Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Extra Bunkers Hoax

Okay so maybe, just maybe, hoax is a little strong--but only a little because the addition of the extra bunkers is aimed at solving a problem the bunkers won't, yes you read that correctly, won't fix. And of course Adrenaline Games is claiming the extra bunkers will fix the problem. "... adding a few more bunkers to the existing PSP field is the best remedy to slow Race-to games." (For complete press release title is link.) Four bunkers, even though we don't know yet which four we're getting, can't fix the problem of slow matches going to time from the lowest division right up to the pro game because extra bunkers doesn't address the problem. And if the sample "fix" offered by Adrenaline Games is indicative of how they intend to use the four bunkers in the future they won't make any difference at all. The only thing the sample illustrates is that Adrenaline Games doesn't understand the problem much less how to fix it.
Okay, maybe so but you want to ask what if. What if the extra props were used more, um, better? You know, to fix the problem of too many matches going to time. Even without knowing what kind of prop the extra bunkers will be the answer remains no, four extra bunkers ain't gonna do it. But can they help at all? Maybe. (And that's a seriously qualified maybe that would require someone(s) who actually knew what the result of their design would be. But it's a band-aid solution when what is required is outpatient surgery.)
Looking at the diagram the grey zones indicate approximately the areas a Home shooter can't see or shoot OTB. On the sample field the extra bunkers are redundant. On the D-side they don't affect rotation to the wire at all and--because Home can still shoot the N1 to N2 gap and because most teams once they get a look at the field will want to got N2 OTB--and on the snake side the new bunkers actually increase the difficulty in reaching the snake OTB because a runner is now forced into a deeper path that will allow a good Home shooter to target either a snake or corner runner simultaneously. Of course the problem of slow play wasn't the inability to reach the wires anyway--and if it had been adding an extra bump along the path isn't a remedy to either--it's just another move to be made.
The positions players were being shot OTB with some degree of success are circled in red. (Can the extra bunkers as used in the sample help get players alive to the wires? Not if the other team is already on the wire. And it won't be any more quickly than before because reaching the wires is not where the slow down occurs.) Let me repeat that: Reaching the wires is not where the slow down occurs.
Now take a look at the red arrows. They indicate lanes the Home shooter has. On the D-side he can control the D1 and on the snake side he can contest the bump into snake 1 and the player's ability to use snake 1 offensively. These are the two choke points that initially slowed the game with many teams choosing to play the upfield Can or MT (on the cross) to increase their control over the snake. (And if you played this layout you should also be aware the next problem was that the fifties didn't kill anybody either.)
Bottom line the slow down is a phenomenon of the 2011 & 2012 seasons as proven in the post, Twenty Feet Too Far. The field designs can and do on occasion highlight the problem as happened at Cup but in and of themselves aren't the source of the problem.
Since the grid was handy I thought I would also illustrate the source of many of the long pro points on the upper half highlighted in aqua. [For more details check out the Movement: Play of the Game post below.] As long as moving upfield offers no benefit to the risk taker it won't happen. This was exacerbated at Cup because of the ability of the Home shooter to effectively control/contain both or either wire. The other live players would then look to reach D1 and Snake 1 to complete the cross up without putting themselves at greater risk and when both sides have a reduced number of live players the smarter play is the waiting game, no matter how tedious it gets for spectators.


Anonymous said...

I really haven't understood why the field designs don't have that "key" bunker that has some devastating angles on 1-2 opponents.

It seems like on the fields lately, even if you move up, you're still just faced with some direct gun battles and zoning-up (just farther up the field).

I remember back in the day you'd want to make that key spot where you'd do some serious damage if you made it there.

Why don't we have those spots anymore?

Anonymous said...

Financial interests. You'll sell a lot more paint to unsponsored divisional teams who sit and zone up. When one player can get in a bunker and blow up an entire side points will go a lot quicker, especially in the lower levels where lanes aren't held as efficiently.

Damien - Sup'AirBall said...

