setting:

Most opponents of mine kept the button down for the entire time they were defending, and simply tried to position their players hoping for a trap. This is not the Kick Off 2 I grew up with and love. Steve might as well deactivate the fire button in defense and turn the 10 defending players into moving flytraps.

For this reason, the "new trapfix" was made.

"New trapfix" from 2012
Another logic was added to the old trapfix:

- If you have pressed the button for more than one second, you will slide (as long as other normal conditions are met for a slide).

This was aimed at the problem of people being in trapmode all the time while in defense. However, this causes instead another huge effect on gameplay:

Where you would usually slide, you don't. But you then suddenly slide after 1 second.

This occurs frequently in regular play, but may also happen even at Kick Off -- you press button shortly before kick off, then play starts, and you slide a bit after kick off while chasing the ball.

Btw, the "new trapfix" still has the "simplified attacking" issue that the "old trapfix" also had.

Unexpected events
Let us return to the question of "unexpected events". Let me list some personal experiences:

- When playing the original Kick Off 2, I can play several sessions without encountering a single unexpected slide. For sure, I may sometimes get lazy and greedy and attempt a trap in defense or elsewhere even though I know there is a risk of a slide because of "running into an opponent". I may also slide when trying to trap a lose ball, but this is again a matter of laziness and greed. I should have been aware not to press button, and I give myself a little mental punishment for the laziness. Overall, nothing unexpected happens (in terms of gameplay mechanics -- my opponent will of course surprise me many times).

- However, when playing with the "old" trapfix, tons of unexpected events happens. The opponent dribbler traps in a spot where it is usually IMPOSSIBLE to trap due to my proximity. When I attack, the opponent enters trapmode during my shot pass when I know that he should not have been able to enter the trap mode (due to the specific events since he lost the ball). Quite often, a kind of "trap" sucking battle occurs where both players are in trapmode (while there SHOULD have been a slide). The gameplay mechanics are changed, the decision making tree is disrupeted, and I have to adjust my patterns of expectations that have been ingrained in me over many years (since I was 14).

- When spectating a game on video or live, I INSTANTLY senses when an "impossible" trap is made during dribbling. It shocks my "kick off 2 system" in the same way that we would be surprised in real life if things suddenly fell up rather than down.

- When playing with the "new" trapfix, I typically experience 5-10 "sudden slides" due to the 1-second logic, ON TOP of the unexpected lack of the normal slides.

So what are the overall consequences of a trapfix?

- I encounter 10-20 "impossible" events during a game.
- The gameplay is simplified.

And it is the same for everybody else who are not used to the trapfix (which takes many sessions to get used to).

So I am led to wonder:

IF the problem in the original Kick Off 2 was "unexpected slides" (who are not really unexpected, but just simply undesired in the particular situation for the one about to press the button (but desired for his opponent)),

THEN how can it EVER be considered a fix to introduce TONS MORE UNEXPECTED GAMEPLAY EVENTS FOR EVERYBODY ELSE (ie. the gigantic majority of people who are not familiar with the fix)?

The logical answer is that it simply cannot possibly be considered a fix. ANY "fix" of the trapping mechanics will introduce a lot more problems than it is supposed to solve. Why? Because the particular trapping mechanics of Kick Off 2 are the ones our minds and bodies got used to 25 years ago in 1990 and ever since.

Does this mean that the trapping mechanics in Kick Off 2 are "the best possible"? No, there can be many good ways to implement trapping mechanics. However, there is only ONE way which has a very, very special property: That it was the one that tens and hundreds of thousands of boys and men got used to and fell in love with since 1990.

Re: Trapfix consequences

Posted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 2:32 am
by Robert Swift
Hmm.... that was very informative Dagh. Are you paid for this??

I used to like old trapfix! But that's because I spend most of my time defending against you 424 monsters and I need some help.

New trapfix, well, I prefer it turned off.... I find it harder to defend with this unpredictable delayed slide. As you say, this is unintended too... just a second later!

I think that now I am playing again, I need to work hard on my no trapfix / second player trapmode defending. I think this could be the answer....

BTW, it seems from what you say, it's not to be considered a 'fix' but an alteration. Maybe we can call it something else... newtrap perhaps. Because awarding it the title of 'fix' seems to be a positive judgement. And feedback is mixed.

I am sure that Steve Camber had the best intentions when doing this, as it resulted from 'fixing' Autoslides, i.e. the computer randomly taking over your player. 'Unintended' slides seemed the next logical step.

What was truly unintended was that we would spend the next 7-8 years arguing about it, I am sure!

Re: Trapfix consequences

Posted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 10:13 am
by Bounty Bob
It's very interesting to see that Dino has said that the unintended slide isn't actually a bug. This always felt more like a bug than the auto-slides, which clearly aren't a bug even though some players don't like them.

Re: Trapfix consequences

Posted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 5:22 pm
by Robert Swift
Indeed, no player slide is a bug.

Bugs for me were things like: players coming back on after being sent off; the clock stopping until someone scored; the ball going behind the goal but not out of play. Thanks to Steve Camber we have a patched version of the game and these are a distant memory. Players not doing what we wanted can't really be described as a bug.

