Time/turn limits on games


Papa Bless
is a Tiering Contributor
Honestly I don't think there should be any limit, either time or turns, on a ladder match. The endless battle clause should stop people from just switching between 2 pokemon infinitely, so all battles should end at one point or another. If two people are willing to spend 2 hours of their lives to try and win a ladder match, they should be allowed to go as long as possible.


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What happens if all three of those are the same?

Are percentages rounded?
If all three are the same, the game declares a tie.

About the percentages, I don't really know where to check. I asked a friend who's also a judge in official events, but since the time allowed in those events is shorter than the time allowed by the game, he is forced to calc manually (and for what it's worth, he calcs sum of all hp/sum of max hp, rounded down to the last digit of his calculator).


That which can be destroyed by the truth, should be.
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Adding some context as to why Haruno bumped this discussion (probably).

(This can serve as an example, but please don't let this thread derail too much.)

There was a 1287 turn, 7h long tour match between abr and tele that contained endless switching. The TDs didn't want to tie it unless both players agreed, but said that it would be tied unless somebody started using pp.
tele wanted the tie, but ABR had more time left in his day and knew from the tournament schedule that tele would have to leave eventually.

the full battle: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/9207945/showdown/Games/OU-2016-10-06-abr-idmtubby.html

★ABR: its only 6pm for me :x
★ABR: tele
★ABR: according to ur scheduling
★ABR: ur 100% busy every hour thursday
★ABR: dont u need to sleep
★ABR: unless ur lying about ur schedule ofc.
★ABR: u clearly said after 4pm wont work....
★ABR: its 7:25


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We'd have force the tie actually if it weren't for tele choking every 20 turns by attacking (talking about the part before I fell asleep)

That being said, the same question still applies: do we want to add another wincond to our battles? We obviously can't mimic the cart (since animations time is part of the battle timer), so it would be a totally subjective wincond we'd add to our games.

In tournaments, I don't believe it's needed. Those long battles are very rare and in most cases, players will agree on a tie. Today's battle was the only counter-example I can think of, but those can be dealt by the TD team in case of a true tie (which again, was not the case yesterday due to tele attacking).

I am neutral on the ladder, one loss has littler impact there anyway.


Nuke the Weebs
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Those battles are really rare for tour play and abr had the advantage the entire way. I don't think any major change is needed in response to that fight. A TD decision to force a tie should exist for situations where a player is clearly extending a game to try to earn a forfeit when they have no other wincon, but if a player has means to progress their position they should be free to use those tools as slowly or quickly as they want.

It has been brought up before but I wouldn't mind a 50 turns rule like chess has; perhaps 30 consecutive turns of no pp usage or kills (or reduced health bars if that isn't difficult to implement) is a better number? I'd also like to have the timer update to give reduced time per turn once a game passes an arbitrarily large turn threshold; turn 250 or 300 is a good cutoff for when games that aren't switch spamming end I think, and past that 30 or 45s per turn is probably enough of a limit. Someone else weigh in on the numbers that I picked but I think they're ok.


Chwa for no reason!
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related to time limits but not turn limits (mainly in terms of timer stalling)

Why not have a short time per move and then a time bank to use over the course of the whole match? For example, 1 minute per turn with 10 minute time bank (I'm just pulling numbers out of my head, I don't actually play Pokemon). If you run out of time in your time bank, you lose just like you would when you run the timer all the way down.


Like the hole in a doughnut
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Honestly I think it's fine just to take a rough approximation of average move times (say, 5 seconds) and deduct that from the timer for every move used. And then there can be research done on the signficantly smaller pool of screen effects (item use animation, lower-screen text, ability text, pokéball throw/withdraw times, MEvo/form change animation, stat rise/drop etc.) and the respective times can be deducted then too. Z moves can be accounted for with research 'cause there probably aren't gonna be that many to research and they have super long animations that would need to be accounted for.

