I really miss the negotiation phase other live servers offer. I’m there, sitting waiting for a ranked game, hoping for someone around my rank, but there’s little interest: some guy ten ranks below me wants a game: I can decide, okay, but it’ll only be five stones and it’ll be unrated, because I’m no good at high handicaps (actually, I like high handicaps, but you get the idea), and lets make it a little faster so I can try another game later.
It’s also nice if the negotiation phase shows proper handicaps for the ruleset. That’s another issue though, I guess: why, in a game which offers a great handicap system, is the checkbox for handicaped games switched off by default?
Yes, I suppose I’m describing something more like KGS. But SOMETHING in the way of challenge negotiations which take advantage of the fact that live games are taking place live would be nice, rather than a straight dump into a live game which was a bit buggy as well (I’ll put that in another subject).
To clarify a little: if I’m waiting for a live blitz game, twiddling my thumbs, making coffee, waiting, waiting, then get dumped right into a board, it puts me at a total disadvantage because I have no idea when the game will start. A notice that a game is ready is great, if that’s what that dialog was about, but why not take advantage of the notice that a game’s about to start to offer some more functionality that makes more sense here with live games than in intricate filter set-ups you get into with correspondence type games.
I hope that’s a little more clear, I didn’t feel like I expressed myself as well as I could have above. A clear: “your opponent is ready, click to begin game” is definitely needed. I’d argue that at least allowing a decline of an opponent at this point is also needed, if nothing further is offered; this way the next hour or so of my life is less likely to be dictated by an error in setting up my filters.
Especially in blitz games, I think a confirmation of both players being ready should be presented if nothing else. That’s on the todo list
We’ve tried to stay away from the ability to decline an opponent though, preferring instead that people set the game settings they desire if they are feeling picky, that way there’s no need to decline an opponent. We do acknowledge that we need another level here of being able to block certain people from accepting your challenges, and that’s on the todo list. But we view it as offensive to players to be rejected after accepting a game and all of its terms, so we’d like to stay away from that.
We’re not closed to the idea of game negotiations, however we view it as slightly complicated for new players and is an awkward step that only really applies to live games, so we’re hoping to find a slightly different answer that addresses the problems you’ve brought up without introducing full on game negotiation. One thought is to integrate that functionality into the proposed future auto-match features, where one could optionally specify some settings that they really want, and leave other settings as “i don’t care”, then let the auto-match engine match the two desires up and create a match. We’d love some more discussion around this topic
I think that, in any live game, a confirmation of being ready would be a good thing, and clicking on “ready” should immediately take you to the board if you’re not on it. The problem comes if one opponent clicks ready and the other doesn’t. I’ve seen multiplayer video games handle that problem by having a countdown so if both players don’t click ready within one minute (or some set time), the game starts anyway, and that seems fair.
Working without negotiation phase, setting up filters, works fine in most instances. I think it’s actually great to not allow people to back out, so long as we can have a noplay list, as long as there’s some way to try to make sure both parties are ready to start a game.
Direct challenges should, however, then allow all settings to be set, either in negotiation or when the challenge is issued (or both). This way, weird handicaps, no handicaps, or whatever type of settings people want can be set between two people trying to set things up the way they’d like for their game. This would also make sure that settings required by league rules can be set up between players. I look forward to when the Canadian League comes over from KGS!