Aug 5, 2011

Droidippy Gameplay FAQ


What is this here FAQ?

This is the gameplay FAQ for the Diplomacy like game Droidippy. It is supposed to cover the gameplay questions that are the same for the different interfaces to the game.

For Android specific questions, go to Droidippy Android FAQ.

For Web specific questions go to Droidippy Web FAQ.

Where can I communicate with other players or the developers of the game?

There is a Google Group where discussions about specific games, the game as a whole and other related things happen.

There is also an IRC channel. Sadly the channel is mostly empty, though :/

How do I play the stupid game?

First of all you must be aware of the fact that this is more like a board game than a computer game. We just converted it to an Android environment because it is so well suited for that. But it is still for all intents and purposes a board game.

Then, go to Wikibooks and read the standard rules for Diplomacy. They apply here. Then you start talking to your fellow players using the chat function.

But I don't want to chat! I want to dominate and destroy!!!111

In this game the only way to dominate and destroy is to manipulate, cajole, dupe and betray your fellow players into helping you, and then backstab them when they need you the most.

What is the difference between 'Join random game', 'Create game' and 'Join invitational game'?

The system always keeps one game waiting for random players. Whenever someone chooses 'Join random game' this game will be joined. Whenever it has seven players it will automatically start and a new empty game will be created.

If you select 'Create game' you will instead create your own personal game, controlled by you, where you can choose deadline, invite members, kick members or post the 'Invitation code' on a forum to mass invite members.

If you select 'Join invitational game' the app instead expects you to enter such an invitation code, and will then add you to the game having that code.

How is reliability calculated?

Each phase in public games (not user created) where get put on probation gives you a missed deadline, and each phase where you do not get put on probation gives you a held deadline.

Reliability is (HELD DEADLINES + 1) / (MISSED DEADLINES + 1).

How does reliability affect me?

To let players play with others of similar reliability there are 3 'random' queues in the game. One for everyone with reliability below 10, the '0 reliability queue'. One for players with reliability over 10 and one for players with reliability over 50.

Since everyone has zero reliability when they start out, everyones first game is reliability 0. If you keep your act together during that game you will be fine for a reliability 10 game after 10 phases in said game.

What are the "public-email 1908" games?

To cater to the more serious players I created a game queue that you can only join once you have a reliability over 50 (see http://droidippy.oort.se/web#you).

These games have the following settings:

  • Private chat: ON
  • Conference chat: ON
  • Public email addresses: yes
  • Draws include all survivors: yes
  • Invalid orders allowed: yes
  • End year: 1908
  • Scoring system: c-diplo
  • Positions: random
  • Deadline: 48h
Are there any rules about what I can or can't do? Any policy about acceptable behaviour?

There didn't use to be, but for certain reasons the need for this has become evident.

Here are some infractions that may get you warned and/or banned:

  1. Being an asshole. Includes but is not limited to:
    • Willfully ruining the game for other players.
    • Keeping on spamming insults, taunts or other abuse after the target, while referring to this rule, has asked you to stop.
    • Discrimination based on rase, gender, ethnicity, sexuality or anything else irrelevant to the game.
    • Persecuting individual players outside regular dippy behaviour (orders, diplomacy).
    • Illegal activities of any kind.
    • Spamming nonsense just to annoy.
    • Spamming religious, commercial or political propaganda.
  2. Technical cheating. Includes but is not limited to:
    • Playing more than one power in a single game.

And here are some good conduct codes that are hard to enforce, but will help ensure a fun game for all players:

  1. Play primarily to win the game, the game dynamics usually get more fun if you do.
  2. Don't consider any alliance unbreakable. If an alliance can break under the right circumstances the stabbing gets more fun and unexpected.
  3. If you happen to know a player in the game outside of Droidippy, let everyone in the game know beforehand so that you minimize the unfair advantage you both get out of it.

These rules may be hard to prove and/or strictly define, but I will retain the privilege to be judge, jury and executioner. If you are uncertain about what is acceptable you are free to ask me.

