All posts by Fizzer

Quickmatch part 2

Part 2 of the Quickmatch system is now live! If you haven’t read part 1, make sure you read that first.

This update includes template voting, meaning that the community can now decide what templates the quickmatch system makes available for its games.

Of course, you don’t have to play on all templates, as you can simply uncheck the templates you don’t like.

How does voting work?

Quickmatch can have up to 40 templates. The first 6, currently, are reserved by WarLight so that we can control the newbie experience. Note that we reserve the right to take up to the first 10 for the newbie experience in the future, but right now we’re only taking 6. The rest of the templates are decided entirely by vote.

Once you win 40 quickmatch games, you’ll unlock your first vote as well as access to the voting section of the game. By winning more games, you’ll unlock more votes, up to a maximum of 10 votes.

You can put your votes into any template, up to a maximum of 3 votes on a single template. You can take your votes back out of a template at any time, so you can always change your mind and move them around.

Once every 24 hours, the votes are tallied and each template is assigned a rank from 1 to 40. Those 40 templates will be the ones available to quickmatch that day.

Votes are public. Every template will show how many votes it has and who put those votes in.

Players who stop playing WarLight for two months will have their votes automatically removed from templates. They can always put them back in, but having them auto removed helps ensure the current votes accurately reflect the will of the community that still plays.

As long as you have at least one free vote, you can propose a new template. By default, the system will put up to 3 of your votes into it, but you don’t have to keep them there.

In the future, we’ll auto-delete templates with 0 votes, as it means even their creator didn’t care about them. This part won’t be implemented until templates stabilize.

When proposing a new template, you should set it to real-time and set the boot you’d like to see real-time games on that template use. Multi-day boot times will always be 25 hours. Be sure to set the number of players in the template based on how many players should be in the game (add 2 players/open seats for a 1v1, more for FFAs or team games). Note that autoboot and respect vacations are always enabled.

When you unlock templates in quickmatch, you’re actually unlocking a rank. For example, if you’ve unlocked 12 templates (including the starter one you get for free), you’ve unlocked the rights to the 12 templates that you specifically unlocked plus the top 12 templates by rank. This means if a new template moves into rank 12 due to votes changing, you’ll automatically get it with your next quickmatch win while still progressing towards unlocking the next rank.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Sneak peek: Quickmatch!

Quick-what? It’s quickmatch!

Quickmatch is a new way of being matched into multi-player WarLight games with your fellow players. The goal is to quickly and easily get you into a fun game of WarLight that you will enjoy.

Quickmatch will officially launch along with the new Unity client, but a preview is available today. Read below for more details.

How does it work?

When you click the “Give me a real-time game” button, quickmatch will find equally skilled opponents for you and start the game. Unlike the real-time ladder, which can take up to five minutes to find an opponent, quickmatch is designed to be instantaneous.

Although you can think of quickmatch as a better real-time ladder, it’s much more than that. For one thing, it supports multi-day games, too! Further, it won’t be required to be unlocked and will be usable by players of all skill and experience levels. In fact, one of its goals is to make it easy for new WarLight players to start playing multi-player, without having to hunt through a list of confusing open games.

Quickmatch will also replace the need for auto games, both the normal and coin ones. When joining a quickmatch game, you can specify how many coins you’re willing to wager, and the quickmatch system will find a coin opponent for you. Coins will never be required to play quickmatch, but it’s an option for those who do use coins.

Ratings

When you complete a game, like a ladder, you’re rated based on your performance. However, the ratings are much more in-depth. Instead of just having a single rating like the ladders, you’ll get a rating per template, a rating for all real-time games, a rating for all multi-day games, a rating for all 1v1 games, a rating for all team games, a rating for all FFA games, and even a rating for the country you play from!

That’s a lot of ratings! But you don’t need to worry about any of that. You just play games you enjoy, and the quickmatch system will produce all sorts of interesting data for nerds showing what types of games you excel in. Quickmatch uses this data to match you up against equally skilled players.

