Stats junkie?

March 21, 2010 | Filed under: game design

Are you a stats junkie? I reckon that many gamers are, and given how popular games like Fantasy Football can be, I assume that there is a lot of scope for stats-junkie games. One of my original visions for Gratuitous Space Battles was WAY more stats-junkie than it currently is. I kind of let the side down a bit when I did the post-battle stats screen. If I could justify it, I’d like to work on that some more.

In my minds eye, the post-battle screen is like google analytics, but for space battles. You would be able to view the data in all sorts of different ways. A pie chart of which ships dealt the most damage? A bar chart showing the damage done by each weapon type. A line graph showing total damage inflicted over time, and showing hit points remaining on each side over time…

I’d find that pretty cool :D.

The only slight niggle in my mind is that if you make that stuff *too* good, then the people who will mico-manage and analyze every last weapons turret will have an even bigger advantage over the more casual player who just slaps on a few laser turrets and enjoys the show. In a sense, I don’t care about that, because the game is designed to be predominantly a single player game and sandbox, rather than highly competitive. Also, I’d imagine that all data is vastly open to interpretation, otherwise my obsessive poring over google analytics stats would have made me a dotcom billionaire by now. Still, if it takes being like this or this to be rich, I’ll stay poor.

Anyway, stats junkies? are you out there?

13 Responses to “Stats junkie?”

  1. Maximinus says:

    Hello Cliff.

    I’ve read your blog for a while and I find it very inspiring. I’ve also bought the Churchill book (the small edition : only 1000 pages :) ), not started reading it yet. So of course I am a stats junkie.

    I’m also developing video games, I thought I could share with your blog the way I am displaying statistics in my games, in the name of science (and shameless self promotion). In my first game Globe Clicker (geogaphic quiz), there is this stats screen after every play session : http://www.maximinus.fr/globeclicker/media/images/Globe%20Clicker%20-%20Statistics%202.jpg . There are also stats and numbers in the score boards : http://www.maximinus.fr/globeclicker/media/images/Globe%20Clicker%20-%20High%20Scores.jpg . In my new game Missile Escape , there are these completion statistics : http://www.maximinus.fr/globeclicker/media/images/Missile%20Escape%20-%20Statistics%20Completion.jpg .

    A scientific conclusion could be that my UI skills are crap :) . Video trailers : Globe Clicker http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfCyh4rKgr8 / Missile Escape http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1s-OYSxdSw4

    Another point about statistics : the xbox platform publisher gives us sales data in text format, so I plan on developing some software to display it with fancy bars and charts. That should be fun coding. How do you view/analyse your own sales data? Do you use a generic software or did you develop something yourself?

    Cheers,
    Maximinus (Romain) from Grenoble, France

  2. Benji says:

    Yes! Let there at least be some kind of numerical indicator of damage dished out/received, per ship (or even per weapon) ! I find the current screen to be next to useless :(

    But don’t over do it, I’d rather have one extra stat tomorrow than 20 next year…

  3. Jeremy says:

    Yesssssss!

  4. David says:

    Yes! I always found the current stats screen lacking, as you could only see the end-battle statistics, so some Line graphs would be great.

  5. Keith LaMothe says:

    From the standpoint of a database stats-junkie, I would like to be able to export a csv file with every shot fired in the battle, who fired it, what it was aimed at, what hit chance it had (possibly the individual stats used in that calculation), how much shield damage, how much armor damage, how much internal damage, which module it hit and how much damage (of course, if that’s one-to-many it could be trickier, but it doesn’t have to have EVERYTHING necessarily).

    Basically when computing shots just keep all the temporary values around til the end of the function, pack them into a struct, append it to an ArrayList, and forget about it til the end where it can be iterated over to build the csv if requested.

    There are some interesting stats that wouldn’t be captured in shot resolution data, of course, but this would be a lot of it.

  6. Toby says:

    Maybe you could have two tabs.

    Armchair Admiral Tab = Stat p0rn/graphs etc

    Gratuitous Ordnance Expert Tab = general data that is more visual (attacking pie charts for ships with sections ranging from ‘Ace gunner’ to ‘I’m scared of big noises’ you know, just a general visual reference on ships performance with typical GSB style humour.

  7. Arowx says:

    What about the people, in championship manager it’s all about the football players, have you considered fleet commanders, turret gunners and experience points?

    It could allow add a new dimension to the game, backstory, storyline?

  8. flap says:

    Actually, I was considering making a tool to extract lots of data from the game while its playing (I have done it already for few others). For example location of each ship every second, health status, target… And use that to draw plenty of graphs.

    So yeah I would find it fun. But I suspect that for me the biggest fun would be to have the raw figures and play with them.

    Preparing views of many different data is very time consuming, and we mught keep asking for more. That’s an other can of worms being opened ! But we won´t complain.

  9. cliffski says:

    dumping the raw data is the easy bits. Its designing and coding a nice GUI to display them that is evil :D I’m spending this afternoon working on it, and maybe tomorrow too, so at least some work is being done to improve the currently a bit lame stats screen…

  10. Javaguy says:

    I love seeing balance of power graphs in games like Civ. There’s a Linux Worms clone that shows team strength / time which is always fairly interesting, so you can see when you started to win/lose.

  11. Igor Savin says:

    Yay for upcoming stats-voodoo!

  12. Andrew Killam says:

    Please consider giving us that CSV file to look at in the meantime. It would give us a starting point to make suggestions from.

    As to casual players challenging stats junkies – they don’t stand a chance now, so providing more information won’t help them. (I say that as someone in the casual bracket.)

  13. Drewoid13 says:

    Reporting for analysis!

    I’m glad to see the stat screen is getting an upgrade! The manual did not explain it well and it took me quite a while to figure out that the total shots received/hit percentage and any consequent damage was in difference to the shots/hits absorbed by the shields/hull. But then the reflection was a sub-percent of the shots absorbed. It was quite confusing to decipher at first.