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Some of the most common questions people ask when they try out our applications for iOS and Android are: “So, how do I move my Assault Teams around?” and “I can’t join a war!?!”. Both of these points are entirely valid, and we are working on getting that functionality into the respective applications. Before I start the actual implementation, however, we do need to think long and hard about the best way of enabling the users to perform the actions they want — that is, design the user interface we want to implement.
In this post I will focus on some of the issues that arise when you want to fit a fairly complex interaction patterns into touch devices with limited screen real-estate. Since the act of choosing a war can be supported with a simple scrollable list, it is the movement of Assault Teams that really needs our attention.
Well, the OPEN BETA announcement Friday really put our servers on quite a test. We saw issues with auto-generated missions and generally a lot of players were waiting a long time to be able to play missions. And Sunday night at around 21.15 UTC the wars simply stopped and no action missions were spawned.
Shortly after we decided to shut down the servers and we’re currently working at fixing the issues.
It’s a new thing to us to have so many players on the servers, and even though we are trying, we can’t simulate real player’s behaviors accurately enough. So while it is unfortunate that the servers crashes it really isn’t something we can predict. We hope that you can bear with us while we fix the issues and optimize the servers.
Update at 14:37 UTC+1:
We are working as fast as we can to get the servers back up again! Thanks to your diligent testing we found some problems that has to be fixed before we can bring the game back online. Thank you for your continued patience!
Update at 17:11 UTC+1:
Servers are back up! Enjoy the game!
This week has seen a lot of developers brush their hair and put on clean clothes in order to welcome the journalists we had visiting in the beginning of the week and the new Open Beta players that are joining us. We had about 15 journalists visiting to chat with us and see the game, so you should see more press coverage in the next days. We decided to show the game as it is and let the press play on the live servers instead of staging something, so a ‘Thank you’ goes out to all the players that gave the “vestergade0X” accounts a good impression of the game and the community.
In other news – Our free companion app, ‘Heroes & Generals: Mobile Command‘ has gone live on Android as well as iOS. So if you want to follow the progress of the war and discuss strategy with your fellow generals, grab it on either iTunes or the Google Play store. We hope that you can forgive us for this one week delay for the Android version and I (reto.Robotron3000, Ed.) promise that reto.sNell will work EXTRA hard to make sure that a lot of cool new features for the app are coming.
After this push we will also get a bit more time to write blog posts on the site, so expect the news to be to normal in the next week. Oh and we’ve updated the screenshot section with new screens :-)
One of the main database backend servers has decided to start toasting its memory chips. This is a “Bad Thing” and we have a group of highly trained memory-chip replacers working on replacing the faulty memory. We unfortunately haven’t been able to get an estimated time for the fix out of them so far.
Sorry for any inconvenience!
Below is a picture of a German night patrol on MC. I thought it was more interesting to look at than a picture of a broken memory chip
This week has seen the release of the first version of Heroes & Generals: Mobile Command for iOS devices. This allows you to follow the progress of the war and use the chat from your iPhone, iPad etc. The Android version is hot on the heels and is currently going through some last fixes to improve performance and stabilize it on more obscure devices. We plan to continually update Mobile Command to include more and more functionality depending both on what we think is cool, and the feedback we get from you guys.
We have also added a new “white background” version of the forum for those of you who prefer a dark text on a light background as opposed to the default. The style is called HeroesAndGenerals_light and you can use this link to take a look. If you want to change your account to use the light version pr. default, go to “User Control Panel -> Board Preferences”, and change “My Board Style” to “HeroesAndGenerals_light” or click here.
In addition we have been working hard behind the scenes scaling servers, optimizing performance, finding and fixing login (and other) bugs that shows up when we fill the wars up, and run multiple wars simultaneously.
It’s always an interesting process, planning what should go into a new release. We all have a gazillion opinions of what’s the most important new next feature to include, we all have darlings, and it’s not always that we choose new features based on a rock hard business case, meaning – will it make it easier for new players to get started, will it make players stay longer, will help us speed up production moving forward, will it help generating revenue, etc.
So in order tomake the decision process a bit more unbiased, I invented a new ‘game’ which could help us prioritize features in a more impartial way, by quantifying value, cost and risk to all features.
A while ago I fell across a prioritization process called “First Things First” by a process consultant called Karl E. Wiegers, and I used this as a basis for the game – meaning that we’re using a variation of his matrix and calculations to base the prioritizations on. That being said, we don’t dictate what comes into the game based on this alone, but it gives us a sanity check on which features gives us most “bang for the bucks” and which features doesn’t.
But let me try to explain the process…
Our brand new free companion app Heroes & Generals: Mobile Command has now been released for iOS and can be found in Apple App Store:
Heroes & Generals: Mobile Command gives you a realtime overview of the war and in this first version of the app you can access and view the Campaign you’re currently playing. You can see Battlefields, Supply Lines and Assault Teams in realtime, and with the built in chat-client you can stay in touch with your brothers in arms 24/7 from virtually anywhere.
Robotron3000 is still out of the office and expeditioning undiscovered islands, searching profitable wreckage from sunken WW2 ships, leaving this week’s Intelligence Bulletin to me. Even though I mostly know of fighting armies of robots and a certain mad scientist, this week’s theme has been Hansen.
“Hansen”, the name of the Wehrmacht “General der Artillerie” in command of the 16. armee during WWII, is also the name of our upcoming build. We are currently working as fast as we can to get this build ready for you guys to play it. Testing, testing, testing is the word here at Reto-Moto and together with the testers, things are shaping up nicely. The feedback we receive is very important in the development of new builds, and it all helps polishing the game, finding critical issues and balancing the gameplay.
Last but not least we have great news to the iOS people. As some already know access to the strategy game from portable devices is under development, and the mobile iOS app. moving closer to a release. Here is what reto.sNell has to say about it:
“The iOS application is nearly ready for its first release. With it, you can watch the movement of Assault Teams and chat with friends and foes. We are working on getting actual Campaign interaction into an upcoming version. We hope you will enjoy this first release, and look forward to your feedback.”
Rock’n’Roll – Megaman