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2020-08-24, 07:46
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172 posts

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Sep 2013
Teamoverlay is a server side KTX option that enables a client feature. Teamoverlay is a place on the client's HUD that displays status information about a player's team (location, health/armor, weapons).

For historical reasons ("we've always done it this way" ) teamoverlay is generally disabled for teamplay tournaments (2on2, 4on4). To that end some regions of the world (Europe) practice teamplay with this feature disabled.

Meanwhile, outside of tournaments, having teamoverlay enabled has become the status quo (mixes, pickup games, new players, and even competitions in some regions). This has been the case for years. So much so that some players never end up playing without teamoverlay, until they end up in a tournament adhering to the historical norm.

I'd like to make the argument that the status quo should change such that teamoverlay should always be enabled.

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Arguments for making teamoverlay enabled:

1. Teamoverlay is an optional clientside feature.

Optional means you don't need to use it if you don't want to. A team that is used to playing without it, does not gain or lose anything on their own by having the feature enabled. When enabled, it provides a new feature that the team can use to get even better.

In the same way that fakeshaft, crosshairs, team bind colors, and more are optional features in a client that players can use if they wish, teamoverlay is optional feature that someone can use if they wish. Players should choose what suits them best, some teams may even continue to prefer reporting due to the sounds associated with binds.

2. Teamoverlay doesn't actually enable something that clients cannot already do

Clients can already separate team messages from death messages. Clients can already reduce duplicates reports and update a place on the HUD appropriate. A motivated team could get everyone on the same team to make a config that would get something similar to teamoverlay while still adhereing to all rulesets. It just happens to be the case that this already exists today with a serverside command (/teamoverlay) so those that care haven't made the effort to go above and beyond to do this.

In other words, disabling team overlay is security through obscurity. It isn't really disabling the feature, it is just hiding it from those without the means or having spent the time to configure their settings esoterically enough.

In the same way that weapon scripts that help prevent dropping weapons are allowed, teamoverlay is equivalent to sufficient configuration changes.

3. Teamoverlay enhances the quality of teamplay games

In the same way that voice communication ("message mode 3" ) enhanced teamplay quality, I'd argue that teamoverlay ("message mode 3.1" ) eliminates relatively simple status reporting and allows players to focus on higher level gameplay. One particular aspect is allowing a leader to instruct teammates based on understanding the full team's status and their own knowledge of the game state.

This is also supported by the fact that many competitive games today include similiar features. Overlays and even map radars exist in even the most popular competitive games (fortnite, counter strike, pub g, etc.). Enhanced map awareness improves individual decision making which produces higher level games as a result.

While only my opinion, I'd also argue that having overlay enabled adds to the fun. Not having to beg teammates to report status and individually focusing on providing high level voice communication to my team I have more fun knowing we collectively played our best. It has also helped experienced players teach newer players by providing live in game instructions just by better knowledge of team status.

4. Teamoverlay is already the status quo

Teamoverlay is standard in at least the USA and AU. I've heard it is also commonly enabled in EU mixes. New players tend to prefer teamoverlay over learning the antiquated "skill" of reporting their status.

In the same way that other features like fakeshaft became an acceptable norm, I'd argue that teamoverlay has reached that point.

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The arguments I've heard for keeping teamoverlay disabled:

- "Competitions rules today should match competition rules in the past, so that player capabilities should be relatively comparable."

This argument is actually quite poor. Advances in team communication have already happened behind the scenes. Voice ("message mode 3" ), team play bind improvements, and client side improvements (weapon scripting, bug fixing) have all happened over time. Why is this one feature not allowed but the others are?

Imagine if we were all asked to stop playing with a mouse to match historical competitive standards. Standards / rules are meant to evolve.

- "It requires more skill to play with teamoverlay disabled."

Is it more skillful, or is it just a slightly different set of skills? The above statement is more of an opinion than an argument. Again we've already seen that the introduction of voice communication changed the set of skills expected in high performing teams.

I'd rather see competitions where team communication is much higher level instead of games cluttered with relatively basic status reports. I'd like to see players focus on their gameplay and strategy instead of learning how to be good at spamming a key to produce status reports which are commonly ignored by players. I'd like to see new players accel at the game without needing to learn antiquated skills.

