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Pokemon Tactics Trainer

Discussion in 'The Suggestion Box' started by Unbreakable, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. Unbreakable

    Unbreakable

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    Inspired by numerous examples of similar chess training programs that give you an actual game position and ask the player to pick the best move in the situation, I put forth the idea of the tactics trainer for Pokemon.

    Let's face it, not all of us have the ability to get a mentor, and some of us really don't learn that well by ourselves. Enter the tactics trainer, which presents "problems" taken from actual ladder matches (possibly use logs saved on Pokemon Showdown, because the server would crash if it tried to save this sort of data) and ask the student to select the "best" move in the given situation. It is assumed that the "best move" is the one selected during the actual match, which serves two purposes: It allows for multiple-move combination problems cross-checked against the log, and it permits the various problems to be assigned a level of difficulty based on the rating of the player who managed to put together that combination. While this is far from a perfect assumption, the idea is that higher-ranked players are able to see and seize more nuanced advantages that can be leveraged into a win than lower-ranked players. One possible fix would be to have the problem difficulty be dynamic based on the percentage of people who gave the correct answer. (Another possible idea would be to have Technical Machine run quality control by determining whether the action taken in a presented scenario really was best before making it into a problem.)

    Of course, Pokemon isn't chess in that there's numerous RNGs involved. In such a case, hax events such as a timely flinch are portrayed in the problem as they were during the match, and to paraphrase one of Phil's protips, a hax win is better than a sure loss. This ensures that the problem plays out as the battle did. To return to the multiple-move example, if a student gets the first action correct, then the replay proceeds with the opponent's action, then it's on the student to make the right second move.

    Possible tactical motifs covered by the problems could include forcing switches, setting up or removing hazards, boosting, sweeping, prediction, weather wars, trapping, revenge killing, scouting, and stopping a sweep. Between all these situations, the student should be able to develop a good body of working knowledge.

    If nothing else, when you have a run of bad luck on this thing you won't make an ass of yourself by raging about it in the main chat.
  2. bubbly

    bubbly

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    I made a puzzle along these lines for gen 4 almost a year ago now I think. A lot of people liked it and seemed interested. However, there is one massive problem, and that is prediction.

    The puzzle I made only worked because there was a guaranteed win situation which could be reached regardless of the opponents move. This is very rare and hard to put together, and it's also difficult to make a puzzle difficult enough in such a sure-win position.

    The only other way to do it would be to focus more on general strategy; but again there's not really a "correct" answer as such. The answer would have to be more of a suggestion of what needs to be achieved to win, and how you could set about trying to achieve that.
  3. Curtains

    Curtains

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    This wouldnt work. In chess tactics you have one correct (best) move and a 100% reply. In pokemon the choices are basically ....

    A. Attack him with my best move (super effective)

    B. Switch out to a counter

    C. Use a less or neutral move against him to predict

    D. Use taunt or thunder wave or set up

    Every situation is so straight forward but the opponents reply might not be. Tutoring also imo is more about team building. Guessing what the opponent will do is pretty simple.
  4. Unbreakable

    Unbreakable

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    Bubbly: The second idea you put forth is what I had in mind for this program. It's less about reaching a guaranteed-win position than it is about giving the player a body of working knowledge without the heartbreak that comes with laddering. This is more conducive to Pokemon because with the hax element present, it is as you said: There is (almost) no such thing as a guaranteed win in our game, and all you can do is look for the student to make the best move in the presented situation. Again, whether or not it was the best move for the situation is something that Technical Machine can objectively determine. (Of course, the fact that it looks strictly at numbers means it makes some plays that almost no human player would, such as Chansey using Flamethrower when the opponent has Heatran waiting in the wings.)

    Also, let's be honest here: If I can't reach 1200 with Carcharodon Megalodon, clearly the blame is not to lie with a lack of team-building skill on my part. The assumption is that our community is large enough that I'm not the only one with this problem, though I am likely the most outspoken of them.
  5. TheBaron

    TheBaron

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    Good idea.
  6. Artemus Moniz

    Artemus Moniz

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    This looks like a good idea.
  7. Woodchuck

    Woodchuck i am woodchuck
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    There was a thread with certain scenarios that asked players to come up with the ideal strategy for both players A and B, and there were also a few Smog articles to that effect.

    This is an interesting idea and I think it has potential, but I also see difficulty in executing it. For one thing, ladder matches aren't always the best places to learn strategy from. e.e

    Besides, the selection process for scenarios would be difficult to do for real logs, so, as time-consuming as it may be, manufacturing your own hypothetical scenarios would make for a much better "trainer".
  8. Unbreakable

    Unbreakable

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    Woodchuck: Ah yeah, I forgot about those. As I recall, there was a "snapshot" of a crucial turn in a battle (forget whether it was real or fabricated) and they asked the community to vote on what they thought the best move was. That was fun...the only drawback was that people were arguing over their respective votes, throwing theorymon all over the place, and strong players were strong-arming less skilled ones into seeing the situation as they did. Here, it's more of an individual decision, but you do bring up an excellent point: The only benefit to using ladder matches as source material is so one could be presented with not only a wide variety of scenarios, but also problems with varying degrees of difficulty. (If the responsibility for composing tactical scenarios fell to any one person or group in particular, well, let's just say they'd have their hands full for a long time to come.)

    If one were to draw solely from the big-name tournaments like SPL, Smogon Frontier, World Cup or maybe even the upcoming official, the problems would be more fundamentally sound, but almost unilaterally out of the reach of the target audience I had in mind: That of the casual player that's inexperienced in the competitive scene and wants to develop the skills needed to succeed in that arena in the privacy of offline. Hell, we could even rip from warstories if we really wanted to, though we'd have to avoid using the really good ones because everybody knows them.

    (just throwing this out there: Since mind games depend more on knowing the opponent's tendencies than anything having to do with the mons in play, situations that revolve around those are probably not fair game)

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