blog master mode

Adding ads to TETR.IO, six months later

by osk at 2021/05/10 (Mon) 10:50:14 pm (last edited at 2021/05/10 (Mon) 11:43:56 pm)

A little over 6 months ago, I added display advertisements into TETR.IO. This blog post, I want to reflect on these first 6 months, both from the perspective of a player, and that of a developer. I'll be going over the questions most commonly asked by the community, the questions I had, as well as the lessons I learned.

A little background

Back on the first of November 2020, I started a partnership with AdinPlay, to display banner ads in the game's menus. While I was (and still am) very grateful for all the players supporting the game through Patreon, 99.97% of players did not support. While running the game is not incredibly expensive (since a lot of my work in the past year has been on performance), I wanted to be able to go full-time on TETR.IO, as well as build a budget to be able to work on the Character System update. The game was popular, but I was not quite ready to jump onto larger monetization schemes. So, a perfect solution is simply monetizing that 99.97%, the "freeloaders" in a sense.

Just like most players, I don't particularly enjoy ads, though. And to be quite honest, this extends to almost all monetization. Monetizing a game is very much a balance, where you must balance out a good experience with revenue. Looking around the .io game space, the balance seems tipped in revenue's favor. A worryingly large amount of .io games copy eachother, finding more and more ways to sneakily insert ads into the game, get you to click ads, drive in-game purchases, run video ads, and whatever else. This video covers just how much these games are willing to compromise just to drive the best bottom line. I wanted (and still want) to stay away from that side. My drive has always been to make a game I can be proud of, as opposed to a wallet to be proud of. This complicates matters a lot, though.

The Implementation

How do you implement worthwhile ads, without ruining the player experience? This was a question I did not want to avoid (like most .io games do). I ended up settling on the simplest type of advertising: banner advertisements. Technically, I had already been running banner ads for months — those banners above the main menu that announce new features and tournaments are, by all definitions, ads after all. I decided to simply place some ads in the menus, never ingame. Ingame ads, after all, could interfere with the game. No video ads either, everyone hates those.

The next question was getting an advertising partner to partner with. Google AdSense is generally seen as a relatively badly paying partner, so I wanted to find a partner who would both help me more with implementation, and give a fairer price for my ads. Sadly, the world of advertising is pretty hard to understand. I ended up going with AdinPlay. The main reason I went with them, is since AdinPlay specializes in ads on webgames, like .io games, so they would be able to help me kickstart my setup.

Setup of ads is relatively easy. In general, all you'll need to do is tell the library that your partner gives you to load an ad in a specific HTML element, and it will load one. I set up TETR.IO ads to only load the ad currently visible, and to reload an ad after showing it for 30 seconds. All ads also immediately unload when the menu UI hides. Ads are pretty heavy after all, both on the network and in rendering. In fact, when playing about with them, I found it almost worrying how incredibly unoptimized many ads are. Hence, it is vital to make sure the ads are inactive while ingame, especially since TETR.IO requires quick and reliable inputs. Even a millisecond off can cause the game to feel sluggish or slippery.

Deciding on positioning, sizes, etc. is also relatively easy for the most part. In general, you want to be in the way of the player. ...of course, that isn't the plan I am going with. So, I tried to put the ads near the places people will look (near important buttons), but not particularly in the way, either. Obviously, this lowers my click rates, but remember the balance! I would like to stay on the good side of said balance. The Online Advertising Guide is a great source for information on advertising, both for publishers like me, and for advertisers. Some data on there may be slightly out of date, though.

What to Expect

AdinPlay, like most partners, will sell your ads in many different schemes. This is generally not very visible to us publishers, so all we really get to know is a few key performance indicators (or KPIs): ad requests, impressions, clicks (and click rate), and RPM. An ad request is when your site (or in my case, the client) requests an ad, and an impression is counted when said ad is displayed on screen for at least a full second (we can say with certainty that the ad has been seen by the user). Then finally, if the user clicks the ad, we count that as a click.

The magic number here is the last: the RPM. RPM stands for Revenue per 1000 (usually impressions). It's often also called CPM (cost per 1000). CPM is what the advertisers pay to advertise on your site, and RPM is what you receive as publisher. Your RPM is generally controlled by three things: the click-through rate (the percentage of impressions that lead to a click), the kind of content you publish, and the day of the year.

Since I don't let my ads get in the way, my click-through rate is well... abysmal. The average click-through rate around the internet for display ads is about 1‰ (that's 1 in 1000, which lines up neatly with the RPM/CPM metric!). Mine is about 0.2‰. Not so good. This is mostly caused by the fact that the ads are both not in your way, and that most internet users nowadays have become accustomed to ads (also called "banner blindness"). Games also tend to not get super-high RPMs to begin with, compared to say, car rental sites or accountants.

Furthermore, your RPM will almost always start off low. After a few weeks, your RPMs will start normalizing to their normal levels. From then on, your RPM can mainly be changed by the time of year, and the type (and placement) of ads you serve. For example, things like Black Friday will see a spike in RPM, as there will be more advertisers competing for the same ad space. Simply put, advertisers are always bidding on ad spaces, and if there's more competition, ad prices will go up. This also means your RPM will generally go up through the year slowly, go down at the start of every month and quarter (as ad campaigns tend to end at those times), and that January will be by far your worst month.

