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Dev Diary 12/02/21

Hutch_RobinHutch_Robin Posts: 954 admin
edited August 27 in General Discussion

New Year

As we start the new lunar year, I thought I’d offer a little update on the development process. This is not a feature announcement, more a little unedited dev diary insight into the week to week of the team.

As you may have seen, no lunar year events or challenges have been announced. We certainly want to keep running more single player challenges, but we’re also developing the features that allow us to sustainably run challenges, run multiple challenges and features that allow for relationships between different challenges. This includes using dynamically created items to function as those common prize cars do, detaching live content from car client updates.

When we release the new features, it is then we will run something for lunar new year. So it’s definitely towards the back end of the month. If it looks like we won’t be ready for then, then we may reformulate plans.

There’s a big part two to this challenge work to give us even more flexibility in the kinds of content we can run. That’s a little ways down the road, but will bring with it more options for more single player experiences.

Flexibility

Meanwhile, flexible criteria in events was tested by the team recently, though we’re not releasing this quite yet, as we want to ship the challenges content first. Also, we want to develop server side card pack delivery, which unlocks the power of the feature. E.g. If we have an event (or challenge) where you are challenged to use 5 cars made up from a shared pool of Swedish and British cars, it makes far more sense if you can actually get packs that offer cars from that same pool.

As in the past, we have plans to try different challenge formats. As part of supporting the new formats, there are a few interesting developments, characters are gone, tickets, now attempts, will restore daily all at once, and it is only after three stars that rewards are awarded and attempts deducted. Essentially we’re removing the punishment of failure and experimentation mirrored in other collection based games’ approaches. These other collection driven games have explored a lot more variation in the single player experience than we have and it’s now time to delve deep into the ideas we have here.

Interface, Experience

Meanwhile, the new darker, polished user interface is coming along well. This will likely be released in batches of screens, and we’ll look to a/b test some of this with new users to test our hypotheses of how effective they are.

Phase two of the new user interface is integrating all the user experience tweaks and features that make up a list of now hundreds of items. This will also be delivered in batches throughout (hopefully) this year. In time, I’d like to expand the team to take frequent steps forward in this, alongside our plans for major feature development.

The aims here are to add in improvements efficiently, and improve the early game flow. The UI design process is happening in parallel with these UX changes, so we can make sure new quality of life features are considered as part of the screen, rather than bolted on later.

So far, in the design stage, we’ve been bundling these user experience improvements by screen. With this screen by screen approach, we expect to see efficiencies in the future when we code and debug these screens. We’re likely to start with the main match screen, with a key improvement to the information on what stats are important for each challenge. Though it is not a trivial task. Similar to UI, we may roll out this to new users first, to test, and we may spend time iterating on the screen to improve it further.

Multidimensional

We are scaling up our 3d production process for the new style of racing environment, and this is going well. Like the above features, this will be released in batches, likely to new users first. We’re reluctant to give an inconsistent experience, but there may be some benefit to getting some environments in game earlier. We are batching the environments by how much we use them to minimise any future disruption, e.g. our initial release of 3d environments is likely to include every challenge from the first UK campaign area.

We are also looking at options for the 3d models in game, to ensure they are improved along with the environments themselves.

There is a lot of work to be done here, so it’s going to take most of the year even with no disruption, and there is always disruption. But the real joy is the combination of the new UI, better UX, and a consistency between the UI and the new environments. This alignment will hopefully deliver on an experience greater than the sum of its parts, like TD evolving into a TD2, rather than us building a separate game.

Notably, the enhanced images in marketing works even without delivering them in game, so the hypothesis is we can improve marketing further by better delivering on the visuals from the ad. This is combined with all the other improvements I’ve detailed above.

We learned a lot of what is possible with great looking environments in F1 Manager, and this work is looking like many wanted TD to look like back in 2016/17.

Not Everything

I mention these things, not because they are all that is being developed, but just because I had a few things I wanted to share about progress on these specific areas of development. So, a note that not every developer update will mention every feature discussed in previous developer updates - and any discussion should be kept to this post, not questions about all those other features.

Edit: Numerous posts have been made about other features. Those are outside the purview of this particular thread. Keep those discussions to the previous dev posts that mentioned those features, or create new threads to discuss other features or bigger points you want to make. Not every dev post needs to cover every feature, it just becomes unwieldy and full of repeated information.

