HaxArena lives!

Date: January 3, 2016 Posted by: Chris St. John In: Uncategorized

It’s a brand new year, and it’s a brand new day for HaxBallers. HaxBall is a simple, beautiful game, but it has not significantly evolved since its inception. We at HaxArena are planning to redefine the HaxBall experience over the coming year, and we would love to have you (yes, you!) on board to help shape the future of HaxBall. Let me share some of our thoughts with you — we would love to hear your feedback in the comments.

Hold it — will it cost money?

No … and yes. We are committed to keeping HaxArena free to play for casual players, but we feel that more serious players will appreciate the benefits given by a paid account. We haven’t worked out exactly what features will be paid or how much it will cost. Suffice it to say that if you are simply planning to drop in and punt a ball around for a few hours, you can safely put your wallet away.

Dedicated servers

HaxArena will be played on dedicated servers located all over the world, rather than being hosted on individual players’ computers. This confers a number of benefits. First, these servers will be spending 100% CPU on hosting HaxArena rooms 24 hours a day, so players will feel no degradation from a host player “tabbing”. Second, a room will continue to run until all players have left — a player who opens a room may leave without destroying the room for the remaining players.

We will be monitoring the use of these servers very closely, and if they start to get overloaded we’ll just … buy more of them.

Accounts and Profiles

In HaxArena, players sign up with an account that only they can access (using a password, or Google/Facebook authentication). This is already a huge step up from HaxBall, where anybody can log in with any name and thereby impersonate any other known player.

Here are a few things we are planning to record on a player’s profile.

Ratings/Ladders

HaxArena will feature rated rooms. These rooms will be run more strictly by an automated engine: teams will be balanced automatically according to previous ratings, and rating adjustments will be made after games complete. Players no longer need to claim dominance (PUT ME IN I WILL REK U); their rating can speak for itself.

HaxArena will provide various ladders that players can track their progress against: global ratings, country ratings, possibly smaller region ratings. A player can see his rankings as a percentile vs. his peers, for example: Top 15% world-wide, top 17% country-wide.

Badges/Achievements

It will always be a player’s primary goal to win any game he is playing in, but who doesn’t love a side quest? HaxArena will give out awards for outstanding achievements that may be proudly displayed on a player’s profile. Some examples may include goals in a single game, goal streaks (at least one goal in each of a string of games), shut-outs (no goals against when playing defensively), ball-on-a-string (a ridiculous duration of ball possession by a single player), and many others. We enthusiastically seek ideas for new achievements!

History/Replays

HaxArena players will have the ability to browse their game history. They may see who was playing, the result, the times of the goals, and a few other basic statistics. If a player plays in rated matches, he may see a history graph of this as well.

A more ambitious plan involves storing the entire replay of a game to be downloaded and watched offline in a youtube-like player. Players may then cut+paste snippets from these replays to create highlight reels for themselves, which can then be put on display on their profiles.

Leagues/Clubs

HaxBall is a game that rewards teamwork and chemistry between players, so it comes as no surprise to us that a culture of clubs and leagues has emerged around this game. Until now, these clubs and leagues needed to be managed externally from the game itself, and player access to rooms had to be managed by carefully handing out passwords to rooms that are otherwise visible to the entire world. This strikes me as extremely inelegant.

We at HaxArena believe that these ideas could be integrated into the game directly. The potential for clubs and leagues is limitless and your feedback in this area would be especially appreciated.

Clubs

A club represents a certain collection of individual players who have observed a certain chemistry between themselves during play. Any player may start a club and thereby become its manager (a manager may appoint other managers). A club manager’s primary duties are to add/remove players to the club, and to create club rooms (visible only to club members or invitees) — which can be used to house team practices, tryouts, or TEAM VS WORLD scenarios, for example.

Clubs have their own profiles and game histories, and may even collect their own badges and achievements. We envision clubs as being highly customizable, including club jersey colours. We hope that clubs will gain notoriety through their profile page, which proudly display the club’s achievements in leagues.

Leagues

Club rivalries are inevitable in sports, and HaxBall is no exception. In HaxArena, any player may create a league and thereby become its manager (a manager may appoint other managers). A league manager’s primary duties are to add/remove clubs to the league, and to set league schedules (i.e. matches between clubs). The results of league matches will automatically make their way back to the league, whose profile can display the match results and club standings.

