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Last Team Observing Explained, How To Not Break Recorded Games As Obs
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post Mar 17 2021, 08:17 AM
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How To Not Break Recorded Games While Observing With Multiple People

The functionality described in this post has been present since Voobly Balance Patch 2.0. All the maps in the fastrandom set support this functionality (Painted Desert only since VBP 5.0).
The same kind of functionality has also been present in vanilla (if you have the right map files) for a long time where it works precisely the same as described below (but lacking a "real" observer of course).

This functionality has become known as "third team observing" but this isn't technically correct. It's the last team which become observers not the third team (first 2 teams are exempted from this mechanic). But since 99,9% of the games are either 1v1 or team games with 2 opposing teams the observers will automatically be in the third team, hence the name.

What Does It Do?
There is a bug in AoT that will corrupt recorded games if you have 2 or more real observers in a match. Very clever map scripting is used to circumvent this bug and still be able to have multiple observers in a match. A player can have himself marked as a "fake observer" and be spawned in the map without any buildings / units which allows him to look around but not impact the game in any way. The fake observer will show up in the score overview but he will have 0/0 score.

- As a fake observer you can not use the observer commands like !t or !1.
- When spectating a rated 1v1 game in this way the match will automatically become unrated. This is because Voobly sees that 3 players were present in the game and you're on a 1v1 ladder which Voobly does not accept and it will not award any points (Voobly can detect real observers).
- When spectating a rated team game in this way you as the fake observer will always lose points. This is because the fake observers are manually defeated at the end of the game. Voobly does not recognize that you were not playing but merely observing. And thus it will regard you as a player on the losing team.

How To Set It Up In The Lobby:

The first example is of how to not do it, if you start a game this way the recorded game willl be corrupted!

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Now how to do it correctly:

The way this whole thing works is that the last team that gets generated by the game will be the fake observer, like so:

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The first player "VBPStaff" is a real observer, the game doesn't generate a team for real observers so his position absolutely doesn't matter at all ever. Then we have 2 standards who will be playing in the game. ComeToPapa is the 4th player in the lobby and the third team that gets generated by the game, he will thus be observing since he is on the last team. Note that ComeToPapa is not team 3 in the lobby. The team indications which you see ingame have absolutely nothing to do with this entire process.

The following picture shows a lobby setup that will make it so that the bottom standard will be observing. This is because the game generates a team for ComeToPapa (team 1), then a team for the first standard (team 2), then a team for the second standard (team 3). And since people on the 3rd generated team are observers this second standard will become the observer. Note again that the team numbers which are given in the lobby do not matter!

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Team games function exactly the same as 1v1. Below is a picture of how to correctly observe a 3v3 team game.

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You may be confused because there are still 4 players below ComeToPapa (he will be observing).
But if you look closely you see that those 4 players belong to either team 1 or team 2 (the game generated ones not the ingame numbers even though they match up in this example). In team games you must just make sure that the 2 teams that are playing are generated before you insert the fake observer. The fake observer could in this example swap with any of the players in spots 5/8 and it would still work. He can however not swap with any of the players in spots 2/3 since that would mean his team gets generated too early and he will be playing!

Team games are often played with people choosing the ? as a team number, as shown below. If you do this it becomes impossible to insert a fake observer because the fake observer will get teammates assigned to him. Which means somebody will be observing (automatically assigned to the third team) who was meant to play.

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As a fun fact, you can actually have multiple fake observers in your game.

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You can observe games with whatever amount of playing teams in it, as long as the observer(s) are the last team that get generated it will work. So you could have a FFA with 11 players and 1 observer. If the observer is in position 12 in the lobby it will work fine.

This post has been edited by Ippert: May 14 2021, 09:58 AM

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