Post edited by Hutch_Gsearch on

Comments

  • _HighVoltage__HighVoltage_ Posts: 275 ✭✭✭✭
    Regarding the UI improvements - are you specifically planning to address the well-document bug on iPhones - if you touch the gesture bar on the bottom of the screen while placing your cars, the whole game freezes and crashes, causing the player to lose the round. Is that something that team is specifically working to fix?
  • LittleEnosBurdetteLittleEnosBurdette Posts: 3,192 ✭✭✭✭✭
    All we’ve ever heard for 3 years is what great things are in the pipeline for top drives, nothing new/innovative/exciting has ever really happened. All I can think of is the Yellow bird challenge, which was good for 3 months, but it’s went on far too long, just completely devalued any kudos in winning the car. 

    The hook for a lot of players is that they think things are going to get better, when in fact it’s just stagnated for a long time. 

    It would be good if dev time was spent on getting a bit more creative in event criteria to actually engage the players just now, rather than focusing on things for the future. Every event between 380 and 300 RQ, very little variation in what hands can be selected etc etc just a snore fest. 😴 
  • _HighVoltage__HighVoltage_ Posts: 275 ✭✭✭✭
    All we’ve ever heard for 3 years is what great things are in the pipeline for top drives, nothing new/innovative/exciting has ever really happened. All I can think of is the Yellow bird challenge, which was good for 3 months, but it’s went on far too long, just completely devalued any kudos in winning the car.

    Why would they spend the effort to create another Championship? The first one didn't sell many CF packs, which is all Hutch cares about.

    (don't misunderstand - I loved the Yellowbird challenge, but it should have been followed by another 6 months after release. It has now been more than a year...)
  • CroseaCrosea Posts: 2
    Thanks so much Robin, this sounds amazing. Big fan of the change in challenges which allows for experimentation with cards, rather than being penalized for doing so. Cheers
  • AslanVAslanV Posts: 1,122 ✭✭✭
    Hello,

    Thank you very much for the update, 

    Looking foward the end of the month !

    I would like to discuss more regarding the multidimensional part, 

    I failed to see the added value of better environment, as I usually skip the race to play more.  However I do understand that it may be appealing for the new players, as will as show what you are marketing. 
    But i may fail to see how important it is (I would arguably prefer a table with the three stars to show times, and even replay the race from here, to understand better)




  • AslanVAslanV Posts: 1,122 ✭✭✭
    edited February 12

    Traduction française (postée sur Facebook aussi)

    Mon but est de faire ressentir le message, pas de faire du mot pour mot.

     

    Nouvelle Année

    Alors que nous commençons le nouvel an lunaire, j'ai pensé à vous offrir une petite mise à jour du développement du jeu. Ceci n'est pas une présentation de nouvelles fonctions, plus une vue non éditée du travail de l'équipe.

    Comme vous avez pu voir, pas d'évènements du nouvel an lunaire ou challenge ont été annonces. Nous voulons vraiment continuer à offrir plus de challenges au joueur solo, mais nous sommes aussi en train de développer des fonctionnalités qui nous permettront de faire des challenges régulièrement, plusieurs challenges en parallèles et des fonctionnalités qui permettront de rendre les challenges interdépendants. Elles incluent l’usage d’objet crées de façon dynamique à la place des F trophées, détachant l’offre de nouveau contenu des updates clients avec nouvelles voitures.

    Quand nous livrerons ces nouvelles fonctionnalités, nous ferons quelques choses pour le nouvel an. Donc cela est définitivement plus proche de la fin du mois. S’il semble que ne pourront pas tenir les délais, nous nous réservons le droit de changer de plans.

    Il y a une seconde partie à ce travail sur les challenges pour nous donner encore plus de flexibilités dans les types de contenu que nous pouvons offrir. Cela est un peu plus loin dans le temps, mais cela amènera plus d'options pour l'expérience de joueur solitaire.

    Flexibilité

    A suivre...

  • bertmcfishbertmcfish Posts: 286 ✭✭✭
    Regarding the UI improvements - are you specifically planning to address the well-document bug on iPhones - if you touch the gesture bar on the bottom of the screen while placing your cars, the whole game freezes and crashes, causing the player to lose the round. Is that something that team is specifically working to fix?
    This, this, this!!!!
  • grandvachegrandvache Posts: 2,134 ✭✭✭✭✭
    For the record, my deleted post wasn't about other features per se, it was questioning the priority of updating graphics that most people are going to skip through.

