Discord-based tournaments, discussion

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Titanoboa
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Discord-based tournaments, discussion

Post by Titanoboa »

Since we're all in discord anyway, it would be easier to set up some of our tournaments there instead.

If you're in a hurry (or just lazy), just make sure to read the first 15 or so lines! :)

I'll get into detail later, but to give you an idea let's imagine any single player tournament:

PREPARE A reasonable amount of time prior, the community is informed that there is going to be a tournament. Announced on the forum, discord, in-game etc. Servers are prepared as well.
REGISTER There's a window of, say, 30 minutes before the tournament where people go into discord and sign themselves up through a command with a tournament bot. For example: !register
ORGANIZE Once this window closes, the bot randomizes a suitable bracket and the players start their first match in the server specified by the bot. The bot can start out simple, but sky's the limit when it comes to features (seeds, double elimination etc.)
PLAY As the tournament progresses, there are essentially two ways to handle this: either we (the players) report match scores to the bot through chat commands in discord (I like this), or some person updates the brackets as the tournament progresses (I don't like it because it's less automated and relies on volunteers).
SAVE Once the competition is over, the finalized brackets along with relevant information is saved somewhere, arguably here on the forums.

And to finish off the brief part of this post: no, it's not the same as pickup just because there's a chatbot involved. Some differences being that these are single planned events with a start and a finish and a winner at the end. Pickup games are obviously very different than tournaments. Let's not make this a debate on this vs that. That'd just waste everyone's time.

MORE ARGUMENTS AHEAD. (Good job getting this far. Feel free to stop here and reply with your inital reactions...)

If we do set this up, thus making it very easy to organize some tournaments, it'll be quite important that we don't overdo it. To make sure we organize the right tournaments in moderation, (once we've gone through a testing phase and find the system working), I suggest we use forum polls to decide on intervals and gamemodes. It's also possible to do polls in discord (vote by "reacting"), but as the discord is a closed environment we should encourage forum activity where possible. Otherwise, how are curious visitors going to know that the community isn't dead?

There's no bot yet. I've asked karas (owner of the discord channel) and while he may have the skills to create such a bot, he lacks the time for it. While a mindset of "no worries, someone will make it work" isn't ideal (and not what I'm going for), there's definitely an argument to see if there's a demand before we start working on the supply. That's what this thread is for. If it ends up being well received by the community, there's a much bigger incentive to start working on a bot.

What's wrong with the wiki and google docs? Nothing wrong with those. But it does require a fair amount of manual labour from a small amount of people to make things happen. Ideally, we'd still have the occasional wiki-based tournament. For example if fort tournaments (or any mode with big teams) became a thing again there's no reason not to use the wiki. However, for 1 or 2 player teams, a more streamlined option makes a lot more sense.

Who would be allowed to create tournaments? Anyone? Just a chosen few? Anyone with an idea that passes a poll by some arbitrary percentage? I don't know. While I believe it's important to keep it moderate (more than one tournament per weekend would probably be too much), freedom is pretty nice. As long as we work together, it could go many different (but still good) ways. Since you sign up on the same day, and don't necessarily have to plan ahead to commit, we might discover new things about running successful tournaments. Heck, we might even find out that Tuesday is the best tournament day rather than Sunday. Who knows?

Isn't this going to be stressful for server owners? I mean, without them we'd have no tournaments at all. And every time there's a tournament, somebody needs to create a bunch of server configs and the server owner needs to spend some time on setting them up. But, I think if we go ahead with this system, there are ways to make it require even less work from server owners. If we can create a "base config" and allow a team of admins to go into the server and change game modes as needed, all the server owner has to do is keep the server online (I suggest one main and one backup per VPS; never to be used at the same time though, but literally a backup in case main one breaks) and sometimes update access levels. As long as we can find a team of admins that are both active and trustworthy, I predict that server owners will have to do less work per tournament than before.

Do we need more tourneys? I've noticed a very clear connection between tourneys planned and grid activity. Most of us are competitive, and we wanna win. Winning public games is cool, but winning a tournament is way better. More tournaments is good.

Aren't there tournaments planned already? How will this affect those? There's probably a sumo bar tournament coming up soon, and I've "soft announced" mini-TST 3 for May 10th. These should probably be unaffected by this thread/idea. Just finding a working bot and setting up servers should take a while. And if I know our community at all, this discussion could take some time as well. That's if anyone even joins it. :P

So yeah, would love to hear what you all think about this.
Last edited by Titanoboa on Mon Mar 16, 2020 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Rnoodles
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Re: Discord-based tournaments, discussion

Post by Rnoodles »

I think this is a great idea, imo discord has been very useful and an easy way to organise games and get a hold of players. But I have noticed that there are quite a few people in the linux community that dont trust discord. I feel like Nelg can chime in on this, he wasnt too keen on discord at first but come up with another method of using discord through linux? This could help include some of the players who arent keen on using discord.