The Results

Most importantly, community response was far, far better than I expected. Even after taking a step into the dark side, you still trusted me to steer this ship into the right path, and not just a little bit, either — only half a year later, TETR.IO's active userbase has tripled! I'm incredibly grateful for that.

From about 12K users daily to easily hitting 46K users daily!

A bit more on-topic though, RPM was as expected. Since my click-through rate is not particularly high, nor is the RPM. Especially in games, and even more so when trying to avoid invasive ads, revenue is driven by the amount of players you have (and as such, the amount of impressions you serve). Nowadays, TETR.IO gets between 600K and 750K impressions daily, which is the driver for its ad revenue. That way, players who cannot or do not want to support the game otherwise, can support just by playing the game normally, without impacting their experience too much. Of course, a growing amount of internet users use adblock, usually between 33% and 50%, or even worse, they use a browser like Brave which replaces your ads with its own. But remember, that's their decision. I never ask people to turn off their ad blockers. The balance between revenue and a good experience is easy to tip.

In Conclusion

Above all, I am very thankful for everyone's support of me adding ads to TETR.IO. While they don't make me six digits or anything right now, ads together with Xsolla integration allow me to create a budget for future experiences like the Character System update. I hope this post has shed some light and insight on the world of advertising, and, if you happen to be a publisher, has helped you around the more confusing parts of advertising. (Perhaps I could even persuade a publisher to think about the balance between between revenue and a good experience!)

I hope you'll keep trust in me in the future too. I'm interested in seeing in what other ways I can monetize, in such a way that it improves the game, as opposed to simply trying to be a cash-grab. When the Character System update comes out, it could be nice to let users unlock skins (skins for their pieces, as well as other skinnable elements) both by playing, but let there be soft monetization as well (nothing requiring a purchase, but if there's something specific you want, and want it fast, you can get it).

Please, let me know what you think about my current strategy (ads + Xsolla for monthly supporter), as well as future endeavors (be it skinnable game elements, or anything else) in the comments. I read all of them!

ONE MILLION

by osk at 2021/02/09 (Tue) 10:58:06 pm (last edited at 2021/02/09 (Tue) 10:59:45 pm)

Just now, TETR.IO has hit one million total players. Can you believe it? Because I can't. It's been an insane journey here, one I never expected.

Back when I first started developing TETR.IO, just under 2 years ago, I thought it would be incredibly cool if I could make a game that had some sort of meaning to the stacker community. Yet here we are, at what is probably the most meaningful milestone — for example, for a lot of YouTubers, hitting 1 million subscribers is the peak, the validation, the apex — and while of course, most of these players are anons who simply played for a little bit, it's this reach that feels insane to me. In the last year, TETR.IO has had a reach far beyond what I could've ever imagined, being at GDQ Hotfix, being on 10K-viewer streams, seeing 400+ player lobbies, and massive tournaments multiple times a month. Being able to reach so many people, and potentially give them an experience they could think of fondly years from now, is a really, really nice feeling.

And it's all thanks to you — the players, the Supporters, the streamers, the tournament organizers, the YouTubers, the INFDEV testers, the contributors — the believers.

I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for playing my game, for believing in me. It's been an amazing journey up to here, but there's no end in sight! A lot of very exciting things are coming up (most obviously the Character System update), and I hope you'll stick around for another million!!!

♥ ♥ ♥

Leaving Patreon and reorganizing TETR.IO Supporter

by osk at 2021/01/28 (Thu) 10:37:09 pm

On January 31st 2021, TETR.IO will close its Patreon and partner with Xsolla for swift and secure ingame payments. This means that Patrons will no longer be billed, and the Patreon page will no longer be accessible.
In its place, TETR.IO Supporter will now become directly accessable and purchasable from within the game. The key points:

  • TETR.IO Supporter will be a non-renewing subscription. This means you buy any amount of months in bulk whenever you see fit, and if you don't renew, your Supporter status will expire on its own.
  • TETR.IO Supporter will be a single tier, and contain all the rewards of what used to be the Deca tier.
  • TETR.IO Supporter will cost €5 before taxes. Gifts and any month after the third bought in bulk are €4. So, buying 4 months at once is €19, or €16 as a gift.
  • You will be able to gift Supporter to other players at any moment, just like adding months to your own support.
  • You can add months at any time and your expiry date will be extended.
  • You will be able to manage your Supporter subscription from your account settings at any time.
  • Payments will be powered by Xsolla, allowing you to use hundreds of different payment systems to fulfill the purchase.
  • Payments should usually be processed instantly, although depending on the payment system used there may be a small delay.
  • Refunds will go through Xsolla. The applicable refund policy can be read here.
  • The Perfect Clear tier reward (having your name in the Special Thanks) can be achieved by reaching a certain total amount of support, racked up by buying months and/or gifting months.

