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

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