Category Archives: Release History

Release 4.2 is live!

Release 4.2 contains the first versions of some new heavy-hitter features. Read on for details!

Release Highlights

Item Management

We are very pleased to introduce the first iteration of brainCloud’s new Item Management system – which incorporates both an ItemCatalog service to manage the master catalog of items, and a UserItems service to manage the list of items that users own.

Together with a new Catalog Editor, these services make it easy to create experiences where users can be awarded, purchase, sell, trade and consume a rich variety of items (with custom behaviours).

Key features of this system include:

  • Localizable names and descriptions
  • Item categories and tags for organization
  • Item pricing (in multiple virtual currencies)
  • Custom item meta-data
  • Item “use” management
  • Activate-able status effects
  • Cool-down and recovery times
  • Stackable items
  • Upload images and assign resource/asset tags
  • Publishing states – draft, published, retired and revoked
  • Deployment integration
  • And with brainCloud’s new Blockchain Framework, you can even trade items on the Blockchain! (see below!)

Custom Entities (beta!)

brainCloud already has some great APIs for managing data in your apps – but due to the challenges of keeping things light and scalable, none of them offer the true flexibility needed for heavy data-oriented applications.

Our existing Global Entity system, for example, only indexes entities by the fixed entityIndexedId. Although fine for simple applications – in most scenarios this means that Global Entities don’t scale efficiently past 1000 objects.

Our Custom Entities system is different, in that it allows the developer to define multiple, custom indexes per entity type. This totally opens the door to much richer applications, with more intense data needs.

Note – because it’s brainCloud, Custom Entities still include:

  • ACL ownership
  • TTL
  • createdAtupdatedAt timestamps
  • concurrency versioning

Note – this is a beta release, so there are some limitations:

  • We don’t have a web UI yet – so you cannot view / edit / delete custom entities in our Design Portal. You can access them via the API Explorer, of course.
  • We don’t yet support importing / exporting / pushing of custom entities. So basically custom entities are currently trapped within the apps that created them (for now).

We plan to address these limitations very soon. And also note, when Custom Entities is released it will be a premium feature with additional data storage charges. Details coming soon.

And that’s not all. We have big plans for Custom Entities going forward – so stay tuned!

Timed Status Effects

When building our Item Management system we thought it would be nice to include status effects – as in, when you use an item, you might trigger a status effect like “double-xp” or “invulnerability” for a period of time.

Once we got to implementing things though, we realized that this status system would be useful on its own as well – so we’ve made it accessible via new APIs in the PlayerState service.

It’s super-simple to use. Just apply a “named” status effect to the user via the SetUserStatus() call – specifying a duration that it should be applied for, and optionally some custom JSON. We’ll save that state – and return it if you call GetUserStatus() – as well as automatically when the user logs in.

Note – brainCloud won’t pro-actively notify you that a status has expired. The app should set it’s own timers based on the data returned by the APIs.

Blockchain Integration

We’ve been busy adding blockchain support deep into the heart of brainCloud.

This is part of our continuing efforts to ensure that brainCloud is the best foundation for your apps – both today and for the future! 

Elements of the blockChain integration in 4.2 include:

  • Blockchain Integration Framework (BIF) – brainCloud has been enhanced with a new framework to allow connections to multiple blockChain technologies. Currently EOS integration is in place (more will come soon!)
  • Blockchain configuration – attach a blockchain configuration to an app. Currently limited to a single blockchain per app, but we may enhance that in the future.
  • Blockchain Identities – attach a users public key to a user’s profile – used to identify and modify items that the user owns on the blockchain ← note, it’s up to the client app to ensure that the user is who they say they are!
  • Item Management Blockchain Sync – items can be published to and traded on the blockchain – with updates automatically synced in brainCloud
  • Blockchain Entity Support – brainCloud’s new Custom Entities are built to support integration with the BIF for blockchain-based ownership management
  • Blockchain Purchase Support – with the key Blockchain Integration and Blockchain Identity components now in place, brainCloud is now ready to support custom blockchain-based purchases (either via Item Trades or custom AppStores)

Obviously, this is just the beginning. Stay tuned as we evolve our blockchain support in future releases!

