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[Posting] Missing players at the beginning of games.
Thread opener
Posted Wed, 2020-08-12 17:37 GMT, edited Wed, 2020-08-12 19:20 GMT

Stefan, please remind me how do we handle such cases? Like is in NorthStar 11 now. I prefere to wait for another player to fill an empty slot.

[Posting] Re: Missing players at the beginning of games.
Posted Thu, 2020-08-13 16:56 GMT

Stefan, please remind me how do we handle such cases? Like is in NorthStar 11 now. I prefere to wait for another player to fill an empty slot.

I now kick players from the game if they miss their first turn. But so far, no turn has been missed. This particular account is only a few days old, so not someone who forgot they have signed up years ago.

--Stefan

[Posting] Re: Missing players at the beginning of games.
Thread opener
Posted Sat, 2020-08-15 18:25 GMT

I now kick players from the game if they miss their first turn. But so far, no turn has been missed. This particular account is only a few days old, so not someone who forgot they have signed up years ago.

--Stefan

I guess you can do it now.

I now kick players from the game if they miss their first turn.

Since there's often a huge delay between signing up for a game and the game actually starting, many games have new players sign up and then months later when the game starts they never actually play. So the game starts with abandoned races, which is unfair (positive or negative) on everyone. For example, Phoenix 9 is about to start with 3 players likely to never play (Fed, Empire, Colonies).

My suggestion would be that when host is set to run for turn 1 (which has a 7-day grace period to return your turn) and a turn is missing, host should not run but the game should revert "active" to "joining" status, kick out any player who didn't submit their first turn, and let someone else start the game from the beginning.

Stefan: how easy would this be to implement? I think it should be relatively straightforward?

Thoughts from everyone else?

I now kick players from the game if they miss their first turn.

Since there's often a huge delay between signing up for a game and the game actually starting, many games have new players sign up and then months later when the game starts they never actually play. So the game starts with abandoned races, which is unfair (positive or negative) on everyone. For example, Phoenix 9 is about to start with 3 players likely to never play (Fed, Empire, Colonies).

My suggestion would be that when host is set to run for turn 1 (which has a 7-day grace period to return your turn) and a turn is missing, host should not run but the game should revert "active" to "joining" status, kick out any player who didn't submit their first turn, and let someone else start the game from the beginning.

Stefan: how easy would this be to implement? I think it should be relatively straightforward?

Thoughts from everyone else?

This is a very good idea. After all it is a game and when it becomes spoiled due to players not playing, it isn't fun anymore.

[Posting] Re: Missing players at the beginning of games.
Posted Tue, 2021-01-12 20:04 GMT

My suggestion would be that when host is set to run for turn 1 (which has a 7-day grace period to return your turn) and a turn is missing, host should not run but the game should revert "active" to "joining" status, kick out any player who didn't submit their first turn, and let someone else start the game from the beginning.

Stefan: how easy would this be to implement? I think it should be relatively straightforward?

If I understand this correctly, you would send out initial result files, and if there's some no-shows, scrap those along with the received turns? This probably gives a very bad user experience if someone receives an awesome starting location, plans their turn, invests some time and love, and then it turns out all was for nothing.

It had been suggested that the host periodically send out emails "are you still interested"? I've been playing with this idea in my mind, but didn't end up at a solution that wholly satisfied me. After all, spamming users every two weeks "are you still there?" will spawn some bad mood, too (if not at the users, then at the mail servers...).

Putting both ideas together, how about this?: if the game is about to start, everyone whose join was more than X days (X=14?) ago receives an email. If they don't confirm within 7 days, they are dropped. (Possibly with an option: I have played >20 turns during last 6 months, don't bother me next time.) Game starts if we have a confirmation from everyone that is <X days old.

(It's more than a one-liner, though. Currently, host doesn't even know when players joined. Data economy, GDPR, you know. Or just plain laziness....)

--Stefan

If I understand this correctly, you would send out initial result files, and if there's some no-shows, scrap those along with the received turns? This probably gives a very bad user experience if someone receives an awesome starting location, plans their turn, invests some time and love, and then it turns out all was for nothing.

No, that's entirely not what I was suggesting.
I was suggesting that all the players that submitted turns stay in the game, that their turns are still valid. Only the slots for the players that didn't submit their first turn are recycled and put up for joining.
I shouldn't have to say it, but once the game has started (in that turns have been handed out), players shouldn't be allowed to quit one race and rejoin the same game as another race. Hopefully nobody would do that, but better to have it hardcoded than rely on honesty.

It had been suggested that the host periodically send out emails "are you still interested"? I've been playing with this idea in my mind, but didn't end up at a solution that wholly satisfied me.