Tournaments

Players who aren’t keen to join the whole club scene may still participate in tournaments. A tournament may be thought of as a miniature league that lives out its life in a single room and is managed automatically by the system. HaxArena will offer different tournaments, with possible prizes.

Custom maps/variants

HaxBall is a game with very simple mechanics, and it is possible to create custom maps using external tools and run a game of HaxBall with them. The layout of the map and the physical characteristics of the world can be adjusted, but the main premise of the game is fixed: two teams of players aiming to accumulate more points through goals before the time runs out, with a sudden death overtime period, if required.

We will strive to support existing custom HaxBall maps with as much fidelity as possible, but we also plan to build in native support for HaxBall variants — departures from the normal 2 team premise.

Map/physics changes only

Custom maps that change the layout of the space and the physical constants will continue to be supported. Examples of this genre include SpaceBounce (physics changes) and SniperShot (small nets); the game still plays out in two teams struggling for points via goals, using no additional rules.

Complex rules

Some maps have been created with a set of rules that are not enforceable by the physics engine alone. The prime example of this is Real Soccer, where players are compelled to yield control of the ball to the opposite team when their team kicks it out of bounds. However, nothing forces a player to yield control; a player may ruin the game by simply running off with the ball. The room’s admins then face a choice between educating that player or simply kicking/banning him (the latter choice is used almost exclusively).

We will aim to create support for more complex gameplay rules that can be enforced by the game’s engine. For example, in Real Soccer, the ball could be placed at the point where it went out of bounds, with a force-field around it that blocks out enemy players until the ball has been kicked, as in a kickoff situation. Real Soccer maintains the two teams idea.

Variants

There are yet other maps that are designed to discard the two teams paradigm entirely. 6-man, for example, is a custom map where each player plays for himself and guards one of 6 nets. Each player plays with 3 lives; each time a goal is scored on his net, he loses a life. The winner is the player who survives the longest.

This game’s implementation on the HaxBall engine suffers from two main problems. First, the HaxBall engine does not understand anything except the two-team game, and so the nets are modelled as blue or red nets, and the game reports Red Scores! or Blue Scores! anytime a goal is scored on anybody. Cumulative scores for the red and blue teams are tabulated, and summarily ignored. The players instead keep track of their remaining lives using the /avatar command. Second, there are rules that are not enforceable by the engine (e.g. kickoff rules), which again ruins the play unless everybody cooperates. In HaxArena, we have plans to support these kinds of games natively.

Closing remarks

As you can see, 2016 promises to be an exciting year for HaxBallers. These are some of the ideas that we have in store. We need to hear from you, the players, to help us to prioritize the development effort, and provide us with ideas that you feel are sorely lacking in HaxBall. I will be writing often to keep you up to speed on the progress we’re making. We at HaxArena look forward to hearing from you and watching the community grow!

csj and the HaxArena team

30 thoughts on “HaxArena lives!

  • Hilfi says:

    Hi When you can play? jeje i using traductor of google i speak spanish

  • Anonymous says:

    Go play FIFA or PES. Haxball is so amazing because of its simplicity. Most of your said things will ruin the game.

  • Uygar Yalcin says:

    Hello I can be a beta tester. I’m from Turkey and I play Haxball since 3 years but I’m bored because Haxball is unsatisfactory and very elementary. I want some things. When player joining room or create room the room was auto recording. New trick system (Like Ronaldinho) Holding button system and different choice; short pass, long pass and shoot (Different buttons). Stamina; move, run and modified run (Different buttons). When player slow down and relax the stamina was refill (Not full) but when player run while stamina less player’s speed is very slow and refill in long time and if player always run player was injured. Champions League Stadium and ball. Haxarena’s special maps. The most important is Real Soccer map. Game intelligence decide which team use throw in and corner or goal kick. It is very important. Extra time and penalty shootout. Foul and Card system; Yellow Card and Red Card. Offside system. Goalkeeper system; one player was goalkeeper and dress keeper sweater and if goalkeeper touch ball out of penalty area it’s foul and it necessary red card. Weather conditions affect game and room admin choose weather. Night match. Team cheat. Player rankings in match and in room. We have create our banned list via nicknames (Every nicknames have IP adress and ban in IP adress). All nicknames must have password. We create account only 2 times. I’m professional Haxball player and most of professional Haxball players need this innovation because these things are add realism in Haxarena.

