Warzone one-month update

Hello all!

It’s almost been a month since Warzone launched! I’ve been working hard on updates based on everyone’s feedback. There have been 13 updates since launch, so many I haven’t been able to keep up with blog posts!

I appreciate all the feedback everyone has sent. If you still haven’t contacted me about the sequel for some reason, please feel free to!

As I’m sure you saw in the previous blog post, I’m working on updating the game’s graphics. Here’s the latest revision of the highest voted entry for the website:

And here’s a version of the phase selection I’ve been working on:

Let me know what you think of these!

Warzone (WarLight 2) is now live!!

I’m pleased to announce that WarLight’s first official sequel, Warzone, has now arrived!

Warzone builds upon WarLight, adding tons of new features and capabilities, while retaining all of the amazing maps and gameplay that WarLight built.

New Features

  • The entire game has been re-written from scratch in Unity for all platforms (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux). The game is sleeker, easier to use, and is all around a much better experience.
  • Quickmatch makes it easy to jump into multi-player games! No longer do you have to search through a list of open games. Just click Play, and you’re playing a fun multi-player game!
  • Commerce games adds an economy to your empire. Build cities to tax to afford more armies, but be sure to defend them!
  • Mods allow customizing the game in ways never before imagined! Mods are easy to use — there’s nothing to download or install, and they even work on iOS and Android!
  • In team games, your teammates’ orders are displayed right on the screen so you can see where your teammates are attacking or what territories they’re picking with ease!
  • If you change another player’s color, it now saves that change so you don’t need to do it again in that game
  • Games don’t have a refresh button anymore. Warzone keeps a socket connected to the server, so any time a turn advances or chat message comes in, it appears immediately.
  • When starting a game, your starting territories are highlighted and zoomed so you can always know where you start
  • Watching attack and deployment animations groups them together so it plays out faster
  • Best of all, it’s still free! If you’ve purchased or unlocked anything for your WarLight account, such as a membership or colors, it will still be fully usable in Warzone with no additional fees.
  • And more! There are many more improvements not mentioned here.

iOS or Android user?

Do you play WarLight on your iOS or Android device? Warzone will blow your mind!

In addition to getting all of the above features, there’s a slew of new stuff specifically for mobile users:

  • Make your own single-player levels, or play those created by the community!
  • Link territories in chat!
  • Easily see territory names and connections with the new magnifying glass button!
  • When building custom scenarios, you can assign bonuses all at once
  • Use autopilot to allow the AI to enter orders for you
  • A new, mobile-friendly, website
  • Spin the Coin Wheel to win free coins!

    The coin wheel can be spun via the Android or iOS app after each multi-player win, max once every 20 hours, after watching a short video. Use these coins to play coin games or tournaments, or spend them in the Warzone store!

The new website and WebGL version of the Unity version is live now! If you want to try it out, select your name in the upper right corner and select “Switch to Unity”. You can always switch back to Flash using the same process. For the best experience, I recommend installing the Nightly version of FireFox as it’s much faster than other browsers at loading Unity apps.

The Android app will go live within a couple hours. The iOS app will go live within 3-7 days due to Apple’s review process.

Warzone launch date: November 13th (Monday)!

I’m pleased to announce the release date for the previously announced Warzone launch!

It will go live this Monday, November 13th 2017.

The new website will go live on that day. The Android app should become available within a few hours after that, and the iOS app will probably be available within 3-7 days due to Apple’s slow review process.

In the evening I’ll host a launch party stream on twitch. Hope to see you there!

Announcing Warzone (WarLight 2)!

I’m pleased to announce that WarLight will officially be getting a sequel!

Warzone builds upon WarLight, adding tons of new features and capabilities, while retaining all of the amazing maps and gameplay that we enjoy today.

