Analysis of the search problem

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EmGooser
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:32 pm

Analysis of the search problem

Postby EmGooser » Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:26 pm

The search problem in Hackers. To have a solution you first have to understand the problem.

1. A player searching for a target to hack needs a narrow range of difficulties because of differing network levels and player ability.

2. Being picked for a target shouldn’t happen in an excessive amount because then you as a player constantly be under attack and not be able to gather the resources needed and thus get frustrated and quit.

3. The targets you do get have to have a good risk vs reward based on how many programs you have to use to achieve a successful hack. For example if you have 3000 b-coin in programs it would be ideal that the target as at least that or more or a comparable amount of money. A poor target is not a target.

4. Players need a diverse set of targets so the player is not hitting the same 3 targets over and over.


How this is currently solved.

1. Player level. XP is granted when you level up a program or network node. (even if that node is later deleted the xp still stays... anther problem but not important here) The player level is then used in the search process.

2. Reputation. You gain or lose reputation based on when you win or lose a hacking attempt or when someone attempts to hack you.

3. Invisible timer. Every time you are hacked successfully, you get an invisibility shield to not be seen on the search until that runs out.

From our problem list to the solution list currently you can see that player level and reputation help solve problem 1 and 3. However, this is at the cost of problem 4 because it naturally limits the player search pool. The invisibility timer helps problem 2. The only thing preventing problem 4 is the size of the player base currently.


How to game that system currently

1. Because reputation is something the players can control by quiting hacks at the last minute and dropping a single beam on the target then quitting. As a player I can get my reputation to whatever I want or need it to be to get the best targets.

2. For those that know, you can only upgrade set programs and nodes to make your player level lower but have the ability of a higher level player. “Core rushing” for example is a way to do this where you rush to upgrade your core but neglect almost anything else with exception to a hand full of defense nodes like a sentry, scanner, and a few turrets. This allows that player to repel almost anyone in his range of player level.

3. Beam Rushing. Beams are powerful when upgraded in mass, cheap and can almost take anything for a long while. With a near exclusive focus on just beams the player is also able to suppress their core level to prevent higher ranked searches.


Just blowing away the current meta game will cause massive rage quits as we have seen with the changes to the search algorithm as of late. So the solution has to take into account players current state of network while at the same time address the main 4 problems better.

Here is some possible solution that might take the main problems into account better than the current solution.

1. Player Level Overhaul. Instead of making it based on how much you have spent on node and programs based only on Core and Security Nodes and the Core should have a two or three times the weight because it allows for things like choke points.

Why: When you are searching for targets to attack, you as a player have 2 questions. “Can you break though their defense?” and “What do they have to take?” But there is a third question too, “Can you hold what you take?” That last question is the key to this overhaul. If someone has the best programs but can’t hold their spoils of war, then it is as if they didn’t hack at all.

So counting just your network’s security nodes and core alone for player level is enough information to know where the player is in relation to other players. This will help with problem 1 by grouping players together but not hurting people that don’t core rush. However, this also doesn’t penalize those that core rush because if they have lower security nodes then they will not be up with the people that have the really beefy ones to crack.

2. Remove reputation from the Search.

Why: It is to way to easy manipulate as a player and is also undermining the “Invisible timer” that is already in place. As a player if I am trying to lower my rep there is an easy way to hack someone, get all but a tiny amount of money and disconnect to “fail” the hack at the last second. This marks that hack as a failure and thus the player I hack lost 28% of their money and coin and is still open for attack from the next guy. So, having this as part of the search is not only causing problem 4 but it is also causes problem 2 to happen more. As it stands it is not helping at all for problem 1 because we as players can manipulate the number as we see fit at the cost of a few bit coins.

Removing this also helps with making the players less segmented where any rep can find any other rep. This helps with problem 4 by making larger valid player pools when matching happens.

3. Make “NPC” networks in the search results.

Why: This feeds into problem 3 in that we need viable targets to hack with at least enough to cover the costs of hacking and some loot to take for our trouble. Let’s assume there are 100 active players all in the same search bracket. They are all trying to amass 3 million for some upgrade they want. Let’s also assume that they all have 2 level 16 server farms (20k money per hour). If one player hacked every single one of the other players it would take 500 hours to get enough for that one upgrade. (3 mill needed / 100 players / 30% on a hack win).

I know that is a lot of assumptions here and the actual situation would be a hell of a lot more complex, but 500 hours over 100 people to make enough money for one upgrade for one player points out the simple fact we need more lucrative non-player targets to hack or better ways to make cash to upgrade nodes.

You could even make these NPC show good and bad network layouts to help people understand the game better. Think of them as tutorial NPCs at low levels and treat them like any search result. If you fail it just goes away (unlike a mission), they have base layouts that are valid for a player, and if you search again they also go away (unlike a mission).

These can also provide some relief when the searches don’t have enough viable targets.


4. Make a monetary limit on the on the search results, maybe if they are under a % value of their total capacity they cant be in the search results for anyone.

Why: If someone has all of 5 money and 10 b coins no one is going to want to hack them and getting someone like that in a search result over and over can get very frustrating. This feeds back into problem 3.


In closing I would like to say I love this game and I think they have done a great job thus far and personally I have never wanted to write a 3 page write up for a mobile game, but as a programmer and gamer I value good development work and want to help it when I can. In writing this my hope is to give constructive feedback and not just say “It is broken! FIX IT”. If you the reader like these ideas (or don’t) say something, with enough support they might consider some of this analysis or a better solution might come out of the discussion.
Last edited by EmGooser on Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:58 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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SniperK
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Re: Analysis of the search problem

Postby SniperK » Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:42 pm

Reputation should be something that all people want and fight for, but only the strongs can get them. And it brings the strong benefit, say reward and stuff and motivates people.

