Topic: [SUGGESTION] Suggestions about auto-balance and blockers

Hello everyone. My in-game nickname is "DON'T PANIC !!" and I mainly play CTF5 on public servers. Public servers are fun because there is no pressure, however it suffers from players leaving and joining all the time and new players kind of blocking your path (although even very good players block too). Also, sometimes some players don't play the game and just have fun playing hooking battles, even hooking their own team members. Thus I have two suggestions which would maybe improve the fun of public servers.

1) Auto-balance.

I'm talking about number of players per team, not skill balance.

The current auto-balance system is almost useless. It takes too long to happen and quite often, just after a player is moved to the other team, some players disconnect and teams are unbalanced once again. Thus most people ignore the blinking "please balance teams" message.

What I suggest instead is: add a respawn queue for the team which has more player. For instance, if red has 8 players and blue has 6, then blue players respawn normally after death but red cannot have more than 6 players on the field at the same time. In practise, this means that there would be a queue on the red side. If you die as red you have to wait for two other red players to die before being able to respawn.

This would be annoying when waiting, sure. But this would also mean that there would be an incentive for players to balance teams themselves. If would also be more annoying the less players there is, so maybe server admins should activate this option only for servers with a lot of players.

You could think that this would favour good players too much, but in my experience good players die almost as often as new players. Indeed, good players tend to jump right into action very fast. Also, you could say that if no player die for a long time (say 15 seconds), it would be really annoying. But in practise this really happens almost, like, never. Just look at the kill messages on the top right of the screen. If this really is a problem then a timeout could be coded to ensure players won't wait for more than, say, 5 seconds. This would mean that teams would not be as balanced as possible but it would still be better.

I think it's really worth considering as it would ensure continuous balance of number of players per team, while not annoying players too much unless teams are really unbalanced, in which case it's still better than no balance at all anyway.

2) Team blockers and hookers.

My suggestion is to add a server option for no friendly block. It would be similar to the no friendly fire option, which prevents player from harming other players of their own team with weapons. The no friendly block option would prevent players from blocking or hooking their teammates. You could walk and hook right through your teammates without them noticing.

This option should be discussed carefully, however. Indeed, disabling team blocking and hooking would change game balance a lot. With the current settings, in a battle when your are outnumbered, you at least know that your enemies will interfere each others. Also, some paths are more risky. For instance, if you carry the flag on CTF5 through the bottom of the map, you fear not only the other team, but also your own, as if you hook them on the way you can fall and kill yourself (although with practise it almost never happens).

However, there are several examples where it would prevent some frustration.

- In CTF5 you can go from the flag platform to the upper platform with a hook technique. But without momentum you need the end of the platform with the grenade launcher to be clear. Sometimes players of your team stay there and spam grenades, so you can't do the trick, and it's annoying. In high level games you could decide which is more important (spamming or tricking up the platform) or even communicate by voice but in public servers you cannot.

- Losing your momentum because of players of your own team is just annoying. I don't think it would change balance too much. And there is no fun in that unless you are a player which deliberately wants to harass your own team.

- Same remark about teammates hooking you by mistake (or worse: intentionaly).

I'm not as convinced about this suggestion as the first one; but I would definitely give it a shot on public servers.

So, what do you think? Has these settings already been tried before without success?

I mainly play CTF5 in public servers. In-game nickname is DON'T PANIC !!


Re: [SUGGESTION] Suggestions about auto-balance and blockers

1. Auto-balancer is useful. Server admins can turn it off and on, and set how long it takes to balance, so the reason it takes so long is probably the server you're playing on set it to longer than default time. The solution you suggested is completely useless, because of spectator slots. If there are 16 players in a server, and none of them are a spectator, it is only possible that the teams are balanced. If it's 12/16, and there is an unbalance, the server will probably balance the teams eventually, or someone will join and be forced to join the team that has less players. If it's something like a 7on6, there is probably not much of a balance problem. The idea itself is completely stupid, and wouldn't do anything at all. You're basically saying "instead of waiting around 30 seconds for a balance, how about we just don't balance things at all." There would be zero incentive for a player to balance the teams themselves, since due to Teeworlds' pacing, the change might not even be noticeable. You also said something about a "timeout", waiting 5 seconds, making your idea even more useless. It's fine as it is.

