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 Issue 11- November 14th 2510
Coaches Couch

For issue 11 we have enlisted some experienced FFB client coaches to talk about the new client and the new rules. The Couch has been hosed down after last time, the dips available this month include a ‘Pace’ based salsa. The beer served is ‘Old Perculiar’, a heavy ‘bitter’ with a high ABV and noted for its malty taste and rich amber colour. Joining us at GLN towers are:
BooAhl: Highly experienced coach with a great deal of ‘majors’ experience.
Lakrillo: It’s partly his fault! A man with his hands on the engine of ffb.
Malitrius: long time fumbler, brought back by ffb.
Sinnyil: A convert from cyanide, who found FUMBBL from their forums.
Calcium: A regular and lively ‘character’ on FUMBBL.

GLN: To say hello, please tell the readers one thing about yourself that they may not already know

Calcium: Hi, I'm an Aquaruis. I'm also a 2nd degree black belt in Taekwondo.
BooAhl: Im a Swede who will soon be a stay home dad in Cambridge, UK.
Lakrillo: Hello. I use the name Lakrillo, when i worked as a programmer, i did 3d models for game-mods, nowadays i work as a 3d-modeller for simulators and i have done some programming in the FFB on my free time.
Malitrius: hello, long ago I did kill Enjoyment! I got a PhD in physics and have worked a scientist, now I’m a teacher
Sinnyil: Hi, I'm currently doing this from work! I live in Florida, US.
GLN: thanks for ripping your employer off and spending the time with us
Sinnyil: Anytime!

GLN: so, the FFB client. Been enjoying it?

BooAhl: Oh, yes
Calcium: My answer may be a little weird, but I will explain. No, then YES, then No. Initially I hated FFB. I gave it 20 games whilst playing my 1st love, humans, and grew to love it.
Sinnyil: Enormously. I took a break from fumbbl when stunty died down, and FFB has sucked me right back in.
Malitrius: it is like a -2d pow-pow block against a 5ST wardancer. ... then killing it too! It is the reason I came back to play some fumbbl
Lakrillo: Yesterday i played my first JBB-game in a long time, and boy did i realise why i loved the FFB-client the first time i tested it. FFB is so much more fluid to play than JBB. On top of that i have been a LRB5 and 6 fan for a long time.
BooAhl: I also promised myself to not play JBB anymore. But then FC came so now I will finish the FC before switching over forever

GLN: I imagine we might see some new players, and some returnees, once the FFB client goes live, what should they know? what are the key differences from JavaBB?

Sinnyil: The auto-move function is possibly my favorite upgrade.
BooAhl: I like the moving balls. And that you can return to a dropped game with much less hassle
Malitrius: first thing is that they do NOT need a client, you just launch the client with the betatest button (will probably get renamed soon!) and it is extremly smooth. Try spectating before you start your first ffb game, so you get to see the interface once before you try yourself. If you have played the JBB then it will not be any problem though
Sinnyil: You have to declare pass/hand-offs before you start moving your player. Also if you're a big fan of hotkeys you'll need to refamiliarize yourself with new ones.
Calcium: the disconnection/reconnection process if 100% better to be sure
Lakrillo: There is one advice i always tell newcomers to the client: Try the automove function, use the mouse and click far away from the player to have it move there. Also remember to declare a Pass action and Handoff action before starting to move. Ok, two advice.
BooAhl: I don't now how many games I lost in the begining because I forgot the pass/handoff
Malitrius: you can skip taking fan factor on your team too, as this is changed with the new rules

GLN: FFB, has it got any big flaws?

Calcium: FFB looks fine, but I did prefer the layout on JBB
Sinnyil: I think the only thing I miss about the layout of JBB is the separate chat box.
Malitrius: only flaw is that it is not the official client that we should use
Calcium: I find it too dark! Daft I know, but I think the pitch could be brighter
Lakrillo: There is a new pitch on the way Calcium and it will look much better. But you didn't hear that from me
GLN: dont worry, we won't tell anyone....er... well, we might, but don't worry
Sinnyil: I can't think of any major flaws with the client itself, beyond the bugs that have already been reported and are being hammered out. Its different and takes some getting used to, but its not flawed, at least in my opinion. It seems like the learning curve for this client was much less steep than it was for JavaBB, but that may be just because I learned JavaBB from scratch, where going to FFB there was already that JavaBB experience.

GLN: So, are games taking as long? what sort of length seems to be average?

Malitrius: no I think that games are faster with the new client. I think an average game takes 45min
Calcium: less time on average I think
Sinnyil: At first they seemed to take a little longer but after I updated my Java I realized that was a user error
Malitrius: the auto-move function really helps cutting down on the thinking
BooAhl: Less time, but one reason for that is also that I play a 12 slann team. It takes less time to play a game with less people.
Calcium: slann.....dont get me started on frikkin slann!
GLN: oh we will, but not yet
Calcium: fair enough
Lakrillo: As long as people are using automove, the games are faster. For someone who plays their first game in FFB, i think it might be sligthly longer than two good coaches in JBB.

GLN: What about automove? to quote malitrius back: is 'cutting down on the thinking' a good thing?

Malitrius: yes. but you still have to think, since it avoids the dodges. but if you have that 7ma blitzer and want to see how far he reaches, it helps
BooAhl: I hate it that it doesnt follow my mouse
Sinnyil: I'm not sure if 'thinking' is the right word
BooAhl: When my ag5 dodge guy wanna dodge, I have to think what is wrong. Why the automove doesn't work. So more thinking actually
Sinnyil: It speeds up the movement process but it doesn't do the thinking for you.
Lakrillo: The automove is bad if your main plan is hoping for your opponent to do a missclick, if you like to play fair, then automove is great.
Sinnyil: It does cut down on mistaken and miscalculated dodges. Although those of us who are twitchy still get their fair share...
Calcium: Automove is GREAT! I love it. Got nothing bad to say about it

GLN: Should the client go further? paint TZ's on the pitch, maybe even coloured for how many TZ's affect each square? Could it help more and not hurt the gaming experience?

Calcium: YES. I think there could be a facility to turn automove off for the 'old fashioned' JBB coaches
Sinnyil: Cyanide's game does that. I can take it or leave it honestly.
Malitrius: it is pretty balanced in that sense I think. Auto-move is not much different from showing how many dices you get for a block
BooAhl: I like this AI project. Maybe the future is to make Bots that play against each other, instead of coaching ourselves.
GLN: like Woodstock you mean
Sinnyil: Woodstock is the nicest AI I've ever had the pleasure to chat with.
Malitrius: is Woodstock an AI? always suspected that
Lakrillo: Coloured pitch would be ok, but i don't see it as something important.
BooAhl: There has to be a limit some where

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