WarLight can now be accessed via https

You can now access the WarLight website with https using the url https://www.warlight.net!

https is the “secure” version of http, meaning that all of your traffic is encrypted which adds extra security. In plain http, the data your web browser sends to the WarLight server is not encrypted, so if someone was somehow able to see it, they could see what orders you were committing in a game, for example. This is usually only possible if they had control of a device that was routing your traffic, such as a wireless access point you were using. I’ve never heard of this actually happening on WarLight, but since it’s theoretically possible it’s worth fixing.

Eventually, it will be required for everyone to switch over to the https version. But for now, we’re in a transition period where both work, so you can choose which you’d like to use.

Please try it out and let me know if you run into any problems!

Update 2.10: WarLight games can now be luck-free

WarLight has just been updated to version 2.10! This update allows games to be played without any random factors, and also changes the default options and built-in templates to be luck-free.

Randomness is now off by default

With this update, new WarLight games will default to settings that don’t use any randomness (i.e. luck). This is a reversal of the old format, where luck options defaulted on and they could be turned off by game creators.

When randomness is disabled, there isn’t any luck in determining whether your attacks will succeed or fail. Also, you also know when you’ll move before your opponents, and what cards you’ll receive. This helps make games more fair and competitive.

Specifically, this is talking about four settings: The luck modifier, rounding mode, move order, and the minimum number of card pieces given to each card. These are the primary factors that control how much randomness affects WarLight games. By setting these values correctly, it can actually eliminate all randomness within WarLight games. (set the luck modifier to 0%, the rounding mode to straight round, the move order to no-luck cyclic (see below), and the minimum number of card pieces to the same value as the number of cards received each turn.)

This update only affects new games and templates. Existing games and templates will not be affected. Of course, if you like the randomness factor, you can always turn it back on when creating games or templates.

New Analyze Graph

Currently, when issuing attacks you can press the “Analyze” button to see a graph of the probabilities that your attack will succeed. However, with WarLight’s new emphasis on luck-free games, this graph doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, as the values will always fall on 0% or 100%. Therefore, in games with a luck modifier of 0% and a rounding mode of straight round, the probabilities graph is being replaced with a new graph called the “no-luck graph.”

Since there’s no randomness, the graph can know with 100% certainty how many armies are needed to capture a territory defended by a certain number of armies. It simply shows the number of defenders on the horizontal axis and the number of attackers needed on the vertical axis.

You can use this graph to figure out how many armies are needed to capture the territory with how many armies it’s currently defended by. When attacking opponents, it’s also useful to consider how many armies the opponent may add, and how many more you wish to attack with.

No-Luck Cyclic Move Order

This updates adds a new move order option, called no-luck cycle.

First, let’s take a step back and review what the move order does. The move order defines whose first order executes first (or who gets first pick during territory selection). The current options available are random and cyclic. Random means that the move order is determined randomly every turn, whereas cyclic means it’s determined randomly on the first turn and swaps back and forth for the rest of the game.

The advantage of a cyclic move order is that it reduces the amount that randomness affects the game. However, it still has a random element on the first turn of the game. The goal of the new no-luck cyclic move order is to eliminate this first turn randomness.

In no-luck cyclic move order, the initial order of the cycle is determined by how fast each player plays during their first turn (or during territory distribution if it’s a manual distribution game). Whoever plays fastest will be placed 1st in the first move order, and the second fastest player will be placed 2nd, etc. After the initial order is determined, move order will simply swap back and forth just as it would in cyclic move order.

In order to make this fair, the game will only measure the time from when you begun playing your first turn until when you complete it. When a game begins using this move order, the map is initially hidden and a new window appears with a “begin” button. Clicking begin reveals the map and starts your timer, which will stop when you commit orders or picks. There is also a new setting under the Settings tab that relates to this new window, called the begin dialog that can be used to skip this window if you wish.

If you modify your orders on the first turn, it will extend your total move speed to encompass the entire time from when you begun until your final commit. For example, if you begin taking your turn at 1:00pm and commit at 1:10pm, your play speed will be 10 minutes. However, if at 1:30 you change your mind and change your orders/picks, your play speed will update to 30 minutes.

To increase transparency, you can also see exactly how quickly each player took their first turn in the Menu -> Players window. This shows how fast they took their turn, and if you hover over that value, it also shows the exact time they began and ended taking it. As a separate column, it also shows the resulting move cycle that was determined based on these times. This highlights another difference between this new move order and the standard cyclic move order: the cycle is known by all players. In standard cyclic move order, it’s up to players to figure out the cycle on their own, but in no-luck cycle, WarLight reveals to all players who will be moving when. To help make it obvious, the game shows exactly who will move on the next turn in the left column:

You can hover over this label to see the entire move sequence for the next turn.