- "I'm used to playing with teamoverlay disabled, enabling will help the other team."

This argument, while coherent, doesn't hold much water with me. Both teams get the feature. It takes just a little bit of practice to learn to use the feature or not. In fact, if you're used to playing without and you get teamoverlay, you should do better having the new information available to you! Why does the team that practices without overlay deserve the benefit of having it disabled when the other team is used to practicing with it enabled? Who is hurt more?

Imagine if you were asked to disable your health bar (EDIT: or gameclock) because someone else is used to playing without it. Does that make sense?

(Edited 2020-08-24, 20:55)
2020-08-24, 07:53
Administrator
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Nov 2008
I second this. Just put teamoverlay on by default on every KTX server. If you don't want to use it - don't use it. But us Europeans are the only ones in the world not using it - either learn to adapt or stick to the old ways, it still won't give you a disadvantage. If you prefer reading the reports which we've learned to do in the European region, then keep doing so and the game won't change at all. I might add it to the rules in upcoming tournaments that team overlay is allowed if either team wants it to be. Of course EU vs EU games can always be played without if you still don't want it, but I see no reason whatsoever to forbid people from playing with the overlay as that is the modern standard for any game nowadays.

Adapt or stick to your old ways, it will make absolutely 0 difference for you as a player.

That's my take on it.
2020-08-24, 12:42
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Apr 2017
I'm the total opposite. I rarely play team play because I don't like having to read and spam messages. So I'd happily see team overlay and messagemode2 removed. I like to keep things simple - See bad guy, shoot bad guy...
2020-08-24, 15:40
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Dec 2006
I think your final point would be a better argument if you chose something different than health bar. Health bar (face) has always been visible in QW since day one, whereas teamoverlay is a new feature. I am not suggesting that whether something is a feature out of the box is the sole factor on whether it should be accepted, just that by default the onus should be on proving that original features are not appropriate (and conversely that new features are appropriate) rather than saying that if a new feature isn't permitted then we should remove random original features. To me that's kind of a flawed straw man argument that undermines your position.

I would swap it for something like gameclock which is a new feature not in original QW yet has become accepted. Essentially it is giving you additional information which you wouldn't normally have available. I would say the gameclock debate of yesteryear is the most relevant / synonymous with this one. There's a conservative viewpoint that these features are cheaty because they take away the 'skill' of game awareness and information sharing (item timing, reporting key information). Then there is a liberal viewpoint that these features enhance gameplay because they make information more accessible to everyone and thus players can focus their skill on exploiting that information rather than obtaining/sharing that information.

Gameclock isn't a perfect analogy because due to it's predictability it was possible to emulate this functionality in an automated way using other types of clock whereas teamoverlay provides information which is inherently unpredictable and thus cannot be emulated in an automated way. In other words gameclock was permitted in part because effectively it could not be prevented.
2020-08-24, 16:21
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Apr 2006
I am pro teamoverlay. My points:

- Increases the accessibility of 4on4
- Reduces the impact of having 'mm2 deniers' on your team
- Streamlines mm3 communication
- Shifts focus to other gameplay aspects than status reading/reporting

(Negative) side effects that could be considered too advantageous:
- "Coming" messages obsolete, semi-sound radar function whether enemy or teammate is coming acrossing the corner
- Better item timing on your end as you see your teammates pick up things

Does it change 4on4? Yes, absolutely, there's no doubt about that.
2020-08-24, 16:30
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I propose that there should be a 4on4 to settle the matter!..

Team DefaultOn vs Team DefaultOff...
2020-08-24, 17:15
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Jan 2012
+1 to everything Bogojoker said. I'll keep it short since my thoughts echo his.

Like every other aspect of the game that we have changed over the years and years, it has made GAMEPLAY better and most importantly allowed for true skill to shrine through otherwise muddy netcode or features that the game was shipped with: (fakeshaft, fullbright skins, antilag, the list goes on)

In early Quake TDM days, you had a single key bound to say "NEED" and another key to say "ROCKET LAUNCHER", people quickly developed config scripts to streamline things and had layered systems to allows fewer keys to do more. Later LOCs came about and was programmed into the client alongside many other improvements you bind pressers love. Now you only needed to push one key and it would state where you were, what you needed, and how many enemies were around you. People also began using voice, which enables complex coordination such as "enemy with LG slipping lifts, I'll push him someone wait at exit".

