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Live Game Issues.

PostPosted: 17 Aug 2014, 01:55
by jonisilk
I'll not be playing a live game on this site ever again.

The reasons are as follows:

Lag on site. Especially frustrating when you have mere minutes to make your moves and the fucking thing won't refresh (a semi-regular occurrence on the site in general - and only on this site, I do not get this problem on any other that I use).

No diplomacy can actually take place in such small windows.

No communication of any kind can take place when messages and public press continuously present you with a white page saying "game error". This happen's occasionally when playing the game normally, but when playing a live game, it actively kills the game, making real play impossible.

Suggestions - when setting up a game, the duration of the live phases can be extended beyond their current parameters. 15/5/5 minutes works for face2face games, but DOES NOT WORK HERE, at least not at an acceptable level, given the problems this site regularly has with refreshing (or even being accesable at all - which roughly happens for a few hours at a time every fortnight or so in my experience).

I believe the option should be presented to the person creating the game to extend the live phases to periods of say, 20/10/10 (or more if they feel that is necessary), which does allow for the odd technical hiccup that might (invariably does) occur.

As it stands, the current live game system, though adhering to the games original timing rules, provides a poorly bastardised version of the game, plagued with problems and I for one have never actually enjoyed a single one of those I have been involved in for these very reasons.

I would like to know if others share this problem/opinion and if there is actually a way of the programmers implementing the above suggestion regarding the live phase. I accept that there may be limitations to what you can actually do with the site, but if this is a possibility, then I see no reason why it should not be considered, as the Live Game Phases, as they currently stand, are woefully inadequate for playing the game to anything approaching an acceptable level of it's potential.

I welcome feedback.

Re: Live Game Issues.

PostPosted: 17 Aug 2014, 02:38
by asudevil
I have played dozens of live games and don't have an issue with the time. I ALMOST missed a build...ONCE.

We have about 1 game a day going and they are super popular now that we have it on the main page. And adding an extra 30 minutes a year (by going 20/10/10) would make me never join a game. I already don't think live games get through enough of the game and adding time makes it less enjoyable. That's the fun of a live game...its FAST, you got to move/think/type FAST.

Its actually better than FtF for timing because you can have multiple conversations going at once while in a FtF game you can only have 1 and normally can't talk to everyone every season.

As for the "game error"...agreed, you can't type during that time, and it is frustrating when you have a message set up and send it to get that error...BUT, no one else can send messages either and the time the game is down for processing doesn't count towards the deadline ANYWAY.

As for can the programers change it...of course Dipsy can...he could make the deadlines anything the majority of players want. BUT, I bet you are in a minority. And as for making options, the more options the harder it is for a game to get going....because its just one more thing that someone wouldn't like. I personally dislike AMED games, so I don't play live AMED games...and I don't play live games for less than 3 hours...this would just be one more thing keeping me out of games...and Im sure others are the same. There may very well be more people like you...and this complaint comes up every couple months. But its usually universally shot down.

Im sorry your experience was not fun...but I don't think changing the deadlines is the solution.

Re: Live Game Issues.

PostPosted: 17 Aug 2014, 02:57
by jonisilk
Well, if nothing is going to change, then I suppose the only thing I can do is to no longer bother with live games, as if nothing will be changed, then there's no incentive for me to bother when I continuously find the site unwilling to update/refresh.

Unless something can/is changed, I see no point in playing live games any further, as I refuse to put my perfect record at risk of NMR through a fault of the site and not of my own.

On my last set of orders (a retreat), it only managed to refresh when there was barely a minute to go, and so I had seconds to put in my retreat (which the lag refused to acknowledge for several of those) AND I had several messages that I had no time to read, never mind respond to.

Also, an inability to reply to messages, or even read them, really does negate the entire point (and name) of the game... Diplomacy.

I thank you for your feedback, but I still feel my point is a valid one and if, as you say, this is brought up on a semi-regular basis, then there is clearly some call from a percentage of players on this site to see changes made, or the option presented at least, else that percentage of players be ever disenfranchised from live games.

Re: Live Game Issues.

