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Michael Dorosh

CMAK Imminent - can we fix the Scenario Depot Rating System Beforehand?

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Perhaps more information about the scenario itself could be recorded and displayed, and searchable. Examples would be:

-what are the dimensions of the map?

-what is the approx. size & composition of the Axis/Allied units (i.e., company sized paratroops)

-what is the predominant terrain of the map?

-what is the highlight of the map (ex.: airfield, hill, church)

(the above information may have to be "tactfully" added so as to not give away any "spoilers" for some scenarios)

And as suggested from GSTomEGun on my site:

-what play testing has been done on the scenario? Is it "raw" or has it been a continuous work in progress that is just now ready for public consumption?

These among others to give those searching for a scenario as much information as possible about the scenario (and searchable!) without giving away the "plot".

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I agree. As much info as possible should be given about the scenario. Perhaps a link to spoiler info on another page would be possible. Playing blind is already on the honor code anyway. Everybody has an editor. Just so spoiler info for blind players doesn't jump right off the page.

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Originally posted by Treeburst155:

Perhaps people who register at The Scenario Depot should be asked to briefly supply in a profile what their likes and dislikes are concerning scenarios. This info would then be available to scenario shoppers.

My "Reviewer Profile" would be something like this:

I don't like running out of time with a significant number of combat capable troops still on the map.

I don't like flags near map edges or in the middle of open terrain.

I think the luck factor in CM is more than enough without adding planes or low percentage reinforcement arrivals.

I don't like tiny scenarios.

These profiles would help shoppers determine who their favorite reviewers are.

I like this idea. It would then be easy to find the reviewers that are more likely to share my tastes

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Michael - you have me embarassed now. But thanks.

Apart from that, if you come across flaws/mistakes, whatever, just email me. That is more productive than the depot anyway for constructive feedback.

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I think one other idea that should also be included for a "standardized" review would be an estimate of the opponent's skill.

I think that a typcial player who loads up a scenario/QB and goes up against, say, Rommel's great-grandson or something is going to a)get their booty stomped, and B) probably find some degree of frustration with the scenario. It might not be fair, but I think if people get spanked playing a certain scenario they may find faults with it that perhaps are more a result of the use of tactics by who they played (or problems with their deployment/plan) than the scenario's design.

I think evaluating the quality of the opponent that the scenario was played against can add a dimension of depth/flavor to the review overall. But it falls back into the argument about bias/favorites/etc, so it may not be that good of an idea..

Of course, there will still be people who hate the scenario and perhaps their opponent enough to rate both poorly, but that's human nature.

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I think RaggedyMan brings up a good point. I think the tendency to dislike a scenario is greater when one loses. Perhaps there should be another set of three checkboxes for reviewers: "Won", "Lost", "Draw"

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Originally posted by Treeburst155:

I think RaggedyMan brings up a good point. I think the tendency to dislike a scenario is greater when one loses. Perhaps there should be another set of three checkboxes for reviewers: "Won", "Lost", "Draw"

RM's suggestion would go hand in hand with what we've been using at TPG, a scenario discussion's area. Playtesters play the scenario and then discuss their findings, posting the final outcome, who they played against, faults with the scenario (if any), likes/dislikes, etc. Spoilers are frequent in our discussion areas because, well, the scenarios are being playtested, but spoiler warnings could be included at the SD.

What's the difference between a review and a discussion? On TPG, the review is to aid others in determining if the scenario is even worth the effort. The discussion gets to the heart of the matter and crunches numbers. On the SD, a similar principle could be applied: I'm Joe Player and am looking for a scenario. I find one that has mixed reviews. I'm not sure what's in the scenario so do I just download it and spend an hour or more dinking with it, or do I go to the discussions area and read up more about it? Ah yes, discussions. Here I find that the scenario has or doesn't have some components that I'm looking for. I avoid any spoilers if I don't want to read them.

I'd be more than happy to work with Keith on the design idea for this that I used. The way it is set up on TPG, whenever a new scenario is uploaded, a discussion is automatically set up for it, under the appropriate game (CMBO, CMBB, CMAK). The information page for each scenario has a link that goes directly to that scenario's discussion.

Just an idea.

;)

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Originally posted by Treeburst155:

I think RaggedyMan brings up a good point. I think the tendency to dislike a scenario is greater when one loses. Perhaps there should be another set of three checkboxes for reviewers: "Won", "Lost", "Draw"

What about taking this a step further and having the actual score recorded? As has been pointed out earlier, scenarios aren't perfectly play balanced, and some are purposely out of balance. Assuming the average score could be calculated and enough scores are submitted, it would:

1. Tell you which side the better player should take in a head to head match.

2. Let you know if you performed better than average in a really unbalanced scenario (in effect, winning).

With enough scores, it wouldn't matter whether one player was significantly better than another as this factor would be averaged out.

