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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby DiM on Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:29 pm

ender516 wrote:Keeping inexperienced mapmakers out of a test bed would mean those who might most need some early gameplay checking won't get it.


degaston wrote:I don't see a problem with allowing anyone to test/play the maps if they are unrated games.



letting anybody in is not a good idea. first of all more people = more traffic = bigger costs.
i don't think lack can afford allowing thousands of people on the test site.
as for making unrated games on this site and doing the testing here, then that's out of the question too. testing should happen remotely. new players already have a bunch of confusing info to assimilate. throw in a bunch of ugly maps and unrated games that are filled with bugs and you have a recipe for disaster.

ender516 wrote:I think adding an alpha test phase prior to the graphics stamp phase to check basic gameplay and keeping the beta test phase that we have now, which proves out gameplay/graphics integration, would be the right way to go.


the alpha phase would not be feasible on this site and in this environment. when testing you need to make changes on the fly, and this is impossible here as lack won't give access to the uploading tools to anybody. not just because of trust issues but rather because if a bug occurs it might affect other maps that are in live play and it could do major harm.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby koontz1973 on Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:51 pm

DiM wrote:"all your base" had a flaw with the neutrals and one could rush the objective in manual deployment. i fixed it in a matter of days and not much damage was done.
but "rorke's drift" had the same issue and it took longer to fix. hence at some point there were people who managed to get over 3000 points from this exploit.


Both of these issues should of been spotted in the game play section. Your one should of been spotted as well as mine. The reason mine took longer to fix as you said was the fact when it was raised, it was I thought. It was not until it was raised further, a long time later by you and others, did the problem get sorted, very quickly on my part.

But a beta testing site still may not of seen these problems and it could of still been released to the public beta testing with the same flaws. If a foundry that has many eyes on it and game play experts in it, how would playing a few games foresee these problems? In my thread alone, before the GP stamp I had, natty dread, DiM, isaiah40, thenobodies, Industrial Helix, Sniper08 and many other players as well, all with some level of GP expertise about them. No one foresaw the RD manual problem. Same with the AYBBTU. No one saw it.

Beta testing is still the best way to go as it gives the most overall picture of the games we create.

What would be nice to see instead of a beta testing site is a games stats screen for beta maps. That way, if there is a problem with the maps settings, it would be easier to spot trends than having the map maker go through all of the settings in the game finder. That should be an easy code to do as i would think something similar to tour stats would work.

enders516 wrote:I think adding an alpha test phase prior to the graphics stamp phase to check basic gameplay and keeping the beta test phase that we have now, which proves out gameplay/graphics integration, would be the right way to go.

Having an Alpha phase in the final forge would be nice. The site could generate a game for all of the settings (20 round limit) with an open invite to everyone on the home page (so first come first served). If bugs are found within the game or xml then it can be fixed before the beta testing for real.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby DiM on Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:06 pm

koontz1973 wrote:
DiM wrote:"all your base" had a flaw with the neutrals and one could rush the objective in manual deployment. i fixed it in a matter of days and not much damage was done.
but "rorke's drift" had the same issue and it took longer to fix. hence at some point there were people who managed to get over 3000 points from this exploit.


Both of these issues should of been spotted in the game play section.


not really. as i said, as maps get more complicated it becomes harder and harder to think about all the possible scenarios and prevent such exploits. especially when new gameplay features are also involved.
for example when i made aybabtu i had no experience with manual, i didn't even think about manual deployment as it was a rather new feature for me. or take the trench attacks. we don't really know how they'll affect the gameplay and we might overlook some major flaws because of this.

koontz1973 wrote:But a beta testing site still may not of seen these problems and it could of still been released to the public beta testing with the same flaws. If a foundry that has many eyes on it and game play experts in it, how would playing a few games foresee these problems?

if testing is done properly then major flaws are easy to spot. a major flaw in the design is usually spotted within the first few rounds. so you don't really need to finish a 50 round 8p no spoil games to draw a conclusion. play a few rounds, delete the game, try a new setting for a few more rounds, and so on. within a week one could test lots and lots of variables.
also in a test site multiple accounts would not be a problem. i've got a few hours to spare but i can't find online fellow testers? no problem i'll test by myself using a few multis :)

koontz1973 wrote:Beta testing is still the best way to go as it gives the most overall picture of the games we create.


of course and i'm not saying we get rid of beta testing.

the way i see it it should be like this.
i have a totally new and crazy idea. one that might be genius or might be crap but we don't know for sure cause it's so damn complicated. so i come up with a very crude draft get you and sully and head on the test site. upload the image and start testing. we'll immediately see if the idea was genius or crap and see if it's worth going forward.
with just the beta system, i'd actually have to make pretty graphics for the crap only to realise in beta that it really stinks and now i have to redo everything, or simply bin it.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby natty dread on Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:10 pm

koontz1973 wrote:Both of these issues should of been spotted in the game play section.