More rules may be added if the need arises.

Why don't provinces without supply center get colors for the occupying power?

Because of the difficulty in determining what it would mean.

The supply center provinces don't get color from the last army or fleet to stay there, they get color from the last army or fleet to stay there during a winter. Would the same apply to the non-SC provinces?

If so, you would get lots of holes in your pretty colored map due to people not bothering to stay in a non-SC province during winter without getting an extra unit from it, and the colors would no longer mean as much.

Or would it be the last army or fleet that stayed there at all? If so you would still get a weird map, since some areas would change color temporarily and without any real meaning in the game, while others would keep the colors of the power that owned them through rule mechanics.

And lastly, why would you need it? The colors are really only there to show who has power over what supply center. Non supply centers are only interesting as staging areas for strategic movements.

What's this deal with pay to play? Why do you want my money?!

Why do you want my time for free?

And if you don't think the game is worth paying $2/month for (or $12/year), then you are probably happy with playing one game at a time, am I right?

Do I have to pay to play at all?

No, one game at a time is free (and games where you are eliminated or stranded without home supply centers or units do not count towards this maximum). This way you can try the game out (for many years if you want ;) before paying for it. And the other players will have more strangers to get stabbed by!

So, will I get thrown out of games if I don't pay?

No! Of course not. Why would I be hatin' like that? Only joining, creating and being invited to games is checked. All games you are already in are still free.

But why not charge a single fee on download, like all the other apps? Why this monthly charge?

Unfortunately Diplomacy like games are not big business. Right now I have too few new users to even hope for a single time fee to cover my hosting costs. Even with much higher fees than $2.

Also I think it is fair that if you want to play it just one game at a time you play for free, since you are a resource to the experienced players in your role as new competition. If you want to play a lot during a month or two then you just pay a small charge for that time, and don't pay for more than you play.

The ones using the app the most are the ones causing the most support work and the most load on the server. It stands to reason that they pay the most as well.

One reason that many apps have a one time fee is that they do not use a server. This game does, and it wouldn't manage without one. This server has a cost that is directly proportional to the number of people playing.

How many games that you buy will you play actively for more than a month? And if you don't do that, why pay more than $2 for it? Conversely, if you play it actively for more than a month don't you think it is actually worth more than $2? In essence, I think this system lets people pay what they think the game is worth.

How are the countries distributed?

I use an algorithm that simply goes through all possible combinations of players and countries, and selects the one that gives the most players a country as high as possible on their list of preferred powers.

I used two, or even three, units to go into a province, and there was only a single army defending it! Why couldn't I invade?

Your own units will bounce just the same as units from two different players. What you need to do is tell your units which one is moving, and which one is helping.

The one that moves you give the 'Move' order, the one that helps you give a 'Support' order, so that it supports the move from A to B.

Why did my units not do as I ordered?

Use '← phase' button (in Android hidden inside the menu), and then use the side arrows to navigate to the map view which will show you what all other players ordered their units to do, or to the result view which will show you the individual results of each given order.

If this does not make sense to you, go to Wikibooks and read the standard rules for Diplomacy.

What does the 'Commit' button do?

It tells the server that you are satisfied with your orders and are ok with resolving this phase. You will still be able to change your orders, but as soon as everyone else has committed their orders the phase will resolve.

Note that even if you do not press commit, your orders will be executed. The game will just wait and wait for you to be completely happy with your orders, and then give up and execute any orders it has. I figure it is better to only punish a lack of committing with a bump in the statistics instead of punishing it with that and a phase completely without orders.

What does the 'Intent' button do?

It lets you tell the server how you want to end the game.

If you want victory above all else (the default setting) you select "Victory".

If you want a shared victory between some players (does not have to include you) you select "Draw" and check what powers you want to share the victory. This will only end the game if every alive and active player agrees on the exact powers sharing the victory (including those not part of the victory) or choose surrender.

If you actually give up and willingly give victory to any other power you choose "Surrender", which will end the game if everyone except one power selects it or a shared draw where everyone is agreed.

