Saturday, November 17, 2012

Twenty Feet Too Far

You know where this is going, right? As long as I'm already busy winning friends and influencing people I figured where's the harm. (In for a penny in for a pound. Heh.) I was reminded of this issue by a thread over at PBN in the PSP forum. (Link is the title.) It's a poll about the Race 2 format(s) and any changes peeps might want to suggest. It's well above average in content and tone so check it out if you're interested.
Anyway, I'm not looking to change any PSP formats. (Not today anyway.) What I do want to do is remind everyone about a rule PSP introduced at the beginning of the 2011 season. You know the one. The one that added that harmless extra 20 feet to the length of a standard PSP Race 2 field. The one intended, along with those additional bigger props (that not only never materialized but actually shrank in 2012) to encourage the return to national tourney play of the older, fatter, slower crowd. You know, former players. (The guys who played 10-man at Cup.)
Prior to that rule taking effect VFTD strongly urged the league to reconsider on the basis it would slow points and games down and result in a lot more matches played to time than score. During the 2011 season I followed up a few times in event reports. (See herehere.) While those numbers suggested the warnings were justified I failed to follow up except to periodically remind everyone (ahem) that the games were dragging--as if it wasn't apparent to everyone competing.
Here we are in the off season between 2012 and 2013. Now I have two seasons of data on games played to time instead of score and I have data collected from the 2010 season to serve as a comparison. Before the extra twenty feet were added to the length of a field and after. I'm gonna limit the numbers (to keep this from getting more boring.) For the 2010 season--the last season with the field at 150 feet in length--8% of all preliminary Pro matches went to time. 16% of Sunday matches went to time. (Still) in 2010 13% of all preliminary D1 matches went to time. That bumped up to 16% on Sundays. 14% of all preliminary matches in D2 went to time sliding up to 23% on Sundays. In D3 prelim numbers were 8% of prelims moving up to 18% on Sunday.
In 2011 the seasonal numbers for games played to time in the Pros jumped to (45%) in the prelims and (33%) on Sundays. The 2011 numbers for D1 are (51%) prelims and (50%) Sundays. [The D2 & D3 numbers are similar in terms of percentages of change.]
In 2012 the seasonal numbers for games played in the Pros was (43%) in the prelims and (80%) on Sundays. For D1 the numbers are (54%) prelims and (62%) Sundays.
The rate(s) of change are both dramatic and pretty consistent--and, do I have to say it?--undeniable. What else happened between 2010 and 2011 that could account for such a distinct difference in results? (Hint: the answer is nothing.)
Look, the extra length isn't the whole problem. Field designs are also contributing to the lag in play as did the contortions required by the new technical snake but on the old field dimensions the concern would be about playability. There has been some talk about adding more props to the field kits and while I favor that change, conditionally at least, I'm not convinced that change alone will suffice because it will rely on the designer(s) knowing what to do with those extra bunkers. On the whole it would be easier to get rid of the extra twenty feet. 

26 comments:

Reiner Schafer said...

Just out of curiosity, how has paint consumption during those matches changed, if at all, during that period. Are the longer games using up more paint? Or is the paint consumption similar, but less shot/minute?

Baca Loco said...

Good question. I think we shoot 3 or 4 more cases on average per match--although that isn't true of the occasional really slow games.

Reiner Schafer said...

Hmmm, teams needing more paint isn't going to help with player retainment (for those that have to pay for their paint, but even sponsored teams would have a limit, I would assume). But maybe the addition of all those slower, fatter, older, richer players made up for it. :)

Anonymous said...

The game definately is not as exciting as it was before the changes. The snake is a big part of that problem. The elbows need to go and knuckle bunkers need to be added. What ever happened to being able to watch the snake wire from the snake corner. Why was that changed? Too many changes in the past few years that have stripped the game of some of its strategy and excitement...

Anonymous said...

Completely agree, game has become a lot more stagnant since the 20 feet was added

Neal said...

I personally like the technical, "fist team to make a mistake" crossed-up time drainers, although it does not make good entertainment for the "layperson" (who does not watch anyway). I would vote keep the extra 20 feet but add props and use designs that encourage challenging strategies and fast play.
The extra length gives the field a "legitimate" feel. The 150' dimensions felt like a novelty of sorts, a little too small.

Anonymous said...

keep the 20 feet - remove all the props - game on - problem solved

Mike said...

Compromise - try shortening it 10 feet first?

Luke Rud said...

So I am old, fat, and slow now? Can't I just like the 10 man format?

Luke Rud said...

So I am old, fat, and slow now? Can't I just like the 10 man format?

Luke Rud said...

So I am old, fat, and slow now? Can't I just like the 10 man format?

Baca Loco said...

Luke--a grossly unfair generalization obviously. :)
PS--next time have Kenzie post your comment for you. Three times? Really, was that necessary. :p

Anonymous said...

As a spectator I would like to see even bigger fields and NO coaching. Sure the points would be even slower, but so what as long as the game is entertaining to watch.

Super short train crash points with 90% success rate in break kills which decide point winner is pretty boring and repetitive.

Anonymous said...

Basketball is boring and repetitive. So is Hockey. So is Football. And don't even get me started on Soccer.

Paintball has 5 different guys, each of which at any point in time has the possibility of completely winning or losing the game. Every one of the guys on the field can be a "play maker" not just the guy with the ball (or puck) like in other sports.