But they weren't, that's the point. I don't see how this is an argument against a testing feature.

koontz1973 wrote:But a beta testing site still may not of seen these problems


Well that's a fine argument: "It may not work so let's not even try". Like I said, the beta phase could still be there even with the testing feature, but the previous testing phase would prevent the larger flaws from showing up in beta, only minor issues would need to be tweaked there. Arguing that we don't need this because "the current beta-testing is needed" is a non-argument - the two are not mutually exclusive.

Any way you look it, having a test phase before the actual beta phase can't be worse than the current situation.

Besides, the beta-testing phase as it exists now is deeply flawed and unflexible. Granted, this isn't a problem for most maps, which are relatively simple - but the way beta testing works now, the changes you can make to a map that is already in play are limited: you can't add or remove territories, without stopping all current games and closing the map - and as it is such a huge pain in the ass, you can't really do it many times. Also it pisses off and frustrates the players.

A separate test site, available in the gameplay phase, would be way more flexible: you could test various permutations of the map, even totally different configurations, whatever you'd want, and it wouldn't be a problem. Heck, you could even test multiple versions of the map at the same time!
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby degaston on Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:10 pm

DiM wrote:letting anybody in is not a good idea. first of all more people = more traffic = bigger costs.
i don't think lack can afford allowing thousands of people on the test site.
as for making unrated games on this site and doing the testing here, then that's out of the question too. testing should happen remotely. new players already have a bunch of confusing info to assimilate. throw in a bunch of ugly maps and unrated games that are filled with bugs and you have a recipe for disaster.

So you think thousands of people are suddenly going to flock to the site so that they can play maps under development? :-s I doubt this would even make a blip in the amount of traffic he gets. And I said that the foundry maps should not be out front with the main maps so newbies shouldn't be affected. Plenty of chess sites host both rated and unrated games. I really don't see what the problem is with that.

DiM wrote:the alpha phase would not be feasible on this site and in this environment. when testing you need to make changes on the fly, and this is impossible here as lack won't give access to the uploading tools to anybody. not just because of trust issues but rather because if a bug occurs it might affect other maps that are in live play and it could do major harm.

What better way to make his game engine robust than to allow un-vetted xml files to be used? ;) But I have no problem with it being done on a separate site either. He could even require that map makers host their own files if he's that worried about traffic. Another alternative is to have map makers submit their xml and jpgs for CA approval before it's allowed to run.

But I still get the sense that none of this is going to happen. :(
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby natty dread on Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:12 pm

degaston wrote:But I still get the sense that none of this is going to happen. :(


You sound like an experienced mapmaker. ;)
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby degaston on Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:19 pm

natty dread wrote:
degaston wrote:But I still get the sense that none of this is going to happen. :(

You sound like an experienced mapmaker. ;)

I guess I crammed a lot of experience into half-completing a map. :)
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby DiM on Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:19 pm

natty dread wrote:
degaston wrote:But I still get the sense that none of this is going to happen. :(


You sound like an experienced mapmaker. ;)



i loled at this :lol: which is sad :cry:
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby army of nobunaga on Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:02 pm

There should be a players committee of 8 guys with over 8000 or 10000 games that have cross-mapped 80% of all maps. A tough criteria that I do not meet. But until you guys start involving players then you are just making art, and not necessarily playable or good art.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby grifftron on Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:23 pm

Just leave it alone and keep the BETA process... why try to change what is good already? Everyone knows BETA maps can change during the process.. just drop it geez.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby army of nobunaga on Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:31 pm

grifftron wrote:Just leave it alone and keep the BETA process... why try to change what is good already? Everyone knows BETA maps can change during the process.. just drop it geez.



Every process should be constantly under review and improved and improved when possible..

that is um called growth of product and business.

attend many seminars do you?
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby army of nobunaga on Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:34 pm

Good thing Ford stuck with the assembly line manned by people, those mechanized robots would never had lasted in the car making business. Good thing We still use the original windows.. I mean it was perfect, imagine a world with some fancy platform, that gates guy is a mastermind.

