Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

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Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby thenobodies80 on Fri Nov 02, 2012 1:52 pm

Like we announced in past (in this thread), at some point we will have a public map gallery that is nothing else that the public side of the big map database we're currently working on.
After some discussion behind the scenes, we decided that it would be a good thing to have a public discussion for two items we want to add to the map gallery/database: Tag and Complexity Levels.

In this topic we will discuss Complexity Levels, if you want to discuss about Tags, please use this thread.

Right now we have set 4 complexity levels. Unfortunately complexity levels are very subjective so we would like to hear your thoughts before to proceed further.

The current complexity levels are:

  • Simple
  • Standard
  • Difficult
  • Extreme

Few questions about this topic:

1.how many values would you like to have for complexity, and what should they be called?

2.We can agree that the classic map should be basis for a comparison; in this case it has to be considered simple or standard?
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby greenoaks on Fri Nov 02, 2012 4:49 pm

4 is good but 3 (no Simple) might be the way to go. Classic map should be Standard.

Then look at the xml features of a map. Does it have -

  • Bombarding
  • Killer Neutrals
  • (Multiple) Winning Conditions
  • (Multiple) Losing Conditions
    etc

assign points to these things to determine how much more complex, difficult or nonstandard a map is and use that to determine if a map is Difficult or Extreme
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby laughingcavalier on Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:16 pm

greenoaks wrote:4 is good but 3 (no Simple) might be the way to go. Classic map should be Standard.


+1
Never more than 3 levels.

Classic is the benchmark for standard maps.

Maybe:
Standard
Challenging
Complex
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby greenoaks on Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:43 pm

laughingcavalier wrote:
Never more than 3 levels.

Classic is the benchmark for standard maps.

Maybe:
Standard
Challenging
Complex

i like Challenging/Complex more than Difficult/Extreme
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby ender516 on Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:14 pm

greenoaks wrote:4 is good but 3 (no Simple) might be the way to go. Classic map should be Standard.

Then look at the xml features of a map. Does it have -

  • Bombarding
  • Killer Neutrals
  • (Multiple) Winning Conditions
  • (Multiple) Losing Conditions
    etc

assign points to these things to determine how much more complex, difficult or nonstandard a map is and use that to determine if a map is Difficult or Extreme

I like the points idea. The handful of classifications is good for a shorthand, but detailed ratings based on features should be available so players can make their own judgements more easily.
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby Dukasaur on Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:48 pm

greenoaks wrote:
  • Bombarding
  • Killer Neutrals
  • (Multiple) Winning Conditions
  • (Multiple) Losing Conditions
    etc

I would start with that list, but I would add a few more things.

1. One-way portals

2. Graphic difficulty (maps where players find that it's difficult to see the attacking pathways and such for purely visual reasons. Northwest Passage, Falklands War, and Poison Rome spring to mind immediately)

3. Overall number of terts.

One-way portals would be part of the base difficulty, but Graphic difficulty and number of terts would be multipliers.

So, you would have a formula much like Difficulty = (1+Number of Complicating Factors {bombards, one-ways, collection bonuses, autodeploys, victory conditions, losing conditions, conditional borders, killer neutrals}) x (1+(subjective popular rating of graphical difficulty on a scale of 1 to 5)/10) x (1+(number of terts on map/number of terts on largest known map on site).

This gives you a difficulty rating between 1 and about 27. However, it is expandable if even more Complicating Factors are introduced later.

To make neater numbers I suppose we could take the square root of the whole thing.
SQRT[(1+Number of Complicating Factors {bombards, one-ways, collection bonuses, autodeploys, victory conditions, losing conditions, conditional borders, killer neutrals}) x (1+(subjective popular rating of graphical difficulty on a scale of 1 to 5)/10) x (1+(number of terts on map/number of terts on largest known map on site)] gives a value of 1 to 3.

I agree that Classic should be the benchmark for what is a Standard map. However, Classic by my formula comes out with a rating of only about 1.25 to maybe 1.5, so the range for a Simple map would be only from 1 to 1.2. This would apply to really simple maps like Doodle and Luxembourg.

I think we need to have a lot more than 3 grades, however. If Simple describes Doodles and Standard describes Classic, it's ridiculous that there should be only one level above that. Arms Race is a whole order of magnitude more complex than Classic, but certainly Lunar War is another order of magnitude tougher than Arms Race, and Stalingrad is easily another level of magnitude tougher than Lunar War, and so on. I don't think it would be wrong to have five or seven levels above Standard.
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby koontz1973 on Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:37 am

If we go with Dukasaur, then we could have 10 or more levels of complexity. This would be way too much. 5 is a good number.