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Originally posted by Ace Pilot:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Treeburst155:

I think RaggedyMan brings up a good point. I think the tendency to dislike a scenario is greater when one loses. Perhaps there should be another set of three checkboxes for reviewers: "Won", "Lost", "Draw"

What about taking this a step further and having the actual score recorded? As has been pointed out earlier, scenarios aren't perfectly play balanced, and some are purposely out of balance. Assuming the average score could be calculated and enough scores are submitted, it would:

1. Tell you which side the better player should take in a head to head match.

2. Let you know if you performed better than average in a really unbalanced scenario (in effect, winning).

With enough scores, it wouldn't matter whether one player was significantly better than another as this factor would be averaged out. </font>

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I think recording the victory level is a really good idea.

In some ways though, the bigger problem which we haven't really addressed is the relatively small number of reviews. I've no idea how that issue could be addressed.

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Sorry guys I am being lazy / pressed for time and want to ask if the thread has discussed search features.

The way I use the Depot is to try and find balanced scenarios for HTH Double Blind Play.

I only tend to look at the page where the top ten are shown.

It would be useful to be able to have more shown in a ranking. So display on a page all the scenarios reviewed for HTH play (PBEM Suitability etc..)and show them ranked in order of the balance, or perhaps by any of the other ratings if you could re sequence it by your own choice.

A bit like how you use Excel to sort data.

Not sure if I have explained myself well?

Or if it has been brought up before?

As for getting people to review this is an ongoing push of awareness and places like here and the main forum will help in maing people aware.

H

P.s. Just checked the other search feature and perhaps that could be expanded so you could pull up a list of scenarios with your chosen rating or higher. I.e. I could enter a 9 on PBEM Balance and see what comes up, even if it has not had many reviews.

[ January 14, 2004, 07:08 AM: Message edited by: Holien ]

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I’m inclined to think this is a bad idea, but I’ll throw it out there in hopes that it might inspire a good idea.

It seems that there are two objectives that are at odds with each other – getting more reviews and getting reviews with enough detail to be useful. How about a dual track system that does both? Have a detailed scenario review that is available only to registered users (similar to the Cabal idea discussed earlier), and an extremely simple review (e.g., A, B, C, D or F) available to anyone.

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Originally posted by Treeburst155:

I agree. As much info as possible should be given about the scenario. Perhaps a link to spoiler info on another page would be possible. Playing blind is already on the honor code anyway. Everybody has an editor. Just so spoiler info for blind players doesn't jump right off the page.

The design I am currently working on is as follows:

A brief scenario synopsis containing limited information (Name, sides, size, region, and a few more).

A link within that synopsis which will popup the entire set of detailed scenario information. This serves two purposes - the first allows for much faster page loading, and the second allows for better FOW.

Text-based reviews using a 1 though 5 graphics (stars, stick grenades, hamsters, whatever) for the ratings. The player reviews can optionally (at the player's discretion) include a link to more detailed spoilers.

The authors will be able to, at time of scenario synopsis post, :

1) enable text-based reviews, and/or

2) enable graphical ratings.

This is the current plan, subject to the discussion in this thread.

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The Victory Level/Scenario Results concept is already being coded. If the author is accepting reviews for his/her sceanrio, there will be a link within that review/rating which will provide a popup window with the results.

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AK

Two questions occur from the thread as a whole and the proposed design.

Are you still planning to implement the 'I played as' facility suggested by WWB and mentioned in one of your earlier posts?

Are you proposing to have the ratings and/or text comments against an 'overall impression/fun/ playability' category, and also to have ratings/text comments against a set of supporting criteria such as balance, map quality etc (where the author has allowed this)? If so, does this thread need to come up with proposals, input or possibly even consensus on the list of supporting criteria that can be rated?

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Originally posted by Cranford:

Are you still planning to implement the 'I played as' facility suggested by WWB and mentioned in one of your earlier posts?

Yes

Originally posted by Cranford:

Are you proposing to have the ratings and/or text comments against an 'overall impression/fun/ playability' category, and also to have ratings/text comments against a set of supporting criteria such as balance, map quality etc (where the author has allowed this)? If so, does this thread need to come up with proposals, input or possibly even consensus on the list of supporting criteria that can be rated?

I'm not entirely clear on what you mean by the first part of your question, but YES to the second part.

Here's the layout...

When an author submits his new scenario, he selects whether A) he wants to have text-based reviews, and/or B) he wants to have graphical ratings. Reviewers will only be able to submit the type of review desired by the author.

