Site update 1.15: Improved game creation

WarLight has just been upgraded to version 1.15.0! This is a big update and there’s a lot to cover, so in order to keep this blog post from getting too long, the new announcements will be split up between a few blog posts. If you’re impatient, you can read all the changes early in the change history tab.

Improved Invite Screen

The page that allows you to choose who to invite to new games has received a major overhaul which brings a fresh look and new features.

  • A: New tabs make switching between the different ways of inviting players easier. The Invite List tab is the list of players you’ve played with before (this is identical to the list of players you saw prior to this update). The E-mail tab allows inviting people by typing in their e-mail address. The Open Seats tab allows your game to appear on the Open Games tab. The AI tab allows inviting computer-controlled players to your game. The Search tab is discussed in point E below.
  • B: The team controls are now right on the invite screen. This allows you to switch between FFA (no teams), manual teams, or random teams. Previously the team controls were buried in the game configuration options. It makes more sense to put them here so you can adjust the players and teams simultaneously.
  • C: The invite list now splits itself between pages of 24. This fixes a big performance problem that used to occur for players with extremely large invite lists. If your invite list is large, you’ll notice a dramatic speed increase due to this.
  • D: You can now search within your invite list. This allows you to easily find people by name or clan tag.
  • E: In addition to searching within your invite list, there’s a new tab just labeled “Search”. This tab allows you to search all WarLight players, not just those on your invite list. This makes it much easier to find players without having to deal with getting their e-mail or adding them to your invite list.

    There are two restrictions with the global search. First, when searching you must type at least three characters of the other person’s name. This means that players whose names are only one or two characters long won’t be searchable. Second, the search will only return the best 25 matches for your search term. Since WarLight names aren’t unique, if your search target has a very common name (like Mike or John), you may not be able to find them if there are over 25 people with the same name.

  • F: The “Load Template” button only shows up on this screen if you have saved templates. This allows a short-cut to getting to your templates, but it’s really no different than clicking Next -> Change Settings -> My Templates. It’s worth noting that the invite screen allows you to skip it without setting up players. You can always come back to this screen later and set the players by using the Change Players button you’ll see on the next step.

Game Creation Overhaul

The UI (user interface) for creating games has been changed quite a bit. The old process was a linear wizard with steps one through five occurring in a sequence. The new process isn’t as linear, however it’s more powerful and should be much easier to figure out for new players.

First off, I want to apologize for changing the UI. I do realize that any time you change UI it causes a great deal of pain. Humans are very habitual creatures, and re-learning how to do something that you used to know how to do is never fun. I didn’t make the decision to change this lightly; I’ve been wanting to improve the game creation UI for a long time. There are lots of improvements I’ve held off of doing over the years in order to roll them all into one big overhaul. It’s like ripping off a band-aid — it’s better to get all the pain at once, not slowly over time.

The new process centers around what I call the main screen:

This shows a “Change Settings” button on the right along with a brief summary of the settings and a “Change Players” button on the left with a summary of the players. Below is the “Create Game” button which actually creates the game. After changing either the settings or players, you’ll wind up back here.

Clicking “Change Settings” will ultimately lead you to the new configuration screen:

Several options that used to be dedicated wizard steps have been moved into the configuration screen. For example, the map is now just another tab instead of its own wizard step. The boot times, practice game checkbox, and private messages checkbox are now just additional settings on the “basic” tab. Other than what’s been mentioned so far, everything should be pretty similar to the previous UI.

Need help?

The best way to learn the new UI is to go play with it. If you can’t figure out something, post your question to the forums. I’ll be watching and will be able to help out. Feel free to also chime in if you like or dislike the new UI.

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