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  • Balance Command

    There are a number of issues about the Balance command that I want to address in this thread, and this is also an excellent place for you to voice your own concerns about the Balance command.
    1. I hear a lot of people talking crap about the balance command, but it very consistently gives better games than if someone uses random, or if people just join teams. If you have any suggestions on how to improve the balance command, please use this thread to suggest them. If you can possibly think of any better way to create balanced teams, suggest it.
    2. Lately I've seen less and less usage of the Balance command, either because there are no admin on, or because the admin chooses not to use it and instead opts for random or just to join. The Balance command was created for just that - balancing the teams. Please use it accordingly. It makes me VERY happy when an admin does an early balance (first 30s of RR) because it gives the code a better chance to balance the teams without anyone already joining and skewing them.
    3. Also on the usage issue, when there are no admins on I think someone should still be able to use it. Possibly the person that has GB. I really don't care who, but there should always be someone in the server that can balance or it really kinda ruins gameplay (imo).


    I'd also love to see the balance source code just to get an idea of what it's even doing now. I see a thread over a month ago about the balance command, but no resolution as to what happened with it.

    Of course, use this thread for any other issues that you can think of involving the Balance command.

  • #2
    Re: Balance Command

    after being balanced to aliens constantly i pretty much hate this plugin

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Balance Command

      Originally posted by DarkSeraph View Post
      I'd also love to see the balance source code just to get an idea of what it's even doing now. I see a thread over a month ago about the balance command, but no resolution as to what happened with it.
      The head admins have made a conscious decision not to reveal details of the algorithm to avoid gaming the system, which I won't overrule--but the basic idea is that the plugin watches each players performance on the server longterm, and then intelligently tries to balance good players on one team with bad players on the same team, or good players on the opposite team, depending on who is on the server at the moment. Registered vs unregistered doesn't matter, as records are kept by Steam ID, not forum ID, but players who have only been here for a handful of games are considered unknown and they are straight randomed. Sometimes you'll get lucky with those, sometimes not. But if they stay for more than a few games they'll pick up a record and won't be unknown any more.

      I should mention the plugin will attempt to compensate for people who have already joined, if you run it late, but if several people have joined that won't always be possible.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Balance Command

        I was pretty sure that Wyz was quite telling about this algorithm, Kero... and knowing the algorithm can't help the players "fix" it. The algorithm they are *not* sharing is the seed credits because if we knew exactly how those worked, it would be likely someone would try to abuse it.

        It balanced based off of each person's game's won vs game's loss ratio.
        The rest of what Kero said is correct, it adds people to each team to try to balance it out. Those without a record are given a ratio of .5 meaning that they, as kero said, are basically just balanced.

        I personally switch between using balance and random... Both of them can provide severely unbalanced games... But I normally just use it when people are trying to stack one team so that everyone has time to plan before the game starts.
        remi.D

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        • #5
          Re: Balance Command

          /me wonders if his proposed modification to balance was put in (involving unregistered players)

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Balance Command

            Originally posted by blu.knight View Post
            I was pretty sure that Wyz was quite telling about this algorithm, Kero... and knowing the algorithm can't help the players "fix" it. The algorithm they are *not* sharing is the seed credits because if we knew exactly how those worked, it would be likely someone would try to abuse it.
            I may be misremembering the rationale given, but I'm fairly sure the actual algorithm has never been posted publicly. A few people have made guesses at the algorithm and posted those, but none of them were very accurate.

            Originally posted by micr0c0sm View Post
            /me wonders if his proposed modification to balance was put in (involving unregistered players)
            As I said, the plugin treats registered and unregistered players exactly the same. It tracks people by STEAM ID, not Forum ID. However, the new-and-unknown players are randomed before the known players, which is basically what you suggested.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Balance Command

              Originally posted by Kerostasis View Post
              I may be misremembering the rationale given, but I'm fairly sure the actual algorithm has never been posted publicly. A few people have made guesses at the algorithm and posted those, but none of them were very accurate.
              This is correct, the code has not been posted publically. Although various people have tried to explain the basic functioning a few times, I know I've never been very successful at explaining it, as I tend to go off on tangents. If you'd like to see some of the train wrecks of my past "explanations", searching my user name with "balance" as the keyword and displaying by post will bring up several of them.

              As I said, the plugin treats registered and unregistered players exactly the same. It tracks people by STEAM ID, not Forum ID. However, the new-and-unknown players are randomed before the known players, which is basically what you suggested.
              The only flaw in this is that if you wait long enough for new players to have joined, the part that assigns the remaining new players does not consider how many new players are already on a team.

