Dark Nova Update 2

Posted September 23, 2017 by Blake

The second update for Dark Nova just went live yesterday, and while it doesn't have any gameplay content like last patch, it is the reuslt of a ton of work, and one of the last key pieces we wanted to finish before we start promoting our game. This patch updated our HUD, and introduced leaderboards!

HUD Update

As we began working on our leaderboard, we realized we didn't have a great system setup for our HUD. We use html elements for our HUD, but we were just using custom images for the scoreboard and overview bar (the bar in the top right). These images also had text baked inot them, which we didn't love. By removing the text and using css borders we were able to make a system that was much more intiuitive and flexible. We were easily able to convert all of the hud items for the player's ship and modifications over to use this new system, helping to tie everything on screen together. We felt this was an import step for creating a better player experience. The HUD design is a little lacking, but that's due to it being created by a programmer. Once we can afford an artist we can improve a lot of our weaker art assets. Check out some snapshots of the new hud below, or just go see it live darkNova.io
Adjusted the placement and font of text
Replaced single letters with diagonal words for each field
Loadout for ship and modifications have been unified with the rest of the hud


While each game has a scoreboard with the players doing the best always on top, we feel that this didn't really resonate with traditional IO gamers. Where games like agar.io and slither.io have a very prominant leaderboard, ours was hidden away in the scoreboard. We wanted to help hook these traditional IO players, hopefully getting them to stick around a bit longer to better learn the game and find enjoyment playing the game; so we set out to build a global leaderboard.

Now all players who sign in with google (facebook login coming soon) can reserve their permenant name, and all of their score will be tracked. The top 10 will show on the leaderboard, spanning all servers, and games. We also show the player their rank if they aren't in the top 10, so they can see how far they need to climb. Currently the leaderboard is reset weekly, but we might play with that, having it only last for the day, or for perhaps for an entire month.

Now that we have users authenticating, and a database tracking their data, it will be a short step to adding acheivements. We'd love to have achievements with rewards for being in the top 10 at the end of the cycle, as well as many other things. We're not quiet ready to allocate time on that task, but we're excited that when we are, it will be a shorter task!
New leaderboard for global rank (and personal) using the updated hud system

Looking forward

We've been hard at work updating the way our engine works under the hood. It's been a big task that has touched almost every file. It's getting close to being done, and it will make it much easier for us to add new content, as well as help us when we build our next game (which we are very excited about.) Once the engine update is in, we are planning to add a deathmatch mode, and replacing the gem team mode with a free-for-all deathmatch. This is aimed at helping to increase how many players stick around. Once our player base is higher, we would like to give players the option of which game mode they play, because we personally love the team mode!