The discord channel is growing quickly and i feel like maybe if Karas is a bit busy he could nominate 1 or 2 moderators?
I think youre right about the forum activity, we still need to host tournament signup links ect on the forums and what ever platforms are out there. There is an armagetron reddit page that is surprisingly active, we should continue to post signups on there too :D

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Light
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Re: Discord-based tournaments, discussion

Post by Light »

I've thought about something similar, but I think a web-based approach would make more sense. Maybe a Discord bot could then just tie into it through an API, but user validation would require having your Discord name set up on your account or something of the sort.

What a web-based option would provide is an easy form for signing up instead of learning commands, viewing tournament brackets with the click of a button, easily seeing who is participating, and more. While a Discord bot could obtain most or even maybe all of this, I think a browser approach would be cleaner and easier.

The problem that some people have with the wiki is that it requires a separate account, and this approach sounds like it would be similar, though I guess being Discord-based would as well. Something that I did with the resource uploads is use logging in to your forums account, but that is of course not a good habit to get people into, putting user credentials into random sites.

I've mostly not gone forward with any sort of proof of concept because of the lack of activity, and while I have seen more activity recently, especially during tournament times, I'm not sure having more tournaments would help that. It could potentially cause tournaments to not even pull in users if they occur too often.

This is just my opinion and guesses / questions. I'm sure anything to help organize would be an improvement when made easily accessible. Just thought I'd put my thought out since nothing has actually been started yet.

Monkey
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Re: Discord-based tournaments, discussion

Post by Monkey »

I'm not against using Discord for the near future for organising tournaments, I don't think it's any worse than using the Wiki or, as Light suggests, using a web-based interface.

In the long run, I think we need tournament stuff to be built into the armagetronad client, however I know we are far off that happening due to lack of developer time.
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Titanoboa
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Re: Discord-based tournaments, discussion

Post by Titanoboa »

Okay, so kinda going off-topic already with alternate solutions.

For the browser based approach, that sounds great and all but - realistically - it seems farther away than a discord bot. I'm not worried about players not knowing commands; everyone will see the bot being used and can just mimic. We're not talking about a huge amount of commands here.

As much as we'd enjoy visual brackets, it's equally possible to have that information in plain text. Whether we make the bot perform some simple ASCII art to make it super easy to read or just list all the information in one string, I think either way is good enough to begin with.

So, without trying to sound negative, let's discuss the possibility for discord-based tournaments and see where it takes us.

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Light
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Re: Discord-based tournaments, discussion

Post by Light »

Titanoboa wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 3:28 am
For the browser based approach, that sounds great and all but - realistically - it seems farther away than a discord bot.
For the most part, it's a very basic database and a simple form. Both of which would be done in Discord as well. Both options need to be hosted somewhere and run 24/7, with many more free options for web hosting than node hosting.
Titanoboa wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 3:28 am
As much as we'd enjoy visual brackets, it's equally possible to have that information in plain text. Whether we make the bot perform some simple ASCII art to make it super easy to read or just list all the information in one string, I think either way is good enough to begin with.
This feels like a step backward. The Wiki provides visual brackets already with an easy way to see the servers used, timezones, users registered, etc. For the most part, a new tournament is a copy and paste of the previous with a change of dates.
Titanoboa wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 3:28 am
So, without trying to sound negative, let's discuss the possibility for discord-based tournaments and see where it takes us.
I'm not trying to sound negative, but I guess I don't see the point. Seems like we'll be losing functionality and splitting up where tournaments are held.

So, my question would be. What will a Discord bot do that the Wiki doesn't provide, and will it be worth losing the existing functionality, or putting in the time and effort to create a text-based alternative? Then there's the issue of the public. Who controls what tournaments are allowed, and how would someone request a tournament? Will this result in another Tank issue, where you gotta wait for one person to get back to you who may be on vacation, taking a break from the game, busy with school, etc?

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Re: Discord-based tournaments, discussion

Post by Titanoboa »

Light wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 4:20 am
Titanoboa wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 3:28 am
So, without trying to sound negative ...
I'm not trying to sound negative, but ...
To be clear, I was talking about myself and nobody else.