I'm currently supporting you on Patreon. What's going to change?

Thank you very much for your support! Don't worry, I've got you covered. Here's what will change for you on the 31st:

  • You will no longer be automatically billed by Patreon.
  • If you were supporting me at Deca tier and up, you will immediately receive three free months of Supporter in the new system.
  • If you choose to not use Xsolla, your Supporter role will simply expire after those three months are up, without any further costs on your side. If you wish to keep supporting me, you may add months anytime.
  • As thanks for your early support, everyone who has been a patron on or before the 31st will receive an exclusive "early supporter" badge! (Note: this is applied by email address. If you haven't received your badge by the 1st, let me know.)
  • You may temporarily lose the Discord role on the TETR.IO Discord. To get it back, simply go into your account settings on TETR.IO after the update, and link your Discord there to get it back.

Why switch systems?

There's quite a few reasons, to be honest. Above all, while Patreon is a very nice system for creators to receive a stable and sustainable income for their work, it is not meant to sell a service on. Patreon is very easy to use if you are say, a YouTube creator looking to receive some support from fans. You can set up simple tiers, show behind-the-scenes footage, talk to fans and quickly export lists of all patrons of any tier for use in credits.

Patreon, however, falls flat when you try to use it for an actual service. While TETR.IO Supporter is still in essence a donation, the rewards bound to it are hard to automate and handle smoothly on Patreon. Patreon's administration and integration is sadly lacking on this front, and understandably so - Patreon isn't made for it! This caused players' Supporter benefits to often be applied late, and require a lot of work to fulfill.

On top of that, the monthly autorenew model of Patreon is very expensive. Patreon in general is known to stack fees quite heavily, but this is increased a lot by the sheer amount of (small) transactions. This is the reason TETR.IO Supporter was so expensive (€10 before taxes for the Deca tier, really?) - the fees for small transactions would cause so much money to be lost it would stop being worthwhile.

Finally, due to being an autorenewing model, Patreon does not support very many payment methods. On paper, it supports credit cards and PayPal, but in reality, PayPal support is limited because a PayPal account would need to have a credit card or bank account linked with it. This caused many people to approach me asking if they could somehow purchase Supporter in another way, which wasn't possible at the time.

That said, I do believe Patreon is a very powerful platform for those it's meant for. Its tools are very strong for creators, and have caused quite a positive change in the industry! I am glad to have been able to use Patreon for the time I have, and I would never have been able to grow as large as I am now without Patreon giving me a platform to receive your donations on.

What makes Xsolla the better fit?

Above all, Xsolla's expertise in specifically games makes for a far better fit. Xsolla's tools are all geared specifically to game developers and players, and can deeply integrate into your work without inhibiting your creative process. This not only makes things a lot easier for me, it also makes purchasing Supporter a lot easier.

Since Xsolla deeply integrates into the game, buying Supporter is easier than ever. You can open up the Supporter dialog from many places, and move on immediately to the purchase process. As soon as your payment is confirmed, you almost always immediately get the rewards. In my testing, I can get from the home menu to being a proud Supporter within twenty seconds, without any need to create accounts, link other services, send messages or other hassle. In the same way, there is also very little work involved in handling Supporter on my end — I practically only have to handle refunds. This means you can get your Supporter rewards within seconds instead of hours (or sometimes days).

On top of that, due to the model I'm using not being autorenewing, fees can be far lower. Due to that, I'm confident to be able to lower the price of Supporter by more than half, while allowing you to buy Supporter freely without being tied to any autorenewing subscriptions. There's this element of subscription models that cashes in on people forgetting to disable a subscription that I honestly very much dislike. Maybe I'm simply not fit for this business, but I wish players to be able to get Supporter without having to worry about yet another subscription in a world where almost everything seems to have a subscription nowadays.

On top of that, Xsolla supports hundreds of payment providers, which means you can pay with just about anything, not just credit cards and PayPal. Xsolla is trusted by many other large games and related sites (Roblox, Twitch, Epic Games, XSplit, osu!, just to name a few).


I am glad to be able to partner with Xsolla to bring you a more fair way to support the game we love. I am incredibly grateful for all the support I have received ever since going into Alpha. We're reaching closer and closer to the 1-million player mark every day, which is a number I NEVER expected to be able to even dream about! I want to thank everyone who's supported me to get this far — let's make 2021 count!

Adding ads to TETR.IO, some questions answered

by osk at 2020/11/01 (Sun) 12:19:03 am (last edited at 2020/11/01 (Sun) 12:28:23 am)

Starting November 2nd, I'm putting ad space up on TETR.IO. I understand this is going to cause some confusion, so I want to answer some common questions in this blog post.


So what kind of ads?

I don't intend to devalue the TETR.IO experience. So, the ads will only be simple banner ads, like this example:

Ads will only show up in menus, never ingame. No video ads, no popups, etc. The site also won't complain if you use an adblocker. At a later point, I may introduce rewarded video ads (ads you choose to watch that get you something in return), but that isn't going to happen any time soon.

