Tag Archives: Battle Reports

How’s it going, Rob? Are the Player Ratings Ready?

So the player ratings are set to be done by the end of Q3.  Yeah, that’s eight days from now.  I’m reasonably certain I can get it done – mostly.  Chances are, the medals (like the level medal) won’t be ready in time and that’s okay.  The player ratings are generated at the time of the battle and are independent of the medals so I don’t see a problem with applying the update before the medals are ready.

Medals?  Did you say Medals?

I did, actually.  When your player rating is generated you’ll receive a medal that’s proudly displayed on your player profile indicating which of 12+1 “ranks” you hold.  There’s 12 ranks for rated players (any one who’s reported more than 30 games) and a provisional rank.  They look something like this:

Medals for battle rating
Medals awarded for battle rating on iToysoldiers

I’m reasonably happy with them.

What’s taking so long?

Well, as it turns out figuring in the impact of a player’s faction required a lot more testing and tweaking than I originally thought.  My original thought was to modify the K value of the calculation through the use of a ratio between the player’s faction battle ranking.  This didn’t pan out exactly the way I wanted it to.

So I set myself to figuring out exactly where to apply the faction impact and I stumbled across a website that talked about how they determine EL0 for NBA teams.  One of the factors they introduced into their calculation is home team advantage.  Clearly I don’t need that but HOW they did it was clever.  They essentially modified the rating of a team by a constant when they had a home team advantage.  “Ah ha!”, says I.  That’s slick.

So right now I’m messing around with the calculations with an aim to implementing a ratio that’s applied to the player’s rating before the rest of the calculation.  So consider a commander playing Eldar with a rating of 2000 against an Ork player with a rating of 1000, the calculation will actually set the Ork player’s rating considerably lower and the Eldar player considerably higher.  Not that in this example it’d be necessary.   But if they both had a rating of 1200 then if the Eldar player won the change in scores wouldn’t be nearly as dramatic as if the Ork player wins.

Please tell me you’re not messing with anything else

Well…  Nothing major.  A couple of bugs.  The biggest of which is making it so that when you add an image from the modelling project page it’ll actually get associated with the modelling project.  I’ve also done some work on the page layout for events so there’s not quite so much empty space on the page.  Really, that’s pretty much it.

Comments? Questions?  Post a comment here or visit the iToysoldiers Help Portal.

Rob @ iToysoldiers

Rating Players: Trials and Tribulations

Ahoy, commander! Now that we’ve got some improvements on creating content on iToysoldiers I figured I’d be time to start working on improving the stats and metrics around your miniature wargaming battles.  Specifically, I’m working on rating players based upon their performance. In short, I’m implementing a modified variation of the ELO ranking system and I’m going to be applying it pretty much everywhere average battle score is used.

Average Battle Score Sucks

Let me talk a little bit about why this change to an ELO based player rating is important.  Right now, iToysoldiers uses your average battle rating to determine your position in various leaderboards.  This isn’t a bad solution because it does show your relative standing as it relates to other players.  It’s also pretty handy for determining a player’s relative strength in relation to assorted meta items like the mission being played.

The HUGE problem with this system is that it really assumes each player has a similar number of reported games.  So players who’ve played lots of games will have a reasonably accurate score and folks who’ve played a small number of games will have a ridiculously inaccurate score.

For example: If I’ve played three games and they’re all wins my average battle score would be 5.  If my buddy Tyler has played 400 games and they’re all wins then his score would also be 5.  If he lost one of those games it’d put him beneath me in the rankings.  Who’s really the better player?  Do we know yet?  Should my score, with only three games, be compared against Tyler’s 400?  Is there a comparison to be made?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But unless we’re looking at a similar number of games, Average Battle score doesn’t really tell us much.  In fact, it punishes players for reporting more battles and that’s something that I certainly don’t want to have happen.

Rating Players using Chess as a Model

Enter ELO as a model for determining a player’s rating.  The premise behind ELO is that with a little fun with math a player’s rating can be determined by past performance and modified by the results of a match between those two players.  The resulting rating is normalized to a value that can be used to compare players whether they’ve played 400 games or 3 games.  (Yes, yes.  I know…  The results will still be more accurate the more games that are played but the concept is sound).

