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Topic Subject:A contest with a difference...
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WinterPharaoh
Pleb
posted 12-14-04 08:32 ET (US)         
A contest with a difference...
The 3x100 relay!!

"Pharaoh Nebka is gravely concerned. While his enormous tomb at his capital Menat Khufu continues to proceed, the unfortunate death of his chief vizier, who had been directing the supply of resources to this massive project, has meant that the flow of stone and wood to the immense and sprawling construction site is drying up.
"At the same time, Pharaoh is alarmed by the reports that the Libyans are redoubling their attacks on the caravans from the African interior, which supply Egypt with much of her luxury goods.
"Pharaoh has decreed that the Libyans must be crushed, and crushed with all possible speed. To this end, he wishes you to establish a colony at Selima Oasis, where your army can both safeguard the African trade routes and support the advance of Nebka's foremost general, Marsenant, as he advances up the Nile towards Nekhen and beyond. Although Selima Oasis has sparse natural resources of its own, the few that it does feature are exactly what Pharaoh needs.
"Pharaoh's plan is simple. You will serve as a forward supply post for Marsenant's forces as they advance up the Nile towards Nekhen, Abu and Dunqul Oasis. Marsenant has the authority of the Pharaoh to requisition all the military resources he needs from you, be they soldiers, weapons or other martial supplies. At the same time, you will support and protect the precious caravan routes into Egypt from Iken and Pwenet.
"This will be a difficult mission. But Pharaoh also has one last task for you. Pharaoh has decreed that Marsenant should receive a mudbrick pyramid of his own as a tomb, an honour almost unheard of for one outside the royal family. Pharaoh requires that you construct this tomb for him, that Marsenant might spend his eternal sleep close to the battlefields where he is winning the greatest victories of his career. While Pharaoh knows that such an undertaking will be hugely difficult in an area without any local supplies of clay, he will endeavour to send you as much support as possible without drawing undue attention to the new construction project.
Pharaoh knows that this will not be an easy mission. But he has the greatest confidence in you. Do not fail him."

------------------------------------------------------------ -------------------------------

Ok, I don't know how many of you read the (now removed) post I wrote in this thread but if you did, you must by now have twigged to what this post is about. For those of you who didn't read the above thread before the important bit was deleted, here's the catch:

This contest will not start in the usual way. Each player who wishes to participate will have to register first, and then on the first day of the competition each player will receive the save game file by e-mail. This is important as each save file will have to have a unique ID number (more on that later). The contestants will obviously build the city in the usual way, for ten years, until they receive a December save notice for marble rather than sandstone. At this point, they save their final game, and send the file back in to the organiser.

This is the point at which it gets radically different from most contests. Each map will be briefly checked to ensure that no cheating has occurred, and then the maps will be redistributed to totally different people! In this way, each player will then receive, by e-mail, a save game file which has the basis of a city built by a different player. They will then be required to build upon the city they are given, trying to work with what they have been given by the previous player.

All in all this event is designed to test the contestant's ability to think on their feet, build a working city with a low level of initial planning and incorporate the work of people with totally different mindsets into their own city. It will not be possible for a player to simply demolish the work of the contestant who played the map before them, since restarting a city a third of the way through the event would put the player out of the contest.

Scoring will be slightly complicated, but not ridiculously so. Players will be marked in teams - if one map is given a score of 100, each of the players who worked on that map will be given 100 points. However, since over the course of the three rounds the player will have worked on three different maps, each contestant would receive three marks for his/her three maps. Adding these scores together would give the final score for each player. This is much easier than trying to grade the player's individual contribution to a map, which would me messy and subjective. Marking them this way also removes any incentive for gamesmanship - it's in the player's own best interest to make it as easy as possible for the player who succeeds them. Minimizing the opportunity for collaboration between players (such as ensuring that no one knows which city is which, hence the ID number rather than "WinterPharaoh's entry") will also help minimize the opportunity for cheating.

While the possibility exists for cities to get lost/misdirected/etc, the chance is no greater than when sending out normal contest maps, and since the whole purpose of the contest is that the maps are supposed to go to different places, it makes it much easier to correct any mistakes!

The contest will obviously be run in three segments, and will probably take place during February/early March, for those of you who might be interested.