    That feels on topic to me.

    Can you give us some idea of the hierarchy of feature development over the next 6-12 months? What are your priorities?

    As a business it's not unreasonable if your priorities are sales and marking, and it's kinda refreshing that you own this.  More users are in all our interests, the game dies if it's just OGs who've been playing for three years.  

    It's also not unreasonable for us to request some understanding of a development map, and a dev diary feels like a pertinent place to put that request.
  • JayJay Posts: 2,690 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Wonder if the update will drop soon. Or change of plans?
  • GymopenGymopen Posts: 170 ✭✭✭
    Looks like plans were reformulated, no announcements of anything yet
  • O__VERO__VER Posts: 2,238 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Yeah "the back end of the month" has come and gone. Update incoming or did you "reformulate plans" @Hutch_Robin?
  • Hutch_RobinHutch_Robin Posts: 954 admin
    edited March 1
    The team are working on the aforementioned features, in addition to business and platform requirement work. The challenge features have been team tested and held up well. Since then, bug fixing and implemention of a couple more things has followed. It's coming along, but is not yet ready for release.
  • MoldysporeMoldyspore Posts: 9
    Any updates? We're on the back end of March, still no Lunar Year event and new challenge format.
  • AslanVAslanV Posts: 1,122 ✭✭✭
    No challenge this week (and maybe next week) as they prepare for the new challenge format
  • KcrayKcray Posts: 235 ✭✭✭
    Any updates? We're on the back end of March, still no Lunar Year event and new challenge format.
    If you want more info:   
  • lemmings99olemmings99o Posts: 1,875 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Kcray said:
    Any updates? We're on the back end of March, still no Lunar Year event and new challenge format.
    If you want more info:   
    Anyone want to do a summary of what was said for us without a spare hour to listen to it all?
  • JayJay Posts: 2,690 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Intentional minimum notice about rarity changes to stop people upgrading them.
  • KcrayKcray Posts: 235 ✭✭✭
    Kcray said:
    Any updates? We're on the back end of March, still no Lunar Year event and new challenge format.
    If you want more info:   
    Anyone want to do a summary of what was said for us without a spare hour to listen to it all?

    Update on Update

    • Did a team test and found small issues (none “game breaking”) 
    • “Probably” next 2 weeks

    Car Corrections Question

    • “Probably” 1 day notice on corrections before update
    • No high end rarity changes with epics and legendaries (either up or down)

    New cars

    • Absolutely not done….a lot of new cars and manufacturers in the pipeline - nothing mentioned about when
  • lemmings99olemmings99o Posts: 1,875 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Any sign of the ever elusive car retune feature?
  • bertmcfishbertmcfish Posts: 286 ✭✭✭
    And when can we expect a manufacturer-addition update? Weeks? Months?
  • HeissRodHeissRod Posts: 8,022 ✭✭✭✭✭
    And when can we expect a manufacturer-addition update? Weeks? Months?
    Have they ever given that information out in advance?
  • TopDrives40778TopDrives40778 Posts: 2,586 ✭✭✭✭✭
    HeissRod said:
    And when can we expect a manufacturer-addition update? Weeks? Months?
    Have they ever given that information out in advance?
         
  • bertmcfishbertmcfish Posts: 286 ✭✭✭
    HeissRod said:
    And when can we expect a manufacturer-addition update? Weeks? Months?
    Have they ever given that information out in advance?
    True, just feeling a little underwhelmed at the latest update. Challenges might be good, though I don’t like that they seem to refresh after 24 hours rather than at the start of each day. I think that’s right, apologies if not. Oh, and my best off roader in a weak off road hand is now weaker...
  • HeissRodHeissRod Posts: 8,022 ✭✭✭✭✭
    HeissRod said:
    And when can we expect a manufacturer-addition update? Weeks? Months?
    Have they ever given that information out in advance?
    True, just feeling a little underwhelmed at the latest update. Challenges might be good, though I don’t like that they seem to refresh after 24 hours rather than at the start of each day. I think that’s right, apologies if not. Oh, and my best off roader in a weak off road hand is now weaker...
    I agree with you about the challenge refresh timer.  Not a fan of only touching the challenge for 5 minutes every 24 hours.
  • AslanVAslanV Posts: 1,122 ✭✭✭
    With the 10AM UK times, it feel like the start of each day for me :/
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