Community Announcements - sean.colombo
John Yianni, the designer of the Hive board game, has released a new board game: Tatsu... and we have made a Steam version that's available in Early Access now!

http://store.steampowered.com/app/445070/

If you like Hive, you'll provably love Tatsu too!
Dec 15, 2015
Community Announcements - sean.colombo
Due to the work we've been doing on our other games, along with the various issues that have shown up in the Hive forums on Steam, there have been a ton of changes since the last big update.

Everything mentioned here is now pushed for Windows, Mac, and Linux (some might have appeared slightly earlier on Windows).

If I've been keeping track of it correctly, here is a fairly complete list:
  • A handful of FNA/OpenGL fixes which will make the game work on more of the Intel HD Graphics cards that had problems, but not all of them.
  • A smaller log file (again)
  • Better display of users with Apostrophes in their names, in the Online Games Menu Screen (OGMS).
  • Fixed a rare crash in the OGSM ListView.
  • Added visible Menu button to the game screen. This makes the game now fully functional for mouse-only players. This is actually pretty important for accessibility. See the "Accessibility" section of a recent Khet announcement for more info on this.
  • Made it so Passes get sent to the server by the last-mover since we know that player is online. This keeps the activePlayerId in sync better.
  • Fixed an error when a pillbug-enabled mosquito moved an enemy disabled-mosquito. Thanks to user Quodlibet for reporting this!
  • Elo Ratings can't be replayed from Steam Notifications now.
  • Fixed some really bad edge-cases that were caused by playing an online async game, then leaving it, then finishing a local game in the same run of the program. This should solve a lot of the more mysterious bugs that were being seen.
  • Since the last release of Hive, we rewrote our entire font rendering system to use a more scalable system. On users with huge high-resolution monitors, they should now be able to see the fonts as clearly as someone with a standard monitor. The new system is "Signed Distance Fields". For the curious, here is a youtube video that shows the general way in which they work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGZRHJvJYIg This change also allowed us to completely re-write how string-measurement works. After a ton of obsessing over the details, you'll notice that now, text is centered better in several spots in the app, and the Chat box looks less wonky. This is all due to being able to measure text very accurately.

    Hive runs at a slightly lower resolution than our other games (so the fonts tend to be larger) and the fonts actually look REALLY nice in the latest version (I may have been staring at fonts too long).

Sorry that I waited so long before releasing that huge batch (we usually do more smaller releases) but I hope the changes make the game a little nicer for everyone! :)

Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!
- BlueLine Games (Sean & Geoff)
Community Announcements - sean.colombo
Improvements!
It's been more than a month since the last announcement about Hive releases, so here's what's new:
  • Fixed a weird edge-case bug for some async games which had passes in them, and then would not let users re-connect to the game.
  • Fixed the Online Game Menu Screen crash that was happening on Mac OSX.
  • Redid our release-process to remove a bunch of un-needed assets that were left around but weren't being cleaned up. This leads to less hard-drive space being used for the game, and significantly less bandwidth used for the initial install. This was a pretty big change. If you were to install Hive game 3 times (once on Windows, Mac, and Linux) the total download required would have been 909.4mb and now it is 583.5mb... for installing on all three OSes, the total hard-drive space required would have been 321.4mb, now it's 247.9mb. :)
  • The logFile now has a .txt extension instead of .log. This makes it easier for users to open it, and makes it easier for us to open on our mobile-phones so we can provide support to people even when we're afk.
  • Reduced some of the log-spam so logFile.txt will be smaller.
  • Added "Join Steam Group" button.

Free game!
BlueLine Games has released our next game, "Simply Chess"! It's a straightforward Chess game made to be widely-accessible and is geared towards casual and intermediate players.

