1. Welcome to Smogon Forums! Please take a minute to read the rules.
  2. New to the forums? Check out our Mentorship Program!
    Our mentors will answer your questions and help you become a part of the community!

Upgrading the Spectator Experience

Discussion in 'Office of Strategic Influence' started by askaninjask, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. askaninjask

    askaninjask [FLAIL ARMS]
    is a Forum Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,544
    The idea came up on IRC of having some sort of play-by-play analysis of certain games. Obviously, this has some inherent problems which I'm sure you are all thinking of while you're reading this sentence - feel free to post those below, but I'll consider the positives in this OP.

    What this entails is that there would be an IRC channel and a moderated social group dedicated to updates about the way the game is going in which only non-players are allowed in. Players who are not in the game could then enjoy all of the paranoia-filled moments that take place without directly taking part, and more importantly, dead players could then read what went on around them that ended up with their death.

    I imagine players would of their own volition give some logs and write some thought processes for the host to then post in the moderated social group.

    It would serve as both an entertaining set of logs to read for non-players and a way to create a legitimate excellent postgame with very little effort. Perhaps it would be worth it just for that.
  2. Gmax

    Gmax kuahahahaha
    is a Forum Moderator Alumnus

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Messages:
    1,119
    I honestly don't trust that spectators wouldn't spill the beans to friends who are playing the game. This is quite obviously not true of everyone in Circ, not true of most of the Circ crowd in fact, but basically if even one person in a 25 man game receives such illegitimate info, the game is screwed up. I'm not saying it'll happen every game, but really, why create a situation where people are tempted to cheat any more than they already are? I love the idea of making Mafia more of a spectator's game, but it's just not designed that way...

    I realise that it's "just a game" and all, and stuff like deadtalking isn't a problem for us mostly, but not everyone gets it. People cheat because they think it means something even if they win in such a manner, lol. Again, not everyone thinks that way, but I'm sure there are enough dumbasses who would form pairs of player/spectator to game the system.

    I guess it couldn't hurt to give it a trial run though, lol! It might be nice as a something that's done once in a while for highly anticipated games or something, who knows.. My misgivings aside, it sounds like a fun idea. Right now, the only people who get a spectator experience of any sort are people who are already part of the mafia crowd, and get to hang out in team channels etc. This would give newer folks a chance to see things go down as well! Then again, the people who are part of the mafia crowd have played enough games to respect the rules and the spirit of the game. That's why they're trusted with things access to team information etc. Teams can control which external people have information about them, which would no longer happen with such a system in place. I'm sure a lot of players would be concerned about such stuff leaking out and all.

    Anyway, I'll stop rambling, that's all I have to say on this topic!
  3. alkinesthetase

    alkinesthetase <@dtc> every day with alk is a bad day
    is a Smogon IRC SOp Alumnus

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2010
    Messages:
    825
    as someone who has spectated a lot of mafia in the past, this sounds really really fun, but i think the risk of exposing that much information is very very high. it sounds as if you intend to expose the inner workings of the game - ie who's got what and is backstabbing whom - to a group of spectating observers. people are assholes (plain fact... i've hosted mafia games among friends that i know personally, all of whom i hold in high esteem, but there's still bs going down) and the risk of this information becoming accessible to others is obviously really difficult to control. i believe that if a system like this is to exist, it must expose no more than any dedicated observer could find out on their own. public IRC channels, thread conversations, etc. but hosts are often privy to things like logs and spreadsheets that no normal observer should ever have the right to see. things like these should be kept secret.

    i think gmax strikes at a more important issue in spectating mafia, which is that spectators often don't really get into the mafia experience unless they're already familiar with how it's played on smogon. i spectated a lot of mafia before but i never went to the trouble of visiting the IRC channels to really see what's going down (i was mostly interested in role dynamics so i didn't have as much need to see the action behind it). stuff like that, i think, is what the spectator experience needs most: an ability to see the action from all (publicly visible) sides without having to invest as much time as a player of the game would. collating together crucial irc conversations (again, nothing on private team channels - only things that anyone would be able to see if they wanted to go to the effort) and illustrating the connections being made to the discussions itt, stuff like that. it takes a lot of effort to seriously play a mafia game, and a spectator is not going to invest the same amount of time. the question is if someone would be willing to go to the trouble to make the experience easier. for every game in cmax? that's a lot of work. perhaps, as gmax suggested, only provide this enhanced coverage for the really interesting games.

    most important to enhancing the spectator experience, imo, is helping people draw the crucial connections and see where the game is going. you can read all day about mafia but still if you go into a game you'll be terrible at it (case in point: myself). i think aska's suggestion of a play-by-play is right on, but again care has to be taken to avoid bringing private material into the story being told. it's like a game of football: anybody can turn on the TV and see who's running where, but what a spectator really needs is an explanation of why they're going in the directions that they're going.

    and finally, foremost, i think spectators like myself need to demonstrate that there is a demand for this kind of service because it's a lot of work to be providing to a group of people who might not even exist
  4. Aura Guardian

    Aura Guardian

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2009
    Messages:
    2,380
    Although the risk of info leakage is high... couldn't it be reduced somewhat with a "spectator blacklist" to go right under the other blacklist? Deterrent value, and removal of those who DO give out the info, so that problem would never go too high.