Good thing linux never has new developments and releases.. we all know it was perfect.

What world do you live in man? Not all change is good change, but constant attempts to improve the process and product always .. ALWAYS helps in success.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby grifftron on Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:11 pm

army of nobunaga wrote:
grifftron wrote:Just leave it alone and keep the BETA process... why try to change what is good already? Everyone knows BETA maps can change during the process.. just drop it geez.



Every process should be constantly under review and improved and improved when possible..

that is um called growth of product and business.

attend many seminars do you?


Yeah, every map does go thru this process already genius, its called BETA... EVERY CC player has the chance to play the map and complain about any faults it has, it has worked for years, and now your brilliant mind wants to put together a team of 10k games or more to work out the kinks of each map... every user looking at a map is a lot better then a group of 6 bud.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby ender516 on Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:20 pm

The point that was being argued in this thread was that the testing could be done sooner. Several people have mentioned that the beta testing phase would be retained, but testing prior to herculean efforts on graphics could save a lot of time and effort. The issue that army was trying to address was the valid concern that testing maps at an alpha stage might be too risky for the genpop.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby degaston on Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:58 pm

ender516 wrote:... The issue that army was trying to address was the valid concern that testing maps at an alpha stage might be too risky for the genpop.

And these risks are... what, exactly? :-s
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby ender516 on Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:19 pm

Well, perhaps I should have said "too risky to the general wellbeing of the site if performed by the genpop." Some people complain bitterly and unceasingly about beta maps, and an exploit in a map, say, like in the early version of Rorke's Drift, can do drastic things to the scoreboard. Imagine the chaos if an even more exploitable map appeared under alpha test.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby army of nobunaga on Sat Apr 14, 2012 12:55 am

degaston wrote:
ender516 wrote:... The issue that army was trying to address was the valid concern that testing maps at an alpha stage might be too risky for the genpop.

And these risks are... what, exactly? :-s


To be frank, people like yourself for example... under 200 games, yes awesome rank yadda yadda.. but would you know the main difference between an Austerlitz and a US Sentate? I mean what reall makes the maps both different.. No and I am not going to get into a pissing contest with you.

I remember in my first degree I had to take some class called music appreciation.. I thought "What a lame ass class, easy A" .. Well I learned there is SO much more to music than I had ever any clue about. And I learned enough to know that I STILL do not have any clue about music.

Take my knowledge of CC... I promise you.. I swear to you, it pales besides the knowledge of a LFAW or a King Herpes.. I mean those guys have forgotten more about the intricacies of CC than I have eb\ever known. It takes games to know what is up, it takes playing against cooks to conquerors to know what is up.

It is dangerous to have OUR site vested from general population of dumdums that do not even understand how much they do not know.

And this is our game and our site. I have invested thousands of dollars and double that in hours. The map makers have invested their talent and thousands of man hours... We are all vested.

And thus to conclude... We deserve a continuing better process of map development, and we deserve the player 'experts' of CC that know more about this game to help in the process... And that is what we all deserve. This game that is just a game, can end at any time. I have played games that I was vested in, that ended.

We are all entitled to trying to make sure lack makes enough damn money and grows this business, to ensure the continual life of our vestment. And that is fact.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby degaston on Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:31 am

ender516 wrote:Well, perhaps I should have said "too risky to the general wellbeing of the site if performed by the genpop." Some people complain bitterly and unceasingly about beta maps, and an exploit in a map, say, like in the early version of Rorke's Drift, can do drastic things to the scoreboard. Imagine the chaos if an even more exploitable map appeared under alpha test.

Which is exactly why "alpha" games should be unrated. Imagine the lack of chaos if there were no points riding on these games and it was clearly explained that these maps were not finished and this was just testing.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby degaston on Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:38 am

army of nobunaga wrote:
degaston wrote:And these risks are... what, exactly? :-s

To be frank, people like yourself for example... under 200 games, yes awesome rank yadda yadda.. but would you know the main difference between an Austerlitz and a US Sentate? I mean what reall makes the maps both different.. No and I am not going to get into a pissing contest with you.

...It takes games to know what is up, it takes playing against cooks to conquerors to know what is up.

It is dangerous to have OUR site vested from general population of dumdums that do not even understand how much they do not know.

And this is our game and our site. I have invested thousands of dollars and double that in hours. The map makers have invested their talent and thousands of man hours... We are all vested.

