Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Movement: Playing The Game

In the recent post, 'Twenty Feet Too Far', the comments suggest a general failure to understand how movement fits into the game, movements relationship with ROF and the cause of some of the "problems" enumerated in the post. For a more in depth review of Movement & ROF a blog search using those two key words should result in more posts than you'll want to read.
Herein I will endeavor to clarify the situation moving from the specific to the general. Much of the concern (and the follow on spate of "solutions"--like adding bunkers) is the result of the consensus view that World Cup pro matches were too often long drawn out dull affairs, especially those overtime points. And there were in fact more of those sorts of points at this most recent World Cup. But the assumption being made--that the points were like that because the players couldn't move--is mistaken. Likewise the fixes predicated on erroneous perceptions.
The long points were long not because the players couldn't move but because they chose not to--and they chose not to because the risk didn't yield any significant reward in the majority of situations. And that was a defect of the layout design in combination with the extended field length of 2011 & '12. Many of the long points evolved into Home, Snake 1 & D1. Could the d-wire player(s) advance to the fifty? Yes but making the move didn't offer an advantage. All it did was put the player who moved closer to his wire-side opponent in a position where the opponent's supporting Home gun was more effective. A similar outcome was achieved moving into the middle segment of the snake. No clear advantage, only more proximate to players and guns that could eliminate you after moving further away from your own support. They didn't move 'cus it didn't make game sense to move. If aggressive moves upfield are rewarded with real opportunities to get important eliminations the moves will be made. At least in the pro division.
About that extra 10 feet at each end that stills seems (to some of you at least) so negligible despite the overwhelming evidence derived from the data here's another way to look at it. The half field diagram is the Galveston '12 layout. The orange SD is where the d-wire corner would have been if the layout was 150 feet long instead of 170 feet long. The orange and red lines indicate the angle of difference for a shooter at the 50 snake. It is approx. 6 degrees tighter on the shorter field; a 35 degree angle compared to a nearly 41 degree angle and if that looks inconsequential to you test it out sometime and see much harder it is for a player in the orange SD to live than in the original.
Let's move on to the new "extra" bunkers. (Rumor is that it will be 4 props and Sup'Air is already contacting their customer data base to buy this year's kit as everything else will stay the same.) Would the extra props have altered play at Cup? Given the same layout with two more props on each side chances are they wouldn't. The only way they make a difference at Cup would have been to force the Home player to move somewhere else. Okay, but what about in the future? Will four bunkers "fix" the current problem? No. But it will make it easier for players to move, right? Depending on where the bunkers are in relation to the layout as a whole--sure--to a limited degree--but all the evidence suggests that between the designer(s) and whoever chooses the layouts the league uses there is minimal understanding of what sorts of outcomes the various designs will deliver. And I don't see how that will change.
For now the extra bunkers fall into the couldn't hurt category. Keep in mind too we will apparently enjoy the technical snake again next season and the biggest impact the new snake had was in how it limited layout designs and required numerous "supporting" props to make it playable.
In closing a word or three about the relationship between ROF and movement. As the game is currently played movement is recognized as a skill both in making big moves and in knowing when and how to make small moves--but only because there is a degree of difficulty attached. And that degree of difficulty comes from the ability of opponents to shoot players on the move. In pump play it is possible to run around the field with near impunity (assuming basic knowledge of the game and a bit of confidence) simply because pump guns can't put out enough paint to stop movement. At the other end of the scale it is possible to make some moves nearly impossible. That isn't a problem, that is a characteristic of the game. When watching pro players move they move with a skill and ease despite the potential volume of paint in the air and that is one of the distinguishing features of a pro level player. A lower ROF at the pro level only reduces the skill set required to compete. On the other hand a tiered ROF based on skill level would improve divisional play and contribute to making players generally better faster.

UPDATE: When your only tool is a hammer every problem looks like a nail. Adrenaline Games has confirmed 4 new unspecified props in the upgrade kit. To display how the extra props will "help" a modified WC field is offered. It is damn near perfect for showing why the extra bunker mentality is simply wrong. I will be posting a follow up tomorrow complete with illustration provided by Sup'Air.


Anonymous said...

The NPPL field has always been longer than 150' but maybe the narrowness gives better angles IDK. I never heard anyone complain about NPPL length

Anonymous said...