What settings does it use?

That’s the best part!

At any time, you can open up your quickmatch settings and see a list of all the templates, with a check-box next to each. You can check the templates you like and uncheck the templates you don’t like, as you’ll only ever get games on the templates you check.

If you only like one template, then check just that one and you’re guaranteed to get a game on it. You’re always in full control of what templates you play.

But really, what settings does it use?

No, wait, THIS is the best part!

The templates will be decided on by the community by voting. As you play quickmatch games, you’ll eventually unlock votes you can use to vote on templates. Anyone can also propose new templates to be voted on, and you can move your votes around at will if you change your mind.

The top 30 templates with the most votes will be the templates used by quickmatch. So this list should always reflect the will of the community, and can change dynamically as new templates get invented.

30 templates? Isn’t that a lot?

You may have heard me say before that the reason the real-time ladder is limited to 10 templates is to not overwhelm new players. As quickmatch is designed both for new players and veterans, there needs to be a way to ensure that new players don’t get overwhelmed.

The solution to that problem is simple: When you first join the quickmatch system, you have only one template unlocked. As you win games, you’ll unlock more and more templates, which you can choose to use or not use.

This provides the best of both worlds: we can have lots of templates available for experienced players to choose from, while newbies avoid being overwhelmed and can learn new templates at their own pace.

30 is just the starting number, I suspect that eventually we can raise this even higher.

Want to try it now?

The member-only alpha of the Unity client has a sneak peek of the quickmatch system. Not all features are complete yet, but you can start playing multi-day games through it and start unlocking templates today. Try it out and let me know what your thoughts are!

Ending Coin Withdrawals

In two months from the date of this announcement, it will no longer be possible to withdraw WarLight coins into cash.

While I’m sad to see this feature go, it is a necessary change to allow WarLight to move forward.

The last day withdrawing will be allowed is October 15th, 2017. If you have coins you’re planning to withdraw, be sure you do so on or before that date.

Does this mean coins are gone?

No!

While it may seem like a subtle change to simply turn off withdraws, this actually has a big affect on how coins can be used.

It means we can give away coins more freely. This will transform coins from something that only a small percentage of the players use to something everyone can use, not just paying customers.

It means the rules around coins and coin games can be significantly less strict.

It means coins can become much easier to use. Less headache, more fun.

The future is bright

Lots of great things are happening soon. Stay tuned for more announcements!

Sneak Peek: Commerce Games!

A new game mode has been added to WarLight!

In commerce games, instead of receiving armies per turn, all players receive gold per turn. For example, if you capture Central America which used to be worth 3 armies per turn, you’ll instead get 3 gold every turn. You can then use that gold to buy armies.

While it may seem like a subtle change, this actually has big implications on the game and allows for new strategic features to be introduced which couldn’t have existed in the old model. For example, you can decide not to spend all your gold every turn, and instead save it for future turns where you can then deploy more and surprise your opponent.

What’s more is that WarLight allows you to customize the cost of armies. By default, armies cost 1 gold for the first 10 you buy in each turn, 2 gold for the next 10, 3 gold for the next 10, etc. This multiplier means that armies are more expensive as you buy more, which helps balance against people who save their gold for future turns.

Cities

But wait, there’s more! In commerce games, players can also build cities on their territories. Cities produce one gold every turn for their owners in tax revenue. This gives a way of players of investing in the future.

Ensure you build your cities on territories that are well-defended! However, by default, cities cost 5 gold plus one additional gold for each city already on that territory. This gives you reason to spread out your cities, and not pile them all on the most defensible territory.

Cities open up interesting strategic opportunities. Each player needs to balance how much of their income they want to invest into cities and how much into armies, as investing too much into cities leaves them vulnerable to capture by an opponent who invested heavily in armies. Investing too much in armies could find you outmatched by an opponent who can out-spend you.

Want to try it now?