    Beginners - Doodle
    Standard - Classic
    Challenging - 1982
    Complex - Das Schloss
    Uber Complex - Stalingrad, Waterloo
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby greenoaks on Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:03 am

koontz1973 wrote:If we go with Dukasaur, then we could have 10 or more levels of complexity. This would be way too much. 5 is a good number.

    Beginners - Doodle
    Standard - Classic
    Challenging - 1982
    Complex - Das Schloss
    Uber Complex - Stalingrad, Waterloo

i would scratch Beginners because the Classic map is the beginners map.
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby koontz1973 on Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:19 am

greenoaks wrote:
koontz1973 wrote:If we go with Dukasaur, then we could have 10 or more levels of complexity. This would be way too much. 5 is a good number.

    Beginners - Doodle
    Standard - Classic
    Challenging - 1982
    Complex - Das Schloss
    Uber Complex - Stalingrad, Waterloo

i would scratch Beginners because the Classic map is the beginners map.

We have simpler maps though. So maybe not beginners but something that shows a level of game play a blind cat could play. It could be Elementary or Standard Lite.
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby cairnswk on Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:31 am

koontz1973 wrote:If we go with Dukasaur, then we could have 10 or more levels of complexity. This would be way too much. 5 is a good number.

    Beginners - Doodle
    Standard - Classic
    Challenging - 1982
    Complex - Das Schloss
    Uber Complex - Stalingrad, Waterloo


i agree with koontz about 5 levels...but koontz how the hell did you get Waterloo into the Uber Complex category and Das Schloss into the Complex category?
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby koontz1973 on Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:46 am

cairnswk wrote:
koontz1973 wrote:If we go with Dukasaur, then we could have 10 or more levels of complexity. This would be way too much. 5 is a good number.

    Beginners - Doodle
    Standard - Classic
    Challenging - 1982
    Complex - Das Schloss
    Uber Complex - Stalingrad, Waterloo


i agree with koontz about 5 levels...but koontz how the hell did you get Waterloo into the Uber Complex category and Das Schloss into the Complex category?

Personal preference. But this leads onto the next discussion. How the hell do you put a map into a category without hiring a math professor to run complex equations.

My vote would then go for:
Standard Lite
Standard
Challenging
Complex
Uber Complex

and leave it up to someone else to put maps into each. :P
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby greenoaks on Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:08 am

there is no need to have anything before Standard. Classic is the basic training map. the map for beginners.

sure, split the maps above Classic into many groups but it is pointless to create a group before Beginners because the only thing before beginners is 'Never played Risk before'.
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby laughingcavalier on Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:48 am

greenoaks wrote:there is no need to have anything before Standard. Classic is the basic training map. the map for beginners.

sure, split the maps above Classic into many groups but it is pointless to create a group before Beginners because the only thing before beginners is 'Never played Risk before'.


+1 again
And the difficulty of deciding which complexity rating a map gets is more argument for keeping the complexity ratings simple & few.
You could say doodle is more complex than classic for example - because the action is so fast on a small map you need to get your game right form turn 1 ....

Only 3 complexity levels please.
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby nolefan5311 on Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:10 am

I like the 5 categories.

The first category could be just "mini-maps" to explain Doodle, Luxembourg, etc. It's not really a complexity tag, but more just a tag indicating the map is much smaller than Classic and has no special GP features.

Then Standard (any map that is based solely on geographic gameplay with clearly defined attack paths, i.e., Conquer Man or Conquer 4 would be excluded)
Then Conquest (while this denotes a map type, it could also be used to explain any map with starting positions). Most of these maps have progressive bonus structures as well (AOR, Jamaica, New World, etc)
Then Challenging (maybe geographic maps with tons of regions, unclear attack routes (at least for a novice, like HIve, Bamboo Jack, Forbidden City, Poison Rome, Rail maps, etc) and maps with special GP features (losing conditions, winning conditions)
And finally, Formidable. Basically, any map that if a person is playing on it for the first time...they're not going to know what is going on (i.e., Stalingrad, Waterloo, Monsters, Das Schloss, Conquer Rome, KCII, etc).

