Communication and Leadship tracking

Continuing the discussion from Pilot rankings. (For the minimum count), I had a thought:

Would it be possible to create a system in which a player’s ability to communicate with and/or lead other players could be automatically tracked?

Unless someone know of a proven way to do it (in which case, link please!), I’m guessing that inventing such a system would possibly be a bit out of the scope of Battlescape, and largely useless in the MMO as IPOs would handle it much better and manually. Still, as purely a mental exercise (and maybe for someone else to include it in a future game after having read about it here, who knows?) I thought we could do a bit of brainstorming on how it could be done?

All ideas are welcome, I’m not expecting a perfect system, here are my initial thoughts on it:


Text chat:

  1. Statistically track the occurrence of words and terms just before and during combat, ignoring the data from times when one team has a greater-than-something advantage over the other. To test, see if the algorithm can pick up terms like “b”, “d”, “ss”, and “missing” to be meaningful in existing arena-style games (read: dota).
  2. Optionally correlate seemingly important terms to actual actions. Very powerful, but probably difficult to do automatically, and expensive to do manually.
  3. Track how much a player uses the chat, and calculate their signal-to-noise ratio based on not how many times they use important terms, but how often they do it at least once in a given fight - and how often they decide to write long probably-unrelated messages rather than shoot the enemy in front of them.
  4. If terms are correlated to actions, track how often the players use the correct term.
  5. Optionally forward how often a player’s message seems to spark an action on the part of his team to the leadership tracking module.

Start by giving a score based purely on how much a person uses his microphone to talk to his team, then reduce said score based on the following:

  1. Technical signal-to-noise ratio. In other words, if someone has a shitty microphone, reduce their communication rating by some amount, as they wont be able to communicate effectively.
  2. How often a person interrupts another player who is already talking. “If we’re all talking, no one will be heard”.
  3. How often a player uses his microphone continually for long periods of time while in combat. “Cut the chatter”.


This is a fair bit harder to track, as a person’s ability to lead will always be limited to how willing the rest of his team is to follow.

To even up the playing field, well, first off you’d have to track people playing with a prearranged group differently from people being put in charge of randoms.

Next you’d have to find a way to directly reward people for playing in an organized fashion, for example have it effect a publicly visible rating of some kind, as well as give them an option to opt out of it entirely without hurting any such rating (so if they just want to fool around a bit they’d join “the lone wolf platoon” and have their cooperation-rating frozen for that session).

Last but not least, you need a way to track actual results that doesn’t rely on 127 players suffering just so that 1 guy can ignore the game telling him he probably wasn’t born to lead. For this, I would suggest a tiered system of platoons, squadrons, and wings be created, perhaps assignable through a commander’s interface to perform various tasks.

So the system I’m envisioning:

  1. After a player has played the game for a certain minimum amount of time/games, a checkbox appears in his settings menu (stealthily) labelled something like “volunteer to lead”.

  2. As a leadership slots open up, the game automatically offer them to players who have checked off said box in order of who has the highest leadership rating; or if several players have the same leadership rating, then who has the highest communications score, overall skillrating, or hours played (in that order).

  3. The person put in charge of each team, lets call him the Admiral, is automatically given 2 Platoons to manage: “Lone Wolf” and “Play to Win”. Lone Wolf can be given orders, but the players in it wont be penalized for ignoring them. Play to Win can be subdivided into squadrons, the Captains of these squadrons given individual orders, which they can then set up Wings with Commanders to carry out.

Edit, 3.5) Each of these officers can invite any number of players to be their assistants, set up slots for certain shiptypes they feel they need, and players joining the game will be given a list of wings/squads/platoons they can join in whatever ship they’re about to pick. Have the Admiral allocate a certain percentage of the team to each Captain, and each Captain then give a certain number of players to each Commander.

  1. When a player leaves the game, his various ratings will be modified primarily depending on whether his team is doing better or worse than was expected when he joined, and he is able to rate the officer directly above him (unless lone wolf platoon was picked) in various categories such as “is he a nice guy?” and “does he get stuff done?”. Both will be tracked publicly with monthly announcements of the top-100, “is he a nice guy?” determined purely by player response, while “does he get stuff done?” will be significantly influence by whether or not stuff actually got done.

  2. Kichae’s sports page will report on the top 10 most qualified commanders that people absolutely hate, as well as how Topperfalkon somehow ended up #1 on both lists for the third month running.