    Also, I think this is a good idea with the obvious caveat of precautions to block people from handing out info to the players.
  5. Ace Emerald

    Ace Emerald Professional
    is a Tutoris a member of the Site Staffis a Super Moderatoris a Smogon Media Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
    Visual Media Head

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2010
    Messages:
    1,942
    I think to start with, the risk of information leak is pretty low. There isn't too much motive and we have a pretty legit playerbase that we already trust with other basic rules. There aren't too many people in it for just the victories. But like Gmax said, one person can ruin it for everyone. I think there should be some restrictions on who can see this info and be a spectator, like AG said. There could be a sort of spectators club, with regular players admitted, and any breach of info should warrant blacklisting from all Circus games.

    I really like this idea. As someone who has tried to keep up with mafia games, either after death or just out of interest, it is really hard. A lot of times I don't know what happened until postgame, and even then, if the postgame is half assed, I still don't know. This would be a lot of fun to watch, and would help eliminate host-postgame problems. Players just want to know what happened, and a busy or lazy host can be really annoying.
  6. Walrein

    Walrein

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Messages:
    2,314
    I like this idea, and I agree with Ace Emerald that our mafia playerbase (ironically) is generally pretty honest and I don't think there's a super high risk of info leaks.

    It would probably be a good idea to post a link to the host spreadsheet in this social group, so that the spectators can remind themselves who is doing what.

    Perhaps in the sign-ups for the game, people can sign up as official spectators, and those people get access to all game sheets and channels or something like that.

    I'd really like to see this idea expanded on, as I personally enjoy spectating mafia.
  7. alkinesthetase

    alkinesthetase <@dtc> every day with alk is a bad day
    is a Smogon IRC SOp Alumnus

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2010
    Messages:
    825
    i don't think this can be emphasized enough. especially because this reduces the amount of understanding needed to spectate, the likelihood is high that, unknowingly, someone could utterly demolish the game with their newly enhanced spectator awareness. people don't necessary intend to ruin a game but just the availability of information enhances the risk of shit happening. if someone doesn't know how to play mafia but decides to spectate to get an idea of it, how do we know that this person knows enough about the game to not sink it? moreover, there are only ~25 players in a mafia game, but the pool of spectators could potentially be larger, increasing the number of people who could catastrophically damage a game. no matter how good the people are, shit ALWAYS finds a way to happen. the more people you involve, the more people there are to potentially bring about said shit.

    as a player, would you really feel comfortable with the knowledge that everything you shared with the host was potentially being offered to a spectator audience? i certainly would be concerned. above all i believe that player experience must always outrank spectator experience in importance - someone has to play the game in order for someone else to watch, after all - and therefore i don't think we can be too careful with the information we offer a spectator. i'd rather have a whitelist than a blacklist for access to this kind of stuff, if we must provide it at all.
  8. Ace Emerald

    Ace Emerald Professional
    is a Tutoris a member of the Site Staffis a Super Moderatoris a Smogon Media Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
    Visual Media Head

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2010
    Messages:
    1,942
    I think we're actually on the same page here. I was suggesting a whitelist as well, opening it up to only regular player we know won't screw with the game either on accident or on purpose.
  9. smashlloyd20

    smashlloyd20

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Messages:
    3,306
    I feel that this is a great idea, as it will help people that want to know more about what's happening in a specific game and will provide a wonderful resource of mafia strategy. Unfortunately there is a TON of screw-ourselves-in-the-ass potential. Building on the whitelist idea, I think we should run a 'test game' with only people on said whitelist allowed to participate in this kind of spectating, and if that's successful perhaps we could open spectating to the public.
  10. Vintage Books

    Vintage Books

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Messages:
    509
    I am definitely a fan of this idea. This also makes as a good resource for players who are somewhat lacking in experience, and would like to learn how some of the more experienced player play. It also means if there are not many games running (e.g. recently) players who were unlucky enough to not land a spot in the current game can still get involved.
  11. Walrein

    Walrein

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Messages:
    2,314
    As a player I actually find it quite enjoyable to converse about my plans with non-players, and half the time certain non-players are given access to the host spreadsheet anyways. It wouldn't be that huge of a jump to be perfectly honest.
  12. Layell

