What’s new

Getting Ready for Better Together

Since E3 it’s no longer any secret that we are working in partnership with Minecraft.  Soon you’ll be able to access Lifeboat and a few other servers directly from Minecraft, without typing in an IP.  This will be wonderful but in the mean time there is a huge amount of work getting ready for it.

  • We’ll be switching over the Xbox authorization system.  So, everyone will have to get an Xbox account name.  You’ll be able to link your Lifeboat name to your Xbox name.  When it goes live there will be no more signing in with Lifeboat.  (And no more typing in passwords into chat!  Yeah!)
  • Oh the headaches of having our databases work with all past information, and forward compatible with all the xbox stuff!  (David has been working on this.)

More Chat Filter Stuff

For a few weeks I have been working on reworking the chat filter for fewer false positives.  Preventing false positives is actually a much harder problem than catching bad words.  This has been really fun, actually, because it’s really complex and this qualifies as a real AI problem.  Jacob has been helping go over the chat logs to tune for false positives and missed bad stuff.

  • We are taking some steps in preventing exchange of information.  This is in the process of being deployed.  This is driven partly by kid safety (always a personal focus for me) and by the Better Together program.  We don’t want to do anything that risks damaging the Minecraft brand.
  • So, we’ll be blocking numbers and emails.  Although, we will allow you to tell your friends what server  you are on.  (‘Meet me on SG85’).
  • For the same reasons, we now block /tell command.

Games

Don’t fight too many alone!

Okay Zombie Apocalypse is my new favorite game.  Everyone contributed to this but Luke and I mostly drove this one.  The part I really like is that to win you need to cooperate, build and craft. Roman, of the Omsk team did most of the coding.

Bounty Hunter Blitz – Each server on Bounty has a Blitz map, which is a timed 4 v 4 PvP arena.  We developed this for E3 and found it to be a gas, so we moved it to production.

In Game Kits we’ve made the kits more visible because we want more regular players  (non VIP, or ‘Regs’ as we call them around here) using them.  In Zombie Apocalypse a startling 12.6%of players use them.  In Survival games, just 5.5%.  So, go get your kit in game!

Testing new Survival Mode on IP: squid.lbsg.net

Place the sponge to claim your plot. The /show command displays the boundaries of your plot in the sky.

Survival Mode 2.0.  We are going to be having a more pure survival mode thing  coming out.  The big thing is that you will be able have plots where the map does not reset.  The rest of the map will reset daily, so you get plenty of fresh building material.  This will replace our existing Survival Mode.  Credit: Alexander and Roman.

For now we are testing this on ip: squid.lbsg.net.  Go ahead and play, but since this is way alpha, expect frequent server restarts.  Part of what’s driving this is that we developed a lot of MOB AI for Zombie Apocalypse and we are using that in this game.  We have always wanted to do a game that allowed building to persist from day to day.

For which we will charge a modest price

And yes, the persistent plots will be for a low price.  We will get some complaints about this.  But for those that think this is the greediest thing you have ever heard of, please consider that any other business you encounter has to charge money to cover costs and pay employees.  I don’t recommend that you go to your favorite coffee shop and complain that they charge for a latte.  That coffee shop pays real money for the coffee they serve, much like we have to pay for the servers we use to host our games.

Other Stuff

  • We rebalanced the ranking points of all the games.  We want it to be about equally easy to earn ranking points on all the servers.  So, we analyze the average ranking points per player per minute across game types.  A more intense game like Survival Games gets you more ranking points than the laid-back Bounty Hunter, but expect that.  It’s important that it’s fair.  (Natalie of the Omsk team lead this.)
  • Anti-cheats.  The new game Zombie Apocalypse made for new opportunities to cheat.  I marvel at how fast the hackers figured out how to do this.  But, I marvel at how quickly the Omsk team made new anti-cheats to combat this.  (Lead by Alexander of the Omsk team.)
  • Optimization.  We’ve been doing a lot of work with chunk caching to speed up chunk loading.  This will mean faster loading of the world around you when you teleport.  (Credit Maxim)
  • Speaking of teleporting, have you seen the new tutorials for each game type?  This was mostly Nikolay.

That’s nowhere near all that’s going on here, but enough for now!

Try out our new Zombie Apocalypse game! IP: za.lbsg.net