'Weakening the Leading Team According to Score' Suggestion

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'Weakening the Leading Team According to Score' Suggestion

Postby dnielsen » Wed May 20, 2009 6:17 am

Just reread some old threads about A>B and was lead to think of an idea I tend to really, really like.

Suggestion:

Have the leading team become weaker by a degree determined by the lead in score. For instance, 1 goal difference could result in -10%, 2 goal difference in 0.9^2, etc (details of implementation can always be tinkered with).

Motivation:

To introduce a way to handicap stronger players, but so that playability, enjoyment and competitiveness for both sides are preserved in a neutral way. Often, tournaments are arranged with players of widely differing skills. In a game between a newbie and a veteran, the veteran will tend to dominate possession (due to stuff like better player switching, positional awareness and timing) and will control events all over the pitch quite easily. This can result in scores like 10-0 where the weaker player practically didn't have a shot on goal. The weaker player may feel he had no realistic chance to compete nor enjoyment, and the stronger player may feel there was no interesting challenge.

I have been speculating about how to address this issue. As an example, let's take a Nordic Championship. John and I would be expected to dominate the little experienced players badly, while Nick and Jacob would be expected somewhere in between.

One possible solution could be to introduce golf-like handicaps, like, for instance, John's goals would only count 0.25 compared to a goal scored by a player without a handicap. However, this solution would not address the issue of games nevertheless being hugely one-sided.

Another possible solution could be to give the stronger players worse teams to start with. However, this hurts the "fairness" of the gameplay and the feeling of authenticity of the whole experience (it would probably not be so much fun for John if he knew in advance that he would have to play 7 out of 10 games with a division 4 team). You try to achieve neutrality in results, but your method leads to a huge loss of neutrality in gameplay.

Instead, the suggestion above seems to avoid both problems. Every game is started in a neutral setting. Team A is equal to Team B, and their goals are worth equally much. However, what would now happen is that a stronger player will usually get a lead of 1-2-3 goals and THEN his team will have gotten progressively worse and the control of the game will go towards being 50%-50%. The weaker player should now have more fun as he has more of a say in the action, and the stronger play will now feel the challenge of holding on to his lead with his players being a bit more "lazy". And still, the game is 100% fair: The players start in equal conditions, just now whoever gets ahead will get a tougher time controlling events. So the eventual result would still feel completely fair. Nobody was handicapped before the game or before the start of the tournament.

What we would have are games where the score would rarely go too far away from a draw. This should in itself lead to more excitement (instead of a game being immediately decided once a stronger player gets a 3-goal lead). Also in games between players of roughly the same strength would there be this effect of always keeping the score close and excitement high right to the final whistle.

You can compare it to classic single-player games: Once you beat a level, you move on to a harder level, instead of just replaying the same level (~scoring another goal against the same opponent). In this new level, the challenge is harder (~the opponent is now faster relative to you). While if you die in a level (~the opponent scores) you move down to a slightly easier level.

This could also make casual practice games more interesting between players of different strength. Instead of having a linear process ("can I keep an average of X goals pr. minute for the full 10 minutes"), we would have a process of beating progressively harder "levels" where it gets really tough to build a significant lead. Overall, the gaming experience throughout a session might feel like a really close and challenging fight between the two players since most of the playing time would be with 50%-50% control of events, and the weaker player would rarely be hugely down in the score.

My hope is that a feature like this could make many tournaments and casual gaming sessions a much more interesting and joyful experience for all involved. Of course, many people would probably prefer to keep on playing their tournaments as they do now. But, i think that especially in situations where a new group of players are being integrated with more experienced players, this could do a lot to make events more pleasing and agreeable for everybody.
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Re: KO2 Competition Version Wish List

Postby Bounty Bob » Wed May 20, 2009 11:46 am

Good idea Dagh. Many racing games have been doing this kind of thing for years. Look at Super Mario Kart on the SNES as the perfect example. Racers at the front get slightly disadvantaged, while the ones behind have a boost. It's not visibly shown to the players but it's there and it's why games like this always have close racing.

