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Nick
December 10, 2008, 12:03
Just looking for opinions on how to proceed with the comp generally (and I am aware that some people have commented on this stuff already - feel free to do so again or not).


Competition 61 has been very popular, but the two awesome recent game wins seem to have slowed the pace of submissions a bit. Possibly also 2 months is too long. I don't want to change that for 61 now, but I am thinking of starting another comp before the end date of 61 - does the idea of overlapping comps sound reasonable?
The method of entry up until now has been sending in your best savefile, but I feel that the ladder has kind of made that obsolete. I'm thinking that the standard way of submitting an entry should just be posting to the ladder, but that sending me a savefile should also be acceptable. Anyone disgree?
How would people like the submission of starting savefiles to be handled? I could put out a call for submissions every time, or people could just send me one whenever they feel like it, and I could use them as I feel like it. Or both. Or some third thing.

Jungle_Boy
December 10, 2008, 13:28
1. Overlapping comps sounds ok to me but how tough would it be to run two ladders as far as website stuff?

2. I like the ladder but sending in a savefile could also be valid.

3. If someone gets an interesting savefile or one they think would make a good competition they could send it to you and you use them as you see fit. If you run low on savefile stock send out a call for help.

Extra: Granted I have only participated in the one competition but I think it would be kinda cool to have a competition where the goal is not necessarily to win. ie. The goal could be to reach a certain dungeon level, or character level, find certain items, or kill certain Uniques. I think this would make a more level playing field and probably provide some good hijinks along the way.

buzzkill
December 10, 2008, 14:05
Just looking for opinions on how to proceed with the comp generally (and I am aware that some people have commented on this stuff already - feel free to do so again or not).

Overlapping competitions sound great, but that would necessitate a 2nd competition ladder. Your other suggestions sound fine.

It would be nice if someone come come up with a 'set of rules' outlining exactly what type of 'cheating' is (stair-scumming) and isn't (cheating death) allowed, and also what practices are considered questionable during competition play. You could link it through the competition page. I realize that most of this has already been covered in the forum, but having it all laid out on one page would be nice.

starstealer
December 10, 2008, 15:37
I think the reason this particular competition has "died" off of late has more to do with the outstanding winners already in place. I can't fathom of a character finishing faster than 400k turns. For what its worth though - I am still making token attempts - I just don't always post the results because they are usually worse than my existing entries...

That said - I would say two months is probably the longest you want to have one of these. Perhaps it would be reasonable to plan shorter competitions around shorter goals and leave the longer ones for the "defeat morgoth in the least amount of turns with your choice of the following weapons: Wet Noodle, Broken Dagger or Excalibur" Obviously with quests in other variants, I think having non-end game goals is reasonable.

That said - the one I'm thinking of at the moment for vanilla would be defeat Rare Unique #4 (I haven't looked at the relative rarity of the uniques) in the shortest number of turns and before level x (where x is some number less than the level of the unique). I haven't decided on what I would use as the character though.

This being my first competition, I have only known the ladder - so submitting save files seems extraneous. That said - I assume having the save files prevents the most outward forms of cheating (ie - doctoring a character dump and modifying it accordingly).

I wouldn't recommend starting a new competition while another is going on simply because it would not give full focus to one or the other. If needed, close a competition early if it seems that a clear winner has been established (ie - in this one), but that should be relatively rare. Ideally a shorter overall competition period would reduce the likelihood of the need for this.

pav
December 10, 2008, 15:57
The Ladder in principle allows for multiple competitions running at the same time.

Donald Jonker
December 10, 2008, 16:20
1. I think in general it may be poor form to start up a new comp before the old one is finished - you never know when someone will sneak in a surprise win at the eleventh hour, and it would be a shame if that were to occur when everyone's attention were diverted (or maybe not). But in this case it doesn't seem likely, so I'm not sure. As far as length goes, I wouldn't cut it all that much shorter than two months. After all, it did take up till now for the two winners to emerge. Six weeks perhaps?

2. I don't think anyone should worry about cheating. The virtue of savefiles is so people who hold the forums in contempt and only haunt the newsgroup can compete. If you're willing, Nick, you could extract a dump from these and throw them on the comp ladder for the benefit of the others (I'm assuming this is where your question is coming from).

I really don't know where all this concern over cheating is coming from. It's not like there's a cash prize up for grabs here - the honor system is all that's needed.

Re: Buzzkill - I suggest you take your own advice and let the anti-stairscumming polemic rest. If your victory was snatched from you on account of abusive behavior that'd be one thing, but this obviously wasn't the case. My own absurd stairscumming with Dirty Harry is an illustration that it isn't even an effective abuse. Eddie-Powerdiver's suggestion that you submit a comp start-file with disconnected stairs is a good one. Your opinion that using the stairs in certain ways constitutes cheating is a perfectly valid point of view, but it isn't shared by everyone. I think convincing people via action (i.e., submitting comp characters to Nick) rather than offhanded remarks would have a lesser tendency of rubbing people the wrong way.

buzzkill
December 11, 2008, 03:44
Re: Buzzkill - I suggest you take your own advice and let the anti-stairscumming polemic rest. If your victory was snatched from you on account of abusive behavior that'd be one thing, but this obviously wasn't the case. My own absurd stairscumming with Dirty Harry is an illustration that it isn't even an effective abuse. Eddie-Powerdiver's suggestion that you submit a comp start-file with disconnected stairs is a good one. Your opinion that using the stairs in certain ways constitutes cheating is a perfectly valid point of view, but it isn't shared by everyone. I think convincing people via action (i.e., submitting comp characters to Nick) rather than offhanded remarks would have a lesser tendency of rubbing people the wrong way.