Kafka Integration

brainCloud now offers Kafka integration in addition to our pre-existing Segment integration for DataStream events.

With Kafka and Segment both supported out-of-the-box, there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of systems that you can hook up to your brainCloud apps for deeper data analytics, data mining, etc. 

Other Features

But wait – there is more! brainCloud 4.2 also includes these goodies:

  • Crash Reporting – new API calls for sending crash reports to DataStream services like Segment and Kafka.
  • New platforms! – brainCloud private instances now support both Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure.
  • External lookups! – ability to lookup users via the External ID in User Monitoring

Portal Changes

We’ve made the following portal changes:

Design

  • Integrations | Blockchain
    • A new screen where you can configure the blockchain integration settings for your app
  • Integration | Manage Integrations
    • Kafka has been added as a new DataStream destination
  • Item Management | Catalog
    • New screen for creating your app’s item catalog

Monitoring

  • Group Monitoring | Group Entities
    • The group entity editor has been greatly improved!
  • User Monitoring | Select User
    • You can now look-up users via their External Auth id (if they have one) 

API Changes

The following changes/additions have affected the brainCloud API:

  • Authentication
    • AuthenticateExternal – We’ve added the ability for External Auth scripts to override the externalId that will be stored, and to even provide the specific profileId to load. More details in the Advanced section of the External Authentication overview page in API Docs.
  • DataStream
    • New CrashReporting API has been added. Send crash reports to your back-end system for further analysis.
    • For more information, see the DataStream service documentation
  • [New!] Item Catalog
    • These APIs allow devs to read and modify the central item catalog
    • Purchases and other operations are handled via the User Items Service (below)
    • For more information, see the ItemCatalog service documentation
  • Player State
    • New Timed Status Effect API methods have been added to the Player State service
    • For more information, see the PlayerState service documentation
  • [New!] User Items
    • This service provides the functionality for purchasing, selling, trading, and using items
    • For more information, see the UserItem service documentation

Miscellaneous Changes / Fixes

  • Updated libraries
    • The 4.2 libraries have the latest APIs – and will be release very soon – stay tuned!
    • C#/Unity
      • Updated HTTP libraries (note, wrapped in the Braincloud namespace, so they shouldn’t conflict with anything)
      • Added BC_DEBUG_LOG_ENABLED macro for better log control, and improved profiler performance
      • Important: Unity folder structure has been changed. Clients will need to delete their brainCloud plug-in and re-import it to properly update the folder structure on older projects. The brainCloud Folder needs to be directly in the Assets folder. Changes were made because the plugin’s Resources folder was conflicting with the Unity Resources folder, and messing with some build systems. Thus we have restructured our assets and renamed our resources folder to BCResources to compensate.
    • Javascript
      • Ping data APIs now supported (for geo matchmaking)
    • AS3
      • 4.2 version coming soon.
  • Documentation updates
  • Plus miscellaneous fixes and performance enhancements…

Release 4.1 is live!

Note – you can also view the highlights in our new Roadmap!

Release Highlights

Group Leaderboards

Although brainCloud has long supported filtering leaderboards to group members, it has not supported true Group Leaderboards – where each entry in the leaderboard represent’s a Group’s (not a Player’s) score. Until now that is.

Now, when creating a leaderboard, you will first choose whether it is a Player or a Group Leaderboard. 

Important notes regarding Group Leaderboards:

  • Any member of a group can post a score on behalf of their team
  • Post group scores via the new PostScoreToGroupLeaderboard() method. Additional new calls are described in the API section (below).
  • Group Leaderboards cannot be used as the basis for Tournaments or Divisions

Note – we are considering adding Group Tournament and Division support in the future. If it is important to you, vote for it in our Roadmap!