With the variety of maps on this site, I like the idea of 5 categories. 3 would group too many different maps into the same category, but 10 is just overwhelming. And I do like the idea of some sort of mathematic formula, but I think the one Duka mentioned is too complex, lol.
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby Dukasaur on Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:01 am

koontz1973 wrote:
cairnswk wrote:
koontz1973 wrote:If we go with Dukasaur, then we could have 10 or more levels of complexity. This would be way too much. 5 is a good number.

    Beginners - Doodle
    Standard - Classic
    Challenging - 1982
    Complex - Das Schloss
    Uber Complex - Stalingrad, Waterloo


i agree with koontz about 5 levels...but koontz how the hell did you get Waterloo into the Uber Complex category and Das Schloss into the Complex category?

Personal preference. But this leads onto the next discussion. How the hell do you put a map into a category without hiring a math professor to run complex equations.

Well, that's the beauty of computers: they run complex math equations all day long, and never get sick of the job. And they're cheaper than hiring professors.

When something is to be computerized, there's no reason not to account for all the factors in detail. Simplifying formulas is for work you might have to do in the field, where you might have to work stuff out with pen-and-paper. Since CC is on the Internet, you will by definition be using a computer every time you're on CC.

My vote would then go for:
Standard Lite
Standard
Challenging
Complex
Uber Complex

and leave it up to someone else to put maps into each. :P

The first part of my formula, the Complicating Factors, would be entered by the mapmaker or possibly a cartography advisor, via a simple set of radio buttons, like answering a forum poll. A matter of a few seconds.

The second part, the graphical difficulty, would probably best be done by a poll of the players, since there's a large subjective element. Again, a simple matter of them being directed to a forum poll, after that the computer does the work.

The calculation of the number of terts could be completely automatic as would the crunching of the numbers and the presentation of a final score.
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby cairnswk on Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:03 pm

Would it be helpful to put a poll up now to determine what players want in this regard for the number of levels of map complexity?
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby MrBenn on Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:16 pm

In the past I would have argued for 4 levels of difficulty, but now believe you only need 3: Basic --> Advanced --> Complex. I don;t think you need to specify a particular number of game features that make a map fit any one of the categories, as this leads to banal discussions about maps like British Isles which are basic, but have some one-way borders... On a similar vein, size needs to be a separate consideration.. World 2.1 is Advanced, not because of it's size, but due to the use of overriding bonus zones and odd territories that don't count for anything. At the same time as gameplay features and map size, the visual appearance of a map makes a massive contribution to apparent difficulty. Bamboo Jack messes with your brain but is actually pretty straightforward to play once you get the hang of it... Map Categorisation is always going to be most useful to players looking for new maps to test themselves - and it would be better to rate a map harder than it is (after practice) in order to protect those players who aren't prepared to read everything or look too closely and most likely to complain!
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby ManBungalow on Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:28 pm

Two categories:

Standard
Non-standard

Make it as accessible to new users as possible. The default map selection for new users should be Standard, but otherwise variable. Let the tags from the other thread cover the rest of the map elements.
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby greenoaks on Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:32 pm

cairnswk wrote:Would it be helpful to put a poll up now to determine what players want in this regard for the number of levels of map complexity?

i'm not sure that a poll would resolve anything as there are at least 3 discussions going on.

Formula
Number of catorgories
Is the easiest group Standard/Basic or something else
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby Metsfanmax on Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:11 pm

I think that complexity should be the only standard here. The levels should not be named things that imply that some maps are harder or more "advanced" than other maps, because that implies that people who only play standard maps like Classic are not as good as other players. I would prefer tags that discriminate only on how many things you need to be aware of in order to win the round.
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby ender516 on Sun Nov 04, 2012 2:51 am

laughingcavalier wrote:
greenoaks wrote:there is no need to have anything before Standard. Classic is the basic training map. the map for beginners.

sure, split the maps above Classic into many groups but it is pointless to create a group before Beginners because the only thing before beginners is 'Never played Risk before'.


+1 again
And the difficulty of deciding which complexity rating a map gets is more argument for keeping the complexity ratings simple & few.
You could say doodle is more complex than classic for example - because the action is so fast on a small map you need to get your game right form turn 1 ....

Only 3 complexity levels please.

-2
You are correct to say that Classic is the basic training map, but many games provide special simplified variants intended to make for faster games. Monopoly comes to mind. I think it's a good idea to identify maps where one can find an ultra-fast game, which can happen on the tiny maps.
koontz1973 wrote:
cairnswk wrote:
koontz1973 wrote:If we go with Dukasaur, then we could have 10 or more levels of complexity. This would be way too much. 5 is a good number.

