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Death Note Rewrite

Discussion in 'Active Themes' started by Whereabouts Unknown, Oct 1, 2016.

  1. Whereabouts Unknown

    Whereabouts Unknown Absolutely Stunning Forum Moderator Channel Leader Forum Moderator Channel Leader

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  2. Veteran Padgett

    Veteran Padgett TFT Main Developer Developer

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    You may have noticed lower playercounts when DNR is started or people joking "DNR killed it". I've been one of the people who doesn't join. I'm not expecting to like every theme that is added to the server, but DNR is not just a theme I don't enjoy. I believe DNR in its current state is detrimental to the channel as a whole, but it isn't fair of me to just keep complaining instead of addressing the issues I have with this theme in a discussion open to the authors or sMAs. I hope with this we can finally discuss why DNR is an acceptable theme, or if it isn't then what we can do to fix it that is acceptable to the theme owners.

    The first and biggest issue: the theme takes too damn long to play. IMO the theme should be disabled until this is fixed. Themes like Magikarp and Minesweeper have been disabled before for being pointless 100% town win themes, and several others have been disabled during development when functionality issues are too severe. I don't see why DNR shouldn't be disabled as a broken theme when it is as stally as it is. In any other theme, a 7p game would be expected to last for 3 nights, and 4 or 5 night games would be considered long. In DNR, a 6 or 7 night 7p game is the norm and it isn't uncommon for a game to last 9 or 10 nights. On top of this every night phase is 45 seconds long. I understand that the 2 part commands require more time, but the long phases aren't a good mix with the already long game. There needs to be a solution to either the phase length or the number of phases (e.g. reducing the lengths of the day and voting phases when the commands are simpler or creating a different setup for smaller games).

    Anyone who doesn't join gets blocked from Mafia for 15+ minutes. I think 30 minutes was once used as an early mafia ban tier. Even those who support the theme and join, face the same Mafia cooldown if they die early on.

    With this theme seemingly being avoided more than most, you get a lot of people skipping this game and then leaving when the game doesn't finish quickly. So let's get on to the more subjective issues.

    Why do I not enjoy playing this theme? This theme is so deterministic and dull, that I don't see how the experience of those who joined and lived to the end is any different from those who didn't join. Any info gained in this theme comes from random inspecting and random voting. Throw in mafia unconnected on startup and silent voting phase, and you get even less oppurtunity to read player behavior than the most simplistic follow-the-cop themes such as Kirby and Default. Once you make enough random guesses and find an enemy role, you just use the appropriate kill/inspect command on that person the following phase. There are no options to weigh or choices to make.

    This is worst of all for those who get a role with no commands except for a vote, which is often meaningless because they didn't gather enough followers to form a majority. I'll use the game of Quidditch from Harry Potter as an analogy. Imagine a soccer game, but on a separate field one player from each team is playing an entirely different game. Once one of those two players defeats the other, their team scores 15 points and the game ends. The soccer players don't have any control over what happens on the other field and the value of the other game makes the soccer game seem worthless. This is the same as DNR, with the inspectors and Light being the roles that matter. You can make as many reads and rands you want as villager, but all that matters in the end is which main character is found first. With the random nature of info gathering in this theme, you are just as likely to reveal your teammate boss as you are the enemy boss. Even if you get connected your boss just hands you the info they have and either directs you what to do or leaves you to make the same robotic decisions that you make with any info in this theme.

    As a concept, having to match both the face and the name is great thematically for Death Note and as an idea for a mafia theme. When it comes to execution, the drawn out games and lack of player agency make this theme unplayable for me.
     
  3. Whereabouts Unknown

    Whereabouts Unknown Absolutely Stunning Forum Moderator Channel Leader Forum Moderator Channel Leader

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    Someone using PO for mafia forum feedback in 2018 :')

    I, the author, believe it can be improved (most themes can, Vanilla can't). However, I have to correct the record on some things. DNR killed it was reclaimed ironically when DNR was one of the only themes played frequently during the time of dead mafia. The same handful of people who still played found DNR was one of the only spammable themes at nonpeak because it presents unique and various scenarios. You might not enjoy it, and I definitely won't say it's an easy theme to learn or play, but with a group of people who bothered to learn it and regularly play it, it's an amazingly fun theme at all spawns.