There are four more guns on the field in nppl

Anonymous said...

I think you are over exaggerating the field length. I believe it has more to do with field design and bunkers used.

Damien - Sup'AirBall said...

I am so confused. From your own post: "The layout fix isn't simple but a good start would be to eliminate the giant A and add a few more bunkers."
We added 4 more bunkers and now "It is damn near perfect for showing why the extra bunker mentality is simply wrong."
The modified WC layout was to show adding bunkers makes the gaps shorter. I don't claim it makes a better WC layout.

I am open to suggestions for layout designs. I do my best to come up with about 50ish PSP layouts each season for the leagues playing the Race2 format.
More than once you pointed out I don't know what I am doing. Though that bugs me, you are probably right. I'm not a Pro players. Never was. If you have time, I would seriously appreciate your input on layout designs so we can improve the players experience.
You probably have my email address. I know Joey does.

Anonymous said...

"More than once you pointed out I don't know what I am doing. Though that bugs me, you are probably right. I'm not a Pro players. Never was. If you have time, I would seriously appreciate your input on layout designs so we can improve the players experience"

Balls in your court Baca lol

NolanS said...

I think it's a combination of field length, field layout, and race-2 format but whatever.

Anyways, whenever you're able to move up the field (up on bodies) is rewarding, especially at the 50, whether you're making use of the bunker or not. Being up the field causes the other team to play tighter in their bunkers. Playing tighter = being more restricted = makes your gun skills weaker and increases the chances of being eliminated. No matter how good of a player you are, you'll always play a bunker better loose (relaxed body) than tight. On top of that, it closes more lanes for opposing players to move up the opposite ladder, and your shots are closer meaning better chance of hitting.

I think a big problem with WC was there was too much risk of getting shot to make moves up the ladders worth it. Having a can as a D2 is basically unplayable and forces the players to wait until they can make a move past it to the 50. Combined with the shitty 'tactical' snake, there are really slow points.

Damien - Sup'AirBall said...

I agree with you about WC layout and the risk/reward of moving forward. That Can on D-side was garbage. I saw that too late.
I'm still not convinced about the snake being that bad. But that's just me.
I'll work harder at it and if anyone wants to share ideas on layout designs, I'm all ears.

NolanS said...

To be honest, if you used that snake in 2007/8 it would be fine, there would still be moaning but no big deal. The issue is, if you combine the tactical snake with all of the other changes in PSP that's slowing down the game, it's too much.

Add bunkers, change their sizes, etc. is too complex to think out especially when it relies heavily on the layout. One point I will make, mini-As should be the same size as the NXL ones.

With field layouts, the bunkers should get wider as you get farther up the ladders. Placing small bunkers at the back forces movement, which is more exciting, and makes it easier to close games. a good dorito ladder would be D1 = small dorito, D2 = normal sized mini-a, D3 = dorito.

TJ said...

"More than once you pointed out I don't know what I am doing. Though that bugs me, you are probably right."

Are you kidding me?? The guy who, for whatever reason, has been put in charge of creating layouts and essentially dictating the pace of the game at events openly admits that he doesn't know what he's doing.

Please someone try to explain to me why this is acceptable. Someone who is not professional, nor ever been professional, is creating the layouts for professionals.


Anonymous said...

Kind of like a guy coaching a professional team who is not professional, nor ever been professional.

Or a guy reffing professionals who has never been professional.

Or a guy designing guns for the professionals who has never been a professional.

TJ said...

No, it's not like any of those things at all. The paintball field is a unique thing and it requires a very, very talented person to create excellent layouts.

Mike Gilbert, field owner of TPA Paintball, played D1/Open with Punishers back in '07 and years prior to that. His ability to build layouts is extremely impressive. Why? Because he is an intelligent paintball player that can pick up on the angles, blind shots, etc that normal players cannot.

>Come out here, shoot over this pillar, hit D1
>Crouch at this can and this dorito will blind the snake out and keep you safe
>Shoot over the side of the A here and hit the 4 when he's sliding in

If you have the mind set of a D5/D4 player, do you think you would be able to incorporate the shots that D1/Pro players see and utilize?

Surely I cannot be alone with this opinion.

Damien - Sup'AirBall said...