To those that say teamoverlay cheapen the game, I simply say it is but another step of progression towards enhanced teamplay and drilling down to who can work the best together with the same information.

Otherwise, let's get rid of all of the modern conveniences listed above and go back to NetQuake, I hear they need players.
2020-08-24, 17:23
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nQuakesv had it enabled by default for some months, but now its disabled again (by default).

I vote for enabled ofc.
never argue with an idiot. they'll bring you back to their level and then beat you with experience.
2020-08-24, 20:54
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Sep 2013
HangTime wrote:
I think your final point would be a better argument if you chose something different than health bar [...] I would swap it for something like gameclock which is a new feature not in original QW yet has become accepted.


I agree, gameclock is a more apt for the analogy. Thanks.
2020-08-25, 12:57
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Dec 2006
I wonder if there is any appetite for Teamoverlay 2, a mode where locations shown are based on the last %l report from a teammate (and similar for powerups). That way you can easily track teammate status but the onus is still on them to let you know when they are coming or have taken quad, thus reducing the 'wallhack' scenarios. Essentially you could consider this a way of streamlining and consolidating mm2 communication to make it consistently formatted, positioned, persistent etc.

The counter-argument might be that for games with inexperienced or lazy players the locations are frequently outdated, so the main benefit for novice games or where you are playing with poor communicators in mix is impacted.

I brought gameclock to the table because it is a good example of an automation feature that I considered to be removing skill from the game but perhaps my view has softened and it is conceivable I could think the same way about teamoverlay in future. Historically I have valued good mm2 communication and the ability to parse it alongside deathmsgs, sounds etc (giving an extra dimension to skill rather than making everything be about movement, aim and decision making) but maybe with the majority using voice these days it is a bit of an anachronism.
2020-08-27, 07:56
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Jan 2006
I don't like teamoverlay. however if you want the change. just change it.

I guess i will play way better with it on but it's kinda stupid.
2020-08-28, 01:30
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Apr 2012
I would actually play 4v4 is this was allowed.
2020-08-30, 18:24
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Sep 2013
raket wrote:
I guess i will play way better with it on but it's kinda stupid.


This just shows how toxic this mindset is. Players don't even want to play better. Tournament admin's also don't want to have better play in matches.

What is wrong with this community?
2020-08-31, 08:10
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BogoJoker wrote:
raket wrote:
I guess i will play way better with it on but it's kinda stupid.


This just shows how toxic this mindset is. Players don't even want to play better. Tournament admin's also don't want to have better play in matches.

What is wrong with this community?

Because it doesn't necessarily lead to more interesting games just because there would be less mistakes made. It's a bit like SC2 vs Broodwar where they automated a whole bunch of stuff (automining etc) and removed some limitations (12 max unit selection) in the sequel compared to the first game, resulting in more perfect execution and cutthroat gameplay, whereas Broodwar has more of slugger matches because there is so much more stuff to do.
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2020-08-31, 16:52
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Sep 2015
I found it much easier to play when teamoverlay was on, as instead of tracking messages I could just quickly glance down and see if my teammates had weapons/armor etc and then make decisions based on that. So yes I probably played better, but it definitely felt cheap. Can see why people who don't have the had element would be at a disadvantage but then I've played in mixes where people refused to report status and rely on you using /shownick, which isn't obvious either.

Am now getting change requests for ezquake to ban teamoverlay based on ruleset which I don't think would ever work as you'd require everyone to be using a version of the client that blocked it, far better as is where it's a server-based toggle. If it is enabled server-side then a hacked client can use it no matter what the ruleset is reported, if it's off server-side then you know no-one has that data.