2. You're basically asking for easy (or in some cases, hard) mode to be turned on. If you're having problems with blockers, get better, or quit complaining. Not being able to hook/touch your team would actually be an even worse idea on ctf5, because your team can fall, and you could hook them to save them. Even if this idea actually happened, I doubt it would solve your spamming problem, imagine how confusing it would be if your teams' shots went through your team. That would be confusing for both sides, because if the bullet comes from off-screen, how will you know to avoid it or not? What if a shot is coming from ahead, and is going to hit your enemy, but goes through him and hits you? It would cause unnecessary confusion, and cause more bullets to hit you. In conclusion, this is CTF, a team gametype. What is the point of it being about teamwork if all you have to worry about is bullets and getting the flag? It's as though your team doesn't exist besides grabbing the flag. This idea would definitely cause confusion for new players.

tl;dr this is not an FPS

Ex-King of Teeworlds


Re: [SUGGESTION] Suggestions about auto-balance and blockers

Wow, that's just... well, let's just say that I disagree with everything you are saying tongue

1. What the hell does spectator slots have to do with auto-balance? You did not explain. What's the default time for the current auto-balance? On all servers I usually play it's about I dunno, 30s maybe? IMO everything higher than 10 seconds is too high. A lot of things can happen in 10s. On ctf5 the flag can be captured twice in 10s. But players join and quit at a very high rate and with a 10s timer, players would be auto-balanced to other teams way too often. Moreover it's quite silly when you're moved to the other team while doing something important (chasing a flag carrier, or even holding the flag...).

You're basically saying "instead of waiting around 30 seconds for a balance, how about we just don't balance things at all."

How did you get that from my post, I wonder.

As I said there IS an incentive for players to move to balance teams (waiting is annoying, even only 3 seconds). At least with my suggestion the players who will move are the players who are actually willing to move.

2. Do you actually play on public servers at all? There is only very basic teamplay in public servers. Of 8 players, often times there are 2 or 3 good players, 1 or 2 idle (or team hooker) players and the rest are newbies. There is just no room for good teamplay with that configuration.

Moreover, teamwork is not just helping your team with the hook. It's also allocating the right number of resource (i.e. players) to the right goal. This is strategy. It's also knowing how to surround the flag carrier, which is tactic. And so on.

I've played a lot and I think I only saw good helping teamhooking like 2 or 3 times only. This simply does not happen on the public servers where I play. However, frustrating blocking or accidental team hooking happen like all the time. Even when you're a good player. When two players are moving really really fast and they cross each other, they only have a few frames to react.

I never talked about bullets going through you, I don't know where you got that from my previous post. Team blocking because of grenades is much less frequent and annoying than accidental hooking or players bumping into each other.

I don't see how this would confuse new players. However, I can see how having your trajectory being accidentally modified by your teammates can be confusing for new players.

Finally, I don't understand your summary about Teeworlds not being an FPS. I fail to see how it sums up your post, and I fail to see how mine would lead you to assume that I think Teeworlds is a FPS. Honestly, it just makes you look like a disrespecting troll to me.

I mainly play CTF5 in public servers. In-game nickname is DON'T PANIC !!


Re: [SUGGESTION] Suggestions about auto-balance and blockers

What's the default time for the current auto-balance? On all servers I usually play it's about I dunno, 30s maybe?

The default time is 1min, and it's also the minimum.

Not Luck, Just Magic.

5 (edited by DooMeeR 2010-08-02 11:45:23)

Re: [SUGGESTION] Suggestions about auto-balance and blockers

Wow. This explains why the "please balance teams" message sometimes blinks for more than a quarter or even maybe half a full game... Mainly around midnight, when server has like 10 players out of 16 and players quit and join all the time, unbalancing the game right after it has been auto-balanced...