The intent of the players is only checked when phases resolve, so you can play around with the intent button as much as you like until you commit, but remember to commit (or at least give an order) or your intent will be disregarded as you will be considered inactive!

How is the length of the phases selected? Why do they sometimes end before the '..h left' runs out?

All movement phases have a maximum length of 24 hours by default.

Whenever all active members of a game have committed their orders the phase will resolve. If some players have not committed when there is one hour left of the phase, a warning will be sent out. If some players have not committed when the time runs out, the phase will resolve and the players who never committed or entered orders will be put on probation (and no longer considered active).

What does being put on probation mean?

Being put on probation basically means that the game will no longer wait for you before resolving phases, and your 'Intent' will not be taken into account (you will not win if everyone else choose 'Surrender' and you will not be required to 'Surrender' or 'Draw' for the game to end that way).

You can get out of the probation by committing your orders before a phase resolves, but beware of retreat or build phases where only you have orders to give - the game will disband your units or void your builds since it will not wait for your orders at all.

How do I leave a game I joined?

This is only possible if it has not yet started. This is because it's serious business to join a game, and you don't leave it once it started.

But if it hasn't, you can long click (in Android) or click in the 'Forming', 'Created' or 'Inviting' tabs (in Web) in the game list, and get the option to leave it (or destroy it, if you created it).

How can I play this game? Nobody commits, answers my messages or even gives orders!

Keep at it! As long as you prove reliable in one game, you will be set up with other reliable players in future games.

As a matter of fact you only have to play 10 phases on time without missing a deadline to be in the top league regarding reliability, and any new games you start after that will be with other reliable players. Just don't start ignoring your first game with deadbeats because you are in a new high quality game - missed deadlines still hurt your reliability stats.

When can I build new units?

At the end of each 'Fall' phase the game will compare the number of supply centers and the number of units you control. Each supply center can supply one unit, and if you have more units than supply centers you will have to decide what units to disband. If you have more supply centers than units you will instead be able to build new units.

For technical reasons (you shall not be able to magically teleport units from abroad to your home provinces) you are not able to disband and build at the same time - either you have a surplus of supply centers and can build, or you have a lack of supply centers and must disband.

If you have to disband, and do not choose what to disband, the game will select for you. If you may build but do not choose what to build, nothing will be built.

If you give too many build orders the game will choose which ones to carry out for you.

Why is the 'Commit' button disabled? I haven't commited?

Basically the game will assume that you have committed if you committed last phase and you have no orders to give this phase, which happens if you have no units (movement phase), have no imbalance of supply centers (adjustment phase) or have no dislodged units (retreat phase).

Why does the game want access to my email account?

The game does not care about your email, or the account in itself - but it uses your google account to authenticate to the server so that you don't have to register another account or enter another password. You can of course, if you like, register a throw away google account and use that.

Why don't you have a list of open games, and let me choose one to join?

Because the list would only contain one game. There is only ever one game to join (for you - people with different reliability stats may have another game to join), and the moment it gets filled it starts. The reason the option is called "Join random game" is because your fellow players are more or less random, unless you synchronize your join with a friend (and even then you will sometimes be the last player in the game, and your friend the first one in the next game).

The only exception is if you select "Create game" in the same menu. Then you create an invitational game where only people that you invite directly or provide the invitation code to are able to join. But they are, of course, impossible to join using the "Join random game" option.

Why are the names on your map different from the names on the standard Diplomacy maps?

The reason for this is that since this is not Diplomacy (copyright etc Hasbro) but merely a compatible game, and I don't have the license to copy the maps of Hasbro, I have made my own map.

I am not sure if using identical names would make me more sensitive to lawsuits, but until a lawyer tells me it is safe I will likely use the map as it is..

I think you have a bug in your game engine, I wanted to do [insert move] and failed even when I should have succeeded.

Most of these complaints are actually not bugs, just that the rules become more complex than people realize. However, there have been cases where there was an actual bug, so you never know.