An alpha version of commerce games are available today in WarLight’s Unity client! The Unity client is being developed to replace the iOS, Android and Flash versions of the game. Try it today and let me know what you think!

Commerce games will be officially released at the same time as the Unity client.

Designed with Mods in mind

WarLight’s new modding framework is doing great, with 27 public mods already that affect the game in all sorts of interesting ways. Commerce games are designed to fit in well with mods, and mods will be able to add their own purchasable items. Mods will easily be able to do things like let players buy/sell/trade territories, treaties, cards, special units, and anything else you can imagine!

Official support for commerce game mods will be added in the next update.

Goodbye Flash ads

Hello!

If you’ve been following along on the forum thread, you know that WarLight’s new Unity client has been making a ton of progress! The Unity client is designed to replace the Flash, iOS, and Android versions of WarLight with a shiny new client that does more, better, faster, stronger, etc.

The Unity app is a very different beast since it was introduced it on this blog back in January. The app now has almost complete feature parity with the old clients. There’s still a lot to do before it’s good enough to be officially released, but if you want to try it out or make the switch today, there’s an alpha version available now for members.

As announced previously, one of the reasons WarLight must move away from Flash is because Flash is a dying platform. Google is trying it’s darnedest to kill it off, and one way they’re doing this is by discontinuing the ability to run ads from their ad network within a Flash app. WarLight has historically shown these ads and they actually make up a pretty sizable chunk of the revenue it needs to keep the servers alive.

Since Flash ads are no longer an option, I’ve made changes to the game today to replace them with html ads. These come in two forms: a vertical banner ad that sits beside the game, and interstitial ads that play before starting a single player level. Personally, I preferred the format of the Flash ads since they were closable, but Google’s decision to kill them off is understandable.

I understand that nobody likes ads, and honestly I wish I didn’t have to put them in the game at all. In WarLight’s first five years, it never showed a single ad! But that was not sustainable, as the game lost money every year.

If you don’t like ads, think of it this way: ads are what enable WarLight to be free. If ads didn’t exist, didn’t work, or if everyone ran adblock, WarLight would have to be a paid game. It costs over $1,000 per month just to keep WarLight’s servers online, and that money has to come from somewhere. Of course, players always have the option of getting a membership to play ad-free, which also gives you full access to the new Unity client!

Regarding the Unity client, I’m working hard to try to get it released as soon as possible. There are still a few unannounced surprises, so stay tuned — exciting things are coming!

Update 3.17.2: Small update

WarLight has just been updated to version 3.17.2! This is a small update to fix some bugs and add some minor features. Our primary mission is still to ship the Unity app, as covered in the previous blog post. This update is just a small break from that mission. Here’s what’s changed:

– Lifetime membership can now be purchased again by this secret link.
– Added the ability to turn off the tournament-ended email on the Change Notifications page.
– Updated the color of the dots on the multi-player dashboard so it’s always possible to tell when a player hasn’t moved yet.
– Updated the About page to credit the artist of the cards and special units.
– Fixed a bug with history that caused pressing the left arrow hotkey to take you to picks instead of the previous turn in some games.
– Fixed a bug that caused an error on games that were ended just after picks if you opened history to the first turn and attempted to change perspective.
– Fixed a bug that caused players who had been booted on the winning team of a team game to show as having income when they, in fact, had no territories.

Update 3.17.1: Small update

WarLight has just been updated to version 3.17.1! This is a small update to fix some bugs and add some minor features. Here’s what’s changed:

– Added a “Play Random” button to the top of the Community Levels page. This button will play a random community level that you have not beaten.
– Inverted the order of seasons on the seasonal ladder page.
– Tweaked forum voting: The threshold for hiding/promoting posts within a thread is now less than the threshold for hiding/promoting threads.
– Fixed a bug that caused custom single player games created off of a template to not save.
– Fixed a bug with the “jump to last page” link in the clan forum.

