Dev Blog: Matchmaking Playlists

Started by Legend, Oct 16, 2015, 09:31 PM

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I'm Mike Armbrust, the sole developer of VizionEck. Every week or so, I'll be posting about the game. Updates, technical details, peeks behind the scenes, design breakdowns, etc. For this week I'm talking about playlists. It's traditionally a bit early to be talking about this aspect of the game, but I'd appreciate early feedback.

Matchmaking is divided into default playlists and custom playlists. Default playlists use standard matchmaking and function similarly to playlists/modes in other online FPS games. The defaults are Ultimate playlist and Elite playlist.

Ultimate is Battle's signature playlist where players have to quickly adapt playstyle and strategy from one match to the next. It includes every map, every game type, and player counts ranging from 4 to 16. Literally thousands of match combinations are possible and similar combos are not played back to back. A few techniques are used to keep these possibilities geared towards the player's preferences. Ultimate is about keeping players on their toes, not pushing them to play matches they don't like.

Every game ends with the question "how fun was this match" and the ability to rate it out of 5 stars. With a little bit of machine learning, this paints a good picture of what the player wants to play and doesn't want to play. The Ultimate playlist also has voting between matches. Three game type + map combinations are offered and the most voted is selected for the next match. It helps players immediately affect what they play, but additionally machine learning notices trends and helps players get what they want. If a player ever feels that their generated preferences are incorrect, they can manually edit them and/or turn machine learning off.

Part of Ultimate's variety is doing 4 player, 8 player, and 16 player matches seamlessly within the same playlist. This functions by momentarily splitting the 16 person party in half or quarters. Every sub party plays the same game type + map combo simultaneously and reunites after the matches are over. An added benefit of this system is that Ultimate matchmaking can dynamically work with 4-16 players, scaling up and joining other groups when possible.

While Ultimate is focused on casual fun, the Elite playlist is dedicated to more competitive players. It is 16 players only and does not drop down to 8p or 4p modes. No voting and preferences are ignored. It's a much more traditional playlist than Ultimate.

That's it for default playlists. Having so few is important for keeping playlists active and matchmaking short. For players that don't mind waiting, are using bots, and/or have a group of friends playing with them, custom playlists can be used to enjoy VizionEck Battle however they like.

Custom playlists can be created by the player and saved locally for quick access. Online matchmaking puts all custom playlists in the same pool and cross references them to find matches. IE a team deathmatch playlist and a Spiral map playlist are compatible, so players wanting either could play together. Finding matches might be really fast for certain custom playlists, but please remember that this is a "your mileage may vary" situation. Default playlists are better if you just want to jump in and play.

As always, feel free to ask any questions. I look forward to sharing another blog post with you next week.


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