Autoslides (where we don't press fire) are based on the player's Aggression stat, which is a Player Manager thing. KO2 is built on the Player Manager code with the addition of after touch and other stuff (and a human opponent!) That's why PBD (a Player Manager feature) is in early versions. As a result, PM mechanics are still all the way through the DNA of Kick Off 2, albeit mainly invisible. This includes the statistics of the players we use. These were not just made up and the numbers punched in. Steve Screech told me 15 years ago that the teams in KO2 were made by him in Player Manager and then imported into KO2 in the same way we would load a PM team. Therefore R.Cox and the others have a full set of PM stats, including such random things as Morale, Flair, Age. All of this is hidden and much of it doesn't affect KO2 performance of the player.

The player's Aggression stat is what covers his chance of doing a rash Autoslide 'lunge' by himself. You can therefore avoid or reduce autoslides by selecting players with low Aggression. So, for example, if R.Cox has high Aggression, we take a conscious risk by selecting him. However, since

1) in KO2 it is impossible to view the player stats in game (this is only possible from FW onwards)
2) for tournament purposes we do not allow lineup changes

... we effectively have no visibility or control of player attributes and team selection. Therefore Autoslides are truly something we have no control over and can be seen as an unwanted feature as they relate specifically to the gameplay of Player Manager and not KO2 tournament play.

Therefore, the 'Autoslides' are actually the true 'Unintended Slides' - and any slide caused by pressing the fire button - sorry - you can't call that an unintended slide. You pressed fire. Maybe 'Mistake Slide' is better?

Re: Trapfix consequences

Posted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 5:28 pm
by Freshmaker
Mistake slide. I like that.

Re: Trapfix consequences

Posted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 8:07 pm
by thor
Robert Swift wrote:Hmm.... that was very informative Dagh. Are you paid for this??

These posts are absolutely awesome! Maybe Dagh should get paid, or get some kind of honorary Doctorate.

Robert Swift wrote:including such random things as Morale, Flair, Age. All of this is hidden and much of it doesn't affect KO2 performance of the player.

Camber can correct me on this, but I believe morale is used to scale the other stats, and this is where Team A got its advantage, by getting an additional moral boost on top of the player's morale.

Freshmaker wrote:Mistake slide. I like that.

Can we just call it training wheels? :mrgreen: I'm kidding! Kidding!

Re: Trapfix consequences

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 8:45 pm
by kofoed
Quality post Dagh.

When my friend Johan and I played KO2 in the early nineties we didn't know for a fact that autoslides existed but we had our suspicions, often one of us would yell: - But I didn't press the damn button and the other would laugh and respond: Sure, you didn't. Sometimes of course you would do an error and still blame the "computer". That's the one thing that is good about autoslides but that is about it. A feature which I some times miss.

My biggest problem with autoslides today is the fact that in combination with a harsh ref, one autoslide can decide the outcome of a crucial game in a tournament if you're unlucky and have Cox sent off, which is quite inconvenient, "Lex James Beard" (In Athens 2002 wasn't it?)

Re: Trapfix consequences

Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 4:25 pm
by Robert Swift
kofoed wrote:one of us would yell: - But I didn't press the damn button and the other would laugh and respond: Sure, you didn't. Sometimes of course you would do an error and still blame the "computer".

Ha ha ha!!! I am totally with this!!! Bring back autoslides!

Though I agree, auto slides plus S Screech can destroy a game, if you lose Cox, Barber or Nicholls.

Re: Trapfix consequences

Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 5:28 pm
by Steve1977
Awesome post Dagh - will have a delve into all this and play games focussing on this issue. Either way, I'm looking forward to just playing the game in whatever the settings are.
My knowledge of Trap Fix is circa 2010 and my limited knowledge is that SteveC fixed the issue with people holding down the fire button and so there's nothing now to worry about kinda thing. (I'm not specifically stating SteveC fixed it btw...this is me speaking in a hypothetical manner!)

But I appreciate I was wrong with this from what you're saying - this gives us all an excuse to play KO2 even more! :eeko: :lol:

About AutoSlides - I'm up for putting these back in the game too!

Re: Trapfix consequences

Posted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 3:47 pm
by Robert Swift
I'm telling ya Steve1977 trapfix ain't what it used to be. I loved Old Trapfix :-)

Re: Trapfix consequences

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2016 12:48 am
by dnielsen
A great example of the defender proximity to the dribbler causing a slide. It is from the final between Andy and Gianni (after 9:48):

You can see Andy tweak the defender path to close the distance just before Gianni attempts to trap.

Re: Trapfix consequences

Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:04 pm
by Torchiador
Dagh, very nice work here! thank you very much.
dnielsen wrote:A great example of the defender proximity to the dribbler causing a slide. It is from the final between Andy and Gianni (after 9:48):

Dagh, this is a test for you. In the example you mentioned: can you define the ball possession sequence that led to the slide?
I start the chart for you: immediately after the longbow diagonal pass i performed stealing the Andy's ball, the possession was: NOBODY.

Re: Trapfix consequences

Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:55 pm
by dnielsen
Gianni, then I guess you took possessions the moment you touched the balled with 10, then you kept possession until Andy made the final tweak right just before you made the slide.

Reading John Wilson's explanation again, it seems like Andy took possession because of proximity to the ball (and not due to being near you, since you did NOT pause your player). If this is so, then I wonder how the finer logic works, so that you do not also have possession. Remember, according to Wilson's post the slide occurs only because Andy has possession, and you do not. So why do you not keep possession from being near to the ball? (In other words: Why do you not both have possession?)