Hi all, today we release(d) a huge update to the game.
In this new version you can find new custom match settings, abandoning, improved rejoining, loads of bug fixes and more… In this devlog I will provide a few extra details regarding some of the changes and what the plans are for the upcoming period.
Let’s start of with some of the most exciting new features in this update.
First of all a lot new settings have been added for custom matches.
- Map size
- Target score
- 3 power mode
- Blacklisting powers
- Blacklisting pickups
Most of these new settings are just for fun, especially the modifiers. The game will not be balanced based on the different settings and therefore rank and statistics will also be disabled for most of these settings.
Additionally there are quite some improvements for the host and management of the lobby.
- Enable/disable spectators
- Protected/private access
- Rank boundary to restrict joining
- Kicking spectators
- Improved AFK check
- Changing player slots
Previously all friends were able to join your private matches, this is no longer the case and a password will always be required, even for people that use your invite link.
A new setting for protected access has been added which allows your friends to join without password.
10 player matches
Another noteworthy feature is that matches can be played with 10 players now.
By default custom matches will have 8 players but the host can add an additional 2 slots.
This also means 2 new base skin colors have been added, lime and magenta.
Ranked custom matches
One of the changes in this update is that you can no longer gain rank in custom matches with less than 4 players. The main reason for this change is to combat boosting.
Not only do some people abuse the system by using alt accounts and/or friends but the current rank system makes it a lot easier to climb the leaderboard when you play for example 1v1.
To give some context, when you play 1v1 with equal skill you basically win 50% of the times and when you are better you likely win 100% of the times. When playing 6+ player FFA it is much more likely that you can lose a match even if you are higher skilled than the others, so you will not always end up 1st.
One might say 1v1 is more true skill and while this is true it is not the core game mode of Curve Fever and therefore it gives an unfair advantage to those who only play 1v1.
In the foreseeable future we plan to improve the leaderboard and rankings to improve the competitive aspect of the game. This will also include a separate leaderboard/rank for 1v1 matches.
Leaving matches (abandoning)
Leaving a match ruins the fun for others, especially in team matches.
Therefore we introduced a light abandoning system. When you abandon a match your points drop to 0 which will cause you to lose the match. Additionally you will not receive rewards such as crates and battle points. This means that if you are ahead and winning you must also complete the match, you can still suicide to end the match but leaving is no longer possible unless you choose to abandon.
Previously you could also start multiple matches simultaneously, this is no longer the case.
You can only be in one match at a time and if you want to start a new match you must choose to abandon your current match. When you try to leave a match you will get a warning and be prompted if you wish to abandon or keep playing. In the future we might introduce more penalties for competitive play and team matches since the impact is the highest for those.
Rejoining & connectivity improvements
Previously there were quite a lot of issues with match connectivity and rejoining matches, these systems have been reworked completely and should be lot more stable now.
One of the biggest changes is that everything is handled server side now rather than using cookies and handling a lot of checks on the client. When you sign in you will immediately join back the match you were in. Additionally your ship will always spawn now even when disconnected so once you reconnect you can immediately continue playing at all times.
When a lobby starts all players must connect to the actual match, there used to be quite some issues with this as well. Some of the biggest changes are that you are no longer removed from the match if you fail to connect in time, the match will just start without you and you can join later. Additionally if you fail to connect, you will see a screen now with an option to reconnect. A timer has been added as well, this is the time all players have to connect to the match before the match is started.
One final improvement is that the server will no longer immediately disconnect when the match ends. This fixes several issues for example spectators not being able to watch the match till the end. Additionally the server also won’t immediately disconnect when all players disconnect so you will always have some time to rejoin.
A lot of internals in the codebase have been reworked and improved this update.
Some features like rejoining, spectating and the match system in general had a lot of issues and it became pretty difficult to fix some of them because of the complex internals.
Certain things like being able to continue playing when the main server goes down have been removed because they add very little value and make things a lot more complex.
Additionally the networking protocol/system has been improved a lot so that we can now handle server responses more easily. This allows us to handle errors more easily and it makes it easier to write more robust systems that don’t depend on state as much. This will only be relevant for new and reworked features as we will not be rewriting the entire codebase for obvious reasons.
The next big planned update will be the gameplay update.
In this update we will focus on fixing a lot of issues with the gameplay itself such as powers.
Additionally we will add a new power, add new pickups, a new team more and more.
Before the gameplay update there will also be balance update.
On Discord we will open up a feedback channel for feedback regarding balancing.
Additionally we want to experiment with blocking VPN connections to reduce the usage of alt accounts and lag abuse but more about that will follow.
As always you can check out the backlog and all the tasks on our public Trello board.
A while ago before Hidden Monster Games went bankrupt we announced that the game would be put on Steam. This should help grow the game and improve revenue for sure.
I have however decided to put this on hold for a little while longer and focus on the game instead.
Curve Fever is mostly a hobby project for me as I have a fulltime job, placing the game on Steam will add a lot more weight on my shoulders especially if the game becomes more popular. Not only development wise but there’s also the business to run, community management and what not.
On Steam having a good game and good reviews is really important, otherwise you will quickly drop to the bottom and it gives almost no benefits being on Steam. There are loads of things in the game that I want to improve and overall I am not really happy with the stability of the game, there are quite a lot of bugs which would really ruin the reputation on Steam
For the upcoming year I will mostly focus on making the game more fun, adding more features and maybe even more important make the game more stable and robust.
Additionally the game is really hard to sell especially because of the limited branding content we have, screenshots of the game are just not very appealing as you just see a square with a bunch lines. I think there is a lot of room for improvement here. For example by adding more context to the game and reworking the branding. These things will likely get some attention in the upcoming year as well.
On a final note I want to emphasize that this is one of the biggest updates the game has had especially internally. While it has been tested thoroughly, the game itself is packed with features and as solo developer it is difficult to test literally everything. So even though a lot of issues should have been fixed there will likely be some new ones but it should be a lot easier to resolve those issues now with the improved internal systems. I will make sure to get new issues fixed as soon as possible.