Feature Announcement: Duplicate

Duplicate is an important part of the FS “ethos”, and one that really should have been in the first release.  I’ve implemented it today and it will be going live for everyone tomorrow.

What is “Duplicate”?

Whenever Frozen Synaps finds you a game, you play a randomly generated map.  Duplicate keeps this, but means that other people will play the same maps as you do.  Whenever you get into a match, the FS server will try and find a recent “Duplicate” map which neither you nor your opponent have played.  If it finds one, you play that map.  If it doesn’t, the system generates a new map, which future players will also play on.  (Duplicate is a very important part of Contract Bridge, a game which FS’ community aspects draw heavily from.)

So what’s changed?

On the surface, very little – if you wish to go through life never thinking about Duplicate, you can – and Frozen Synapse will be exactly the same as you’ve been experiencing it so far.  Duplicate mainly affects scoring, and in addition to the current scoring systems and leaderboards, new ones will be introduced based on Duplicate Scoring.

Duplicate scoring

When you finish a match,  you have two scores – the “map” score, and the “duplicate” score.

The Map Score

This is the score you’re used to seeing.  In basic Extermination, it is calculated as

10 * kills – 10 * losses + a bonus of 20 for wiping out the opposing team

So let’s say you’ve just played a match against Bin, and you killed two of his guys and he killed one of yours – you have a score of 10.

The Duplicate Score

As you post your score on the match, the FS server looks at all other matches played on that map.  Let’s say the following results were posted:

Ian vs Paul – Ian wins, score of 20
You vs Bin – You win, score of 10
ThomS vs Archa – Draw, score of 0

Your Duplicate Score is defined as the percentage of people you beat on this map.  In this instance, you did better than ThomS but worse than Ian, so you get a score of 50%.  ThomS’s score will be 0% (he beat no people), and Ian’s is 100% (he beat everyone).

Paul’s score on this map is defined as -20, ie the loser’s Map score is the negative of the winner’s.  Paul’s Duplicate Score is 0 because he beat no-one, Bin’s is 50 and Archa’s is 100.

Duplicate Scoring only compares you to the other people who played as your side.  In this instance, Ian, you, and Bin are being compared to each other, and Paul, Bin, and Archa are being compared to each other.

Why?

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These reasons:

1. By far and away the biggest reason is that Duplicate Scoring allows you to have un-even sides in a battle, and for the result to still be competitive and meaningful.  Even with the comparitavely even sides in standard Extermination matches there are still complaints about unfairness.  I personally think that this adds texture and makes FS better, but Duplicate really takes away the notion of unfairness from map and unit layout.

2. A leaderboard based on Duplicate Percentage is one of the most fair and representitive scoring methods there is.  Your performance on each match is no longer compared to just one person (your opponent) – it is now compared against tens or hundreds of other results.  But a bad result on one match will not kill your leaderboard chances, as it only makes up a small percentage of your score for the day.

3. After finishing a game, seeing how others played the same map is really fun and interesting.  Maybe they took an amazing line at turn 1, or maybe they did something stupid you’d never do.  It’s just fun to interact with.

4. On a similar note, playing the same maps as everyone else gives more shared experiences in the community and more stuff to talk smack about.

So as I say, this will be in in a basic form tomorrow – look at any game’s Game Page and you will see the Duplicate results, along with links to all the other games played on that map.  There will also soon be a “Daily Duplicate Leaderboard” which will be an average of your Duplicate results over the last 24 hours.

I sincerely hope that my testing of this system has been thorough enough, but it’s always possible I’ve introduced some terrible bug into the server.  I’ll be launching it during the quiet time tomorrow morning and I appreciate everyone’s patience if anything does go wrong.

When the client patch is released next week the interface to see other games on the same map directly after finishing a match will be improved.

3 Responses to “Feature Announcement: Duplicate”

  1. Schaulustiger:

    Poor ThomS 🙁

    But seriously. this sounds very promising. Comparing how other people stood their ground on a specific map will be really interesting. Looking forward to tomorrow!

  2. Shivoa:

    That sounds rather snazzy, my chalkboard now has ‘Duplicate scores’ written on it for when I eventually get round to implementing some netcode or even just a server. Not being a Bridge player I hadn’t heard of it before, but once you’ve described it then it is obviously something all randomly generated starting point multiplayer games should have to provide skill comparisons.

    As we teach computers to generate more interesting and complex worlds dynamically (so people learn to play the game and dissect the map during play rather than becoming overly familiar with a specific set of fixed maps and the best/most exploitative areas in them) then dealing with slight uneven sides becomes more important (unless you make all maps mirror situations). I guess even the other people on your team could be described as a randomising factor and so worthy of consideration (in the case of larger than 1vs1 games), I wonder if the current matchmaking/trueskill systems try and track this in a detailed comparative way (rather than just trying to average the ‘skills’ of the rest of your team and adding a bias to your end result if it isn’t close to your opposition).

  3. Visiting the Village: The Mode 7 Games Blog and Podcast » Blog Archive » In defense of uneven sides:

    […] unit sides in some game modes, but I think that uneven sides create interesting matchups, and the duplicate system rewards you for doing well with a worse situation.  Tellingly, often both players on a map will […]