    Layell Alas poor Yorick, I knew him, Peter Gabriel too!
    is an Artistis a Forum Moderatoris a Pokemon Researcheris a Smogon Media Contributoris a Community Contributor Alumnus
    Sprite Leader

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    Messages:
    3,101
    What might be interesting and a bit of a sidestep to this is for some sort of after match commentary so people reading the game long after it is done get some sort of context as to why certain things happened that they couldn't know about due to backroom deals and such. Postgames can help but maybe we could do something more as well.
  13. Raikage

    Raikage

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2005
    Messages:
    1,064
    I don't think this is a big step up from what we are already doing, and I'd welcome anything that might revive mafia again.
  14. Gmax

    Gmax kuahahahaha
    is a Forum Moderator Alumnus

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Messages:
    1,119
    Those players aren't the ones this thing is going to target. The regulars usually have an 'in' on all the teams and if they want, they can always find out what's going on.

    This is something that actually has the potential to draw more people to Circ I guess, because I'm sure there are people who are put off by the initial investment involved in understanding a game, and getting to know the basic moves etc. that go on in a game. Those people could get a feel for the game by watching I guess? Also the newer mafia players who are less likely to have contacts could get to see what goes on, and would be more likely to stick around I suppose. You get to open up a new channel to mafia content , which means more exposure, and we need all the exposure we can get to stay afloat at the moment lol. Smogon Mafia pretty much has one foot in the grave right now.

    The problem is that you could also draw the kind of jackasses who used to abuse glitches on Shoddy to get high on the ladder, who played against their own alts to get rating etc. Hosts and players put a LOT of effort into these games. I hate the idea that all of that effort could be wasted because of something like this. Alkines is absolutely right, player experience should always be prioritised over spectator experience. But we need to HAVE players in the first place to have a player experience... If you guys think this would help grow the community, go ahead, give it a shot IMO.

    Another cool thing about this would be giving newer folks a much better look at big games. The lack of big games is honestly one of the biggest problems that we're facing right now. I'm sure that a standard 2v1 could be played out somewhat decently with the players that are currently active. Honestly, half the trouble is that most players don't get to see big games in action, and don't really focus on them at all. Small games are given way too much importance in comparison lol... Seriously, host and play big games, it's a good time, it used to be that most of the player slots for big games were already booked by the usual suspects. It's not that way anymore, someone give it a shot!

    @Layell: Check out the posts in the Fire Emblem 2 postgame. Do you mean something like that? People should be encouraged to make posts in their postgames. No need to make gigantic ones like mine or anything, but yeah, people should be encouraged to post about the stuff that went down.
  15. Outlaw

    Outlaw

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,312
    Now if only we had a big mafia to act as a guinea pig..
  16. Gmax

    Gmax kuahahahaha
    is a Forum Moderator Alumnus

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Messages:
    1,119
    If only :( Oh yeah, ignore the last big mafia that was played here, BIGSANDS. It was the result of an April Fools joke that spiraled out of control... If you're somewhat new to the mafia community, Check out some of the games before that. There are some games with really innovative concepts there, like Viva la Mafia (Postgame) or for a more standard 2v1, Fire Emblem Mafia(Postgame). Big games are really different, it'd be great if there were one soon lol.
  17. Agape

    Agape

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2009
    Messages:
    862
    My two cents:

    If the spectator group is meant to advertise circus and mafia, a whitelist could discourage new people from getting in. (Having to ask a scary CM mod over IRC for spectator group/IRC channel access!)

    I'd suggest an open social group/IRC channel but only to give host spreadsheet access to people who are either known to be honest or who ask for access politely. This would make it simple for newer people to read more experienced mafia players' comments and discussion on the ongoing game, while giving the host control on to what extent to share the important bits (also allowing the host to withhold some info to surprise the spectators if he wants to). Should penalties be needed for spectators leaking game-changing info, the Circus mods could handle that.

    Anticipating the big game where this is tested!
  18. Blue_Tornado

    Blue_Tornado

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Messages:
    3,290
    Let's point at the obvious problems.

    • People can't comment on the game if they're not aware of most of what's happening.
    What you're suggesting is basically a graveyard of sorts, which is usually a thing that exists in NOC games. Players die, they get to ramble and/or rage in the graveyard topic. There's a reason it exists there, though - everything going on is right there in the thread, so spectating is super practical. When most of the game's activities happen live, possibly in private, and aren't necessarily stored somewhere, you get a game that's nearly impossible for your average joe to comment on.

    • People won't comment on the game if it doesn't interest them.
    This is a big problem. No one is going to comment on a game they don't find interesting. No, I'm not convinced that games at this day and age are interesting enough to warrant a play-by-play. Evidence for this would be the lack of postgames, as even hosts stop caring for their games sooner or later if nothing goes on. Players are usually those doing the game analysis, because they have the highest probability of caring for the game and its outcome, but I don't see that happening enough either.

