Has balance of 4 to 2 player games played on the servers changed?


It seems to me that until recently (e.g. until the last 12 hours or so) the was roughly a 50:50 split between 2 and 4 player games. Now it seems more like 20:80.

Has this actually changed? And if so it it on purpose?

This has caused the rating of my bot to climb, BTW, as it seems to be better at 4 player games than it is at two player games at the moment.

Cheers, Tim.


OK, I recently posted another version of my bot and now it’s back to about a 50:50 ratio between two and four player games.

I analysed the game results list of my bot for the last few hundred games.

For the 65 games my new bot has played so far, the numbers are:
32 two player games (50%)
33 four player games (50%)

for the previous 316 games my v26 bot played:
76 two player games (24%)
240 four player games (76%)

and for the 199 games prior to that:
87 two player games (44%)
112 four player games (56%)

Wierd huh?

Is anyone else seeing this kind of behaviour in the games their bot is playing?


This is expected, though unintuitive. Here’s how it works.

For most of the games, halite picks a newly uploaded bot. It then flips an even coin to decide if the game will be a two player or a four player game.

So when your bot is new, you see a roughly 50/50 split.

However, as your bot fades out of newness, you are less and less often the seeding player. Now your games come from others seeding and you being picked as an opponent.

A two player game needs one opponent, while a four player game needs three opponents. Thus with an old bot, you end up with 25%/75% split in favor four player games - which is exactly what you are seeing.


Ah, that explains it, thanks!

My v26 bot was probably the first one where I’ve let it play enough games for me to observe this behaviour.


Why have 2 player games at all then or not have them as a separate tournament?


The metagame in a two player game is potentially very different. A two player game is closer to a zero sum game - if you can spend 1000 to hurt your enemy 1100 halite, that’s a net positive. In a four player game, cooperation and non-agression can help. Mutual losses let the other players get ahead.

And remember, the server is still playing about 50%/50% of each kind. And two player games take half the CPU resources that a four player game does.