Time/turn limits on games

Zarel

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#1
We've never really been able to agree on turn limits, but I think they're kind of a big deal.

Note: I'm not talking about forced endless games, I'm talking about stall battles where everyone doubleswitches for like 500 turns.

In the games themselves, any multiplayer game (rated or otherwise) stops after 1 hour and goes into a tiebreaker, where whoever has the most pokemon left wins (or if that's a tie, whoever has the most total HP or something).

The main reason Smogon has been kind of wary of this is because they support stall games. But still, though, some kind of limit would be nice. Maybe two hours? Maybe 500 turns?
 
#4
for the ladder, sure. definitely not for tournament games though oo
Excellent compromise. Tournament battles (especially GSC) need to allow for the players to play absolutely optimally, even if that means taking several thousand turns to get there. Ladder battles have no such necessity and could be limited more easily. Either of those metrics you provided would work in that case Zarel, and if you're dipping into that territory you could also institute a battle duration limit tied to server restarts (30 minutes?).
 

Finchinator

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#5
There should be no regulations of this nature applies to tournament battles period, imo.

Actually realistic example: If there's some tie/drawn out scenario in GSC where the game can go on thousands of turns with switching and minimal to no PP use, that should probably be in the hands of the TDs and both parties partaking, not at the mercy of the simulator. An extension of that scenario is that these prolonged GSC games can take hours and, therefore, there shouldn't be a time limit on the length of a tournament game.

I think either whole SmogTours server should just be disregarded if this is ever implemented or it should only apply to rated battles on any server.

As for ladder, I think that's a good idea as proposed above. What I want to know is if it's possible to make this tier specific or generation specific. By this I mean, can GSC have a longer time and higher turn limit than ORAS or BW? I think this would be appropriate. I won't throw out specific numbers quite yet, but if this is possible I think it should be considered given the different natures of strategies in the metagames and how they often dictate the length of games.
 

galbia

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#6
Just a note, some GSC games will go on for over 500 turns. Frankly, I'd rather we not have one, and definitely not one lower than the one PO already forces (1024 iirc). Rare for a game to last that long, but definitely not unheard of.
do second generation games have a timer like ORAS in game?
 
#8
Excellent compromise. Tournament battles (especially GSC) need to allow for the players to play absolutely optimally, even if that means taking several thousand turns to get there. Ladder battles have no such necessity and could be limited more easily. Either of those metrics you provided would work in that case Zarel, and if you're dipping into that territory you could also institute a battle duration limit tied to server restarts (30 minutes?).
The bigger problem with this is similarly to vgc where if one player has a sizable lead in terms of mons/hp/whatever outside factor we're using to determine winner, then they could opt to just stall and make use of that generous 5min timer to timer stall and get the win. I'd rather not encourage that.
 

Vinc2612

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#9
In VGC, playing the timer is a legit strategy. If the opponent uses Bliss, you better take all your time every single turn if you don't want to be toxic minimize'd to death.

That's just a random example, but the point still stands. If there is a global timer, they will be some cases where your best shot at winning is aiming for the timer. Is that what we want in smogon tiers? That's another question.

For the record, on the cart, tiebreakers are: # of Pokémon alive, then sum of all HP as percentages, then sum of all HP.
 
#10
I agree on timer limit on Gen 5-6 ladder matches due to timer as natural feature of them.
Does timestalling report still exist? If so, there's no risk of "playing-the-timer" strategy.
I would not extend timer limit on older gens, because there isn't the need and, as someone already said, gen 2 matches are basically prone to be longer; we will unlikely see a gen 2 ladder full of players complaining of the huge amount of time they have to spend in playing.
About tournaments: no timer limit please. If there's absolutely the need to do something, just apply that famous "15 minutes time limit for each round" in Smogon Tour Weeks for real, even at the cost of dqing both players timestalling, if necessary. I believe that in tournament area, timer stuff is more a thing up to tournament hosters than to simulator
 

AM

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#11
We've never really been able to agree on turn limits, but I think they're kind of a big deal.
Can you elaborate more on this, specifically the last part? Other than a general intro in the OP it's sort of vague where you're coming from here and could maybe steer the direction more towards a solution than spitballing ideas of what should have timer limits and what shouldn't.

For your reference I suppose an ORAS OU game normally isn't going to last 500 turns, even if it's a stall v stall game. These matchups are you usually decided from an early stage just by who has what to apply PP pressure or who is packing and utilizes a stall-breaker.
 

Zarel

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#12
For the record, on the cart, tiebreakers are: # of Pokémon alive, then sum of all HP as percentages, then sum of all HP.
What happens if all three of those are the same?

Are percentages rounded?