The ads will be personalized, so they'll try to be based on your interests. By default, you should receive gaming ads. I will keep care to ensure all ads are safe for work. Furthermore, supporters of Deca tier and up won't see ads.

Why add ads?

Simply said, TETR.IO has outgrown being a hobby project. Operating TETR.IO is as taxing as a full-time job for me, and I want to be able to take it seriously as one. Currently, I'm trying to balance multiple workloads at once, and you might be able to tell by the lower amount of updates that that isn't particularly working.

I am incredibly grateful for all the support by patrons, and that won't change! You are the ones who made TETR.IO happen in the first place. This change is aimed towards the 99.97% of players that don't (or can't) support. Serving ads to that segment of the playerbase will allow them to indirectly support TETR.IO as well!

Having a bit more revenue available would also generally help TETR.IO development a lot. There's a lot of things I cannot do, or don't have the time to do. Think about hiring artists, voice actors etc. Perhaps at some point even other programmers to assist me in the things I lack experience in, or simply to grow the workforce to keep up with demand.

But the Patreon is so expensive!

I don't disagree. The Patreon tiers are really expensive right now. .....It's for a reason, though. Patreon takes insane fees, and simply isn't worth it for small amounts. I hope to, in the relative future, switch to a more direct platform for Supporter, so I can bring down the price of the ingame benefits.

How much will the ads make, anyway?

I do not currently know. I will be experimenting a lot with different ad slots and positions, to see what is the most effective way to place ads. I get about 350K potential impressions daily, but cannot know an RPM yet. I'll let you know once I have actual data, to perhaps help other webgame developers interested in these kinds of statistics for their games.

Is this the beginning of the end?

Not at all. I 100% stand by the fact that TETR.IO will always be free-to-win. There won't be any ingame purchases that increase your skill, required payments to play more, lootboxes, or other shady practices like that. Reaching #1 on the leaderboards will always be equally difficult for paying players as non-paying players with Adblock on. No exceptions.

But (other game) doesn't have ads!

Please compare the two by more than just whether they have ads. I am (surprise, surprise) not a multi-billion-dollar corporation, but I do have a large-scale game that tries to reach those kinds of levels of quality. On top of that, these games are often monetized anyway. How often do you see a free game made by an AAA company that's actually free of monetization?

"If you add ads, I'll quit TETR.IO!!!!"

That's your choice. I hope, however, that after reading this post, you can understand why I am adding ads. And if you still disagree, well.... it's a free game. I'm not sure what you expected. Nothing in the world is free, you know?


In all seriousness, if you have any other questions or (constructive) things to add, feel free to reply to this post with your feedback.

TETRA CHANNEL: separating game and data

by osk at 2020/09/28 (Mon) 9:16:55 pm (last edited at 2020/10/16 (Fri) 8:47:41 pm)

It's been a while! Last blog post, we were at 20,000 total players on TETR.IO. That number has...... grown. An insane amount, almost 20x over! At almost 400,000 total accounts, overseeing this data has become a hassle in more ways than one.

TETR.IO's ingame UI, while I like it a lot, is not suited for complex datasets. On top of that, cluttering the main game code with UI mess is not what I was looking for in development.

Quite a few games fix it in a particular way: by showing simpler, less-detailed stats in-game, and having an (un)official site to accompany it with a lot of stats. I am honored to be of such size now that I can join this group, by creating:


TETRA CHANNEL, THE STANDALONE SITE


This site currently allows you to browse all the leaderboards seamlessly, view user stats, with avatars and banners, and more. I hope to in the future also add a bunch of extra statistics - like your TR progression, singleplayer score progression, recent TETRA LEAGUE matches, etc. All those sorts of datasets would be impossible to ever display ingame!

I hope you'll stay tuned for what's next in store!

TETR.IO TETRA LEAGUE OPEN TO ALL!

by osk at 2020/04/18 (Sat) 3:31:35 pm


...Can you believe it's only been a month? TETRA LEAGUE, TETR.IO's 1v1 ranked matchmaker, is now live for all to play! You can play it here!

Once again, I'd like to thank all testers in helping me shape this feature within such a short period. And of course, all Patreon supporters! Without the support, I would not have had the time, drive or money to work on it!

Other prominents I'd like to thank are Garbo and Doremy for their extensive feedback!


Have fun, and go rise those ranks!

TETR.IO PUBLIC ALPHA RELEASED!

by osk at 2020/03/21 (Sat) 8:00:20 pm

TETR.IO ALPHA

TETR.IO has reached the ALPHA development stage, and is now accessible to everyone! After almost two months of INFDEV with a team of testers I cannot be more thankful of, I am now able to unveil TETR.IO to the entire world!

PLAY NOW

PROGRESS UPDATE
  • Planned for later Planned for later: this won't be available until after release. But, it is something I hope to do.
  • Development has not yet started Development has not yet started: this is planned, but work on the feature has not yet started.
  • Development has started Development has started: this feature has its framework set up and is being worked on.
  • Development underway Development underway: this feature is starting to become reality and has minor functionality ready to implement.
  • Development nearing completion Development nearing completion: most of this feature is implemented, but it is not yet ready for release.
  • Rough version complete Rough version complete: this feature is fully implemented, but may be overhauled - it's ready for an alpha release, but should be polished more.
  • Fully complete Fully complete: this feature is fully implemented and polished!