Potential 'fixes' to make it less offensive to those who are against it:

- Report what the status was of the teammate 5 or 10 seconds ago, rather than right now (currently your overlay is 0-5 seconds out of date)
- Send less information (don't report powerups? Eyes especially)
- ... am open to other ideas

As to what hangtime suggested: tp_msgXXX binds can be executed server-side now, but have the problems with pointing that antilag has. The next step after that was fixed was to send your tp_msgXXX command down to the client, so that the format of your team's messages would be defined by you, not by them. But that would essentially require all the teaminfo data being sent and there was concern at the time from the better players that this would lose the skill of reporting the right information (can hear Bogo crying already)
2020-09-01, 18:18
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Sep 2013
meag wrote:
So yes I probably played better, but it definitely felt cheap


Does it feel cheap playing with fullbright skins? With about a game clock? Do you use weapon scripts?

Why do you think it felt cheap? Could it be the stigma of the community that you might be playing with?

I can assure you, in the NA region, it doesn't feel cheap to use team overlay, it is (generally) encouraged to help players play better and work together.
2020-09-01, 21:32
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BogoJoker wrote:
Does it feel cheap playing with fullbright skins? With about a game clock? Do you use weapon scripts?


Perhaps 'cheap' was the wrong phrasing here, apologies. In 4v4 games (I don't generally play mixes and hardly play at all any more, but I was playing a lot with the same 3 teammates) I'd have to mentally keep track of the teammate's status, then I'd lose track and have to regroup, ask everyone if they had weapons/armor etc - if I was getting that wrong then I'd be too defensive/aggressive. When teamoverlay was on, I'd simply glance down and instantly know what was going on, so there is next to no penalty for losing awareness like this. It definitely felt like using a get out of jail free card, or at least that's how I used it. (and yes, gameclocks & weapon-scripts were a surprise to me when I started playing again, teamoverlay and /shownick perhaps even more so)

BogoJoker wrote:
I can assure you, in the NA region, it doesn't feel cheap to use team overlay, it is (generally) encouraged to help players play better and work together.


Well here's the other side of the argument: In mixes I found it very frustrating to not have it on and then have people play with very different comms standards (example from before: in mix I stood defending YA with teammate, they were stoically looking at GL stairs... I reported several times, pointed at them several times, no reaction whatsoever. yellow spawns, repeat. Give up after this has gone on for over 10 seconds, go to take yellow, get shot by teammate with rocket launcher he refused to tell me he had... presumably I was supposed to use /shownick which I didn't know about, and he had no responsibility to report anything).

I'm not against teamoverlay, but can see why reason people value having it off. I'm not sure it's just "we've always done it this way" but more "there should be a penalty for losing track of your team"... with teamoverlay on, you're only ever penalised for losing track of the enemy.
2020-09-01, 22:50
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Sep 2013
meag wrote:
I'm not against teamoverlay, but can see why reason people value having it off. I'm not sure it's just "we've always done it this way" but more "there should be a penalty for losing track of your team"... with teamoverlay on, you're only ever penalised for losing track of the enemy.


I'd push back on this a bit. Having teamoverlay on doesn't make you immediately aware of your team at all times. Players still need to use it and learn that skill. Otherwise completely unnecessary team kills will (and DO) still happen. Team overlay is also not a substitution for clear communication. Just think of how many times people are shooting at eachother, with overlay on, not realizing they are fighting their own team. Or a teammate dies to a rocket but spawns across the map and you don't know where they died... overlay actually hurts here.

I don't think the penalty for losing track of your team is as high as people think it is, but I do admit it is non-zero. To add to that, I think for games where it matters, voice communication will still trump all of this, so I think it is increasingly hypocritical to discourage team overlay if we allow (and even encourage) voice communication.
2020-09-02, 11:08
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Feb 2012
BogoJoker wrote:

I'd push back on this a bit. Having teamoverlay on doesn't make you immediately aware of your team at all times. Players still need to use it and learn that skill.


It is easier to learn to look at teamoverlay then to read various vanishing mm2 (which you still need to do, voice communication or not).

It takes away the necessity to communicate a lot of things - and by communicate I mean either voice or mm2. Even if communication is perfect in mm2 and voice (which it never is, even at the very top level. Look at any "allstar" games with team voice comms, you'll see best 4on4 players ever missing to say or report things or to read and listen to things - and it affects the result).

It removes communication delay, a few seconds of it - which can be absolutely vital in 4on4.

