b-games.org

Discussion regarding the making of b-games.org a BOINC competition site.
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Skillz
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b-games.org

Post by Skillz » Sat Mar 27, 2021 3:59 pm

http://www.b-games.org/

Bought a domain. Now I just need to get a list together of all the features and what not the site will be capable of. Then I can hire a programmer to code it for me and a site designer to design it.

With that being said, let the ideas flow.

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Re: b-games.org

Post by crashtech » Sat Mar 27, 2021 5:23 pm

I'm gonna have to think about this one for a while!

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Re: b-games.org

Post by Skillz » Sat Mar 27, 2021 6:29 pm

So far I've come up with;

Marathons that run for the entire year. These marathons will be broken up into 4 segments of 3 months. Every 3 months, the standings are final and those points are permanent until the next year. If the project goes away, for whatever reason, it gives the ability for a new project to be added in without disrupting the total number of points possible in a calendar year. I intend to have sprints scheduled at the end of each 3 months to keep teams from having the resources to bump unaffiliated teams above competitors as well as keep projects that can't handle high loads from getting hammered every 3 months for teams to gain points. (Basically, trying to prevent Wanless December 2020 incident)

Sprints, these will be the same as Formula-BOINC. 3 days long. However, instead of having a 1 day announcement prior to the Sprint it'll start immediately. To overcome time zones there will be personal notifications that can be sent individually via text message or email. (Other options are possible, just don't know of any other two besides them right now) Sprints will be randomly selected by the server. Those sprints will be eligible by a strict list that will be maintained by all captains of each team that participates. Sprints will happen every month, all year long. Anywhere between 2 - 3 sprints per month.

Test run sprints; These sprints will be for new projects to stress test their hardware and networking infrastructure to see if it's capable of handling a sprint. There will be set points for this run that every team that participates in receives. For example. If the points end up being 5 points, then every team that participates in this will receive 5 points. This is an incentive for participation, but should the project buckle and it ends up being cancelled teams will still be rewarded points based on participation.

Participation; Each year teams will have to sign up to participate. I am undecided on whether or not individuals need to sign up for participation as well. I'm leaning towards yes. Or whether or not they're locked into a specific team for the year. If they'll be allowed to switch teams mid-year. Each team will be required to have 1 representative (team captain) that helps maintain the list of sprint projects. That list, will be public knowledge, but the sprint will not be known by anyone until it's announced, including, but not limited to myself or any administrator, moderator or captain.

Due to the popularity some dates will be black listed for sprints. Such as, but not limited to, the Pentathlon.

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Re: b-games.org

Post by Icecold » Sat Mar 27, 2021 7:21 pm

Looks good @Skillz My only suggestion would be to have a clearly posted code of conduct. There are shady things that can happen that are impossible to control or even necessarily notice due to fake accounts, etc., but I really think if there were more defined rules on what is allowed(even if there's no way to really enforce it) it would go a long way in any competition.

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Re: b-games.org

Post by Skillz » Sat Mar 27, 2021 8:01 pm

Anyone know of any trustworthy companies that build web sites? I will be looking to hiring one to help me achieve my goals.

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Re: b-games.org

Post by StefanR5R » Sun Mar 28, 2021 5:37 am

A few random thoughts:

– sprint project announcements –

0 h period for disclosure of the sprint project sounds stressful. But it favors participants who bring just one or two computers, and smaller computers. I am not one of those participants myself, but I see this aspect as a plus.

On the other hand, this may discourage potential participants who are not in the habit of following DC events any day, any time. To this group of users, the message should be that their participation is still meaningful if they come in on the second or third day of a contest.


– speculative bunkering –

Views on it differ; I never liked it myself. I performed it myself during the last stretches of FB-2020, but not before, e.g. due to the high electricity costs here. In retrospect, FB-2020's easily abused team captains voting scheme made speculative bunkering a really bad problem. A more level playing field, and more disclosure, may take much of the sting out of some users' routinely practicing speculative bunkering.

But another big problem with speculative bunkering is team hopping. Individuals bunkered for potential sprints, then dumped the unneeded results into the marathons of 3rd teams. How to go against it? By the 'soft' measure of a code of conduct? This could bring an element of constant paranoia, i.e. people nervously watching other people. Or by technical means? a) Sprint projects could be excluded from marathon projects of the respective quarter, but there are not enough projects for such a separation. b) Building the marathon stats from user stats rather than from team stats? Technically, this obviously requires that b-games.org maintains a record of user-team affiliations at each marathon project, independently of the projects' own databases. This ties in into the topic of contestant registration.


