Blood's Music teamplay, lesson 1
IntroductionThis page presents you several scenes from a 3 vs 3 match on the "Blood's Music" map (aka "Xpilot-Tournament map"). The players are all experienced, but some were out of practice. Especially cooperation between team-members was not as good as I would like it.
clicking on the "replay" links. The "download" links can be used to
save each scene to a local file, so that you can replay it with your favourite XPilot replay
program (`bloodspilot-replay', `xpilot-ng-replay', `xp-replay').
Each scene has a discussion text, which you can reach be clicking on the scene's title in the scene-index, or by scrolling down the page. Here I wrote what worked well and what went wrong. These situations are fundamental to XPilot treasure-team maps, so it would enhance team-play if players improved their tactics here.
Overall conclusionsThis was a very good Blood's Music battle, but teamplay had a lot of deficiencies.
- Covering is done while the own ball is in danger. This results in several ball-losses.
- Defence is neglected. Especially while players on many lives leave their defence to teammates who are short on lives, or even to no one, balls are lost.
- Defence is neglected, leaving one defender against 2 opponents. Even while the ball is being taken and warning messages are sent, teammates do not help to save the ball.
- Ball warning messages are sometimes sent too late.
Cover request messages are often not sent (quickly).
- Fuckinglag was too fucking lagged ;-) Actually 100 ms is quite okay and Tono probably had even worse lag. I should not die so often, trying to keep the opponents away from our ball, while my teammates don't care. This would save myself points and death's (ranking). Perhaps my team would then adapt play and help saving/defending earlier.
Player of the match: Ender. Great game-overview, solid ballruns, being team 2's main ballrunner, but still saving own balls when nessesary.
Respect also to SpaceDebris for probably good defence and to Tonofclay for some good team assistence.
Finally, regards to Rotunda and Erik for some good rounds and situations. After all, this selection contains mostly the scenes where team 4 sucked. Looking at the statistics, of the first and last scene respectively, both teams cashed about the same amount of balls.
PS.: I am open to advice about how to improve my own (team-) play.
Discussion of all scenes
Scene 01: Tactical endgame, respecting lives to create a very good cashing opportunity (failed).The own ball is saved. While there is 1 opponent on 2 lives, aggressively eliminate the other 2 opponents who are on their last lives. SpaceDebris was nicely trapped from 2 sides.
With the resulting 3 vs 1 situation, I take their ball, ask my team for cover, which is given and carefully approach our treasure chest.
Shame on me, that I did not cash the ball. Trying to reconnect, I was too far away from the ball. I assume, that this fuck-up happened, because I am not yet used to playing with lower lag (lame excuse).
Before I can rescue the attempt, Tono saves his team from losing the ball (and many points), by flying into an own bullet. The usual "accident" ...
Scene 02: Tactical endgame. Developing a superior lives situation and cashing.Another example of creating a superior 2 vs 1 situation. Ender is not careful enough on his last life. SpaceDebris is defending on last life against two opponents, which is difficult. Tono should have helped his team's defense, being on several lives while his teammates were dying.
The resulting cash is a nice cooperation. Erik sends the ball towards our treasure chest. I cover him from Tono, then quickly catch and cash the ball, before Tono can lose his last life.
Side notes: Watch the ugly wrong fxi-intermediate frames on Ender's bounce close to our treasure box, at the beginning of this scene. :-(
If you look closely at this bounce (single stepping, magnified), you can also
notice that on an fxi server, ships do not bounce off walls with their real
shipshapes. Instead the server treats each ship as a circle (smaller than
the hitarea circle in this recording). Like this no shipshape has an advantage
to an fxi server.
I have to point out that my client was set up to paint all other ships as triangles, so I don't know what Ender's real ship shape was. Had he played with a default triangle ship, he would probably have not clipped the wall if the server had used the real shipshape. The circle which the fxi server uses regarding ship bounces, is a bit wider than a triangle ship, so he clipped the wall.
Scene 03: Losing ball because of covering instead of saving ball.I was losing my second to last life a bit careless, probably trying to cover the approaching ball from Ender. With this failing, I issue a ball warning (note the red ball warning indicator circle in the center of the recording), and try to save our ball.
My teammates prefer to go for/assist our own cashing attempt. IMHO, Erik should have tried to save our ball instead. No blame though, he was out of practice and yes, it was a good cashing-opportunity for our team too.
Scene 04: Lost ball, because of neglected defence, while on many lives.Rot, on full (4) lives, leaves defence to his teammates who are both on their last life and hence need to be very careful. After Erik's death, again Rot leaves defence.
The resulting cash is not much more than a formality for Ender.
Side notes: The loss of my last life was a bit careless. Probably because I saw our empty treasure box before seeing our ball below, I was not sure whether it was save (allthough there was no ball warning, but often teammates do not warn correctly).
Scene 05: Unsuccessful cover attempts.Unsuccessful cover attempts of team 4. We were in a superior situation, our own ball being safe and their ball in our base.
Well done especially from Ender. I should improve my aiming.
Scene 06: Unsuccessful cashing attempts under cover.Unsuccessful cashing attempts. Erik probably delayed his initial cashing attempt, because he was afraid that Ender might save the ball.
On the second attempt he was perhaps pushed off-course by shock waves from Ender's and SpaceDebris' engines.
Scene 07: Successful tactical endgame, respecting number of lives.Successful tactical endgame. SpaceDebris is not careful enough and loses his last life. Tono, on 2 lives, prefers to leave defence to Ender on last live. Ender is eliminated, resulting in a very good 3 vs 1+ situation. While I try to save Tono from losing his last life, Erik cashes.