    • Anonymous says:

      Go play FIFA or PES. Haxball is amazing because its simplicity. Most of your said will ruin the game

      • Uygar Yalcin says:

        If you want simple game you should go play Haxball.

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  • I have a couple of ideas/thougts as I have a background of playing countless of hours of Haxball including playing for a national team.

    User accounts

    Accounts are of cause a must to be implemented. Personally, I think they should ALWAYS be free to have no matter what. You should then have the ability to upgrade to a premium user, who has some some advantages on the website/community itself and NOT in the gameplay. Examples of ideas could be premium badge by your username, prioritized when joining tournaments, able to create gathers (more on that later).

    Payment

    You should definitely make it a monthly payment to be a premium member and make it as low as you possible can while still being able to manage the project. The key to make that possible is to automate as many things as you possibly can. I don’t say that you should automate everything from day one, but it should be a goal to automate tournaments for example, so the system itself handles all signups and the complete structure.

    Personalized avatars

    This is definitely a good way of making profit. If you know Counter-Strike, you know how crazy the market has gone with the implementation of skins. You could make players able to buy things like backgrounds (stadions), avatars, balls and so forth. In my opinion it should only be visible to yourself.

    Gamification (trophies and badges)

    Gamification is definitely a good idea to get players to play again and again and participate in the community. There are plenty of possibilities. My thoughts go on X comments in forum, X goals scored, X hours played, X cleensheets, X times topscorer, X matches played, X matches played, X overtimes attented and so forth. Some of them aren’t 100% up to the player himself, so it can drive you crazy if you aren’t able to achieve all possible achievements – and that’s a good thing as it makes people play more.

    Rankings & Rated rooms

    Rankings are definitely a great idea, but I can however not see the advantage of having it implemented in every single game. As I see it, Haxball has roughly 2 kinds of players – the public and the competitive players. The public just wants to play the game simply as it is. Ranking would just make it more advanced and take away the focus on what really matters. The competitive would love the ranking, but would only accept it in competitive matches as they thereby avoid random players. My suggestion is that you only implement rankings in matches within tournaments and leagues.

    A sidenote to this is that I don’t really see the advantage of using percentage instead of actual rankings. I assume you’ll use some kind of point system, so each player has X amount of points – given the possibility to provide every player with an individual rank. This will also make it possible to create a table with exact standings, and that will definitely get the competition among players going.

    Stats

    Stats will definitely be good to have, but again I suggest only using them for competitive matches. In my opinion it doesn’t really make sense having stats for public games – among other things because people join/leave constantly.

    Lag

    This should without a doubt be the number one priority. You should do you research and choose the very best scalable option from day one. I don’t have knowledge of hardware, but I’m sure dedicated servers are a good option, as it gives you the option to upgrade and probably use some serious fiber internet speeds.

    In my opinion the game wouldn’t be better with all the other functions, while having the same lag issues. That’s why I’d focus on that and possibly spend some extra time just to do a deeper research.

    Tournaments/Leagues/Ladders & Gathers

    Tournaments and ladders would definitely be great to have implemented in the game itself, but in my opinion it isn’t necessary, and you shouldn’t focus on adding that in the early versions. There are many tournaments and leagues out there, and they work just fine now – or at least they are working and somewhat active. I’m sure they’d prefer to have a great game rather than you focusing on taking their jobs away from them.

    Another great function would be to have a gather-function (in later versions). If you’re not familiar with the term, it basically means for example 6 people signup for a game, and the system automaticly creates 2 teams of 3, and you can then play a somewhat serious game, where competitive players are able to practice with others. Personally I think it’s hard to find public games, where the skilllevel are acceptable or just nearly the same level as my own. A gather-function could set some restrictions to levels/rankings and/or only for premium users.

    Boosts

    I’ve recently tried your competitor who already has a working beta, where boosts are implemented. In my opinion this will completely ruin the game. I would literally hate to see boosts in a new Haxball game. It seems like you have complete lack of control no matter how skilled you are, and it makes the game more random. Right now I’d say it’s close to the level of Chess, where you win games singlehandedly because of skill and not some random functions, which you’ll never get to control completely as you want it to. I can’t state how much I’d hate to see boosts implemented.