When I first joined PlanetsCentral, I missed the first 10 turns of my first game because the game-has-started email(s) went into my spam folder (probably fixed because of your SPF changes). If the user doesn't get the real game-starting email they likely wouldn't get your are-you-still-interested email either.

if the game is about to start, everyone whose join was more than X days (X=14?) ago receives an email. If they don't confirm within 7 days, they are dropped. (Possibly with an option: I have played >20 turns during last 6 months, don't bother me next time.) Game starts if we have a confirmation from everyone that is <X days old.

This kind of solution would fix the problem I think. Fixing the problem before the game actually starts is preferable to after it started. I would personally be less generous with the 7 days (both opt-in and first turn), but the principle is sound.
Note of course that your solution doesn't preclude the original situation still happening (player says "yes I'll play" and then fails to submit first turn) but should greatly reduce it.

For example, Phoenix 9 is about to start with 3 players likely to never play (Fed, Empire, Colonies).

Stefan, any chance you want to do some kind of manual intervention on Phoenix 9? Turn 1 is due in 16h and I still suspect we'll never see those 3 players. Perhaps you could prevent host from running and assuming those players don't show up at the last second, kick them out and see how feasible it is to re-open those races for joining?

[Posting] Re: Missing players at the beginning of games.
Posted Wed, 2021-01-13 19:22 GMT

If I understand this correctly, you would send out initial result files, and if there's some no-shows, scrap those along with the received turns? This probably gives a very bad user experience if someone receives an awesome starting location, plans their turn, invests some time and love, and then it turns out all was for nothing.

No, that's entirely not what I was suggesting.

You explicitly underlined the "start from beginning", I guess I took that the wrong way.

I was suggesting that all the players that submitted turns stay in the game, that their turns are still valid. Only the slots for the players that didn't submit their first turn are recycled and put up for joining.

Here it could happen that long time passes between turn one and turn two, and someone loses interest during that time.

On the other hand, I agree that your solution is much simpler than mine because it doesn't need new UI interactions.

I shouldn't have to say it, but once the game has started (in that turns have been handed out), players shouldn't be allowed to quit one race and rejoin the same game as another race. Hopefully nobody would do that, but better to have it hardcoded than rely on honesty.

+1

This is a game. Other players invest their time to play for your enjoyment, so it's only fair if you spend some time for theirs.

It had been suggested that the host periodically send out emails "are you still interested"? I've been playing with this idea in my mind, but didn't end up at a solution that wholly satisfied me.

When I first joined PlanetsCentral, I missed the first 10 turns of my first game because the game-has-started email(s) went into my spam folder (probably fixed because of your SPF changes). If the user doesn't get the real game-starting email they likely wouldn't get your are-you-still-interested email either.

That would unsubscribe them from the game.

This kind of solution would fix the problem I think. Fixing the problem before the game actually starts is preferable to after it started. I would personally be less generous with the 7 days (both opt-in and first turn), but the principle is sound.
Note of course that your solution doesn't preclude the original situation still happening (player says "yes I'll play" and then fails to submit first turn) but should greatly reduce it.

The idea was that we still know the last interaction with the server was recently, so we rule out technical problems, and things like "I'm on an 8 week backpacking trip and forgot to unsubscribe".

But unless we glue people to their keyboard, we cannot avoid people dropping.

Another solution could be to prevent people from joining if they don't have a confirmed-working email, but that would break the "oh, I want to play - click-signup-join" flow that I'd like not to lose...

--Stefan

[Posting] Re: Missing players at the beginning of games.
Posted Wed, 2021-01-13 19:27 GMT

Stefan, any chance you want to do some kind of manual intervention on Phoenix 9? Turn 1 is due in 16h and I still suspect we'll never see those 3 players. Perhaps you could prevent host from running and assuming those players don't show up at the last second, kick them out and see how feasible it is to re-open those races for joining?

Dropped them. I give everyone a chance, innocent until proven otherwise (but player 11 sounds like I have already kicked them earlier?).

I could take a slot if nobody objects; I don't have a current game.

--Stefan

You explicitly underlined the "start from beginning", I guess I took that the wrong way.

By that I meant that the game should be opened for replacement players to join and they get to start with turn 1 (and not turn 2 or 5 or whenever someone decides to join).

Another solution could be to prevent people from joining if they don't have a confirmed-working email, but that would break the "oh, I want to play - click-signup-join" flow that I'd like not to lose...

You could still have the simple userflow and tentatively sign up the player instantly, but if they don't click the email confirmation within 24h then they're automatically unjoined.

I could take a slot if nobody objects; I don't have a current game.

I don't think anybody would ever object to you joining a game, come join the fun! :smile:

[Posting] Re: Missing players at the beginning of games.
Posted Thu, 2021-01-14 17:47 GMT

I could take a slot if nobody objects; I don't have a current game.

I don't think anybody would ever object to you joining a game, come join the fun! :smile:

I just want to make clear that I'm not kicking players to join in their place. I join because I had to kick them for not showing.

--Stefan