Hi everyone, Matt Nass here, and today I’m going to share some details on a new game mode we’ve been toying with - SBB99! I’ll look at what we’ve done so far and how our first playtest went, as well as what we’re planning on doing next.
What is SBB99
SBB99 is a version of Storybook Brawl, where you face off against 99 opponents. The rules are largely the same as an 8-player game, except that 100 players are in. SBB99 has a few key differences that made us think it could have potential:
- 100-player games feel like a more casual environment. There is less pressure to finish near the top when you have so many players in the game.
- 100-player games are super exciting to watch. Seeing a streamer face busted lineups as they head into the top 10 or top 5 and make a run at the trophy is a great viewer experience.
- There is something inherently exciting about a 100-player game.
Our First Playtest
After talking to our friendly neighborhood Wrapter, we concluded that SBB99 would also not be too difficult technically! Our queues were already built to scale, and he managed to get an initial version of the feature super fast. We immediately set up a playtest on our external environment which garnered a lot of excitement.
We ran the playtest for a few hours on the weekend and it was a great time. The games ran pretty smoothly, and players got to battle in these monster lobbies. We also learned a lot about what we can improve going forward.
Now we’re looking forward to how to bring SBB99 to the live environment. Here are a few key pieces that we need to figure out before bringing SBB99 to live:
In order to make sure we can fire SBB99 queues quickly and with the right number of players, we are going to make SBB99 into a special event. We will announce the dates ahead of time, and while the SBB99 queue is open, it will replace the 8-player Ranked queue. The SBB99 playtest we ran was a fantastic community event, and we look forward to bringing that same energy to live. Additionally, we will have a backstop so that the queues fire every five minutes regardless of how many players are in, so you won’t have to wait too long.
Making sure players know what is happening while the event is running is important to us. Here are a few things we’re looking at.
- Changing the “Play” button to “Play SBB99”
- Having some sort of messaging on the queue screen that makes it clear you’re in a 99-player queue. Short-term this is likely to just be messaged in queue tip text.
- An in-game “players remaining” counter. This is the thing that we most felt was missing during our first playtest and I’m super excited to get it in.
- We are also going to make sure the queue is unranked, as players were losing or gaining A LOT of points in the playtest, and we want this to have a bit more of a casual feel.
While a lot of our focus right now is about getting SBB99 out to players and figuring out what we need for a Version 1.0, we’ve also begun to think about the long term potential of SBB99. Here are some of the things we’re thinking about:
- Scrollable hero bar so that you can see every single player in the lobby.
- x/99 players in queue counter for the queue screen.
- Visual effects on players left counter (eg. Green for 50+, Yellow for 25-50, Red for 25-).
- If we can get to 100 unique heroes in game, we could just give each player a unique hero.
- Some form of “Super Crown” that tracks SBB99 wins.
Overall, I’m super excited for the potential of SBB99. Making sure we have a variety of awesome experiences in the game is important to our team, and this is the first of hopefully many to come! For future updates about our SBB99 playtests, be sure to follow our Twitter, join our Discord community and subscribe to our newsletter. Until next time, enjoy playing 100 player lobbies!