What I’m working on now is implementing a modified ELO system into iToysoldiers so that it’ll be possible to get reasonably accurate ratings of players overall, and possibly (still working on this) under specific sets of battle meta. I’m aware of some of the draw backs of the ELO model and how other rating systems are possibly more accurate because they take a couple of other factors into account – things like confidence level of the current rating and stuff like that.  The biggest issue, to my mind, is that ELO (and Gliko – another player rating system – for that matter) assume that both sides are equal.  Example: In chess, both players have exactly the same pieces and the same “abilities”.  In miniature wargaming that’s not the case.  Factions have varying powers that contribute to the power of the player.  I’m aware of this and hence the modifications.

Keeping me up at night

Modifying the ELO player rating calculations to consider elements of miniature wargaming into account has been what’s really making my head spin the last week or so.  A couple of things have been weighing heavily into how this is going to work:

  • How will a player’s faction affect their player rating?
  • Some players won’t have their opponent on iToysoldiers so that a comparison score can be utilized in the calculation.
  • What are the definitions of a “provisional player”?
  • What happens when players are playing narrative battles where both sides aren’t necessarily considered even?
  • Do people care about their rating on a faction by faction (or game by game) level or is their over all rating acceptable?

Faction Impact on Rating Players

The biggie? How factions can or should impact rating players. I’ve decided on two factors:

First, if a player’s game is not acknowledged by another player on iToysoldiers then the rating change will be based upon the current rating of the opposing faction.  Yep.  That means that I’ll be generating ratings for the various factions of the game.  There’s a couple of cool things I’ll be able to do with that info.  The second is a bit more… dicey, maybe?

So within ELO there’s the concept called, “K”. K is a constant that determines how much a match matters when rating the players.  It is basically, what’s the biggest change in ratings that can happen.  In chess, the K value is only based upon a player’s ranking and how many games they’ve played.  I’m adding in another factor: The relative strength of the factions.  Example: In 40K Orks have had a rough go.  Their codex hasn’t been considered to be terribly competitive.  Craftworld Eldar, on the other hand, are generally considered to be pretty top tier.  Gotta tell you, the test runs of the data I have pretty much bear this out.  It makes sense to me that someone who’s playing Orks against Eldar shouldn’t loose as many points if they’re defeated by Eldar.  Everyone saw that coming, right? On the flip side, the Eldar player shouldn’t get quite as many points for defeating an Ork player ’cause their faction is superior.  I’m incorporating that concept into the ratings.

A nifty side effect is that standard deviation of a game system’s factions will also give an indicator as to the balance of a particular game.  I’m pretty excited about being able to provide that kind of info.

TL;DR

And that’s where my head’s at. iToysoldiers will be rating players by the end of September at the latest.  Have some thoughts on the matter? Feedback? Comment here.  Email me.  Visit the iTS Support Portal Entry for Player Ratings.  I aim to please and a thrive on your commentary.

Carpe Acies!
Rob @ iToysoldiers

 

 

Some Thoughts On Presenting Battle Stats

So on the iToysoldiers site I still have a legacy forum that asks for feedback on how to improve the site.  It really shouldn’t be there ’cause I really want to get “backend” type content out of the site proper.  However, every so often there’s a post there and it gets me thinking. In particular, I’m thinking about player battle stats and how to generate/display them.

If you’re interested, the post in question is here:  http://itoysoldiers.com/forum-post/8th-edition-stats.  Essentially the ask is to allow players to “reset” their stats when a new edition of a rule set comes out (or whatever reason floats their boat). I think this is a fair ask to a certain extent. But here’s the rub: I don’t think a player really wants to “reset” stats.  I think what they really really really want is the ability to display stats with more granularity and customization than I currently allow.  Allow me to explain:

The Problem

As I was first building iToysoldiers I made a design decision to force players to pick specific elements representing their battle from a list I provided.  For example: You couldn’t just add an army faction.  Missions went into the mission field.  Points per army went into the points field.  I did this so that there’d be a way to aggregate data specific to a particular meta item and display it relative to every battle on the site.  For sure this helped keep my stat displays under control but unfortunately, it also means that players were only provided battle stat combinations that I created.  This is the problem.

How am I fixing this?

Well, the good news is that I’ve already started to do so!  The first major step to addressing this came when I allowed folks to add any faction into the “Army” field.  Yeah, for sure this has caused some problems – specifically with folks adding stream of consciousness type values into that field.  But as more players participate in the site that’s becoming less of an issue.