    Teams/Clubs

    A database of teams would be great. Personally I think as a newbie player it’s hard to join the competive scene right now, and it’s dificult to learn exactly where to look for the pro scene – and even knowing that there is one. A database included in the community would show everyone who competes for the top spot and that there is in fact a competitive/pro scene. And that will make them able to learn what level to aim for, learn new tricks, get in touch and so on. All in favor of the competitive scene and it will definitely help the scene getting bigger and more active.

    Official matches – Match page/Tickets/Private messages/VOIP

    For your own sake, should you choose to create tournaments, leagues and/or ladders, you should as previously mentioned make it as automated as possible. If you create a league system, the system itself should be able to create the structure, and make it as automated as possible in terms of scheduling matches, posting results, handling complaints, reporting issues and so forth. This could be solved by having a matchpage for every single match, ticket-system, private messages among users and/or creating an official VOIP – this could for example be the new ‘Discord’ which is free and offers both chat within rooms/channels as well as voice within rooms/channels.

    Short and long term goals

    It’s a huge project you have started working on, and it seems like you have plenty of ideas – and that’s normal for a project of this size. I’ve tried working on a project of this size before, and trust me on this one: you must create a FIXED plan for short- and longterm goals. Set a deadline for a number of functions to be completed and stick to this deadline. When people suggest new functions do NOT implement them right away, and do NOT implement them just because one single person feels it’s important. Set goals and deadlines and if you get new ideas, let them wait to a later update. It’s absolutely crusial to have a straightforward plan for the complete project.

    Also, it’s crusual to prioritize. Things like tournaments, leagues, gamifications, teams and so on shouldn’t be in the first version, because players can live without it and have been living without it since the beginning of Haxball. Focus on the important things which are problems today like fixing the lag and afterwards implementing user accounts. These are without a doubt the biggest problems, and they should be fixed as soon as possible.

    If you have any questions or want my opinion on something, feel free to mail me at mail@martinslaugesen.dk

    Sorry for the long post, but that’s just what I had in the back of my head 🙂

    • Hi Martin,

      Thanks for the in-depth reply. These blog posts are designed to get the mental juices flowing, so no need to apologize! Rest assured that your comments are being taken seriously.

      I wanted to address your comments on planning specifically. I’m aiming for a model of continuous delivery, meaning I:
      – Publicly announce what I’m doing now, and in the short term (check the blog post Jan 6th)
      – Deliberately avoid any long-term plan, and instead:
      – Litter the space with ideas and see what sticks in the community.

      This way, as time marches on, we can make informed decisions about what to do next, without committing to any specific long-term plan of action. We can stay fluid and move according to what the community wants.

      Please feel free to follow up by email if you have further advice in this area.

      csj

  • tirey93 says:

    I’m very glad to hear that you still exist! I was afraid that HaxArena project will fail and nobody will hear of it. But now my hope is raising. Me and my peers from Poland are looking forward to your work! If there is anything we can help just ask on tirey93@gmail.com and I am sure that together we find solutions to your problems.
    Still we will look forward to any success in your project. We hope to get some real evidence of your work soon.
    Cheers!

  • Hello,
    I’m not gonna talk much about it because mostly I agree with Petras and others, but keep in mind THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS PHYSICS AND MOVEMENT. For the beginning try to make it as similiar as haxball. If it will have a lot differences I think this game could end up in fiasco.

    Good luck guys, I believe in you.

  • Osprey says:

    I suggest that you don’t spend much of any valuable time on things like leagues/clubs/tournaments/rankings and such until the base game is largely done. There are several reasons: 1. Priority should be on making a game that is fun and works (from a server/lag/account), 2. There won’t even be enough players to support leagues and such early on (especially if you don’t have #1), and 3. You’ll be tweaking physics, handling, server lag, everything, and those things will play havoc with leagues, rankings, achievements and such. If you think that you need leagues to draw players in, well, there can still be ad hoc ones, like Haxball has; then, they can migrate to your system once you’re eventually done with it. Anyways, just concentrate right now on recreating Haxball; then, only once the barebones game is “done,” look into adding extra “social” features.