I'm not trying to get into a pissing contest with you, I'm trying to improve the map-making process and the site.

This started with a discussion about the declining quality of maps being produced. I think the reason for this is that the existing map-making process stifles creativity and innovation because it doesn't allow for experimentation (or at least makes it extremely inefficient). I don't claim to know everything about the maps or map-making, but as a programmer, I know software development, which is what map-making boils down to. If programmers could not test their applications throughout the development process, software innovation would stagnate, and we would still be stuck in the "dark ages" of DOS.

Obviously, good players should be involved and their opinions given more weight, but anyone can make valuable suggestions. Testing needs idiots to make maps "idiot-proof". Inexperienced players may try "illogical" strategies which can uncover problems that the experts would have missed. An elitist attitude that only the best of the best are qualified to judge new maps is inefficient, narrow-minded, and makes it difficult for new ideas to ever have a chance. That is the real danger.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby thenobodies80 on Sat Apr 14, 2012 1:04 pm

I understand what you are trying to say here, although I have serious doubt it can happens without implement other things that i'm still waiting.

But I have a strange question that goes in an opposite direction: Why maps should be tested first? How many maps had to pass through a graphics overhaul because the gameplay had flaws? When this happened? I remember that Das Schloss introduced the Beta stage, it was done to not wait the conclusion of all games, not to test if the map work in the proper way, the purpose was different imo. Then after that map the worst beta test was rorke's drift and in that case we had to close the map because it was the first time we had to reduce the number of territories and lackattack was forced to change a couple of things in the database to do that, so it wasn't possible to change the map with ongoing games.
Honestly I don't remember a map released by CAs and approved by the community at large that had so big flaw to set a testing process to ensure that your gameplay is fine.

Speaking frankly, the Beta stage is not test the map and see if it works before to launch it, but ensure that everything works in the right way before to not allow more changes on it. It's different.
If someone is not willing to apply some minor changes to a map after that is released, then....don't start to draw a map at all, at least here on CC. Sorry but this is the flat and real truth.
If someone is not able to choose a type of gameplay and go in that direction, then that person probably has not understood our guidelines and how we do maps here.

When and if I'll be able to upload for you all the files and when and if the owner of the site will be open to have a testing ground for maps, then this discussion will have a sense, for now, in my opinion , we are just discussing about nothing. Moreover this was suggested several times by people and also CAs and I doubt that a game testing phase, a part what we have now, will happen in the near future.

Said that, if it was asked to me (and in general new foundry additions are asked to us, the CAs), I would push for have new xml features instead of a place where i can test the same old things, so don't expect I will put this on the top of the list of things to do/to have.

Certainly the process can be changed, refined, and to be honest we're discussing something on this line behind the scenes (we will go with a public review this time since we want a process that suit for you all and not only for us), but add a stage just for the sake of a person that wasn't able to find out the best gameplay for his map....sorry not at all.

I'm not trying to argue with you, just trying to speak frankly since I know how things work here and how much difficult is to have things for the foundry.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby Gillipig on Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:20 pm

army of nobunaga wrote:
degaston wrote:
ender516 wrote:... The issue that army was trying to address was the valid concern that testing maps at an alpha stage might be too risky for the genpop.

And these risks are... what, exactly? :-s


To be frank, people like yourself for example... under 200 games, yes awesome rank yadda yadda.. but would you know the main difference between an Austerlitz and a US Sentate? I mean what reall makes the maps both different.. No and I am not going to get into a pissing contest with you.

I remember in my first degree I had to take some class called music appreciation.. I thought "What a lame ass class, easy A" .. Well I learned there is SO much more to music than I had ever any clue about. And I learned enough to know that I STILL do not have any clue about music.

Take my knowledge of CC... I promise you.. I swear to you, it pales besides the knowledge of a LFAW or a King Herpes.. I mean those guys have forgotten more about the intricacies of CC than I have eb\ever known. It takes games to know what is up, it takes playing against cooks to conquerors to know what is up.

It is dangerous to have OUR site vested from general population of dumdums that do not even understand how much they do not know.

And this is our game and our site. I have invested thousands of dollars and double that in hours. The map makers have invested their talent and thousands of man hours... We are all vested.

And thus to conclude... We deserve a continuing better process of map development, and we deserve the player 'experts' of CC that know more about this game to help in the process... And that is what we all deserve. This game that is just a game, can end at any time. I have played games that I was vested in, that ended.

