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Subject: Online Game Generator (Map & Board) Smartphone friendly rss

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aestrivex trinipitl
United States
Proctorville
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This tool is fantastic. I love it! I use it in my gaia project games.

I am working on a gaia project implementation in python.

I found this description of the algorithms used by the board generator:

„Comon“
Each type is reachable to any other via at least one pair within Nav2 and homelands are never closer than Nav3

„Comon +“
AND Max cluster size of 5

„Comon ++“
AND Max cluster size of 4
EDIT: AND only one cluster of size 4 (slow)

I'm assuming that you compute these boards by, randomly placing all the planets and then rejecting the board and trying again if it didn't meet the constraints.


What are the algorithms for Special 1 and Special 2?
 
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Jack Spirio
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None
No balance check is active. This does not necessarily mean that the whole setup is not balanced. Maybe this will result in the most interesting games.

Comon
Each type is reachable to any other via at least one pair within Nav2 and same homelands are never closer than Nav3.

Comon +
Each type is reachable to any other via at least one pair within Nav2 and same homelands are never closer than Nav3 and there are only clusters with 5 planets or less.

Comon ++
Each type is reachable to any other via at least one pair within Nav2 and same homelands are never closer than Nav3 and there are only one cluster of four planets and the others have a smaller number of planets.

Special 1
Homelands are never closer than Nav3 and there are only clusters with 5 planets or less.

Special 2
Homelands are never closer than Nav3 and there are only one cluster of four planets and the others have a smaller number of planets.
 
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James Ataei
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Based on game play since this tool came out, I don't recommend using the balance checks anymore as this fixes Navigation to be more rigid and equal. This helps/harms factions disproportionately as they had better balance with more fluid Navigation.

The balance checks also swap sectors, not just rotate them. So I would use the tool with "None" and then have the last player rotate. Perhaps also require Sector 7 be on one of the 4 map corners.
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Jon Kern
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With no balance, I think sector 7 ends up being more balanced. Not sure if it’s perfect, but currently close enough.
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namuras verrum
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Great job on this tool! It is awesome for experimenting (I mostly use it for automa-games for replayability and to simplify upkeep)

Side note on a technical aspect: Would it be much trouble to rearrange the drop-downs for color picking in the same order as the color-wheel?
Now it is: Read > Yellow > Brown > White > Grey > Blue > Orange
Color wheel would be: Red > Orange > Yellow > Brown > Grey > White > Blue

I constantly find myself cross referencing while choosing setups, because I just can't remember the exact order of planets without a cheatsheet whistle
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boris p
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I've added the original colorname to the cancel button.
 
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boris p
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JamesWolfpacker wrote:
Based on game play since this tool came out, I don't recommend using the balance checks anymore as this fixes Navigation to be more rigid and equal. This helps/harms factions disproportionately as they had better balance with more fluid Navigation.

The balance checks also swap sectors, not just rotate them. So I would use the tool with "None" and then have the last player rotate. Perhaps also require Sector 7 be on one of the 4 map corners.


Yes, thats true

I'm thinking about removing the "Recommended" option and setting the "None" balance method as the default option?

May we go in the other direction. Instead of looking for "perfect" maps, filter out those that are too strong for a faction. What might the conditions look like?
 
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Jon Kern
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bope1 wrote:
JamesWolfpacker wrote:
Based on game play since this tool came out, I don't recommend using the balance checks anymore as this fixes Navigation to be more rigid and equal. This helps/harms factions disproportionately as they had better balance with more fluid Navigation.

The balance checks also swap sectors, not just rotate them. So I would use the tool with "None" and then have the last player rotate. Perhaps also require Sector 7 be on one of the 4 map corners.


Yes, thats true

I'm thinking about removing the "Recommended" option and setting the "None" balance method as the default option?

May we go in the other direction. Instead of looking for "perfect" maps, filter out those that are too strong for a faction. What might the conditions look like?


"Too strong" is also relative to the round scoring, end game scoring, booster tiles, and tech setup. The map is only part of this equation. What you want to avoid is an overall setup that is so much in favor of one faction that other factions cannot compete. This situation is unlikely.
 