    ["DNR killed it" also means "wow good job with the no lynch vote phase" but we'll get to that point later]

    Hmm, so 2 main points here are: DNR is too stally due to mechanics, and DNR ticks are too long.

    DNR is not stally. However, if one or two people do not understand their role, and are incapable of being coached through it, then yes it becomes a very difficult to end game, and that is a problem I've struggled with from the start. In fact, the 45 second night phase was my best effort at remedying that. But, the trouble does not stop there. The thing is, even if a villager does not understand how majority lynch voting works, it's a very bad time for the village. And that can lead to long games where the village takes forever to get information. This is the main problem with the theme in my opinion. When everyone plays their role, even badly, and agrees to hammer votes, even mishammers, the game will end within 3 or 4 nights at most. But if even one person is out of the loop, it can really ruin the theme for everyone. It's really frustrating to see people not try to win and then people say "DNR does not work." when it has worked for months and months.

    Changing the night or day ticks seems like a bad idea to me, but I'm up for discussing a solution. The problem with limiting standby ticks for me is it nerfs village quite a bit. Usually, the game comes to a climax when Raye/Naomi/Soichiro dies and L is left exposed. At this moment, L has to arrest or it's most likely over. Taking away time from that hurts village.

    I do think that night 9 or 10 is an exaggeration and now that exaggeration is getting stretched further. I think 9 happened once and that was a disaster where L did not know to arrest confirmed Light and Misa was being PL stalled all game. That should not happen, I agree, but should we let "misplays" define whether a theme is good or bad? Let's remove Zelda: half the time Link doesn't claim n1 and dies, so it's way too mafia sided.

    It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when you decide "DNR will kill it" and then do not join and then say "DNR killed it." But yes, no theme should take 10 minutes or even "15+ minutes" so let's talk about that.

    Hold on a second, have you played DNR? Scratch that, have you played mafia? I'm not trying to be mean, because I know you have, and I know you are capable of working off of soft information and reads. You also understand that most themes are "random inspecting and random voting." The ones that aren't are the ones that are deterministic. Zelda for instance (not trying to bash here it's just a good comparison) if Zelda inspects a non-citi, it's dead. If it doesn't then Link randomly kills and randomly votes. SI is entirely random kills and random votes. Neither of those have any reliance of hard information. So what makes them good themes? Probably a lot of the things you are saying DNR does wrong.
    This part really confuses me. DNR has tons and tons of soft information. It tells you whom the mafia is trying to kill at night. Why are they trying to kill X? Why haven't they targeted Y? Did Z self-write? And those are just theme-specific reads. You can try to interpret people's reactions to information like in any theme. Misa and Light can become connected. Think there's not enough information? Talk. That's how every village gains information in every theme. Say "I will vote for X" and see how X responds. Say "I voted for Y" and make an argument for why. This is basic How To Play Mafia.

    There are many levels of mindgames in this theme that only a few people take advantage of. Matsuda/Aizawa/Mogi/Ukita can hax who voted for whom about 2% of the time. This is actually very powerful as it can clean villagers easily if they get lucky. However, mafia have counterplay in faking hax. I would be open to discussion about how this mechanic can be improved or expanded if you think there is potential there. I added this feature fairly recently and so it's not as tested as the old game. I think it helps the point of this not being vanilla though since it opens the door to interpreting votes.

    Then again, you might argue (and I'm surprised you didn't) that the vote phase itself is the problem with the theme, because it has two very weird and unfamiliar mechanics in Majority Lynch and closed voting. This is actually the point I'm most interesting in talking about when it comes to fixing the theme since I'm pretty sure it's the root cause of 99% of the games which go bust. Anyway, closed voting does take away information. Vote hax sort of replaces it, but also adds ambiguity (ambiguity in mafia = good!). One solution I'm thinking about currently is giving every single role the same vote hax (about 20% chance to hax who voted for whom). This removes faking but does add some information.

    To your last point, well since there are two sides in this theme, what happens often is 2 players get voted early in the phase, because: L learns who Misa is and Misa finds who Raye is. Misa and L both quickly vote for their confirmed enemy at the start of the vote phase. The other 3-5 players have to determine which one they think is which and vote accordingly. If you misvote here, you can cost your team an advantage. "But that's so random and unfair" - if that's what you think, why are you playing Mafia, literally every theme has moments where it comes down to two parties claiming the other one is bad. The only difference here is you can't rely on an inspector telling you what to do for the majority of the game (it can happen, but it's less likely than in other themes. Also, even if say, L finds you n1, they most likely did not get any other information. So, you actually have to communicate with L and strategize a good vote. You can't just ask L for more information because they might not get any).



