iOS 10 has changed some things..

notification

I like that you can drag down your iOS 10 notification to read the entire damage report now. (Or 3D touch if it’s on the lock screen.) This is a welcome change.

Also some of you may not be aware but iOS 10 Game Center has made some radical changes.

  • No more Game Center App.
  • Apple is phasing out the ‘Friends’ paradigm.
  • Friends (and recent opponents) are still there found in ‘Recents’ so you can still start friendly matches, but you can no longer make ‘new friends’.
  • No changes to ‘random’ matches.

The system in iOS 10 replacing friends requires iCloud to be turned on and lets you send a match request to anyone via email, or iMessage, or whatever social media. If the person receiving the match request doesn’t have the game they get directed to the App Store.

The help video in the game is now obsolete with iOS 10 and needs to be replaced.

A Summary of recent changes.

You can see what is in 1.84 in the next update section.

Summary (includes 1.81-1.84)

  • New player training zone. If your units get disabled then you are not training the new player correctly. Read the mini guide.
  • You can once again attack and fall back, unless your attack kills an SF unit.
  • No rain.
  • Individual campaign battles can potentially award 1 ELO point.
  • Duke Mentor leaderboard – for Mentor Matches.
  • No more muzzle smoke from Artillery.
  • Toned down artillery in campaign. Added SF Cavalry.
  • New players can start 7 free Mini Matches.

 

I’m now done with the tweaking and changes. Likely this build will be it, unless there is a bug that can’t wait. Don’t be shy about sending me an email if you have any questions or concerns.

 

Musket Smoke, 1.83 update

Training mode should not have been allowed to be activated for experienced players. My apologies for any games hurt by my mistake.  😦

The 1.83 update: 

  • Removed rain.
  • Only new players can turn on training mode.
  • Training mode auto turns off when player is not a new player.
  • Training matches award no ELO points. (Treated as a friend match)
  • Campaign matches vs new players do not award the 1 ELO point bonus for winning a campaign battle objective. So if your opponent is a ‘Musketeer’, ‘Private’, or ‘Lance’ then you get no bonus point.
  • A training mode warning indicator, for both sides to see.

Training mode mini Guide:

The concept is simple, but often misunderstood mainly because to some of our experienced players do not have english as a first language (or even a second). So I’ll try and provide more detail below.

This new update shows what is training and what is not. So instead of ‘Round 8 Summary’ in the dialog, you will see ‘Round 8 Training‘. This is important as training mode is not a match. It’s not a battle and it’s not where you show how to make unit kills.

Training mode is letting the new player engage more with the units and make some progress. The new player gets to see the attack indicators show attack targets, make a series of attacks until finally they get to remove some of your units from the board. This also lets them see how scoring works. Not everyone plays solo or even does the tutorial. Plus almost every new player is quite apprehensive about their first online experience.

Training mode is only half the match. It continues until the player has defeated 5 units. Then training mode turns off and you can once again make multiple kills.

If you can’t attack then just move your units and enjoy letting the new player figure out how to defeat units. You can’t attack because you are attacking the new player rather than training them. It means that you are doing it wrong.

Training mode is not a match. It is ‘taking turns’ to defeat units.

Training mode is all about the new player getting to experience some kills in a live arena.

Again training mode is not a match. It is training mode. Please do not quit the training mode. This is for your opponent, not you. There are no ELO points to be gained for both sides. The reason you can’t attack is because it’s not your turn to attack.

I want new players that don’t yet have a sense of the game so well, to have a few kills in live online mode. That means for the first half of the match that you take turns getting kills.

I kill. You kill. I kill. You kill.. etc..

Training mode is training the new player, not the experienced player. Let the new player make some kills. Be generous and let the new player have a turn at killing. It won’t be for long, only new players with less that 30 pies will be able to activate training mode. It will then automatically turn off forever after they ‘graduate’.

Why do we have training mode? Because only 1 new player in 100 sticks around after you kill them quickly. Lets see how that stat changes after you help train new players. Also only 25% of our experienced players are honouring Mentor Matches. Training mode is here to enforce protection of new players. To help them ease into the game and eventually become regular players for you to play against. This is for your own benefit.