    Beginners - Doodle
    Standard - Classic
    Challenging - 1982
    Complex - Das Schloss
    Uber Complex - Stalingrad, Waterloo


i agree with koontz about 5 levels...but koontz how the hell did you get Waterloo into the Uber Complex category and Das Schloss into the Complex category?

Personal preference. But this leads onto the next discussion. How the hell do you put a map into a category without hiring a math professor to run complex equations.

My vote would then go for:
Standard Lite
Standard
Challenging
Complex
Uber Complex

and leave it up to someone else to put maps into each. :P

Human factors engineering recognizes that the mind likes to categorize sets of items into 5 (+/- 2) classes. Go with the sweet spot of 5 categories. Dukasaur is right about calculating the complexity via a formula. If we are going to have a proper map database and browser, then we can automatically calculate a complexity based on XML features (number of territories, presence of complicating factors, etc.) and we can allow players to rate maps in a manner similar to the way they rate other players, with scores from 1 to 5 in one or more categories, and possibly tags or even textual comments, like the old feedback system. (Those might be used to flame map makers, so they should be permitted to respond, or we might have to have the Foundry folks moderate them.) The [browse maps] button on the game finder would show summarized values, but clicking on a thumbnail would take you to a detailed explanation of the calculated value and a list of user ratings.
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby greenoaks on Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:11 am

ender516 wrote:
laughingcavalier wrote:
greenoaks wrote:there is no need to have anything before Standard. Classic is the basic training map. the map for beginners.

sure, split the maps above Classic into many groups but it is pointless to create a group before Beginners because the only thing before beginners is 'Never played Risk before'.


+1 again
And the difficulty of deciding which complexity rating a map gets is more argument for keeping the complexity ratings simple & few.
You could say doodle is more complex than classic for example - because the action is so fast on a small map you need to get your game right form turn 1 ....

Only 3 complexity levels please.

-2
You are correct to say that Classic is the basic training map, but many games provide special simplified variants intended to make for faster games. Monopoly comes to mind. I think it's a good idea to identify maps where one can find an ultra-fast game, which can happen on the tiny maps.

lets also have a group called Standard Heavy as well for those who want a long game without the complexity.

or we could put all of those maps that have standard or close to standard gameplay into one group called Basic and give a Small tag to the small maps and XL tags to the big ones.
a 2nd group colled Challenging would contain maps that have several xml features
a 3rd group called Complex would contain those maps containing many xml features and unusual bonus structures

**the Small or XL tags would be applied to all maps regardless of which category the maps were in**
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby agentcom on Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:10 am

I think 3 or 4 levels is good. For the same reason as is the joke here:

Image

And for the same reason that Google Maps has a 4-level rating system. And for the same reason that the 5-star ratings system here on CC is ... well ... problematic. People have varying opinions of how to use these ratings systems and that only increases as you add more and more levels to any given system.

If you have one reviewer (or even one team of reviewers) get as complex as you want. Work out a formula that ranks them on a scale from 1 to 100. Or even rank every single map on CC. That's fine. But if you're leaving it up to the masses then I think Simple, Advanced, Complex or something like that is better than other alternatives.
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby Dukasaur on Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:52 am

agentcom wrote:People have varying opinions of how to use these ratings systems and that only increases as you add more and more levels to any given system.

If you have one reviewer (or even one team of reviewers) get as complex as you want. Work out a formula that ranks them on a scale from 1 to 100. Or even rank every single map on CC. That's fine. But if you're leaving it up to the masses then I think Simple, Advanced, Complex or something like that is better than other alternatives.

If you look at my proposal (bottom of page 1) you see that the subjective opinion rating of the players is only one of 3 elements, and the other 2 are based on objective criteria. I have a lot of regard for statistical robustness.

It's true what you say that opinion-based ratings are highly problematic, but if they are only one element among several then the distortion should not be too bad.
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Re: Map Complexity [Public Discussion/Review]

Postby DoomYoshi on Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:00 pm

@koontz

Doodle isn't simpler gameplay wise. A mistake on doodle means your game is over. A mistake on World 2.1 and you are ok. Doodle should be at the same level as Classic.

@metsfanmax:

I agree. But people who like classic are boring people.

@agentcom

Don't forget that boxing matches use exactly the same system that the internet does. In other words, if you suck, you get 8. If you don't suck you get 10 (or 9). This system, while it frustrates the hell out of anybody who thinks about the system, works to judge million dollar bouts, it should also be good enough to judge our maps.
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