    Viktor caught snitch but Ireland won the World Cup
    I'm not sure I agree, or maybe I don't understand. Reads and rands ARE the things that expose players in this theme. Imagine if Mike Kirby was possessed by 7 different people. That's this theme. I guess you don't like the risk that you might accidentally expose your boss and lose automatically (well ~25% of the time if village, FBI can clutch stop Misa). It's not great, but since L/Light have the same reveal message when voted off it's not as end-all. Also, if L/Light get voted off, in theory the game ends within the next day ~75% of the time (100% of the time if Light was voted off). Which is contrary to the point that it takes too long. I understand that this is an unrelated point, but I am going to fight to myth that "DNR averages 15+ minutes" because it's just wrong.

    In any good theme the village needs to rand to win. Otherwise it's literally follow the cop. DNR leans heavily on the scale of soft information > hard information, but this is not inherently a bad thing. Some players will prefer it and others won't. If you want to offer a solution that might make this aspect of the game (voting) more accessible to more people, I am willing to workshop on it.

    Lack of player agency is an interesting word choice to me. I was trying to create an atmosphere of helplessness as part of the flavor for this theme. This goes for both sides. But I am actually certain that it's the opposite of lack of agency that's going on here. In this theme, EVERYONE matters. Look at other themes if you want to see themes where agency does not matter. Zelda? (third time's the charm): If you're Impa, you have one job to protect and sheep Link, citizens can't put in work or they're ignored, Tingle is basically a named villager, and only 1 mafia has a non-kill command and so otherwise the best they can do is randkill and pray they do not xfire. Other themes have levels of this, but many of them have been worked on to remove "villager syndrome" (e.g. we added Krile in FF to give Moogles a job, Sleep Kirbies in Kirby are a little active since they can hax and voice in some situations, but it's still mostly FTC).
    But in this theme? Oh boy, if you misvote, you just doomed your teammate to the death note. But if you vote based on suspicions, maybe you can make a nice read and give your team valuable information. At the very least, don't be the person who says nothing, does not vote, and then complains that they game isn't over yet when you, the villager, are actually the one making the difference for once!

    FBI? You're the only thing between L and the Death Note in some spawns. Better make your PL count!
    Misa? It's your job to inspect people who you think are PRs or possible teammates. Ask Steam about how awesome it is to find Light n1 and win in 3 days in peak.
    Soichiro? Possibly the most boring role, since you might get found by L and be forced to Safeguard them all game like a lowly Impa. But until then, you can try to block talkative players from inspection, or just get inside Misa's head and block their inspects.
    L/Light? Obviously the most boring roles.
    Teru? You can fake a village role after voting yourself out to sew confusion. Also being able to kill is neat. Also: whenever Teru spawns, villagers getting voted becomes a lot more contentious, as L cannot connect with them freely.

    And you're telling me this spells lack of agency? I can understand if you tell me that you do not like this theme because it requires operating on soft information, but let's be clear about how we're criticizing it. DNR if anything has too much agency, which leads to the problem I discussed first.
    This is a problem I would like to make go away if possible, but as you can understand it's kind of difficult to address that without changing the theme drastically. If that is the route we are taking, I would rather put difficulty advisories up for this theme to prevent people from playing it on a whim than to remove the theme.


    Finally, getting back to the first point, DNR did not kill it. I'm pretty sure PO did. "I'm sorry, did a 5p DNR game stop you from enjoying your 120 hours of uninterrupted dead Mafia this week?" DNR became popular amongst a crowd because it is good at nonpeak. The only reason people avoid this theme is because it's harder the more people that join. If people were just more forgiving about mistakes then it would not be an issue. I've heard people say that they don't want it to be allowed as a Game Night theme. That is actually an entirely unrelated topic since we've basically only talked about nonpeak games in this conversation right? Removing it from Game Night would be a mistake in my opinion though because once there are multiple investigators the game gets really interesting.

    If you want to discuss, playtest, or workshop this more, I'd be happy to meet on the server. I'm sure there are at least 5 people who would be willing to theorycraft the theme a bit more. I do think it can be improved and I appreciate the time you put into voicing your concerns.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2018
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  4. MUMU

    MUMU DNR KILLED IT

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    Light isn't boring, since write has uses outside of just normal randkill attempt.
     