In team games, the average speed of the team will be used to determine the order of the teams in the cycle. Then, within each team, the order is determined by the move speed of each player compared to their teammates.

Investor

This isn’t related to this update, but I have news that I’m thrilled to announce about WarLight: WarLight now has an investor! For the first time in its 6-year history, I’m not working on WarLight alone. For the last few months, we’ve been hard at work on WarLight 3.0. More details about this will be coming soon.

Misc Changes

– Added simple “fast” and “slow” boot options, aimed at making the boot options easier to configure for first-time players. You can still click “customize” to access the existing functionality.
– Clicking on your name in the top-right now loads your public profile.
– Fixed a bug that caused errors in games that set “bank duration” to 0.
– The “Common Games” page now displays a total letting you know how many games it’s showing, instead of making you count them up.
– Clicking a flashing mail icon now takes you to the last page of the mail thread instead of the first.
– Fixed a bug that made small flag icons say “Plays from null” when hovering over them.
– Fixed a bug on high-resolution screens that made the top red bar stop after 2000 pixels.
– In the lobby, the host-only buttons are now hidden if there’s no host.

Update 2.9.1: Yearly membership option, top-right account bar

WarLight has just been updated to version 2.09.1! This is a small update which adds just a few small features and enhancements.

Yearly membership option

WarLight memberships can now be purchased for one year, at a reduced price of $14.99. This will get you all the membership benefits, such as the ability to play without ads and the “M” next to your name for one year.

The lifetime membership option is still available for purchase, but its price has been increased to $34.99. If you already purchased a membership before this update, you’ll still retain your lifetime membership.

Membership also comes with full access to all WarLight ladders, the ability to set the luck modifier in games you create, the ability to create 20 player games, and extra vacations. If you purchase one year of membership, these benefits will continue forever as a free gift — they will not expire after the membership expires.

You can purchase a year of membership via this link!

Top-right account bar

WarLight.net now shows an account bar in the upper-right corner that shows information about your current account. This is similar to the bar that always existed on the single-player and multi-player tabs, however it’s now present on other pages of the website as well.

It shows your name, level and level progress, whether you have unread mail, and contains links to sign in or out of your account.

This is a first step towards a larger WarLight.net redesign I hope to do in the future. Eventually, this top-right bar will probably be the only way to sign in and out of accounts.

Other Changes

– The automatic boot timer can now be set to lower values. Previously, the auto boot timer could not be set to values lower than 5 minutes. Now, it can be set to values down to 3 minutes. This is useful if you’re combining it with banking boot times, where it’s common to set the core boot time to a low value and increase its flexibility with the bank.
– Profiles of players in the United States now show which state they’re in when hovering over the flag on their profile.

Update 2.9: Real-time ladder improvements, mobile app linking, ladder changes

WarLight has just been upgraded to version 2.09.0! This update improves the ladders based on the recent poll, and adds a few other small features.

Real-Time Ladder Improvements

After joining the real-time ladder, if you stay on the Real-Time Ladder page it will now display a loading icon. Once the ladder invites you to a game, this icon will change to a link to that game. Additionally, a check-box exists that will tell the page to make a sound when the game starts.

This streamlines the process of joining the real-time ladder, as you don’t need to continually refresh the My Games page anymore. Instead, you can simply leave the main ladder page open in the background and wait until you hear the chime.

When you finish a real-time ladder game, the page will automatically change back to the spinner within 30 seconds, and will again make a sound when the next game is created (if the box to do so is checked). Therefore, you can simply leave this page open in the background and it will always notify you via the sound when a game is created.

There’s also now a link to the real-time ladder page in the Open Games page, as long as you have unlocked the ability to join the real-time ladder and at least one person is currently playing in the ladder.

Mobile App Linking

In the latest update to WarLight’s iOS and Android app, the app now has the ability to open game links from your web browser! These kind of game links are often used in WarLight’s forum for sharing and discussing games, and you’ll also see them in the e-mail notifications that WarLight sends out.

A game link is one that looks like this: http://warlight.net/MultiPlayer?GameID=1000045. If you click on this link on your device, it will automatically switch to the WarLight app and open the referenced game.

This will only work if you have the app version 2.08.0 or higher installed. Android and Kindle Fire devices got this update a while ago, and iOS devices should receive it soon. If you want to see what version you have installed, just tap Settings from the main menu and scroll to the very bottom.

Ladder Changes

All of the changes announced previously are now live!

Changes to templates won’t change existing games — they’ll just take effect for games created after this update.