New Features

  • The entire game has been re-written from scratch in Unity for all platforms (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux). The game is sleeker, easier to use, and is all around a much better experience.
  • Quickmatch makes it easy to jump into multi-player games! No longer do you have to search through a list of open games. Just click Play, and you’re playing a fun multi-player game!
  • Commerce games adds an economy to your empire. Build cities to tax to afford more armies, but be sure to defend them!
  • Mods allow customizing the game in ways never before imagined! Mods are easy to use — there’s nothing to download or install, and they even work on iOS and Android!
  • In team games, your teammates’ orders are displayed right on the screen so you can see where your teammates are attacking or what territories they’re picking with ease!
  • If you change another player’s color, it now saves that change so you don’t need to do it again in that game
  • Games don’t have a refresh button anymore. Warzone keeps a socket connected to the server, so any time a turn advances or chat message comes in, it appears immediately.
  • When starting a game, your starting territories are highlighted and zoomed so you can always know where you started
  • Best of all, it’s still free! If you’ve purchased or unlocked anything for your WarLight account, such as a membership or colors, it will still be fully usable in Warzone with no additional fees.
  • And more! There are many more improvements not mentioned here.

iOS or Android user?

Do you play WarLight on your iOS or Android device? Warzone will blow your mind!

In addition to getting all of the above features, there’s a slew of new stuff coming specifically for mobile users:

  • Make your own single-player levels, or play those created by the community!
  • Link territories in chat!
  • Easily see territory names and connections with the new magnifying glass button!
  • When building custom scenarios, you can assign bonuses all at once
  • Use autopilot to allow the AI to enter orders for you
  • A new, mobile-friendly, website
  • Spin the Coin Wheel to win free coins!

When??

I’m working hard at finishing Warzone, and it will launch as soon as it’s ready. I hope to launch it before the end of the year. Stay tuned to the blog for more information. I hope you’re as excited as I am!

Quickmatch part 2

Part 2 of the Quickmatch system is now live! If you haven’t read part 1, make sure you read that first.

This update includes template voting, meaning that the community can now decide what templates the quickmatch system makes available for its games.

Of course, you don’t have to play on all templates, as you can simply uncheck the templates you don’t like.

How does voting work?

Quickmatch can have up to 40 templates. The first 6, currently, are reserved by WarLight so that we can control the newbie experience. Note that we reserve the right to take up to the first 10 for the newbie experience in the future, but right now we’re only taking 6. The rest of the templates are decided entirely by vote.

Once you win 40 quickmatch games, you’ll unlock your first vote as well as access to the voting section of the game. By winning more games, you’ll unlock more votes, up to a maximum of 10 votes.

You can put your votes into any template, up to a maximum of 3 votes on a single template. You can take your votes back out of a template at any time, so you can always change your mind and move them around.

Once every 24 hours, the votes are tallied and each template is assigned a rank from 1 to 40. Those 40 templates will be the ones available to quickmatch that day.

Votes are public. Every template will show how many votes it has and who put those votes in.

Players who stop playing WarLight for two months will have their votes automatically removed from templates. They can always put them back in, but having them auto removed helps ensure the current votes accurately reflect the will of the community that still plays.

As long as you have at least one free vote, you can propose a new template. By default, the system will put up to 3 of your votes into it, but you don’t have to keep them there.

In the future, we’ll auto-delete templates with 0 votes, as it means even their creator didn’t care about them. This part won’t be implemented until templates stabilize.

When proposing a new template, you should set it to real-time and set the boot you’d like to see real-time games on that template use. Multi-day boot times will always be 25 hours. Be sure to set the number of players in the template based on how many players should be in the game (add 2 players/open seats for a 1v1, more for FFAs or team games). Note that autoboot and respect vacations are always enabled.

When you unlock templates in quickmatch, you’re actually unlocking a rank. For example, if you’ve unlocked 12 templates (including the starter one you get for free), you’ve unlocked the rights to the 12 templates that you specifically unlocked plus the top 12 templates by rank. This means if a new template moves into rank 12 due to votes changing, you’ll automatically get it with your next quickmatch win while still progressing towards unlocking the next rank.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Sneak peek: Quickmatch!