Like, I think following the cartridge to a T is unrealistic (this is basically one of the biggest gripes afaik), but I do think that implementing limitations that they use on cart (game timer (60 min in challenge; 15 min in battle spot and sanctioned tours, turn timer (90s in challenge; 45s in battle spot and sanctioned tours), team order timer (90s for both afaik)) is important to not only prevent people deliberately schedule stalling their opponents but also to make Showdown a reasonably good resource for practicing playing to a cartridge timer for things like VGC, Battle Spot and other on-cart tours that people host. It also means that there is an objective way to determine a winner in cases like this as opposed to the subjective tie-forcing method which is currently employed because the game looks at a hierarchy to determine the winner once the game timer has expired and the turn's animations have finished (1: most remaining pokemon; 2: remaining team HP % (if 1 is tied); 3: total team hp (if 2 is tied); 4: tie (if 3 is tied)). This prevents matches being "who can keep switching the longest before they need to sleep/go somewhere" because the person on the back foot needs to strive to keep their numbers and team HP % as high as possible to ensure that they have the upper hand when the timer runs out, and it also prevents cases where you have people calling into question whether a tie needs to be forced.

What you need to take into account with this is that it would change the dynamic of simulator-based stall from gen 5 (or whatever gen introduced the timer) onward, but on the flipside is this isn't exactly a bad thing because realistically speaking when you get games that boil down to who has less of a life it loses some of its integrity, moreso when you consider that if it was the same game on cartridge neither player would be able to safely employ such a strategy due to the constant threat of their team % dropping below their opponent's if said opponent chooses to attack. I think that the fact that ABR vs. Tele was able to go on for 7 hours (and, as if that wasn't enough, the fact that it reached a point where ABR was even able to taunt using Tele's schedule as a weapon) says a lot about the fact that an endless system does not work. 7 hours on a single game is just excessive, and it can be used as a tool in the same way that a limited game timer can with time stalling. I'd much rather have people spending 90 seconds on each turn for the sake of getting it closer to a limit of 60 minutes than have people making moves at whatever pace they feel like (whether it be fast or slow) for a non-predetermined amount of time, and while I'm sure some of the Fine Gentlemen™ on this site have so little to their lives that they can spend as much time as they want clicking the same two buttons on repeat until one of them either has to go somewhere or needs to sleep, the fact is that the vast majority do not have this luxury and as such can be abused by people with less busy schedules or by people who's time zones result in the match starting earlier in the day.
Can we just follow new timings mechanics of gen 7? They look like amazing in terms of takin off timestalling and any other timing drawbacks.
As follows:

A new system being introduced to the battle time settings is “Your Time.” When using this method of time accounting, players will have a maximum of 60 seconds each turn to select a move or Pokémon, and they will also each be awarded 10 minutes of “Your Time.” Under these rules, if a player runs out of their 10 minutes before the battle ends, that player loses the match. This will mean matches can be decided more quickly than in the past, allowing players to enjoy thrilling battles.
Maybe 10 minutes are too few time for Singles format, but 30 minutes (+ standard timer w/ timeout clause) would be fine.

edit: I initially thought 45/60 minutes was better but that was clearly wrong since switchstalling would require like 1-2 seconds per turn and assuming a switchstall would happen after 100/150 turns in which players use like 15 minutes of "Your time" at best, we would still have 30/45 minutes of switchstalling which should mean around 1000+ more turns of battle so we couldnt solve the issue in that way
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IMO you have to consider a "endless game" like Tele vs ABR as an uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has a negative effect. Well, if it's a risk, you have to compute its severity and its occurence. PS battles is not chess, so if occurrence is 0.0000000001%, I think we have absolutely nothing to do. Even if its severity, on a scale of one to ten, was 10.


Californium is PoMMan now.
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Important to consider here that the lack of a timer/turn limit is at least in part why abr won. Not that him wasting time made tele misplay, but that the extra time allowed him to execute his offense in the way he required to win.

Without the extra time, he would have had to intentionally misplay in order to try to win the game faster, when he had a much more secure win without time limit, which is the reason (I thought) that we don't have max times in play.