I guess my English is worse than I thought... The layout provided was to demonstrate adding 4 bunkers would make the gaps shorter, not an example of what will be done next year nor that this particular example solved the slower games we've had lately.
Adding 4 bunkers will make the games faster. But maybe I don't "understand the problem much less how to fix it"... I guess we'll see at the 1st PSP event next season.
Happy Thanksgiving yall!

Baca Loco said...

Try rereading your own press release. Everything you say about adding four bunkers is predicated on reducing gaps between insert props. The clear implication is that is where the problem lies.

Why won't AG tell its customers what bunkers the new kit has in it?

ollytheosteo said...

What is also a bit puzzling is why the 'customer' (series) is being told by the 'supplier' (AG) what bunkers they must buy for next year, instead of, er, the other way around. Surely the PSP should decide what kind of field they want, order the bunkers accordingly and the bunker maker should supply same? I can see that isn't how it works but no one seems to be able to explain why...

Anonymous said...

Two thoughts. First, for paintball, and specifically field design, Damian is more of a professional than anyone in the world. No one has 1/10th the experience he does.

Second, it should be up to the league to supply the vision for the field to Damien and for Damien to integrate it.

Getting upset at Damien for designing fields that the league selects is not Damien's fault.

If the league said, "block shooting lanes" and "give me a sweet spot bunker on the tape that owns the field" then Damien would do a great job of it.

If the league says, give me a field that plays well, that I can film, that people can lane on, or whatever the league is saying, you get what we currently have.

As it is now, I will call our field layouts a result of the "hegemony of the shooting lane". Everything appears to be dictated by pundits, coaches, players, etc. wanting to look at a field chart, and then identify shooting lanes.

What does Baca do when he wants to talk about a field? Draw shooting lanes, predominantly lanes from early field positions. How often do we talk about "the first 15 seconds being the most important", blah blah blah..? Our entire approach to paintball is being oriented around "the breakout". So we have these field created with some nice shooting lanes that favor the back guys.

And surprise surprise when we see tiny Sam Monville running around at the World Cup with 12 pods playing most of the points in the back.

Our current field layouts are a reflection of what we've conceptually done to the game thanks to the "hegemony of the shooting lane".

If we took a different approach, one that was attempted with the so-called "trees" of years passed (but never actually realized), and thought of and designed our fields not with shooting lanes, but moving lanes, we'd see a lot different design.

That in effect, requires finding shooting lanes, and then putting an obstacle right in the middle of it.

Anonymous said...

"That in effect, requires finding shooting lanes, and then putting an obstacle right in the middle of it."

But I can assure you, as soon as that happens we'll see a few things. People looking at the field diagram and being dumbfounded about what to do because they can't just draw lines across sections of the field to shut down movement. People complaining that the PSP/Supair hates back people. Teams getting blown off the field, not by laning teams, but by opponents getting up in their faces and shooting them out. And said teams complaining that the field layout ruins the game of paintball.

NStoer said...

I firmly disagree

The easier a field is to get eliminations off the break, the faster the game will be. But that, and 'fields being made to 'favor' back players' is irrelevant.

PSP has always had otb shooting lanes and laning bunkers, nothing in that sense has changed. What has changed is the format, the bunker sizes, the field lengths, etc. The combination of all this has completely slowed the game down.

How do you get past laners? You put them in and go, that's a consistent and simple fact. A big issue is the layouts, and bunkers used in the layouts, do not promote being able to move and live in the next bunker once you've put the laner in.

dan. said...

i hope Baca considers this a 'legit' question - because I mean it to be:

we don't know what the 4 add'l bunkers are going to be yet - but for example, say one is a Maya (large) Temple, what are your thoughts on this exact Cup layout but where the cans are are in the 40 doritos you place a Maya Temple there, but move it out closer to boundary?

Like five feet from the boundary so you can still shoot down the doritos, but if you cross that 50 yard line you have a very big useful and maybe productive bunker that people are willing to move up field and get on opponents side to get to ASAP? Is this the type of key bunker that teams would be willing to push hard to get to? Making a faster game?

just asking - i'm a newb with field concepts.

NewPro said...

I hate to jack another topic coach but you need to expand on your fb post, im gonna suggest the theme, "what constitutes a pro team" with a secondary, "what makes a pro league legitimate"?