As for the rest, let's see if I can break it down.
Light wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 4:20 am
What will a Discord bot do that the Wiki doesn't provide, and will it be worth losing the existing functionality, or putting in the time and effort to create a text-based alternative?
In one word? Flexibility. These tournaments will be of a much smaller scale than wiki-based ones. Instead of setting up a wiki page and announcing at least 2 weeks ahead and having to close registration to randomize brackets and be able to give configs to admins day(s) before the tournament, you could basically announce the tourney on Wednesday and play it on Saturday. I'm practically repeating myself, but not having to commit beforehand is a big plus. You show up, register and play all in one go. That isn't feasible with the wiki approach.
Light wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 4:20 am
Then there's the issue of the public. Who controls what tournaments are allowed, and how would someone request a tournament?
That's one of the points I'm literally and explicitly inviting the community to discuss and I gave my current standing in the first post: I don't know. This is something we need to decide going forward. I think the key is to do it together: the community should have control.
Light wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 4:20 am
Will this result in another Tank issue, where you gotta wait for one person to get back to you who may be on vacation, taking a break from the game, busy with school, etc?
No, the idea is to use a team of admins. These can be elected or appointed in some manner, and each member must feel free to quit or take a break as needed as we don't benefit from burning them out.


Okay, so how can we be constructive about this? I have a little experience using bots from the irc days. You seem to have some experience with web-based things. Wouldn't it be possible to combine the two? The users interact with the system through discord using simple commands, such as "!register sumobar". The bot takes the data and displays it on the web in a fancy way and gives raw text info on discord.
But, ugh, just imagining it I can see it breaking in so many ways, it feels high-maintenance.



Finally, missed this before:
Rnoodles wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 7:47 am
I think youre right about the forum activity, we still need to host tournament signup links ect on the forums
We definitely want to announce them on the forums, but no links would be required for signup - we just enter #tournaments on discord and register there 5-30 mins before tourney.

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Re: Discord-based tournaments, discussion

Post by Light »

Titanoboa wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 5:40 am
Okay, so how can we be constructive about this? I have a little experience using bots from the irc days. You seem to have some experience with web-based things. Wouldn't it be possible to combine the two? The users interact with the system through discord using simple commands, such as "!register sumobar". The bot takes the data and displays it on the web in a fancy way and gives raw text info on discord.
That's similar to what I was mentioning in my first reply. Basically, have a web-based option that allows API access to a discord bot. The discord bot can simply provide links to information pages, schedules, brackets, etc. and allow signing up. I would also suggest for users that don't use Discord, to allow registration through the web interface.
Titanoboa wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 5:40 am
But, ugh, just imagining it I can see it breaking in so many ways, it feels high-maintenance.
What worries you about this? This is how tons of things run, including many Google applications. The main changes would only affect the website, and most of what affects the Discord bot would be handled in the API without changes being required on the bot side.
Titanoboa wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 5:40 am
You seem to have some experience with web-based things.
I have experience with both, websites / servers, and Discord bots. None of my comments are because I'm against Discord bots in any way. Just trying to see this turn out a success. I've also put thought into this, but haven't acted on it.

To make things simpler / quicker, you could even use a plugin to handle brackets. Either create some basic media queries or use bootstrap to keep the website mobile friendly. Being that this is so small scale, the database could even be a simple sqlite database that doesn't have much overhead. That would allow easily moving the database and putting it up on any computer or server if you ever had issues with where you're hosting it.

I also have a server that runs 24/7 and is home-based with plenty of available resources. Everything is container-based with k8s / docker, and I already have a node image I've created for running Discord bots. Of course, I have traefik and web server images set up as well. If any of that goes over your head, it basically means I could deploy these for you and keep them running at no charge, and everything is backed up twice a day.

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Titanoboa
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Re: Discord-based tournaments, discussion

Post by Titanoboa »

That sounds great. Seems like a good way to go.

The next step is either trying to gain the attention of more of the community to see if this is the way we want to move forward, or the other way around: "build it and they will come". I personally favour the latter, but the amount of work required to build it is certainly a factor to consider. I'll happily help wherever possible, by the way. To the best of my ability :snail:

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Re: Discord-based tournaments, discussion

Post by Monkey »

The main advantage of using Discord is that people can both signup/etc *and* communicate with other people. If they know how to use Discord then that's all they would need to know. Discord has a web interface to itself; it's what I use to access it (the downloadable software does not run on OpenBSD).
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