Site update 1.16

WarLight has just been upgraded to version 1.16.0! This blog post describes what’s changed.

Take back control from AI

In games where you can get turned into an AI by being booted or surrendering, it’s now possible to take back control from the AI for later turns. This effectively allows for a soft-boot, where the AI can control a player while they’re away and then the player can take back control when they come back.

Also, when browsing history, WarLight now shows player’s AI status correctly. Prior to this update, it would show them as an AI even on turns before they turned into an AI. Now, it will only show AI in front of their name when the AI actually played those orders. The only exception is when a player submits orders and then becomes an AI through surrendering before the turn advances. The AI won’t replace their existing orders with new ones for that turn, but the game reports that an AI was controlling the player.

It’s worth noting that this change also means it’s possible for a player to be booted multiple times in a single game. Each one of these boots increments the boot number shown on that player’s profile.

Game creators can control how many times a player can take back control in a game. The default is two. It’s recommended to keep this at a relatively low value so that trolls can’t keep coming back after being booted over and over to slow your game down.

New Tutorial

WarLight now has a completely new tutorial on the single-player tab which helps new players learn how to play. To check it out, click Single Player and then the Tutorial button.

This tutorial is more refined than the old one. For one thing, it has its own level with no opponent so new players can focus on their own movements without being distracted. Whereas the old tutorial only walked you through playing one turn, this one walks you through two in order to present concepts in more detail, such as taking bonuses and splitting stacks.

Obviously, most of you reading this blog already know how to play and won’t need this. However, if you try it out anyway, feel free to post your thoughts. Also, if you can find a way to break the tutorial by getting off-script (getting in a situation where it’s telling you to do something that it prevents you from doing), let me know!

Open Games tab now shows Random Teams

The open games tab now differentiates between FFA games and random-team games. In random-team games, right next to the boot time, it will say how many players each team will receive.

Additionally, game’s settings panels now make the team mode more clear. Now it has a “Teams” line on all games that tell you if the game is an FFA, random teams, or manual teams. This replaces the old “at start divide into teams of” line.

Expiring Card Turn Numbers

Cards that expire, such as the diplomacy card, now show the correct turn they expire. Previously, they showed one turn number too low, which created confusion around knowing when cards would expire.

Left Column UI Changes

The left column of the main game screen received some UI updates. 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 make these changes lightly; these are things that are a long-time coming and address deep-rooted problems that players have reported many times over the years.

Let’s go over each change and explain the rationale.

  • Cards Button: The Cards link that existed at the top when you have cards received a face lift and also gained the ability to close the cards panel by clicking on it. This is now the preffered way of accessing cards, and if you were used to using the cards button in the lower left, I recommend switching to using this new button (or the hot-key B)
  • Surrender and Vote-To-End buttons: The Surrender and Vote-To-End buttons were moved up to the main game screen. Previously, they were hidden under the Players panel. Admittedly, they never made much sense on the Players panel, and they were only placed there since they had nowhere better to go. This led to new players not being able to find the surrender button as easily and receiving some boots that could have been avoided.
  • Analyze Button: The main game screen now has an Analyze Attack button that brings up the same graphs that the attack dialog’s Analyze button does. This allows players to access the attack graphs even when not in attack mode.
  • Menu button: All of the lower-left buttons except Chat are now located in a collapsible menu. This was done for a couple reasons.

    With the addition of the Surrender, Vote to End, and Analyze buttons, this makes the menu much larger than it was before. The biggest problem with the column of buttons in the bottom left is the amount of screen space they take up, which is very limited for players playing on low-resolution screens such as netbooks and laptops. It’s very common for netbooks to have a low vertical resolution (often 720). In these cases, having too many buttons down here ends up making the page too tall, which pushes the entire Flash object below the bottom of the screen. This results in players not being able to the bottom of the map (I often get emails saying “I can’t deploy to Antartica!”).

    By having the buttons be collapsed when not needed, this allows more buttons to fit in the area and also allows them to be spaced out better (previously they were all squished together for low-resolution screens.)