For example, an author posts a new scenario, and simply doesn't give a hoot about any rating system. He simply wants players to give him textual feedback. The author will also be able to state what aspects of the scenario he would like reviewed (or special points of interest to which players should pay special interest). this will then be displayed to players as they prepare to review the scenario as sort of a reminder of what the system is all about. The player will then only be able to submit the author-desired data, thus providing authors with a more author-tailored review system.

Lastly, the author will be able to selectively have his scenarios reviewed based on specific rating categories. When the author posts a new scenario, and the author elects to have reviewrs post ratings, the author will be given a selection of catgories which he can have displayed.

For example, an author is particulary pleased with his map design, and has also designed the scenario specifically for head-to-head play. The author, when the scenario is posted, will select the Map Design Category, as well as the Head-to-Head catergory.

As you can see, the upcoming system is being designed to accomodate as many different authors as possible.

Additional fields are being put into place, as well, to allow the Search engine:

A) to search across CMBO, CMBB, and CMAK

B) to allow authors to enter additional data by which scenarios can be found, such as "Designed for PBEM" or "Human vs AI".

Grouping data will also be available, so that scenario packs, or design groups can relate their work without having to use the scenario title field.

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Hi,

What I really use and want to continue is the ability to find games that are balanced for HtH play.

If all the authors go over to text based responses then this will be lost and I will not be bothered to search through all the scenarios trying to find that.

Will you continue to provide the top ten list or allow us to search for balanced games?

I have limited game time and want to ensure a good game for both players. I feel cheated when I end up playing something where one or the other player has a side which stands little chance of winning.

Not fun IMO.

H

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To expand on my earlier post and make some suggestions as to rating categories. I was thinking about what rating categories I would be most comfortable with as a user of the SD, but would also help to give feedback to designers.

Looking through the earlier posts on the thread, I would suggest the following criteria:

Overall quality (Head to head)

Overall quality (vs AI)

These two would allow reviewers to comment on their overall enjoyment of the scenario similarly to the current playablity ratings. As a user I would find this kind of ranking helpful in finding scenarios to play, particularly as it is not planned to aggregate scores or provide top 10 lists.

Other categories which seem to be useful to either designers or downloaders would be:

Briefing

Map design

Balance

Design for AI - human as Allies

Design for AI - human as Axis

Challenge as Allies

Challenge as Axis

The definitions of these might be along the lines set out in Michael Dorosh's first post in this thread but with some of Michaels criteria combined e.g. Briefing (execution) and briefing (general) combined into Briefing.

Just my 2 cents.

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Originally posted by Holien:

Will you continue to provide the top ten list or allow us to search for balanced games?

The Top 10 Lists will still exist in some fashion. However, since numerical ratings are being revised, the basis for these lists are still unclear. Again, it is the purpose of this august body to come up with ideas and solutions.

Originally posted by jwxspoon:

How do you intend to handle the existing DB of reviews?

I believe that topic has yet to be covered. One issue is how to enter one or more values into the new rating system based on historical values. There are thousands of reviews associated with CMBO and CMBB scenarios. Players and authors have dedicated a significant amount of effort to reviewing these scenarios; I would be loathe to resign this effort to an archive where their values had no current meaning. Their historical rating values should be reflected in the new rating system, either by a single accumulated value, or by having each historical rating translated into a new rating value.

Authors and player must come up with some archival method, as well as a method for translating ratings.

If not, all historical reviews will simply be relegated to an archived database table and a link provided on each scenario synopsis page, to the effect of "Read Historical Reviews".

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As for the top ten lists - allow all scenarios when being reviewed to be nominated for "scenario of the month" in the various categories.

Ranks the scenarios by the number of votes they get that month.

That way the top ten lists stay current?

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Hi Thxs for the response.

I have just waded through the morass of thought on those pages...

Phewwww.....

Right I have seen it said by some how they use the List page and how poor the page is.

I can see their POV but for me I don't care what I play as long as it is somewhat balanced or tells me which side the stronger player should take.

The list allows me to zoom in on what people have rated highly. I don't search by type of game just what is rated highly.

As long as I can still pull up a list of all the scenarios with five stars and which have had a lot of people rate them. One or two reviews don't count in my search. (Sorry but that is the way I look). So if I could see a list with the scenarios listed by the total number of 5 stars that would be great.

Perhaps you could produce a total by doing the following.

Each star is worth a point and you add all those points up based on each persons review. I.e. 3 review it as 1 = 3pts etc.. This would give you a variable rating.

I am glad you are keeping the list page and if ou can intriduce a search on star rating (or whatever it ends up being,) that would be great.

H

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