Group Enhancements

We have made a bunch of enhancements to Groups and the Group APIs to go along with the new leaderboard support:

  • Group Summary Data – we have added the concept of summary data to groups. This is an additional bit of custom JSON, associated with your groups, that can be read by non-members. This is useful when searching for groups with specific qualities and also when viewing group leaderboards ← the summary data gets returned in the leaderboard calls
  • Enhanced Searching – when searching for groups, you can now include additional fields (isOpenGroup, updateAt, createdAt, and summaryData) in the filter and sorting clauses.
  • Get Random Groups – we have added a new API call for retrieving a random selection of groups that fit the specified criteria. See GetRandomGroupsMatching().

Voting Leaderboards

Since we were already in the Leaderboard code, we thought we would cover another customer request.

Voting Leaderboards are special leaderboards where the user doesn’t post their own score – rather, a player increments the score of another player. This makes the most sense for a CUMULATIVE leaderboard (where posts from players increment a total). You can imagine using this system to allow players to vote on custom content created by other players – like custom maps layouts, etc.

Important notes:

  • This technically isn’t a new type of leaderboard – it’s merely a new leaderboard call – PostScoreToLeaderboardOnBehalfOf(). Note that this call be made from Cloud Code only.
  • The API does not prevent users from voting (i.e. posting on behalf of another user) multiple times. We leave that enforcement up to the app (if desired, of course).

Multi-Region Support

In V4 we introduced the ability to host Relay and Room Servers. When configuring your servers, you had the ability to choose which region to host them in.

This was a good start, but for global coverage developers would need to create individual server configurations for each of the regions they want to support. And if they’re using our matchmaking and lobby services, they would need to set up separate lobby configurations for each region as well.

Release 4.1 greatly improves things:

  • You can now select multiple regions for a Room or Relay Server configuration in My Servers
  • There are new Client APIs that allow you to retrieve the list of regions associated with lobby type(s), and calculate the latency (i.e. ping times) to them
  • When launching a Room or Relay Server from a lobby, the Lobby Service will now automatically choose the best region for the members of that lobby

Dynamic Chat Channels

And last but not least, this release introduces a new type of chat channel.

Dynamic chat channels are special channels that any user can create and/or join. They exist only for as long as there is activity. Once the channel inactivity timeout expires (typically 30 days), the history (and the channel itself) are automatically deleted and cleaned up.

Note that developers need to manage the “membership” to the channels themselves. If a user of an app connects to a dynamic channel during a session, and you want them to reconnect the next time the app launches as well – you’ll need to save that information somewhere in your app (likely in a user entity).


Portal Changes

We have made the following portal changes:

Design

  • Core App Info | Application IDs
    • Renamed “Facebook Secret” to “Facebook App Secret” to better clarify what it is
  • Core App Info | Admin Tools
    • Added new options to the Deployment section to prevent overwriting the Lobbies and MyServers page settings. This is important because you very likely want to configure different performance + availability settings for dev vs. prod environments
  • Cloud Code | My Servers
    • Enhanced the Room Server and Relay Server configuration screens to support multiple regions
    • Note that each region can use the default configuration settings (server size, # containers, etc); or you can override those settings on a region-by-region basis
  • Leaderboards | Leaderboard Configs
    • When creating a new Leaderboard config, you can now choose between Player and Group entry types (default is Player).
    • Once the entry type has been set, it cannot be changed
    • Tournaments and Division Templates cannot be enabled for Group leaderboards
    • The entry type has been added to the Leaderboard Config list screen as well

Monitoring

  • Global Monitoring | Leaderboards
    • Have been enhanced to show the results of Group Leaderboards
    • The column displayed now automatically change depending upon the leaderboard type being displayed
    • Clicking on a group id will bring you to the group.