Misc Changes

– The 2v2 ladder page, when you’re not currently joined to it, now shows the most recent team you played with instead of the oldest one.
– In a game lobby, it’s now possible to click the host’s name and open their profile. This is useful if someone creates a game but does not play in it themselves.

Multi-player WarLight on Kongregate

WarLight just launched on Kongreate.com!

This is a scaled-back version of WarLight intended to attract new players to the game. You can view it here: http://www.kongregate.com/games/FizzerWL/warlight-multi-player

If you have a Kongregate account, it would help a lot if you’d pop over and give the game a rating.

Back in 2011, a single-player version of WarLight launched on Kongregate to great success — it attracted a lot of new players to the game. This just included the six main single-player levels as well as the ability to create custom single-player levels.

This time, players can play multi-player games right on Kongregate.com. It also contains the single-player levels, and has more features and a better interface than the 2011 version.

It’s worth noting that the games are kept separate — Kongregate players can never play in the same game as a player on WarLight.net and vice versa. However, some Kongregate players may decide to switch over to warlight.net to take advantage of the additional features and maps available there.

Upcoming Ladder Changes

You voted, and the results are in! This blog post outlines the changes that are upcoming to the 1v1, 2v2, and real-time ladders.

  • 1v1 ladder: Players now must finish 20 games to qualify for a rank, instead of 15.
  • 1v1 ladder: The luck modifier will be decreased from 16% to 0%
  • 1v1 ladder: The matchmaking range will be decreased from 30% to 20%. This just means you’ll get games with players that are nearer to you in the ladder.
  • 1v1 ladder: Games will now expire after 5 months instead of 3. Existing expired games will not un-expire, this will just delay the expiration of games that are currently not expired.
  • 2v2 ladder: The map will change from Medium Earth to Final Earth
  • Real-time ladder: The boot time will change from 5 minutes to 3 minutes, but with an initial bank time of 5 minutes. This means you can exceed the new 3-minute boot timer for a total of 5 minutes throughout the entire game.
  • Real-time ladder: The Season II and Season XI templates will be replaced by China and Treasure Map.

These changes will happen no sooner than a week from the time of this blog post, so all players have a chance to practice the new settings if they choose to do so. It’s also worth noting that existing games will not be modified — these changes will only take effect for new games that are created after the update. Also, the changes to the 1v1 and 2v2 ladder templates will also be changed within the Strategic 1v1 and Strategic 2v2 templates, which means the auto games will change as well.

Update 2.8: Country flags

WarLight has just been upgraded to version 2.08.0! This update adds flags onto profiles that show you where a player plays from, and makes a few small fixes and improvements.

Country Flags

When viewing a player’s profile, WarLight now shows a flag next to their name indicating which country of the world they play from. This allows you to see where your opponents are located. You can hover your mouse over the flag to see the name of the country.

The country for every player is automatically determined based on the IP they access WarLight from.

For now, the flags are only available when playing on the website at WarLight.net. The flags will appear in the Android / iOS clients in a future app update.

“Last seen” on profiles

Player’s profiles now have a line that says “last seen”, and indicates how recently they accessed any part of WarLight.

This replaces the old “inactive for” line. The old line only appeared once a player was inactive for more than a few days, and this activity was only based on how recently they entered orders into a multi-player game. That meant it was very inaccurate for people who didn’t play multi-player, such as those who only played single-player or only chatted on the forums.

Other Changes

– Fixed a bug that caused the left and right history buttons to be cut off in some operating systems.
– When banking boot times are enabled for a real-time game, if the bank percentage is 0% and you have no banked time left, the clock will revert back to its normal mode of counting down even after you commit your turn.
– Fixed a bug that caused round-robin tournaments to not create games in some circumstances where it could have.

Poll for changes to the ladders

WarLight is running a poll on changes to its ladders! All players who are eligible to join any of the ladders can vote.

Vote here!

All questions on the poll are optional, so you can vote for ones you care about and leave the rest blank, if you wish.

If you don’t have access to the poll, but are interested in what the questions are, you can see them in the top post of this thread.

This poll only covers changes to the existing ladders. Adding new ladders will be done in a separate poll at some point in the future.

Please vote just once. You can’t edit your responses, so feel free to think over your votes thoroughly before making them! The poll will stay open for at least a week, and any changes to the ladders will be announced at least a week before they take effect so you have a chance to practice any new settings.

You can discuss the poll in this thread if you’d like to sway players to your point of view.

The responses will be posted on WarLight ladder forum. Happy voting!

Update 2.7: No-split mode, banking boot time improvements

WarLight has just been upgraded to version 2.07.0! This update makes no-split mode available for non-ladder games, and makes improvements to the banking boot times system.

