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David's State of the Unity Address

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  • David's State of the Unity Address

    Hi, all. I'll use this thread to share updates on Magic & Empire development so that you can follow what's happening with the game client. I hope to do one each Friday.

  • #2
    Friday, August 5.

    Last sprint: 3.0.30. Implement tutorial. Launch Facebook and Kong WebGL.
    Current sprint: 3.0.31. Transition from Unity 5.x to Unity 2017.1. Fixes to Facebook and Kong.
    Next sprint: 3.0.31. Adjust battle stats.

    Current sprint status: We hope to release this build on Monday.

    Current blockers:
    1. Arena reset. This blocker should be fixed but needs testing early Monday. The timing of the arena breaking is, simply put, awful. The issue stems from the v2 server and the v3 server squabbling over automated processes. v2 will come down next week, along with the iOS BloodRealm app. When that happens, the v3 server will run exclusively. Fixes will be issued for the tournament ending automatically, champion glory resetting, the leaderboard resetting, and rewards issuing.

      CS will have to devise a solution to the problem of broken rewards being distributed. If people have avoided claiming them, we can likely run a script to remove that. Nonetheless, people will have claimed many, so that needs to be resolved.
    2. Arena progress. In 3.0.31, champions no longer get stuck on the pre-battle screen when encountering a level 21 opponent.
    3. WebGL and Unity 2017.1. This blocker is fixed. The intent is to move the WebGL build to Unity 2017.1 for 3.0.31 and also make some optimizations to improve web performance. Magic & Empire standalone builds transitioned to 2017.1 without a hitch. WebGL, however, hit a stitch. The engineer with the lead on WebGL had to file a bug with Unity. He did find a workaround, but the memory usage is as great and perhaps greater than before. We've filed a ticket with Unity and are tracking this issue. This is another reason players should consider the standalone build. It's also another reason for us to get mobile released.
    Looking ahead:
    After battle stats are adjusted, the developers will implement the new battlefield. This is not trivial, but the results are going to be really awesome. People will be pleased, and you will finally have something really tangible, in a virtual sense, to enjoy as payoff for all the waiting.

    Thanks, all! Happy weekend!

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    • #3
      Saturday, August 19

      Last sprint: 3.0.31. Transition from Unity 5.x to Unity 2017.1 Fixes to Facebook and Kong.
      Current sprint: 3.0.32. Resolution and Display, Arena fixes, WebGL refinements, v2 end of life.
      Next sprint: 3.0.33. Game stats and new battlefield.

      Current sprint status: 3.0.32's release has been delayed for a few reasons. The engineer handling WebGL has done a great deal of work looking for improvements after complications with the move to Unity 2017.1. He has a Web Assembly build that looks promising. Shutting down v2 (it was still running for iOS) was an all-hands event that revealed some arena issues. A few arena items are outstanding. Once done, arena will be in solid shape until it's time to make improvements to elements like reward tiers and leaderboard. Our CEO was good enough to discover an OSX display issue that vexed the engineer responsible for the bulk of the Unity UI front end; in the end, he did a substantial rewrite of how cameras are handled. The good thing is that this will likely avoid future problems had the code been left in place.

      I found a new blocker with quests while testing yesterday's build. Otherwise, we have just 1 more blocker for this release, but several other tickets that need to be addressed as people were handling v2 cleanup, WebGL, the display issue mentioned above, and the like. Add in international holidays, I expect this release to not land next week, but the week after.

      *What players will want to know is that the arena timer will not reset nor the news reward claim item display until they leave and then relaunch the client this Sunday at 5PM PDT.

      People will see vfx for almost all spells in this release.

      Looking ahead:
      The next sprint is battlefield and game stats. Game stats are taking considerable work from Joseph and were pushed from the current sprint to next one. This makes sense anyhow, as they will release with the new battlefield UI. Josh and an in-house artist have also developed an improved pre-battle screen that looks miles better than the current one.

      After 3.0.33 is done, the current client will be in a really solid place with much better reliability, core changes to stats, and a battlefield that looks like what players want in a contemporary game of this sort. Our fingers are crossed that the Web Assembly build will give players an improved browser experience as well.

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      • #4
        Monday, September 11

        Last Sprint: 3.0.32. Resolution and Display, Arena fixes, WebGL refinements, v2 end of life.
        Current Sprint: 3.0.33. Game stats and new battlefield.
        Next sprint: 3.0.34. Game Log, Library of All Cards, Unfinished Decks

        Current sprint status: 3.0.33 is well underway. Implementing the new battlefield means a lot of QA, and it also means iterating some design choices. How and when cards zoom, dragging cards into play, rethinking sizing and placement of the mana and blood counters. Highlighting valid targets and how and when blood powers animate also has to be rethought.

        We will have internal builds Tuesday and then Friday. This is one of those sprints where the developers get a lot done and QA generates a lot of tickets, giving them more to do. If things go swimmingly, Friday's build will be solid letting us release in the first half of next week. What could slow it down is revisiting the tutorial with the new battlefield and design decisions about champion size and placement or other major elements.

        We anticipate game stat changes this release as well. Probably, campaigns getting essence will arrive, too, though arenas getting essence might come in the next sprint. The former is a matter of defining values in jsons, while the latter is a matter of having in-game calculations which requires development effort.

        Looking ahead:
        Initially, we had things like the game log built into this sprint, but that was much too ambitious. Also, the pre-battle screen redesign is finished, but it may wait for the next sprint, too. It's not nearly as much work as the battlefield, but the battlefield is already a significant effort.

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