All that being said, the field layouts this year have pretty much made the game into a grind. Get to your spots, zone up, gun battle.

More useable bunkers would make more meaningful movement. It would also mean more sales for SupAir, so I'm surprised we haven't seen this.

Baca Loco said...

10:32 Anon
More props means more expense for Sup'Air means higher kit price and there is already resistance to buying whole new fields.
Wouldn't surprise me if added props comes in an "upgrade" kit like the new props for this year gimmick.

Anonymous said...

Would the alternative to more props and/or a larger field be to reduce the field size? Saves money on props (compared to buying extra props), saves on netting, more fields per acre, etc.

At first thought it seems crazy... that it would turn into a blood bath to have a small field. But perhaps not because the shooting lanes would be filled with more bunkers.

Baca Loco said...

Anon 5:34
Uh, yes, that's kinda the point of the whole post. :)
Xball field was originally 150 feet by 125 feet.
At LA Open in 2007 the dimensions were reduced to 150 by 120 due to an error in ordering the turf and the field stayed 150 by 120 until the end of 2010.
Beginning of 2011 season it was changed to 170 by 120 and the result has been a lot more games going to time instead of score--so I'm suggesting--again--that those extra 20 feet be removed and the field go back to the way it was.

Anonymous said...

Someone explain how taking 10' off each side of the field is a better answer than slowing the guns down and/or making the sidelines be quiet.

Anonymous said...

You can't make the sidelines be quiet - your only two options are everyone communicates with players on the field, or cheaters communicate with players on the field.

Reducing rate of fire takes the results of each game away from the players. It takes situations where a player moving into a position where the opponent is shooting that result in an elimination to situations where players have increasing odds of moving where an opponent is shooting and surviving despite the best talents and efforts of the shooter.

Shortening the field up 20' puts more on-the-break kills into the game, forcing players to get to their tapes under duress instead of the current situation where getting to the tape is far easier since tape runners are at far lower risk with an extra 20' of safety between them and the break shooters.

Another advantage to shorter fields is that it makes the space between bunkers smaller, also making movement easier.

Anonymous said...

10'?

I was thinking 20 feet off both sides and reducing the width by say 8ft on both sides.

Anonymous said...

To the anon at 8:13 --

Maybe I'm confused here. But would it not be assumed that faster guns help shooters more than movers. Wouldn't it also be a commonsensical idea to think the guys who are running to the corners and down the field are more likely to be the game breaker exciting type players.

If so, how in the heavens would it be, if the idea was to increase excitement, a bad idea if things were changed so that the exciting players had a better shake? The guns are so fast these guys can't move as it is. You want to make the field smaller so they get shot more often???

All of your theories are to benefit back guys. As such, I assume that's the position you play. And as valuable as a good back guy is, when trying to find ways to make the game more exciting, catering to back guys wants is probably not the right track.

Your ideas seem more like self righteous self serving cannon-fodder and less logic thoughts about making the game more exciting.

Fast guns help methodical back guys. Shorter fields help back guys. Front aggressive guys are the exciting players. If you want exciting games make decisions that benefit the exciting players.

Anonymous said...

@anon 8:21 let's just play on a field the size of a bedroom. They'll only be one center bunker and two corner props! The games will be over in 3 seconds! Flags will fly and the crowd will go crazy!

Nick Brockdorff said...

As said in here numerous times before.... lowering the ROF is an excellent idea if the object is to get more "exiting" games.

If the premise is, that paintball is the most exiting to watch - and indeed participate in - when there is a lot of movement, then a lower ROF will hep create just that situation.

However, not everyone may feel that is the kind of paintball they want to see - or play :)

A lower ROF would also have the added benefit of refocussing R&D amongst paint manufacturers, gun manufacturers and barrel manufacturers, to where precision and shot to shot consistency became the new primary selling points.

I see no downside.

As for fields, I never understood the reason for making the fields longer, since it was supposed to make the game "easier" - when in fact it created the exact opposite result..... all it did, was create a temporary readjustment of break shooting length, while making all other aspects of the game harder.

And yeah, can we please get rid of all the props that are not really playable bunkers... elbows, trees and (in Europe) mini Ms - and have them replaced with bunkers that are truly playable :)

NewPro said...

Coach,
Can you shed some light on the mouse "salary". Maybe even devote an article to compensation for pros or the costs of running a pro team. Don't mean to hijack your topic, just hate seeing forums explode with comments from the the uninformed "inner circle".

SensorO said...

I would like trasnlucent or clear bunkers. ANything that will make the players move.
I could live without the snake at all.
Ditch the back corners or make them tiny.
Less hiding, more aggressive smart moves.
Answer the "How" question in the game. Is a game won/lost by the luck of squirrely balls at 15 per second or the strategy and skill of a team and its players? The answer needs to be easily seen from an onlooker.
Also the staging for games lacks. The bleachers need to be very close, so close you can almost feel it, think hockey. Onlookers arent just spectating, they are in the action.
My 2 cents, hope it spurrs thought and conversation

Nick Brockdorff said...

I played a field with "see through bunkers" once (they were constructed with netting)

It was terrible and created long, boring, drawn out games.

Reason is the opponents can see where you are in the bunker at all times, so even a snap shot becomes extremely difficult..... it makes paintball a waiting game, where almost no risk is worth it.