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boris p
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I know it is impossible to balance the whole setup wothout strong AI. btw i've only implemented what the community here considered to be balanced. but it's been a year since that may we need to talk about it again
 
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Jon Kern
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bope1 wrote:
I know it is impossible to balance the whole setup wothout strong AI. btw i've only implemented what the community here considered to be balanced. but it's been a year since that may we need to talk about it again


What was implemented is 100% the way the community thought about the game a year ago, but playing with no map balance is new to many of us including myself which means that it may be another year before we have any idea about criteria that make the game very imbalanced.
 
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boris p
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people are just walking pattern recognition machines and don't want to leave anything to chance. Sometimes a real pit
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Space Trucker
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bope1 wrote:
I'm thinking about removing the "Recommended" option and setting the "None" balance method as the default option?

May we go in the other direction. Instead of looking for "perfect" maps, filter out those that are too strong for a faction. What might the conditions look like?

Personally I would suggest to discard maps that are illegal anyway as a 'default' - I guess there's no reason to keep those with two adjacent home planets?

I would definitly suggest to not limit the size of planet clusters by default, as explained here:
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/30888715#30888715

Still, people like to have "balanced" maps, so I suppose it makes sense to try to offer algorithms, that to some degree improve balance, but that do not unnecessarily restrict the map pool (and possibly even harm balance).

You might want to offer an option that simply forbids two home planets within Navigation range of 2 in the middle of the map. I guess most people would rotate those anyway. E.g. on a border sector of a 4 player map I would find them acceptable, though, if the rest of the color isn't too good.
One thing that wouldn't be too restrictive would be an (optional?) mode that does not allow two home planets within Navigation range of 2, if one of the 1-2 center hexagons is involved in the pair.
In this example the upper yellow pair would be okay, the orange one in the center would not be okay, as the center hexagon '8' is involved:


Ideally, the algorithm would simply solve this by rotating (as many times in random direction as needed), as this is what a player would do anyway.

Now, that I think about it, I wouldn't make this 'default', as orange might pretty well be okay in this map. Blue is definitly better, yellow maybe, too? Grey could also do well... So this might be a decent game and probably not a map that necessarily needs to be dropped.
Brown is quite terrible in the map above, with all 6 planets outside the center, but for me that's much more a feature than a bug. That'll most likely be a game with no Ambas, even if many player consider them strong.


Maybe forbid Nav2 homeplanets if there's a neighbor colored planet in between (only one terraforming step needed to get two planets with no Nav) - i think I would almost always rotate those?


If we drop looking at single planet connections, it might actually be more effective to look at the overall positions of the planets - are they all far away from the center? Most likely a bad setup. Is the distance of the planets to the map center small? Most likely a strong map. At least that's one of the things that I as a human look at when I try to judge maps (no counting, of course, just pattern recognition).



Let's look at the map above and compare the average distance to the map's 4 central hexes:

- blue (1+2+3+4+5+7=22; 22/6 = 3.67)
- brown planets (6+7+4+6+6+7=36; 36/6 = 6)

At first view this might be an approach to measure one central aspect of the quality of the planet setup. Then you could filter out extremely good setups, like all 6 planets almost in the center.

This blue setup with a value of 22 is already very strong, maybe too strong (I'd rotate it). For even smaller values, it at some point for sure becomes a unbalanced setup. Because all planets close to the center is necessarily good.
It would be needed to look at a good number of maps to get a good feeling for the numbers, but at the moment I can hardly think of a map with a count of 20 (3.33 average) or less that is still close to balanced?

As said above, I wouldn't filter out maps with bad colors. Possibly 4 player maps with 4 really bad factions, if that is actually possible (as such a map would screw the last player).
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Roderick Schertler
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Hi, thanks for this, it's great.

It is inspiring me to do some recreational programming, which used to be my main thing and I've been trying to get back to. E.g. my Sceptor of Zavandor implementation (https://github.com/rosche/sozav) is playable with a very rudimentary AI for testing, but it only has a command-line UI so far.

I've been using the automa feature and I'd like to try enhancing it a bit -- score tracking, a way to see the turn history, a simple reference for the drawn card, and that sort of thing.

Would you make the source code available?

Thanks again either way.
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Carl
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I will say I appreciate the 2 Easter Eggs I have found so far. putting 42 into the seed gives 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and 666 gives "The number of the beast." Anyone found any others?
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