General

  • DOCS menu
    • Added a link to the new Roadmap site

API Changes

The following changes/additions have affected the brainCloud API:

  • Chat Service
  • Group Service
    • [New!] CreateGroupWithSummaryData() allows the creation of a group with summary data.
    • [New!] GetRandomGroupsMatching() returns a list of random groups that match the supplied criteria
    • [New!] SysChangeGroupType() changes the group type of a group. Useful for leveling up the maximum number of players in a group. Cloud code only.
    • [New!] UpdateGroupSummaryData() allows a member to update the summary data of the app. Note that the user must be the owner of the group; or the group’s data ACL must be set to “member”: 2 to perform the update.
    • [Update] ReadGroup(), GetMyGroups(), ListGroupsPage(), and ListGroupsPageByOffset() will now return the summaryData associated with groups
    • [Update] Additional fields (updatedAtcreatedAt, isOpenGroup, and summaryData) can now be used as filter and sort criteria in group calls.
  • Leaderboard Service
  • Lobby Service
    • [New!] GetRegionsForLobbies() retrieves a list of super-set of regions for the specified list of lobbies. Is used by the client app to determine with regions to ping test.
    • [New!] PingRegions() tells the client to ping the retrieved set of regions. Should be called after GetRegionsForLobbies() has completed.
    • [New!] CreateLobbyWithPingData(), FindLobbyWithPingData(), FindOrCreateLobbyWithPingData() and JoinLobbyWithPingData() are enhanced versions of the regular calls, with the obvious addition of ping data that the server will use to select the best region when launching a Room or Relay Server. Note that the library will automatically provide the ping data for those calls (there are no additional parameters)
    • [New!] SysSendSignal() allows cloud code scripts to send signals to members of a lobby.
    • [New!] SysDisbandLobby() allows cloud code scripts to disband a lobby.
  • Tournament Service

Note that we have also made a small change to GetGlobalLeaderboardViewByVersion() and GetGlobalLeaderboardPageByVersion() to allow you to once again pass in -1 as the version id. That behaviour had regressed in 4.0. Apologies for the inconvenience!


Miscellaneous Changes / Fixes

  • Updated libraries
    • All libraries have been updated for the 4.1 release! Go get ’em!
    • The Unreal Library now includes beta-level support for our Relay Communications protocol!
    • Warning – there is a known issue with Unity 2019 on IOS devices that affects brainCloud (and really any app making web requests). More info here!
  • Documentation updates
  • Important Fixes
    • BCLD-4714 Mismatch of Service and Operation on API Explorer after quick authenticate
    • BCLD-4833 Importing an invalid script zip file and choosing “Full Sync” deletes all existing scripts
    • BCLD-4832 Facebook transactions – some transactions are being displayed as “null”
    • BCLD-4812 Need ability to preserve My Servers and Lobby configurations on Deploy and Import
    • BCLD-3193 SendEvent operations gives a positive response without entering profileID
    • BCLD-4751 Descriptive text on “Edit Lobby Type” popup is out-of-date
    • BCLD-4737 Can’t delete a group after using “Delete Users”
  • Plus miscellaneous fixes and performance enhancements…

Release 4.0 is live!

Release Highlights

RTT Official Launch!

With 4.0, we officially take the beta label off of RTT, and release it to the world!

As you know, RTT adds a bi-directional channel for real-time communications to the brainCloud platform, greatly expanding the types of experiences that can be delivered without additional tech.

The list of great new features that RTT has already enabled includes:

  • Real-time Events
  • Online Chat
  • Real-time Messaging
  • Online Matchmaking
  • Lobbies

For 4.0 we are pleased to add:

  • Async Matches
    • we’ve RTT-enabled Async Matches. So now you can use the Async API in real-time! (Don’t worry, you can still use it offline if you would like).
    • Oh, and while we were at it, we’ve made async matches automatically delete themselves after 90 days. So your apps no longer have to do the cleanup manually if they don’t want to.
  • Integrated Hosting
    • we have integrated our new Hosting features with our RTT Lobby service

Plus we have officially launched our RTT-enabled Plus subscription plans that make these great features available at all usage levels.

