We are hard at work with new levels with shiny new tools! In today’s post I’ll tell you all about how we work, why it takes time to make a level and what we’ve been doing to remedy this.
You have to consider that for every new, unique environment we want to put in the game, there is a lot of man hours and coordination involved. The environments have been created first, that is, the textures and geological rules for how the terrain features should be generated. A new one of these is a big decision as it takes time to make and affects everything that will go in it. We stick with it for potentially many maps. Then level design and level building is done using one of the environments, and any special models can be planned alongside this. A new environment can also be planned and created alongside a level design. When planning new models, we aim for re-usability, not only to have the option to place it in other levels, but also in case anything should happen to that special level they were made for. If we decided to cut a hypothetical Paris-level, it would be a shame to have a beautiful hypothetical Eiffel-tower just sitting on our hard drives! These are just some of the considerations we need to take into account when we want new map content in the game.
Hansen is alive! The ‘Hansen’ build has fought its way unto the live servers. This is the first new build after going into Open Beta, so it contains a lot of fixes and tweaks. We have also upped the player cap in the action game from 16 vs 16 to 18 vs 18 (so 3 full infantry assault teams can fight on each side). We have also added a lot of back-end robustness and data gathering points to make it easier for us to pin-point and fix future problems and issues.
The new Android version of Mobile Command has made its way through Google’s play store and the iOS version should be ready as I type. We thought (naïvely maybe?) that the submission was faster, but we now know to schedule more time for mobile submissions. We did not submit earlier as we wanted to get as many fixes in as possible.
So now part of the team is working on hot-fixing the Hansen build and another part is getting ready to lock down the featureset for the next major build named Irwin. Then it will go in to the stabilization process as we keep moving forward through the alphabet :-)
Have a great weekend everybody! :-)
The new build named Hansen (after the Danish VC recipient Percy Howard Hansen) is now live. This is the first major build after we went into Open Beta so obviously the focus of this build is bug fixes and tweaks to the servers and backend to hopefully make the game run better, (and also to provide us with more information on things that might break so we can get it fixed).
But it is not ONLY bug fixes and boring stuff behind the scenes, we do have some new stuff in this build as well. :-)
- Improved spawning – you are now invisible for the first 5 seconds to help counter spawn camping etc.
- New Skirmish map – “The Hill” is online.
- “First blood” can be replayed by all your characters.
- Upped player limit from 16 vs 16 to 18 vs 18!
- Lots of small fixes and polish.
Many of you may think that analyzing data and running statistics is dreadfully boring, and you may be right – but for a self-proclaimed geek like myself, I actually enjoy playing around with data – especially if it poses a challenge and on top of that shows some nice or surprising patterns.
My latest “assignment” was quite interesting, as I was investigating mission wins during each played out war. Not only was I looking at faction wins for each mission, I also looked into wins for the different battle types and wins depending on which faction was the defending party.
This week has been a flurry of activity here at Reto-Moto HQ. We have had a lot of new players join us (welcome) and we’ve had interesting challenges with servers not running as solidly as we want them to, so a large part of the people here has spent most of the week (and weekend) working on identifying bottlenecks and making sure everything got back in running order ASAP. Among the rest of us we have spent a lot of time looking at data and statistics from the servers showing what is happening in the game and confirming that the game performs and behaves as expected. We have also gathered a lot of data on player griefing, team killing, resource depletions and other annoyances so we can get the automated banhammers brought into play.
We have a lot of fixes and bits coming together for the ‘Hansen‘ family of builds, and we are working on stabilizing it. This also means that some people have started working on features for the next build family ‘Irwin’.
The Mobile Command app has been generally well received and reto.sNell has gotten a lot of good feedback from the community so we can focus on the most requested features and bug fixes first.
Reto.Lusa has just informed us that “Operation Wild Boar” is about to commence, so enough typing for today.
Have a great weekend everybody! :-)
The focus in Heroes & Generals, as of now, is on the European theater of WWII. With the two factions battling for the other’s capital, the way to success is capturing land. And land in Heroes & Generals means cities. And lots of them.
You see, we really want to reward cooperating and strategic thinking players, and the way to do so, is to make sure that tactical players have an advantage. In the action game, owning more access points means an advantage for the attackers, since it’s harder to defend a city when attackers are coming in from multiple sides, and in the upcoming new battle system and resolver, the amount of access points owned by either faction has a say in the defending and attacking stacks’ combined force.
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!