The lack of a time limit did exactly what it was supposed to here by making sure that the better player won in the end.


Like the hole in a doughnut
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Comparing this game with a timer to this game without a timer in the context of "optimal plays" is kinda like comparing red grapes to green grapes; sure they are both grapes, but they taste different. Now substitute grapes for Pokémon games and taste for optimal plays. What determines whether the play is optimal or not is in part dependent on whether the timer exists in the first place; sure if you look at this game without the timer it appears that ABR was making the optimal plays whereas Tele is not, but if there is another game that had a 60 minute time limit could you really say that a lot of so-called "misplays" that are present in timerless play would realistically be misplays considering the condition for a timer-based victory is based on remaining Pokémon/team HP. Assuming that each turn's selection period lasts the full 90 seconds that cartridge gives you to make a move, it would have only lasted 40 turns before you factor in animation times, and can you realistically say that it is sub-optimal play to not switch every single turn if you only have maybe 40-80 moves to obtain an advantage that the game recognizes over your opponent when the scenario comparison is that of a 1287-turn game? The dynamic of play between, say, gen 4 stall v.s. stall on cartridge is significantly different from gen 6 stall v.s. stall on cartridge specifically because on the former you allows for endless switch-fests whereas the latter does not (assuming that I'm not misrememering which gen introduced timers).

The timer creates an extra win condition to work towards in a battle, and if it were implemented the mindsets of players would shift to try and work towards this new win condition rather than trying to force a situation where you have endless switching for a more secure win. Not only does this allow for far more interesting games both for spectators and for the players, but it is also a) a more accurate simulation of cartridge play (which PS! should strive for) and b) a means of ensuring players can not force opponents to play beyond their schedules (regardless of whether they have the advantage in battle). Which player is better is dependent on the game they are playing, and you can't realistically say that Pokémon with and without the timer are the same game due to the fact that there would be a large shift in player dynamic caused by it's presence which means a play which is sub-optimal without the timer could potentially become the optimal play if the timer is present. Sure the better player of this version of the game won in the end, but would he have been the better player if he didn't have all the time in the world to execute that strategy? Honestly even if I look past my opinion of 7-hour games I don't see the issue of game limits.


Californium is PoMMan now.
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Well, what function does a timer serve? A timer is used in most sports/games to ensure that the game will end (with a reasonable amount of time in most situations, especially with tournament games). It is not introduced as a win-condition outside of as an extension of the original purpose. Nobody added a timer to the game to make it more competitive, and often the introduction of a timer reduces the quality of competition. Just look at chess, the go-to example of a game of skill, Gary Kasparov (arguably the greatest chess player of all time) has said he prefers not having a time limit, because having none ensures the game is of the highest quality (this was said on a stream from Chess24, I cant directly source it).

So the timer is used so that games can end. But we already have endless battle clause. And (from what ABR was saying in the battle chat) a way for players to agree to a tie if there is no winner. The function of adding a timer is somewhat obsolete given these two things. Had ABR not actually had a win condition that wasn't dependent on timezones (which he did), the TDs would have forcetied the game, and ABR would have played the way he did vs someone in his own timezone, or places like Australia where ABR was at the timezone disadvantage. ABR did not 'force' Tele to play past his availability, Tele did by prolonging a game where he was guaranteed to lose unless ABR choked. The level of skill decreases the lower the time limit is implemented (this is seen all the time in chess) and part of the benefit of playing on the simulator rather than the games themselves is that we dont need to restrict ourselves by way of timer.

There is a clear difference between optimal moves and optimal moves when there's a time limit, namely that the optimal moves with a time limit are not to do with the aspects of the battle that are most competitive, but rather are to do with the time limit imposed. I think the better way to go is by encouraging the most optimal moves based on competitiveness. Yes the games where that is the case can be more boring, but if you ever find yourself in ABR's situation, you'd almost certainly prefer boring but a definite win to exciting but you could very well lose.