PostPosted: 17 Aug 2014, 04:06
by asudevil
Just because it gets brought up occasionally doesn't mean that it needs to be fixed...people bring up complaints/suggestions frequently and many are doubled up...but that still doesn't mean it needs to be "fixed" for just a couple people.

Also, you aren't SUPPOSED to be able to read/reply to messages during build/retreat...again...that is what the expectations of live games are (trying to mimic FtF) any messages you read/reply during that time are a bonus...because you can't do any coms during that time.

Re: Live Game Issues.

PostPosted: 17 Aug 2014, 07:20
by britneykay
I'll say that I experienced some of these issues in my games as well, and I felt it was more anxiety inducing than enjoyable to be constantly refreshing and seeing if it processed. To be honest, I don't to live anymore because there were people in my game constantly posting that everyone should finalize and were just incredibly rude. I think as the game progresses and alliances are sorted, 15 minutes is more than enough time. But, the trouble is a lot of people think 15 minutes is way too long. I had people complaining that I hadn't finalized a retreat phase - before the game actually opened for me and allowed me to enter orders. I think extending the deadlines in games will just force the people who play and are blatantly rude and impatient to be even more so.

Perhaps take some time off the live games and see if you want to get back into it. Maybe try a shorthanded game with less people to communicate with and therefore less scrambling during phases. Or try playing shorter live phases - an hour or two of processing frustration is less irritating than 4. I think live is great in theory, especially if you can't commit to checking in every day or so for the next month, but if it isn't fun for you, then you are right to take a step back for a while at least.

Re: Live Game Issues.

PostPosted: 17 Aug 2014, 07:41
by super_dipsy
I realize Live Games can be frustrating, but I think your expectations are too high. As Asu says, we have quite a number of Live Games and many people play them over and over again. Unfortunately the experience is often hampered but not only by the need for the system to process; more often it is other players that spoil things. Live players often start off frustrated because so often someone will register for a Live game but then will not bother to hang around to confirm. So everyone else is stuck with having to get sign ups again. This can happen time after time; frankly, I am amazed that some people can be so rude as to join a Live Game and then just walk away. I realize sometimes it is unavoidable but most of the time I think it is just selfish.

The difficulty with the processing is that the design of the system was never built for Live games and as such it has not been designed to allow inputs while the game is processing. The system puts the game into a state where you cannot do anything (the 'game error' status) while it adjudicates the moves and draws the new map(s). There is no alternative to this - if people could change orders while the game is processing then processing would be impossible. Of course it COULD be redesigned to provide a snapshot mechanism where processing happens from the snapshot while other processing is continuing, but this is highly complex and not possible with the current design. The added frustration is that of course processing is queue-based, so when your deadline expires you may not be able to process immediately but have to wait a few minutes. Obviously in the normal game this dos not matter, but in Live games it can be irritating. Again though, there is no solution to this problem with the current design.

In the end, we do our best to accommodate Live Games, and fortunately many people DO manage to enjoy them even with the above restrictions.

I am thinking that at some point we might try to add some sort of alert to let players know when the processing is done rather than having people have to refresh all the time, but that is not going to happen any time soon.

As for your other comments such as lengthening the turns etc, I know that there are other sites that allow games where deadlines can be changed to for example one hour etc, but I do not call these Live games. The whole point of Live games is they are an adrenalin rush :) . I think from what you say the best thing is for you not to play Live Games because I think they are never going to match your expectations I am afraid...

Re: Live Game Issues.

PostPosted: 17 Aug 2014, 22:08
by jonisilk
Thanks for the input everyone.

I suppose for shorthand, gunboat or public press only games, it does work in it's current format, but as Dipsy said, the site wasn't designed with live games in mind and while I know that many players do play and enjoy these games, they are clearly not for me.

It is a shame to hear that fixing the issues raised here would require more work than is feasible, especially if it means re-writing god-knows how much code, so I accept that that this is not likely to happen.

Once again, thanks for your comments, but given the issues raised and the fact nothing can realistically be done about them, I hereby announce my retirement from Live Games on this site.