There is no special occasion for this update, other than that we've had a ton of fixes piling up and I really wanted to get them out there... so we did it!
Windows, Mac, and Linux all have these fixes & should be as identical as they can be.
Rules bug!! Pillbug was able to use its special ability right after being moved. (thanks for reporting this, andypie!)
The build is about 100megs smaller on your hard-drive. This is mostly due to changes in the compression by cutting out the Monogame content pipeline.
The buttons for the second-player in a Lobby had regressed to not be mouse-clickable anymore (hotkeys still worked). Thanks dani_as0 and bentley_maniac for the reports.
Fixed regression that was causing log-spam of loading SDF fonts.
Fixed the occasional crash on Mac/Linux that occurred especially when entering the Online Game Menu screen very quickly after starting the program.
Fixed the case where you Leave a game during LoadingFromServer, then started another game (eg: local, or just a NEW online game) and the game thought it was still loading from server... forever.
Fixed game-reconnections (if it says "Loading from game server..." at any point during a game, now it should succeed again. That was broken for a while... we just didn't notice because that only happens in weird cases anyway).
Fixed the use-case where a host starts a game asynchronously with the opponent moving first, then a guest joins and makes a play, then the host would previously freeze in "Loading game from server...". Creating async games and having the opponent move should be fine now.
Game warned "this game is rated" when forfeiting, even if it was not rated.
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)
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.
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! :)
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
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.
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!
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.