But what we have now? reputation is something that nobody wants and all trying to get rid of, and you dont fight for it you just sit there and it comes find you. High rep brings you no reward but trouble compared to low rep.

In a nutshell this is going the wrong direction. Should be the other way around.
:shock: Sorry if I've hacked you :shock: Wait no I'm not sorry at all 8-) You can hack me back

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GamerNeo
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Re: Analysis of the search problem

Postby GamerNeo » Sun Feb 12, 2017 12:10 am

Agree wholeheartedly!

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Silken
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Re: Analysis of the search problem

Postby Silken » Sun Feb 12, 2017 12:33 am

They are a few problems. Personally, I don't care about who I hit, yes I used to farm, but I'm quite happy to hit hard higher bases. Had some fun tonight trying to smash ladty 0 at level 77.

The main issue for me is always training times, I only farmed because it was quicker. These mid 60 bases and 70 bases, need a shit ton of shockers, rams, wraiths, and a couple of protectors they take ages added together.

Maybe higher rep should decrease training times by a small percentage.

The other thing I miss is the storyline rewards. When farming 200k plus bitcoin, a story mission for 50k was awesome. But at level 54 I've finish. Well I'm on the last one, but was saving it for the next level of protector.

A daily pve mission that reflects your level with a small rewards would be awesome.

With no shields you have to farm in 3 hours, or it gets taken. Plus I really don't what to play a mobile game for more than 3 hours.

The devs do need to make money, us farming dead accounts and levelling easy wasn't the best for them, but we do need another way of making resources.

Maybe a daily mission that you can do once for free. Then you pay another 50 credit to unlock it again, then 100 credits to unlock again, then 200 etc etc. It's quite common.

But at least give us a chance to farm in 3 hours.

I can't see me able to farms bitcoins, it costs too much to attack these higher levels, money is probably fine, tougher but fine. Bitcoin now is just hard.
Silken
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Reputation Status Update - Farming is Dead :o

EmGooser
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:32 pm

Re: Analysis of the search problem

Postby EmGooser » Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:25 am

SniperK wrote:Reputation should be something that all people want and fight for, but only the strongs can get them. And it brings the strong benefit, say reward and stuff and motivates people.

But what we have now? reputation is something that nobody wants and all trying to get rid of, and you dont fight for it you just sit there and it comes find you. High rep brings you no reward but trouble compared to low rep.

In a nutshell this is going the wrong direction. Should be the other way around.


I agree, aside from the unlocking of some of the cosmetics there is no need for a higher rep. As we have both said it is actually a detriment in that it "rewards" you by giving you harder players to hack and thus making it harder to get the resources you need.

Pixie
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Re: Analysis of the search problem

Postby Pixie » Sun Feb 12, 2017 2:05 am

SniperK wrote:
But what we have now? reputation is something that nobody wants and all trying to get rid of, and you dont fight for it you just sit there and it comes find you. High rep brings you no reward but trouble compared to low rep.


This is so right. If the devs put rewards for high rep, then more people would push upwards. Currently, L45+ are getting hit by L30s evey 5 minutes. I'd gladly accept the rep if it had some value. I reached 950 rep from 400 rep with me doing just 3-5 hacks. As I progress higher in rep, I'm seeing more unhackable bases and dry bases.
Rep dumping isnt feasible as it's just a waste of bitcoins (which are extremely hard to get). If this continues, the game will just push us into a state of Limbo, which would lead to mass quitting of high level players. That is unfortunate as we have invested a lot of our time (and money) into this game and we do not want to see it go to waste.

EmGooser
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Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:32 pm

Re: Analysis of the search problem

Postby EmGooser » Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:06 pm

Based on a discussion in discord the idea was raise the player level still needs to account for programs. The only concern that was raised was about how that could punish those that don't focus on one or two programs (just beam and shocker for example).

So if programs are used in that calculation to mitigate that you could only count up the two or three highest level programs. Something to that effect so it doesn't punish those that want to upgrade a wide range of programs to try them. For example worms are near useless on higher levels because they are not fast enough. If someone doesn't or can't use them then they are in effect being punished by having a higher player level.

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PandaKing
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Re: Analysis of the search problem

Postby PandaKing » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:35 am

EmGooser wrote:Based on a discussion in discord the idea was raise the player level still needs to account for programs. The only concern that was raised was about how that could punish those that don't focus on one or two programs (just beam and shocker for example).

So if programs are used in that calculation to mitigate that you could only count up the two or three highest level programs. Something to that effect so it doesn't punish those that want to upgrade a wide range of programs to try them. For example worms are near useless on higher levels because they are not fast enough. If someone doesn't or can't use them then they are in effect being punished by having a higher player level.


I completely agree. I developed all my hacking programs to high level, but I only use some of them.
I think that's why my defense/actual hacking strength seems extremely weak to same level players.



Also, NPC bases sounds like a good idea, they can make everyone happy at no cost to others.

EmGooser
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:32 pm

Re: Analysis of the search problem

Postby EmGooser » Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:48 pm

Talked with bear on discord, for those that weren't there, there is work being done to address the high level cash flow issues. He didn't give any other details aside form that though. Hang in there, let's see what they come up with.



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