Dev Blog #8: Explaining the Playlist changes in Quick Play


Hi Splitgang! It's been a minute since our last Dev blog, the previous one being about the importance of User-Generated Content. With the release of Beta Season 1, we've given our community even more control over the way you can play Splitgate with the Map Creator, a feature that's in a Beta state itself. If you haven't read the Patch Notes yet, go here to find out exactly what's in Beta Season 1. Speaking of calling Season 1 a "Beta," a quick note on that before we jump into the Quick Play changes.

Back in July of 2021 when Splitgate was exploding in player count, 1047 Games only had 8 full-time people, with only four of them being programmers. Since then, we've expanded to around 50 full-timers! This growth has already helped tremendously with what we can do to build on our game, but this has also opened our eyes to the true potential that Splitgate has. In addition, you can’t just throw all these people together and call it a studio; we need time and cycles to solidify as a team. That’s when we’ll be ready to unlock the potential of Splitgate for all of you. 

That's why we are still in Beta, because by the time we actually launch, Splitgate will be an extraordinarily improved game . BS1 is merely the first step in this journey of reaching that goal. So to our community: please continue leaving us feedback and suggestions. We read everything that you're saying and give it consideration, even if we don't reply every time.


Let's talk about Quick Play!

In the day and a half since BS1 has been live, we've seen your comments about the changes we made to the Quick Play system. Before, we let players pick and choose between 15 specific game modes to queue. This gave players complete control over what game modes you wanted to play, but there were a few downsides.

First, since players could queue only one game mode at a time, the 15 options translated to 15 matchmaking queues, or what we like to call, "Buckets." Quick play was limited to only 14 permanent (24/7) modes and one Limited Time mode that rotated on a daily basis. We couldn't add more than these 15 options out of fear of dividing the queuing player base even more, despite the repeated requests to add back games like One in the Chamber or Laser Tag.

In addition, we wanted to add new modes ourselves to Quick Play, namely One Flag CTF and Evolution. 15 buckets of players were already too many in all honesty, and adding any more would quickly get out of hand. Knowing that players were concerned about getting more games with more bots, the last thing we wanted to do was make that situation even worse. We also didn’t want the Quick Play menu to overwhelm new players with a ton of choices.

So on the one hand, players were wanting more game modes (including us), and on the other, everyone wanted less frequent bot-filled games. This is why we introduced our new system: 9 separate playlists that contain 20 game modes. Here's what Quick Play currently looks like:

Quick Play menu as of Jan. 28th

Going from 15 buckets to 9, and 15 game modes to 20, we now hopefully solve the issue of adding more modes, AND we reduce the frequency of bot-filled games. It's also worth mentioning that we changed the voting system from 2 maps plus a random to just 3 maps and no random option. Of course, when making changes like these, new concerns can pop up.

7 out of the 9 playlists have multiple game modes bundled together, with Team Deathmatch and Takedown being the only solo buckets. Three playlists have two game modes, and four playlists have three. So, what if your favorite mode is Splitball, but you get Zombie VIP and Laser Tag instead? Maybe all you want is Shotty Snipers, but you despise Team SWAT?

This is where your feedback can help. For now, we have Team Deathmatch and Takedown as the only two standalone playlists. One possible change we could make, given that we want no more than 9 buckets, would be to adjust which modes get to be standalone. Another approach would be to revisit how each playlist is bundled. Maybe Team SWAT and Shotty Snipers shouldn't go together and instead should be separated into different playlists? Once again, we don't want to take away modes altogether to make room for others. It's tricky.

We've already been discussing internally finding an elegant solution on the matchmaker to give you your preferred game more often without dividing the queues again. It's too early to say publicly what a solution like this might look like, but we are brainstorming and discussing.

Custom games could be a workaround for the types of players who don't care about playing against bots but only want to play one mode. I'm not offering this as a solution, but it's something to consider!

Ultimately, "Quick Play" was designed to do just that, be a way for players to play a game quickly. We've already noticed a decrease in average wait times for quick play, and while this doesn't completely eliminate queue times, having fewer Quick Play buckets is one step towards minimizing them. Implementing our planned back-end overhaul in the coming months will help both this issue and bot prevalence even further.

To sum it all up, we know that taking away some player choices will never be a popular thing. Had we known that this situation of dividing the player queues too much would be an issue, our approach might have been different. This is part of starting as an indie studio and growing into a AAA one. We're always learning from our prior decisions and applying that knowledge to the game in the future.  You can always count on us to be a community-first driven studio, no matter how large we grow, or when we make decisions that don’t make total sense at first.

‍We’ll be looking forward to your feedback! Remember to either tag us on Social Media or submit feedback on our Discord.

Until next blog!


1047 Games <3