Koalabeast Games

Making Better Matches

We’re seeing an increase in active players, which gives us an opportunity to change how the joiner matches games. This Saturday we plan to test an update for the joiner that will separate newer players from veteran players. This will mean longer wait times to get into a game.

The goal of this update is to keep new and old players happy.  New players want to learn the basics of the game while veteran players expect a high-level understanding of gameplay. The joiner will attempt to separate these two groups.

It’s important to maintain a proper balance between long wait times and good games. Waiting a long time is not a good experience. For this reason, players won’t be exclusively in one group or another. If enough time has passed the joiner will expand the player’s search options to include both groups.

This isn’t proper matchmaking, and that isn’t the goal for this test. Proper matchmaking would use an indicator of skill. Since this is a quick attempt to solve a growing problem, we’re using degrees to indicate a player’s TagPro experience. We know degrees aren’t perfect, but to implement this quickly we need to use something we already have. A player is considered new if they are not logged in, or they have less than 30 degrees. We may adjust this criteria as we run the test.

In addition to this update, we are launching an ad-campaign soon, and we hope this will introduce TagPro to many new people. We want them to have the best experience possible. This update is a quick fix and we hope it will make more players stick around for longer.

Discuss on Reddit

World Joiner Progress

We’ve made a lot of strides in the world joiner and I want to thank the moderators for taking time out of their evenings to help us do some organized testing over the past few months. Last night ylambda and I fixed some of the last major bugs. We are planning one more (hopefully) organized test with the moderators, and then moving on to a community beta test. Since ylambda is about to leave for a Europe trip (jealous), we’ll wait for him to return for the beta test.

Here is the soft plan for the beta test:

  • We are aiming for mid to late August to begin beta testing.
  • A new URL will be created for the beta. Using this URL will result in testing the world joiner.
  • Production TagPro will remain intact. So if the world joiner build isn’t working for you, you can still play TagPro without the new joiner by going to tagpro.gg
  • The beta will be tied to the production database, so your games will count while you are helping us test.
  • Helping us test the world joiner will result in flair!
  • Throughout the many days of testing the beta, it’s possible we will shut it down and turn it back on many times depending on how things are going.
  • Once we are completely comfortable with the quality of the joiner, we will roll it into production and tagpro.gg will become home page of TagPro.

Wait, what is the world joiner?

For those of you unaware of the world joiner: it’s a re-architecture of TagPro away from users selecting servers, to a single home page for TagPro that will pick game servers for you behind the scenes. This will automatically try to group you with players of similar pings and place you in the best geographically server as a whole. We hope this gets you playing closer to home and with better ping. Longer term, we’d have option to start grouping players by experience or some other metric. 

Discuss on Reddit

Player Indicator and Other Updates

Today we’ve pushed out several changes to the servers including new features, bugfixes, and additional protection against trouble makers.

Player Indicator

We have added a helpful player indicator to the bottom of the UI which shows the current number of players in a game for each team.  This has been a highly requested feature and our implementation was adaptaed from the mod written by the player browncoat. Thanks browncoat!

Fix no-script spectator kicking

A bug has been fixed that was incorrectly kicking players who would first join a private game (with no-script on) as a spectator, and later join in as a player. Big thanks to the helpful bug reports by the players Ballkenende and unplanned . Hopefully this is just in time for the NLTP Playoffs — good luck everyone!

VPN Detection

We have added more protection from players who like to evade bans by using VPNs. We now check if players who are not logged into the game are using a VPN to play, and kindly ask them to play signed in if they want to keep using a VPN.

360 Degree Flair

A new flair has been added for players that reach 360 degrees. In case you missed it, Freakball and LiddiLidd earned the new flair together. That’s 20,261 wins! Technically this happened a few weeks ago, but we haven’t written about it in the blog yet.

Flair Stream

Currently testing on centra, a stream of recently awarded flairs will appear at the top of the page. While we’re testing, only flairs awarded on centra will show up, but soon this will be on all servers.

What’s being worked on?

Single World Joiner

I’ve personally been sinking a lot of time into the single world joiner. What is it? The purpose of the single world joiner is to combine all of the separate servers to prevent server imbalance. Instead of what we have today with Radius and Chord having 90% of the players. You simply hit play now and join a game on the best server possible.

This is a major architecture change for TagPro and will need time to smooth everything out. If you don’t understand why this is a problem, I’ve mentioned on reddit why I think the current architecture is an issue. There’s still a lot to be done and tested.

Birthday Event


Discuss on Reddit

Technology Stack Upgrade and More

What have we been working on?

This morning we pushed a lot of upgrades to all servers. We’ve been testing these upgrades on Pi and Centra for a couple of weeks. While these upgrades don’t include any new features, they should bring increased performance, reliability and security. Furthermore, these upgrades allow us to use the latest JavaScript language features in TagPro, which we will take advantage of in the massive undertaking of moving to a single world joiner over the coming months.

A handy competitive settings button has been added to the group page for leagues.

A rewrite of modtools continues, but was dependent on the new tech stack. We hope to start testing these soon now that the upgrades are rolled out.

There were some bugs with Kongregate that have been addressed.

The refresh penalty in private games was reduced to 5 seconds.