Baca Loco said...

interesting idea but it doesn't fly. Sure you could set the field up that way but it wouldn't have made a significant difference. MTs will be easier to live in but no easier to get to. And in the early phases of a point you're confronted with the proximity factor which basically acts on players' minds like magnets opposing poles resisting contact. Too close to an opposing player invites a run down and how close is too close? Beyond that a look at the angles suggests the best immediate shot is the crossfield snake insert T with shots on the minirace and corner TCK uncertain. And no place really to hide from snake 1.

Nick Brockdorff said...

There will always be shooting lanes.... the notion of "shutting them down" through design is silly.... because as you block them out with props, all players need to do is play further away from the props, to gain the same effect.

So, it's a catch 22 - you either allow for the lanes to be there from in the bunker, or you block it, allowing the player to play away from the bunker safely.... with the same end result.

We should stop using bunkers merely as lane blockers in our designs, and instead focus on designs where almost all props are actually playable on their own..... doing that will create way more options on the fields than the current (boring) repeatitive wire battles.

Anonymous said...

Nick -
"because as you block them out with props, all players need to do is play further away from the props, to gain the same effect.

Yes, that's the point. If you shut down a shooting lane, players will have to "move" to actually shoot. That is indeed the point.

A player hiding in a blind spot shooting a lane is a lot more interesting and has more potential for movement in a variety of directions than a player laning from behind a bunker.

Nick Brockdorff said...

You are missing the point dude :)

I'm not talking about movement.... I'm talking about people just backing off their bunkers a couple of yards, to get the same effect.... there is nothing aggressive about it.

Anonymous said...

Baca do you think that the new 'technical' snake bunkers will ever be revoked or enlarged? I defiantly prefer the old beams.

Baca Loco said...

Given that the 'technical' snake will apparently be carried over another season it seems unlikely.
Doesn't everybody?
More importantly the old snake doesn;t dictate significant aspects of the rest of the field design--unlike the tech snake.
Of course it would have been easier--and cheaper for everyone--to simply go back to the old field dimensions too.

NolanS said...

One big thing (I'm sure its been brought up before) in response towards "catering" to laners - the PSP adding an extra 20ft and reducing bps has made it much harder to get kills off break. More players alive within the first 15seconds = longer points will last.

If PSP could go back to normal lengths it would really help the pace but then making fields change again would be such a clusterfuck.

Baca Loco said...

So instead the consensus is to add 4 more mystery bunkers to the field and that's a good idea?

BTW, where's the data that says it was more players getting shot OTB that led to games and matches going to score before 2011?

Some of y'all might find it instructive to go back and read the threads about changing the field dimensions back when it happened as opposed to the revisionism going on now.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Well, it ofcourse depends what the bunkers are.

But, both for the PSP and the MS field kits, I find another 4 Mayas or Cans would give a lot more options for designing fields with more possibilities for the players.

Obviously, just adding 4 bunkers is not the end all solution.... but it's a step in the right direction.

It would be a good idea, if both the major leagues invested a bit of time, over the next year, to put some thought into how the "perfect" bunker kit would be.... so that possibly, for 2014, we could be seing the introduction of the perfect Xball field.

NolanS said...

I never said adding the mystery bunkers is a good idea. I really have no experience with changing bunker sets so all I can do is sit back and watch and see what happens. It's definitely no solution but I also don't think it'll hurt.

I've realized something, I've been saying it's been a combination of a lot of things that's slowed the pace down, and it has, but in the CXBL nothing has actually changed and this year the field layouts were by far the worst I've ever played. It was awful. I don't know if it has to do with the bunker sets or the field layouts or a combination of both.

Here's an easy thing that could have helped this year - start laying cans down, especially when they're in a ladder. If Supair is so keen on adding bunkers to try and fill field gaps, that would have been an easy solution.

Baca Loco said...

One of the issues this year that was different was the "technical" snake and the fact it not only required a number of the other bunkers to make them playable but also it required greater control of the player elevation--no stand-ups too close or even on that half of the field in some instances. That alone changed a lot of the dynamic characteristics of all fields designed with the tech snake.