The second part of a fix is what I’m working on now.  Player battle stats are now tiered.  To explain: there’s high level stats based upon every game.  Stuff like win/loss/draw, # of battles, and that sort of thing.  But there’ll also be a specific page for each army that a player has entered battle reports for.  To use me as an example, I’ll have CSM, Dark Eldar, Ynnari and World Eaters as my armies and I’ll have a specific page for each.  Kinda like this:

iToysoldiers Battle Stat Teaser
What the army specific stat page looks like

There’s also an advanced filter view without graphs for detailed comparisons:

iToysoldiers Battle Stat Teaser 2
Advanced filters for iToysoldiers Battle Stats

So each army that you play will have these views.  Now, if you’re playing a new army or something it’s pretty easy to “reset” your stats because they’ll be army specific.  And since you can enter anything you want into the Army field a player could reset their stats by using a new army tag. But…

It Could Be Better

Yeah.  It could be better.  And here’s what I’m thinking.  What if there was a world where a player wasn’t restricted to the elements of a battle that I consider important?  What if this world allowed players to tag a battle report with elements that they thought were important instead of having to enter data in a fairly ridiculous number of fields?  What if every meta item was treated the same and battle stats could be generated using a selection of meta elements rather than specifically associating a meta item to a particular input/output field?

That’s what I’m thinking about now: How to revamp the battle reports to be more flexible, easier to use, and more useful when looking at battle stats.  Right now it’s just a seed of an idea and thinking about it is drawing attention to some of the really iffy design choices I made early on.  It’ll be a fair amount of work to do this.  Not so much to build it an put it into effect – but rather make old battle reports obey a set up like this.

So what do you think? I really really really want to know.  It’s feedback that spawns improvement in the site and this is a great example: One forum post and suddenly I’m think of huge improvements.  Drop me a line at rob@itoysoldiers.com, visit our support portal at http://itoysoldiers.uservoice.com or comment here.  I aim to please.

Rob @ iToysoldiers

iToysoldiers now supports EVERY miniature wargame

Ahoy, Commander!

iToysoldiers is pleased to announce our latest release, 4.5-rc4 which, amongst a handful of other things, brings support for EVERY SINGLE MINIATURE GAME AND ARMY IN THE WORLD! Yep. It’s now possible to add your own armies or factions so you don’t have to wait for the iToysoldiers team to update when a new rule set is released or if we haven’t gotten around to adding your favorite game. How __ing cool is that?

So now, when you report a battle, start a modelling project, or show off your army profile you can enter whatever you want as the army or faction.  I’m totally excited about the possibilities here.

Now. There’s some caveats and quid pro quos here.  Game Systems will still need to be entered in by the iToysoldiers staff and we’re going to make an effort to go through the new factions and see if we can associate them with games but if you want to make sure that your favorite game is truly supported on iToysoldiers all you have to do is zip over to the “Request New Game Support” page and tell us about the game. We’ll get it in as soon as we can.

Now that I’ve gotten that bit of gushing out of the way, here’s some other stuff that’s in the release:

The interface for submitting and editing battles and army lists have been revamped to make them easier to use.  There’s now a series of tabs that group types of input together and all of the required fields are on the very first tab.  No more scrolling through lots of stuff you don’t care about to submit your battles and army lists.

Corrected a whole whack of errors on the League manager. I’m still not 100% sure why the last release failed me so badly but it should all be working now.

Corrected the issue where battle reports weren’t being truly updated on creation. Your opponent wasn’t getting the meta data when you created a battle and that messed up stats for both of you. Also updated all the affected battle reports.

Cleaned up a bunch of backend stuff. Nothing to see here.

So that’s the latest release! If you run into any issues or have some suggestions, I’d love to hear about them.  Zip over to the iToysoldiers Help Portal and let me know what’s on your mind.

Carpe Acies!
Rob @ iToysoldiers

Itty Bitty Battle Report Release Today

Good morning, commander!

I implemented release code name, “Hastur” today.  Honestly, the changes are fairly minimal.  Mostly backend battle report type stuff.  There’s a minor change to the layout of the battle reports to put tem more in line with other types of content as well as playing with the tools bar.  What do you think of the buttons as opposed to the straight links?

Oh! The main Battle Report page also has new tabs that show all battles, your battles, trending battles, and battles of folks you follow.  I’m going to be adding that to most sections eventually.