Then it is no longer a game of skill and teamplay but a game of luck depending on which team has more players the longest hmm

Thanks for the info by the way.

I mainly play CTF5 in public servers. In-game nickname is DON'T PANIC !!


Re: [SUGGESTION] Suggestions about auto-balance and blockers

To solve this issue: don't play public ctf5. Some people play ctf5 to have fun, not to have a "balanced game", if you're playing public ctf5 to win, you're really doing it wrong. If you can't have fun playing unbalanced on ctf5, go play pro ctf2 on Qi servers. They'd be glad to have people just like you!

Ex-King of Teeworlds


Re: [SUGGESTION] Suggestions about auto-balance and blockers

Yeah I was kind of expecting an answer like that. Please accept other people's way of playing the game hmm

I play CTF5 because I really like the map. I don't like CTF2.

I play in public games because I don't like competition and pressure.

I don't play to win: I don't mind losing. Although I do play to win in the sense that I try to optimize my skill, strategy and tactics so that my team wins. I like challenge; in fact, quite often if my team is steamrolling the other one, and if my skill seems to be better than the average of the game (most of the time it is, by far), I will change teams to balance things out. I know my team will lose, but I know that a steamroll victory is not fun anyway. And it's good practise to face a stronger team than yours, so I don't mind.

I like challenge but I don't like being steamrolled, though; and I don't like losing a 30 minutes game just because for 1 minute my team had 3 less players than the other one and the other team used this to score 3 flags in a row.

So all in all, I prefer public CTF5 servers, but I have the feeling that it would be even more fun with my auto-balance suggestion.

I mainly play CTF5 in public servers. In-game nickname is DON'T PANIC !!


Re: [SUGGESTION] Suggestions about auto-balance and blockers

You make good and well-formulated points.

About blockers, unfortunately, a no-friendly-collision mode would remove a large part of the gameplay. I don't think this is the solution. I get mad at blockers as much as everyone else (probably more), but sometimes in better games your team can *help* you either with hammering you forward or hooking you out of harm's way. I don't think such a mode would help, I think it would ease the game and would have a negative impact in general. To me, the solution is having servers for different groups of level (easy, intermediate, high) ; servers would report their level, and clients would filter on easy by default. Most low-level players that get AFK, don't move, block etc are new players who don't bother changing the defaults in the TW client (that's why they end-up on ctf5, which is at the top of the list with the default settings when sorting by the number of online players). After that, it's up to the server admins (and operators, if we add another level of server management) to enforce the server rules (and kick players who are too good or not good enough).

About auto-balance: this is a good idea. We talked previously of auto-balance based on points / minute. The current algorithm is completely flawed. Not only the auto-join won't take the current score into account (e.g, if both teams have same amount of players, but red team is leading at score, a new player will join red anyway), but the time counter resets even when someone joins 10 secs, which makes waiting for the "one minute" much longer. I'm not sure what is the best approach to solve the auto-balance problem, but your idea has the advantage (and disadvantage) of putting balancing in the players' hands. On the other side, if two good players are unbalancing the game and are in the same team, they're not likely to die. Contrarily to what you said, some players just won't die. In public games of medium-level like the ctf5 servers, it's not rare not to die at all. Just a note, though: before the auto-balance times, when one team was winning, everyone would join it and games would end up ruined. The auto-balance is good for one thing, it's preventing people to join the most populated team. Unfortunately, sometimes this would be the only way to balance things out, because 2 good players can take on 4/5 mid-level players.

I noticed that on ctf5 there are a lot of AFK players ; the server does need an AFK set-to-spec (after 2 mins) then kick (after 2 more mins). Values to be adjustable by the admin.

Anyway, thanks for the valuable feedback, it's rare enough to notice.


Re: [SUGGESTION] Suggestions about auto-balance and blockers

Thanks for your answer, Magnet.

