With the latest client release (2023.3.0) we added the ability to watch a replay while you are waiting in queue. You can also watch a replay while you are in the lobby of a custom game. Replay watching while in lobby was possible before but you had to explicitly enable that. This is no longer needed. We moved the game data for replays to a different directory, so you shouldn't have any issues with differing game versions.
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This release features visual improvements. We added support for terrain types, which means units driving on the ground will now create smoke and treadmarks that are appropriate to the terrain. Before these effects were completely missing.
Additionally the biomes were improved. It's most notable on the water that had very default settings before, but the general lighting and usage of decals got tuned on some maps as well.
A final important change is that the environment maps that the biomes use have been changed. This doesn't affect unit too much with the current shaders, but with the upcoming PBR shaders it will ensure that the units feel like the belong into the environment, because the reflections on units will have a fitting color, especially the metal parts.
Here are some comparison screenshots of the changed biomes, before and after.
we almost completed all required steps to finally have queues that are bigger than 2v2. The main roadblock was having an algorithm that can handle the premade teams of various sizes, that queue up, while still producing good matches. I wrote that algorithm over the last months and we tested it successfully in June. Recently we finally merged the code into the develop branch after making sure the code quality and test coverage was up to standards.
We are now testing new code that will handle the rating initalization for the new tmm rating. Once that has been merged we can make a server release to deploy the new code. Once that is in effect, the new matchmaking code will also be used for 2v2 matching. It is possible that there will be a short delay until we have added the new queues in the database. Once that is done, the new matchmaker queues will appear in the client. A client update is not required.
I will write a separate post about how the new matchmaker code works in the near future.
Of course we will also inform you when the update is in effect, but I guess you will notice that pretty soon if you regularly play matchmaker games.
What will be coming?
We will be releasing the following:
- 4v4 No Share - also know as Share Until Death
- 4v4 Fullshare
A combination of the ladder and development teams reviewed the content available for release of the two matchmakers, along with the player councilor discussing feedback from the players. In the end we determined that the two matchmakers for 4v4 would be best to accommodate the desires of the playerbase.
Differences between the two new queues
Per feedback from conversation with players, it was determined that there is a large desire for a matchmaker similar to typical custom games where players can find a more relaxed game experience. So the queues will work like this:
- Share Until Death is enabled - keeping ACU snipes as a viable option to end the game.
- more 10x10 and less 20x20 maps - keep the ratio of 20x20 lower for more relaxed play
- Unique Rating
For the Fullshare Matchmaker:
- Fullshare is enabled - keeps games playable after losing a player
- more 20x20 and less 10x10 maps - more spread out games, similar to a Seton's experience
- Unique Rating
Both queues will use your global rating and add some more deviation on top to initialize the new matchmaker ratings. After that your wins or losses in global won't affect them, just like the other queues. With this we want to avoid that pro players will get matched randomly with lower players like it happened with the initial 2v2 release. The deviation increase will still allow you to reach a new rating quickly if you are under- or overrated in global. It will also make your displayed rating approximately 400 points lower until your deviation has settled again.
Why is there no 3v3 matchmaker being released?
Quite simply, we wanted to bring a matchmaker that would be most appealing to a wider audience. In addition, the following issues exist:
- There are very, very little 3v3 maps in the map vault
- 3v3 is the rarest form of gameplay
- We want to test the 4v4 matchmaker to make adjustments, if necessary, before adding another queue
What needs to happen before release?
We need all people to use a client version that can handle different per-queue game options, most importantly different share conditions. The newest client version (v2021.10.0) has that capability. With an old client you would still see the queues, but the game would refuse to start. Because of this we will need to set the minimum required client version to that version, so everybody will be forced to update. This means it is especially important that this new version doesn't have any big issues and we will only increase the required client version when we are positive that this is the case. So check it out here: https://github.com/FAForever/downlords-faf-client/releases
The other thing that needs to happen is deploying the new server update. We can't really give an estimate when that will happen, because Brutus is very busy at the moment.
Note that the deployment of the new queues is more like a configuration change and separate from the server update and client release. As explained above we can't give an exact date yet, but I estimate some time in the next few weeks is realistic. We will keep you updated when we have a release date.
Kindness will save this world, dont you think so?
PS: Rezy, die of cancer
after over one and a half years of developement the first season of the new league system is now live. Every matchmaking queue has it's separate division ranking. By playing the matchmaker you will get placed in a suitable division after your placement games. You can then see your division in the appropriate leaderboard tab and the matchmaking tab next to your name. You will earn or lose points by winning or losing and will thus move up or down to the next division. To see the new leaderboards you need at least client version 2021.12.0.
We will gather your feedback after the first season. Of course you can already post your thoughts in this thread.
