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Dev blog 2nd June 2017

Current progress, and why the last update took a little longer to finish

So, in the last dev blog a fortnight ago, I said "We've also got an update coming soon, most likely early next week." So why did we only get that update out yesterday, nearly a week after I anticipated?

The short answer is we kept finding bugs in the key/chest mechanics. Here's a few things we found and had to fix: Being able to open multiple chests simultaneously; Chest and Key counts being incorrect after opening; Bundles of keys being treated as a single key when counting the number of keys owned; Inventory not being updated after purchasing keys via the steam overlay; "You've got new items" popup not appearing after a match.

That last one is interesting because the new item popup was also a new feature. We did the work for that feature, we tested it, and it was in our list marked "done". It was only when we did a final pass through everything that we discovered a change needed for the chest system broke the new item popup. I've talked about regression testing in previous blogs. This is why we do it.

Anyway, we found more bugs, which pushed us out of our preferred release window. We try to deploy releases at a time where the most number of people are available to make fixes it if things go wrong, while also being at a time that will cause the least disruption to players in terms of server updates. Because some of the team are part-time, and are all in different time zones, that gives us surprisingly few good release windows. We've tended towards Wednesday or Thursday mornings (GMT), and you'll see that going back in our update history.

So with that update out, what's left?

The biggest challenge for us making sure we can handle the anticipated load for the F2P release. We've got some stats from other similar titles in terms of total and simultaneous player numbers, which gives us something to aim for, and we have been running load tests to make sure we can hit those numbers. If things grow beyond that, we have some contingency plans that will buy some time, and a few ideas on how we rewrite the system if needed.

We'll be reviewing the item and chest drop rates once we have some data to review. Picking drop rates is a dark art, and it's very hard to anticipate the consequences of a particular drop rate in terms of the overall number of items people have.

In the game, the only big new feature to come is the taunt wheel. Now you can easily let everyone know how much you rule when you score, or during the pre-match lineup. I am looking forward to seeing some creative dance moves from organised teams at the start of matches.

The backer shop is pretty much done. Anyone who backed the game should expect an email in the next few weeks.

Other than that, we're polishing and tweaking what we can and getting nervous.