Hello Hypixelians, Welcome to the July Development Summary, where we will be sharing insights into our past, current, and future projects. Just a quick reminder that anything I share is subject to change during development. I won’t be able to share everything the team is currently working on in this summary, as some of the projects are in very early stages of development and we want to keep some surprises for the community. However, we are aiming to update you on these projects as soon as we can. Previous Developer Summaries June Mini #1 - Guild Update, CvC & Mega Walls - Read More Here June Mini #2 - Why another BW/SW Update?, Mega Walls & Prototype - Read More Here In this summary, I’m going to talk about the following: Supporting the latest Minecraft client version 1.13 Guild Update Progress & Sneak Peek Changing the way we release updates Older Game Support Some of the things to expect in July? Make sure to hit the read more for full information. ▶ Supporting latest Minecraft client version 1.13 As always, we plan to support the newest version of Minecraft on day one of release this is not an easy challenge as 1.13 is one of the most extensive changes to the client since 1.9 due to the core rewrite the Mojang team has done to create an environment for the new features in the aquatic update. Yes, for the time being, our goal is to keep the server optimized for 1.8.9, but we find it equally important to support the latest version. Why do we do this? 50% of the existing community uses the latest Minecraft version which makes version crossplay our most used feature on the network. Also, the majority of new user growth uses the newest version, so offering this support allows us to bring in new community members. Progress is going very well on the support of 1.13 and this week, we released public testing for 1.13 pre-release. If you want to get involved and help us squish the last few bugs, Click Here to find out more information. We were suspecting that the new Minecraft version, 1.13, was coming sometime this summer, but we never know an exact date which means we get notified at the same time you, a player, does. This forces us to push 1.13 to the top of our development roadmap. This, unfortunately, results in delays in all of our other projects as version updates require us to have the network and game developers working on the project. ▶ Guild Update Progress & Sneak Peek As talked about in the 1.13 section of this post, unfortunately, the guild update has seen some delays due to the change in roadmap caused by the pending release of 1.13. The complexity and scale of the systems used in the guild update and the 1.13 support require our most experienced network developers which causes delay to be unavoidable. We are aiming for the guild update to be released between mid-July and the end of July, depending on the release date of 1.13 by Mojang and any guild update design changes required by our team during our final review next week. I want to share a sneak peek of one of the systems we are working on called Guild Progression. Guild Progression will allow guild members to show off their guild’s achievements via leaderboards, forums, and in-game flair. The tiered cloak below is an example of what you can earn by helping your guild unlock experience levels by playing games and completing challenges. We aim to allow guilds to share their achievements with the whole community while also giving each guild member something exclusive for being part of it. I know this is only a small insight, but the team’s priority is making sure we deliver the best possible update without causing further delays. ▶ Changing the way we release updates! In the past month, I have been working with the team to change our release schedule and the method for significant updates. One of the familiar pieces of feedback we had from the community was about the wait between updates. The server’s 22 different games each with different gameplay, communities, and code base has not created an easy challenge for the team. One of these changes I have been working on with the team was the idea of releasing features as they were ready, reducing the time between updates. Here are two examples of the team using this new method on Bed Wars and Cops vs Crims, both with updates scheduled for July. See below how we broke up the updates for the two games: Bed Wars Dreams, Maps, & Minor Changes April - Rush Mode & Cosmetics May - New Solo/Doubles Maps May - Ultimate Mode June - Castle Mode June - New Achievements July - New Team Maps Side Note: Newer games use our latest frameworks that are shared across recent games. This allows us to produce updates faster due to ease of codebase and developer knowledge of this framework. I will speak about this more below in Older Game Support. Cops and Crims Quality of Life Update April - Bug Fixes May - Gun & Grenade Balancing May - Game Balancing May - Bug Fixes June - Quality of Life Improvements July - Map Fixes and Returning Map So, rather than needing to wait until July, both of the communities started seeing new content and improvements to their games since the end of April. This allows the team to go from design to release quicker for most of the game content. We can also change the direction of an update based on feedback and interaction with the community. You may be wondering why we don’t just make the updates smaller and update more games? It’s tough for developers and designers to switch