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Interview with LA-artod

Introduction: LA-artod is a passionate Hattrick player, a short time ago he became first Hattrick statistician. He offered professional service to the Hattrick team. I am sure many of you want to know how this happened, plus LA-artod has a big history in the game. Interview made by Bobovnick (7677683), Sgt_Fuexels (13327213), Mod-rupi (6961402) and rik_daan079 (13289066).



1. You achieved many things in hattrick. Not just results with your club and national teams. We must also consider your contribution to the community. Can you tell us which are your three favorite achievements in HT?

The two Slovenian Cups I won with Breg are for sure my biggest achievement and the one I’m proudest of. I could say national teams, although when Slovenia won a silver medal, I was “just” the assistant coach. Perhaps my most favorite achievement is still managing to enjoy the game, and play passionately, for 15 years now. I’d never have believed it in 2004.

2. Do you still intend to help the Slovenia NT and U20 team in the future?

I am more than happy to help out as an owner of NT/U20 players. I think that a stronger involvement may be deemed unfair by some - although I don’t think I have insider information that could bring noticeable advantages.

3. What are your plans with the second and third team?

My HTI team is currently an U-20 farm team and my third team is used mainly for flag hunting. Long-term, I think I’ll have another team in Slovenia and close one of the other two.

4. What are your plans, projects and goals for hattrick in the future at all?

More or less what’s been my plan all along: to play as many strategically and tactically interesting matches as possible. Hattrick is an open-ended game, where you can’t really “win”. Even if you “win” - beltxis comes to mind - the game goes on and you can’t win forever. So it’s much more about the journey than about the destination.

5. There are many users who buy supporter and support this game. What can you tell us about your business agreement with hattrick?

Let me preface this answer by reminding that I have been a volunteer in Hattrick for many, many years, in multiple roles, and I intend to keep working as a volunteer for many years to come. I particularly enjoy being a translator, a LA.
On the other hand, I have a Master’s degree in statistics and I have been working as a professional statistician and teaching statistics for over 10 years. So, I can confidently say that I am a qualified professional that is consulting for Hattrick. It would be unprofessional for me to discuss any detail about my contract. Let me just say this: as far as I know, Hattrick is happy with my contribution, and I am happy to consult for Hattrick.

6. How did your project start? Where did you get this idea and how does your project interface with the developers?

HTs don’t work in an ivory tower, but actually discuss with users, ask for their feedback, accept suggestions. If you go and look at the things that have been developed in the last 5-6 years, most, if not all of them, are due to suggestions from users and improved listening to feedback from users. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to know that there is a small group of users that serves as an advisory board for HTs around game design changes. It’s no secret, really, and the HTs themselves mentioned it a few times on Global as well.
Why a small group? Because in my experience, collecting feedback from a wide audience (with polls and similar methods) is difficult to do in the right way, time-consuming, and the depth of the feedback is necessarily limited. Sometimes you need in-depth feedback and a smaller group of dedicated users is better - although this method has also its limitations.
Not every project is discussed within that group, and not everything that is discussed there ends up being implemented. A few years ago, we were discussing the fan system. I don’t remember who brought that up - I don’t think it was the HTs - and in the end the discussion amounted to nothing. But I remember that we were talking about expectations - because this is what the fan system is about - and I remember saying that having a proper way to measure team strength without the influence of random would greatly simplify things. So, this is when I got the idea, some 3-4 years ago. But perhaps it was in my head even longer. When HTEV closed, I remember that furr_ wrote, more or less, that giving HTEV to someone else was pointless, because someone smart enough to maintain HTEV would have also been smart enough to devise an HTEV of his own.
Of course, now that I look back, I don’t think anymore that an accurate measure of team strength is a strict prerequisite for a better fan system. And measuring team strength and user strength accurately has a very wide range of applications. But anyway, this is the context where the idea was born. And I remember that when I read that comment from furr_, I thought, I’ll never be that smart. Then, at the start of last year, I started thinking about it and said, well, let’s try my best and see what comes out of it."
How is my work coordinated with the other developers? Basically, I write detailed specifications of the code that needs to be implemented (or detailed pseudocode) and the developers implement it. I could write the code myself, and I have done so to develop the models on which the rankings are based, but the need to interface with existing systems and the existing codebase means that it’s more efficient if I produce the blueprint, a very detailed one, and then the actual implementation is done by Hattrick’s developers.