Training is not really the correct term here. This is before training. This is just letting your opponent have a feel for the battlefield vs a live opponent and how to do some basic attacks. Like a charge or a flank attack. If you kill a player 10-0 or 10-1 once or twice, then you hurt Musket Smoke and the community as that player will not come back. The analytics show this to be true.

How to properly handle a training mode match:

  • Don’t over kill. Doing so disables your whole army for a round or more. Be smart and don’t fight against what training mode is designed to prevent.
  • If your army is disabled, it is because you trained incorrectly. A good trainer never has disabled units.
  • Sacrifice your weaker units to keep scoring parity.
  • Just play patiently and watch the score. Wait. Let your opponent have a few rounds to figure out how to kill a unit.
  • Enjoy the extra challenge vs a new player and try to make sure they can enjoy the match as well. Remember it’s not worth any ELO points, so let the new player have fun! It IS training mode after all. Both players will always be aware that this is a special training mode.
  • Feel free to win (if you can), but don’t feel the need to be overly competitive.

 

Rain might come back one day.

Future rain might have a short burst, say 1-5 rounds long where artillery can recover from after it stops. However, muskets will stay wet. There will also be looming dark cloud warnings before the rain comes. It should be more random. And not every match, there should be sunny days as well. Also it should never rain in the first half of the match. The overall atmosphere should be a looming dark cloud that is threatening the battle and so players should start preparing and adjusting for the coming rain. Alternatively, white maps could have snow instead and the effect could be movement reduced by 1. Footprints might also be a nice visual effect to compliment the snow.

Special thanks to armin1962 and cochie-pigy for giving me feedback on the rain.

 

A few thoughts on recent ELO changes

ELO points are hard earned in the campaign. A bit overly hard earned I thought as campaigns can sometimes be quite epic. Still its a dramatic change to allow a potential bonus point for individual battles. The focus of the campaign should remain a battle between SF units as winning the campaign is worth even more ELO points. Plus winning a campaign (the war) always feels great. Still not enough value was given to the objectives which used to pay with Special SF units, but that was not good for the health of the 2 player battle. So now we have a potential ELO point for each battle if the objective can be won (and the opponent doesn’t fall back).

So this means you will still get 2-4 points for winning a campaign (and 1 for losing), but also each battle objective is potentially worth 1 bonus 1 ELO point.

So how will this play out with the individual battles?  First of all you get no points if your opponent falls back.

Winter Keep: Usually this battle ends in a fallback, so probably no bonus point here. Unless you take out the keep you get no ELO point. I’ve taken out the keep myself a few times, but it is rare. It’s good that it’s rare actually otherwise too many bonus ELO would be awarded.

Howitzer Bridge: This battle has a much higher chance of earning you a point. These battles are often close. The problem though is that it will be dead obvious that you will win in the next round when your howitzer is 2 hexes from the bridge.

The Wheat Fields: This battle is fairly rare to score by taking out the ammo hut. But doing so is often sudden and fairly easy. So there is a higher chance of getting that precious ELO point here because there are many places to hide. Beware the player with the extra leader unit. Also keep in mind that the new SF Cavalry does 4 damage to the hut, and a leader unit does 6. I scored a kill with my SF Cavalry unit recently and the confidence promotion made him capable of doing 5 damage to the building. Then I distracted the enemy with a huge crazy attack while the one SF Cavalry unit took the hut single handedly.

Cannon Showdown: This battle has a fairly high objective win ratio, so this one is one of the best maps to have a decent potential for a bonus ELO point. I’m thinking to reduce this to just a 1 vs 1 cannon battle soon.

The Breach: This battle is often a great chance to earn an ELO point. It is very common to win this map via taking out the Keep. So this is probably your best bet on getting a bonus ELO point.

Artillery Transport: Now that there is value in moving to the right, this battle should be a bit more interesting with the potential for an ELO point hanging in the air.

The Big Siege: There is no objective point here, so it’s not possible to earn a bonus ELO point at the moment. I am open to suggestions on improving this map. What would be a good objective on this map (for both sides)?  Send me an email.