Since the adjudication engine I use is actually a slightly (some bugfixes, mainly) modified version of jDip which is tested against a whole set of test suites to make sure it follows all the Diplomacy rules, I will need some really good reasons to think that there is a bug in the rule system.

If you download jDip and try out the exact moves that you have issues with and find that they work the same in jDip, send an email to info@oort.se and explain why you think the adjudication is wrong.

If you download jDip and find that the results are not the same, then send me an email and tell me that I have a bug in my jDip integration ;).

Is there a way to play around with the game map and test different moves before committing?

You can use the aforementioned jDip and load the files you get when clicking the 'jDip file'-link in the web interface when looking at your game.

I've been eliminated from a game, how do I keep from being bugged with future turns?

The games where you are eliminated or stranded without either home supply centers or units should say "unsilenced" in the game list (in Android) or "Silence" (in the web interface). If you long click these games (in Android) or click the "Silence" button (in the web interface) you will be able to silence them.

60 comments:

  1. Am I only allowed to build in my original home territory. And not in concurred teritory?

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  2. That is correct, you are only allowed to build new units in your home supply centers.

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  3. That is different from the original Diplomacy rules isn't it?

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  4. From http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Diplomacy/Rules#Game_Phases

    "After the Fall move, and before the next year begins, a tally is made of the total number of supply centers controlled by each Power (the supply centers must be occupied by that Power's units at the end of the Fall move, after the Retreat Phase). Each supply center can support one military unit, so Powers that have gained supply centers over the course of the year can build new units. New units are created one at each of the player's unoccupied home supply centers. For this reason, no more than 3 new units per player can ever be created at a time (except in the case of Russia, which has 4 home supply centers)."

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    Replies
    1. Is building your new units part if the fall phase or is that an own phase ?

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    2. It is a part of the Build phase, which comes after Fall.

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  5. We have a player who hasn't committed repeatedly for several phases but we keep having to wait for the timer after everyone else has committed. That's not right is it?

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  6. Greenfire:
    What makes you think it's the same player holding you up?

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  7. Can I create a game, Invite my friends and then make the game public to fill out the full 7 spaces?

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  8. Dafydd:
    No, but you can publish the invitation code someplace if you want.

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  9. I gained supply centers this year, but my I have units currently in all my native centers where I can build units. I can't enter orders (can't build), and therefore can't commit.
    Is the server waiting for my orders? Will I be put on probation, take a reliability hit, and have to wait out the full 24 hours because of this? Or is the server smarter than that?

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  10. If the commit button is disabled it means the server is not waiting for you, and you can't get probation.

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  11. I actually prefer the non-official names. I mean, "Srbija" - so classy! It's more interesting, and it gives the competing nations more individual flavour. Overall, a great app. Well done, Martin.

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  12. Are you making any future games? For example twilight imperiam?

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    Replies
    1. No, I have yet to figure out what game to build that could pay for my time :/

      The only reason Droidippy exists was that I wanted to play dippy on my droid, and there was no real alternative :)

      Delete
  13. I do enjoy you're game Martin. And I've never played diplomacy. :-)

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  14. You've done a service to nerds like myself everywhere. Thank you for your time and effort!

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  15. Martin I'm not sure if this has been addressed but I do remember reading somewhere about the scoring system. I was wondering if its a standard system or something you've created.

    I'd prefer that a scoring system that incentivizes as closer to a solo win as possible. I find too many people settle for draws or don't stab when the opprtunity is there. It makes the game less exiting.

    I was wondering if using an exponential scale would solve this where for example a 3 way draw would be, say, 10 points, but a two way draw would be 30 points(3x as much as previous step), and a solo would be 120 points(4x as much as previous step). Essentially each step up is even more times as much. It would make the game more exciting, and remove these dreamed 4way draws. Plus it would be with the spirit of the rules you mentioned.
    provide 5

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The scoring system of Droidippy will likely not change. But perhaps the scoring system for diplicity, the inheritor of Droidippy, could be different.