    By the way, I think it would make sense to make a lot of the social features require payment. Egos are powerful and people will pay to see how they rank, get achievements and participate in tournaments and such. New players can simply play for free, but, as they get good at the game and invested in it, they’ll want to see just how good they are by comparing themselves to their peers and wouldn’t mind paying a bit for that.

    I have more suggestions and ideas that are more from a map maker perspective, but I may put those in an e-mail, instead.

    • maod says:

      I don’t know about leagues, achievements, and all of that. On the one hand, what I liked about Haxball was its minimalism. Everything was implemented by the community, including the league systems. Have you considered making the server program available to download, free of charge, like a lot of other free-to-play indie games do? If you did this, then you wouldn’t have to pay for hosting costs yourself and you also wouldn’t have to hire moderators to police chat.

      On the other hand, I do think that automated, ranked matches, similar to what one finds in MOBAs, would aid player retention.

      Secondly, do you think that the default 4v4 game mode will have different settings than those used for Vanilla Haxball? I suppose you have to be careful when making changes of this sort, because Haxballers are rather accustomed to the game by now. Nevertheless, it’s no secret that it’s very hard to score in Haxball, and two good teams can play for half an hour without either side conceding a single goal.

      Many Haxball leagues have experimented with variant maps or rule-sets, such as using a slightly smaller faster ball, or implementing a “3-man D” rule, which stipulates that only three defenders are allowed to be behind the ball at any time. The home page of Haxarena says something about boosts, and I’ve thought that either being able to bump players out of the way, or to allow the ball to travel under the player, would allow for more volatility around the goal area. Everyone has his own idea, so maybe a survey concerning conservative changes to the core game would be helpful.

    • Petras says:

      I agree with everything, excpet not completely sure about the idea that ranking should be paid. Not because I would hesitate to pay, but if some of the best players would hesitate and I couldn’t compete/compare my ranking with them because of that, it would be a big hit in the competetive scene.

      I think oldschool players that have played for at least a couple of years wouldn’t hesitate to buy something that is not essential (like ranking), but still cool and support the game.

      • Petras says:

        Sorry, this was suppused to be a reply to “Osprey” 😀

        @maod “Everything was implemented by the community, including the league systems.”

        The external league system in Haxball has a lot of flaws. Many leagues close because of player inactivity, many top notch leagues are hard to participate in, because they accept very little new people and every season they add only 1-2 new teams (this is especially true for international Leagues).

        “Have you considered making the server program available to download, free of charge”

        This is not how dedicated servers work. They are not making it peer2peer like Haxball, so they will need servers nontheless, and chat moderators are usually part of the community, not part of the developer staff.

        “On the other hand, I do think that automated, ranked matches, similar to what one finds in MOBAs, would aid player retention.”

        As I said, if automated ranked matches are player vs player or team vs team then it’s great. If they are random players vs random players then it will kill the competetiveness (if someone wants, I can list at least 5 good reasons why). The whole idea of competetive 2v2, 3v3, 4v4 is the chemistry behind the team and careful strategies.

        “Secondly, do you think that the default 4v4 game mode will have different settings than those used for Vanilla Haxball?”

        What do you mean different settings? Time limit and stadium? They already have different settings like 3def rule and big stadium in German leagues, international leagues and Haxball Champions League, big easy in russian and some central Europe national leagues, 10 minute matches in country championships and so on.

        “Haxarena says something about boosts, and I’ve thought that either being able to bump players out of the way, or to allow the ball to travel under the player, would allow for more volatility around the goal area.”

        Boosts would completely ruined the game for any pro player. We practised for hundreads if not thousands of hours to learn how to play and we would have to learn everything from the beginning. When Haxball was created, players found various things they can do with the ball like powershots, lifts, bouces, post tricks, double kicks and etc. All of that from just core mechanics. Imagine how adding boosts would change the game from the ground up. It would be a completely different game that you would have to learn from the ground up.

        Secondly, there already was a survey here:

        https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1AFaKelG5kAtow7rYfl584CQMbbY69jr98A6tj9KbsQY/viewanalytics?usp=form_confirm

        Basically 60% of players do not want any kind of boosts and I agree 100%

        • maod says:

          I’m suggesting that the server application could be downloaded by anyone who wants to set up a server, either on his own machine (even inside a browser, like Haxball does), or on a (virtual) machine that he rents from some server company. Teeworlds and Ace of Spades (http://buildandshoot.com/) are two examples of this pattern. This server would show up on the master room list on http://www.haxarena.com.

