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).
Community Announcements - sean.colombo
Linux was one bugfix behind Mac & PC. Just rebuilt & pushed, so they should all be in line with eachother. Thanks to Clint B for pointing this out!
Community Announcements - sean.colombo
A bug was reported, that the AI was able to move a piece which had just been moved by the human's Pillbug on the prior turn. This is fixed now.

We fixed our Mac test environment, so Mac now has all of the fixes from our previous release. All three environments (PC/Mac/Linux) are in sync once again. HARMONIOUS! :D
Community Announcements - sean.colombo
Hey there! As "unforseen4ce" pointed out, we had some regressions in our AI on the last release... especially on the Drone level. That's been sorted, and all the AI now will actually be better than it's ever been (by a little... most noticeable on Hive Mind).

The release today is only Windows & Linux so far (I've b0rked our Mac dev environment when I upgraded to Yosemite... will get that solved soonish though).

Here's everything that got pushed today:
  • AI (especially Drone level) made some dumb errors. Fixed that. This was a regression that we introduced in our last push. The fixed version is better than the AI was before the push that added the brokenness.
  • When someone joins the Online game global lobby, now there is an audible sound effect (the volume is controlled by the SFX slider in Settings) this will help you notice when someone else shows up. That was a huge problem when waiting around before... if you just had Hive open in the background, you wouldn't even notice when someone else showed up.
  • Now when people join/leave the global lobby, there will be System Messages in the chat box which will announce the person so you can keep track of who is coming & going.
  • Made it easier to see how to join a game in the new Online game global lobby.
  • Fixed display of Game Modifiers on Game Settings screen (that was another regression in the last push).
Community Announcements - sean.colombo
While we were making Khet 2.0 (also on Steam), we built a Group Chat into the Online Game Screen so that players can see who else is currently online, hanging around.

Since we wrote one engine that powers both Hive and Khet, it was easy to pull that back into Hive!

We also made a bunch of other fixes, so here's an overview of the fixes to Hive that we made over the last several weeks and released tonight (and remembered to write down ;)):
  • Redesign Online Game Menu with a new Group Chat and member-list
  • Made the progress bar update in real-time (it was too jumpy before)
  • Fix the initial Loading progress bar (it went to 50% then back to 25%).
  • Made the loading time slightly faster
  • If you press "Home" key to set the camera back to the default position, it won't spin around in a bunch of circles to get there (even if you've spun the camera to get to where you were).
  • Disabling sound in windows was causing the game not to boot for some users.
  • Made the "Play Hive Like a Champion" links in the credits actually open a link (instead of just being text).
  • Turned all links in Credits into clickable links.

This is a free update and was released tonight on PC, Mac, and Linux. If you don't have it right away, restart Steam and that will force it to check for updates.

Thanks for being Hive players! If you haven't checked out our other game Khet 2.0, you should have a coupon in your inventory for it. Please keep giving us more feedback & stay tuned as all of our games continue to improve!
Community Announcements - sean.colombo
Long time, no release! :) Things have been fairly stable, so we haven't had to do any emergency releases. If you've been following @bluelinegames on twitter, you might have noticed that we've even been able to start on our next project, Khet 2.0 - the Laser Game!

In the meantime, we've been making regular tweaks to Hive & then this morning we finally routed out a couple of Online errors that were causing certain users to have a whole barrel of trouble when trying to make online games. Tonight, that build went live & should automatically update for you the next time you run Steam.

