Lynn’s Hot Topics

Hello everyone, hope I caught your attention on blog title…lol

I have no idea how I am gonna compete with the rest of the team here, they all have amazing updates to post here but I will sure try. Interesting enough Kay said “@lynn! I have the explosion, but you have the heart of players! ”

So lets talk tickets…One that sticks out in the past week, is the increase of request for players to have their accounts reset to zero. In game you can do this on your own if you are below level 50. Anything over that we just simply can’t do for these reasons.

  1. It’s mostly a security feature, stopping someone’s friend from trolling them.
  2. It is really time consuming for the IOU Team and it takes away from the real work they are working on.

This week I was really stressing about my blog as I explained earlier, since I really feel my daily codes are my blog. Then it was suggested to me, because I always tend to go to you guys about things…that I should use my blogging time to go over parts of the game. To be successful with this, I will again (as I always do) turn to all of you for your help. Please message me what part of the game you are in need of help with. For example, this past week we were talking in Discord about how I simply stay away from the Pet Map. So, next week I am hopeful to have some good information, tips and a better understanding of the Pet Map.

Cheers, Lynn

 

Jay Dev Journal #2

Unity

Unity functionality implementation has continued. This week I finished the pet upgrade maps’ functionality, and did the lion share of the work for support tickets and the top lists.

As can be seen here the summary screen still needs some love visually. But everything is functioning.

Unlike the petmap, everything needs visual love when it comes to support tickets.

The top list still needs the icons for images, and some improvements like highlighting key information.

Expeditions

Had to close a loophole in expeditions which would have allowed for infinite AP. After involved discussions with the community we decided to do this by capping one of the upgrades. The others all had implicit caps, so as part of this we went ahead and made them all explicit.

A lot of useful information came up in the aforementioned discussions and I’d expect to see more on that in a future blog post, but for now a lot of it is still fermenting in my head.

New Years Event

This was a roller-coaster. After initially releasing the event with unintentionally low scaling. We re-released it with the original intended scaling. This however brought something to light I had overlooked. The psychology of being able to max out a given reward. Often when designing things we want there to be room in the systems for unlimited growth, however the feedback I received here suggests that, at least sometimes, players want the feeling that they fully accomplished things. Because of this we released a rebalanced version of the event once again, with things scaled such that we predicted player could cap at least one of the balls. I can’t say for certain whether this will be the case in future development, but it will certainly be something I always consider going forward. A good lesson to learn.

Fishing Upgrades

I haven’t done much on the fishing upgrades yet. They should round out the work for the week. Only notable thing to mention here is that they should be coming soon ™. And that bait will be at a reduced rate past the current maximum upgrade level. We’ve gotten ourselves in trouble with the -interval upgrades in the past and need to keep an eye with them as we go forward.

Kay’s Dev Life #2

Hiya folks!

On last Sunday we still had a long meeting, but it still needs 14 mins to pass the record mark. Though, I enjoyed every long meeting, as we were able to reach more understanding on each other’s progress, and set new goals based on that. Also more jokes in-between.

Talking about goal, as mentioned by Ray, in these 2 weeks we are pushing to at least complete all existing windows. It’s a great goal at the right timing, since we have completed most challenging technical works, so nothing can stop us from reaching the promised land of Unity goddess!

From day 1, I cleaned up the Pet Upgrade map and slotted in the ability icons that make the map look much more comfortable to eyes, then I started to work on Support and Ticket windows.

When I was near to completion, Jay requested me the progress of Mining window. I told Jay the window will be done soon, like quite soon, then Jay understood what I meant, and decided to complete network integration for Top Ranks window first.

We discovered missing stuffs in Top Ranks window during the process, then after some hotfixes, I am on the majestic way of completing the Mining window! My fingers are on fire!

By the way, Ray told me that in near future, I could be suggesting new feature or improvement for IOU.

From that time, you’ll probably see more explosion in-game, like this:

That’s 1 post from me, see you again!
– Kay

Isael’s Blog

Hi everyone!
I spent some time working on the window layout for Unity . We are aiming to finish all those Unity windows for the end of January. There is still a lot of work to do, and i am trying to get some speed at it . Beside that on a more personal level, i am just trying to get rid of like 2 feet of snow that just landed on my hallway . Those magnificent flakes are constantly blocking access to the street so no need to say that i am shoveling almost every day like  a desperate Link trying to find his magical Ocarina under a trunk . Next week-end is supposed to be like 40 sub-zero, so you can imagine the task…

I am currently puzzled by components supposed to help for UI layouts . Found out those are more difficult to master because we have to set new game objects to gather them, then adjust margin and padding and lot of other obscure measurements . I don’t know if you some of you did some good old html/css ? But those can be annoying and it came come complicated with precedence and correct scaling over a given canvas….