Update 3.17: Forum voting, liking single player levels

WarLight has just been updated to version 3.17.0! This blog post describes what’s changed.

Forum Voting

All forum posts and threads now have voting buttons next to them, allowing players to up-vote or down-vote posts/threads. The goal is to increase the visibility of the good content that’s being posted, and decrease the visibility of the content that’s being posted that players aren’t interested in.

WarLight needs your help to clean up the forums! Visit the forum and begin voting! All players should vote based on whether or not you think the WarLight community will find the content of the post interesting, enjoyable, or useful. You should be careful not to let your own prejudices affect your voting, such as voting based on how much you like a player/clan/etc. You shouldn’t necessarily downvote just because you disagree with the opinion stated.

All voting does right now is highlight or hide posts/threads. If a post/thread is upvoted beyond a threshold, it will become promoted which highlights it. If a post/thread is downvoted beyond a threshold, it will become hidden by default. Hidden posts/threads can still be viewed by clicking on their link.

Voting on the top post in a thread is the same thing as voting on the thread.

Votes by members and high level player count more than low level non-members. This helps ensure that players can’t use alts to artificially increase their votes. This also gives another benefit to being high level, as every level you gain increases the amount of voting power you have, and there’s no limit. You are expected to only vote on any given post/thread once. People that abuse the voting system will find their voting rights revoked.

The way that forum posts are shown on the Community and MultiPlayer Dashboard changed with this update, too. After notable posts, it now shows the highest voted threads from the most recent 100 threads.

Community Level Likes

It’s now possible to “like” a single player community levels! This helps reward level creators who make great levels.

When you finish a level, the red end-game window that pops up will prompt you to give the creator a “like”. The community level page itself allows giving or taking away likes, and the number of likes are displayed next to the level on the Community Levels page.

Other Changes

– The “Community Events” section on the Community tab now shows just the first few with a “Show All” link to show the rest.
– The 30-second autopilot penalty now only applies if you took less than 1 minute to commit.
– The “Live now” twitch ad at the top now displays the streamer’s full name in the tooltip.
– Fixed a bug that caused custom single player games created off of a template to not save.
– Fixed a bug in discussion posts that caused links to not be clickable when they multiple links were listed in a row.
– Fixed an issue that occurred when a single player level is won when no internet connection is available and therefore can’t be recorded. WarLight now remembers the win and attempts to record it as soon as an internet connection is available again.
– Fixed a bug that caused new single player level results to not show on profiles.
– Fixed a bug that allowed going over your maximum number of open games.
– Fixed a bug that caused an error if a switch-perspective hotkey was used while looking at picks of a finished game.
– Fixed a bug that allowed joining a team ladder while one of the teammates was on vacation.
– Fixed a bug that caused an error on some boss levels in some locales.
– Fixed a bug that caused an error while using multi-attack while not signed in.
– The “Automatically start game once all players join” setting now says “multi-day games only” next to it.

Update 3.16: Export a game to YouTube, Strategy Forum, Community Events

WarLight has just been updated to version 3.16.0! This blog post describes what’s changed.

Export a game to YouTube

WarLight can now make a video out of your games! When a multi-player game finishes, you’ll see a new “Export to YouTube” button.

Here are some samples:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xw_GNXhBTQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFx88MRF1rs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pECrNHDnEU

Try it out today by going to past games, picking a game, clicking “Game Summary” in the upper left then “Export to YouTube.”

Strategy Forum

WarLight has a new forum for discussing all things related to WarLight strategy, both single-player and multi-player.

Just another forum? NO! This forum is fundamentally different from the other forums in that the strategy forum is moderated. Volunteers from the community have agreed to help organize this forum to try and increase it’s quality level. Moderators have the ability to hide posts or threads. This will make the thread or post hidden by default for all viewers. Hidden threads and posts can still be viewed by clicking on them, in addition to viewing the reason why it was hidden. Moderators can also change thread subject lines.

This is an experiment to see how well this kind of moderation works on WarLight.