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  5. Cheezeburgar

    Cheezeburgar dankest john

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    I would love to help test new ideas for the theme. However, I believe that DNR should be disabled from Game Nights only, since it has statistically been detrimental for game nights. The player count has sometimes halved when DNR comes on, and often times decreases by a minimum of 5. I like the idea of keeping it for very small setups, and I think dnr excels at being a more challenging theme than normal at low player count.

    On that note,I would love to come back later to pitch some ideas. I am currently on vacation so I will return after giving the code a glance.
     
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  6. Whereabouts Unknown

    Whereabouts Unknown Absolutely Stunning Forum Moderator Channel Leader Forum Moderator Channel Leader

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    MFW yall can't decide if nonpeak or peak is the problem.[​IMG](Am I doing it right @Cheezeburgar ?)

    I do not see what the issue is for it being a game night theme. The first few game nights DNR was completely fine, even one of the themes that hit the highest number of people. What's happening right now is a few people got turned off because of a couple games that went sour, to the point where an increasing number of people were led to incorrectly conclude it was 'broken' and stopped joining, leading to the player drops during last weekend's night. It's pretty inordinate to say the theme should be removed from game night because it's been down on players for a few weeks due to mainly people's misconceptions about the theme.

    And it's not like it has to be played every week. If you don't want to play it, vote for other themes! Banning it just ridiculous. It's like saying you're too lazy to vote but if you don't like the result you want take-backsies. Either accept that it will be played occasionally because it's still popular enough to be voted in, or don't let that happen lol. If you really hate it and it gets voted in anyway, well that sucks, we don't all get to play our favorite themes every time. Sometimes you just have to take a break while the people who voted for it to be in because they want to play DNR get to enjoy it.

    Let's focus on improving the mechanics to make it less susceptible to being ruined by the kind of misplay that allowed these misconceptions to manifest.
     
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  7. Cheezeburgar

    Cheezeburgar dankest john

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    It’s not about people’s misconception of a theme.
    If people don’t want to play a theme they will not play it.
    it doesn’t matter if you think their opinion is wrong. It doesn’t matter if I think they’re wrong.

    Since for the past several game nights there has been a decline of activity after DNR gets played, then yes I agree it should be removed. I would say this if it happened for any other game night theme, but quite frankly it doesn’t.

    I vouch for non peak DNR since it is vastly different than all other non peak themes. Do I agree it can still be worked on? Of course.

    If the mechanics get improved to where majority of people like the theme and want to play it during game nights, then I’m all for letting it in.

    As for voting, I clearly haven’t been active enough
    on forums until recently but I will be voting everything not DNR for coming GNs.
    Also voting:
    GN 24: 2/32 total votes went to DNR.
    GN 23: 2/23 total votes went to DNR.
    GN 22: 1/24 total votes went to DNR.
    GN 21: 0/47 votes.

    also note:
    Mumu has voted DNR in 22-24.
    You voted DNR in 23.
    Yttrium (meme) voted DNR in 24.

    So out of a total 136 votes in the past 4 game nights, DNR gets 5. And it is still being played somehow. I cba looking at more game night votings because I don’t feel like it.

    But when only a select few people are the ones wanting to play DNR, we should definitely consider removing it.

    nice meme btw
     
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  8. Whereabouts Unknown

    Whereabouts Unknown Absolutely Stunning Forum Moderator Channel Leader Forum Moderator Channel Leader

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    Good!

    The fact that the supposedly least popular theme can get voted in twice in four weekends just means you (plural) have to be more proactive about voting the themes you do like. Meme votes are your punishment for inactivity. I can't say whether Pokewarble's vote was a meme vote, because although he did not even join Game Night 24, I know that he knows how to play it. But on Game Night 20 I voted all of my themes to make a point (and also DQ because @Sky Sentinel should come back).

    When you say the "majority of people liking it" is a requisite for it to be playable on Game Night, you are not wrong. That is how it functionally is right now! So there is no reason to take down the theme unless it is broken. (That is what I am saying is a misconception, and to be clear that's my opinion, but also the opinion of someone who knows the theme inside out.) If it is truly stally (or broken in another way) after being tested at the main spawn ranges of 5-7, 8-9, and 10+, then I will disable it until I finish changing it appropriately. For now, the sample size is way too small to say it does not work, because it has only been an issue recently due to a series of unfortunate misplays (the last 5 games have been objectively not good), which all themes are susceptible to.
     