It also, on top of just being instantly up to date, allows you to extrapolate with high degree of probability where the enemies are. You very rarely have that clear picture with mm2 and voice. Problem is being outdated just for a few seconds, which it took someone to relay something, is already a lot. Without teamoverlay there simply is no way to just look somewhere and update yourself in basically 1-2 seconds. It's not just about the player receiving the information, it's also about 3 other people having to provide that information which they will rarely be able to do just on your demand when you lost track of things. With teamoverlay you don't need to remember a lot of things anyone wrote or said - you can just look and understand immediately. Sure, timings are exempt, but not the player intentions to hold something, attack something, e.t.c.

Is teamoverlay a perfect tool that makes you a great 4on4 player out of a noob? No, of course not. QW is too fast and chaotic for that. Will it reduce the number of teamplay mistakes by artificially reducing the necessity to communicate constantly, precisely and economically? Yes. Is it a good thing? Well, this is what this argument eventually always boils down to. In my opinion - no, it is not a good thing. It takes time and practice to polish communication within a team and it is a thing that can always be improved. Teamoverlay makes that easier. I do not see any reason to make it easier with artificial means.

Nearly every 4on4 tournament that I remember in recent memory has allowed teamoverlay for lowest div. We don't get many newcomers, those few we do have we cherish and try to help as much as we can. But I've been there myself, fairly recently, some 5-6 years ago when I started playing 4on4. I didn't want to use teamoverlay even then, because I instantly understood that for me what it takes away from the game is an interesting part that I like to have in- uncertainty. I love the chaos, the inevitable imprecision of communication, the guesswork one must do because of it - and the rewarding feeling these successful probabilistic judgement calls yield. I accept not having immediate information on demand as a challenge to improve team communication (part of the reason I vastly prefer playing in teams rather then mixes).

Also, isn't teamoverlay already on by default on vast majority of servers in EU?.. I mean, nearly every tournament game there's a hassle to turn it off by voting after every map change...
“If I wanted you to understand it, I would have explained it better.” (c) Johan Cruyff
2020-09-02, 12:11
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Nov 2006
What Drake said. It changes gameplay. Teamoverlay is wallhack.

BogoJoker wrote:
Does it feel cheap playing with fullbright skins? With about a game clock? Do you use weapon scripts?

Fullbright skins: Debatable.
Gameclock: This is necessary or else people would use an external app clock overlay.
Weapon scripts: What kind of sripts? Only thing I see that feels a bit cheap is cl_weaponhide.
2020-09-02, 12:39
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Sep 2006
Thanks Drake for that reply. You saved me the time I didn't want to waste typing it.
2020-09-02, 12:45
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Feb 2012
Milton wrote:
Thanks Drake for that reply. You saved me the time I didn't want to waste typing it.


It's actually precisely the reason I went for it, seeing how top players rarely come to discuss those things nowadays, as they've been discussed hundreds of times before... still felt necessary to type.
“If I wanted you to understand it, I would have explained it better.” (c) Johan Cruyff
2020-09-04, 05:08
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Sep 2013
Drake wrote:

It is easier to learn to look at teamoverlay then to read various vanishing mm2 (which you still need to do, voice communication or not).


As I mentioned in my original post I consider this aspect to be primarily a configuration issue.

Drake wrote:

Nearly every 4on4 tournament that I remember in recent memory has allowed teamoverlay for lowest div. We don't get many newcomers, those few we do have we cherish and try to help as much as we can. But I've been there myself, fairly recently, some 5-6 years ago when I started playing 4on4. I didn't want to use teamoverlay even then, because I instantly understood that for me what it takes away from the game is an interesting part that I like to have in- uncertainty. I love the chaos, the inevitable imprecision of communication, the guesswork one must do because of it - and the rewarding feeling these successful probabilistic judgement calls yield. I accept not having immediate information on demand as a challenge to improve team communication (part of the reason I vastly prefer playing in teams rather then mixes).


I'll try to have a short response. I find your paragraph to be both the best honest argument made against teamoverlay and yet is also one of the best arguments for it.