------------------------------------------------------------ -------------------------------

So there you have it. While this is by no means the 'official' registration, I would be most obliged if anyone who would be interested in participating, and available during the time above, would make a reply to that effect. I'm just gauging public opinion/support at the moment. If the general consensus is against a relay-style event, it could be run as a normal contest, with each contestant playing the full 30 years; but I believe that much more enjoyment would be had by everyone if we press on with the relay plan. Comments and opinions welcome, and if you would be interested in participating, please do say so ASAP. Thank you.


"You're just jealous because the little voices talk to me!" - Sara Rain Morgan

[This message has been edited by WinterPharaoh (edited 02-03-2005 @ 08:41 AM).]

AuthorReplies:
Granite Q
Angel
posted 01-20-05 04:16 ET (US)     76 / 135       
Hi guys!

I just wanted to say that I have been keeping an eye on this thread; unfortunately Real Life has been keeping me very busy and I've been unable to contribute. I have also exchanged emails with WinterPharaoh.

It seems everything is going along pretty well, there seems to be a concensus on how to run the competition and on its general format. Thank you to every who has posted and for supporting WinterPharaoh in this competition.


"Can I draw you a beer, Norm?"
"No, I know what they look like. Just pour me one."
Cheers !!
Rayotep
Pleb
posted 01-20-05 07:53 ET (US)     77 / 135       
I realize now that I should be careful with the awesome power that I've been given and understand that millions .... no, billions ... of people hang on my every word.

glad you're on board now, Shelshula

WaterScribe
Pleb
posted 01-20-05 14:45 ET (US)     78 / 135       
An awesome idea for a contest - am I too late, has registration closed or even started.

I've been away from Pharoah for a while - time to leave COTN and go back to city building for a while.


Remember - the light at the end of the tunnel is usually a train!!
Clifford
Pleb
posted 01-20-05 15:22 ET (US)     79 / 135       
Wow, this is turning out to be the greatest contest. Well the greatest contestants anyway so far. Hopefully the contest will live up to the quality of the the players. Waterscribe, so great to see you again and all the others that have signed up so far. I've played many contests with you all over the years and now we get to work together and also compete against each other. AWESOME.
Not ever forgetting that we also get to compete with Ray. Wow , I didn't even make it to the top two in his fan club.
Rayotep
Pleb
posted 01-20-05 15:59 ET (US)     80 / 135       
Cliff, what do you mean "not in the top two"?!? I thought you were the CEO/Secretary/Vice President/Honorary Founding Memeber of the club?

On a serious note, it does look like it is going to be a great contest. I see a lot of great names that I remember reading when I first came here, trying to understand this game. Plus, there are a number of newer players like myself who seem really eager to join in on the fun.

Clifford
Pleb
posted 01-20-05 17:35 ET (US)     81 / 135       

Quote:

Honorary Founding Memeber


Breathes massive sigh of relief. When I first read this I thought it was Funding not Founding but I see that member is spelt wrong anyway so it wouldn't count.
joshofet
Pleb
posted 01-26-05 07:48 ET (US)     82 / 135       
Any news, any plans, any help needed? It would a pity if this would remain only a promise of a great contest.
aquae_sulis
Pleb
posted 01-26-05 08:40 ET (US)     83 / 135       
Hi,

Does anyone mind if I join in? I haven't been playing Pharaoh very long but a competition sounds fun

I've just got a couple of questions, sorry if they have been answered already: What level will this be played at? and how long will you have to complete each section?

As long as its not too hard ( or i've improved by the time the comp starts ) it should be good - i'd best get practising!

Rachel

Guzzardo23
Pleb
posted 01-26-05 09:38 ET (US)     84 / 135       

Quote:

What level will this be played at?

There is a discussion in here for that, because at first we wanted two different levels, i.e. Novice and Expert, but then a smart person whose name I don't remember suggested us to play all in a same category, because it will be a challenge for the experts to play with the city a novice, and the novices will e able to see how the experts build and will learn for them, And that is the common thought. *Breathes*


Quote:

and how long will you have to complete each section?

It seems that like ten years. Or you say in real days?

[This message has been edited by Guzzardo23 (edited 01-26-2005 @ 09:40 AM).]

Rayotep
Pleb
posted 01-26-05 10:21 ET (US)     85 / 135       
I believe joshofet was the first to mention not splitting between novice and expert.

Yep.

Quoted from joshofet, post 51:

In the CBC team contests teams were made up from both experts and novices. I frankly see no reason why the same shouldn't apply here, nor why it wouldn't be an iteresting challenge to both the expert and the novice participants.

