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MajorJuggler

[STRAW POLL] Who would be interested in an "X-wing 2.0 Balance Mod"?

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Wait, so X-Wing 2.0 isn't out yet but you already know that FFG have screwed it up and won't be able to manage their game effectively so you want to do it for them.

How do you even manage to get your massive head up off the pillow in the morning?

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I've always admired your work - I enjoy your analysis pieces and you are an excellent communicator. I think you have always known that "really good game balancer" isn't a skill you would get paid for.

As such, I would urge you to continue, and to share the results with the community/FFG. My reasoning is that:

- you clearly enjoy the process (not saying it is easy)

 - this post alone is proof of the fact that you get joy from being recognised and valued by the community and

- the fruits of your analysis are less valuable kept private than shared.

That's my 2c!

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The way this reads you're going to make MathWing 4.0 (or 2.0.0?) anyway. I think the question you need to ask yourself is how much of this is about being paid for your work and how much of it is about being acknowledged for your work?

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As much as I admire the work done with MathWing. this post seems premature at best, arrogant at worst. The game isn't even out yet. Will it be perfect? No. Will it be good enough that adding an extra layer on top of the core game will be necessary or desirable? Who knows? How about we wait to see how the game goes first?

I will say that judging by the limited traction the Community Mod seemed to get I'm not sure trying something similar for 2.0 will be a worthwhile investment of your time. The process itself may be enjoyable enough to compensate for that of course.

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Yeah... a lot of jumping to conclusions here thinking FFG is just going to cock up 2.0 like they did 1.0. In 1.0 they had a pretty narrow system to work in. Those first couple waves just introduced some pretty crappy pilots and cards. The early developers really didn't know that this game would get as huge as it has. They are already addressed the biggest mistake they made early on in 1.0 and that's the PWT. I'd say sit back and see what happens with 2.0. If anything you can stroke your ego more, knowing that it looks like a lot of what you proposed in your 2.0 is coming in the 2nd edition.

If in a couple years, 2.0 is looking as bloated and as NPE as 1.0 is now, then fool me once shame on you, fool me twice...

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@MajorJuggler, you're probably right that they're not going to pay you to do this. And you're probably right that anything you release is going to at least inform decisions made going forward.

So... what do you want to do? Do you want to publish academic papers about mathematical game balance? Do you want to continue to have a time-consuming, math intensive hobby?

I know there are people who would be interested to see what you come up with--in fact, my first thought during the announcement when they talked about custom squad building rules for scenario events was "Hey, if they let you tweak point costs and upgrade slots, we can get a Major Juggler variant." But we aren't owed your labor any more than FFG is. Do what you want, for as long as you want, then do something else.

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If you want to work for FFG, why not apply ? They have a games developer role on their website right now:

https://workforcenow.adp.com/mdf/recruitment/recruitment.html?cid=26b517cc-1528-4fba-8d5a-378e14033040&jobId=209132&lang=en_US&source=CC3&ccId=19000101_000001

Your prior efforts will surely stand you in good stead in the interview process.

Otherwise, do what you want with in the community or don't. It's your choice. I trend towards letting a new game shake out first before trying to "fix" it, i think any assumption that it's already broken 4 months before retail release is frankly premature.

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11 hours ago, MajorJuggler said:

Sadly I'm not sure how much attention Community Mod will get now that 2.0 has been announced, even if we had a squad builder ready for it now.

Pretty sure there still is some demand with those that do not want to upgrade to 2.0. It remains to be seen how many players that would be (not me, certainly :D).

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3 minutes ago, Firespray-32 said:

How did you reach that conclusion?

MathWing is a mathematical model. Models are judged by how well they approximate the real thing and MathWing's predictions were usually correct.

 

Once he changed them after the fact and knew the outcome he needed to produce.

Mathwing gives you jousting value.  One definition of a good squad is how well it's able to avoid jousting.  Mathwing was probably relevant once upon a time, but I don't think it's been particularly useful in the years that I've been playing because the game and the strategies just moved on so much.

It's a relic that a few older players cling to as a liferaft, but then so are B-Wings.  Most of the people I know and discuss X-Wing with treat it with the scorn it deserves.  The same goes for any mathematical attempt to 'accurately' cost things as an output when the game had so clearly become about synergies and collaborations that moved dynamically within the metagame.  By the time you adapt something like Mathwing to understand and reflfect what the best squads are doing the game has already moved on.