– registration requirement –

Team registration requirement:
No doubt about that. Perhaps allow late registration, even with your planned quarterly segments.

User registration, and user stats tracking:
I am not sure whether or not the extra load of user stats tracking could become a problem. Perhaps at some sprints, but not in marathons. Especially not in marathons if their stats are produced from projects' stats file exports, not from Web RPC queries. I only know of the following contests with user stats tracking:
– PrimeGrid, where the contest stats are running directly on the database server of the project
– SETI.Germany's now hibernating SETI Wow! Event
– not the same, because generally based on stats file exports, tracking long-term stats: various team-internal stats sites (LAF, P3D, CNT... have such sites)

The hurdle for user registration needs to be low – recruiting should still be encouraged, just team hopping should be discouraged. Auto-register users of registered teams in some way? Allow team captains to register users?

User stats tracking does not prevent team hopping entirely: Users could switch their computers over to the weak key of users of another team. However, I imagine that at least the type of team switcher who acts primarily ego-driven is not easily ready to let a friend borg his computers in this way.

There is a technical problem with user tracking which all 3rd party stats sites are confronted with: The cross project identifiers of some users are sometimes not synchronized between projects. The synchronization may take some time from when an account was newly created. Occasionally, it did not work at all and could only be fixed by the project admin editing the respective database record.


– code of conduct –

My thinking is, this should be kept low key. Tolerance for cultural differences is good IMO. Of course try to keep out a culture of unfairness and vandalism.

I think, Formula Boinc historically has been giving off the impression of everything running unsupervised, organizer(s) being absent and uncaring. Circa 1.5 years after the sprint format was introduced, people who I briefly and imprecisely term 'vandals' discovered this format for themselves. The team captains voting in 2020 (automated, anonymous, secret) further encouraged vandalism. March 2021 sees FB fully in the hand of vandals who dominate the new organizers group. That is, several aspects of Formula Boinc attracted vandalism.

A posted code of conduct (beyond the few words about the site goals on the front page) could not have saved Formula Boinc. But this doesn't mean that there shouldn't be such a code, it just means that it cannot be the only tool to keep vandalism out. (Of course this is obvious to anybody who, for example, had been a forum moderator or wiki moderator once in their lives.)

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Re: b-games.org

Post by Skillz » Sun Mar 28, 2021 8:44 am

Lots to reply to here, but one thing I want to address before I get home from work.

I am thinking, on the individual user registration requirement have a section on the users control panel to enter their UID for each respected project themselves. I'm just not sure how this could be abused. As long as you can only enter the UID with a 48 hour time frame to change it. Just in case they accidentally enter the wrong value, give the users 2 days to make any corrections.

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Re: b-games.org

Post by Icecold » Sun Mar 28, 2021 9:30 am

Locks only "keep honest people honest", as would the code of conduct if you decide to put it in. I think more than anything it would separate the wheat from the chaff a bit, and at least give people a concise list of things that if they violate they know they're breaking the rules. A code of conduct wouldn't have saved FB but it would have at least prevented the argument of "it's not against the rules for a committee member to prebunker the sprint" which there's basically no argument against because, well, yeah I mean I guess if the competition is a total circus maybe they do allow stuff like that. I'm not trying to turn this thread into being about FB, I just wanted to explain where I would see the value in the code of conduct and where it would fit in even with a bunch of shady competitors that know how to break it without getting caught.

Having teams broken out into multiple leagues, if done properly, would probably be a good thing. Since teams don't have to opt in to FB that has screwed up League 3 since I bet a lot of those teams don't know FB exists, but that would of course be different in B-games. I think no matter how good you structure it though, having a team like Crunching@EVGA(and I mean no disrespect to them, just using as an example) of a few crunchers that are just having fun and don't take it super seriously, up directly against the coalition teams(or others that may act similarly) would take a lot of the fun away for the lower output teams. The only way I can think of around this is to get the top teams to come to a gentleman's agreement to not be jerks about the competition, don't take all tasks, etc., but I've had 0 traction on getting that anywhere.