[This message has been edited by Rayotep (edited 01-26-2005 @ 10:23 AM).]

aquae_sulis
Pleb
posted 01-26-05 14:05 ET (US)     86 / 135       
Cool - one comp sounds good although i'd hate to mess up a really good city Sorry i didn't see that, i hadn't read the whole thread properly.

Will it be Hard/Very Hard or whatever tho? or do comps not work like that. I just want to know what i'm letting myself in for!!!!!

And i meant real time not game time, just coz i don't have all that much time to play and wouldn't want to start and not finish it time.

Thanks,

Rachel

Scipio
Pleb
posted 01-27-05 00:53 ET (US)     87 / 135       
Dont worry aquae_sulis, its looking as if we wont even start this thing until early March. WinterPharoah is pretty busy til then.

If we dont seperate the categories we would probably play at normal instead of hard, at least I imagine we would.

As far as time constraints are concerned, it will be a 10 year run your going for but he never really gave a time limit for the participation. I would imagine again that each player would get maybe 2 weeks to work on each of the segments.


Pharaoh Cup 2001 Competitor
aquae_sulis
Pleb
posted 01-27-05 07:20 ET (US)     88 / 135       
Great I'd best get practising!
Vectorgod
Pleb
posted 01-29-05 09:42 ET (US)     89 / 135       
Hello all!

I've been away from citybuilding for a while, but I'm getting the itch again. Is it possible to still sign up for this contest?


Have a good day!

Vectorgod

Rayotep
Pleb
posted 01-29-05 11:09 ET (US)     90 / 135       
Vectorgod,

I believe you just did.

Taelia
Pleb
posted 01-30-05 13:57 ET (US)     91 / 135       
Sure put me down for a tentaive yes.

I was really sorry to be out of circulation last year and a bit and miss the other events.

Taelia.

cesarjlb
Pleb
posted 01-30-05 17:56 ET (US)     92 / 135       
Hi,

I don't play Pharaoh, so I will not enter the contest. But I think the idea is brilliant.

So I would really appreciate if Winter Pharaoh could let me propose it to the C3 community on the french forum. I can take the commitment that we would not start a C3 contest on this idea before you have issued your Pharaoh contest, so that you will still be recognized as the first designer to have set up this kind of "contest with a difference".

To help in your discusson, I think that the problem of dropouts is a tough one. The main problem comes if someone who is supposed to play the 2nd round receives a map and does not complete it. Then you have to decide what to do with the unfinished map and what would be the score given to the player that did the first round in this unfinished map. One way to deal with it is to decide that the map gets a "mean score" and give it to all the remaining players that contributed to it.

Also, because having a good start is a real advantage for getting a good score (maybe, it is not as much true in Pharaoh as it is in C3?), people scoring on a map started by a "novice" player might be at desadvantage compared to people scoring on maps started by an "expert" player.


cesarjlb

[This message has been edited by cesarjlb (edited 01-30-2005 @ 06:00 PM).]

joshofet
Pleb
posted 02-02-05 12:43 ET (US)     93 / 135       
You have a good point there Cesarjlb, it can be remedied to some point by making a distinction between two levels, experts and novices, and have each map played by 1 expert and 2 novices (the distinction could be drawn somewhat arbitrarily, just divide the field of players into an upper 1/3 and a lower 2/3). Then you have maps of three types ENN, NEN and NNE. It doesn't seem possible to have each player play three different types, for the experts yes, not for the novices. I'm afraid that's the best that can be done, at least combinations EEE and NNN can be avoided by such a system. Moreover, it depends heavily on the map what type would be preferred over the others, so yes, there is some advantage, but there is no telling how large the effect will be. It could be assessed by looking at the scores of each type separately in hindsight, and if the difference is significant, a correction could be in order.

With 2 experts and 4 novices the games could be

E1N1N2
E2N3N4
N1E2N3
N4E1N1
N3N2E2
N2N4E1

Two novices never participate in two different maps as a pair, both experts play maps of each type, but some novices play maps of the same type

N1 has ENN, NEN and NEN
N2 has ENN, NNE and NNE

If NNE is preferred over NEN, which could be seen from the scores of the two types, N2 has an advantage over N1, but the advantage can be quantified. Can it really; N1 participated in both the NEN maps, so the effect of the low score can be addressed to N1, as well as to the map type. By comparing the results of N1 and N2 on the ENN maps that could be established, but the problem is they played in the same ENN map. Who can come up with a "fair" schedule, with internal corrections? For more players it may not be such a tie.