Also, I fixed the achievement logic for battle oriented achievements.  Now they trigger when you create a battle so you don’t have to wait for a modification, a new battle or someone to acknowledge the battle.  I also cleaned it up so that it’ll be easier to implement new achievements in the future and that’s a good thing.

Lastly, I made some improvements to the look and feel of the monthly battle champion achievement.  Look for it on July 1st.  It’s more better.

See… Not a terribly interesting release really.  But that brings me to a bit of a chatter about the next release:  “Smaug”.  Smaug’s going to bring in something I’ve been threatening to do for a long time, namely, support for the Privateer Press Steamroller tournament format.  The good news is that the rule set isn’t terribly different from the existing Swiss format that’s the bread and butter of the iToysoldiers Tournament Manager.  When I built the tournament system I tried to think ahead and allow for a modular building block system.  Now I’m calling it the “War Zone Framework” and all the event management stuff is being driven through it.  Seems to be working pretty well.  Anyway.  That’s what I’m working on.

If you have any suggestions for improvements to the site or things you’d like to see I’m all ears!  Drop me a line at rob@itoysoldiers.com or post a comment here.

An Embarrassment of Quirks

I use iToysoldiers, whilst not as much as I probably should, an awful lot to chronicle the glories of my very own miniature war gaming armies.  My Dark Eldar Kabal is on there.  My blood soaked World Eaters army is on there. Some of the other random things I work on are on there.  But most of the time I do it in front of my computer and it works pretty well all things considered. However, whilst preparing for and attending Astronomi-con Toronto 2016 I made a couple of horrifying discoveries.

The first of these is that the Army Profiles do NOT help in crafting a compilation of fluff and pictures to assist in making a really slick looking army list with named characters, fiction, and pictures.  Not even a little bit.  Now I knew this, academically, but as I was trying to put my list together I realized just how much I’d love to have something to help me out with that – some sort of repository that holds all sorts of tidbits about my army in one convenient place.  Alas, I don’t have one.  But I will!

So, on my priority list is to revamp the army profiles in such a way as to make them useful for that sort of thing. I’ve always envisioned that the profiles would kind of be like those old White Dwarf Index Astartes articles and that’s what I’m going to work on.  Now if you don’t know what Index Astartes articles are (‘cause you’re a 40K whippersnapper or you don’t play Warhammer 40K) the short version is that they were a summary of the history, origins, major battles, and doctrines of a particular flavour of Space Marine.  Now the good news is that the concept is equally appropriate to any game and since I aim to be game agnostic I’ll be making sure that it’s not too sci-fi oriented.

The second big issue is reporting battles when you’re on a mobile device.  Gods it sucks.  Too many drop downs, the image widget isn’t terribly friendly and since it’s asking for so much stuff there is a lot of scrolling to go through. I wasn’t happy with it at all.

ugly battle report form
This drove me crazy and I’m probably more tolerant of issues than most on the site.

To that end, I’m going to be revamping the “Quick Battle” form that you’ll find on the home page (if you’re logged into the site) which will allow you to submit battle report results for your favorite miniature war game in a much more streamlined fashion.  I’m going to use auto lookup for the armies (rather than the kind of kludgy multi-dropdown thing) and add a few more fields to capture the most common fields.  I’ll also send you an email with the link to the battle so when you get home (or you’re using a larger device, or you have more time to fight with the larger form) you can go in and add more meta.

Lastly. For those of you who’ve chatted with me in person you know I struggle with explaining how cool iToysoldiers is (or more accurately, how cool I think it is). I’m not a sales guy.  I’m not a marketing guy. I’m not terribly charismatic or gifted with patter. I also spend an awful lot of time all by myself so I’m kind of out of practice when it comes to conversing with people.  Whilst I was trying to pimp iToysoldiers at Astronomi-con I found it hard to really explain iToysoldiers.  Alas, I didn’t have anything to really “show” what it does ‘cause it’s a bit sprawly.

With that in mind, in addition to making the army profiles more better – which I think will help a lot (i.e. “Hey! Here’s my army,” says I. “Damn. That’s cool!” says them. “I can help you do that,” says I. “Yes, please,” says them) but I’m going to prioritize something that’s been on my mind for a while and that is revamping the player profile pages.  They’re old.  I haven’t touched them in a long time and I’ve learned a lot. So they’re going to a) get a face lift and b) get the stats treatment that Armies did not too long ago.