No-split Mode

No-split mode is now available as a reward at level 39. If you’re already over 39, you’ll get access to it on your next level up. See the previous blog post for an explanation of what no-split mode is.

Just like any time a level reward is added, this causes the number of points to achieve each level to be adjusted, usually shrinking them. Therefore, you may notice your progress in your current level going up automatically at the time of this update. If you were near the next level, you could even wind up a situation where your progress bar shows as being over 100%. In this case, you’ll simply get a level up the next time you receive any points. Any extra points will be automatically rolled over into the next level, so nobody gained or lost points with this update.

Banking Boot Times Improvements

With this update, boot times are now much more flexible!

Banking boot times is a feature that lets you “bank” time that you didn’t spend. For example, in a 5-minute boot game, if you take your turn in 4 minutes you are eligible to bank up to 1 minute (the actual amount can vary based on the game’s configuration.) This banked time can then be used to exceed the boot time in subsequent turns. In this example, you could go up to 6 minutes the next turn before you’d become bootable.

With this update, two new fields are added that increase the flexibility of this feature.

First, game creators can now grant free banked time at the start of the game. For example, in a 2 minute boot game, all players could start with 10 minutes pre-banked. This would give them 10 minutes additional time they could spend over the boot limit.

Second, game creators can now control when banked time expires, in number of turns. For example, if you bank a minute on turn 1, and don’t use it by turn 11, it would expire. This limit exists to prevent someone from acquiring too much banked time. Prior to this update, when banking boot times were enabled, this number was always 10. Now, game creators can set it to anything from 0 to 200.

Banking Boot Time Examples

These two new fields allows a lot of flexibility in controlling boot times. Let’s start with a fairly typical example.

Boot time of 2 minutes, Bank 50%, no initial bank, bank duration of 3: You always have at least 2 minutes to take your turn. If you take your first turn in 1.5 minutes, you’d bank 50% of the 30 seconds difference, or 15 seconds. Therefore, your second turn would give you 2 minutes and 15 seconds before you’re bootable. If you take 2 minutes and 10 seconds to take your turn, you’d eat up 10 seconds of your bank and be left with 5 seconds in your bank, giving you 2 minutes and 5 seconds for your third turn. If you take your third turn in 30 seconds, you’d bank 50% of the 1 minute 30 second difference, adding 45 seconds to your existing bank of 5 seconds giving you a bank of 50 seconds. For your forth turn, you take exactly two minutes, which doesn’t adds or subtract any time from your bank. However, since the bank duration is only 3 turns, the 15 seconds earned in the first turn expire, reducing your bank to 35 seconds, or a total boot time of 2 minutes and 35 seconds.

Let’s look at how adding initial time changes things:

Boot time of 12 hours, Bank 50%, 12 hours initial bank, bank duration of 20: You always have 12 hours to take your turn. However, because all players start with 12 hours already in their bank, the first turn boot time actually becomes 24 hours. Let’s say you take your first turn in 14 hours. This eats up 2 hours out of your bank, and gives you 22 hours to make your second turn. You take your second turn quickly, after only 2 hours. You bank 50% of the 10 hour difference, adding 5 hours to your existing bank of 10, which means you have 27 hours to make your third turn. If the game made it all the way to turn 10, the initial 12 hours would expire leaving only the time earned in the last 20 turns in the bank.

Let’s look at how we could use this to address a common request, adding additional time for the game’s first turn:

Boot time of 5 minutes, Bank 0%, 10 minutes initial bank, bank duration of 1: In this case, the 0% banking percentage means there’s no way to add to your bank. The initial bank is the only amount that applies. Therefore, the first turn gives you 15 minutes, and all subsequent turns give just 5. If this is a manual distribution game, those 15 minutes would apply to the territory selection step, otherwise they’d apply to the first turn of the normal game.

Banking boot time wrap-up

Just like before, you can always view how much time anyone has banked by visiting the Nudge/Boot panel and clicking the “speed” link next to any player’s name. Note that the bank amounts will differ for vote to boot, direct boot, and auto boot, if they’re set to different times.

There’s also a change to the way the clock works in real-time games when banking boot is enabled. After committing your orders, the clock shows how much time you have banked. In games without banking boot times, the clock continues counting down so you know how much time other players have. However, this doesn’t work in banking boot games since all players could become bootable at different times.

Let me know what you think of the new boot time flexibility! I’d like to find ways to make the boot timer more flexible, as long as it’s easy for new players to understand.

Other Changes

– Fixed a bug that could let team Round Robin tournaments create more games for a team at a time than the limit.
– Added optional e-mail validation.