About level groups (easy, intermediate, high), this seems like a good idea. But I think I've seen some other games where good players would still play on easy just to have some fun. Well I guess they could be kindly asked to leave or be kicked tongue And at least it would still ensure that if you want to play with better players only, you can.

You make an interesting point about auto-balancing according to score. I actually thought about this a little. I think that if this should be implemented, it should not take the team score into account. Indeed, team score reflects the past skill of a team which might have changed a lot with players joining and quitting all the time.

However, you could estimate each player's skill individually by dividing his score by the time he has been in the game. In my experience, while obviously not perfectly accurate, player score is a good approximation of a player's skill. Then, if a player were to be moved to the other team, you could choose the player which would even the sum of player skills the most. This is not very hard to code and I think it would be a good heuristic.

I mainly play CTF5 in public servers. In-game nickname is DON'T PANIC !!

10 (edited by analog 2010-09-04 22:43:39)

Re: [SUGGESTION] Suggestions about auto-balance and blockers

Well, the first option is okay. Another way of balancing by skill is having the engine attempt to balance the amount of POINTS on each team. (Only if team balance is on.)

Second of all, playing vanilla is a major outcome of the whole "blocking" situation. Blocking is a product of poor teamplay. It also decides who has the better team. Moreover, if a very good player has bad teamplay, and the second team is okay with good teamplay, they both have a chance against each other.

I think the first idea is a bit...buggy though. Most players would get bored of waiting in this "line". Sorry if my ideas suck, but that's just how i think.

Edit: Actually, after playing on ctf5 for a bit, I see that most players are responsible and right-minded to try to balance it themselves. The only one thing about that, is that if a player joins blue from red, why does their point have to reset?


Re: [SUGGESTION] Suggestions about auto-balance and blockers

Their points doesn't reset anymore at the current trunk.


Re: [SUGGESTION] Suggestions about auto-balance and blockers

Sworddragon wrote:

Their points doesn't reset anymore at the current trunk.

That's a good point. Players are often waiting the auto teambalance to avoid their points to be reset.

Not Luck, Just Magic.

13 (edited by Deleted User 2010-09-05 23:42:13)

Re: [SUGGESTION] Suggestions about auto-balance and blockers

But balancing on the sum of the player points is a little tricky. Example:

Beginner_1 has played a few hours on the server and have now 100 points. He is now the last player on the server on the red team. Now are joining 3 more players. Pro_1 and Pro_2 are joining the blue team. Beginner_2 is joining the red team.

Both Pros will now own both beginners and the server is waiting with balancing until both pros are breaking the 100 points of Beginner_1.

We will have the same problem on teamscore balancing too if somebody is thinking about that. The algorithm must be more complex to handle that.


Re: [SUGGESTION] Suggestions about auto-balance and blockers

The idea is to balance using points per minute, not just points.


Re: [SUGGESTION] Suggestions about auto-balance and blockers

I noticed if they are only 2 players on a map, the game will spawn a dead tee at the opposite place of the map even if it's in the other team base (on DM spawn point).

NB: I'm french and this simple sentence was very hard to translate.


Re: [SUGGESTION] Suggestions about auto-balance and blockers

Cartman34 wrote:

I noticed if they are only 2 players on a map, the game will spawn a dead tee at the opposite place of the map even if it's in the other team base (on DM spawn point).

On which map was that?

NB: I'm french and this simple sentence was very hard to translate.

Well, Magnet is french too big_smile

Not Luck, Just Magic.


Re: [SUGGESTION] Suggestions about auto-balance and blockers

Magnet wrote:

The idea is to balance using points per minute, not just points.

The current trunk version handles it that way.

Remember the 80s - good times smile

18 (edited by Deleted User 2010-09-06 23:03:03)

Re: [SUGGESTION] Suggestions about auto-balance and blockers

I'm playing on a server with the newest trunk but haven't noticed much difference. Does it even balance at points if one team will got majority? Or does it balance to the same numbers of players like before but picking at balancing only the player that balances then the teampoints at most?