  • Phase Name Changes: The three phases now have a 1/2/3 in front of them again like they used to. This was added back after feedback from new players indicated that it was more clear this way. Also, “Deploy new armies” is now just “Deploy” since there wasn’t enough room to fit it all (this was the reason the numbers were originally removed in the first place.) “Confirmation” also became “Confirm” just to keep the tenses the same.

Misc Changes

– Getting booted now correctly increments the boot stat on your profile when booted players are turned into AI.
– The deployment slider setting defaults to 15 instead of 10 for new players.
– The deployment slider now has a title of “Deploy”
– When issuing attacks, the text in the orders list was altered slightly. “X armies from Y will attack/transfer Z” instead of “X armies will attack/transfer Y from Z”
– In the ladder statistics section of profiles, the Best Rank and Best Ranking are no longer shown for seasonal ladders. What’s most important in Seasonal ladders are the final rank. The best ever achieved is often highly skewed since at the beginning of the season, #1 is awarded just to the first person to get a rank no matter how good they are. You can still see this information by clicking on the link, it just isn’t shown on profiles.
– Some cards received new graphics due to potential licensing issues.
– Adjusted the nudge/boot icon to try and make it look more like a boot.
– Fixed a bug that occurred if you invited the same player to a game twice, once by e-mail and again directly.

37 thoughts on “Site update 1.16”

  1. I like it except the collapsible menu, it takes longer to get to what you want in my opinion. Is it possible to add a option to keep it permanently open in the game settings under the settings tab?

  2. would be nicer if there was a way to lock the collapsable menu open. for the folks with high resolution who prefer the menu open all the time.

    1. A way to pin it open is definitely a good solution (similar to how the right column pins open)

      I realize that anytime there’s a UI change there’s always a visceral reaction against it. It’s just human nature – humans are very habitual and any change is always painful.

      My advice is this: Give it a week. If you still hate it after a week, create a UserVoice item to make it pinnable. This gives your habits a chance to really adjust and determine if it’s really a bad UI change or if it’s just that you’re used to the old format.

      Also, I’d be interested in knowing which items from the menu you’re going to often. The hope is that most of the things in there you don’t need to access often. Chat and Cards are accessed often, which is why they’re both outside of the menu (the upper cards button got improved for this reason, too.)

      Also useful are to know some of the hotkeys: Press the left arrow to pull up the previous turn in history, the home key to pull up the first turn, and the R key to invoke a refresh.

      1. First, as always, thanks for the time you put into this great game!

        Definitely another vote for “keep the menu open” here, it adds an unnecessary click each time you have to access the menu, and at least I for myself tend to access it a lot.
        How about collecting some empirical data to see which menu items are used most often? Can’t you add some counter for a while, and then arrange the buttons accordingly, maybe put the most frequently used ones next to the chat button, and have the others in a collapsible menu?

        There also is a bug in the statistics graph, when you hover over a value in the graph it now shows “: turn x, value y”

        The item from the menu I almost alway use is the statistics window by the way.
        While we are at it: could you change it so the statistics windows always opens up with the graphs tab open, and the “armies actually deployed each turn” graph already selected? I find this the most useful statistical information of them all, and having the statistics window default to it would cut another 4 clicks from my clicking routine :-) You know I’m lazy…

      2. These changes are nice! However, I also agree with adding an option to pin the Menu in expanded mode. I use the History very often, even more often than the Chat button, so it’s an extra click to get to it.

  3. I love the soft-boot. I think it’s the best update in a while, and long overdue. I agree with the others on the menu though, it would be nice to be able to pin it open if you prefer it. Also, is there a reason that you cannot use the chat button when the menu is expanded? I don’t see why it doesn’t just move up with the menu. If there’s a specific reason why not, could you swap the places of the menu and chat buttons?

  4. Great Update, keep up the good work :)

    (is it possible to change the Captcha system, it`s driving me nuts to get this comment posted)

    1. Hmm, I thought the captchas would only affect your first post. Do you have to do them every time?

      I can work on a better captcha. Without both of them the system gets a ton of automated spam (wordpress is pretty bad with that.)