The system is often referred to as rubber banding. The more ahead someone gets, the more the 'elastic' is stretched, making it pull the losing player back in more quickly.
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Re: KO2 Competition Version Wish List

Postby gdh82 » Wed May 20, 2009 12:12 pm

What Bbob said! A really interesting idea, Dagh, and definately like the the newbie-friendly aspect to this. I guess to a tiny degree, something like this already happens, with the goal keeper speeding up/slowing down to take goal kicks once a significant lead has been achieved.

If it became an option, I'm not sure if such matches would qualify as official matches ? Others might be better placed to comment on the ranking implications. Still be a fun jff addition in any case.

I could imagine a 'Fun Cup' tournament though which would be far more open than usual! 8)
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Re: KO2 Competition Version Wish List

Postby Bounty Bob » Wed May 20, 2009 12:31 pm

gdh82 wrote:If it became an option, I'm not sure if such matches would qualify as official matches ?
To my mind, it really wouldn't make much difference. The best player should still win, because when scores are level, matches are equally balanced, so they should theoretically always be able to win by 1. A bad player will have to be 2 or 3 down to feel the advantage creeping towards them, so they'll still lose anyway. All it might do is throw up a few 'shock' results more often. It's not inconceivable for top players to lose anyway. Matches between closely matched players can go either way anyway, so no change there.

The biggest draw back would be the fact that goal difference counts to the ranking points, so there would be slightly less point gains by the high goal scorers. But victory margin should never have been a factor in the first place, so I say we forget it, re-calculate the rankings and carry on like we never had that factor in the first place.
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Re: KO2 Competition Version Wish List

Postby Torchiador » Wed May 20, 2009 12:36 pm

Not a bad idea!
Anyway I'd restrict this kind of option just in games where the gap between players is big.
I mean, when I play with my usual strongest opponents there are moment in which a player scores 4-5 goals in a row and in a second moment in which the other player make a strong come back. It's not rare that there are short alternate streaks of goals between players.
I remember my game with Klaus in London this year. I was leading 4-0 and it seemed a closed game. the final score resulted 4-3 and I risked the draw.
So I find fair to help unpracticed player against strong players, but I don't think that is good in a game between 2 players with a close gap of skills, at every level of ranking.
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Re: KO2 Competition Version Wish List

Postby dnielsen » Wed May 20, 2009 4:53 pm

With regard to ratings/official status, I agree with Bounty Bob's analysis here:

Bounty Bob wrote:To my mind, it really wouldn't make much difference. The best player should still win, because when scores are level, matches are equally balanced, so they should theoretically always be able to win by 1. A bad player will have to be 2 or 3 down to feel the advantage creeping towards them, so they'll still lose anyway. All it might do is throw up a few 'shock' results more often. It's not inconceivable for top players to lose anyway. Matches between closely matched players can go either way anyway, so no change there.


Let's not forget that, generally, everything is done on a voluntary basis. You can have ranked tournaments with strong wind and soggy pitch on by default. Participation is voluntary. By participating you declare your "if both players agree" in advance. Basically, I can't see why a game between Scotland and Italy on a soggy pitch with strong wind would deserve to have a more official status (in terms of being ranked) than a normal game with this feature implemented. The current ranking guide-line is:

You need to play Team A v Team B at International Skill Level or International Teams, time 2 x 5mins.


So you already have a large pool of different possible settings that go under this. My feeling is that adding this feature would not divert from the essence of this pool (like it could be argued that 2x3 mins or 2x5 mins with division 4 teams would).

Anyway, this is just analysis, final decisions are made by Robert or Alkis on this. But, let me just stress that this is not only an idea for JFF games. I would welcome this feature at, for instance, a Nordic Championship if the participants agreed to it. Even at the expense of the event not being ranked. The hope is that it would make games between players of widely different playing levels much more entertaining and meaningful, for both sides. (There is more to KO2 than rankings, ffs!)

To stress: Everything is done on a voluntary basis. It would be just another option in the KO2 tool-box.

Torchiador wrote:Anyway I'd restrict this kind of option just in games where the gap between players is big.
I mean, when I play with my usual strongest opponents there are moment in which a player scores 4-5 goals in a row and in a second moment in which the other player make a strong come back. It's not rare that there are short alternate streaks of goals between players.
I remember my game with Klaus in London this year. I was leading 4-0 and it seemed a closed game. the final score resulted 4-3 and I risked the draw.
So I find fair to help unpracticed player against strong players, but I don't think that is good in a game between 2 players with a close gap of skills, at every level of ranking.