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Re: b-games.org

Post by Skillz » Sun Mar 28, 2021 9:40 am

I've been thinking about the multiple league part and not sure what to do about that. More specifically, how to determine who goes where. Was waiting for someone else to bring that up to see their opinion on it.

If we can figure out a fair way to have more than one league then each league will run a different project for their sprint.

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Re: b-games.org

Post by Icecold » Sun Mar 28, 2021 9:51 am

The first season would be difficult to decide leagues. It's definitely not as simple as looking at FB output since a lot of teams don't participate. Based on the FB ranking Seti Germany for example was position 9 overall last year, but they certainly have the output to place much higher if they cared about that competition at all. I don't have any great answers on that and it's not like you can even just look at each teams combined output across all BOINC projects on Free-DC from the last few months or anything, since the points awarded per project vary so much.

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Re: b-games.org

Post by Skillz » Sun Mar 28, 2021 10:04 am

I was thinking. Let teams choose which "league" (any ideas on what to call each besides league?) They want.

To help keep the powerful teams from dominating a lower tiered league I intend to have stats similar to how SG does the Pent with hourly update totals, -12H, -24H, etc... For the big league, but leaving those details off the lowe league. While this probably won't matter, it'll still be an incentive to want to utilize the higher league for the better stats picture. Possibly other things I could implement to make the higher leagues more enticing for the big teams.

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Re: b-games.org

Post by Icecold » Sun Mar 28, 2021 10:13 am

Skillz wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 10:04 am
I was thinking. Let teams choose which "league" (any ideas on what to call each besides league?) They want.

To help keep the powerful teams from dominating a lower tiered league I intend to have stats similar to how SG does the Pent with hourly update totals, -12H, -24H, etc... For the big league, but leaving those details off the lowe league. While this probably won't matter, it'll still be an incentive to want to utilize the higher league for the better stats picture. Possibly other things I could implement to make the higher leagues more enticing for the big teams.
Division? Tier? Conference? I'll post any others I think of.

I was going to suggest having teams choose at least initially as well but I remembered hearing about Marsinph or somebody doing some sketch stuff with that. Probably most of the time teams would choose appropriately though.

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Re: b-games.org

Post by Skillz » Sun Mar 28, 2021 10:31 am

Nice, good choices. I'm leaning towards division and conference.

I was also thinking of scheduling the sprints during major sporting events. Such as, the superbowl, nba championship, world series and other global championship games I'm not familiar with. Thoughts?

Added in 14 minutes 37 seconds:
I just thought of something thing we could implement.

Points, based on your year end placement. This will take 1 full year before it shows up. But the top 10 teams of the year will get points for this section each year. So it'll show who's placed the best over the years of competing. Could even give 1 point to all teams just for participating, but the points earned will be higher than 1 once you reach 10th or 9th place. Similar to the pointing system of the sprints and marathons.

This will, possibly, encourage teams to keep competing.

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Re: b-games.org

Post by crashtech » Sun Mar 28, 2021 11:13 am

Wow, lots of great ideas! I don't think I can even add anything to it, except perhaps to create a GoFundMe when the time comes to help pay for the site design.

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Re: b-games.org

Post by Icecold » Sun Mar 28, 2021 11:29 am

The sport events idea is good. I looked up a few online sports calendars, and if you include international sports, and things like golf, bowling, wrestling(not WWE), tennis, you can basically choose any date you want almost and there will be events on close to that day.

My other suggestion, and this is more from the administrative perspective than anything else, but I would strongly recommend structuring it in a way that it's not 100% reliant on you @Skillz to maintain it, etc. Don't worry that's not my way of asking for a role in it, but one of the big downfalls with FB has been Sebastien losing interest at times, being busy, etc. Everybody has normal lives and things come up, and it's not reasonable to expect one person to be 100% in control of something for a decade+. It would probably be a good idea to even get some reputable teams involved in it, such as [H], Seti Germany, and maybe LAF(though that one would be tricky since it would be directly competing with FB). There are a lot of good teams, with a lot of reputable crunchers, and done properly they could be a great asset to the new competition, it just wasn't done properly at FB.

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Re: b-games.org

Post by Skillz » Sun Mar 28, 2021 11:34 am

The way I intend to get this setup is to be 100% automated with an administrative control panel that gives those with the permissions enough control yo handle any issues.

