Roadmap for 2018

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e_i_pi
Posts: 1122
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:38 pm

Roadmap for 2018

Postby e_i_pi » Sat Feb 24, 2018 3:36 pm

There hasn't been much development on Art of War for the past couple of years. There's good reasons for this - I have wanted to spend more time with my family, have not had a stable development environment for a while, and have worked as head of IT at a firm that was an hour's drive from where I lived (that stint took 60 hours per week of my life away). I've sorted out quite a bit in my life over that time, as well as picked up a heap more skills in IT. Looking at the code for Art of War is a bit embarrassing now, as it's old techniques that I would never use now. Still, it's in a lot better shape than many applications I've been forced to work on over the years.

I'm going to be putting some effort into reviving the site over this year, with a series of endeavours that will improve the experience for our current players, and with some luck attract some new players. Here's a list of what I plan on doing (in chronological order, though I may work on 2-3 things at once):

Get a development environment up again - COMPLETE
This is done. I bought a great new Dell laptop, have it all set up for coding, and have moved a lot of my operational processes over to a DevOps style which I've used a lot on work projects recently. As such, development and deployment is waaaay easier and familiar to me, which should make it easier to push out code fixes.

Get Project development on it's feet again - COMPLETE
One of the reasons why we haven't had new Maps, Eras, Scenarios, etc, is that I've been putting off development of new content until the legacy project code was ported over to the new coding style. Well, that new coding style is now old for me, so instead of porting the old code I've torn into it and got it working in the current environment again. This is very good news for everyone, as it means I can start working on new content immediately. We've got several maps that are sitting around as image files with no Map Project made for them. I'm happy for some of them to go in with Classic rules, to give you lot a taste of some new content.

Finish off the half-done projects - IN PROGRESS
We have a heap of half-done projects that need to be finished. These include free-for-all Ancient Greece (i.e. you can pick any of the proposed 40+ empires), Medieval Eurasia (a new map with Medieval Rules), and Medieval Europe - The First Crusade (a set Scenario reliving the First Crusade). These will all add some nice new content for everyone to play around with.

Get Battle Estimators working and fix Medieval Era
We have a current problem with Medieval Era where a player can just stack a single fort with 1 cavalry and a heap of infantry, and it is pretty much unassailable. I'll be getting in a battle estimator so that I can test battles in Era Projects before they go live. The first iteration of this will be pretty simple - easy code, not too difficult to put it in, no bells and whistles, just a simple estimator to achieve game balance a lot easier.

Revamp the home page
Once we've got new content up, I'll do some work on the home page to make it a bit nicer to look at, easier to start playing immediately, and with internal links to good forum posts to help search engines. This should bring us back up to page 1 in Google if I do it right.

Start a blog for coders
This isn't an Art of War thing specifically, it'll be about a framework that I am coding (Circle314 PHP Framework). The sort of stuff I'll be blogging about should attract a lot of attention from the coding community. This will flow on to Art of War as I'll be able to talk about the site every now and then. I'll likely blog about AoW every couple of months once I get a good fan base up.

Finish off the responsive design revamp
The last major project I was coding on was a revamp of the layout and pages to make them more responsive (i.e. look better on mobile and different screen sizes). I've encountered a series of difficulties with it, it's about 75% done, but needs to be finished off. The main outstanding things are (in games) the attack screen and the move troops screen. That's about it actually, but they're the hardest things to port over. I then have to determine whether I want mobile/tablet screens on set resolution

Outsource outgoing mail to a delivery service
I've always tried to do things myself, one of them being setting up a mail server. Suffice to say, I'll never do that again, as it can trash your domain reputation if you don't get it right. At some stage I'll be migrating outgoing mail to a delivery service like Postmark or something, though I have to look into pricing to see if it's reasonable.

Migrate to AWS
Not sure if anyone else has noticed, but the site has slowed down a bit lately. This is down to the web hosts, not sure what's going on, but it's kind of shitty. I've used AWS on work projects a bit lately, and it's a great platform. Migration to AWS is not easy - it will take a while on the day it is done (i.e. an outage for a few hours), and is a week or two's planning to get it just right.

Migrate Project code over to Circle314 Framework
This isn't a high priority, but it would be a good idea for me to move the Project code over to my new Framework and DDD architectural design. This is good for me personally, career wise, but will also be good for the long term future of the site.

Work on the backlog of issues
We have a backlog of issues with the site, none of the bugs are major, but there are several feature requests and enhancements that have been outstanding for a long time. It'd be good to burn down this list, get that new code tested and stable, then work on some new stuff.

So there's the roadmap. I feel it is a good one, since it concentrates on getting our content fleshed out, which has been sorely lacking for a long time, and it will also mean all the beautiful maps that have been sitting on my external drive will be playable, years after I commissioned them lol. I should be able to dedicate several hours per week to the work, which will be enough to keep things alive I think, since a lot of what I'm trying to do is hammer out the high impact items, not get bogged down in nitty gritty long timespan things.

If anyone has suggestions or feedback, feel free to air them, always happy to talk about things with the community!


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

Re: Roadmap for 2018

Postby nixie » Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:40 am

Glad to hear you've been able to adjust work life balance for the better. Looking forward to see whats incoming :D.

inkypt
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat May 15, 2010 3:35 pm

Re: Roadmap for 2018

Postby inkypt » Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:54 am

Thanks and great to hear you getting work life balance better.

With the problem with Medieval Era, have you considered the defending 1 cavalry being at risk on defence (also the attacking unit should have this at risk too). It does seem a bit odd that for the attack scenario you need the units however they sit outside the battles until all the infantry are destroyed.

User avatar
e_i_pi
Posts: 1122
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:38 pm

Re: Roadmap for 2018

Postby e_i_pi » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:12 am

Yeah, I have considered that, that's one of the options of the table. I have to get the battle simulator up and running, then I can test various options and come up with the best one.

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

Re: Roadmap for 2018

Postby nixie » Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:05 am

Removing the requirement for the attacking cavalry could be interesting. Would 'reduce' the cost of attacking meaning in theory an attacker would get a few more bites for their gold.

Maybe the defending cavalry could appear in the battle as a non-damaging defender and be destroy able if the attacker roles an eight (i.e six by the attacking siege)


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