Much of your comment described the imperfection of communication. This snippet describes your enjoyment and pride in playing under those conditions and you feel teamoverlay would lessen that. I believe you, and understand your experiences as I've been there. However, in my personal experience, having played with both settings a lot, the reward does not feel less. The imperfect communication still exists, the fundamental qw gameplay still exists, the necessary and heroic team communication still happens. I'm proud every time I call out an enemy rl and the team responds to take them out =).

My argument remains that teamoverlay doesn't change the fundamental aspects of working as a team on voice. I hear the arguments against, but every time I do I shake my head knowing that my very experience does not match. I'm failing to find an analogy. Its like we are arguing about the damage of the nail gun while ignoring the fact that everyone is using lg instead because it is WAY more powerful.

Finally, if we admit that we are training new players to use teamoverlay but disallowing it later on, are we setting new players up for failure?
2020-09-04, 05:08
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MatriX wrote:
What Drake said. It changes gameplay. Teamoverlay is wallhack.


Aren't all team messages wallhacks? Isn't voice communication a wall hack?

I guess I do not understand what is the actual skill is that is being lost.

MatriX wrote:
Weapon scripts: What kind of scripts? Only thing I see that feels a bit cheap is cl_weaponhide.


Correct.
2020-09-04, 10:58
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Jul 2013
BogoJoker wrote:
MatriX wrote:
What Drake said. It changes gameplay. Teamoverlay is wallhack.


Aren't all team messages wallhacks? Isn't voice communication a wall hack?


I don't see information being given to you by somebody else playing the game on your team as a "hack"

having the game spoon feed you information that paints a picture of the entire map is different.

I'm 100% with Drake
2020-09-04, 18:17
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Edit: !@#
2020-09-07, 23:26
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BogoJoker wrote:
Finally, if we admit that we are training new players to use teamoverlay but disallowing it later on, are we setting new players up for failure?

Possibly, but that might be a partial or short-lived failure whereas them quitting the game entirely would be a complete failure. Essentially teamoverlay might give them a leg up whilst they are still learning the basic mechanics like movement, weapons, map layout, item timing etc.

Not totally sold on it though, arguably it's best to get everyone trained using the proper settings so they aren't learning bad habits / will focus more on good comms habits.
2020-09-12, 10:18
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Jan 2016
Teamoverlay OFF

I could post my constructive arguments as to why, but it seems like someone is beheading everyone not agreeing.
2020-09-12, 11:04
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BogoJoker wrote:

...AND MY AXE!
2020-09-15, 10:46
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Nov 2008
HangTime wrote:
BogoJoker wrote:
Finally, if we admit that we are training new players to use teamoverlay but disallowing it later on, are we setting new players up for failure?

Possibly, but that might be a partial or short-lived failure whereas them quitting the game entirely would be a complete failure. Essentially teamoverlay might give them a leg up whilst they are still learning the basic mechanics like movement, weapons, map layout, item timing etc.

Not totally sold on it though, arguably it's best to get everyone trained using the proper settings so they aren't learning bad habits / will focus more on good comms habits.


The issue is when everyone but the Europeans have already learned those bad habits and are used to playing with it. It would be equal to removing the game clock for us Europeans. Yeah, we would still be able to play but our timings wouldn't be nearly as precise as they are now (quads, pents etc).

Unfortunately what you call bad habits is what the rest of the world outside our EU bubble have been playing with for years... Perhaps it's us Europeans that have learned a bad habit of playing without it.

There have been many things throughout QuakeWorld history that have been considered hacks. Game clock, antilag, even team says (e.g you can turn off your monitor, walk into red on dm3 and die and press your "lost" keybind and it will report the amount of enemies in there. Is that not cheating as you're not manually counting the enemies?).

I'm for evolving even though I'm perfectly fine with myself or teams playing without teamoverlay, but because the scene has recently changed from being basically an EU-only scene to an international one, we may have to adapt to get more competitive games. Remember, the teamoverlay wouldn't only be for non-EU teams, EU teams would have it too and I think people believe it to make a bigger difference in-game than it actually does.

Either way, no team from outside EU will ever be competitive against EU teams without teamoverlay on, so I guess it's up to tournament admins to decide whether they want the participation of non-EU teams or not.
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