 

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4 minutes ago, Firespray-32 said:

That's quite the accusation. Do you have any evidence for it?

Not really an accusation, he would come on here and explain how he's had to do it in order to get the desired result.
 

 

Fair Ship Rebels turned out a pretty low jousting value so he tinkered with it and made up stuff until it looked good.

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7 hours ago, SOTL said:

Wait, so X-Wing 2.0 isn't out yet but you already know that FFG have screwed it up and won't be able to manage their game effectively so you want to do it for them.

How do you even manage to get your massive head up off the pillow in the morning?

I don't have a PhD in mathematics and even I know FFG will screw it up based simply on experience playing their games for over a decade.

They try though, and the games are still serviceable fun. 

 

15 hours ago, MajorJuggler said:

Inquire about consulting for them, since they still have a clear need to polish balance before launch. (This will almost certainly result in them politely saying they don't need me, and then they will turn around and just use my ideas anyway.)

May as well make a fair attempt to see if they want to take it serious, however I think they are still on the "go by feels and adjust as needed" development method.

Edited by kris40k

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7 minutes ago, kris40k said:

I don't have a PhD in mathematics and even I know FFG will screw it up based simply on experience playing their games for over a decade.

They try though, and the games are still serviceable fun. 

The difference is they're allowed to screw up now because they can fix their mistakes. They're not printed on the cards forever.

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Mr. Randall, your work in the community for rebalancing has made a huge impact and is very much appreciated.

I think you should take a break and let the devs do it, unless they give you some kind of compensation.  I select option 2.

You are a very talented and driven individual.  If you want to continue doing this kind of work I would say instead of trying to rebalance the game, help come up with alternate play formats that might get picked up in local tournaments world-wide. Or perhaps give insight on jousting values or combos, etc.  I just think it would be better if you stayed away from trying to re-balance it.

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10 hours ago, Storgar said:

you could discuss it with ffg to be an adhoc consultant.  When August/September comes around you could do your work and provide them with the data and then we have a couple months play to prove your work.  Thereafter they see the value and provide you with prerelease details of each wave for them to set costs and reduce the need for dynamic patches.

This is a long shot and it’s sort of a bummer for you that upon release is a huge amount of work due to the conversion kits.  Maybe for the release package you could try to agree to get paid if tourney data supports you analasys, but in any case it’s going to be tough.

I would certainly approach ffg and try to get a deal though, it’s a long shot but would be a real boost to releases to have pre release balance.

 

My prior public work is already sufficient that I don't feel the need to "prove myself", especially given that my more recent models are significantly more refined. (full action economy modelling, per-pilot ability analysis, etc).

 

If you have the right tools and a proper understanding, post-design analysis may be less work than you may think. If you lock me in a cave for a week I'll come out with a significantly better balanced starting point for X-wing 2.0 wave 1 than FFG's design and playtesting process will result in. The designers and playtesters are all very dedicated and well intended, but there's nothing to indicate that they understand the fundamentals. If they did, then 95% of the broken content in the last few years would not have seen the light of day, because properly analyzed it is glaringly obvious.

 

9 hours ago, FrightfulCommand said:

They do need someone like you to run numbers for their game... sadly I bet that your time-cost is probably very far over what they want to pay for this. @MajorJuggler

. Is that how the conversation went last time? Because yes, it is utter folly to believe that they had to overhaul the system but did not need someone with better mathematical skills to give them the info needed. I hope, though if you do keep it private, you would come on the forums to let people know that certain combos are truly overpowered from a mathematical perspective.

 

I discussed consulting with Alex back in December 2014 / January 2015. The $$ figure they came back with was $0, so consulting was completely out of the question. They also wanted permanent and exclusive rights to own any mathematical methods associated with the analysis. I.e. they wanted IP rights on the fundamental equations. If I tell them that 2+2=4, they wanted that IP exclusively, and could sue me in the future if I post that later in public. At the time I was willing to come on board as a playtester, provided I could redline their playtester agreement so they could freely use my methodology but not own it exclusively in perpetuity. Legal refused to accept the red lined document, so I declined playtesting. I have not discussed this with them since. Any future agreement would still require that I retain IP ownership, and I'm also not going to consult (or playtest) for free. Both are unlikely to happen, for management reasons that are too lengthy to get into here. I will go out of my way to say that Alex is awesome and lobbied my case pretty hard through that entire process.