@TJ: "the mind set of a D5/D4 player"... I did that bad for the past 6 years? :)
There was a hint of sarcasm in the "you are probably right" comment.
I won't pretend I know it all and I've said it before: I'm absolutely open to suggestions.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of sup'air getting input from Baca and others. Were a young team with maybe 20% experience with the old bunkers,field size ect. So we've had no problem playing the snake and other props. A new generation of paintballers have all ready adapted.

TJ said...

@Damian: Please let me be clear that I have nothing personal against you, though I may be coming across kind of harshly. I don't mean to insult you or anything.

I'm happy to see that you are open to suggestions and I really hope that everyone involved works together to make the best tournament that can be offered.

Anonymous said...


Damian did you also make the CXBL 2012 layouts?

Damien - Sup'AirBall said...

@ TJ. I do take it personally because I care about the service I provide. I absolutely accept criticism so we can provide a better experience to the players/spectators.
Hopefully Paul will accept to share his knowledge. I will talk to Mike from TPA. I'm sure we will come up with some neat designs for 2013.

Damien - Sup'AirBall said...

@Anonymous 12:46
I did (among many other leagues). I got some good and bad feedbacks about those. If you played CXBL this season, feel free to email me your comments.

Owen said...

Hi Damien,
I think you do a great job, and work very hard, for no credit at all. There are foild layouts that have been excellent and I'm sure no-one came on here and thanked you. Also, you're not being fair to yourself. You have more experience at designing fields than anyone else in the game, and as there is no College Degree for field design, this makes you the professional in this area. Don't let people put you down or worse - put yourself down.
I giove you a lot of credit for coming on here and inviting input, and I'm sure that if you were to get some, you would oblige by tweaking the fields.
Basically the only problem with you is that you're French. I know you're trying to do something about that, but until then, just do your best.

Baca Loco said...

Anon 6:12
Read 'Twenty Feet Too Long' Believe whatever you like, the numbers don't lie.

The quote you pulled is from the post, PSP Pro Bracket 2013, and isn't addressing the issue of slow play or matches to time. No reason to be confused--it's called context.
What your press release on PBN does imply however is that the added four bunkers will speed up the game and "fix" the problem of slow play. And it won't as I will be explaining in my next post.
I realize none of this brouhaha is your doing and that you're only trying to do your job. That is why when I talk about stuff related to field design or Adrenaline Games I leave your name out of it.
I appreciate the offer Damien and would be happy to oblige but the league has already made it clear they are concerned about how that would appear and the fact the other pro teams would likely object.
For the record pro status has nothing to do with understanding the implications of field design in advance.

The situation is problematic. And it's not of Damien's making. He's simply caught in the middle doing the best he can. Nor does the issue of designs begin or end with him. As he stated he does lots of designs and the league then picks from those possibilities and it is clear the league doesn't know how to "read" a design any better than the typical player either.

Anonymous said...

Baca's last post points to why it would be tough to have a former pro player doing the field designs -- the guy would have too many ties with 1 or 2 teams and that would at the best case create the illusion of an unfair advantage for those teams, and at the worst case actually provide an unfair advantage for those teams.

The best approach may be to have post-tourney breakdowns with representatives from all the teams on aspects that worked/didn't work with a layout to lead to future improvements.

Fullbore said...

Worse would be to have a current member of a pro-team roster, player, or staff, acting as a consultant to AG on layout design. Their position with their team would be untenable, due to the real advantage in having access to event layouts in advance of the crowd!

Damien - Sup'AirBall said...

@Owen: I greatly appreciate the support. I actually did something for/against my Frenchness... I am American now. And I'll keep doing my best. :)

@Paul: I'm looking forward to your next post, as always.
It would seem unfair to the other teams if you were to design the layouts. But I'm more interested in how you see a design rather than getting one handed to me.

Nick Brockdorff said...

The most important thing, in my view, that you guys need to change Damien - both in the PSP and MS.... is the notion of designs being "tape line wars".

The tape line will always be preferred, due to the angles it affords.... but when it the ONLY avenue of attack, you force all teams to play head on and the game becomes all about lanes and gun fights.... and very little else.

You need to start - at least -making a playable centre line, end to end.

Preferably also some secondary avenues between the centre and the tape line.

Go dig out the design from the year when Paris was a self seed event.... that is the best design you guys ever did, and those are the design principles you should stick to.