Announcing Beta Phase 21 (part 1 of 2)

It’s an open game extravaganza! First, business:

WarLight will be going down on Wednesday, December 15th at 1am PST (9am GMT) for up to an hour. Please plan accordingly for any fast games that may get interrupted during this 1-hour window.

During this time, WarLight will be upgraded to Beta Phase 21. Once the deployment is complete, you can view all of the changes on the Change History page.

Open Seat Prerequisites

Once Phase 21 is live, WarLight will allow game creators to specify prerequisites that players must meet in order to join open seats in their games.

Here are some examples of prerequisites game creators could specify:

– Players must get booted in fewer than 10% of their games.
– Players must have completed at least 10 games.
– Players must have an average move speed of less than 1 hour.
– Players must have been a WarLight member for at least 30 days. (no newbies)
– Players must have been a WarLight member for fewer than 30 days. (newbies only)

Players that don’t meet the requirements you set won’t even see your game, and therefore won’t be allowed to join it. This will help players get matched up with the kind of players they’re looking for.

Separation of real-time games and multi-day games

Until now, WarLight multi-player games have been mostly geared towards play-by-email speed of play. These kind of games usually play one or two turns per day and play out over the course of a few weeks. However, some people prefer a more rapid style of play, where games are played in real-time.

Both styles of play are supported by WarLight, but there is room for improvement in the current model. For example, new WarLight players often have a hard time distinguishing between these two types of games. Veterans know to check the boot time when evaluating whether or not to join a game, and the low-boot-time warning certainly helps, but these are cumbersome to discover as a new player.

Most players have an expectation for how fast multi-player games will move before they enter. Either they are used to single-player games which play out quickly and therefore expect real-time multi-player games, or they see the e-mail notification feature and expect a multi-day game. Sometimes, new players get into a game that isn’t the speed they expect. This causes a bad experience for everyone involved – either they get booted if they’re waiting on an e-mail of a real-time game, or they whine about the turn not advancing when people don’t play immediately in a multi-day game.

After Phase 21, WarLight will categorize games into one of these two categories. This will help set expectations for new players. When players create a new game, they will actually be asked whether it is real-time or multi-day:

This will constrain the boot times that can be used, and also help players pick the correct type on the new open games tab.

Open Games Tab

The little advertisement on top of the My Games tab will be replaced with a dedicated tab to open games:

The first time a player navigates to this tab, WarLight will give a short explanation of what real-time and multi-day games are and ask them which they seek. This will ensure that players always get the speed of game they’re expecting, and should cut down on some of the boot issues players run into in open games.

The My Games advertisement worked well for drawing players attention to an open game, but it wasn’t very usable since it didn’t show any settings about that game and wasn’t practical when there were lots of open games. Further, the whole idea of not appearing when there were no open games created a lot of confusion. When there were no open games, it was impossible for new players to understand how to go about joining open games – this was a very frequent pain point. Further yet, open seat prerequisites make calculating your open games a more time-consuming operation, and it doesn’t make sense to do this on every refresh of the My Games tab.

More features in part 2 of this blog post!

3 thoughts on “Announcing Beta Phase 21 (part 1 of 2)”

  1. I’m glad to see the open seat prerequisites feature being implemented. One thing though; as more and more options are being added for a game creator, it’s really highlighting the need to be able to create “custom templates” so these options don’t have to be selected every time you create a new game.

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