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.

Season XVI: No-split mode

Congrats to JV for winning Season XV with a very impressive 18-2 record!

Season XVI will introduce a new, never-before-seen setting that’s exclusive to the seasonal ladder: No-split mode!

No-split Mode

No-split mode is simple. In games where it is enabled, all attack/transfer orders must use every army available. When issuing an attack or transfer, there won’t even be a slider available to choose the number of armies:

In other words, if you have a big stack of armies, it isn’t possible to split that stack into smaller stacks. They must stay together forever. This changes the game’s strategy quite a bit, since you need to be conscious of when you want to combine armies onto the same territory.

The settings are similar to Strategic 1v1, except on the Modified Medium Earth map and of course, no-split mode. The template was can be viewed using these links, but you can’t play it with no-split mode yet since that setting is exclusive to the seasonal ladder (for now): Multi-Player, Single-Player

The season will begin at midnight on Tuesday (click to see this time in your local timezone as well as a countdown). Good luck!

Update 2.6: Unlockables page, Mega Strategy Pack and Mega Maps Pack

WarLight has just been updated to 2.06.0! This update adds the Unlockables page, the Mega Strategy Pack and the Mega Maps Pack.

Unlockables

There’s a new sub-tab under the home tab: Unlockables. This page shows all of the features that a WarLight account can unlock and tells you which you have unlocked.

Check it out to see what features you’ve unlocked and what’s left to get.

Mega Strategy Pack

The Mega Strategy Pack unlocks dozens of new features within WarLight that you can use, such as all of cards and most of the game settings that WarLight offers. This is designed for players who don’t want to level up to unlock the features. See the list of everything it unlocks. The pack sells for $14.99.

Mega Maps Pack

The Mega Maps Pack makes all 1000+ of WarLight’s maps immediately available to you, regardless of your level. You’ll also get access to all new maps that map designers are releasing all the time. This is designed for players who don’t want to level up to unlock the maps. Check out the Mega Maps Pack for $14.99!

Misc Changes

– If you want to change your name more often than every 5 levels, you can now purchase a name change for $3.99 which lets you change it immediately. This also gives a week of ad-free play.
– In the map designer, there’s now a separate button for editing a map’s unlock level that explains more about the process and also recommends a level to use.
– Map unlock levels are now capped at max level with a reward + 2, currently 55.
– Fixed a bug that caused territory linking to not work if the chat box was kept open from the lobby.

Season XV

Congrats to Killua Zaoldyeck for winning Season XIV!

Season XV will play on the Poland Big map:

This map has a unique bonus system that creates different strategies than what we’re used to. The template was designed by Szeweningen and can be viewed using these links: Multi-Player, Single-Player

The season will begin at midnight on Tuesday (click to see this time in your local timezone as well as a countdown). Good luck!

Update 2.5.2: Small update

WarLight has just been upgraded to version 2.05.2! This update fixes a few bugs, notably the cursor-disappearing one, and adds a few other small enhancements. Here’s a full run-down of what’s changed:

– Changed the way flash ads work to prevent cursor-hiding bugs.
– In real-time games, the clock now shows up even when the right column is collapsed.
– The dashboard now shows all ladders in tabs. The real-time ladder is now shown as well.
– The real-time ladder now records “best rank” and “best rating” columns, just as the other ladders do. These fields only get recorded from this point going forward — past records do not count.
– A trophy can now be earned for getting rank #1 on the real-time ladder. Just like the other ladders, you must be rank #1 when a data point is recorded on the graph (around 0:00 GMT every day).
– In a game that uses a scenario distribution and manual distribution, at least one pick is now required. Previously you could commit with 0 picks, which was easy to accidentally do.
– Local deployments can now be added to the highlighted section of the settings panel. To enable this, visit the Highlighted Settings sub-tab under the Settings tab. Note: This won’t be highlighted in the iOS or Android apps until the next time they’re updated.
– Introduced some fixes to make ladder updating, auto boot, and AI processing more reliable.
– The Maps page under the Home tab now shows maps without a rating as “TBD / 5″ instead of “0.0 / 5″
– The clan invite page now sorts friends correctly.

I also want to apologize for the slow development of WarLight so far this year. This period has been, by far, the least progress WarLight has made since it was introduced in 2008. Some of this has been because I was working on back-end architecture improvements that weren’t visible (I talked about the move to the JVM in previous blog posts), but I’ve also been distracted by real life. A few months ago, my father passed away, and then just a few weeks ago my mother was diagnosed with cancer and then she passed away from it two weeks later.

It’s not all bad news for WarLight though. Things will soon get back on track, and I have some big features planned for this year and next. I’m currently working down a roadmap that involves three major projects. I don’t like to reveal what they are so far in advance, but I will give a teaser: The first is 80% done, but it’s mostly designed to attract new players to the game and won’t be exciting to the WarLight community. However, the next two are major updates that I’m really excited for. I’ll just say this: major core gameplay changes.

Update 2.5.1: Small update

WarLight has just been upgraded to version 2.05.1. This update fixes a few bugs and has a couple small enhancements.

This is an update to all platforms: The website, Android, Kindle Fire, and iOS. The website and Android updates are complete. The Kindle Fire and iOS updates will appear on your devices once Amazon and Apple approve them. Amazon usually completes theirs within a day or two, and Apple usually completes theirs in a 7-8 days.

