Overwatch does a lot right. One feature causing fans to scratch their heads however is none other than how Overwatch showcases Play of the Game. At the end of each match, a clip of the (hopefully) coolest moment in that match plays for both teams.
Often times the clips include a massive killstreak or a large res, but players have already found some characters don’t make it into the Play of the Game as much as others. Speaking with GameSpot, Overwatch Lead Software Engineer Rowan Hamilton took the time to explain what’s happening behind the scenes.
“From a technical standpoint, it’s a really hard problem to have a computer figure out what is cool. They’re not very smart,” he jokes. “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 [that] 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.”
Even now, the team is tweaking with the program. “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 [be] Mercy resurrecting everyone on the point two second[s] before the match ended. It’s going to be an ongoing process, and hopefully we continue to improve it.”
These changes and refinements are nothing new however. Hamilton details a time in development when every Play of the Game was Zenyatta using his ultimate ability, a massive area heal, and just sitting there the entire clip.
Going forward, Blizzard is trying a lot of things to help the Play of the Game system to get better. “We’ve added some stuff recently, such as determining how hard a shot was to hit based on how fast the target was moving, how far away the target was moving,” Hamilton explains.
“So a snipe of someone half a screen away who was just chilling out and waiting to be headshot won’t be weighted as heavily as a Tracer zipping across, barely in sight that you manage to pick off. We’re constantly looking at different things we can add to that.”
This is only the beginning of Overwatch. And if its first week is any indication, there will still be plenty to look forward to in the future. Our review found the character and depth the game offers elevates it beyond just another first-person shooter.
Blizzard recently discussed some of the first balance tweaks that will come to the game. Are you hoping those updates also include some changes to Play of the Game? Let us know in the comments.