7. A few years ago we used HTEV to calculate the strength of our team and of our opponents’. Have your projects any similarities with HTEV? Is your project the new HTEV inside Hattrick?

HTEV was many things, so it’s not easy to compare my project to it. At its core, HTEV was a rating system, with its Elo rating, that enabled a ranking system. All rating systems allow a ranking system to be derived from it, even simple ones like Hatstats, so if you want to create a ranking, creating a rating system makes sense. HTEV’s rating system had interesting properties, namely, that the difference in Elo ratings between two teams was an indicator of their relative probability of success against each other.
But just trying to recreate HTEV would have been pointless. The question is, what does rating systems like Elo in chess measure, and what does it mean to measure a user’s strength in Hattrick?
Chess is a game where there is no luck and both players start in equal positions. White has an advantage, but two players generally alternate starting as White or Black, so the White advantage cancels itself out. So, if you want to measure a player’s skill, you can directly use his results against other players, and the Elo rating works this way. Conversely, in Hattrick a result is a product of three factors: team strength, user skill, and luck. Rankings that are based solely on results already exist in Hattrick, and they have an important role. Cup ranking, based on the previous season’s league success, is a typical example. On the other hand, the ability to remove luck from the equation would allow more realistic statistics and more interesting pairings. To eliminate luck, though, you need a way to assess the probability of success for the team you’re considering in all matches that are used to calculate your rating. HTEV used the furminator, a simulator of the match engine, to assess this probability. Hattrick could, in theory, use the Super Replays, but this would come at a great cost in terms of computing power and server load to be of practical use, so other methods have been devised.

8. How will your upgrade impact on this game in the future?

A measure of a team and/or a user strength is more like a piece of infrastructure than a feature that everybody uses. So, there are many possible features that can be thought of that could use this measure, but, of course, not all will be implemented. Just because something is possible doesn’t mean that it’s best for the game to implement it.
The most obvious feature is including ratings based on my project into new statistics, and have leaderboards where you could compare your team with other teams. In general, wherever you need to select or group teams that haven’t competed against each other, this kind of measure could be useful. Moreover, whenever you want to design an intelligent system that makes decisions, suggests options or ranks preferences, a measure of team strength can be useful. I don’t want to speculate, because this would create unrealistic expectations. My job is creating the tool, not deciding what to make with it.

9. Has anyone already tested your addition to the game?

Well, I and Tasos have been testing it so far. I am quite happy with the results, as far as one understands how it’s built and what it measures.

10. How long will it take to implement your project?

There are several parts of the project that can be implemented, one on top of the other. So, while a very basic implementation of the first part is a matter of days, some of the possible implementations based on the complete project are bigger projects. And everything must fit into a larger development schedule. Priorities, priorities. :-)

11. Recently you became a parent. How do you manage your time for Hattrick, with a job, a family and other things?

Actually, I recently became a parent for the second time, so I have two pre-school kids at home now. And yes, it’s hectic sometimes. I have found that what suits me best is to go to sleep with the kids - that is, very early, about 21.00 - and then wake up early, around 4.00 AM. The couple of free hours in the morning are the quietest and productive of the day, and for this kind of work, you really need peace to think. My wife has also been very supportive, packing the kids and going to visit my in-laws to let me have a quiet day of work when needed. And finally, when you’re working on an interesting problem, you dedicate every spare moment to it. So, you’re lost in thought, and your wife asks what’s up, and you answer “distances”. Or “expectations”. And you get some pretty puzzled looks in return, I assure you.


12. What did you expect when you started working with HT and what surprised you the most?

Trust. Trust is what surprised me the most and in a good way. I was expecting very thorough discussions about whether my results were good, or good enough, but in hindsight I realize I was too focused on my work as a statistician and not of what actually means, in terms of resources, to implement the project.
Instead, it’s more like: “You say it’s a good result, and you have produced all these metrics that show it’s good. We trust you, you are the professional, we won’t question your expertise.” And other things matter more. Like, is the solution scalable? Can it run fast without killing the database server? What happens if the game changes, or in other terms, is it future-proof? Can it be explained in simple terms to the ones using it, to the ones implementing it, to the ones that will have to maintain it? That’s three different explanations, very different in fact.



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Previous article: Interview with HT-Johan (part I) (21090).


2019-06-06 09:49:07, 2028 shikime

Link direkt te ky artikull (HT-ML, për forumin): [ArticleID=21085]

 
 
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