Changes

– Added an achievement for winning a real-time ladder game.
– Added a “Clans” public forum.
– Fixed a bug that could cause a player to get booted into an AI and then booted into neutrals together if both booted and surrendered players turn into AI, and they had surrendered, and everyone had accepted their surrender except one other player who just got auto-booted.
– The auto-booter will no longer boot players who have been turned into an AI. This is only an issue if the AI server is malfunctioning for some reason. You can still direct boot them manually, it just won’t automatically happen.
– Fixed a bug that made the real-time ladder not show graphs for rank/rating history change.
– Fixed a bug with the message that was displayed next to players on the real-time ladder who haven’t played for 3 days.
– Fixed a bug that was causing game names to be doubly-encoded on the Edit Favorite Games page.
– iOS/Android: Fixed a bug that caused an error when trying to view the settings of a real-time ladder game.
– iOS/Android: No longer displays “Level 0″ when next to players when playing single-player
– iOS/Android: Fixed a bug that made the “View Full Profile” button show up for AI players, who don’t have profiles.
– iOS: Fixed a bug that made tapping links on the wiki cause it to revert to the non-mobile version of the wiki, which doesn’t appear correctly on iPhones.
– iOS/Android: Fixed a bug that could cause maps that were just unlocked to not appear in the map browser until the app was restarted.
– iOS/Android: Fixed a bug on tablets that allowed opening multiple attack/transfer windows at a time which lead to error messages.
– iOS: Fixed a bug that made the deployment label not appear on iOS 7.0 devices.

Website update 2.5: Real-time ladder!

WarLight has just been upgraded to version 2.05.0! This update adds a forth ladder to the game, the real-time ladder. It also has a few other enhancements. This blog post describes what’s changed.

Real-Time Ladder

In addition to the 1v1, 2v2, and seasonal ladders, WarLight now as a forth ladder: the Real-Time Ladder. It’s named as such since, unlike the other three ladders, games have a 5-minute automatic boot time making them a real-time games instead of a multi-day games. The ladder is immediately available to all members and players level 45 or over.

The way the ladder rates players and matches players also works differently. Read on for the full details.

Joining and leaving the ladder

When you want to play in the real-time ladder, simply visit the ladder page (under Community -> Ladders) and click Join Ladder. Within 5 minutes, if there is a suitable opponent, a game will be created. You can only play in one game at a time. When that game finishes, a new one will be created within 5 minutes, again assuming there’s a suitable opponent. You won’t be matched with the same person more than once in a 20 hour period.

When you’re done playing games, just go back to the ladder page and click Leave Ladder. This won’t remove you from any in-progress games or stop them from counting, it will just stop you from getting new games. Therefore, it’s a good idea to leave the ladder while you’re in the middle of playing the last game you want to play. If you wait until it finishes before leaving, you might accidentally get a new one if you can’t leave fast enough.

If you get booted from a game, it will automatically remove you from the ladder so you don’t get more games. This prevents a runaway boot streak that could happen if you lost internet connectivity, for example. If you accidentally get booted but want to keep playing, just go back to the ladder page and click Join Ladder again.

The settings for each game is determined randomly from a list of templates. This list is initially seeded with some of the seasonal ladder templates, but templates will be added and removed over time based on suggestions from the community.

Ratings

Ratings for the real-time ladder are calculated in a completely different manner than the other three ladders. The real-time ladder uses the TrueSkill algorithm to determine player’s ratings.

Unlike the other ladders, ratings will update immediately after a game finishes. After every game, you can refresh your ladder page to see your new rating.

This makes the rating method much simpler than the other ladders. The ripple effect of the other ladders is not present — the rating change is affected only by the rating of your opponent when you played, not their future changes. Also, games never expire like they do in the other ladders, but the TrueSkill algorithm weights newer games more highly, so you still have the ability to move your rating over time.

It takes around 15 completed games to receive a rank. Unlike the other ladders, you get a rank even while you’re not joined to the ladder. If you don’t play a real-time ladder game for 3 days, you’ll lose your rank and revert to “Not Ranked” until you play a game again. This doesn’t affect your rating.

Also unlike the other ladders, the real-time ladder does not award points for ranks. Instead, each win gives 4x the points that the equivalent game would give if you just created it on its own.

Level Updates

A few level rewards were moved around. See the Levels page on the wiki for the new set-up.

If you are already a higher level than a reward that was moved to be a level below you, you’ll receive it at your next level up. If a level reward was moved to a level that’s higher than you, you won’t lose it (once unlocked, it never re-locks.)

Also, since there’s a new level unlockable (the real-time ladder), this shifts the max level with a reward from 52 to 53. This also has the effect of reducing the point totals of all levels above 53. If you’re already above 52, you’ll probably notice a jump in your progress towards the next level. If you were close to getting a level up, you’ll appear as over 100%. In this case, you’ll get a level up the next time you receive any points and the remaining will overflow into the next level.

Other Changes

– In non-multi-attack games, trying to issue an attack order out of a territory that you’re gifting or abandoning now gives a message explaining that it will have no effect.
– Trying to play abandon+gift cards on the same territory, or abandon+airlift cards on the same territory now gives you an error message. This helps new players understand that they can’t combine them.
– The My Games and Open Games pages got some improved colors.
– The My Games paging system has been improved so that all page links are visible even for players with a ton of games.
– The My Games page now pops up a tooltip explaining how to find finished games. It only appears if you’re on the default filter, since if you’ve changed filters you probably already know how to find finished games.
– The boxes on the My Games page now wrap when there are lots of players, ensuring that the “your turn” message is never pushed off the page.
– When the CreateGame API fails due to blacklist, it now tells you who has blacklisted you that’s causing the error.
– The chat windows no longer scroll to the bottom unless it’s already near the bottom. This allows you to scroll up and read chat without it automatically returning you to the bottom whenever someone says something.
– Fixed a bug in the bbcode markup on the forums that made the [list] tag not work properly.
– Fixed a bug that could cause authentication errors when players switched accounts.
– Fixed a bug that left the deployment slider open if you pressed a hotkey to enter history after deploying using the ctrl+click trick.