Dev Notes: From the Trenches: Roadmap Update (as of v0.3.0/v0.3.1) AND server update notification

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Mini Militia Classic Alpha Force

Aug 16, 2021, 8:12:46 PM8/16/21
to Mini Militia Classic Alpha Force
Hey all! Another round of updates to share.

Comms Officer Martin has taken roadmap notes from me and distilled this down into a WAY shorter readable list. We owe them a debt of gratitude.

SERVER UPDATES (Todaym Just Quick Play and Asia Battlegrounds, Germany is unchanged for testing on.)
We JUST updated the servers less than a few hours ago from the send of this message.
Several things changed and we have some new known issues to report.
  • We fixed a problem where the host wasn't transferring if another host dropped (this is most visible in custom where we announce it.) This was causing all kinds of problems. Games running smoother, recovering more quickly when a host drops for whatever reason, and cleaned up a lot of things with room merges with people waiting to join games.
  • Fixed a room merge problem. This **should** reduce a lot of horrible experiences when rooms are merged.
  • Fixed end game logic that wasn't ending games quickly as it should. Ensuring edge cases of game are also handled. (e.g., single lone player, and team with no enemies, etc.)
  • Updated room passwords changes which won't work right until the next client update (see known issues) but the server is right now.
Experiencing problems with host transfers, room merges, end of game weirdness... we want to know about it! testingfeedback at will take your email input and let us know. You can also report it on the app review section. We read everyone one of those looking for feedback.

New Known Issues:
  • If you set a room password AND IF (and only if) you change it no one can get in, unless they encode the original password in base64 in their head (or use a tool) and type that in. We just missed this in regression testing the new custom game configuration system. A client update is required for this fix and will be out when that next update drops...
This is a segue into the Road Map stuff. I cede the floor to Martin to help us understand what is next...

As promised, here is the updated roadmap plus an update about where we currently are and where we are heading.

Latest roadmap files (link to google drive and files are attached)

Server crashing caused by custom loadouts - Thanks to everyone for reporting this bug. We have found that if no loadout is available to be selected (the list also removes all options you can't afford to buy) the code isn't set up to handle nothing being selected and the game crashes. THE WORK AROUND: Set up at least one 0 cost loadout so that there is always an option offered and the game has something to select.

Loadout combinations (two sniper rifles in primary/secondary) - This is not a bug but worth talking about. There are no limits in Loadouts right now. We did this on purpose to watch what people do with all the options. We are taking notes about your feedback and will use that information to make changes to the options. The two sniper rifle option may change or be restricted in some way in the future. Thanks for pointing this out.

Implementing Part A and Part B have not gone as smoothing as we originally envisioned. Part A created a number of bugs that have required immediate fixes but we had also already started working on Part B. So some of Part B got released early. Also, it was clear by your feedback that Loadouts needed more of the functionality planned for Part B to happen now.

So here's what's left of Part B and what will finish out Phase 3:
Add Specials - Currently, each design of specials are placeholders using some of the old store symbols. These are old ideas from 6 months ago and have no effect on the game right now. There is a lot of design work to do before this can be released. We are working on ideas that are balanced. If certain loadouts were considered "powerful abilities" then there needs to be other options to counter them. This is why Loadouts are designed to be changed per life.

Adjust Pricing - This is going to happen throughout Beta as well, but we will use some of your initial feedback to start adjusting the prices. With the addition of Specials, prices are going to need to be tweaked up and down and players may need to earn more (or less) battle coins. Again, these are tweaks that will continue to happen for months while you all help us test.

Weapon Spawning - Weapons spawning management is a new system being handled by the server. There are some bugs like weapons not spawning or despawning fast enough. The end goal is to have the server control whether an item exists in the game (prevents cheating). These new server tools will also make it easier for us to implement new game modes later on as well.

Android Billing - We need to monetize the game in some way to pay our bills. The work done here will also start the process to develop our new subscriptions offers. (More on subscriptions is under the Beta information.)

Older device support (ARMEABI, x86, etc. al) - A lot of technical stuff is involved with trying to get the game to compile for older devices. We're still working on it in the background and recently had a nice win. It didn't solve all the problems but it did move the task forward. The goal is to be able to support as many devices as we can before the public launch (ideally early Beta). This task doesn't add any new things to the game; it just allows more people with older devices to be able to play. Not completing this task will not stop Part B from releasing. We will just update the roadmap and push it out until it gets done (or determine it isn't possible).

BETA PHASE 0 (after Alpha Phase 3 - Part B)
This is when things are going to get exciting. A lot of the backend architecture has been done (and not as visible to the player) and now we're hooking it up to things the player sees and experiences.

Weapon Zoom Config - This was to be included as part of the armory and Part B release but it has been pushed out for more planning. We need to make some decisions about configuring equipment.

Expanding Leaderboards - We are coming back to this to start implementing some of your feedback and make improvements. We will add in some new stats like per game averages, a search, and make navigation easier. We'll also need to develop a plan to add Leaderboards to the unranked games in Custom (if at all).

Subscriptions - Not a lot of our plan has been written down yet regarding subscriptions. We will talk about this more as the infrastructure gets finished. Generally there will be 3 tiers of services players can subscribe to. They will increase in perks to go with an increase in price. We don't have a pricing model yet, we're still researching this, but we want to make it affordable. We also welcome ideas of perks people would want. Some ideas we've discussed (but have not committed to) are buying away the banner and between game ads, discounts on the battle coin costs, access to private servers, access to voice chat, viewing other players' stats, or custom leaderboards. What would you like to see come with a paid subscription?

"Order 66" Data Reset - We need to reset scores between the major phases of the game's development. Don't worry, the data will be archived. It may disappear at first but we will find a way to display the Alpha data and you all will be the only players to have this. There will be another major reset right before the game goes public. Beta testers' scores will be archived and displayed too.

This is still months away but now is a good time to talk about how the public release will come in steps. Each phase of Beta is about preparing for these major releases. 
1st Step - Pre-registration (end of Beta Phase 0) 
The app will be viewable in the Google Play store but not yet available for download. Beta Phase 1 will be spent making the final changes before the pre-registration people will get access to play the game.

2nd Step - Early Access (end of Beta Phase 1)
Those that signed up for pre-registration will get the option to download and play the Public Beta version of the app. The Public Beta phase will add the final features and make the last tweaks based on Beta tester feedback.

3rd Step -  Public Release (end of Public Beta)
This is the last action of the Public Beta phase; the Beta data will be archived and the game will be fully released on all platforms. Congrats, we did it! 
Classic MiniMilitia Roadmap2021Aug13.png
Classic MiniMilitia Roadmap2021Aug13.pdf
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