Finding the right Play of the Game isn’t as easy as it sounds.
If you haven’t played Overwatch, Blizzard’s team-based hero shooter that’s taken the world by storm, you likely came across the Play of the Game system. This system highlights what it perceives to be the best play during a match but it hasn’t always been perfect. Common criticisms include how it doesn’t quite emphasize the coolest or the best plays.
GameSpot spoke to lead software engineer Rowan Hamilton about the same who noted that, “From a technical standpoint, it’s a really hard problem to have a computer figure out what is cool. They’re not very smart. They take some numbers in, they put some numbers out. It’s hard to figure out what is cool there. We constantly look at Play of the Game, and we’ve got a whole bunch of data on Play of the Games are actually happening out there in the wild, and we can kind of see patterns about this character getting a lot of PoTG for these killstreaks, they’re getting a lot of damage, or they’re getting a Play of the Game for that.”
Blizzard is capable of adjusting these algorithms though so it’s not like Torbjörn or Bastion will continue to dominate the highlights for very long. “We also have a lot of cool systems internally where we can play with the algorithm that determines Play of the Game and play the same game back again, and be like, ‘Okay if I tweak these numbers, what’s going to be the Play of the Game that gets picked this time?’ So it might’ve been Widowmaker getting three snipes, but I change the weighting on some other aspect that we take as important, and it could all of a sudden its Mercy resurrecting everyone on the point two second before the match ended. It’s going to be an ongoing process, and hopefully we continue to improve it.”
Hamilton also noted that the team is working on its matchmaking algorithm. As time goes by, multiplayer shooters tend to have less daily users from launch. How will the matchmaking account for that? “Obviously, one of the things that’s really hard to test internally is how the matchmaking algorithm going to work when there’s not thirty people playing the game anymore. How does it perform when it’s trying to make somewhat reasonable teams of six versus six. So that’s definitely another thing that we’re watching pretty closely.”
Overwatch will also be receiving its ranked Competitive Play mode in June as part of its first major update. How are you finding the game so far? Let us know in the comments.