One player's perspective
|Opened on:||Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 00:55|
|Last modified:||Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 16:37|
I thank beta helix for his apologies in the feedback thread about rolling back - vmulligan for his excellent front page post - Dr. Baker for his video, and all the other devs who have posted thoughtful and informative comments.
The problem, IMHO, is that anything fixed will be an improvement of some sort - because almost everything is broken to some extent right now.
Some improvements will not change the fact that this has turned into a completely different, and highly buggy game, within the shell of what we know as Foldit.
And that is the real heart of the problem here. This is a completely different game. Right now there is no way to distinguish a feature from a bug, we simply do not have the tools to be able to tell the difference.
From my perspective:
Game engine issues:
-- Rebuild is more or less broken both for hand folding and scripts (this despite the recent devprev upgrade - more on that below), having been more or less replaced by cuts & idealize
-- Most scripts are not functional - even the ones that our wonderful scriptwriters have adapted for the new client - banders, rebuilders - all types of scripts
-- Wiggle appears to lock us into "refinement only" after a certain point in folding
-- Many are experiencing constant hangs and crashes
-- In the past month, just about every major & minor bug that has ever plagued Foldit has reared its ugly head at one point or another (almost 5 pages worth of feedbacks)
-- There is very little, if any, enjoyment in folding for most players right now - and a lot of aggravation
-- The result of that is that many players are rage quitting - some are drifting away or just checking in once a day, hoping to see if anything has changed - many are playing with many less clients running
-- Protein improvements that once took 1-3 steps now take 12-15 steps… very tedious and boring, making the experience feel more like work than play
-- Much of our wiki is now obsolete
My own experience has been very frustrating, and I see no end in sight if this continues. My usual method for denovos is to bring the protein in the first puzzle as far as I can in low CI, save that, then step it up to 1.0, do a little more work (I don't have the patience to be my own DRW), then walk away. For the second puzzle, I go back to the early save, run a couple scripts on that save, then proceed to step it up to 1.0 CI with scripts. The result is usually that I rank higher on the second puzzle.
I tried that in the updated devprev, assuming that rebuild was working better. On the plus side, a rebuild script did find points on that save. On the minus side, that one cemented a very few points above my high (loaded into the second puzzle and some work done, the high was already cemented).
I just don't have the personal resources to do the tedious work that I did the first week of rollout, where I did everything I could think of, spending many many hours trying to find techniques that work with this (and placing in top 20 for the ones that I did really work on).
Yes, I can do it, but very honestly, there is no enjoyment left in it. I still wake up with that "run to the computer and see what happened overnight"… then I remember that I only have one client open, and little hope of much improvement at all.
So I am now running just one client instead of 3 or 4, and only poking around with it. I really miss my game, but have finally run through the emotions of denial, anger, and I guess, acceptance. I've started playing Eyewire again - they are having celebrations and events in honor of their first year.
I am not trying to "make a statement" by saying what I have above - I am simply stating what my personal experience is now. I haven't stopped playing, but will likely just do one client / one puzzle at a time until something changes radically.
There is obviously an underlying issue to all these problems, and I suspect that the game engine simply will not handle the wiggle change, and / or score function. Since that is the basis of the client change, it will probably take a lot more than a few days to fix that.
The early cementing of proteins is reminiscent of the SA / WA slider major bug. To my recollection, after the client was rolled back for debugging, there was never a fix or anything else said about them. That makes me surmise that there was a deep incompatibility with the game engine. Sadly, with the massive change in the current client, we have no tools for comparison or investigation, so if that is the underlying cause of many of our issues, as players, we can't help determine that.
Perhaps you can give us a time frame for getting this back to a reasonably enjoyable game again. Maybe a week? And then roll it back if the issues are still huge (in the players opinions)? Whether you run a concurrent game - give extra points to those who choose to muddle through NC - whatever you do, if this situation doesn't improve, in a major way and rapidly, the game is dying for lack of enjoyment.
It's an obvious thing, but please remember that players are here because they want to be - we aren't paid, our careers are not on the line. We all want the game to be as productive as possible - we all have as motivation the desire to contribute to science - but in the end, if we can't derive some pleasure from it, if it isn't a game with enjoyable elements, then we cease to be "players" in one respect or the other.
Please remember, that from the player's perspective, this is a game with a scientific component (a wonderful, enjoyable way of wasting time and computer resources with a potential benefit) - not science with a little game thrown in. The dividing line is thin, but it is a major difference between the devs perspective and the player's perspective.
One last cautionary note… many players, and I think all the devs, are too young to have lived through the debacle of New Coke. If unfamiliar with the story, check it out on wikipedia. The takeaway quote: "New Coke had the spotlight for only three months but casts a long shadow, in both the business world and popular culture, that can be seen today. It is most frequently mentioned as a cautionary tale among businesses against tampering too extensively with a well-established and successful brand."