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  9. Veteran Padgett

    Veteran Padgett TFT Main Developer Developer

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    People don't join because they don't want to play the theme. Not because they think it will not get played. If anything those people are hoping that it will not get the 5 people necessary to get played.

    Yes, the people who enjoy the theme will counter with their own "DNR killed it" when the player count doesn't take too big of a hit, but when the phrase is followed by things like "10p -> 6p" I think the point is clear. Also, saying that DNR is popular because a small handful of people (one being you, the author) start the theme frequently is like saying Kid Icarus was popular because Joeypals started it every fifth game.

    It is a good point that there are people who enjoy the theme. I don't think people should enjoy everything I enjoy and hate everything I hate. Normally I would just say that if someone doesn't like a theme then they don't have to join, but the length of DNR games isn't fair to anyone's time. Especially when the game is started more often than it should be (imo) in some sort of counter protest. The time is the main thing I want to focus on, but I brought up the lower player counts to show how many players are affected by the long time and even how people may not want to join a theme that takes 15 minutes to play. Zelda is a theme that I don't like, but I don't mind joining it sometimes because I know it will probably take only 3-5 minutes and gives me something to do until the next theme. I also brought up on my last post how people who die day 1 or 2 in DNR have to wait as well. People who enjoy the theme should be just as concerned with the time.

    With the current Game Night reliant state of Mafia most of the gameplay is focused into 3 hours a week. 2 or 3 games of DNR is a disproportionately large chunk of time to take out of that 3 hours when there can be as many 9 other queue-able themes. Consider too a scenario where Mafia somehow becomes active again and people are coming and going throughout the day. Someone may join for 20-30 minutes before heading to school or to eat, and then doesn't get to play as many games because DNR is started.

    No, it hasn't "worked" for months and months considering it has been in the current state, which I am now debating about, for months and months. This thread is not the first time the theme has been criticized either. It may be the first constructive criticism. However, in my experience past complaints have just been met with "people haven't learned the theme yet", shifting the blame onto the players. When a theme has only been out for only a few weeks it may be worth waiting for players to learn the theme more before making adjustments. If a theme has been out for over a year and you still feel like players don't understand your theme as much as they should, you should consider that your theme may need some changes.

    ---

    The first change I'd like to propose is to show ±Current Roles. My understanding is that it doesn't show to keep the random vanilla townie role unknown. Although it may not be pretty, couldn't each vt be set to revealAs a Matsuda/Aizawa/Ukita/Mogi role? Teru could be left as is since their name doesn't change. I think this is the best immediate change that could be made because it seems simple to implement and wouldn't affect the actual gameplay/mechanics. Not having to use /spawn may help new players who aren't aware of the command or don't know the character names It would also save a bit of time in general for people who haven't memorized every spawn amount. The vt could also revealAs a shorter name like Random Town with the possibilities moved to the description, but I think it may confuse new players to try "/inspect [name]:Random Town".

    Next I have to ask, "Is it really necessary for the voting phase to use majority voting?" You said yourself, "When everyone plays their role, even badly, and agrees to hammer votes, even mishammers, the game will end within 3 or 4 nights at most." This would be a change to the game play, but I think the change is minimal if it all. Majority voting is great in an environment where people can change their votes and have more time to discuss soft reads. It is typically used to start a vote on someone and threaten a lynch while still giving them a chance to convince others that they are town. The only thing majority voting offers for PO server Mafia is the chance for a no lynch. No lynching is beneficial to town in some themes, but I don't think DNR is one of them. If Light is unknown town should try to find him, but if he is known he should be arrested in the standby phase before voting.

    Last would be to look for potential improvements of multi-target commands. The only update I can think of would be to keep the current way of setting targets and also allowing for "/inspect1 [target1]" and "/inspect2 [target2]", which could be faster for people who rely on name tabbing. It may be something to look into in the future as a general mafia update, but I'm not a fan of it as a fix for DNR. It would be a lot of time spent for just a small step in improving the time cost of this theme.

    If you want to implement these ideas or any other ideas you might have but it requires an update to the mafia script, I'm available to help make script changes. I know you are capable of making changes, but I also know that it can be time consuming to do so.
     
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