Altough I am the guy that kept this particular project moving, it would have not been possible to achieve without a lot of work of other contributors, namely:
and many others that helped me. Thank you so much for all your support that made it possible for me, starting with only little coding knowldege, to implement such a big project!
The server update today brought an adjustment to the matchmaking algorithm for the team queues.
The main goal was to enable people near the edges of the rating distribution to be matched with higher priority. This hopefully solves the problem that the very top and bottom players find it very hard or even impossible to find matches. At the same time we tried to further improve the quality of the resulting games with some other tweaks.
This means that the average difference between total ratings of the two teams in 4v4 should be about half of what we had previously. The rating differences between individual players should also be about half for most games. Very high level and low level games will probably not see much difference here. We should also be able to see more high level games.
This is all made possible with an average wait time increase of just 2-3 minutes.
We also lowered the matching timer to 90 seconds to make it less disheartening if you did not get matched in a round.
Speaking of matches, with the new algorithm it is expected that the number of waiting players will regularly exceed the number of theoretically required people for a game, sometimes by a lot. It is not a bug if nobody or just a few people get matched in such a situation! The algorithm requires a pool of people to be able to pick good matches. If the games possible with the current people are not good enough, the algorithm will wait for more people to show up, and if that doesn't happen it will reduce the quality threshold by a bit for those that are already waiting.
When there are many people in the queue that means that there will be low wait times, so don't be discouraged even if you don't get matched immediately.
Please leave feedback below. I am especially interested if the situation improved for high rated players.
Today I will present to you an icon mod I made. I recently got a WQHD monitor and on that resolution the default strategic icons are just too small for my eyes. So I wanted to upscale the icons a bit and at the same time try to improve the readability even further.
The most noticable change are the tech markers. For example I found it too difficult to spot if there are T2 tanks mixed into a T1 army. So as a first step I got rid of a marker for T1 alltogether as it is redundant. The next problem I had was to distinguish T2 and T3, as it is not so easy to see at a glance if there are two or three markers under a unit. Especially when icons overlap and look like a T3 marker. So I changed the T3 marker to a bar. The noticable amount of white color in a blob of units makes it easy to immediatly recognize that these are T3.
I kept the symbols pretty vanilla for the most part, but I tried to increase the "boldness" of the symbols where possible. Originally I did this because a one pixel thick line is not so easy to spot on 1440p, but then I noticed that a different visual boldness makes the icons easier to differentiate without having to process the exact shape. Our brain is better at recognizing colors than shapes. The colors are already taken by the teamcolors, so the amount of black in the icon is the next best thing we have. Note that there is no real hirarchy in what units are bolder. This is mainly because the small pixel size restricts how the symbols can be made without looking weird. I did try to make arty and missile units bolder as I saw it fitting that these are more visible.
And that is basically all I did. I'm personally not a fan of emphasizing individual buildings like SML or TML, so I tried to keep the general feel close to the vanilla icons. If you want more of a revamp of the icons, then there are other icon mods that focus more on that.
The mod will be available in the mod tab of the client as Reworked Strategic Icons once I managed to upload it.
EDIT: It is now uploaded.
I'm very interested in your feedback on this mod!
Here is a breakdown of all included icons
it is time for an update on the progress that has been made on the league system. I believe the last post was this one: https://forum.faforever.com/topic/311/graphic-artist-wanted
We have decided to use petrics artwork. You can find his post here: https://forum.faforever.com/topic/311/graphic-artist-wanted/23
You may remember that we originally planned to release the league system alongside the team matchmaker. That was last christmas, or in other words over 9 months ago. So what happened? To answer this I will give you some insight into the developing process:
First some basics: The FAF client communicates with our lobby server and additionally gets some info from our API. Persistent information, like your rating, gets stored in the database, so it can be accessed by the server or the client by using the api whenever necessary.
We wanted the league system to be not part of the lobby server but to be a separate, independed service. This has the benefit that we can update, shut off, restart etc. the league system without having to touch the lobby server. This allows us to deploy updates without having to restart the server and in consequence have everybody kicked and the currently running games destroyed. The league service even has its own database to store the league data.
So far so good. But actually implementing this was way more difficult than I anticipated. I mentioned that the client queries the API for information. We want this separation of the server to be abstracted away from the client, so all data should be available from the same API. This is actually difficult, because the api has to get access to both databases. But the standard configuration assumes there is only one database. Elide, the library we use for our API can handle the case of several databases, but this requires a reconfiguration. This needs special knowledge, so kubko did the job (Thank you kubko!). However, nobody told kubko that other work couldn't continue until this was solved, so he treated it as low priority until several weeks later we talked about this and I was made aware that this information got lost.