Naarden: I am not sure yet, but there might be a bonus point here too if you defeat all 10 muskets and get 10 green points. No promises.

Not everyone is going to like letting you earn a bonus ELO point, especially the extra competitive players but I think if you want to GET these bonus points you need to also GRANT them (by not falling back). If you don’t let your opponents score bonus points then they will do the same to you. Players that show each other more respect and good will likely have a bit of an advantage in the leaderboards. Think deeply before you snub someone out of a hard earned ELO point. That said, the choice is yours to make and not granting a point is also a valid decision in the game.

Don’t be angry if someone denies you a bonus point, but remember who it was and feel free to do the same to that specific person. But keep in mind it will not always be a snub. Some will simply prefer the original low scoring matches, and that is fine also. Likely bonus points will be quite rare as many people will fall back frequently because they feel an SF unit is threatened, the commander is in Danger or they have no hope of winning the particular battle and don’t want to drag it out AND watch you score a bonus point. So there are many valid reasons to fall back.

The new rule that removes the fallback button (if any unit attacks) will also improve chances for a bonus point.

So to dominate the Top Commander Leaderboards you need:

  1. Tactical skill.
  2. Lots of participation (more chances, plus even a loss pays 1 ELO)
  3. Be a good sport (enhances chance for bonus points).
  4. Protect your SF units, and also try to defeat opponent SF units.

It’s still possible to dominate by sheer force of will and just kill everything that moves in the campaign, but now there is also a slight reward for being a good sport (when possible).

What made it into 1.82?

Alert!  All experience players should make sure training mode is turned off or some of your mini match opponents will not be able to attack you (when you are winning). If your opponent is experienced and you can’t attack, tell them to turn off training mode. Sorry about that !  I’ll make training mode not usable by experienced players next update.

Musket Smoke version 1.82 is done.  This is what made the cut:

• New Player Training zone, replaces extra unit handicap.
• Upped free mini-matches to 7.
• Campaign now awards 1 ELO point for each battle win (but not wins from fallbacks).
• Fallback button is removed for the rest of the round when a unit attacks.
• SF Mortar removed and replaced with SF Cavalry.
• Cannon Showdown loses 1 Siege Cannon.
• The Breach also loses one Siege Cannon.
• Tiny dead body graphic from ‘Whhzi I the Clam’ and his friend ‘Halphas’.
• Removed Duke roster limits.
• Blocking muzzle smoke removed from all artillery.
• Rain comes to every online battle on the 16th round.

Bug Fixes:
• Erratic units after fallback.
• Full replay removed from a completed solo matches.
• AI in longer attacks itself after winning a battle.
• Pressing replay button twice in a row caused an issue.

 

The New Player Training Zone:  Some Details

  • Special training mode for Mini Match only.
  • Anyone can use it, rank doesn’t matter.
  • Disables your opponent attack ability when they have a higher score at the start of any round.
  • If activated before match is created then it also removes all bases.
  • After you gain 5 points, the mode ends but lost bases do not come back.
  • If you activate the mode on round 3 or later, you can play with bases.
  • Button currently also toggles 4 extra cavalry in Campaign match.

 

Light Rain Concept. A toe dip in the water as this is quite a dramatic change. The current implementation is very minimal and is mainly just a test. It’s also acting as a soft round number limiter or a hint that it’s time to wrap up the battle. The concept was supposed to encourage the use of powder weapons more offensively, rather than defensively. We will see how it goes. So on the 16th round of every mini-match, all powder weapons stop working due to rain. Rain will be improved later if we like this update and decide to keep it.

In the campaign, since the round counting is now slower and different from Mini Matches you will still see it as round 16 but technically you have twice as much time in the campaign before the rain comes.

Alert: There is a bug that I just noticed. When attack is disabled for Artillery it also disables melee attack (which is wrong). I will fix this quickly in 1.83 update.  Soon. I might even just remove rain for now.