Also unique: this one is Free-to-Play! To encourage the widest use (we felt that Steam needed a flourishing Chess community) we made ALL FEATURES FREE. After a couple of matches, you'll see a 7-second cross-promo for one of our other games. If you upgrade to Premium (~$4.99) then you won't see the cross-promos (soon, if you own all 3 of our games, we're going to remove that promo automatically, so you won't have to have Premium). Since 7-second cross-promos aren't such a big deal to most people, you can think of the $4.99 is kind of a donation to say thanks... and we do appreciate it! :)

This style (free-to-play) is likely just a one-off for us and our next planned game will likely be sold the same way as Hive, Khet, and Reversi. People love Chess but very few people want to pay for it since there are so many free Chess features scattered across different platforms... even if you bundle a ton into one game, people don't feel like it. I've always wanted to be able to play Chess on our engine, and now we can! :D Also, we're hoping this increases the number of people exposed to our game engine, so people might consider taking a look at our other games... which should grow the Hive, Khet 2.0, and Reversi communities! :)

http://store.steampowered.com/app/312280/
Community Announcements - sean.colombo
As usual, we've been improving our Board Game Engine in the weeks since the previous update. We ended up with a large number of improvements. Hive was doing pretty well, so there was only one significant bugfix, but there are a lot of little improvements to polish more of the edges.

This release is for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

  • Fixed the occasional 1-second stutter in the UI. It would happen about once every 40 seconds & it appeared at the previous release. Really uncool... but totally fixed now.
  • The occasional disappearing buttons in the OGMS are fixed. In some rare cases, all of the buttons would be missing from that menu & you'd have to restart the game. That wasn't fun!
  • LogFile.log is no longer part of the build, so if you "Verify Integrity of Game Cache" in Steam, it won't make you download the logfile over again.
  • The BuildID is now in the log-file. This is useful for detecting if someone's Steam client is being stubborn and not upgrading their version of the game.
  • Upgraded to Steam SDK 1.34 (newest version).
  • 2D rendering improvements (mainly visible on the Rules and Online Game Menu Screen (OGMS) on slower computers, especially as we get more games in the OGMS at once.

Thanks for being along for the ride with us! Hive is our first game & it's been a lot of fun to keep updating it regularly since it's initial release back in March of 2014!

If you like Hive, please give us a rating on Steam :)

In the meantime, it seems that we now have more games going on in the Khet online lobby than Hive right now... we can fix that right? ;) I'm going to put Hive on sale, hopefully starting Aug 6th (tomorrow... or today if you read this in more than like... 20 minutes?). It's been a pleasure watching this game & the community grow! Thanks for the privilege! :D
Jul 19, 2015
Community Announcements - sean.colombo
  • Fixed the "Rematch" functionality which hadn't worked correctly for online play since the move to BlueLine Cloud. Now it's good again.
  • Sliders were very finicky for clicking/dragging before. They work as expected again.
Community Announcements - sean.colombo
We might have picked up some other improvements to the engine, but there were at least two changes:
  • Games that are already started, now show their Game Settings in the list of games on the Online Game Menu Screen.
  • When reloading a game from the server and all of the moves get played in rapid succession, it no longer plays all of the move-sounds on top of each other (which could be rather jarring if your speakers were turned up). Now the replay of those moves is silent.

Linux, Mac, and Windows are all at the same release version.
Community Announcements - sean.colombo
It's finally here!! :D Today, we've released Asynchronous Play! This means that you can play a game even when your opponent is not online (and vice-versa). So it'll be a lot easier to find players and to finish games.

Here's some things you need to know!
  • All online games now support Async... instead of Quitting, you can now "Leave" the game. This is perfectly safe, you will be able to come back at any time.
  • All online games now have a "turn timeout" setting which controls how long you have to make a move. The default is 7 days, so this is typically just to prevent users from abandoning a game when they're losing. If a turn-timeout passes without the active player moving, then that player forfeits the game.
  • To avoid the problem of two people having to be online at exactly the same time to start a game, you can now "Start Alone". Basically: if you "Create Game" online, then you hit "Ready" in the lobby, but nobody else is in the lobby yet, you'll have the option to "Start Alone". At that point, you'll go into the game (and you can even move, if it's your turn) even though there is no opponent. You can safely leave the game and it will still sit around waiting for someone to join it. NOTE: You can not start a Private Game alone... because you can't invite Steam players who aren't online (we're working on another way to do this eventually).
  • The first time you play, you will get prompted to connect to "BlueLine Cloud". This is not a 3rd party service (we're BlueLine.. it's just the name of our game-servers). If you connect, then your data will be available to you outside of Steam (sort of anti-DRM). If you choose "No Thanks" you can connect later, but it's recommended that you do connect.