This actually illustrates really well, why the development of the league project happens so slow. This project touches so many different aspects of FAF. It needs changes in at least six different repositories on github, each with their own relase cycles, and many depending on one another. This makes it extremely easy that one part is bottlenecking the rest.
Another example: The league service was actually already running for quite a while, the server sends info messages about games that the league service can read to trigger changes of the players' league scores. However UmbraSolis and me didn't really pay attention to the format of the messages. The league service read these messages, but failed to parse them. Worse, we realized that we actually need different info from the server. So now we needed to change the league service to accept the new message format This was relatively quick to be done, but it reuqired another server and league service relase.
Add to all of this the normal issues of a volunteer project where random people randomly don't have time for some weeks due to the job, university, holidays or whatever and you arrive at the pace that you see. This also illustrates well why we can't really give estimates when a feature will be ready. It is so uncertain how much time people will be able to spend on a project and new issues that need to be dealt with before a release pop up constantly.
Right now the league service is functional and already processing game results for a test season I started. The client UI is also mostly working now. This screenshot is using real data from the test season.
As you can see it is already in a good state, but there are still some things that need to be worked on, like the number of placement games not being relayed. I also need to alter the division distribution because right now, almost nobody gets placed in bronze and we get a bit too much grandmaster players.
The additional UI is quite a large change to the client code, so even when it is ready the new code needs to be reviewed properly and this will also take some time. Because of this it will not make it into the October release. Maybe it will be ready in November if everything is largely smooth sailing from now on.
The only definite release date estimate is - as always- soonTM.
As I've seen it brought up more often lately I would like to ask everyone to not immediatly bring up the "unpaid volunteer" argument when someone complains about things in a rude manner.
I know you mean well when bringing this up, but firstly, it is irrelevant as we would expect civility even if everybody was paid here, and secondly, it can lead to the impression that you can't criticise decisions because they were made by volunteers in their freetime, which is simply not true.
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I also thought about Rowey's avatar and I must say that it seems like a not very well thought out thing to do.
When you give an avatar to people, they are basically displayed when that person is online in the client and it is only viewable in the client.
When you give them to someone that retires, he won't show up anymore and the gift is basically useless.
The next problem is, how do you determine who gets an avatar because of his outstanding contributions to the community? It's pretty uncontroversial that Rowey qualifies, but where do you draw the line? What about people that contributed only a bit. Or people that contributed a lot, but you don't like them or their contributions?
It's just too vague and will inevitably lead to fights why one gets it but not the other.
I can understand the desire to give people some sort of parting gift, but can't we find something better than an avatar? Maybe a kind of digital gift card, an image with "signatures" of some sort, of people that worked together with that person or regular people that just want to thank them? It would probably be fun to creatively create something like this together that is personalized and that the person can keep even if they leave the community for good. It has no monetary expenses either, so it avoids the question of who would pay for it.
It seems to me that we should not only have a list of avatars, but a specific description for each, what the requirements are that this avatar gets given out to a person.
This way the system is more transparent, not prone to errors because of confusing names and actually reduces the amount of effort for moderators when giving them out, because if a person is elegible to get the avatar is easier to determine when all the reasons are aggregated in a table in one place.
This will make avatar handling more consistent (hopefully).
the situation above is arbitrary and shouldn’t have happened. Because it’s really just NOC deciding based on his personal vibes that day what is worth a personal avatar.
That's a pretty good description of what happened.
There is a thread in the promo-public channel on discord now that discusses avatar rules. All input is welcome.
in the discussion between the board, NOC and espi about the russian sanctions, espi requested a personal avatar as an alternative. I said that the board didn't talk about avatars, but that avatars are possible in principle, because they have no monetary value.
The discussion was maybe a bit unclear, because the terms "personal avatar" and "custom avatar" were both used without clarification what exactly everyone means.
As we can see the end result is that espi now has a personal avatar, but that was a decision of NOC, as the tournament team lead he has the permission to give out avatars. There also was no follow up to ask the board once the avatar was made to greenlight the avatar. As I explained, NOC doesn't have to do that, so no issue here, I am just mentioning this to make it clear that the board did not make any decisions about avatars as Sheikah already mentioned.
Maybe you should first discuss what you want to have in the text, like generally, before you iterate on the wording.
Should it just be lore flavor, or unit design, or gameplay implications?
Many people can, but those that can't establish a direct connection need to use relay servers. These relay servers are known to the attacker because they need to be broadcasted to every player in case they need them. If the attacker then floods these relay servers, the legit connections over these servers degrade and manifest as lag in the game.
In a perfect world we wouldn't need these relay servers at all, but because the internet is a network of network it can be difficult to route through these network boundaries. People have all sorts of ways to connect to the internet. Through the physical cable in their house, their phone, starlink...