Tuesday, July 28, 2015

On Allowing "Incomplete" Replays

Since Clan Tools started allowing replays to be uploaded, it has only ever permitted "complete" replays. Typically, a replay will be complete if the player doesn't exit the battle before it ends. Sometimes though, replays don't save correctly which also results in incomplete replays.

The problem with using incomplete replays is they simply don't contain enough data to work, not to mention much of the data that does exist is far from ideal in format.

In short: Unless WG changes the replay format, allowing incomplete replays to be uploaded is highly unlikely.

However, I do have an alternative idea that would be better than nothing. The ability to grant a code to the clan members in an uploaded replay. In this case, the replay wouldn't be saved, but it would still allow for one of the core purposes of replay uploading.

Technical Details

The core problem is Clan Tools uses the unique battle ID (which isn't included in incomplete replays) in the replay to identify individual battles. Identifying the battle the replay is for in any other way, especially with the very small amount of incomplete data from incomplete replays, is going to be an error prone process on which I have no interest in embarking upon.

Other issues with the data include:

  • The only timestamp is a formatted time string in the user's local timezone, with no timezone information present. There's a "probably would work" way around this by requiring the uploader to also be the person who recorded the replay, and requiring them to have their timezone set on Clan Tools.
  • Player list only includes player names, not player IDs. For clan members, these names can easily be translated to player IDs (in most cases). For the other team (which isn't even listed in clan wars due to fog of war) I honestly wouldn't bother as it isn't important.

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