Campaign Changes:

  • Two Siege Cannons removed (should promote more aggressive play).
  • SF Mortar swapped with SF Cavalry (should liven up half a dozen battles).
  • Blocking Smoke removed from Artillery muzzle fire.
  • Can’t fallback after attacking within a round. If you want to fall back after attacking, then you have to wait until it’s your turn again and do it before attacking.
  • 1 ELO point is now awarded for each battle that earns an objective win. You get nothing if you win by forcing a fallback. You also get nothing if your opponent decides to fall back before you achieve your victory.
  • Round Number Counting reset after each battle, and slower.
  • Rain comes on the 16th round and renders all powder weapons useless.

 

Mini Match Changes:

  • New Player Training Zone, replaces extra unit handicap.
  • Roster enhanced for Dukes (now everyone has the same roster).
  • Blocking Smoke removed from Artillery muzzle fire.
  • Rain comes on the 16th round and renders all powder weapons useless.

 

Great for new players:

  • The New Player Training Zone will help our new players get some killing experience and remove some hesitancy with trying your first online match. This is a much better handicap than having an extra cavalry unit.
  • 7 free mini-matches will help a new players get more online action after they realize how fun online matches are. This will also help grow the daily activity.

 

It’s nice to see some players embracing the Mentor Match Concept so well, but it seems the feature is still not popular yet. I’m curious if the training zone will help that along or not. Technically it should, but you never know how things play out with most people.

Alert: Experienced players with multiple games going should not turn on the training zone to play around with because it will prevent opponents from attacking you when they have a better score. It can’t be applied to just one match, it affects all your Mini Matches. Also having it on might give you bonus handicap units in some campaign matches as well.

So some dramatic changes that should really shake things up. Plus a few serious bug fixes. If you find yourself not liking something then shoot me an email and let me know. This game is a product of our collective interests.

 

Musket Smoke 1.82 Sneak Peek

The upcoming update will have significant changes.

  • Rain. 
  • More ELO points for campaigns.
  • Fallback Button change.
  • Campaign Unit changes.
  • No ‘muzzle smoke’ for ballistic artillery.
  • Free online Mini Matches boosted to 7.
  • New User Training Zone.

You can see all the gory details in the Next Update section.

Send comments, questions, concerns – to my snowpunchgames gmail.

In a nut-shell, I’m addressing some issues related to overly defensive play and also make things better for new players. Plus a lot of fine tuning..

Gory Details:

  • New user Training zone. This is significant because the first online experience for a new user is a sensitive moment. It should not be over too quickly without any chance to do some damage and see what the online game feel is like. Experienced players can enjoy blitzkrieg tactics vs each other and leave the new players out of it. This is our last chance to start growing the community again and it requires both new players to hang in there and old players to help mentor our new players. Right now we have many old players starting mini-matches hoping for a chance to earn some mentor points via matching up with a new player.
  • Each new battle in the campaign will reset the round counting back to 1.
  • Winning a campaign battle objective (10 green pie pieces) earns 1 ELO point. This was changed to encourage more aggressive play. Those that are stingy with letting opponents have rewards will obviously get the same treatment back to them and will most definitely lose out in the ELO race in the long run.
  • Can’t fall back after ANY UNIT makes an ATTACK. If a unit attacks a unit then the fallback button will disappear for the rest of the round. This is addressing the (I kill SF unit and then FALLBACK QUICKLY) move. A kind of dirty play that is not really sportsmanlike (I did it once and felt bad) and it also takes advantage of the easy fallback button. If you are really falling back then you are moving only, not attacking. Attacking means you are staying for another round and that your opponent has a chance to respond.
  • Introducing the RAIN concept.  If we end up liking rain then I will make it a random threat to powder weapons, to encourage more aggressive play. But for now it’s just a new concept and a soft round limiter, a subtle hint at round 16 to start wrapping up the battle.
  • The SF mortar going bye bye. Replaced by a new SF Cavalry! This is just a reaction to a bit too much artillery recently and also too much tactical influence by this one mortar unit. Your either babysitting it too much, or it’s too influencial in battles. It was fun for a while but with the loss of wind it’s now a bit too powerful. Plus I just want to shake things up with a gradual move away from SF Artillery, starting with the SF Mortar. The extra SF Cavalry unit should liven up a lot of battles starting with the Wheat Fields as it’s not a ‘promotion’ unit like the leaders are. It is an ‘extra unit’ and one that will definitely change the attack dynamics of maps 3-8 (if you keep it alive).

