Tanks! For Playing — Development Update
Tanks for your patience over the last week. Our developers have been hard at work addressing bugs, fixing usability issues, improving performance and paying off the technical debt that we incurred to get the beta out. We also have an exciting announcement about a new initiative we are investing in.
A significant amount of effort in the last week isn’t directly visible and we have intentionally held back releases until we have been happy we are progressing positively. The code and build processes have been streamlined to provide a firmer foundation for future development. Without these changes, development would progress much more slowly both now and in to the future. These were some of the trade offs the team made to get beta out.
Remove “attack mode”
Any effort now on improving the UI needs to be considered in the context that we have a separate stream of work focused on overhauling the UI and game interaction UX. Therefore any change in this area is to address bugs or significant usability issues.
When the user pressed the “attack” button — the UI would enter an “attack mode”, which prevented the user from performing other tasks until the attack button was pressed again. It was not obvious that the user was in the attack mode. We have now removed “attack mode” and changed how the attack mechanism works.
We removed the three buttons that were in the bottom centre (attack, gift hearts and gift energy) and moved them to be in-line with the other players stats.
To attack — select the enemy and press the “attack” button near them. Similarly to gift energy or hearts, you use the + button next to the corresponding statistic.
A common issue users have reported is around the UI still being active when a transaction is in progress — this can happen when a user clicks back on the main screen while MetaMask opens, hiding the intended transaction. This can lead to a situation where a user can accidently send multiple transactions to the blockchain, causing stuck or failed transactions. To remedy this we’ve tried to block the UI when a transaction in progress. Eventually we want to provide more information to users about the state of the transaction.
- The user address above the tank no longer tilts based on camera angle
- There was a selection “dead spot” just above a tank due to an incorrectly sized hit-box, this has been addressed
- The countdown to next energy drop was moved to top-centre. The bar will pulsate when the next energy is due. This lag is due to waiting for the next block to be “mined” on the blockchain.
- The first time you zoom in, the UI would zoom out. This has now been addressed.
- Spectator mode UI elements. When spectating, there is now no “current user” statistics. Similarly, for other tanks, the attack and gift options are removed (because these interactions do not make sense).
- Brightness setting available in settings is now functional
- Optimized tank meshes. The tanks we are using are too detailed (i.e. too many polygons), and when there are too many of them on the screen at once, performance degrades. Our artists have been working with our Unity developers to get better meshes at different levels of details, i.e. when you are far away from a tank, a different model (which uses fewer polygons) is used.
- Range borders. Despite the code being present in the game, the range borders are not visible when the game is exported to WebGL. A fix for this issue is imminent.
- Interaction effects. When another player adds range/hearts or gifts — these interactions are currently hidden from the player unless they are monitoring their opponents statistics. We are working on getting effects made to highlight these events.
- 3D sounds — the tanks should sound like they exist in 3D space, i.e. near tanks are louder than far tanks, etc
- User experience improvements around blockchain transaction status
- Better “you were destroyed” and “you won” cutscenes
- Support for different maps, support for selecting a tank to play as, and the necessary architectural changes required to support these features
The feedback we have been given indicates a strong desire to have a game version which does not require the blockchain to play. While it was always our intention to offer a “Web2” version of the game in our roadmap, we have decided to bring forward the development of this version of the game. While the team is full steam ahead adding features and performing the needed fixes required to get to the full release, I will be pitching in to develop this new feature.
We can’t control the market, nor can we predict the future, but we can use this opportunity to continue to build and develop the product.