Quick-what? It’s quickmatch!

Quickmatch is a new way of being matched into multi-player WarLight games with your fellow players. The goal is to quickly and easily get you into a fun game of WarLight that you will enjoy.

Quickmatch will officially launch along with the new Unity client, but a preview is available today. Read below for more details.

How does it work?

When you click the “Give me a real-time game” button, quickmatch will find equally skilled opponents for you and start the game. Unlike the real-time ladder, which can take up to five minutes to find an opponent, quickmatch is designed to be instantaneous.

Although you can think of quickmatch as a better real-time ladder, it’s much more than that. For one thing, it supports multi-day games, too! Further, it won’t be required to be unlocked and will be usable by players of all skill and experience levels. In fact, one of its goals is to make it easy for new WarLight players to start playing multi-player, without having to hunt through a list of confusing open games.

Quickmatch will also replace the need for auto games, both the normal and coin ones. When joining a quickmatch game, you can specify how many coins you’re willing to wager, and the quickmatch system will find a coin opponent for you. Coins will never be required to play quickmatch, but it’s an option for those who do use coins.

Ratings

When you complete a game, like a ladder, you’re rated based on your performance. However, the ratings are much more in-depth. Instead of just having a single rating like the ladders, you’ll get a rating per template, a rating for all real-time games, a rating for all multi-day games, a rating for all 1v1 games, a rating for all team games, a rating for all FFA games, and even a rating for the country you play from!

That’s a lot of ratings! But you don’t need to worry about any of that. You just play games you enjoy, and the quickmatch system will produce all sorts of interesting data for nerds showing what types of games you excel in. Quickmatch uses this data to match you up against equally skilled players.

What settings does it use?

That’s the best part!

At any time, you can open up your quickmatch settings and see a list of all the templates, with a check-box next to each. You can check the templates you like and uncheck the templates you don’t like, as you’ll only ever get games on the templates you check.

If you only like one template, then check just that one and you’re guaranteed to get a game on it. You’re always in full control of what templates you play.

But really, what settings does it use?

No, wait, THIS is the best part!

The templates will be decided on by the community by voting. As you play quickmatch games, you’ll eventually unlock votes you can use to vote on templates. Anyone can also propose new templates to be voted on, and you can move your votes around at will if you change your mind.

The top 30 templates with the most votes will be the templates used by quickmatch. So this list should always reflect the will of the community, and can change dynamically as new templates get invented.

30 templates? Isn’t that a lot?

You may have heard me say before that the reason the real-time ladder is limited to 10 templates is to not overwhelm new players. As quickmatch is designed both for new players and veterans, there needs to be a way to ensure that new players don’t get overwhelmed.

The solution to that problem is simple: When you first join the quickmatch system, you have only one template unlocked. As you win games, you’ll unlock more and more templates, which you can choose to use or not use.

This provides the best of both worlds: we can have lots of templates available for experienced players to choose from, while newbies avoid being overwhelmed and can learn new templates at their own pace.

30 is just the starting number, I suspect that eventually we can raise this even higher.

Want to try it now?

The member-only alpha of the Unity client has a sneak peek of the quickmatch system. Not all features are complete yet, but you can start playing multi-day games through it and start unlocking templates today. Try it out and let me know what your thoughts are!

Ending Coin Withdrawals

In two months from the date of this announcement, it will no longer be possible to withdraw WarLight coins into cash.

While I’m sad to see this feature go, it is a necessary change to allow WarLight to move forward.

The last day withdrawing will be allowed is October 15th, 2017. If you have coins you’re planning to withdraw, be sure you do so on or before that date.

Does this mean coins are gone?

No!

While it may seem like a subtle change to simply turn off withdraws, this actually has a big affect on how coins can be used.

It means we can give away coins more freely. This will transform coins from something that only a small percentage of the players use to something everyone can use, not just paying customers.

It means the rules around coins and coin games can be significantly less strict.

It means coins can become much easier to use. Less headache, more fun.