The larger Goals of the 1.82 Update:

  • Great for new players. The New Player Training Zone and free mini matches boosted to 7.
  • More lively matches due to looming Rain and less muzzle smoke on artillery. Plus campaigns have a chance for a bonus ELO point and less artillery ini general means more exciting unit movements.

Lots of fine tuning all across the board and a soft push to reduce defensive play should help liven up battles. I am particularly interested how some of the bigger changes will affect things. Rain, the bonus ELO point, less artillery and the new SF Cavalry unit. Not to mention the new user training zone will give new users a 5 point boost from all opponents and also compliment Mentor matches nicely.

If these drastic measures do not help enough with the war on overly defensive play then I have a few more ideas on the forum that have some merit. Although, that would be a different update further down the road.

New Player Training Zone!

In the 1.82 update all new players will be able to defeat at least 5 units on the battlefield.

That’s what the new button in options guarantees. ‘New player Training Zone’ disables bases and enemy attacks (every way to score) when the opponent starts a round with more points than the new player.

This button option is universal and applies to all players, including other players and even Dukes. Both sides could use it if they wanted, which would just guarantee both sides get at least 5 points.

The ‘New Player training Zone’ will make several of your first matches in our friendly little Mini Match arena – a very good first experience.

It will give you lots of hands-on experience with flanking, routing, charging, cannon fire, musket fire and grape shot. Plus a stronger sense of morale as these matches will have on average more unit routs and kills than a normal match with a new player. As a new player it’s important that YOU do more killing/routing to get stronger sense of what the game is all about.

You don’t need to know how all this works but for the curious I’ll explain below.

In any round, we have two possible states:

  • Normal mode, when any unit kill/rout is ok. The scores are within bounds.
  • Protected mode when one player has lost the ability to attack. They can still move though.

The way we ensure a new player get to experience no less than 5 kills works like this. You can not score more than 1 above the new player.

If both players are using the protected mode then the same thing happens for both sides. When a player with training mode on reaches 5 points the protected mode ends and normal play resumes. The second half of the match is just a normal mini-match.

The emphasis of this training exercise is unit killing. There will likely be no bases unless the training mode is started after round 3.

On a related note, we currently have a friendly competition for our Grand Dukes to be Mentors for new players. The senior players even have their own leaderboard ‘Duke Mentors’. A Mentor Match is something that would happen in the second half of the match after the protected mode has completed it’s mission and the new player already has his 5 kills.

It has never been a better time to be a new player in Musket Smoke.

Welcome to our online Community!

“The whole art of war consists in a well-reasoned and extremely circumspect defensive, followed by a rapid and audacious attack.” – Napoléon Bonaparte

So what are you waiting for?

Form up your troops and don’t forget to flank!

The Mentor Match is a Success!

The mock training I did all day with many of our active Dukes was invaluable. Thanks to these awesome volunteers I have learned a great deal.

The main thing I learned is that the idea is good! Its definitely more fun to try and get Mentor Points rather than just defeat a new player. It’s more challenging and more of a puzzle (with risk) and feels better morally as well. It also doesn’t hurt that it helps our community. Good Karma! And gives the new player a more fun and engaging introduction to Musket Smoke’s online play experience.

So now with the upcoming ‘New User Training Zone’ we don’t have to worry about new players anymore. New players will enjoy a pleasant first experience regardless of our little side competition.

The Mentor Match side competion is a challenge that allows a Duke to further boost a new players kills/points from 5 up to a possible 9. It also gives the Dukes the power to directly help Musket Smoke’s front line in a war that is dead serious for the game. Also it is the only way to earn the precious and honourable Mentor Points.

As a developer I love getting new reviews for Musket Smoke and seeing players frequently submit moves and play lots of matches at once. But seeing a Duke move up on the Mentor Points leaderboard also makes me very happy. I need all the help I can get with this Game and improving your Mentor Points score is the best way to help Musket Smoke keep new players. Our Grand Dukes have the ultimate power over the fate of Musket Smoke.

Thanks guys!

Wetmusket