Picking up the plastic plates, confetti, and champagne glasses off the floor gave me some time to reflect on our launch yesterday.
Some of you may have noticed that the site went down for about 20 minutes yesterday, a few hours after the launch. I myself noticed that the site was becoming very slow to respond to requests, and the servers stopped appearing on the list. Finally I checked the web logs and found tons of requests coming from WordPress.
After doing a bit of research, I found that there is a known flaw in WordPress which allows an attacker to launch DDoS attacks against any site. So now I just reject any request that has “WordPress” in the agent header. I started the server up — smooth sailing from there. A big thank-you goes out to Aaron for holding the fort and answering all the questions that appeared on the blog while I was figuring that out.
The game received mixed reviews. Some people showed great enthusiasm for the progress to date. Others … did not. However, a good number of people in the room stepped forward to … kindly remind these folks of the game’s alpha status.
People reported bugs and issues, and described differences in the physics, so a BIG THANK YOU to all of you who helped.
A few complaints stood out among the rest, so these have been addressed since yesterday:
I’m continuing my big physics refactoring, in order to address the jitter concerns further. I will publish these changes when they’re ready, and collect your feedback (is it better/worse, etc).
After that, I will be restructuring the site a little bit. The screen that currently shows the list of servers will also be used to join (or create) a room in the server you select. Then the game page will load and the list of rooms will be gone. There will be a button to return you to the server/room select screen, so you can join a new room.
With the list of rooms gone, there’s space for a list of players connected to the room. With this in place, I will start adding admin functionality. For starters, an admin will be able to appoint other admins, and make adjustments to the room’s settings (goal limits, time limits). Over time, admins will also be able to control the room by locking the teams, and assigning players to teams themselves. Admins will also be able to mute, kick, or ban players.
In the meantime, Aaron is hunting down more servers for us to use. He got one for us in Sydney, Australia, and is currently looking for others. I’ll get them running as they become available.
A number of you have sent fantastic long letters detailing your vision for what HaxArena could be. I’m sorry I haven’t been responding to every one personally, but rest assured that I am reading each one entirely, your ideas are being heard, and your kind remarks are very much appreciated. Keep it up!
I am thrilled with how the launch went yesterday. Watching people who are actually talented at Haxball playing each other in HaxArena was a real treat for me. We collected a lot of great feedback in the survey (please fill it out if you haven’t already!), and by talking to people in the rooms. Drop by once in a while and check out the improvements; I’ll be making them steadily over time.
csj and the HaxArena Team