Upon reading this, I was somewhat offended, but after re-reading my own post, I can see where you are coming from. My apologies. The word 'cheating', though placed in quotes, was a poor choice. 'Behavior' or 'practices' would have been better. I still think a set of guidelines would be a good thing. It doesn't have to be anything grand, maybe just 5 or 10 golden rules governing competition play.

Nick
December 11, 2008, 08:11
Thanks for the feedback, everyone.

I think a clear statement of the rules is an excellent plan. If I start a thread with that in it, Pav, could you make it a sticky?

Multiple competitions - I'm undecided. One advantage would be that some people have expressed a preference for having more Vanilla competitions, and we could have a V comp and a variant comp always going, or something like that. Maybe I'll just leave it for now, and see how it goes when they're mostly shorter. Would anyone object to calling this one finished in, say, another week?

Thanks for the suggestions on winning conditions. There are a few others that have been used before too - first to a set amount of gold, deepest unique, etc - and plenty of scope for weirder stuff. I will probably try to keep to stuff that can be measured from the dump, so the ranking can be automated.

I can definitely add savefile entries to the ladder if people send them to me.

It can be a standard arrangement that I'll call for savefiles a little before the start of a new competition, but will accept one any time; I'll then use them (or make up my own) in such a way as to try to keep a good balance of variants, winning conditions, etc.

Psi
December 11, 2008, 08:39
There should also be clarification on options that affect gameplay - ie can you change the autoscum setting for the competition. In the past it has ususally been acceptable to change it right at the beginning as long as you do not change it again - however it does make it a very different game to those who use the opposite setting.

Nick
December 11, 2008, 09:02
There should also be clarification on options that affect gameplay - ie can you change the autoscum setting for the competition. In the past it has ususally been acceptable to change it right at the beginning as long as you do not change it again - however it does make it a very different game to those who use the opposite setting.

Yes, I'm planning to cover that. My current feeling is that anything allowable in game is allowable in the comp - so that the only things that are really out are savefile-scumming, and wizard and debug modes. Or changing the edit files :)

pav
December 11, 2008, 09:23
If I start a thread with that in it, Pav, could you make it a sticky?
/me readies the tube of glue.

MrCba
December 11, 2008, 09:41
Yes, I'm planning to cover that. My current feeling is that anything allowable in game is allowable in the comp - so that the only things that are really out are savefile-scumming, and wizard and debug modes. Or changing the edit files :)

Yes, it sound good. But how can you detect someone which make savefile-scumming ? I don't think you can, except with a special version with saved game on a server on Internet, or in a Telnet game. (like for Nethack competition)

pav
December 11, 2008, 09:46
Yes, it sound good. But how can you detect someone which make savefile-scumming ? I don't think you can, except with a special version with saved game on a server on Internet, or in a Telnet game. (like for Nethack competition)
IMHO you don't need to care about it, until it actually happens.

For example there ever were only a few attempts to forge Ladder dumps, and it's running from 2002. Also, peer review works. People tend to notice something is too good to be true.

MrCba
December 11, 2008, 09:48
Yes you right. :p

Psi
December 11, 2008, 10:01
Yes, I'm planning to cover that. My current feeling is that anything allowable in game is allowable in the comp - so that the only things that are really out are savefile-scumming, and wizard and debug modes. Or changing the edit files :)
...which means someone could turnoff disconnected stairs...? Perhaps we should have an ironman comp instead :)

Nick
December 11, 2008, 10:11
...which means someone could turnoff disconnected stairs...?


Well, I guess it could be written into the competition rules. Or I guess it could be standard that that option shouldn't be changed. Any others? I'm inclined to think that autoscum should usually be turnable off and on at the player's peril.

Perhaps we should have an ironman comp instead :)

Oh, definitely :cool:

Psi
December 11, 2008, 11:17
I'm inclined to think that autoscum should usually be turnable off and on at the player's peril.
Personally I think it should be at one setting for the life of the game... otherwise in a game like FA, I'd turn it off whenever traversing swamps ;)

Nick
December 11, 2008, 11:39
Personally I think it should be at one setting for the life of the game... otherwise in a game like FA, I'd turn it off whenever traversing swamps ;)

Too late, made the rules now :)

There's scope for comp-by-comp rules, anyway, and the rules can always change. Also, it's not an issue in V, because autoscum is now a birth option.

Psi
December 11, 2008, 11:50
I was really intrigued by the smart_chest option you mention in the other thread - until I realised it was a typo :)

Nick
December 11, 2008, 12:02
I was really intrigued by the smart_chest option you mention in the other thread - until I realised it was a typo :)

Maybe the chest would check to see if you were a mage and then give you Wrath of God.