I agree on timer limit on Gen 5-6 ladder matches due to timer as natural feature of them.
Does timestalling report still exist? If so, there's no risk of "playing-the-timer" strategy.
Timerstalling is a pretty common issue. Ladder players complain about matches lasting too long all the time. I hate not having a consistent policy on it.

Can you elaborate more on this, specifically the last part? Other than a general intro in the OP it's sort of vague where you're coming from here and could maybe steer the direction more towards a solution than spitballing ideas of what should have timer limits and what shouldn't.

For your reference I suppose an ORAS OU game normally isn't going to last 500 turns, even if it's a stall v stall game. These matchups are you usually decided from an early stage just by who has what to apply PP pressure or who is packing and utilizes a stall-breaker.
Sure, we've had an annoying high number of ORAS OU games that last over three hours and hundreds to thousands of turns. Players complain about needing to sleep, needing to eat, needing to go to the bathroom... Someone started a game at 1am thinking "okay, just one more game before bed" and was trapped in a stall match until 4:30am.

And they beg for a force-tie (which we refuse on principle) and they refuse to forfeit and it just gets ugly.

And you're right, most stall v stall games happen just fine. The thousand-turn battles only happen once every few days. But remember, PS gets millions of battles every day, so one-in-10-million situations happen every few days...

The usual situation is full stall v full stall, where neither player has an obvious path to victory, where both players have multiple Regenerator Pokémon so conserving PP when healing is easier than conserving PP when dealing damage, where basically whoever runs out of PP first loses, so they just double switch, double switch, double switch... Every few turns someone will decide to risk it and use a move, but 1 PP every 5 turns is not enough to end a battle in any reasonable amount of time, especially since stall Pokémon often have lots of PP.

So yeah, that's the situation I'm trying to fix.
 

galbia

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#13
Ok then if we are going to be true to the cart game we should definitely agree on a global timer. In generations previous to the 5th the timer is not a win condition on cart so it should definitely not be implemented in any situation for sure but in the newer games it definitely should be, in some proportion.
I don't know what the in-game timer is based on but if i recall correctly it is shorter than a hour and with much longer animations in a lot of cases so if we want to be true to cart an hour in total for a game would be fair (and it has been rare to see a good ORAS or BW game that long, feel free to prove me wrong) but i can see two hours working as well since we already "mod" the regular game with sleep clause etc.

I would also talk about a 50% shorter timer similar to the in-game one especially for the ladder(that doesnt reduce progressive tho) but idt this is the right thread for that
 
#14
Ok then if we are going to be true to the cart game we should definitely agree on a global timer. In generations previous to the 5th the timer is not a win condition on cart so it should definitely not be implemented in any situation for sure but in the newer games it definitely should be, in some proportion.
I don't know what the in-game timer is based on but if i recall correctly it is shorter than a hour and with much longer animations in a lot of cases so if we want to be true to cart an hour in total for a game would be fair (and it has been rare to see a good ORAS or BW game that long, feel free to prove me wrong) but i can see two hours working as well since we already "mod" the regular game with sleep clause etc.

I would also talk about a 50% shorter timer similar to the in-game one especially for the ladder(that doesnt reduce progressive tho) but idt this is the right thread for that
Yeah, the only issue will be: how to treat people who try to steal win just by timerstalling?
 

galbia

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#15
Yeah, the only issue will be: how to treat people who try to steal win just by timerstalling?
It would take 1 or two hours of moving each turn at the latest time possible while also keeping your team healthy, which is pretty damn boring, and if someone brags about it he can get globally punished. Basically how we do now
 

OrdA

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#17
I don't like the idea of introducing situations where timer stalling becomes a competitive strategy.

If we want to limit the game length, I see around 2-3 options:

1. Clock based timer without timerstall option. Like in chess, both players have separate timers that only run when they have a decision to make. (Limiting the game length to max. P1 time plus P2 time.) Like with the individual turn timers, a player that runs out of time, loses.
This way, timer stalling will only lead to a disadvantage.

2. Turn based timer. A game may only take xyz turns, after that the winner is decided by a tiebreaking function.

3. There is also the option of something like the "50 turn rule" in chess, that ends the match after nothing has happened for a certain amount of time or number of turns. (In the case of chess with a tie, but we can use a tiebreaker instead.) The problem here is how we define "nothing happening" and how the simulator detects it.

For example, in a stall vs. stall game, if I have depleted 7/8 of your heal bells while you didn't get any of mine; I'd be upset if the game proceeded into the tie breaker and made a judgement based on that your hp bars are higher with no kills / etc for xxx turns. In this case, your heal bell pp going low is definetely "something happening", but it's a complicated situation for the server to detect. Not all pp matter, and if it's looking at 8pp moves this allows me to use one pp every fourty-what turns in order to forestall the tiebreaker.