I had some discussion with Kay about this, and he seems to agree that we would ultimately need to have some custom tools for easier alignment of UI elements . Since like 95% of IOU gameplay is in fact happening in a big UI canvas, alignment of things with correct spacing can easily be a time consuming task , especially for me: I tend to be overly maniac for some extra pixels to nudge here and there, and probably sometimes spend way too much time  on details that nobody would notice .

So here is a more final version of the character window.  I finished the Blacksmith building as well, so honestly i don’ t know when Ray will want to add it in-game.

There is some interesting animated materials i discovered in unity. It does’nt appear here but the Gift images are animated and bounce around. Trying to find ways to add some life and animations for the Unity release, adding icons when there is too much text, to fill the space.

So for now,  there is not that much new stuff to show, but i’ll come with more interesting things to show in the weeks to come . Of course, all of us are thinking about adding some game mechanics to spice things up, more details to follow soon!

Getting There…

Hey folks,

The Patch Release

This last patch was a little messier than it has been in a while.

Back 6+ months ago it’d be a miracle without having to do serious maintenance work….we’ve actually had incredibly stable patches for a good while, however that certainly doesn’t mean we’ll always keep our track record.

My time was cut incredible short the last couple weeks and my ability to test and assure more stability with this patch just wasn’t there. However I also hope users don’t get to the expectation that we won’t have common maintenance after a patch release as it is generally expected by us.

The Blog

I really hope you guys are enjoying the new blog setup to keep informed and see the activity on a very frequent basis going on. I wish we could have done better with this a long time ago, but we are definitely working towards a much more organized approach for the team’s development and transparency.

We will all be chiming in once a week, and trying to keep them spread out. Lynn will be the ‘mom’ in the situation assuring we have done our part or have updated her on things so she can post on our behalf.

Expeditions

There was a balance change that happened to AP that wasn’t intended to be pushed out just yet without a fair ying for yang change. Jay will be discussing this on testing this week towards our goals and hopefully we can get feedback for the cleanest middle-ground solution for the game.

Team Organization

While you all know our roles, we are continuing to develop our workflow process and are trying out some new workflows to benefit the game’s development ahead. We will be far more engaged moving forward.

Unity – February

We are so close to being ready for a feedback frenzy on cleaning up and improving the client soon. We have a few more windows to go over and will be putting a rush on things moving forward with an End of Month deadline.

February will be Unity Month. We will be undergoing MAJOR development phases to roll out Unity as quick as possible. I would like to have Unity as the live client by March 1st, and the official and only client available by April 1st (no, not a joke).

It is going to require a ton of work starting February 1st and I hope we can get some solid testers to compile a plethora of tasks for us to work on to clean things up. A lot, as usual leans on the amazing testing group that brings so much feedback and assistance in the development, and this is probably going to be the biggest case for it.

Today’s Meeting

We discussed:

  • A bug with Event NRG disappearing after challenges. I discovered this is because you are being credited diamonds from challenges, and it is virtually crediting nrg that doesn’t actually take. This should be fixed in the next server maintenance, but it’s more of a visual issue than a bug to concern over.
  • The rants from users about the new Expedition AP changes. This, again, was a mistake that it was included in this patch. Sorry about that.
  • Dates for our blog postings and how to go about them.
  • Team designation and roles.
  • A new process for each member on the team to present ideas and take charge of them to bring a lot of new perspective ideas to the table for the community instead of relying solely on me for design
  • Workflow responsibilities for the team.
  • Suggestion of showing progress of artifact unlocks (Something I am to look into)
  • A breakdown of all the windows left to be completed in Unity and our expectation of how long it will take:
    • Sacrificial Orbs – 0.5 days
    • Purchase – 2 days
    • Support Window (Working) – 1 day
    • Codes – 0.5 day
    • Chat (Working) – 3 days
    • Loading screen – 0.5 day
    • Bingo – Main (low) – 2 days
    • Bingo – Customize (low) – 0.5 day
    • Bingo – Shop (low) – 0.5 day
    • Bingo – Guide (low) – 0.5 day
    • Challenges (on hold) – 2-3 days
    • Mining (Pending UI logic and network code) – 2 days
    • Artifacts – 2 day
    • Total: 17-18 days
  • I said I would take on the simple Code Entry window today

I also left a final note of some items I’ll be discussing with the team this week and next meeting pertaining to:

  • Patch Deployment Improvements
  • In-Game Feedback
  • System
    Project Management (Workflow changes on my end)
  • Prioritization Systems for Front-End & Back-End
  • Roles & Designations – How they should operate
  • Team Feature Design Proposals

If we are transparent, why are our meetings outside of public eye?