We are all entitled to trying to make sure lack makes enough damn money and grows this business, to ensure the continual life of our vestment. And that is fact.

I know eggsactly what u taking bout, like craazy dude, that meth was niiice!!! :lol:
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby DiM on Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:34 pm

thenobodies80 wrote:Why maps should be tested first? How many maps had to pass through a graphics overhaul because the gameplay had flaws? When this happened? I remember that Das Schloss introduced the Beta stage, it was done to not wait the conclusion of all games, not to test if the map work in the proper way, the purpose was different imo. Then after that map the worst beta test was rorke's drift and in that case we had to close the map because it was the first time we had to reduce the number of territories and lackattack was forced to change a couple of things in the database to do that, so it wasn't possible to change the map with ongoing games.
Honestly I don't remember a map released by CAs and approved by the community at large that had so big flaw to set a testing process to ensure that your gameplay is fine.



you fail to see the point of a testing site. it is not just to iron out kinks and flaws but most importantly to encourage wild creativity. even if i'm not anywhere near as active in the foundry as i used to be i often find myself thinking of various map scenarios that are generally very weird. with a testing facility in place and an easy intuitive interface for defining terits and bonuses (like landgrab has) i could draw up a sketch, define the bonuses and have a game ready for testing in a matter of minutes. test the idea and see if it's bullshit or genius.

at this moment most maps don't stray too far away from the classic recipe, hence beta only caters to minor changes. whatever maps vary to much will most likely have flaws. some easily fixable via the xml (like aybabtu) others harder or even impossible (like rorke's drift). on rorke's drift i feel even with the new bonus scheme and gameplay changes the map is completely flawed from the start. one of its biggest problem (chieftain bonuses) still exists and whoever gets the first chieftain will win the game 99% of the time. but changing this will require some big graphic changes and we might not even get the solution the first time, hence i won't bother pursuing it further since it will mean a lot of potentially unnecessary work for koontz. these things should have been figured out and fixed long before the graphics phase.

anyway, the idea is that without a testing facility many people are too afraid to try completely new things for fear of having to do massive changes and scratch a lot of their work so they just stick to classic variations and that's it.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby natty dread on Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:59 pm

I've had the experience that I've created a map with a certain kind of gameplay in mind, and when the map went to beta, it turned out the map didn't actually play out at all like I had imagined. But at that point, since the map is in beta, making adjustments to the gameplay is really stiff and inflexible - since every small change requires you to wait for it to be uploaded, then wait for the new version to be played by people, hearing feedback, complaints etc. - I really had no choice but to "discard" the idea I originally had of the gameplay and just tweak the map enough that it plays well and is balanced.

Sure, with experience you get more of a hang of what plays like what, but this only applies to gameplay elements you're already familiar with, and certainly does not encourage to innovate or create something new or unusual. Ultimately, it will lead to stagnation, especially with the scarcity of new xml updates.

And even if we do get new xml updates, and they are something that allow truly new kind of gameplay, how do we know how they actually work for the gameplay when we don't get to test them? Every new feature requires mapmakers to just stumble on blindly, since there's no collective experience on using the feature, and the more complex features we get, the more chance there is that the first maps using that feature are going to be flawed and imbalanced.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby degaston on Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:32 pm

Thanks, DiM & natty - you guys get it.

And don't worry, thenobodies80. I've seen enough threads around here about things people would like to have, but never get, to know that this discussion is purely academic.

Though I will add that
...but add a stage just for the sake of a person that wasn't able to find out the best gameplay for his map....

and
If I will have a card to play, I will not burn it for a single man, but I choose the card that can make happy more people mapmakers.

seem to be contradicted by
Moreover this was suggested several times by people and also CAs...
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby ender516 on Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:40 pm

Degaston makes an excellent point about needing a wide range of users, and I agree that unrated games would be useful for this and other reasons (solitaire games to build skills, for example). But lackattack will have none of that. Ah, well.

On a different note, I can scarcely believe that I have been involved in this discussion this long and forgot to mention the Map XML Wizard. It has a test play feature which allows for at least some experimentation. Unfortunately, as chipv is no longer supporting his tools, it is not completely compliant to current XML features. The biggest missing bit is the optional maximum on the number of starting positions per player, which makes difficult to explore the ramifications of drops and starts, which is one of the most common topics of gameplay discussion, namely, how do we ensure that the game is not over before it has scarcely begun.

I wish I had the time to reverse engineer and reproduce chipv's work.
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