Following the smaller Quakelive update earlier today is a fairly lengthy developers blogg in which id reveals some of their plans for the upcoming updates to the game, with the next one currently scheduled for the middle of May. To name a few of them, we can look forward to private servers, better skill matching, a tutorial/training mode, a competition feature set and "NEW MAPS".
Next Big Update
We're planning an update for the middle of May. In addition to including a number of bug fixes both in-game and on the site, this update will include a few updates/additions:
+ The "Practice" section of the site is being completely re-worked. You might think this is unnecessary, but it is being done to accommodate the following two elements - starting a practice match and tutorials/training.
--Starting a Practice Match - the reason this is being re-done is because the new interface/graphic design and general functionality for starting a practice match is nearly identical to, and can be applied directly to what we're developing for the "private server/match" functionality (more on that below). Once we roll this out, you'll have a good idea of how the basic interface will work for starting a private match. There will of course be extensions to this system to handle the additional demands and administration of a private match, but starting a private match will be very similar to, and as easy as starting a practice match against bots with the new interface.
--Training/Tutorials - We have a number of newer players and have had a number of requests for some ability to learn and practice the finer points of QUAKE. Training arenas and tutorials is something we've wanted to develop for a long time and we now have the first two - Rocket Jumping and Strafe Jumping/Running) that will be made available in this mid-May update (there will be a new section for these under the "Practice" option). These will include written tutorials explaining the basics of these skills along with videos, and demos that you can play back. For each skill we've developed a practice arena with challenges ranging from the very basic to the advanced. In addition to explaining how to begin practicing and mastering each skill, the tutorials will demonstrate how to achieve each of the challenges within the practice arenas. We also intend to include additional tutorials over the months on other skills.
+ We're also working with the issue of balancing teams in the middle of a match. This is something that potentially touches a lot of elements (mid-match voting, automatic callvotes, skill rating, etc.), but we want to make the system work better and will be working towards that in this next big update.
+ New Maps - the roll-out of this update will include the first of a series of new maps that we'll be releasing over a period of many weeks. This is where I'm going to leave things pretty vague so that we can do more to promote these as we're releasing them. We have a variety of arenas for every game type and a few of them may surprise you. We'll have some very obvious announcements up as we get closer and during the release window, so check back often for information and details. I know you want more information, but I only put this here so that there aren't a bunch of replies like, "BUT WHAT ABOUT NEW MAPS!!!!!" We're tuning and testing them, and you'll have the first of them with this update.
As mentioned above, some of the groundwork for this is being done with the practice match interface. We're also working on the back-end features. Next to the leaderboards/stats work and practice information listed above, private matches is our highest priority. We don't have a date for this availability yet, but it's integral to a lot of the things we'd like to do with competition sites, events, and even just your ability to play privately with your friends, so we understand the urgency, and will deliver it as soon as possible. The plans for this service haven't drastically changed, so if you're unfamiliar with our plan, please read Part 1 of our first developer blog (about half-way down). Again, once we roll-out the new interface for starting a practice/bot match, you'll have a pretty good idea how the interface for starting a private match will work.
We're fairly happy with the changes to the Duel skill ranking system that we made a few weeks ago and will continue to test and tweak that. We will also be moving those concepts and calculations (where appropriate) over to the team based games in the next few weeks. We'll let you know when you can expect different matching results.
Competition Feature Set
We've been working with a developer in creating a feature set that can be used for competitions and in private matches. We've discussed this briefly before, but the basic functionality allows for time-outs, locking teams, and various levels of administration rights (to allow for referees, match admins, captains, etc.). We plan to be testing this privately in the very near future and will provide more information in a later post. Again, this functionality will not be enabled for public games, but will be available to partners running events, tournaments or ladders with us, and also available with the upcoming private match/server functionality.
We are aware there are still some issues with players being wrongly (and repeatedly) kicked from games by Punkbuster. We are taking this very seriously and obviously want to eliminate any frustration that our anti-cheat measures cause non-cheating players. If you are having problems being wrongly kicked by Punkbuster, we have a forum that provides an outline of some things you can try, but also includes a list of questions that will help us get to the bottom of this issue if you will help us with answers. We are working with the PB developers to set up some one-on-one time in IRC with individuals experiencing problems, so that we can better understand and solve these issues.
These have proved more difficult than expected, but we're getting close. We expect to also be testing Mac and Linux versions of QUAKE LIVE internally this month and then making those publicly available just as soon as we feel they are ready. This work is being done by a separate programmer in parallel with the other work that we're doing, and is his only priority - point being, that this is a top priority for us and not being delayed because of other work.
As you've probably noticed, we continue to add server locations where we feel the demand is high enough to warrant the expense. We're aware of the issues with the new servers in Sweden and Poland (from yesterday) and are working those out. The location near the top of our current list is South America and we're currently looking at partners to work with in that region. We also continually evaluate additional European locations, and know there is some additional demand in the Nordic territories.
Competitions and Events
You've probably occasionally noticed in the online game browser matches that are listed as 'private' for GGL or other competition sites. Until our private server/match functionality is available, we're working with various competitive sites on a case-by-case basis in support of their running tournaments, ladders, events, etc., and you will continue to see private event matches at the bottom of your online games view. As we integrate the private match functionality, we'll better filter these games so that they are easy to reach if you're looking for them, and not something you have to worry about if you don't want to reach them.
Also, QuakeCon 2009 will be the first live event featuring QUAKE LIVE as a professional tournament since open beta, and we'll be announcing those tournaments very soon. We are however also in discussions with a lot of the premier groups in the eSports area to have QUAKE LIVE be an integral part of their web competitions as well as their live events. Like many of you, we believe that QUAKE LIVE can be the definitive eSports first-person shooter and we're working more proactively and actively than ever before with the key players in eSports. There is of course a lot of "business" to these discussions, so it doesn't happen overnight, but as we develop partnerships we'll be sure to promote any events that we're a part of. Our hope is that QuakeCon is the first of a long list of eSports events in which QUAKE LIVE is a highlight.
There are a number of other components, features and elements of content that we continue to work on. Many of these involve discussions with third parties, business arrangements, etc. so I'm going to be vague, but wanted to include them so that you're aware that we're in some level of development or discussion on bringing them to QUAKE LIVE, and will be providing more information on as they become more certain.
--Match broadcasting and other more spectator friendly ways to bring QUAKE LIVE to people.
--Some level of integrated and more easily accessible demo support/functionality
--Community made maps
--Additional "Social Network" functionality - basically allowing you to connect and communicate with your friends in as many ways as possible.
Source: QL blogg entry and QL blogg entry part 2
Edited by xou at 19:22 CDT, 1 May 2009 - 47727 Hits