Dev Blog 4. July 2018

Release is coming closer

We have just two more features on the todo list.

One of them is that you can run matches in a party with up to 10 people and determine on which side everyone is. So I can for example invite 7 friends and put 4 on each team. Then we will play with 1 stranger each, or a bot if no fitting human is there. This feature is quite important because starting a match the way you want to was only possible in lobbies, and in those we have no bot support to fill in the gaps.

The other missing feature is that you can play normal matches while being queued for ranked. This is important because ranked matches with new players never happened because they expect a match within seconds, but they would need to queue for 20-30 minutes to get the first match going. The follow up matches happen much more quickly, but to spark the flame can take a while.

Apart from that there will be some translations (mainly Russian and Chinese should be relevant), and the rest is polishing of existing things.

How far the game can make it, I dunno. We are measuring every day how many matches on average all new users have. This helps us measure how well new features affect new players drive to keep on playing.

2 weeks ago we set a new record. New users played 4.2 matches that day. When we started recording this data in september 2017 it was 1.2 - 1.9 matches per new user. We've almost constantly tripled that number by now. On the average day its like 3.3. This is the collaborative effect of a lot of changes, like personal goals (we know they are buggy but will be fixed soon), like finding another match in udk without going back to the launcher and more.

And just to be sure incase you get this wrong: those new users lose interest in the game before having seen the launcher once. They get into the tutorial and from there right into their first match.
Which brings me to the biggest problem the game has in my opinion: it's just too damn hard and I have no idea what to do about it.

Let me explain it this way: in a shooter you have the goal to get to a certain object or to kill someone or destroy something. You go straight to that objective and do as you've been told.
In Rocket League you just hit the ball towards the other goal - the controls are so hard for new users, that nothing more can be asked - and it's just alright to do it like that.

People approach Supraball the same way - they go straight for the objective and don't look left or right: They try to get the ball and shoot at the goal, but this game just doesn't work like that. Anything but the direct way to your objective is fine in most cases. And if you don't do the right thing (quickly passing to someone mostly) you will get punished. Smashed to the ground, knocked out.

To solve this problem for beginners, the entire gameplay concept would need to be turned on its head and it would be an entirely different game. We don't want that of course. We love the complexity and how much teamplay is required. But it's just really hard for newbs to get instant satisfaction as everyone of us expects to get it from a new game. If a game doesn't satisfy me in the first few minutes I am not gonna play more of it, or do you?

There is one thing we can try. I've told you over half a year ago about the new KO system, which is way less punishing. The system is also nearly done and can be tested then. What it does is, hitting an opponent ball owner kicks back that player and leaves the ball where he was. Only in rare occasions is there a knockout (in the box and when kicked into walls). So when the new player gets knocked in this new system, he will just get pushed back and lose the ball but his gameplay is not interrupted.

So long!