Since it's been a long time since our last release, there have also been a number of other changes:
  • Our entire graphics library has been updated to use the latest version of FNA. This increases performance (better frame-rate on really old computers) and should make the game more compatible to graphics cards that have often had problems.
  • GamePad support on Linux is back (it had broken).
  • The list of games scrolls better
  • ?? Probably a lot! We've been holding back releases since January to make sure that Async was super-stable before releasing it on Hive. We released it first on Reversi, then improved it, then released it on Khet 2.0 and improved it more.... then tested more, polished a few things, and only NOW is Hive getting it! Much has happened in the meantime. Keep an eye out for any bugs!

In the last couple of hours since we pushed this update (we run through a bunch of production tests before doing the announcement) we've ALREADY noticed more people playing online than usual. This is going to be great for the community!! Please play online often to help keep this as a great place for finding Hive opponents!

If you run into any issues, please let us know... we'll be watching the Issues forum closely!

Enjoy! :D
- Sean & Geoff
Community Announcements - sean.colombo
A while back, we mentioned that we were making Async play for all of our games.

We released it along with Reversi. Made a bunch of fixes & new features (such as allowing starting of games asynchronously) and then released it on Khet 2.0... more fixes & features (including re-doing the connect-to-cloud process), and now it's coming to Hive.

It's done, it's tested, and we're just waiting due to timing-reasons. In the meantime, we're doing small housecleaning-type stuff to make it shine around the edges.

We've made a bunch of fixes to async since it first launched with Reversi, so hopefully the Hive version will be pretty stable even at launch. It's been months since we've pushed a release of Hive, so much has changed in our engine. We've update the rendering engine, made performance improvements (so it can run fast even on slow computers), and more.


Async play seems to have finally stirred up a bigger online community for Khet 2.0, and I'm hoping it does even better for Hive.

I'm really sorry that it's taken so long for async to come to Hive (I really thought it would be a couple of weeks, not a couple of months). Hive is our "crown-jewel" so to speak (our largest community), so we wanted to make sure the async was really good by the time we released it. We might only get one chance at this.

Multiplayer communities are tricky because you always have to stay above a certain threshold of users... if you drop below, then users stop checking for games (ever!) and it just gets desolate quickly. With this update, we plan to FINALLY turn the tide and get the online Hive community to critical mass.

After the release, please contact us with any bugs you find... and please have fun finding other people online to play with! :-)

We will try to drive a bunch of people to the online play, right around the time of the release... and if we get enough games going, hopefully there will always be some action in the online community.



Talk to you in about a week!
Community Announcements - sean.colombo
A while back, we mentioned that we were making Async play for all of our games.

We released it along with Reversi. Made a bunch of fixes & new features (such as allowing starting of games asynchronously) and then released it on Khet 2.0... more fixes & features (including re-doing the connect-to-cloud process), and now it's coming to Hive.

It's done, it's tested, and we're just waiting due to timing-reasons. In the meantime, we're doing small housecleaning-type stuff to make it shine around the edges.

We've made a bunch of fixes to async since it first launched with Reversi, so hopefully the Hive version will be pretty stable even at launch. It's been months since we've pushed a release of Hive, so much has changed in our engine. We've update the rendering engine, made performance improvements (so it can run fast even on slow computers), and more.


Async play seems to have finally stirred up a bigger online community for Khet 2.0, and I'm hoping it does even better for Hive.