I was speculating about this too when formulating the suggestion. I guess the issue is that we can have two different situations:

a) The score is 4-0. It can be a game between a strong and a weak player, and the stronger player would "need" to be slowed down significantly.

b) The score is 4-0. It is a game between roughly equally strong players, just one player was on a scoring streak, and there really isn't no pressing need to handicap the leading player.

However, I would like the mechanism to be neutral and not based on any pre-game measurements. 4-0 is 4-0, and the mechanism would only look at this score to determine the handicap.

I think that we could go a long way towards resolving this Gianni-Klaus issue by designing the handicap mechanism well. Instead of, say, a 1-goal lead resulting in a 10% handicap, you could have it result only in a smaller handicap, and then let the handicap grow significantly more at a later point.

Graphically, here is what I mean:

Version 1: Every goal added to the difference leads to a similar increase in handicap:

--
----
------
--------
----------

Version 2: The handicap only really begins to kick in at a 3-4 goal lead:

-
--
----
-------
----------

In version 2, in a game between equally strong players, the leading player would still have a "buffer" of a 2-3 goal lead where he is not significantly handicapped yet.

Anyway, tinkerings and tests could hopefully lead to a good formula and also to a more clear impression of whether such games would eventually also deserve ranked status.
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Re: KO2 Competition Version Wish List

Postby Steve1977 » Wed May 20, 2009 9:53 pm

A great and fresh idea though Dagh and I'd definetly attend tournaments with this option. It's a change which might actually encourage newbies to stay a bit longer as well. You could mirror this idea with real life...when a team goes a few goals up, they physologically take their foot off the pedal whilst the other team huff and puff to try and get back into the game.

If this was implemented I'd like to see the subs unaffected as it would be in their nature to be fresh and vibrant - would then introduce a whole new tactical level to the subs as well.

This idea is more radical than Autoslides though, so I'm putting my tin hat on now given how much debate that raged, as essentially it's changing the gameplay and having a fluctuating A>B, A<B.

The possibilities this has for new players/players who don't get the chance to practice sounds very exciting - no longer will they lose most games and it'l encourage them to attend more tournaments - perhaps this should be this new ideas main focus...
Maybe Mark could implement something within the fixture generator which flags up players who have to play with it on (by identifying the ranking position...so someone at 1st place would have to use it when playing someone ranked #100 but when the two titans battle it out (Dagh and Gianni) it would be normal Kick Off.
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Re: KO2 Competition Version Wish List

Postby Steve Camber » Thu May 21, 2009 9:03 am

Interesting idea for sure, and well put.

How is a team crippled?

Weaker tackles? Less accurate kicking? Slower pace?

I play better going upfield. With this system in, it would be in my interest to begin the game going downfield 'allowing' my opponent to handicap himself by scoring a few goals, then in the second half have an easier run to reach the draw and hopefully then the win. Currently I dont care which end I start playing at, but I can see that choice becoming important.
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Re: KO2 Competition Version Wish List

Postby gdh82 » Thu May 21, 2009 11:54 am

Steve Camber wrote:How is a team crippled?

Weaker tackles? Less accurate kicking? Slower pace?


I was going to ask Dagh the same question too, about which player attribute(s) he imagined would be modified according to this suggestion ?

On a wider point and I hope I'm not speaking too soon but the big thing for me is how refreshing it is that we're even able to have this discussion! To talk about changes to the gameplay engine without all that melodrama and hostility is very welcome. Underlying the slide threads from last year was essentially a desire to be able to openly debate KO2CV development. Maybe they weren't in vain after all. Whether they were or not, and whether Dagh's latest suggestion is implemented or not, this has got to be the way forward.
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Re: KO2 Competition Version Wish List

Postby Bounty Bob » Thu May 21, 2009 12:21 pm

I'd suggest the ability to kick straight and keeper attributes.