Including, but not limited to:
Adding and removing projects
Setting, changing dates/times for Sprints
Editing everything that's stored in the database (basically)
Ability to change projects.
Ability to remove teams and members.

So many more things on the list, but that's all I can remember off the top of my head here at work.

Added in 3 minutes 56 seconds:
So far, my brief searching seems to indicate that it'll cost me around $3k estimate based on reading web development "packages" I found on Google.

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Re: b-games.org

Post by Icecold » Sun Mar 28, 2021 11:47 am

That all sounds good. I also meant stuff like restarting the server instance(or whatever maintenance options exist on the web host for restarting apache and stuff?), ensuring hosting fees are paid, etc. The proverbial "would this continue if I were unexpectedly hit by a bus tomorrow"

$3k sounds reasonable, my initial gut feeling was $5-$10k but I've never hired somebody to do something like this.

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Re: b-games.org

Post by Skillz » Sun Mar 28, 2021 12:50 pm

If apache needs to be restarted then something is broken, but setting up scripts to ensure apache is running and start if necessary is easy to do. I get what you're saying though and that is my ultimate goal.

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Re: b-games.org

Post by kiska » Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:53 pm

I might try my hand at doing something. But its for a university assignment so :D

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Re: b-games.org

Post by voodoo5_6k » Fri Apr 09, 2021 6:39 am

Interesting indeed. I've written up some thoughts of mine in that regard. It felt a little complicated in prose. Hence, I tried to structure it a little.

“b-credit”, active & passive
  • “b-credit” is awarded for final positions in an event (per league), and received on a team’s active “b-credit” account
  • at the end of a season, the team with the most active “b-credit” wins its league
  • after the season has ended, a team’s active “b-credit” is moved to its passive “b-credit” account

Leagues
  • b-games.org hosts a 2-league system (+ “fun league”)
  • League 1:
    • International
    • Capacity: 25 teams
    • Relegation: Last 5 teams will be relegated to the League 2, based on geographic affiliation
    • Winner’s award: World Championship title (maybe some permanent “team-badge” on b-games.org) + some passive “b-credit”
    • Runner-up: Vice-Championship? (maybe some permanent “team badge” on b-games.org) + some passive “b-credit”
  • League 2:
    • 5 sub-leagues, based on geographic affiliation (America, Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa)
    • Capacity: Unlimited
    • Winner’s award: Continental Championship title (maybe some permanent “team badge” on b-games.org) + League 1 participation next season + some passive “b-credit”
    • Runner-up: Vice-Championship? (maybe some permanent “team badge” on b-games.org) + some passive “b-credit”
  • Fun League (optional):
    • Whatever we want… It should be for fun

Seasons
  • either one season over the calendar year, or one season starting after summer, ending next summer
  • one break mid-season, one break between seasons, each a month
    • these will also be “transfer windows”
  • the season will start with the long events (see below), short events are (randomly?) scattered over the season calendar

Events
  • b-games.org will have an official list of events for a season available before the season starts (without dates)
  • two types of events
    • short events (2-5 days maybe)
      • 1 per month?
    • long events (entire season)
      • not also a short event
      • pauses during mid-season break (i.e. stats not counted)
  • event selection
    • list of viable projects is compiled by the league staff (admin?)
    • this list is openly announced before the season starts
    • the system shall then split the list in 3 sections, randomly assigning projects (section 1 = short events selection, section 2 = long events selection, section 3 = reserve & backup, so that the last few events still are surprises)
    • on season start, the official list of long events and the dates of the short events (not the actual event projects) are automatically announced by the system
    • on short event start, the actual project is automatically announced by the system
    • either all leagues in the same (short) event at the same time (like Le Mans 24h) or each in a different event (due to project’s task server limits), but over the course of the season every league will have the same events (just in a different sequence)
  • crediting/weighing:
    • hypothetical season configuration examples:
      • a: 10 short events, 5 long events
      • b: 15 short events, 5 long events
    • winning 1 long event should be equivalent to:
      • a: winning 2 short events
      • b: winning 3 short events
    • or:
      • winning all long events and not scoring on the short events gives the same amount of “b-credits” as winning all short events without scoring on the long events