This is probably not even something people would ask but I figured I would explain something real quick. We generally want the community to know just how much work is going on at all times, because with my personal silence it can seem like nothing is ever going on when it’s more crazy than you can imagine.

While I’m giving full on transparency of what we discussed related to game development here, sometimes we name specific players, family, companies, health, etc. These are things that for respect of others and our personal lives we keep on the down-low and I don’t want the team feeling a complete lack of privacy that they cannot let loose a bit during work.

What’s Next?

We have to tread lightly to avoid adding longer deadlines for Unity. So we will be tidying some final pieces:

  • Balancing Acts
  • Cap Increases
  • One or two final events in Flash

out before we start tackling some major pieces, like the anticipated:

  • New Challenge System
  • Auto Damage Revamp
  • Upgrade x10 / x100
  • Pet Runes (Most work already done here)
  • Guild mines
  • Mailbox System
  • Community Board (Suggestions/Bugs & voting in-game)
  • New Event System
  • More….it’ll be very community driven.

What is this Role/Designation Bit?

It has been months since I drunkenly hopped into voice chat with you all, but I wasn’t making anything up…

I am trying to delegate the team into a way that allows me to focus on project management and simply toss proposals instead of leading the development and design of the game and its mechanics, along with being able to work and involve directly within the community while maintaining a personal life.

I am taking 1 step back so IOU can take two steps forward so to speak.

  • Kay & Isael will work on the front-end and prioritize client-side features.
  • Jay will lead Back-end development and manage the tasks he requires from the team.
  • Lynn will be getting more involved by organizing everything for both the community and the team.

If things grow a lot for Mobile, my primary goal is to not allow the IOU team to become foreign to its users like many games do when they explode, but simply to expand and delegate more with new members.

While I’ll be taking an overseeing stance on IOU, rest assured that just means more for IOU as I won’t be tucked away working in Flash or constantly hindered by balance issues and so on.

I’m seriously effing excited for this.

A Big Thank You!

Thank you for sticking to your faith in the team and the game. I know with the bumps in the road I certainly didn’t deserve all the chances many of you in the community have time and time again given us, but I appreciate it so much.

 

-Ray

Jay Dev Journal

This last week I’ve had my hand in a number of different tasks. I’ve been integrating the front end work for the Pet Map that Kay recently posted about with the server so that its processing the packets from the server properly, and sending the correct packets when the appropriate buttons are pressed.

As you can see it doesn’t look anymore impressive than in the screenshots that kay provided, but it’s now displaying the appropriate values for my testing account. (you’ll have to ignore the red numbers, they are only temporary and for internal use)

This week I also started looking into what it would take to move over our login authentication from being completely self-handled and, in many ways not ideal, to using Amazon Cognito. This could potentially allow a more seamless login process across platforms, and allow for things that we don’t currently have like resting passwords, and 2-factor authentication. Unfortunately I’m not sure Cognito is the best fit for this use-case, and we may end up going in a different direction. Look to future Dev Journals by myself or Ray to see how this develops.

We’ve been looking at overhauling parts of some of the oldest code in the serverbase to make it a better fit. I wont bore you will all of the details here, but we hope it will reduce development time for some new features, as well as improve performance in some cases. This has been an ongoing process and is likely to continue into the distance future.

Finally this week we ended it with an eventful patch. There were a few missed bugs, and we’ll be reviewing what lead to us missing things. The biggest culprit this patch was a client error in an infinite loop (on all clients) massively over stressing our database server. This also made us realize how potentially dangerous such a feature is as a vector for intentional attacks. So we’ve disabled the processing of such requests until we can come up with an appropriate solution.

Kay WIP

Hiya everyone!

So last week I completed UI programming for pet upgrade map window, and that essentially means UI programming for all pet windows are done. I had never written so much ‘Pet’ words in my entire life, so the completion is a relief to me, mentally and spiritually.

As I am waiting for old art assets of pet upgrade map window, what I can show you is a screenshot of the current temporary pet upgrade map, filled with arrow buttons I plucked from Cards window.

In game development we call this placeholder art, and it definitely shows the importance of the game artist.

I swear this is the only weird stuff I did to pet upgrade map window!

Looking forward, I will be writing ‘Mining’ word a lot, since I’ll be working on the Mining window with Isael, the art magician.

This is our first time working closely together in the Unity project, so we will be having more friendly discussions to avoid unfriendly situations.

We will be putting our collaboration plans into practice and further cultivate our long-lasting friendship from there, with the blessings from Merciful Goddess of Unity.