 

 

2 hours ago, Max Teranous said:

If you want to work for FFG, why not apply ? They have a games developer role on their website right now:

https://workforcenow.adp.com/mdf/recruitment/recruitment.html?cid=26b517cc-1528-4fba-8d5a-378e14033040&jobId=209132&lang=en_US&source=CC3&ccId=19000101_000001

Your prior efforts will surely stand you in good stead in the interview process.

Otherwise, do what you want with in the community or don't. It's your choice. I trend towards letting a new game shake out first before trying to "fix" it, i think any assumption that it's already broken 4 months before retail release is frankly premature.

 

I am dramatically overqualified for that position and already have a full time job that pays significantly more. :-) I have a PhD in electrical engineering and have been working in my field (post masters) since 2006. The salary numbers just don't work, let alone career transition and relocation considerations. On top of this, FFG is also known for paying below market rate relative to their own industry.

 

My expertise for X-wing is in the area of technical balance, which requires an entirely different (and more mathematically advanced) set of skills than the industry-defined roles of game designer or game developer. Unfortunately the industry does not recognize "technical balance director" as an actual role.

 

 

1 hour ago, SOTL said:

Once he changed them after the fact and knew the outcome he needed to produce.

Mathwing gives you jousting value.  One definition of a good squad is how well it's able to avoid jousting.  Mathwing was probably relevant once upon a time, but I don't think it's been particularly useful in the years that I've been playing because the game and the strategies just moved on so much.

It's a relic that a few older players cling to as a liferaft, but then so are B-Wings.  Most of the people I know and discuss X-Wing with treat it with the scorn it deserves.  The same goes for any mathematical attempt to 'accurately' cost things as an output when the game had so clearly become about synergies and collaborations that moved dynamically within the metagame.  By the time you adapt something like Mathwing to understand and reflfect what the best squads are doing the game has already moved on.

 

 

There is a common misconception that jousting values are not useful for turrets or arc dodgers because they don't spend most of their time in straight line jousts.

 

Jousting efficiency, firing duty cycle, and total effective efficiency are all related; if you know two of the variables then you can determine the remaining one. This lets you take a turret's straight-line efficiency, and determine how much better its fire duty cycle needs to be relative to a straight line jouster to "break even". Above this duty cycle the turret is better; below this duty cycle the jouster is better. You can also directly modify the jousting value by folding the firing duty cycle directly into the ship's expected damage output, thereby directly calculating the total effective efficiency.

 

The process for dual action reposition aces is essentially the same, except there are multiple figures of merit depending on how many actions an ace is burning for repositioning on any given turn.

 

Through analytical playtesting and historical data, the cost efficiencies that turrets and arc dodgers should have to put them in the "goldilocks zone" is fairly well established.

 

58 minutes ago, SOTL said:

Not really an accusation, he would come on here and explain how he's had to do it in order to get the desired result.
 

 

Fair Ship Rebels turned out a pretty low jousting value so he tinkered with it and made up stuff until it looked good.

 

Your presumption to know my motives is ill-founded. You would be better served by using the scientific method and verifying the work, which the assumptions are clearly laid out for. If you are unwilling to have a data-driven conversation, then I'll just treat that as noise and ignore it.

Edited by MajorJuggler

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17 hours ago, MajorJuggler said:
  1. Inquire about consulting for them, since they still have a clear need to polish balance before launch. (This will almost certainly result in them politely saying they don't need me, and then they will turn around and just use my ideas anyway.)

Evidence?

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4 hours ago, digitalbusker said:

So... what do you want to do? Do you want to publish academic papers about mathematical game balance? Do you want to continue to have a time-consuming, math intensive hobby?

I'd echo digitalbusker and say, decide if you enjoy it as a hobby or if you need to be paid for it. Also, you've mentioned many times writing papers; I think you should do that if you think there's an audience (is there an obstacle to you doing so currently other than time?).

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