Teams & Users
  • a team needs to be created by a Team Captain (TC) on b-games.org
  • each team has to pick a geographic affiliation (America, Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa)
  • b-games.org holds a list of available BOINC users
  • the TC assembles his team using this list
  • any user can only be in one official team
    • however, we could allow “fun teams”, in a “fun league”, for stuff like “we five can double the output of this guy here” or “TeAm veterans vs. TeAm greenhorns” etc.
    • here, no rules or restrictions apply, it is playground-like (however, the basic etiquette still applies)
  • a user can participate in short events while also participating in a long event
  • a new user can only enter a team mid-season, within the “transfer window” (see below)
  • a new team can only enter official competition between seasons (“fun league” is always available, if we want it to exist)

Transfers (User changing his Team affiliation)
  • each season will have “transfer windows”, e.g. June & December
    • no events during the “transfer windows”
  • the user’s old team keeps all the points the user has generated so far
  • no restrictions on transfers in the between-seasons “transfer window”
    • however, they need to be officially performed (on b-games.org) by the TC within the “transfer window”
  • transfers in the mid-season “transfer window” cost “passive b-credit”
    • the user’s new team needs to pay the transfer fee
    • the transfer fee is held in a repository until the season ends (to prevent reuse of these funds to get the user transferred back after a few competitions)
    • after the season has officially ended, the funds are released and awarded to the user’s old team
  • any transfer outside the official “transfer windows” costs also “passive b-credit” (see above); in addition:
    • the user is immediately suspended, for any ongoing event and also either for the next three events or until after the next “transfer window” (whatever ends first)

Transfer Fees
  • might be tricky, but each user will get a living “performance rating” (like in a sports simulation)
    • based on certain metrics with weighing options, on a weekly basis, or daily
    • made-up example:
      • 50% weighing: last season’s output vs. average (or median maybe) league user (last season)
      • 40% weighing: this season’s output vs. average (or median maybe) league user (this season)
      • 10% weighing: last event’s output vs. average (or median maybe) league user (last event)
    • the exact determination would be secret later on to avoid easy manipulation
  • this rating will relate to a transfer fee in “b-credits” that the user’s new team will have to pay (from the passive account)
    • this would need to be balanced with the “b-credit” awards for events etc.
  • this way, a high-profile user like Markfw or many others here (not me :-D) couldn’t just transfer in a low performing team during the ongoing season (to defend their rank against another team), because that low performing team couldn’t “pay” for it

“Empty” User accounts
  • issue: creation of a second (or even shared) user within another team (to switch teams outside of “transfer windows” at no cost)
    • is this real, or do people generally cling to their online identiy?
    • if real we could do stuff like:
      • inactive users (like no output at all for e.g. half a season) get suspended until mid-season or then next season
      • formerly inactive (or virtually inactive) users with suddenly exploding output are under investigation + their output is frozen (i.e. not counted for the respective team)
        • the respective TC + User need to justify their case in front the league staff (admin)

Etiquette
  • do unto others as you would have others do unto yourself
  • in addition, as some people are idiots:
    • be nice and friendly
    • no cheating, no illegal activities
    • no use of your employer’s server capacity
    • no use of cloud computing instances
    • no use of bot networks
    • basically, abide by the law and then just use what you have paid for, with legitimate money (I can’t believe we have to say this :-D)
  • there could be user suspension from events (short and long), then team penalties (“b-credit” loss, first from the passive account, then from active account), and finally ban

How to get everything going? Or… The initial “season”
  • option a:
    • teams are getting created
    • once we decide we have enough teams to get going, we pull the overall BOINC credits of the last year for each team and define that as “last season’s performance”
    • the best 25 teams start in League 1
    • the rest starts in League 2, in the sub-league for the respective team’s geographic affiliation
    • the project list is prepared and GO
  • option b:
    • everybody starts in League 2, no world champion in the initial season

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Re: b-games.org

Post by kiska » Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:44 pm

voodoo5_6k wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 6:39 am
Interesting indeed. I've written up some thoughts of mine in that regard. It felt a little complicated in prose. Hence, I tried to structure it a little
That is a pretty long list of things :D

If I do this, then its a solo project and university stuffs :)

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Re: b-games.org

Post by kiska » Sun Apr 11, 2021 6:12 pm

Anyone wanna check my multiplicities?
Image

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