5. Custom Multiplayer Rules Development underwayRough version complete

There are now many multiplayer tweaks that can be applied, from hold on/off to garbage travel speed, to custom DAS!

9. Chat with players Development nearing completionRough version complete

Chat is complete, and a swear word filter has been implemented!

21. Profile w/ personal best displayed Development nearing completionRough version complete

TETR.IO now displays detailed info about a player whenever you wish to view their profiles!

22. Simple accounts system w/o hassle Development nearing completionRough version complete

You can now easily create accounts and, if you have set an email, even recover their passwords!

25. EXP Planned for laterRough version complete

I wasn't planning to implement this as early as now, but EXP is available now, so you can progress as you develop your skills!

39. Dazzling graphics Development nearing completionRough version complete

All the effects and tweaks I'd like to implement by Alpha have been implemented, with hopefully more polish coming soon!

40. Custom wallpapers Development has startedRough version complete

You can now set custom wallpapers, or even a collection of custom wallpapers. A better UI is planned, but for now this works well ^^


WHAT'S NEXT?

We're only in Alpha stage right now, so there's still a lot to be done. However, I do have plans for many cool things to come.

Right now, Quick Play is just one big room. This is great and all, but as soon as one pro joins, others will have to make way. I hope to be able to add 1v1 matchmaking as soon as possible, once the userbase is large enough to support such a feature.

The only online mode right now is ELIMINATION. This is the de facto online mode in most stackers, but I'd like to also implement TIMED and RACE modes.

It's impossible to spectate a match that's already begun right now. I'd like to make it possible to do so - it just requires a bit of headache code-wise.

Of course, I'd like to add more single-player fun too - above all, a ZEN mode that can be played inbetween matches as well, and a longer MARATHON-esque mode.

And, of course, I still want to look into making performance as smooth as possible on as many devices as possible.

For the most part, the 44-FACT-FRENZY still holds up. While I do not know in which order I will tackle everything, I hope to be able to, together with your support, make TETR.IO something we can all enjoy!


I want to extend my gratitude and thankfulness to everyone who helped test the INFDEV builds. Without your extensive support, I would not have been able to make TETR.IO what it is today. Going Alpha, however, doesn't mean I'll stop developing and fixing bugs. I hope all of you, and all newcomers, will help us make TETR.IO ever better!

With the launch of Alpha, I'd like to also announce I now have a Patreon! This will hopefully help pay the servers, and be another way to support TETR.IO. Depending on the tier you choose, you can get pretty cool rewards, including an ingame badge and a permanent position in the game's About page! I would be incredibly grateful if you checked it out here: TETR.IO Patreon

Furthermore, I'd also like to remind everyone reading to join the TETR.IO Discord! This is the #1 place to get updates and changelogs as they roll in: TETR.IO Discord

Finally, I'd like to thank the Hard Drop community for helping me develop the game, giving feedback and reporting bugs. If you haven't yet, check out Hard Drop now!


Thank you very much for reading, and have fun!

TETR.IO will launch into PUBLIC ALPHA in just FIVE DAYS!

by osk at 2020/03/16 (Mon) 8:21:47 pm


Just five days left until TETR.IO is released to the world!

When that time comes, I'll post a larger blog post with all information!

IP requests will close a day or 2 prior.

I'm now selfhosting email

by osk at 2020/02/03 (Mon) 12:43:33 am

Hi! Up to now, my email provider has always been ProtonMail. However, for some projects I need a mailserver, so I decided to set one up. Please do not contact me on my old ProtonMail account (@pm.me), but use my new email:

me [AT] osk [DOT] sh

Thank you!

TETR.IO is now in INFDEV!

by osk at 2020/02/01 (Sat) 12:01:16 am (last edited at 2020/02/01 (Sat) 12:02:32 am)

TETR.IO INFDEV

TETR.IO has reached the INFDEV development stage! This means that I am now giving out access to test it on a wider scale to select people. This to allow more and more diverse people to play it and give their feedback on TETR.IO, without opening it fully to the public yet (and having to worry about making a bad first impression).

Want to try out TETR.IO? Contact me with your IP and why you would like to try out TETR.IO, and I'll add you to the whitelist!


PROGRESS UPDATE
  • Planned for later Planned for later: this won't be available until after release. But, it is something I hope to do.
  • Development has not yet started Development has not yet started: this is planned, but work on the feature has not yet started.
  • Development has started Development has started: this feature has its framework set up and is being worked on.
  • Development underway Development underway: this feature is starting to become reality and has minor functionality ready to implement.
  • Development nearing completion Development nearing completion: most of this feature is implemented, but it is not yet ready for release.
  • Rough version complete Rough version complete: this feature is fully implemented, but may be overhauled - it's ready for an alpha release, but should be polished more.
  • Fully complete Fully complete: this feature is fully implemented and polished!