              Micro: If I recall, your suggestion was to split ?'s randomly regardless of whether they are new? Is that correct? My problem with this is I don't like creating an incentive to not register, and I don't like not using the data we have on ? players that play here frequently.

              Tal: from the perspective of one player, whether you end up on marines or aliens is 50-50. It chooses the team of the first known player randomly (unless of course people have already joined). The only way I can think of that you would be consistently getting aliens is if the same players were repeatedly joining the same team before the balance is executed, in which case it may cause the rest of the assignments to be somewhat repetitive, but I would hope nobody is doing this.

              Blu: Imho there is never any reason to use amx_random, since that's the worst that balance could possibly do, but I'm obviously biased on the matter.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Balance Command

                maybe an addition to balance, like rr_balance, where it forces every player to the ready room, then runs balance (as long as the round has not started).

                or what about an in-game balancer for when the teams get uneven because people leave. instead of having to scream 'teams teams' for a half hour while people pretend not to notice, it might be good to try and subtract a player from one team and add him to the other in a way to try and balance the game after X seconds, instead of giving them the suckiest player.

                it could work well, or it could frustrate people when their 110-2 fade gets switched because marines are rage quitting. but, if thats the problem, maybe somebody should have switched sooner. sort of like a punishment.
                ORGANBiTER | $_COOKIE['monster'] | UBiQ

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                • #9
                  Re: Balance Command

                  Ive seen admins using the balance plenty of times. Only suggestion i have is that if an admin wants to random he mind as well just use balance instead of random. We dont need to be assigned every game, like tal mentioned getting balanced to the same team over and over gets annoying.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Balance Command

                    Originally posted by H|tOk|r| bAttOuSa| View Post
                    Ive seen admins using the balance plenty of times. Only suggestion i have is that if an admin wants to random he mind as well just use balance instead of random. We dont need to be assigned every game, like tal mentioned getting balanced to the same team over and over gets annoying.
                    So I can't quite tell what you mean, but to address the issue of being assigned to the same team multiple times, that is just as likely to happen with amx_random as it is with balance. With either method, half the time you will be on the same side twice in a row, 1/4 of the time you'll be on the same side three times in a row, etc. Considering that there are sixteen people on the server, we would expect one of those players to get assigned to the same side five times in a row, just due to the probabilities involved. Random is NOT going to result in alternating between marines and aliens any more than balance will.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Balance Command

                      I would support an automatic balance at the start of the game if there are 12+ players. A balance that takes place before anybody has the chance to pick sides. If people want to switch, they can ask.

                      But I don't support forcibly switching people in the middle of the game (especially a carry player). Asking them to switch is good enough. Usually when you need to call "teams" the game is almost over, or just beginning. Auto balancing during the beginning is ok, but sort of pointless late in the game (assuming one side is already winning so somebody raged quit).

                      I prefer to do balance too whenever I get the chance. But all too often the same few players immediately choose their favorite team; thus skewing the balance for everyone. Whomever has the fastest level loading wins their choice.

                      I often get balanced to the aliens (a lot more often than the marines). Without knowing the criteria for balance, there is no way to fix it. I usually put up with it for a while (for balance's sake), but eventually I just choose marines.

                      How smart is the algorithm anyways? K:D ratio? Score? Wins:Losses? Too many possibilities, too many variables.

                      What if I get a 200:2 K:D ratio because i just pwnd a bunch of bots? It really doesn't mean anything. What if I consistently have a high score (on top of the board) but my K:D ratio sucks? What if I'm unfortunate to lose more games because of a poor team? Loose because of a poor balance? Win because of unfair teams? Do CO maps count? Do short games count? What if I suck at Marines but rock at aliens? (and vice-versa).

                      It all seems too complex to place on any one variable. The only solution I see is to consider as many variables as possible over all recorded time for a Steam ID. Unfortunately you'd probably end up with a 0.5 ratio when considering the majority of people over a long period of time.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Balance Command

                        Originally posted by Protoss View Post
                        I would support an automatic balance at the start of the game if there are 12+ players. A balance that takes place before anybody has the chance to pick sides. If people want to switch, they can ask.

                        But I don't support forcibly switching people in the middle of the game (especially a carry player). Asking them to switch is good enough. Usually when you need to call "teams" the game is almost over, or just beginning. Auto balancing during the beginning is ok, but sort of pointless late in the game (assuming one side is already winning so somebody raged quit).

