Site update

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e_i_pi
Posts: 1120
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:38 pm

Site update

Postby e_i_pi » Sat May 27, 2017 5:40 pm

Hi all,

You're probably wondering why not much has happened in development here lately. I got a new job a couple of months back, and it's a couple of steps up the ladder for me, so it comes with a lot more responsibilities. As such, I don't have much time to spend on Art of War at the moment. Anyhow, here's a broad update on what's going on:

Player levels
As you may have noticed, player levels were growing quite well up until February, but then dropped suddenly. This was totally my fault, as I applied SSL wildcard certificates and made a slight error which I only picked up on a week later - by then the site had been punished by Google. I'm happy to say that everything was restored on that front, and the site is growing once again, albeit slowly. We're popping up into the top 10 search results in Google for a few search terms, and are just outside at #11-15 for about 10 important search terms. As the site grows though, we'll climb in Google, which will make it grow even more. Fingers crossed.

Changes to premium
In a little while I'll be changing premium so that $10 buys you premium forever. Players that have already bought 3 or 6 months premium will be rewarded with perpetual premium, and players that have bought 12 months premium will be granted VIP status. There won't be any refunds for multiple purchases in the past, but hopefully the rewards will offset that.

Mobile readiness
The last big piece of code I was doing was mobile readiness. I got everything done, except for Attack Territory and Move Troops (the two hardest ones to migrate over). It all worked well on desktop and in mobile view, but when I finally tested in on my mobile device, I was very disappointed as everything was squished on the screen. So much so that it was a terrible experience. This is quite unfortunate, as it means I was have to revert to the old (current) way of displaying on mobile, which is to set the device width to 1024px no matter what the mobile device. This won't affect desktop, but will affect tablet devices.
Lumped in with this change were a lot of UI improvements, especially in the scoreboard, create game and game pages. The information panels now slide out, allowing you to see both the map and the information at the same time - very useful for empire and faction stats. If you want to see the changes, you can visit the test site, which is here --> https://sun.artofwar.cc.
Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

Mobile app
There is still plans to make an Android mobile app, but I need to finish the Mobile Readiness component. So, yes, there will be an app, and that will draw in bigger crowds, but it's still a way off, mainly because of work commitments.

Long term future of Art of War
This one is hard to say for sure. I'll continue to pay for server costs, and still want to get the basic stuff finished (map projects ported over, dice projects ported over, mobile readiness, mobile app, start some community groups on the site, implement clans), but work commitments mean this is slow going.
At some stage, it will be best to port the site over to the Circle314 Framework, which I am actively developing (https://github.com/circle314/circle314). The framework works really well, but is totaly different in code approach to the current Art of War code. Getting that in will be very beneficial for the long term lifetime of Art of War, especially as everything moves onto mobile devices, but that's long looong term planning.

Content - maps, scenarios, etc.
There's a fair amount of content still to go in on the site that is done but not published. We have Medieval Eurasia ready to have Scenarios built on it, and there's a heap of other Scenarios we could have as well, especially Medieval Era bespoke ones on various maps. I'm open to having players develop Scenarios, but money is very tight for me at the moment and I promised myself I'd pay for any content that was developed. I'm hoping the site gets up beyond critical mass, which I believe is 300 or so players on the scoreboard, after which enough money should be generated that I can throw some in too and get new content done.
New maps are a different kettle of fish, as the map project code is legacy code which no longer works at all on the new server - the version of PHP simply does not allow the code to run. Porting the code over isn't too difficult, but I'd rather spend that time getting the mobile stuff done first. New Scenarios are better than new maps for now anyhow - if we had another 10-12 Scenarios, that would make play a lot more diverse. My plan was always to have only 40-80 maps tops anyhow, not hundreds or thousands like other sites - I'm always after quality, not quantity.

Final words
For everyone who's played regularly over the past year or two, thank you very much for hanging around despite the lack of solid development. For those who have purchased premium, an extra thanks - the money, of which there isn't much, is sitting in an account ready to pay for new content once it builds up a touch more. Thanks again everyone for playing, this site, albeit quite small, is still my favourite little baby which I always hope will grow into a great place to play war games.

Cheers,
e_i_pi


Sargon
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:46 am

Re: Site update

Postby Sargon » Sun May 28, 2017 12:05 am

I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say that we appreciate all the work you do here.

Sargon

nixie
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2014 12:03 am

Re: Site update

Postby nixie » Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am

I'd second that. Is a great game to play and I hope it does take off as you want it to.

User avatar
e_i_pi
Posts: 1120
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:38 pm

Re: Site update

Postby e_i_pi » Sun Jun 11, 2017 5:09 pm

I managed to get a few hours to code today. I got some neat anti-spam measures in, and rewarded all previous and current premium players with lifetime premium. I've yet to add in VIP membership for those players, not sure if that's necessary at this stage - there's no benefit VIPs have over Premiums. I know who you all are, if VIP becomes a special thing in future I'll add you in, but it was really there in the first place in order to gift people lifetime premium easily.

User avatar
e_i_pi
Posts: 1120
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:38 pm

Re: Site update

Postby e_i_pi » Sat Dec 23, 2017 4:04 pm

Another update here, so sorry they're few and far between.

In the new year, I'm negotiating with work to drop back to a four day working week. The main reason is that work-life balance is way out of whack, as I have to commute a fair way to get to work. If I do get the extra day off (which I'm pretty confident I will) then I'll be spending about half a day a week on the site.

I'm currently assessing a whole bunch of potential improvements to the site, as well as all the unfinished jobs and what is worth polishing off. I think mobile-readiness is still highest priority, as that has the potential to open up to a wider audience. I'll also be looking at getting as many new scenarios in as possible to increase content, as well as login via facebook/google+/etc. Once that stuff is done, there should be enough vectors for people to find the site, join up, and stick around for games. After that I'll be looking at code that needs doing.


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