3. Multiplayer Lobbies Development nearing completionRough version complete

The feature to join a room by URL has been implemented (it makes short URLs like https://tetr.io/#7YhaIs6), completing the feature!

4. Quick Play Development has startedRough version complete

Quick Play has been implemented - join Quick Play and the room will automatically start an infinite loop of games as long as at least 2 people are in Quick Play!

9. Chat with players Development has startedDevelopment nearing completion

Chat is nearly complete, but a swear word filter has yet to be implemented, and a few hotkeys may still be swapped around.

16. TETRA CHANNEL Development underwayRough version complete

All basic functionality of TETRA CHANNEL has been implemented. Stuff like MAPS and a list of players may be added later, but is not on the roadmap for Alpha (see the TETR.IO 44-Fact-Frenzy page for more info).

17. Personal Best Development has startedFully complete

TETRA CHANNEL now happily saves your top 10 plays in all categories.

18. Global records Development underwayFully complete

Likewise, TETRA CHANNEL now happily saves the top 1000 plays in all categories (note: the client only displays 100, but the standalone site will display all 1000).

19. Replays saved and can be watched Development nearing completionRough version complete

All plays are saved at least temporarily, and a nice replay link can be shared!

20. Custom game options Development underwayRough version complete

The CUSTOM GAME mode has been implemented, and already allows for lots of experimentation most other games don't provide. However, I hope to add more options to it in the future.

21. Profile w/ personal best displayed Development has not yet startedDevelopment nearing completion

TETR.IO displays nice badges of a user's scores when you click them. I hope to still add some extra info, like join date, before Alpha. More info could potentially go to the TETRA CHANNEL site.

41. Music by Hurt Record Development underwayRough version complete

I believe to have added most music I want to, but I can always add more when I find a purpose for it.

42. Controller support Planned for laterRough version complete

Its implementation is rather basic, but I decided to add it already. Only the in-game controls work with controller (all else must still be done w/ mouse), but it's better than nothing (hence it does not get the polished icon).


Still to be done before Alpha...

  • Development underway 5. Custom Multiplayer Rules
  • Development nearing completion 9. Chat with players
  • Development nearing completion 21. Profile w/ personal best displayed
  • Development nearing completion 22. Simple accounts system w/o hassle
  • Development nearing completion 39. Dazzling graphics
  • Development has started 40. Custom wallpapers

Thank you for reading. If you're planning on becoming a tester, have fun!

There's now a view count next to blog posts.

by osk at 2019/12/27 (Fri) 1:17:01 pm


I should really cool it with this crystallize effect.

It might impact the server negatively, so let's see how well it works, right? It's only triggered when you view a post's own page, not the homepage.

Even less useful: PeakGadget

by osk at 2019/12/27 (Fri) 1:16:07 am

This time, to address a bug I face in my antiquated Windows 7 install where the sidebar gadgets would stop being "topmost" (above all other windows) and get hidden. It's a stupidly simple program, but hey - can add it to my portfolio, right?

If you happen to be impacted by this bug as well, the program can be retrieved (and its source seen) over here.

WindowSmasher: "simple" window management

by osk at 2019/12/20 (Fri) 11:51:19 pm

My right monitor always does something weird when I turn it on - it throws all my windows out of whack. I needed a way to put them back into place easily. Tools like Fancy Zones exist, but I wanted to make something different, so I whipped up WindowSmasher. It's a small tool that allows you to define up to 10 presets to sort your windows into. Its code isn't the greatest, but I open-sourced it as well.

Get it now!


I also open-sourced Kurumi for your viewing pleasure. Its code isn't any better, but you know. You can get it here.

TETR.IO Forty-Four Fact Frenzy!

by osk at 2019/12/17 (Tue) 9:18:55 pm (last edited at 2019/12/17 (Tue) 9:31:21 pm)

TETR.IO 44-FACT FRENZY

It's been too long since I reported on TETR.IO. Therefore, with the TETR.IO FORTY-FOUR FACT FRENZY (don't take the name too seriously) I hope to shed some light on what I have been working on, what you can expect, and how far I am in its development.

As for development, every item has an indicator of its development status. I will reuse those indicators in later updates as well to show the evolution of the project. Here they all are:

  • Planned for later Planned for later: this won't be available until after release. But, it is something I hope to do.
  • Development has not yet started Development has not yet started: this is planned, but work on the feature has not yet started.
  • Development has started Development has started: this feature has its framework set up and is being worked on.
  • Development underway Development underway: this feature is starting to become reality and has minor functionality ready to implement.
  • Development nearing completion Development nearing completion: most of this feature is implemented, but it is not yet ready for release.
  • Rough version complete Rough version complete: this feature is fully implemented, but may be overhauled - it's ready for an alpha release, but should be polished more.
  • Fully complete Fully complete: this feature is fully implemented and polished!

If you find anything you want to give your opinion on, the comments are here for you. Anything here is still up for debate! Thank you for taking the time to read through them. Without further ado, forty-four facts about TETR.IO, coming your way!