projects constantly, they have to remember all the quirks about the game or even learn a whole new codebase. Because of this, we generally try to keep the number of active projects limited so we can focus on quality. We try to reduce the effect of this by having smaller teams of one or two developers on each project. Although the update is their primary focus, we sometimes do have secondary projects for the developers as well. We plan to use this new process for more updates to improve our release schedule and roadmap. Although, not every update suits this style of release as ambitious updates, like the Guild update, require an overhaul of the original base code to support the new features, and it makes no sense to try support older features during this process. ▶ Older Game Support I recommend before reading this section, to read Changing the way we release updates! We know it’s important to keep a healthy variety of games as it wouldn't be a mini-games network with only one game, but it’s not as easy as just saying we are going to update everything. There is plenty of challenges we face as a development team when updating older games: Older games often don’t use the latest frameworks resulting in developers having to learn the codebase before making any changes and trying to rewrite these games to mirror the same feature list is not viable. You, the players, choose what games you actively play. From a business point of view, supporting lower player count games often doesn’t make sense, but we want to help them anyway. We don’t have all the solutions as often the community is very split on what direction to take an update. It takes longer for us to make design choices and we try our best not to split the current community, which could lead to more problems than before the update. The game may simply have some design limits where we are unable to add new content easily due to the complexity of the code, economy, or gameplay. Previous updates have not helped increase the player counts of the games long term. We are fortunate to have the player count we do now after 5 years. “So are you giving up on older games?” No, but I do think we need to change our approach to future updates. The Hypixel community has changed a lot, as well as the Minecraft community as a whole. Over the past few months, we have been looking at alternative ideas we can try to help the older games. One of the most important things for older games is player count, which can result in longer waiting times. If the game doesn’t start, why would old or new players try to play the game? This is when we need to try different ideas. One of the new ideas we are currently testing in UHC is changing to how pre-game lobbies work. Planned Pre-Game Lobby Changes: Lobbies will now tell waiting players what is happening with updates to the scoreboard and chat messages to make it more clear how long they need to wait. Once the first player joins, a timer will start. If the game doesn’t reach the minimum or recommended players for the mode by a specific time, we will send a message to lobbies to encourage more people to join that mode. We want to lower the minimum and recommend player counts to allow games to start faster during off-peak hours, but during peak hours giving enough time to try to fill games. If the minimum player count is not met we will return all players to the lobby and tell them to try later, and this is so players won’t be waiting around for hours when they could play another game and try again at a better time. If the testing goes well, our plan is to start introducing this feature across the network. We already have some further improvements that we want to explore once we have implemented the feature. Also, a few weeks ago, we released support for game-specific coin and experience multipliers. We first used the system as part of the Blitz 5x Weekend event which you can see HERE. We are currently planning out more weekends similar to the Blitz 5x Weekend. We hope to highlight recent changes made to these games and encourage people to try them out. We hope that the above changes and our quality of life updates to games like Smash Heroes, Skyclash, & Cops and Crims will help alleviate lower player count games that do not start. The team is already planning the next QoL updates and will get these announced to the community as soon as we can. ▶ Some of the things to expect in July? July is going to be a busy month for the team with summer vacation in full swing for a lot of you and the pending release of Minecraft 1.13. Our focus for July is on current games and improving the range of updates we release. To allow us to do that, we have limited our work on new prototype releases, although we may have 1 or 2 to show you this summer. Although I can’t share everything, here are a few of things to look forward to: Full support for the latest Minecraft version 1.13 The release of the Guild Update New content for The Pit Pre-Game Lobby Changes Skywars Lucky Block v2 At least two more games getting Quality of Life Updates New Summer Maps for a host of games Lots of Bug Fixes for various games ▶ Thank you If you enjoy this summary and would like to see more in the future, let us know and comment on which topics you would like us to cover. From myself and the whole development team, thank you for all the support you have shown us over the past 5 years. We hope you all enjoy your summer and the new content releases during July.