So that, from an iToysoldiers perspective, is what I took away from the tourney I went to last weekend. Because I need better tools for me I will make better tools for you. Now, this is just my list of things I want done.  Suggestions? Comments? I aim to please.  Let me know.  Send an email to rob@itoysoldiers.com, send me a PM on the site, leave a comment, whatever.  I’m all ears.

Carpe Acies!
Rob

Bring on the Stats

Ahoy, commanders! Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night – sweat soaking your sheets, a scream fighting to tear its way out of you – all because you were going to face a new army tomorrow and you weren’t sure how you were likely to fair against them?  Yeah, me neither.  But that doesn’t mean that you don’t share my curiosity in how a game’s meta is shaping up.  Well, wonder no longer, friends. I’ve started putting a fair amount of effort into actually living up to the slogan, “We have stats. Stats are cool”.  Which brings me to the announcement of iToysoldiers Release 4.2-rc10.

The main focus of this release is to total revamp the battle statistics for game systems and their associated factions.  There’s some minor visual tweaks that make the pages look better and give you a better idea of what content is associated with a given game or faction and the battle meta page has been completely redone but the real meat is in the statistics.

Every game system or army/faction that’s been involved in a battle now has a link to “Battle Stats” for that army or game.  I’m going to use my favorite army, the Dark Eldar as an example.  So if you zip over to the Dark Eldar Stats page (or you can follow along with your favorite army) you’ll see something like this:

Miniature war gaming stats screenshot
Here’s what the new army stats page looks like using REAL Dark Eldar stats

The first row provides some high level numbers: the number of battles, the number of players, the number of battlefields an army game has been seen at, and the number of factions it has fought against (for game systems this number is the number of factions that have fought battles).  Each is linked to a table (or list in the case of battles) that provides some information about the number of battles, the W/L/D numbers and the average battle score.

After that is a handful of spiffy charts.  Let’s talk about ‘em now, shall we?

Battles over time

This is just a simple display of all the battles reported by the faction or game.

Average Battle Score

Until I get a better system in place, average battle score is the current mechanism to provide relative rankings between players and armies.  It’s an average of the total battle result value divided by the battles that the faction has been the primary faction (no, being an ally faction doesn’t contribute to the battle score).  Since this just a number between 1 and 5 (5 being the highest) it gets to be a gauge.

Battle Results

Pretty much what you’d expect: a chart that shows how many battles were a victory, a draw, or a defeat.  Goes along with the Average battle score chart nicely, dontcha think?

Most Battles Leaderboard

This one’s fun: who’s the commander who fights the most battles?  You can, of course, see the full list on the Player tab.

Commander Survival Impact

This one is fun and the start of metrics that aren’t quite as pedestrian as a simple count.  What this chart shows is based on the criteria of commander survival, how many battles did this army win.  I know Warmachine/Hordes players won’t get a ton of use out of this chart (assassination rule and all that) but for most other games it’s kind of interesting.  So for Dark Eldar, if my commander survives the battle players win 58% of the time.  With CSM it’s about 75%.  It also shows the results based on the commander being slain.  Handy to know whether you should consider protecting your commander at all costs.

Opponent’s Army Impact

This is a riff on the Commander Survival impact chart except it shows the results based on the faction of the opponent.  Here’s where you can see how well the given faction does relative to other armies.  So in our Dark Eldar example, Space Wolves are the army of choice to go against.  DE win 72% of the time against these guys.  Avoid the Tyranids.  At all costs.  The faction does the best against armies in the upper right hand bit of the graph.

One caveat: A faction will have had to play against the opponent’s faction at least five times to get on this chart.  So if you don’t see your faction then you need to get those games in so that the metrics are more relevant.

Ally Impact

Can you tell I really dig these “impact” charts? This one displays the impact of the allied factions brought to the battle.  In the Dark Eldar example I think it’s clear that I need to bring Harlequins.

Most Battles Against

This chart displays the total battles against the top five factions that an army has played against.  It’s pretty pedestrian, just a simple count, but interesting.

And that’s all I have for now.  I plan to add more as they come to me and if you have some suggestions do not hesitate to let me know at support@itoysoldiers.uservoice.com.  I aim to please.  Oh yeah!  Don’t you worry! Player stats will be getting a similar treatment really soon.

Carpe Acies!
Rob