    Other things.

    Spectators should be aware of the exact same things players are aware of, give or take information from dead players. Info leakage is only a problem if you break this rule. Unless, of course, you give sensitive info only to those you trust won't do anything stupid with it. That's fine.

    The recurring problem here is that we don't have a dedicated playerbase. No, that would be slightly wrong; we have players to fill in games, but not players that consistently put their heart into games, and I can't really blame anything for that - there's not much reason to do it. A bunch of people would have to want to give it their all in a game for it to be worth it.
  19. askaninjask

    askaninjask [FLAIL ARMS]
    is a Forum Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,544
    I'm not sure you understand what I meant. The people who would be leaving comments about the game would be those who are IN the game. They would send their thoughts to the host and the host would post them. Of course, people not in the games would be able to post replies to threads, etc.

    I imagine the host would only allow in people who are "not idiots" and obviously wouldn't spill the beans. A page which contains no non-public information already exists - the game thread. The purpose of the spectator group would be to allow people not playing in the game an opportunity to see what is actually going on in these games.

    We do have a dedicated playerbase - just not a dedicated hostbase. There are about 40 (give or take a few) intelligent users here who will play at pretty much every opportunity they get. It's just that people aren't making games for them.

    -----

    I remember when I was new to mafia I (with Altair) would look through old mafia games as a sort of obsession before I ever joined one. The same is true with a lot of the new users who recently played my beginner game. However, so much is missed in the game thread that it's now almost completely impossible to see what's going on (what is the village leader thinking here? What's his evidence that porygon3 is the killer? Has the mafia inspected the BG yet? What might their endgame strategy be?). Looking through mafia games you're not playing in can be fun and informative, and a spectator group would only make it more so. I'd really like to see this done soon.
  20. Jalmont

    Jalmont

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2011
    Messages:
    577
    I personally think this is a great idea. As an avid spectator myself I found reading / spectating mafia games to be a ton of fun. But it's definitely harder to follow games by just reading the game thread. Even hanging out in the main chat, you don't really get a feel for why things are happening. I know from personal experience games like Persona and the recent Metroid Prime Mafia that I had no clue why things were happening. Especially, with Metroid when back then I would consider myself more of the "spectator" type then I would now, following the game was extremely difficult given its complexity. Even with the postgames, you don't really get a feel for what really happened. Logs I find are the best way to experience games, but those posted in postgame are usually only the best of the best. This is a perfect supplement for spectators who want to get a true feel for what is happening.

    That being said, I don't this would work well for the majority of Standard games. For one, I don't think there's really the interest level. Many people who would want to spectate, will want to actually play in the game! I think this would most likely work for Expert games, where they are complex enough to hold people's interest, and there will most likely be a lot of interested people who won't get into the game.

    I don't think the potential leaking of sensitive info is a big deal. People who want to spectate / play mafia are smart enough not to do that. If they do, they should be put on the black list and/or infracted. I think that as a punishment would ensure that nobody would leak any info.

    Overall, great idea, I hope we can see this implemented for the next expert!
  21. alkinesthetase

    alkinesthetase <@dtc> every day with alk is a bad day
    is a Smogon IRC SOp Alumnus

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2010
    Messages:
    825
    gonna second this (again) - you get an incredibly narrow view of a game if you only read the thread, because of the nature of smogon mafia. i only ever read threads and you lose track of the game real fast - granted i was more interested in the role lists in the postgame. (exception: NOC games. but those threads are like 200 pages long; who the hell has the time to read them? do the players even read all that crap? *insert deity here* knows i wouldn't) but on the other hand it really takes a lot of work for a spectator to lurk in the main channels to get an idea of what's going on and even then it's not always much help. that's the problem with spectating, right - you have to invest a ton of time for a game you aren't even part of.

    there are definitely cool things a host could do with the spectator experience if we were willing to expose the inner workings of a game, but i don't think we have to go that far to enhance it if it's a first try. just giving spectators a solid overview of game action from all public communication channels is a big step forward for most of the people in the audience. summaries of IRC logs, for example. i like the idea of players offering their thoughts to spectators if security is assured (kind of an aside like in good old shakespearean theater) but either way a summary of the action so far would be a prerequisite.
  22. Blue_Tornado

    Blue_Tornado

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Messages:
    3,290
    I think I understand this a bit better now. Yeah, it's a good idea.

    Having spectators act as an audience as suggested in the post above is a particularly great idea because it'd probably motivate players to play better.

    We should work out the basics and implement it in the next [Expert].
  23. Acklow

    Acklow

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Messages:
    3,367
    Hi, I'm apparently in the process of making a Big game. I can't guarantee it'll be out soon though. There are a few things I need to deal with before I can begin working on mafia games again...

Users Viewing Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 0)