          Obviously, this model would preclude a centralized ranking system, but it would GREATLY simplify management of the game for the dev. If there are centralized leagues and rankings, then the developer has to police foul language, pay for servers himself, probably set up some kind of reporting system, and so on. And then the SJWs will probably show up and you’ll get banned for life if you utter some harmless epithet. Anyway, all I’m saying is that programming a centralized server model is only half of the equation, and the developer had better be prepared to operate a daycare center if that’s what he wants. I wonder if all of that trouble is worth it for a ranked ladder mode.

          “What do you mean different settings? Time limit and stadium? They already have different settings like 3def rule and big stadium in German leagues, international leagues and Haxball Champions League, big easy in russian and some central Europe national leagues, 10 minute matches in country championships and so on.”

          Yeah, all of those changes were made because it’s so hard to score in Haxball. You can take 4 noobs, tell them to make a wall in front of the net, and the freaking Polish All-star team would maybe get one goal on them within 10 minutes. It’s SO EASY to defend in Haxball, and there really needs to be something to add volatility or make space around the net in Big Easy 4v4. There’s clearly some fraction of the player base that agrees with this sentiment, other wise 3-man-Defence would never have been made. Maybe 3-man-defense could just be the default rule. I’d be fine with that if the game could automatically enforce it.

          “It would be a completely different game that you would have to learn from the ground up.”
          It really wouldn’t, but that’s besides the point. It takes two weeks to learn everything in Haxball, now that all of the tricks have been figured out. Haxball is the easiest electronic ball game out there, let’s not kid ourselves. It’s fun, but Supraball, Uniball, Ball3d, and probably Rocket League (though I haven’t played that last one), all require way more technical finesse than Haxball does. Of course, in calling the game “HaxArena,” the developer is obligated to replicate the Haxball physics as closely as possible. I’m not saying add “boosts,” per se, but the game could require more skill and be less boring if you could smash people out of the way, charge up your shot, or just make it easier to defeat these 4-man-busses. Well, whatever, people don’t want change anyway.

        • Hi maod,

          Your insights about player-owned servers are very interesting, and worth considering very carefully. You’re right that this idea would toss a proper ranking system out the window (since those servers could be altered and compromise everything). The strategy we adopt going forward will depend greatly on the needs and wants of the players: do they want more informal drop-in games, or more strictly managed rankings-enabled developer-owned servers? Perhaps in time we will adopt both approaches, only time will tell.

          Regarding the rules (e.g. 3def), it is also worth considering baking it into the game directly, if enough people agree on it. Personally I have never heard of this, but that’s because my experience with Haxball is limited to the amateur drop-in level only. Of course alterations like this will have to wait until I get something solid running smoothly.

        • Petras says:

          Well it took me maybe a year before I started winning leagues and tournaments and I am still learning new things after 5 years 🙂 Sorry, but if you honestly think you can learn Haxball in 2 weeks you are an inexperienced player.

        • Aaron Smith says:

          Sure, you could learn to play very quickly but I don’t see any masters of the game after 2 weeks. 🙂 To touch on the boost ideas we’ve been tossing around; our ultimate goal isn’t to redefine the game but to add an extra dimension. In the end, it will be up to the community on how much effect the boosts have and if they are ever put into the ranked games or become anything other than an option you can turn on if you want. I believe many of the people resistant to the boost idea may change their mind once they actually see them in action and get used to them. If, however, they are put in and the community still rejects them then we will listen to the community.

  • Linko. says:

    +1 with the exception of the rating system, I think it’s a good idea.