I'm really sorry that it's taken so long for async to come to Hive (I really thought it would be a couple of weeks, not a couple of months). Hive is our "crown-jewel" so to speak (our largest community), so we wanted to make sure the async was really good by the time we released it. We might only get one chance at this.

Multiplayer communities are tricky because you always have to stay above a certain threshold of users... if you drop below, then users stop checking for games (ever!) and it just gets desolate quickly. With this update, we plan to FINALLY turn the tide and get the online Hive community to critical mass.

After the release, please contact us with any bugs you find... and please have fun finding other people online to play with! :-)

We will try to drive a bunch of people to the online play, right around the time of the release... and if we get enough games going, hopefully there will always be some action in the online community.



Talk to you in about a week!
Community Announcements - sean.colombo
Just wanted to give a head's up on some significant changes before they go live in a few weeks.

One very common request we've had from users is for the option to do "Asynchronous Play" which means the ability to play someone even if they don't stay online. So you can just login when you have time, play one turn, then log-off and the game keeps going.

We've always planned to have this, and now we're finally on the way to having it done! This is not something Steam supports, unfortunately, so we have to create our own game-servers and replace a bunch of the built in Steam networking stuff.

== What changes will I see? ==
  • You will now be able to play with people even when you are not both online the whole time. This is sort of like "play-by-mail" versions of Chess. This should lead to more online play, as well as some MUCH more challenging matches for those who want them.
  • When you go to play an online game for the first time after the change, you will be prompted to set up a BlueLine Cloud account. This is a free account, and all it does is tell our game servers who you are on Steam. This is just a technical limitation. This is very similar to the PlayFab signup when playing Planetary Annihilation.
  • If everything works as planned, you'll never have to log into BlueLine Cloud manually.
  • Email: When you provide an email address during BlueLine Cloud account, we'll NEVER sell that address to 3rd parties. We WILL use it for sending you notifications such as "It's your turn" or "You have 1 more hour to play a turn or you forfeit!". You'll be able to turn off/on each notification at any time. We'll also put the email addr on our BlueLine announcement list which is super sparse (I think we've sent 2 messages in 4 years) and you can, of course, unsubscribe at any time.
  • When you set up an online game, there will now be a Game Setting for Turn Timeout. If a player takes longer than this amount of time, they forfeit the game. We currently plan to allow this to go as high as 30 days per turn and as low as 1 minute per turn. This is not meant to be an implementation of "speed" games or "timed" games (that is likely to come later), this is just a way to prevent people from having games go on literally forever if they're losing.
  • The timeout settings will show up in the list of online games. It'll say something like "7D/turn" which means you can take no more than 7 days per turn.
  • Some fixes: Steam was always really bad at actually reporting which games were in progress. Now, we're in control of that code so it's likely to be way more accurate.
  • Some potential bugs: Please keep in mind, we're running our own game-servers now, and there are likely to be hiccups and potentially even some server down-time. We'll be doing our best to keep them up as much as humanly possible, but our game-servers are about 10 years younger than Valve's so realistically, we'll probably mess up occasionally before everything is perfectly stable. Please be patient with us & report any problems as soon as you see them!


== Future Coolness that this enables ==
Once we have our own game-servers this paves the way for several other really cool features that we've always wanted. These include: game histories that you can review turn-by-turn as well as super-cross-platform play so that you can play games against platforms other than Steam (PC/Mac/Linux) such as iOS/Android. This will make an even larger pool of players online at any given time. All of these features will take a really long time, but having our own game servers is a huge step in that direction.

== Questions? ==
If you have any questions, please let us know. In the meantime, we're going to go back to working on this (we've been cranking on this for 3 weeks so far, and have maybe another 3 weeks until we're done).
...

Search news
Archive
2016
May   Apr   Mar   Feb   Jan  
Archives By Year
2016   2015   2014   2013   2012  
2011   2010   2009   2008   2007  
2006   2005   2004   2003   2002