Multiplayer

1. Unlimited players Rough version complete

In TETR.IO, you'll be able to play with as many players as you please! Not 99, not 6, but the exact size you want! (I've been able to get stable 60FPS with 500 test players, but don't know how much the server and client can take in real situations yet. There's no hard limits though!)

2. Elimination Mode Rough version complete

The standard multiplayer mode will be ELIMINATION! Be the last man standing by knocking out all other players!

3. Multiplayer Lobbies Development nearing completion

Normal multiplayer will take place in lobbies of any size! A registered player makes a public or private room, and gives others a short link to join the fun! Public lobbies can be easily joined from the room listing!

4. Quick Play Development has started

Don't want to mess about with rooms and just get to playing? QUICK PLAY will throw you in a big room with all sorts of players of all sorts of skill levels! (Later, this may be expanded so players can find others of their skill more easily.)

5. Custom Multiplayer Rules Development underway

Play by your rules! Hold or no Hold? Super-fast or beginner-friendly? You define the rules of a multiplayer lobby!

6. Multiple Rounds Fully complete

Play as many rounds per game as you want by changing from KNOCKOUT (first to 1) to another score target!

7. Spiced up Garbage Rough version complete

TETR.IO changes the Garbage table. It weakens boring single-line combos like the Four-wide and instead adds a smart multiplier onto the table! Finish off a combo with a powerful move and destroy your opponent!

8. Smart anti-cheat Fully complete

TETR.IO's codebase is shared perfectly between client and server, so the server can check precisely what a potential cheater may be doing - one discrepancy and you're out!

9. Chat with players Development has started

Talk with other players before starting a game, or bathe in salt after a heated match with optional chat! (May be changed. By default, a swear word filter will be applied.)

10. Planned for later: Competitive matchmaking Planned for later

When we're ready for it and have a strong userbase, we hope to be able to test your true skill in a one-on-one environment! Play as many duels as you can imagine with people of your skill, and rank up as you gain skill!

11. Planned for later: Tournament mode Planned for later

When we're ready for it, we can create a tournament mode where you can play a big array of games together with your friends to find your true CHAMPION!

12. Planned for later: Race mode Planned for later

Aside from ELIMINATION mode, we hope to also add a RACE mode where you can see who can reach a certain target faster!

13. Planned for later: Spectate in-progress matches Planned for later

When our code is ready for it, we hope to allow you to spectate games that are already in progress!


Singleplayer

14. 40L mode Fully complete

Clear forty lines as fast as you can imagine to reach the leaderboards! A true test of your speed an insight!

15. BLITZ mode Fully complete

Rack up as many points as you can within TWO MINUTES! Do cool tricks, get All Clears and bring your best game to reach higher levels and gain more points!

16. TETRA CHANNEL Development underway

See how you stack up against the world in TETRA CHANNEL, the hub for records, leaderboards and all sorts of other content!

17. Personal Best Development has started

TETRA CHANNEL will store your best plays and allow you to see how you fare!

18. Global records Development underway

But, TETRA CHANNEL will also store the world's best records! Play well, and you'll be rewarded a spot on the TETRA CHANNEL LEADERBOARD!

19. Replays saved and can be watched Development nearing completion

All records on TETRA CHANNEL are verifiable and have full replays available! See where you can improve, and see how others achieve their scores!

20. Custom game options Development underway

Choose your own game by adding custom game options! Ever wanted to play a 1000-line game at maximum gravity? You can now!

21. Profile w/ personal best displayed Development has not yet started

Rep your skill right on your profile! Your personal bests and, if applicable, global rankings will be displayed on your profile!

22. Simple accounts system w/o hassle Development nearing completion

Joining TETR.IO is easy - just send in a username, password and optional email, and you're ready to enter the game! (If you don't specify an email, we can't reset your password!) Want to join a friend's room or just play for fun? A username is all you need for a temporary anonymous account!

23. Planned for later: TETRA CHANNEL website Planned for later

When it's ready, we hope to unveil a website where you can quickly see detailed stats on players, scores and the such, far more detailed than the in-game views!

24. Planned for later: MARATHON Planned for later

After some testing, we should be able to get a MARATHON mode up, where you get to 150 lines with as many points as possible! (Or perhaps, something a bit more different?)

25. Planned for later: EXP Planned for later

Progress as you play with a simple experience system!

26. Planned for later: Maps Planned for later

When we're ready, create and play on MAPS! Create a map, and try to clear it as fast as you can!

27. Planned for later: FEVER mode Planned for later

Those MAPS can also be used to create a FEVER MODE! Clear as many simple maps as fast as you can, and gain extra points if you can get a higher combo than the map intended!

28. Planned for later: TUTORIAL mode Planned for later

We hope to get this in pretty fast for those not used to modern stackers - the TUTORIAL MODE will breeze you through the game, from learning the controls to more intricate pro moves, to mastering the rules of online play!


Engine

29. Powerful JavaScript engine Rough version complete

TETR.IO runs on the fastest, most advanced JavaScript stacker engine! It's custom made for the job, and shared between server and client for super-fast anti-cheat!