See you again!
Kay

Isael WIP

Hey All! Last weeks were a bit smooth regarding work on IOU. You know how are those long x-mas and new year holidays combined when you have kids at home ? HO!HO!HO so long!

I just warned Ray that he ‘stole’ the pics i was going to show for the blog. So yeah, here are a bit more of the new fishing gears assets. The names are not final yet. Am also working on a new guild building, the ‘Blacksmith’ . So only a small WIP.

Beside this, we are all pretty much working on Unity. I had to learn it and watch tutos for nearly a complete week, still there is a lot of things to go through, compared to the good old flash ( I’ve been working with flash for a decade and a half) , so i had to put some oil in my rusty cognitive gears!

We will be able to customize a lot of things further, fonts, effects, put some anim on the fly, reuse a lot of windows and buttons without having weird stretching issues with Unity 9-slicing tool that is pretty neat!!!

If you closely look at the Characters of the Character (yes! He!he! does’nt it?) title, you see a 4 corner gradient (don’t spoil my fun!) and a nice fully customizable and shiny glow filter!

Ok, ok, i know most of you guys don’t care as much as i do for this kind of stuff and think i am overexcited over simple things, but for me , it’s a libido booster, i feel testosterone and power of the Almighty God of Pixel Light flow through the veins of my pen…. (yes pen only)!


Keep the Birthday Code requests coming – Ticket of the Week

Please keep the Birthday Code requests coming…Love how you guys message me about your own Birthday or a fellow player’s Birthday.

Ticket of the week is :

Request of deleting your account for the purpose of starting all over.

Please keep in mind this is only possible if you are below level 50 you can personally go into settings and delete your account.

Anyone over level 50, this request is simply not possible for the reasons being..

  1. People abusing their identity in the game
  2. The time it actually takes will take away from the real work that needs to be done with game development.

-Lynn

New Years Dev Blog

Happy New Years folks…

This blog page is going to look pretty bland to start but we wanted to start up the process of weekly blogs from the team. Yadda Yadda lets get started…

New Years Event

This event is quite a bit different from last years…..

There will only be three balls and they all operate a lot differently.

  1. The First Ball affects the total Artifact Accrued for the event
  2. The second ball affects several bonuses at once, including XP, Gold, Fish, Stone, Wood, Cards.
  3. Th last ball affects everyone’s rewards at the end of the event who participated (by obtaining the artifact)

Mining Cap Increase

The mining cap will be increased to 1100 (from 1050) as a start. This will further increase as we continue to monitor progression.

Fishing

Lots of new gear coming soon with fishing! 5 more tiers for each piece of gear.

Fishing nets will have two separated versions of its currency.

  1. Nets accumulated from NRG
  2. Nets earned or bought

The intention is to NOT prevent the timer from crediting passive nets just because someone has bought or earned a lot of nets as this is setting players back.

Inferno Cap

We will be increasing the Inferno cap to well above 40,000. We are looking at an increase up to 100,000 but I cannot finalize a number just yet as we have more testing to do.

Expedition Balancing

Expeditions, especially the ship arena, have long been a significant issue on the balancing of the game. We have some ideas ahead to rectify this as best as possible, without punishing players who invested and focused heavily into these systems.

As the most negative piece however we will be further negating the end-game potential of diamond accruals from expeditions. This will be on test later today.

We have other ideas pertaining to AP, SO and Dynamite ahead but have no intention on harming invested or new players in the process of these changes, but to ensure they are effective for the games future.

Pet Balancing vs Auto Damage

We are looking at the addition of a new building to affect Auto Damage, among other voids to fill when comparing to Pet Damage.

Auto & Click base damage upgrades will be getting a very major revamp in the future as well to allow it the potential to compete with high end pet system.

It will still be well over a month before this is focused and dealt with though as a heads up.

In-Game Polling & Voting System

We are anticipating the upcoming development of an in-game bug reporting and suggestion system that will allow players to upvote, downvote, comment, and even upload images for reference (with moderation of course).

For months I have been digging for a proper service to integrate into IOU for such an effect and I have not been happy with anything available. If you can’t find it, make it!

This system will be for Unity-only.

Unity Progression

We just had the longest meeting we’ve ever had and still didn’t get to finish some of the items on our list.

We will be pushing Unity testing hard starting mid January. We are re-organizing our roles and assignments in order to prepare for this transition and will be going gung-ho about it.

This item during this dev blog seems the least exciting but it is holding every major future change in its grasp as we are winding to having a proper and full organized team all working together on fast-tracking development.

I’ll leave the rest to the others 😉

-Ray