Rewrote the bot that sends in-game information to moderators in slack.

What’s next on the agenda?

Most of attention will now be turned towards the single world joiner and finishing the modtools rewrite. We’ll be adding a flair stream to the home page soon. And of course, I will take a break off those to bring you a birthday event.

Discuss on Reddit

Halloween Event Stats

TagPro players love the zombie mode. Of registered players, the average number of zombie games played was 31.4. The most games played by a single player was 434!

Of all players that completed at least one game of Zombies, the flair stats are:

Those with Candy Corn: 69.6%
Those with Bat: 37.4%
Those with Jack: 15.6%

Persistence Pays

Players with between 1 and 25 games
Those with Candy Corn: 52.5%
Those with Bat: 14.8%
Those with Jack: 3.1%

Players with between 26 and 50 games
Those with Candy Corn: 97.6%
Those with Bat: 59.9%
Those with Jack: 20%

Players with between 51 and 75 games
Those with Candy Corn: 100%
Those with Bat: 81.6%
Those with Jack: 37%

Players with 76+ games
Those with Candy Corn: 100%
Those with Bat: 96.2%
Those with Jack: 61.9%

Greedy (in a good way) Players. The most Jacks.

ToucanSam: 12
Zeeres: 11
Bowlarity: 9

We hope everyone had a Happy Halloween! See you next year…

Discuss on Reedit

Periodic Progress Post – October 2017

We are retiring the Community Update that we did on reddit. It was a rollup of what we accomplished lately and what we were considering doing. We feel like being more active on the blog accomplishes communicating our updates much better. Just going to the home page of the blog and scrolling through it gives you a quick glance of what’s recently changed.

That said, we still want to communicate what we’re working on and thinking about. So we’ll still make periodic posts about that. This is one of those posts. Something to keep in mind is that we sometimes dump projects we are working, for a variety of reasons – it happens. So something you see in one of these posts may never get released.

PrivateMajor will still be operating in a community management role. On a monthly basis, I’ll be meeting with him and he’ll be distilling down what should be priorities, from the community’s perspective. If something warrants an official response from the development team, those will be included in this posts as well. So if you’d like to make sure PM sees a post, please continue to tag /u/PrivateMajor on reddit.

What have we been working on?

Platform and Framework Upgrades

We have been upgrading the technology that runs TagPro. That means the platform and frameworks that TagPro depends on. Upgrading these created a lot of breaking changes and we’ve had to address those. The payoff will be a more stable and performant product. Plus, it will unlock a lot of new language features for us to use in future code and projects we want to take on. We hope to be deploying the upgraded TagPro in the coming month.

Mod Tools

The tools the moderators use needed a big upgrade. A lot of progress has been made in a complete rewrite of them. The new tools will help moderators in their daily tasks and help keep the trolling and toxicity at a minimum in-game. We hope to have moderators testing the first versions of the new tool in the upcoming month.

Flair Stream

As part of a proof of concept for a larger project we want to take on, a flair stream was built. This will add a streaming list of flair being acquired by players to the home page of TagPro.

What are we thinking about?

Improvements to No-Script for Leagues

Chasing down cheaters is always going to be a challenge and a cat and mouse game. No-Script added some layers of protection to allow leagues to attempt and disable the use of outside scripts in league matches. We (and the leagues I think) have been pleased with the results.

That said there are concerns that some players may have defeated the protections – totally possible. We’ve looked into this and can’t give a definitive yes, but it has gotten us thinking about improvements we could make to strengthen no-script.

Single World Joiner

We’ve been putting a lot of thought into this. A single world joiner would mean no more named game servers. Instead you’ll just go to tagpro.gg, and hit play now. It will find other people with similar ping and experience level and put you in a game on a hidden game server.

This would solve some problems. It would solve the “everyone is on radius” problem and more players would play more games with an optimal ping. Next it could solve the newbie problem by given us the opportunity to group new players with other new players. More long term, we could consider separate joiners for events and maybe event game modes.

Full disclosure: This is a major rearchitecture of TagPro works. It’s going to be a lot of work, a lot of refactoring and a lot of new code. It’s one of the reasons we decided to do the platform upgrades mentioned above. If we tackle this, and it’s highly likely that we will, you can expect it to dominate a large portion of the development time.

Bumper Tiles

Basically a tile that a player could bounce off of. We’ve tested it as a round element and it was pretty hard to use in a consistent way. There may be more potential in a square form factor.

Discuss on Reddit

Graphics Upgrade and Yellow Tiles

We rolled out two changes:

Pixi.js Upgrade

We’ve upgrade Pixi.js to its latest version, which is the WebGL graphics engine we use. This will provide greater stability and performance. It is possible this could break some addons or userscripts. We warned of this a few weeks ago and suggested authors update their code if needed. If you are suddenly having issues with TagPro and use TagPro addons, disable them to figure out which one needs updating and find a new version.

Yellow Speed Tiles

We previously posted about Yellow Speed Tiles coming to TagPro. This has been deployed. We’ve also upgraded all the maps, built-in texture packs and some of the common map editors. If you are suddenly missing tiles in-game, you are likely using a custom texture pack and will need to get an updated version from the author. Or switch to a built-in texture pack.

Discuss on Reddit

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