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Happy New Year!

112913 Bubbles, FC Sunnyvale 4 January 2017, 16:56

Now that we've entered 2017 I'd like to begin the new year by looking back on 2016 and revealing a few of the things we'll be working on this year.

In this post I'll be looking at our largest three projects in 2016. My next post will be on on Friday, January 6th, where I'll tell you more about our focus in 2017.

New scout

We kicked off 2016 by releasing the new scout. We released the first version on February 8th.

The new scout gives you a report in few minutes, whereas the old one took several days. He also give you much more detailed information and is even able to find untrained players.

After the release of the first version, we spent nearly one and a half months fine-tuning, fixing bugs and implementing a large number of improvements.

Some of the things we implemented after releasing the first version were:

  • Reports were made cheaper, and the large differences in cost and resting times for travel across the Atlantic were evened out.
  • Made it possible for the scout to examine all the players of a specific club.
  • We made sure that the scout doesn't report on your own players and that he skips players that he's already reported to you within the last 12 hours.
  • You can tell the scout to only find newly started players, who have only trained a maximum of 5 times.
  • You can sort players in the scout report however you want
  • Detailed player position picker.
  • A large number of improvements and additions to the scout reports and UI.
  • Fixes and improvements to the background processes that create the scout meta data and assemble the reports.

Since we released the new scout, almost 300,000 scout reports have been made! That's over 27,000 per month. With the old scout, only about 1,350 reports were made each month.

Server move

After we finished the new scout, we started preparing for the server move that became a necessity in 2016. That became our most labour intensive job of the year.

The hosting facility where we were running Virtual Manager on our own physical servers announced that they were shutting down, so we had to move the entire game onto new cloud-based servers.

It was a huge undertaking for our small team to prepare the move, especially in order to ensure that the site was able to run on the new database. It took us several months to get ready. We ran a public test server on the new setup, where every Virtual Manager user could log on an play on a complete duplicate of the game for several weeks to help us locate errors.

On the day of the move, everything went by relatively easily without any major disasters. In the months after, a large number of challenges kept popping up, so we had to spend all of our time tuning the new servers, fixing errors and ensuring stability and performance.

Even though moving the game was an enormous task, being on the new servers comes with a number of benefits. For one, we have far more computing power to play with. One way you can see this is that the Sunday season update now only takes half an hour, where it used to take almost 2 hours before. Additionally, the new servers are actually a bit cheaper to run than the old ones.

Project Rebalance

In 2016 we started work on Project Rebalance. The overarching goal of this project is to create a more dynamic player progression and market, as well as evening out the difficulty curve as you progress through the game.

This is a hugely complex puzzle. I recommend you read the series of blog posts about Project Rebalance, if you haven't already.

The next post in the series will be some time in January.