The future is bright

Lots of great things are happening soon. Stay tuned for more announcements!

Sneak Peek: Commerce Games!

A new game mode has been added to WarLight!

In commerce games, instead of receiving armies per turn, all players receive gold per turn. For example, if you capture Central America which used to be worth 3 armies per turn, you’ll instead get 3 gold every turn. You can then use that gold to buy armies.

While it may seem like a subtle change, this actually has big implications on the game and allows for new strategic features to be introduced which couldn’t have existed in the old model. For example, you can decide not to spend all your gold every turn, and instead save it for future turns where you can then deploy more and surprise your opponent.

What’s more is that WarLight allows you to customize the cost of armies. By default, armies cost 1 gold for the first 10 you buy in each turn, 2 gold for the next 10, 3 gold for the next 10, etc. This multiplier means that armies are more expensive as you buy more, which helps balance against people who save their gold for future turns.

Cities

But wait, there’s more! In commerce games, players can also build cities on their territories. Cities produce one gold every turn for their owners in tax revenue. This gives a way of players of investing in the future.

Ensure you build your cities on territories that are well-defended! However, by default, cities cost 5 gold plus one additional gold for each city already on that territory. This gives you reason to spread out your cities, and not pile them all on the most defensible territory.

Cities open up interesting strategic opportunities. Each player needs to balance how much of their income they want to invest into cities and how much into armies, as investing too much into cities leaves them vulnerable to capture by an opponent who invested heavily in armies. Investing too much in armies could find you outmatched by an opponent who can out-spend you.

Want to try it now?

An alpha version of commerce games are available today in WarLight’s Unity client! The Unity client is being developed to replace the iOS, Android and Flash versions of the game. Try it today and let me know what you think!

Commerce games will be officially released at the same time as the Unity client.

Designed with Mods in mind

WarLight’s new modding framework is doing great, with 27 public mods already that affect the game in all sorts of interesting ways. Commerce games are designed to fit in well with mods, and mods will be able to add their own purchasable items. Mods will easily be able to do things like let players buy/sell/trade territories, treaties, cards, special units, and anything else you can imagine!

Official support for commerce game mods will be added in the next update.

Goodbye Flash ads

Hello!

If you’ve been following along on the forum thread, you know that WarLight’s new Unity client has been making a ton of progress! The Unity client is designed to replace the Flash, iOS, and Android versions of WarLight with a shiny new client that does more, better, faster, stronger, etc.

The Unity app is a very different beast since it was introduced it on this blog back in January. The app now has almost complete feature parity with the old clients. There’s still a lot to do before it’s good enough to be officially released, but if you want to try it out or make the switch today, there’s an alpha version available now for members.

As announced previously, one of the reasons WarLight must move away from Flash is because Flash is a dying platform. Google is trying it’s darnedest to kill it off, and one way they’re doing this is by discontinuing the ability to run ads from their ad network within a Flash app. WarLight has historically shown these ads and they actually make up a pretty sizable chunk of the revenue it needs to keep the servers alive.

Since Flash ads are no longer an option, I’ve made changes to the game today to replace them with html ads. These come in two forms: a vertical banner ad that sits beside the game, and interstitial ads that play before starting a single player level. Personally, I preferred the format of the Flash ads since they were closable, but Google’s decision to kill them off is understandable.

I understand that nobody likes ads, and honestly I wish I didn’t have to put them in the game at all. In WarLight’s first five years, it never showed a single ad! But that was not sustainable, as the game lost money every year.

If you don’t like ads, think of it this way: ads are what enable WarLight to be free. If ads didn’t exist, didn’t work, or if everyone ran adblock, WarLight would have to be a paid game. It costs over $1,000 per month just to keep WarLight’s servers online, and that money has to come from somewhere. Of course, players always have the option of getting a membership to play ad-free, which also gives you full access to the new Unity client!

Regarding the Unity client, I’m working hard to try to get it released as soon as possible. There are still a few unannounced surprises, so stay tuned — exciting things are coming!