It’s time to perform a few clean-up tasks in Warzone that are long overdue. Today, a new version of Warzone is being released to the website that cleans up a few odds and ends that aren’t needed anymore, improves a few things, and upgrades the versions of a few components. This blog post describes everything that changed.
Removing the real-time ladder: The Real-Time ladder was deprecated back in 2018, and now it’s been completely removed. The real-time ladder was a great addition to WarLight back in the day as it brought several new concepts, such as a game creation system with multiple templates, a real-time matchmaking system, and a way to adjust a player’s rating in real-time rather than hours later as the other ladders do. However, it had major flaws such as the concept of joining/leaving rather than simply requesting a game, being website-only and never being integrated into the app, and overwhelming new players with too many template choices instead of introducing them slowly. When Quickmatch was created, it pulled from the best parts of the real-time ladder while simultaneously fixing its major flaws. Today, Quickmatch accounts for the majority of Warzone games played, and it has the lessons learnt from the real-time ladder to thank for its success.
Removed automatic friends setting: Back when WarLight was new, the only way to play a game was to invite people to a game directly. There was no concept of matchmaking or open games. It did have an “invite list” — a list of people you could easily invite to a game. Back then, it made sense to automatically add people you played with to this list so you could easily play with them again. Years later this list was renamed to the friends list, but the auto-add system remained for some reason (although it could be toggled off). Today, it’s finally gone, which should have been done years ago. The only way to get someone on your friends list is to click the “+Friend” button on their profile, or if you invite a new player to a game via the “invite by email” tab it will start you as each other’s friend. In addition to removing this feature, I’m pruning back the friends list of inactive accounts to help clean up the database, as the friends list takes a considerable amount of space and I imagine that most of it isn’t needed. If you want to clean up your friends list, check this page and note there is a “bulk removal” option if it’s too big to remove them one by one.
Shutting down the old Kongregate app: The multi-player WarLight Kongregate app is no longer available. The single-player one remains available if you can run it, as it doesn’t require server support so there’s no need to shut it down. Of course, both ran in Flash which is no longer supported by Adobe, so I’m not sure anyone still uses these.
Removing support for the WarLight iOS/Android app: The old non-Unity iOS/Android app is no longer supported and will cease functioning for multi-player or any features that require talking to the server. I’m not aware of anyone that actually still uses this, but in case someone does they should upgrade to the Warzone app.
Removing support for Warzone versions more than 2 months old: If you haven’t been updating your app for some reason, now is the time to update since the old version won’t be able to talk to the Warzone server anymore. It will get a message saying it’s out of date and needs to be updated. It’s important to retire old versions from time to time since they have bugs that were fixed long ago, and I often get contacted by people reporting bugs for which my answer is along the lines of “update your app, that bug was fixed over a year ago.”
No-Income games: In games where you have 0 armies to deploy, the client will now default you into attack mode instead of deployment mode. This helps out new players who haven’t quite figured out how to switch modes yet, as sometimes newbies would get stuck on the “A different approach” level as that’s the first level where you have 0 income.
Unity Upgrade: Once a year, we have to go through a Unity major version upgrade to stay on a supported version. This release upgrades us from 2018.4 to 2019.4. If all goes well, you won’t notice any differences, but it is cause to roll out the next version of the app slowly just in case anything breaks.
Flash: The Flash Warzone client still lives! While this would be a good time to remove it, I have no quarrels with leaving it up for now. Although Adobe has officially killed off Flash, and I’m not even aware of any way to get the Warzone flash client to run, I have heard that there are some tools that allow the running of Flash apps. I haven’t tried them myself, but if anyone finds a way to get them to work with Warzone, please let me know. I did have to re-write a lot of my internal automated tests though, since I still had tests that verified Warzone’s codebase through the Flash client. But now they’ve all been ported to test the Unity client, so we’re fully free of any dependence on Flash.
Removed old Flash settings: There were a few account-level settings that could be changed that only affected the Flash client, such as the “Change Deployment Slider” and “Skip Begin Click”. These were accessible by link on the website but weren’t linked to from anywhere. Since they only affected the Flash client, they’ve been removed, and the Flash client uses the more “power user” default such as to always show the deployment slider and always skip the begin click.
Testing Maps Revert: If a map version has been in “Testing” mode for more than 6 months, it will now automatically revert back to “Development” mode. This is necessary to help keep the database clean as testing maps take up more space. Sometimes map developers would forget to clean up their old maps when they were done testing so they’ve been accumulating for more than a decade now.
Duplicate Maps Delete: If a map version in development mode is identical to another map version, it will be automatically deleted after 3 months. This is necessary since sometimes map developers duplicate a version and then forget about it. If it’s identical, there’s no harm in deleting one of the duplicates.
.net standard: Warzone is written in C#, and since it’s existed since 2008 it’s still built against the .net framework while the rest of the world is moving to .net core. As part of this cleanup task, parts of the Warzone code were ported to .net standard to help ensures the code stays modern.