Welcome to the first of the official newsletter for FAF in 2020! We intend to have this article cover multiple topics relevant to the date posted: future, present, and/or past. We will post the newsletter biweekly, though this may change to be weekly if there are a lot of events going on.
If you have skimmed through the forums, you may have come across TMM, or Team Matchmaker, a major planned feature in the making that will add a whole new game mode on the client. TMM is a 2v2 matchmaking system, ideally setting either a single person or two people in a party, to play against another team, functioning as an automated custom matchmaker with its own map pools incorporated.
As for the reason for implementing this new feature, there has been two major points raised for the importance of TMM. The current custom game environment has created a sub-par experience for both the new and the old players in our community. The new player experience on FAF is defined by one word in this system: restriction. FAF has had an immense issue with player retention for years due to the reality of new players both finding team games preferable yet having no simple matchmaking tool. This has forced the new player experience on FAF to be at the mercy of the custom game system in which they are often kicked as they joined a lobby with a rating restriction, kicked because they joined a private game, and even kicked from all welcome games because of their lack of rating. On the other hand, experienced players suffer from global rating both encouraging the exploitation of maps and alienating the community into subsections that rarely engage one another.
A Team Matchmaker will enable entry-level players to access novice team games easily and reliably, minimizing all current barriers from the start. Alongside this, introducing a new rating category tied to matchmaking will allow players to branch out from being rooted on single maps or positions and experience other aspects of FAF.
Regarding its current status, TMM is nearly complete on the server front; there is work to do on finding out ways to party with uneven teams, as well as figuring out how to set game spawns and conditions through the matchmaker. The larger issues remain with debugging, and more importantly applying a user-friendly interface. Once TMM reaches a state of maintaining a highly functional system, we intend to expand matchmaking up to 4v4, and make the experience as comfortable as possible with right adjustments to the UI.
When it becomes releasable, we will have a lot of work spent on fixing bugs. If you would like to help test for these, sign up for the discord tester role (“!subscribe Tester” in #faf-testing channel) on the official server. If you have experience utilizing java/python, you can contact Askaholic (server-side handling) and Geosearchef (UI Implementation). Otherwise, feel free to contact a moderator if you would like to get in touch with our Zulip development chat.