      1. I do have to do them every time, I don`t know if that is a problem just for me or for others too though. I would at least greatly appreciate an easier Captchas, but don`t waste you time on that if it takes much time. I`ll always find a way to survive :p

  5. Yep a double captcha every time. If i could make a suggestion I would keep the first one from the top, it gives shorter ones and usually is easier to read.

  6. Fizzer, once I’ve won the tutorial once and play it again, the tutorial bubbles won’t appear again. Is that intentional?
    Great work by the way. I tried about everything I could to break it πŸ˜‰

  7. First I have to credit you for the great work you are doing on the game.

    But, if it is two things you are not mastering, it is artificial intelligence (haha) and HCI.

    Now, the update on the Left Column UI. !!!!!! I use history every round. Why why why is there no function to keep it open??? Why is the chat button hidden when expanding the menu? And please don’t blame it on change causes pain because of habits.

  8. Aaaaaarg… Why does it close all the time????? πŸ˜›

    Edit: Aaaaarg, why two captchas????

    Edit2: CAPTCHA!!!!

    Edit3: copy paste reload try again

  9. smaller and greater sings around the word “function” got filtered out in my last post:

    There also is a bug in the statistics graph, when you hover over a value in the graph it now shows β€œfunction: turn x, value y”

  10. Great update – especially the ‘soft boot’. However, I may have found a slight error with that feature: in this game Luchador, despite having been inactive for 33 days, and been an AI for the whole game, is no longer marked as such on the sidebar (though it still says AI on the player popup). I haven’t checked my other games out yet for similar, but I thought I’d just point it out.
    Great update though

      1. Thanks for reporting this – it does look like there’s a bug when someone turned into an AI during territory distribution. This bug only affects games where it happened before this update – it should work fine for future games.

  11. The two big new sections of this update are the updated bottom left buttons and the regain control over your AI part (also tutorial, but I will look at that later).
    About the new buttons:
    – I love the new analyse attack buttons, it becomes very annoying when you have to redo your turn and go into the attack-phase just to see how likely you are of taking a place.
    – However I find it quite annoying that you have to click the button each time you want to see the buttons that aren’t chat, and annoyingly I only know the hot-keys for chat and cards, which are the ones which are most accessible.

    Great idea for the idea of taking over from your AI as well. Players have been asking for it for a long time now, and it is good you are listening. Sometimes in big games with small boot-times (e.g. 24 FFAs, 12vs12s etc.) you have too much to do, or your internet crashes, and if you can straight away just get power again it is great.
    Small question about this though, if it is past the boot time, not auto-boot, then can you gain control of your AI if it has already committed orders, considering team-mates may have changed orders based on AI’s orders?
    Also if it is past auto-boot, but vacations honoured, and someone else is on vacation, can you gain control of your AI? Because if you do then you will get booted straight away, making an AI. Also if that does happen, will the AI’s move be the same as the AI that was taken control of?

    Great updates, keep up the good job Fizzer :)

  12. I`m able to surrender in the tutorial, and when I do that the “Defeat” window pops up whit the yellow bubble behind me still giving orders, Idk if that was Intentional (and/or don\t count as getting it of script), but I thought you might wanted to know. Also do you want me to report other things whit the tutorial (if I can find more) here or using the Report function?

  13. Amazing updates, i’m so excited about many of these changes (maybe people will finally find out how to surrender) but yeah, the menu needs to have the option to pin it.

  14. Like the updates (not sure I like the auto-hide of the menu, as mentioned the pin option would be nice). One thing that I didn’t see mentioned is the menu overlaps other windows (like history). Not sure if this is intended, but can be a little bit of a pain finding a spot to put the history window and not cover vital map info.

  15. I’m playing as Gray, and in the tutorial, both the Neutrals and my color are referred to as gray.
    “these gray territories are yours.”
    “these Gray territories are neutral.”
    Minor, but still something I noticed.

  16. Any chance with the next update you can increase the contrast within the slider/scroll bars? It can be hard to tell where you are scrolled at times, especially on a mobile device (and sometimes alternate browsers like Puffin).

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