The more goals you score, the more likely your attackers all shoot like m.m. barrett and your keeper becomes more likely to have the ball go through him. Maybe slightly affect pace too, so the losing player gets more chance to get to the goal and shoot.
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Re: KO2 Competition Version Wish List

Postby Bounty Bob » Thu May 21, 2009 12:27 pm

gdh82 wrote:On a wider point and I hope I'm not speaking too soon but the big thing for me is how refreshing it is that we're even able to have this discussion! To talk about changes to the gameplay engine without all that melodrama and hostility is very welcome. Underlying the slide threads from last year was essentially a desire to be able to openly debate KO2CV development. Maybe they weren't in vain after all. Whether they were or not, and whether Dagh's latest suggestion is implemented or not, this has got to be the way forward.
I knew you'd bring it up! As we're now past the point of no return, it makes little difference.
Anyway, I still think the slide change is wrong and should be forgotten, but hey-ho. I've never been against discussion, just against that particular point. Am I doomed to forever be reminded of the reason I no longer play kick off, or can you just let it lie once and for all? :roll:
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Re: KO2 Competition Version Wish List

Postby Steve Camber » Thu May 21, 2009 2:06 pm

Dynamically scaling specific attributes sounds easiest to me. Deciding upon how much to alter the stats may take some tweaking though.

Running speed, keeper skills and shooting accuracy are definitely possible.

I am liking the idea of every goal becoming harder to score when I'm punishing some noob like Robert. I can laugh progressively louder as each lob finds the target. :D
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Re: KO2 Competition Version Wish List

Postby dnielsen » Thu May 21, 2009 2:08 pm

Steve Camber wrote:Interesting idea for sure, and well put.

How is a team crippled?

Weaker tackles? Less accurate kicking? Slower pace?


The main thing I have had in mind is slower pace. With a slower pace penalty, the player being behind is supposed to be helped to control more of the action. Like, for instance, a weaker player can catch up if he is fooled by a dribble, or he can outrun the defender even if his lob-passes are not so precise.

As an example, let's take the difference between having the ball with Barber or with Nicholls in the center circle in second half (where Barber is significantly faster than Nicholls). It is much more difficult to dribble successfully from the middle circle to the penalty area with Nicholls than it is Barber. And it is easier to defend against Nicholls than against Barber.

With regard to shooting (or passing) straight, I am in doubt. Besides handicapping the leading player, it may also simply frustrate him too much. It's one thing to not being able to just keep the distance if you get ahead of a defender, but another thing to repeatedly see your shots ending up in the stands or anywhere else they were not supposed to go. My suspicion is that a pace penalty alone will do enough to demand higher precision from the leading player in his shooting (for instance, if you make crosses to Nicholls in 424, you already as it is now have to be more precise in the second half than in the first half).

So if you just look at a pace penalty in isolation, it would supposedly feel like you are attacking with a slow Nicholls (rather than Barber) and defending with a slow R.Curtis (rather than Lindsey).

With regard to lowering the keeper attribute, I don't know. I mean, we are already firmly used to pace being a variable all over the pitch, so that you are sometimes slower than your opponent. While seeing shots being parried or go through the keeper more often kind of disturbs a fundamental gameplay balance. I would rather help a player being behind by giving him a bit more room to play "proper Kick Off" by virtue of the opponent being slower, than I would help him by having him try any odd shot from any odd distance in the hope that the opponent keeper will fumble. But it's possible anyway. Perhaps only a very mild weakening could be used. Anyway, keep in mind that a keeper is already weakened simply by having a slower pace.

With regard to the "strength" of a player (how easily he is knocked over), I also don't know. But I don't think it is so important (a change here would always feel of minimal importance compared to a pace penalty anyway).

Two things to certainly not change is the likelihood of a player being injured, or the stamina of a player. If the score is 3-3 after 7 minutes of play, Nicholls should be exactly as slow as he usually is after 7 minutes, and not extra slow because you happened to be ahead 3-0 before the score was equalised.

My general feeling is that from a user side, keeping it simple by simply saying "when you are ahead, your players get slower" would be a good start. Perhaps this could be tested first and tinkered with, and then possible additional penalties could come into consideration.

I don't know the details of how the classical A>B was implemented and its effects. It was by use of a morale penalty? Anyway, that may also be an option for you from a programmer's side, if the end effect is close to what we would desire anyway.

Anyway, it's all up for consideration. The main effect I am looking for is that a playing being behind is given a helping hand to control more of the action on the pitch.

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