  • Mr(D) says:

    Hello HaxArena developers. It’s nice to see that all things about HaxArena is moving on. I spent a lot of hours of playing haxball and I’m a big fan of this game and I’m so excited about all the new features coming in haxarena. For not writing another long story about the game I should say that I strongly agree with Petras opinion. He said all the things which pro haxballers want to see. So +1 For Petras comment.
    ——————————————————————————–
    My priorities are these:
    1. Low ping
    2. Ranking system (as Petras mentioned before, with no random ranked games. Only teams(2×2, 3×3, 4×4), or 1×1)) Also, I think that ranking system could be familiar with league of legends.
    3. Leagues system (it’s a mistake to let players create as many leagues as they want. For my opinion it should be something like this: 1. National official leagues 2. Continental leagues 3. International leagues. Why? Because all oldschool players saw the chaos in haxball leagues. A lot of leagues with no logic and small amount of players)

    *Badges/Achievements – I think it will be a better motivation to play. For example, I get a badge or unlock an achievement for scoring 1000 goals or keep my gates clean for 100 matches and so on. I still have no idea what rewards players could get, but the badges system can inspire players to reach their goals.

    P.S. Don’t ruin the game with illogical new features. Hear the voices of people.

    SIMPLICITY IS THE KEY.

    • Hi there,

      Yes, I’m starting to see that the creation of leagues needs to be carefully managed, rather than a free-for-all. I’d be interested if you could elaborate on the “chaos” of HaxBall leagues (either reply here, or in email).

      As for badges/achievements, there are two main ways I see them to be interesting. First, for new players, it can give them something to strive for, a sense of progression or accomplishment, rather than an endless stream of apparently meaningless matches. Second, even at competitive levels, I could see the nature of the game changing slightly if one player is chasing a particularly tough achievement (score a goal in 20 straight rated games). It could alter the texture of the game slightly. Maybe this is a misguided idea? Hopefully the people’s voices will guide us. 🙂

      csj

  • Petras says:

    “HOLD IT — WILL IT COST MONEY?”

    If it’s one time purchase 10 euro to unlock cool cosmetic skin or skip ranked ladder queue then cool.

    If it’s pay 10 euro EVERY MONTH to unlock something – highly doubt new players would do it for a game that seems so minimal at first sight. I would do it, but I’m probably in the 0.001% of people who’ve invested 1000+ hours into Haxball.

    God forbid it’s something like 20$ = +1% movement speed, 500% = +25% movement speed or 1$ = +1 ranked score, 1000$ = +1000 ranked score or any other “pay to win” model.

    Protip: keep it simple. One time purchases that are cosmetic and non-essential for core gameplay. Like League of Legends or Path of Exile. Remember, that Haxball has 0.25 million likes on Facebook, so if every 1/4th person bothered to click “like”, Hax has had over 1 million players during the years. With such a large player base a “free to play” model can be very profitable and “pay to win” would just ruin it.

    Protip 2: maybe 75% of Haxball players are <18, so make purchases available via SMS.

    "DEDICATED SERVERS"

    If it's a good change or not depends on how fast are those servers. If they are slower than the best Haxball player host then it sucks, because you can always take your time to find a really good host for an important league or tournament match.

    Tabbing doesn't cause ping? Very nice little bonus.

    Room will continue to run after host has left? Sounds very confusing. What if the host doesn't want to keep the room under his name? Hope it's just an option.

    Protip: as a high precision player that can do 10/10 powershots (rocketshots you call them in NA?) in classic stadium on a good day, I can give my reference:

    <60 ping – perfect
    60-80 ping – very slight disadvantage
    80-100 ping – slight disadvantage

    100 ping – noticable disadvantage, can determine who wins the game. Generally is still considered playable even in high end leagues or national championships, but not preffered.

    100-120 ping – major disadvantage
    120-140 ping – extremely bad. You can still be an "OK" player, but you will never have precision.

    "ACCOUNTS AND PROFILES"

    This is it. The number 1 thing we have all been waiting for. No more faking and tracked progress.

    Ratings/Ladders, rated rooms? Think very carefully before implementing this. Do some research about competetive Haxball in Europe, not only North America (for example, the main 4×4 format in Europe since maybe 2013 is called 3def, where teams AGREE to play without their striker participating in defense). Contact me if you want me to explain what is 3def and don't take it lightly, I am not joking about it being the most popular competetive format in Europe.

    Rated rooms still? I don't want to be rated playing with randoms. I want to be rated playing with my premade team consisting of teammates that practised with me since 2012.

    Haxball is a hardcore competetive game for some of us, we don't want it to become a rating farm with random players. Public is still public (accessible to anyone) and competetive is still competetive (accessible to those who practised hard) and it should stay so.