Scene 08: Preferring cover over defence loses ball. Good opponents' cover.Ball warning is issued early (red circle in window center and red direction-pointer; additional warning messages are removed from the recording by the `sanitize' function). Still none of my teammates helps me to save our ball. Very badly played.
_At least_ one player should have helped, while the other was trying to steal their ball.
Well done self-defence from Ender and perfect cover from Tono.
Note how one lost ball can change scores: An advantage of over 300 points at the beginning of the round shrinks to just over 60 points.
Scene 09: Leaving defence while on multiple lives loses ball.My teammates, on several lives, leave defence to me (on last life). Ender eliminates me, using our ball as a means to put me under pressure. Rot, on 3 lives, again leaves defence to Erik (on last life), against two attacking opponents!
With Erik being taken out, the resulting 3 vs 1++ ends in the now mostly inevitable lost ball.
Conclusions: Defend when your teammates are dying and you are on many lives. Play as carefully as possible when you are low on lives and your teammates have (many) more lives remaining.
Sidenote: If you single step through this recording, you can notice that SpaceDebris'
ship changes direction only on each second frame. This is because of him using
a client setting of only 25 frames per second (`maxfps'). Because of this, his
client only sends keyboard/mouse events on each second frame. This effectively
increases his network lag by 1 frame (1000 millisecs / 50 fps = 20 ms).
This has probably less negative impact on a fxi server, because the fxi server only uses the client events on each 4th frame (the other 3 frames are unreal intermediate/"fake" frames).
PS.: Apparently fxi uses the control events at least for calculating the ship direction also on intermediate frames. But thrust and probably shots are only updated in real frames (watch the `SelfVel' ExtHUD-display regarding thrust).
Instead XPilot-NG calculates 50 real frames per second, hence with maxfps=25
you delay your own control events by 20 ms. This is a clear disadvantage.
PS.: Additionally you see the situation one frame later, hence you further increase your lag by 20 ms (totalling in 40 ms).
Conclusion: Do not limit your clients' `maxfps' setting below the number of frames that the server calculates. Normally you should leave it at 255. The only exception would be if you used a connection with a very limited bandwidth, like a 56k analog modem, or ISDN. These could probably not transfer 50 FPS (especially with many players and things going on). Every current broadband link should provide much more bandwidth than XPilot needs.
Scene 10: Another neglected defence, elegantly exploited by team 2.Another example of my teammates not helping me to defend, while I am getting low on lives and being outnumbered 2 vs 1.
A very well executed attack and elegant cashing from Ender, with good cover from Tono.
Scene 11: Not using ball and cover messages early and badly adapting play accordingly.Having saved our ball and seeing Erik approach with their ball, I switch from defence to cover. We should have issued a cover request there.
Meanwhile Ender has taken our ball and I am late to issue a ball warning, so Rot is not aware of Ender's ballrun. IMHO, Rot should have read the probability of the ongoing ballrun from the HUD-radar circles (one player approaching their base ballrun-like). We are very lucky that Ender approaches his ball-bounce a little too fast, so that the ball pops.
Then I am careful not to lose my last life, which Ender is obviously trying to achive. The resulting 3 vs 1 endgame ends in a standard win by staying alive.
Conclusions: Issue cover and ball messages early. If teammates adapt their play accordingly, these are a very big help.
Newbie wisdom: If both ball and cover states are active at the same time, saving the own ball has always precedence.
Scene 12: Outnumbering/neglecting defence. Defending aggressively while outnumbered.I am defending and saving our ball. While I am in team 2's base and issue a ball-safe message (note the red indicators disappearing), I want to use the opportunity to fetch their ball. At least one of my teammates should have switched to defending our ball in this situation. Instead they lose their lives a bit too careless. I should have returned to defence as soon as I saved the ball another time (from Tono), because my teammates were dying and I was on full lives.
That I was able to save our ball again from Tono while playing 1+ vs 3, was very lucky and probably due to the fact that Tono was out of practice and plays with some lag.
Then I consequently returned to prevent them from taking our ball while I was not on last life. Ender and SpaceDebris then died a bit too careless.
With 1 vs 1 I wanted to go for their ball, too bad it was not home. I tried to finish Tono a bit too aggressively/carelessly and almost paid the price with a lost ball.
Conclusions: In a 3 vs 3, with one main defender and one main attacker, the other player should adapt his role according to the situation. If the own ball is in danger, his primary role should be to help the main defender. Otherwise he may choose to cover our ballrunner.
Scene 13: Use of engine-thrust to push opponents away.Having taken-out Ender with a standard round-start strafe, I use the thrust of my engine to blow him back into his base, thus delaying team 2's main attacker from approaching our ball.
Conclusion: Engine thrust is a useful tactical means. Especially on fxi
and old (4.5.x) servers the exhaust sparks are powerful (set the client option
`sparkProb' to 1 to see sparks and learn about their influence).
On XPilot-NG servers, the exhaust sparks have much less influence.
On all the various XPilot servers, ship explosions are also very powerful
and can throw opponents around.
A popping ball also has some impact.
Scene 14: Outnumbered and left alone defence loses ball.Outnumbering me 2 vs 1, Ender takes our ball. I issue a ball warning (a bit late, but still soon enough), but Erik prefers to cover Rot leaving the rescue attempt to me. This consequently fails and we lose a ball.
A 100 points advantage at the beginning of the round turns into a 120 points disadvantage.