Koalabeast Games

Category: Progress (page 1 of 3)

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.

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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.

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Return of the Blog

It’s been a long time since our last update.  A full calendar year plus nine months.   We want to revitalize this platform and post more regularly about our technical work. It’s been so long we feel we should write an update. We’ve completely changed gears from working on Next and spent our time updating TagPro Classic. What follows is a timeline of our work since then.

By this point the community had made it clear we weren’t doing enough work on TagPro Classic. The hot topic was about getting new players to play the game. For a long time our primary source for new players came from AskReddit threads, and since being banned for vote manipulation we could no longer participate. The lack of new players was noticeable. We shifted our focus to develop more features for Classic.

Mentioning our plans for Kongregate blew up on us. As always it took us much longer than we expected to finish this up. There was enormous difficulty in building a user account system for Kongregate users.  This time-consuming task made it difficult to put other features in, and we also had little to report for a while since it’s all invisible backend changes. Not to mention it was summer and we step back to have fun in the sun. We still added updates in the mean time:

At this time the community was in full force meming hard on the volume slider. Some of it was pretty funny. Immense frustration with our lack of visible progress for Kongregate created an atmosphere of doubt we’d be able to do the job . We then created a new role for a community manager to help us with keeping a respectful communication channel with everyone.

This was where we had drawn the line for Classic, we met our initial goals for Classic and even went  further and put it on Kongregate. From this point it was unclear what we should do. The community still desperately needed more players and our efforts only minimally paid off. In addition more and more features are requested for Classic.

We realized at this point we can’t simultaneously work on two games. Splitting our efforts increases the difficulty to add features. All our attention had been on Classic and we had little time to work on Next. Members of the community who believed in that project saw no  progress while we kept saying in every monthly update Next is still planned. We needed to decide on one project. We tabled development on Next and attempted to keep the larger group of Classic players happy.

The community didn’t take this last update well. Our community manager helps us facilitate a respectful communication channel with everyone. That month of September we had several updates ready to be pushed into production once they went through a final code review. Our community manager tried to meet with us, but we couldn’t coordinate a time. We were unable to relay our progress, and our community felt abandoned. Overall a rough month.

Here we are today. We’ve announced in previous updates we’re working on a single world joiner. We want to use this to help reduce latency and spawn a simple matchmaking system. This is another idea likely to blow up on us. These massive updates take time, lots of testing, and patience. We have other features in the pipeline too. We’ll likely finish the smaller things before the joiner.

Be patient 🙂

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Two TagPro Next Videos!

As a reminder: Nothing is set in stone! Let us know what you think. The gate graphics are just mocks right now.

Some things you’ll notice: Many tweaks and physic changes – but still quite a bit different than classic. The flair on the pucks. The scoring system is a win-by-three system. We have some special effects going on. We are beginning to implement the announcer: FLACCID GRAB! We implemented the auto-panning when respawning due to the popular classic userscript. We are no longer hiding spawning-players from opponents that have TagPro, instead players will spawn with 1 second of untaggable status.

LuckySpammer makes quick work of the competition playing TagPro Next

Long Game of TagPro Next on GeoKoala!

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What the Puck?!? 12 Minutes of Alpha 1 Gameplay

Alpha 1 is getting close! We tested the current build last night with the moderators and were happy with the results. Although there are still some issues to work out.

You’ll notice we are pucks instead of balls in this build. This is something we are seriously considering changing in the next game. Physics-wise, we’ve always been pucks and when you play next, you feel like an air-hockey puck. If you listen closely, you can hear the pucks tapping each other and walls.

The lightning bolt on the pucks is a mock idea of “stickers”. The idea is that stickers can be acquired and arranged on your puck however you like. We’d ensure that X% of the puck color stays visible to ensure team identification. We think this would give players are lot of fun individuality without becoming distracting

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Lucky and Ankh get rekt by cz and OmicroN in first TagPro Next match

Sorry about there being no sound. I decided to record the first match ever on a whim and screwed it up.

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Game Play Screen Shot and Alpha Update

screen

We took some time to play test the client with some of the TagPro moderators today. In this shot you can see the system of random names that will likely take the place of the Some Ball system. You can also see the word bubble indicating who is HONKING. Yeah, I gave in.

We are working hard towards a first Alpha. This initial alpha will be bare bones and small. The goal will be general testing of the client and to get feedback from the users concerning the movement changes. We’re shooting for roughly a month from now but we’ll keep everyone in the loop if that changes.

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