    I have a detailed plan on how I would integrate ranked/ladder system (kind of similar to ESL Haxball when it was still alive). Write me if you are interested to know. Still, it should always be player vs player or team vs team, and NEVER randoms vs randoms (because that is not ladder, it already has a name. It's called PUBLIC ROOMS).

    "A player can see his rankings as a percentile vs. his peers, for example: Top 15% world-wide, top 17% country-wide" Very, very nice and a good idea.

    "Badges/Achievements"

    Not really interested, but still could be fun, especially for new players. One question though – how would your automated servers know who played defensive role?

    "History/Replays" One again, great idea, like an integrated haxballtube.com. Very useful.

    "LEAGUES/CLUBS, We at HaxArena believe that these ideas could be integrated into the game directly. The potential for clubs and leagues is limitless and your feedback in this area would be especially appreciated."

    What? So you've worked out ranking system, but haven't worked out how clubs (or as we call them TEAMS in Europe) will participate in ranked? I have a detailed explanation which is practical and will definetely be possible do develop (once again – look how ESL Haxball did it). From gamedesign perspective it would be like 10 pages long, so I won't type it here without knowing if it will be useful. All you have to do is to write me and ask. ESL was terrible overall, but one thing they did good – ranking systems and ladders).

    "player may create a league and thereby become its manager (a manager may appoint other managers). A league manager’s primary duties are to add/remove clubs to the league, and to set league schedules"

    Sounds very complicated and I would give 98% chance that it won't stick with oldschool players. Absolutely no idea why you think this a good move. Winning or even participating in a high end league top division is something prestigous and kind of an achievment. If everyone can make a club, and every club can host their own league, there will be 10000 leagues, 9990 of which suck and all the prestige is gone. Or am I misunderstanding something here?

    "CUSTOM MAPS/VARIANTS"

    Won't even comment, because I'm a competetive player and custom maps have zero competition and are generally considered as something to kill some time, at least in Europe. The only interesting line to me is "This game’s implementation on the HaxBall engine suffers from two main problems". So does HaxArena use a different physics engine? Are the controls (speed, inertion, kick power, delay between click and movement, ball velocity, etc.) gonna be exactly the same as Haxball or kind of the same? Have they been remade to seem similar to Haxball or was source code from Haxball somehow used in the development? It would be nice to know a little more in that department.

    —————————————————————————-

    I would suggest NOT to plan very far ahead and focus on current development. The competetive community will let you know what they want and don't want and if you add 100 new features without consulting the playerbase, current Haxball oldschool players will either not switch to HaxArena or drop it in a few months. Accounts and dedicated servers is a great start, don't mess it up with half-baked ranking/ladder system or "clubs create their own leagues" – whatever that is.

    Feel free to message me if you have any questions, I have killed what I believe is close to 1200 hours with Haxball and I know everything there is to know about this game from the community and gameplay to national and international leagues and tournaments to macro keybinding and browser support.

    Take it slow, do it smart and keep it minimal, but essential 🙂

    • Hi Petras,

      Thank you so much for your detailed comments! One of the main purposes of this post was to throw a lot of ideas at the wall and see what sticks; it seems to have worked! 🙂

      Your concern about “pay to win” games is well-noted. Rest assured that no player will ever gain a competitive advantage over another simply because he paid more money. We believe that achievement in the game should be a reflection of skill, not deep pockets.

      It seems I have much to learn about how HaxBall is played in other parts of the world. I haven’t honestly put much thought into the whole clubs/leagues thing, as you can probably tell. Your insights are spot on (who wants to have thousands of leagues cropping up?). I’ve never garnered enough HaxBall skill myself to be anything more than a mediocre amateur. I would love to pick your brain for your experience as a competitive player, and to hear how you would implement a ranking system. Please email me at csj@haxarena.com and plaster my inbox with thoughts.

      I have no access to original HaxBall code, so everything you see will be an approximation. I will do everything I can to replicate the experience as closely as possible: I know how much time has gone into developing these skills and I don’t want to see them go to waste. If you find yourself trying out any alphas, do let me know how the physics seem to compare to HaxBall. Maybe I will devote a future post to technologies and approaches used; that way people who don’t care about that sort of thing can just skip it.

      Thanks again for your interest, hope to hear more from you soon!
      csj

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