30. Runs in all modern browsers Rough version complete

TETR.IO is engineered to run in all modern browsers! Currently tested browsers are Firefox 56 and up, and Chrome 67 and up! I will make sure to test other browsers and see how much support I can create! The graphics can be turned down so the game runs on as many devices as possible!

31. Rebindable keyboard controls Fully complete

By default, TETR.IO supports the standard arrow key controls, and a more optimized WASD control set. But, if you like neither of them, you can set up your own controls!

32. GPU-accelerated with Pixi.JS Rough version complete

TETR.IO looks splendid with GPU-accelerated graphics in the browsers that support it, using the WebGL library Pixi.JS!

33. SRS rotation Fully complete

TETR.IO will use the time-tested Super Rotation System to make many pro moves possible! There's a lot of reading material and tutorials on how it works already, and the pros already know it, so it's the best choice for the deal!

34. Zero Delay Fully complete

TETR.IO will let you unlock your true potential. No line clear delay, "are" spawn delays, or any other delays. Play as fast as you can for as high of a skill ceiling as you can imagine!

35. Adjustable DAS, ARR speeds Fully complete

Get comfortable and tune the controls exactly to what feels right to you. If you're precise enough, turn up ARR and DAS to move left to right faster!

36. T-Spin, B2B and All Clear recognition Fully complete

As expected of a modern stacker, TETR.IO will recognize and reward common skill moves like T-Spins, Back-To-Back clears and All Clears for extra points or garbage.

37. Guideline Formula Fully complete

It takes little effort to learn TETR.IO if you know another stacker. TETR.IO mostly follows the Guideline formula, with minor changes. Experienced players will feel right at home, while new players will have tons of tutorials already created by the awesome stacker community!

38. Higher piece spawn location Fully complete

One of the exceptions is that TETR.IO spawns tetrominoes up to 2 tiles higher than a Guideline game. This to make it harder to get stuck in the way the SRS rotation system works.

39. Dazzling graphics Development nearing completion

By utilizing your GPU and modern JavaScript, TETR.IO can bring amazing graphics to your retinas - from a swaying board, to particle effects, to an ambient background. Of course, if you or your computer don't like the effects, you can easily turn them off!

40. Custom wallpapers Development has started

Make TETR.IO yours by adding a custom wallpaper and many other forms of customization!

41. Music by Hurt Record Development underway

TETR.IO will feature awesome music created by the artists at HURT RECORD!

42. Planned for later: Controller support Planned for later

No matter what your preferred way to play is, we hope to be able to support it! While the alpha will start out with only keyboard support, we hope to add XInput controller support (and perhaps even Switch controller support depending on browser support) soon after!

43. Planned for later: Standalone client Planned for later

Since TETR.IO is all JavaScript, it should be possible to use as a desktop application as well! When I've got the time, I will definitely see what can be done in this regard, to make a nice standalone client work (and perhaps integrate with other platforms).

44. Planned for later: Mobile support Planned for later

Later on, I'd like to also add touchscreen controls for mobile support. That way, you can even play TETR.IO on the go!


Thank you very much for reading the forty-four facts I laid out. If there's anything you want to give your opinion on, please do so in the comments! I look forward to hearing your opinions! If you know someone else who might be interested, be sure to let them know!

Please look forward to TETR.IO!

Kurumi: sync time without the bullshit

by osk at 2019/11/19 (Tue) 1:31:51 am (last edited at 2019/11/19 (Tue) 1:32:27 am)

I run a Windows installation which has a very restrictive firewall. One of the things it blocks is Windows' NTP ("Network Time Protocol") service. This is the service that automatically synchronizes your system time to that of a specialized time server. If it's disabled, your clock will slowly desync over time, or, in my case, within a few days. My usual setup to deal with this is to just go to say, time.is and adjust the time manually. But, that requires effort, and after all, they say the best ideas arise out of laziness, right?

Jokes aside, I've created a tiny (66KB) tool that will synchronize your system clock for you, in case you don't want to use the built-in service. It's very simple and doesn't ask questions - just run it, and it'll tell you how badly out of sync you are, then offer to fix it. Hit "Fix" and all your problems will go away!

If you're interested, you can pick it up here.

If you find any bugs, this is the place to report them!

Welcome!

by osk at 2019/11/17 (Sun) 10:23:44 pm (last edited at 2019/11/18 (Mon) 1:32:22 am)

Here I will post project updates, sneak peeks, and whatever else is on my mind at the time. Don't expect super-frequent updates, but hey - there's something new every once in a while. Please note that this blog is personal space. Please respect that (and as such, my interests).

You can star posts and comments you enjoy as much as you like, a bit like how Flipnote Hatena and Medium work. There's no limit to how many stars you can give something, but please don't bot it (I will throw sharp glances at you).

You can also comment on posts, and on replies to those posts. Your name and color is randomized (bound to IP). There's no CAPTCHA or anything like that right now, so see it as a bit of an experiment. Be civil, okay? I reserve the right to delete anything for any reason. If it ends up being an issue, I can always add CAPTCHA later or turn off comments. As long as your IP does not change, you can delete your comments with the DEL button next to it.

Happy sightseeing!