                        I prefer to do balance too whenever I get the chance. But all too often the same few players immediately choose their favorite team; thus skewing the balance for everyone. Whomever has the fastest level loading wins their choice.

                        I often get balanced to the aliens (a lot more often than the marines). Without knowing the criteria for balance, there is no way to fix it. I usually put up with it for a while (for balance's sake), but eventually I just choose marines.

                        How smart is the algorithm anyways? K:D ratio? Score? Wins:Losses? Too many possibilities, too many variables.

                        What if I get a 200:2 K:D ratio because i just pwnd a bunch of bots? It really doesn't mean anything. What if I consistently have a high score (on top of the board) but my K:D ratio sucks? What if I'm unfortunate to lose more games because of a poor team? Loose because of a poor balance? Win because of unfair teams? Do CO maps count? Do short games count? What if I suck at Marines but rock at aliens? (and vice-versa).

                        It all seems too complex to place on any one variable. The only solution I see is to consider as many variables as possible over all recorded time for a Steam ID. Unfortunately you'd probably end up with a 0.5 ratio when considering the majority of people over a long period of time.
                        The only variable tracked is a W:L ratio over NS games. The complicated part is how the math works when evaluating who goes on which team.
                        [volun2]
                        NS Game Officer. TF2 Admin. BF2 Admin / Scripter. PM with issues.
                        Tempus: Pokerface is nailing it right on the head. Everyone who is arguing against him is simply arguing against reality.
                        <anmuzi> it is not permitted to have privacy or anonymity
                        <LazyEye> yeah when I play on TG the server digs though my trash

                        Arm yourself with knowledge: TG NS TF2 BF2

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Balance Command

                          Originally posted by Protoss View Post
                          I would support an automatic balance at the start of the game if there are 12+ players. A balance that takes place before anybody has the chance to pick sides. If people want to switch, they can ask.

                          But I don't support forcibly switching people in the middle of the game (especially a carry player). Asking them to switch is good enough. Usually when you need to call "teams" the game is almost over, or just beginning. Auto balancing during the beginning is ok, but sort of pointless late in the game (assuming one side is already winning so somebody raged quit).

                          I prefer to do balance too whenever I get the chance. But all too often the same few players immediately choose their favorite team; thus skewing the balance for everyone. Whomever has the fastest level loading wins their choice.

                          I often get balanced to the aliens (a lot more often than the marines). Without knowing the criteria for balance, there is no way to fix it. I usually put up with it for a while (for balance's sake), but eventually I just choose marines.

                          How smart is the algorithm anyways? K:D ratio? Score? Wins:Losses? Too many possibilities, too many variables.

                          What if I get a 200:2 K:D ratio because i just pwnd a bunch of bots? It really doesn't mean anything. What if I consistently have a high score (on top of the board) but my K:D ratio sucks? What if I'm unfortunate to lose more games because of a poor team? Loose because of a poor balance? Win because of unfair teams? Do CO maps count? Do short games count? What if I suck at Marines but rock at aliens? (and vice-versa).

                          It all seems too complex to place on any one variable. The only solution I see is to consider as many variables as possible over all recorded time for a Steam ID. Unfortunately you'd probably end up with a 0.5 ratio when considering the majority of people over a long period of time.

                          Do be aware that the plugin does compensate for players already on teams when the command is run (with the exception of unknown players). So one will still get a balanced game when running the command after allowing several people to join. However, if people switch after the balance there is no way to recover from that. As soon as someone switches the game is likely to no longer be balanced, unless the people that swapped were of a similar skill level. So be aware that whenever you switch with someone of a higher skill level, you'll be in for a rough game.

                          As to the variable issue, as poker said the only thing considered is win:loss ratio, which is used as a probability of that player's team winning. Win:loss inherently covers every other variable mentioned, as well as everything that wasn't. We would only be interested in those variables because they affect a player's chance of winning, so if we directly use that probability, we don't need to concern ourselves with the intermediate variables. Since only large NS games are recorded, frequent bot-stomping will not affect your record.

                          The last thing I wanted to address was your mention of winning or losing because of a good or bad team. Balance is actually self-correcting in this respect. The lower your individual win/loss ratio, the better the rest of your team will be. So anytime you're on a team that's too good, it will increase your win/loss ratio (as you'll probably win), and therefore your next team won't be quite as good.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Balance Command

                            At least that's the theory. I still don't quite agree to it.
                            remi.D

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Balance Command

                              the simplest solution is [nearly] always the best.

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