Conversely, if all we are doing is switching with Regenerator and nobody is using any pp, this is a situation it should definetely catch.
 
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DragonWhale

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#18
What happens if all three of those are the same?

Are percentages rounded?
If we want to be accurate the game compares the "total amount of remaining HP"/"total max HP (including fainted Pokemon)" as the second tiebreaker, and "total amount of remaining HP" as the third tiebreaker. If it's still the same then the game is a draw.

Edit: It's important to include fainted pokemon in the second tiebreaker, since if a game ends with both sides having the same number of full health Pokemon, it doesn't necessarily mean it'll go to the third tiebreaker. This is usually what happens when a Shedinja is involved in VGC (since Shedinja games usually run the clock), as one player can have two Pokemon at 80-90% health vs a Shedinja + another Pokemon at full health and still win the second tiebreaker.
 
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#19
It wouldnt really be "stealing". Ingame waiting out the timer is actually a win condition in some situations. If there were to be a timer on PS, punishing that would just be uncompetitve imo
Then it's better as we are now if we have to introduce a way to playing around the actual game.
I really like OrdA first option, that is basically what's currently implemented on single turn timer; we have just to make another timer based on overall game
 

Zarel

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#20
2. Turn based timer. A game may only take xyz turns, after that the winner is decided by a tiebreaking function.
Not a bad idea.

3. There is also the option of something like the "50 turn rule" in chess, that ends the match after nothing has happened for a certain amount of time or number of turns. (In the case of chess with a tie, but we can use a tiebreaker instead.) The problem here is how we define "nothing happening" and how the simulator detects it.

For example, in a stall vs. stall game, if I have depleted 7/8 of your heal bells while you didn't get any of mine; I'd be upset if the game proceeded into the tie breaker and made a judgement based on that your hp bars are higher with no kills / etc for xxx turns. In this case, your heal bell pp going low is definetely "something happening", but it's a complicated situation for the server to detect. Not all pp matter, and if it's looking at 8pp moves this allows me to use one pp every fourty-what turns in order to forestall the tiebreaker.

Conversely, if all we are doing is switching with Regenerator and nobody is using any pp, this is a situation it should definetely catch.
The thing is, how would you measure this? "No PP depletion in 50 turns" isn't going to solve the problem. Assuming an average pokémon has 64 PP, this approximately turn 20000 before someone starts Struggling.

Our usual problem is PP depletion every ~5 turns, which means Struggle starts at turn 2000.

If we consider a target max turn count of, say, 500, we'd need to require PP depletion nearly every turn, which is kind of infeasible.
 

NOVED

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#21
I think making a timer different from the ones on cart and different from what we already have is unnecessary. The current timer discourages timer stalling to an extent and lets games play out as long as they need to until there's a clear winner where all pokemon are fainted on one side. For competitive games, that is probably the best outcome you could have.

The only reason to change what we have now would be to closer replicate cart play. If we're creating a new timer that doesnt replicate cart, i dont see the point considering the timer we currently have is perfectly fine and probably better than anything more complicated. So i dont think theres any point in thinking new ways to set up the timer, we should just be deciding how closely PS wants to simulate wifi.
 

Zarel

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#22
gamer boy wants me to post:

I think that for cases like these it is better to re-introduce the "force tie" feature that moderators used to have access to for use in ladder games. I've seen a couple of cases where it was needed on the ladders of PO and PS!, such as Kioskate's dilemma in the OU SQSA thread (this is spread over multiple posts; at the time I wasn't sure if the forced draw feature was still in place (it wasn't) and as such suggested that he tried contacting mods) and as demonstrated by this post about "super stall" as well as a number of cases where I've been either on the ladder using stall or was clicking through random games in "watch a battle" and have come across 700-turn stall wars which are literally two players switching endlessly between two Regen 'mons waiting for the other to either forfeit or fall asleep for the timer to finish off, and quite honestly when games reach a point where it is obvious that no player is ever going to win outside of these underhanded tactics there needs to be a way to force a tie so that neither player has to lose any ELO from what should be a tie.​
 
#23
May it be possible to do a "suggest/force tie" button that appears only after # (300+) turns played? Naturally if this doesn't go against "No ties in gen 6" principles
 
#25
"Playing the timer" exists in other games only as a side-effect of whatever time limit system they employ, not as a deliberate strategic inclusion made by the designers of the game. It has little-to-no competitive merit and should not be promoted as an actual tactic/win condition if we can avoid it, which we can. For this reason, I support a turn-based limit over a time-based limit or possibly a hybrid of both methods (i.e. reduced individual player timers upon hitting higher turn counts).