Here's what's in the release we just pushed to PC, Mac, and Linux:
  • Dropped the number of games needed to get a full Elo Rating down to 15 games (too many people were getting discouraged in the 20's... that's sad!).
  • BUGFIX: Under certain cases, some players would start online games which would be confused about whose turn it was, so the game would basically be locked.
  • BUGFIX: Under other conditions, players could start a game where one player would have a different set of pieces enabled, which lead to crashing.
  • Performance improvement to rendering... on low-end systems that had framerates that were low, this should increase the frame-rate by about 50%! (Geoff is such a baller at this stuff)
  • Made the "Esc" button clickable on the screen to exit the game.
  • Automatically remember the FullScreen setting (made it "sticky") so player doesn't have to go fullscreen manually, every time they play the game (if that's how they prefer it).
  • Capture STDOUT and send it to our logfile... this will make debugging customer issues even easier in the future.
  • At user-request, updated the coupon-code in the Credits to be the 2nd Edition of the "Play Hive Like A Champion" book. Thanks to Randy for creating a discount for the new version also! :)
Jun 5, 2014
Community Announcements - sean.colombo
We just pushed a small maintenance update. This build includes the following:
  • Upgraded our MonoGame-SDL2 branch to the latest code (FNA). This should fix a rendering issue that one user was having.
  • Upgraded to the latest version of the Steam SDK. This just fixes an occasional bug that made the Steam avatars too big on Linux sometimes.
  • Fixed the granting of Ladybug achievements. They were sometimes granting even if the Ladybug wasn't the piece that moved.
  • Made the Online Games menu screen not flicker when it updates the list of games.
Community Announcements - sean.colombo
Tonight we released an update (on Windows, Mac, and Linux simultaneously) which add a handful of new, fun features.

== Elo Ratings & Steam Leaderboards ==
First off are "Elo Ratings" - the same rating system used to rate professional Chess players. These Ratings will be used for the Steam Leaderboards.

The very simple overview is that you'll be rated starting at 1200. If you beat someone at a game of Hive online, their rating will go down and yours will go up. If they're rated much higher than you, the amount you gain is higher. So if you beat someone rated 1400, your score goes up more than if you'd only beaten someone rated 1250. Similarly, if you lose to someone with a very low score, your score would drop more than if you lost to someone with a very high score.

One thing to be aware of is that for this system to work, everyone starts out with a "Provisional" rating until they've played 30 games. If you see someone with a rating with "P" at the end (eg: "1200P") that means that they're still starting out. If you're fully rated, playing against a newbie will NOT affect your score. This makes it easy for you to play new people without worrying that they are really good & their artificially-low score could affect you.

Until you have played 30 rated games, your Elo Rating will NOT be submitted to the Steam Leaderboard since it's not considered to be a highly scientific rating until you've played a decent number of games.

== Private Lobbies ==
If you want to play an online game with a specific friend, now you can create a Private Lobby. If you create a game with a Private Lobby, then your game won't be listed in the list of games in the Online Main Menu. This way, you don't have to worry about strangers joining the game and having to explain to them that you're waiting for someone else.

Since Private Lobbies aren't listed, to get your friend into the game you must use the "Invite Friend" button to invite them in.

== Bugfix ==
We were also made aware of a bug that placing certain pieces after a certain string of events could cause the game to crash. We believe we have this fixed, and this fix is why we rushed this build out without better documentation about the new Elo Ratings ^_^ ...don't tell anyone. But if you saw that bug before, we're sorry: you shouldn't be seeing it again. If you ever see this or any other bugs, please let us know! :)

Alrighty... so get out there and play some online games! Since all players have to play 30 rated games to make it on the Leaderboard, it's going to be a race for the top spots! :D
Community Announcements - sean.colombo
Today, both the Mac and Linux versions of Hive are released! This means that you can play from any major OS against your friends on any major OS!

If you're not familiar w/the process: you buy the game once and it works on all of the platforms... they're not really different "products".

Please spread the word to any of your friends who run OSX or Linux, and we can continue to build up the online community!

PS: To celebrate the release, the game will be 20% off for the next week! For technical reasons the two-pack can't start its discount until tomorrow, but it looks like all of the other discounts are live right now!
Community Announcements - sean.colombo
Today is awesome.

First off... the Mosquito DLC is now released, so now you can get every expansion for Hive on Steam that exists for the table top version! There are also packages that allow players to buy the entire set at once for a discount from the full price.

Mosquito expansion on Steam[/img]

Secondly... we know it was a long wait for more than a month to get the expansions out, and we really appreciate everyone sticking with us during that time. To show our appreciation, we gave a "gift copy" of Hive to everyone who bought a copy of Hive before yesterday!

Please note that this apparently takes a while for the gift-copies to roll out. They should automatically show up in your Inventory at some point. We've had many reports of people who have the gift-copies already, as well as many reports of users who haven't gotten them yet. Hang in there! If you still don't have it in a few days, please let us know so we can investigate.

Third and finally... there are now Steam Cards and emoticons! Start collecting, crafting, and emoting! I can't wait to get my hands on the :meeple: emoticon!

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