As I’ve come to realise there’s no quick fix for matchmaking, I’ve decided to take the time to do a proper redesign and reimplementation. The update will feature a complete list of all games in progress. You’ll be able to quickly join a game with a single tap on a free slot in game list. You can reserve slots by inviting players as before (but without the annoying and unreliable notification popups). There’s a single unified lobby so you’ll be able to chat and play matches across both iOS and Android devices. The new design will also be prepared to take on more advanced features in future updates (such as custom maps/armies, more that four participants, and spectators).
All basic functionality is now working, but there’s still some work to do on reliability and performance. I’ll get back as soon as it’s ready for public beta.
I’ve managed to build a *very* early build of the Android version. It’s still missing some functionality (such as online play and sound) and there are many known bugs. But still, if you want to become a tester and try it out for yourself, head over to the Samurai Wars community on Google+:
The update is now live.
Just to clarify, the user interface is new, but the underlying network protocol still uses GameCenter. I intend to make further networking improvements in coming updates. But for the next update, it’s custom maps.
I’ve now had a few online games with the new update. Although it’s possible to find games I’m noticing that the matchmaking is far too unstable. It should just work! But it doesn’t, so I need to go to the bottom of this problem and make it top priority to really fix this.
Time for a new beta build of Samurai Wars.
In this update I’ve reworked the matchmaking user interface. No more modal GameCenter dialog boxes! It should be much easier to setup matches with more than two players, either using invites or auto-matching or even combination (like invite one player then auto-match another).
Please report any issues. It seems GameCenter is sometimes slow when connecting/matching, and can take up to 10 or 20 seconds to find a matching player from the point where both click Ready. Other times GameCenter get confused and won’t match at all. It sometimes help turning your Wifi connection off and on.
If you haven’t signed up for the beta yet, see http://blog.openwar.org/samurai-beta-18/
Note: If you’ve signed up with TestFlight but not registered a device, you have to do so before being able to install the beta. Easiest way to do that is to use Safari on your device and go to the TestFlight web site.
For the next update I’ve been working on improving the matchmaking interface. I’ve replaced the GameCenter dialog with a custom non-modal one that gives you better control over the matchmaking process. It’s now possible to assign players to a specific team and send chat messages while waiting for players to join.
As always, coding takes longer than planned, there are still some adjustments to make, but there should be a beta in the next few days.
A new update is on its way and should arrive in the App Store within a couple of days.
This release should address the network problems that has been causing a lot of weird issues, like enemy armies not arriving to the battle field, invincible enemies, and strange combat results. The problem was that when network latency and packet loss got above a certain threshold the game had trouble keeping units in sync, and got confused who was were so to say. If you’ve experienced such issues in update 18, please test again with the new update and report back here if you’re still seeing problems.
And a as a bonus, I’ve also added a new “Current Rating” leaderboard.
The update has been out for little more than a week. There’s the issue with games sometimes not starting (you only see your own units). I’m fixing that one now and will also investigate dropped connections.
Any other bugs and issues? Report here and I’ll take a look.
This should be the final beta before release. I think I’ve fixed all sync issues and crashes that have been reported so far. If you find any problems, please report here.
I’ve noticed that the GameCenter invite and auto-match functionality sometimes doesn’t work. This could very well be the Sandbox environment that’s unstable (I’ve seen reports about this from other developers). It seems that going to Settings and switching wireless networking off and on again seem to fix this.
A new build is up:
- Turn-based mode is now working (more or less, some known sync issues to be fixed).
- Real-time mode has been tweaked, should work OK with 3G or better (but currently lags on EDGE).
- Player status bar shows all players.
- Various minor fixes and tweaks.
Game invites should work (most of the time), although I have experienced that it sometimes is slow and unstable. I haven’t been able to track down whether this is a bug or if it’s just the Game Center Sandbox that’s unstable. Further work is needed on real-time networking, especially handling dropped connection and unstable / hight latency connections (EDGE).
Also, note the beta tester registration is a two step process:
- (1) you need to register an account with TestFlight
AND, if you haven’t done so already:
- (2) you need to register an iOS device with that account
Latest build is 131219.1. Should be feature complete, but still has some network issues (reported in comments below).
The first beta build of update 18 is now ready for action. You can sign up at http://tflig.ht/1jQw9Bb
The beta testing process will work like this:
- You’ll need a TestFlight account. Sign up using the recruitment link above. This will register your device and install the TestFlight web shortcut.
- Once I’ve approved and your added device ID to the app certificate, you’ll be able to install the beta directly from TestFlight.
- Installing “Samurai Beta” app will replace the “Samurai Wars” app, and vice versa. You can have one or the other installed at any single time, but you can switch between the beta and the real app by reinstalling from App Store / TestFlight.
- There beta will connect to the GameCenter Sandbox and you’ll need to register a sandbox account. Although you can use the same AppleID and GameCenter nickname, it’s important to note that sandbox accounts are separate from the real GameCenter accounts. It’s a bit confusing that the same AppleID can have two game center accounts, but when logging in it will tell you if you are in sandbox mode. You can logout in Settings > Game Center if you need to reset or switch accounts.
- You’ll get notified when new builds are available. The version and build number is displayed in the lower left corner of the screen. The build number is using the format “<year><month><day>.<build>”, e.g. “131129.1”.
What’s new in this version:
- It’s now possible to play with up to four players.
- Complete rewrite of the networking code to improve how the simulation model is synchronized between devices. This means smoother unit movement and more reliable combat results.
Some known issues:
- Turn-based mode is disabled (still some work to do there).
- Practice AI is disabled.
- Leaderboard reporting is currently disabled.
- The player status bar at the top of the screen only shows two players, even in 3 or 4 player matches.
- When a player disconnects, the game will freeze. Need to implement graceful handling of dropped connections and network failures.