Thank you WinterPharaoh for an interesting challenge!

WinterPharaoh
Pleb
posted 02-03-05 08:40 ET (US)     94 / 135       
How things stand (at time of posting):

  • We have 23 probable players.
  • We have decided not to separate into two sections, although some seeding may be required.
  • We have still not quite worked out what to do about dropouts.
  • We don't have any seti-in-stone dates for the three sections of the contest.
  • As of Tuesday, the map is now at the BETA-test stage

Please correct me if I'm wrong about the number of contestants.


"You're just jealous because the little voices talk to me!" - Sara Rain Morgan
Guzzardo23
Pleb
posted 02-04-05 21:21 ET (US)     95 / 135       
What we could do is not to test the whole ended map, but every one of the three stages, because if someone doesn't work a lot, and the other two work very good upgrading the first stage, the three would have an unfair score, too high for the first one, and maybe too low for the other ones.
joshofet
Pleb
posted 02-08-05 10:07 ET (US)     96 / 135       
Could you explain yourself again Guzzardo23, who is testing what at the moment, and why are you discussing that at the open forum?
Guzzardo23
Pleb
posted 02-08-05 19:48 ET (US)     97 / 135       
It was a Verbal Lapsus I think.
I wanted to wrote:
What we could do is not to test give a score to the whole ended map...
I really meant that 'the judge' should not give a score to the ended map, but to every one of the three stages. Mostly, how advanced the city is after the first ten years, and how much the city has been improved in the second/third ten years. Sorry if what I said was misunderstood.

[This message has been edited by Guzzardo23 (edited 02-08-2005 @ 07:49 PM).]

WinterPharaoh
Pleb
posted 02-09-05 06:09 ET (US)     98 / 135       
That isn't going to work, Guzz, I'm afraid. How are you going to grade each section of the map? Let's say you go by prosperity rating... and at the end of the first ten years, player A is on the brink of evolving all the houses past spacious homestead (beer). Player B, however, has built up more slowly and is only at ordinary cottage stage. Player A gets a higher score than player B even though they may have made a similar "contribution" to the final success of a map.

That's not the hardest bit, though. Say players C and D then take on the two maps. Player C has only to enable beer imports/production, and the houses will evolve dramatically with almost no input from the contestant. Player D, however, only evolves the housing a bit further, but manages to complete the pyramid in record time. how do you grade that? How do you factor in every tiny "contribution" to a final score? There are too many variables, unfortunatley; and focusing on any one of them will encourage the early players to focus on them to the detriment of the people who succeed them. No one rating in the game increases steadily throughout the progress of a map, and a combination of ratings will prove too difficult to measure for the later stages.


"You're just jealous because the little voices talk to me!" - Sara Rain Morgan
joshofet
Pleb
posted 02-09-05 12:56 ET (US)     99 / 135       
One way to deal with dropouts, other than just hoping it won't occur, is to have the maps that weren't finished played by some volunteers, who might be given bonus points as a reward for their extra effort. In fact the bonus would be that they are given a second chance after having had an earlier experience with another map already. As everything is quite anonymous, I see no possibilities for players to intentionally misuse this mechanism to improve their chances for a good score.

So the schedule would be:

week 1: round 1
week 2: round 2
week 3: round 3 and backlog of round 2
week 4: backlog of round 3

Maps not returned after round 2 are played by volunteers in week 3. Assuming these volunteers do not dropout these maps, as well as new unreturned maps from round 3 can be played in week 4. If there are more volunteers than mising maps, copies of the same map could be given to several volunteers. That would reduce chances of double misses (volunteers not returning a map).

Another possibility to reduce chances for trouble is to give players multiple copies in round 2. That would make everybody a volunteer, you would have two different maps to work on in round 2. In round 3 again everybody would work on two maps. All maps are scored after round 3, and each player gets a score which is the average off all maps in which he or she participated. That could be just one map, or five maps. It takes off one week of the contest, but increases the work load for all players. It is not what they signed up for.

WinterPharaoh
Pleb
posted 02-10-05 08:27 ET (US)     100 / 135       
Now that is an idea, Joshofet! In fact, I think that unless anyone else has a better idea, we'll do that!

Is there any person who has any totally immovable dates in which they won't be able to play in February/March/April time? I'll do my utmost to work around those if we possibly can, since I really don't want anyone to be disapointed if we can avoid it.


"You're just jealous because the little voices talk to me!" - Sara Rain Morgan
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