      If you are interested in helping out with the development, check out groups.google.com/group/diplicity-dev

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    2. Regarding the scoring system.
      Some nations have higher winning stats than others (for example Russia has almost twice the winning percentage compared to Italy).
      Hence, it might be good to have yet another weighted winning score in order to compensate for those stats. This might encourage people also to go choose nations with low winning stats (i.e. Italy, Austria).

      Delete
    3. It might be an interesting idea, but in my opinion too hard to get right, so I'd rather not do it at all.

      In any event, ideas like this are best discussed at http://groups.google.com/group/droidippy

      Delete
  16. Couple questions: how do up change my preferred powers and any way to enter incorrect orders (there are times where I might want to intentionally make a bad order or signal what i think should happen through my orders)

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    Replies
    1. You can drag the power names up and down in the list.

      Custom games (choose 'creat game') can have the setting 'allow invalid orders', but the regular random games don't.

      Delete
  17. Hello,
    i got problem with paypal payments. it wont let me log in. is there a other way to pay?
    sending direct thru paypal? because this login window dont like me?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you using Android? If so, just try to join a second game and the phone will ask you to pay...

      Delete
  18. Hello, great work on this app, thankyou!

    I've just started a game with 24 hour deadlines. I've two questions, 1 if we submit early each time is the deadling going to drift forward? And 2 if I enter, but do not submit orders, is my reliability going to suffer?

    Basically I'm looking to keep the deafline where it is, without NMR's or lossed reputation.

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  19. Just paid the $2 fee and i cant play in other games.please.fix

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    Replies
    1. Does your game list say that you have premium service?

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    2. I used Google Play acct to pay

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  20. If I pay the premium and start a private game to invite my friends (who haven't played the game before), do they each have to pay the premium to join my game, even if it is the first game they join?

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  21. Free players have full access to private games - they are just unable to join a new game when already being in one (or waiting for one to start).

    So, you don't actually have to pay premium yourself either, just create a game and invite them (unless you are already in a game of course, in which case you need to pay premium to be able to create a new one...)

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  22. Is press available after the conclusion of gunboat games?

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    Replies
    1. I think I made it so at some point. IIRC...

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    2. Thx, Martin, you've done a great job with this interface. Very nice!
      Is there a way to list all the builds/removes that are currently pending? For example, in my game, after a retreat it doesn't say who has what builds.

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    3. Sorry, the only build help you get is the popup telling you how many builds you yourself have.

      Delete
  23. Hi Martin, does a game have to end for it to affect your Reliability rating? I'm in 1932 in my first game with no affect...
    Regards,
    P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Game concluded, still no change in Reliability.

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    2. Games that affect your reliability (those not private and/or custom - i.e the random and 1908-queues) will adjust it every phase you commit (or don't)

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    3. I played an invitational game and my statistics haven't budged. I'd like to get into some higher reliability games. Any thoughts?

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    4. Play random games instead of invitational

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    5. So invitational games don't affect win/loss record either?

      Delete
  24. It seems the link to pay for 1 year premium is broken?

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    Replies
    1. In what way? I clicked it and got the PayPal popup...

      Delete
  25. Once the pop up comes up, I click "log in" and I get a page that says "We are unable to complete your request at this time. Please try again later. We apologize for the inconvenience" Just checked and its still happening now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds like a problem with PayPal

      Delete
    2. Is there a way to do it another way? Perhaps directly from PayPal site?

      Delete
    3. If you are using an Android phone, you can pay via Google Play by just trying to join a second game.

      Delete
  26. Hi Martin,
    What is the difference between Wins Ranking and Single Wins Ranking? Neither seems to account for Shared Draws?

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  27. Is there a requirement for the Reliability 50 random games aside from Reliability 50? I've been at a higher reliability for some time now, and am still being added to Reliability 10 games.

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    Replies
    1. The reliability 50 games are the "public email-1908" games. If you just join "Random game" you will join a reliability 0 or 10 game.

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