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Open source theorycrafting and coding 
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Malekith's Best Friend
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Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2003 7:36 pm
Posts: 3858
Location: Belgium, Brussels
In my latest theorycrafts, I took the liberty of writing code snippets and sharing them. It was pointed out this was overloading the text sometimes and... I kind of agree. Readability should get priority over the "how". From a user/reader perspective, I understand that point of view.

However, I feel something important is lost if we don't share the maths or code that is used. There is very little discussion on the maths behind warhammer at all. Likewise, there is rarely any code sharing. To me, it seems that the lack of shared knowledge and coding is keeping our community in the dark.

If I look back at my own history, I see I started with binomial coefficients for the first time, back in 2007:
http://www.druchii.net/viewtopic.php?t=49833
Now, almost 8 years later, I'm surprised by how little our community has evolved since.
Some googling about gave me this post from 2010 which echoes my feelings today:
http://www.3plusplus.net/2010/08/guest- ... community/
Again it marks how little progress the community made in 5 years.

A similar thing seems to occur for coding. With little code being shared, it seems that if Excel doesn't offer it, it can't be computed. I'm willing to bet few people even know how to get the numbers in Excel while this could be an accessible tool for many.

With the common code base being so poor, I'm not surprised to see the app store from iTunes littered with theoryhammer apps, one as terrible as the other, with even less functionality than Excel.

I don't mind people trying their own thing, and exploring the maths on their own. But it amazes me how slow the common knowledge of maths and code progresses. Compared to the math-communities we get in online games, we're barely moving at all.


Anyhow, to me it feels like the theory and computations need to be reinvented time and again, like we're required to solve a Sudoku each time we want to check the simplest of things. It makes me wonder... if we couldn't make our community stronger with a common knowledge base and a bit more open source code?

How do other players feel about that? Do you think our community could gain from a shared knowledge base?

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I love me a bowl of numbers to crunch for breakfast. If you need anything theoryhammered, I gladly take requests.

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Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:51 am
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Lord of Khorne
Lord of Khorne
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Joined: Fri Nov 22, 2002 1:29 pm
Posts: 8432
Location: Leading the revolution (and in the chat).
Like anything, there's potential. But who knows where WH is heading now? GW seems to be pushing more towards big models - not only monsters, but ogre type stuff as well. Perhaps it's a sea change to something Warmachine-like, who can say?

I think WH lives in a little subjective world where working the book in your favour and flat out removing probabilities (generally ld tests) is the name of the game - rolling to hit or to wound is just a necessary evil when the magic phase doesn't go in your favour...

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Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:19 pm
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Morathi's Best Friend
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Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 5:06 pm
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Location: Flanders, Belgium
Daeron wrote:
However, I feel something important is lost if we don't share the maths or code that is used. There is very little discussion on the maths behind warhammer at all. Likewise, there is rarely any code sharing. To me, it seems that the lack of shared knowledge and coding is keeping our community in the dark.

I thought about your point on lost, muddling knowledge for a while, mainly because I've never looked at it that way before; it's a fresh view that deserves some thinking. Yet all my meanderings invariably took me to a (much simplified) conclusion:

If you can math it, it's too trivial to write down. If you can not math it, it takes too long to explain.

Avoiding the pitfalls of naïve probabilistics requires an uncommon level of mathematical literacy. If you have this literacy, most of this stuff is either back-of-the-envelope or the more tedious let-me-get-a-calculator material. If you do not have this literacy, well, it's magic or rocket science, and you mash numbers into your calculator and you get 183.8 and you hope that means "really good odds!" but deep inside, that part of you that knows it doesn't cries itself to sleep.

Daeron wrote:
Anyhow, to me it feels like the theory and computations need to be reinvented time and again, like we're required to solve a Sudoku each time we want to check the simplest of things. It makes me wonder... if we couldn't make our community stronger with a common knowledge base and a bit more open source code?

How do other players feel about that? Do you think our community could gain from a shared knowledge base?

Despite my soundbite from above, I feel this could definitely be a plus. I could see as valuable one or more instructional articles about common mistakes and how to avoid them. (Like the 3 x 5+ = 100% in the 3plusplus.net article you found; good read!) Practical things, clear rules of thumb, that sort of thing.

And if we're looking for stuff to put into a magazine, this topic has the potential for some feature-length articles, or a maybe a recurring column, or even scribbled into a coffee stain on page 3 in the classifieds.

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Sat Mar 28, 2015 1:21 am
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Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:22 am
Posts: 63
Yes, I agree, it would be great for more resources to be offered to the community. Still, what comes to my mind immediately is DRUCHII.net. Having a forum for just dark elves is terrific and this staple is what we really need.

Overall though, this is well put:
If you can math it, it's too trivial to write down. If you can not math it, it takes too long to explain.

If others wanted me code the chance to win combat comparing units in html, php, and css, I can send it to them if they host and upkeep.

For example I recently figured this out whether my unit of 25 exies (which I run 7 wide) would fair better than my unit of 20 sisters (which I run 5 wide) with the war banner against 3 ranks of Nurgle Chaos warriors which my friend usually runs 6 wide.

I was able to figure to compare the chances that my unit would win combat and by how much. Screen shot of google doc attached.


When it comes to MATH:
Most understand calculating the chance to wound per attack:

(IN ANY ORDER)
Chance to hit * Chance to wound * Chance to get through Armor * Chance to get through Ward

However, what most people don't get is, "if I have 20 attacks, what are my chances I do at least 5 wounds?" Most players don't understand binomial distributions.

And then to understand my chance to win compared to my opponent gets a little bit more tedious....

When it comes to math, like understanding binomial distribution, best to wikipedia it rather than try explaining it through this forumn


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Sat Mar 28, 2015 7:26 am
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