Dev Blog 15 September 2017

News on the next update, our next features, and when ranked play will arrive.

Well it's been an interesting couple of weeks. We peaked at 600 simultaneous players (5k daily total), and have stabilised at around 200 simultaneous (2.5k daily total). So that means between a third to a half of the people who tried the game stayed. For comparison, this new level is about 15 times more players than we had in the week leading up to F2P. A lot of our time in the past weeks has been fixing master server problems that only emerge when 600 people try to play at the same time.

There's a lot of topics to talk about, but right now I'm going to focus on current/future development, otherwise this will be way too long.

We've got a hitlist of development requirements that have been made apparent by the recent influx of new players. The big items are related to player retention. We mean that in a few different ways.
  1. Make it easier to keep playing.
  2. Provide early extrinsic motivation for playing more matches, to make it more likely players will find the intrinsic fun of the game.
  3. Allow newer players to develop their skills with similar-level players.
  4. Provide motivation for players to continue once they have reached an understanding of the game's core mechanics.
So, to answer the question "When is ranked coming?", the answer is after we've done the following things:
  • One-more-match screen in-game, so you don't have to leave the game to requeue for matchmaking.
  • Level-up rewards and item exchanging. Aka get stuff for levelling up, and trade multiple common items for better items.
  • Add skill filters in matchmaking. Ranked would suck really badly if multi-year-veterans played with 2-week-rookies.
And then... we can tackle ranked play. We have said that we want to have a certain number of people at level X (replace X with whichever number seems about right experience-wise) before we release ranked matchmaking. Ranked will not have bots to fill in the gaps, so we need to be sure there will be enough players for everyone to get matches quickly. With our part-time team, definite dates are extremely hard to give, but we'll probably be starting the work in 4-6 weeks. We will be able to reuse a lot of the existing logic from our previous ranked system, but since that was active, matchmaking has completely changed, so it's not just a case of flipping a switch. If it were, we would probably have done so already.

We've also got a bug-fix update coming soon. We're testing this internally at the moment. Expect the update to go public around the middle of next week. Some of the more interesting changes are:
  • Shader optimizations. This should help those on lower-end hardware.
  • Make bots sub instantly, instead of waiting a minute. This is a much bigger change than it sounds. We had to completely rewrite how bots substitutions are done (~3500 lines of code changes).
  • Enabling VAC on matchmaking servers. There were a few reports of cheaters. This should help.
  • Make the restart after goals quicker (about 5 seconds faster), which should make games flow better.
  • Adjust the ping limit system so people are not preventing from joining matchmaking. Aka the "we're struggling to find a server for you" problem.
  • Fix bug where player is not shown on podium.
  • Enable access to backer gun (thank-you backers!).