Hosting (beta)

Did we mention hosting?

In brainCloud 3.8, we introduced support for custom Room Servers (i.e. game or experience servers) that integrate with our Lobby Service for matching up users.

The cool thing is that you have full freedom to custom code your Room Server yourself, in any technology. The not-as-cool thing was that you had to host (or arrange for hosting) of the servers yourself, plus you also had to code up a Room Server Manager, for us to integrate with (it was responsible for spinning up your servers and managing them). Suffice to say, that’s a bit more complicated than most people want.

So for 4.0 we’re pleased to announce that we can host your custom Room Servers for you – all managed by our built-in Room Server Manager. It’s truly as simple as giving us the name of the Docker image to use for your service. We handle the rest, spinning up servers and containers as needed – and charging you for the server cycles used.

Relay Servers (beta)

Even simpler than hosting a custom-built Room Server, is hosting our new built-in Relay Servers!

We have used our new RTT + Hosting infrastructure to add built-in Relay Server support to brainCloud.

Now building a real-time or near-real-time multiplayer experience on brainCloud is as simple as:

  • Configure the relay servers on the new Design | Cloud Code | My Servers page
  • Connect the relay server to your lobby via the Design | Multiplayer | Lobbies page
  • Utilize our new Relay Communications APIs in your Unity apps!  (note – Unreal and other libraries will be supported soon!) 

New Billing Plans

With all this new infrastructure, there has to be some way to pay for them! Sorry! 🙂

But it’s not all bad news. Not only have we launched new Plus plans that add support for RTT and Hosting, but we are also introducing new lower-cost Lite plans! Plus we have significantly lowered the API usage costs (as you scale up) across all plans!

Also note that we have added a new Development Plusplan, which is a $5 / month plan that gives your apps in development access to Hosting features (i.e. hosted Room Servers and Relay Servers).

For full details on our updated billing plans, see our billing announcement.

And a bunch more!

And that’s not even all of it. brainCloud 4 also brings:

  • [New!] brainCloud Bombers RTT
    • Our new example game fully demonstrates RTT and Relay Servers
    • Play it on Steam!
  • [New!] Forums!
    • brainCloud now has forums for our development community. Check them out here!
  • [Updated!] Tic-Tac-Toe example
    • Now supports the new RTT-enabled Async Match API
  • DataStream Enhancements
    • Our DataStream service now pushes more events, including:
      • Tournament events
      • Group events
      • Chat events
      • Lobby Events
  • Updated Facebook Integration
    • We now support Graph API 2.9

And be sure to check the API Changes below for a smattering of new APIs.  


Portal Changes

We’ve made the following updates to the portal:

Team

  • Home | Start
  • Manage | Apps
    • Go Live! reworked to support the new V4 billing plans
    • New Change Plan action menu item allows you to dynamically swap the plan for your app at any time
    • To terminate service for your app, just choose Delete from the action menu. The system will now automatically expire your subscription. You will be invoiced at the end of the month, on a pro-rated basis, for the amount of service your app used.
    • We have also added a new Plan column to the display to make it easier to tell exactly which plan your app is using

Design

  • Core App Info | Advanced
    • Restore Checkpoints – brainCloud creates a checkpoint each time you deploy to an app and/or import to it. This new feature allows you to easily restore an app’s meta-data to a recent checkpoint.
  • Authentication | Email Authentication
    • brainCloud can now send confirmations to users after they have successfully changed their passwords. Configure the emails here.  
  • Cloud Code | My Servers
    • This is the screen formerly known as “S2S Config”
    • The screen has been expanded to support the configuration of multiple server types:
      • Custom Servers – these are the old S2S Configs-style servers
      • Relay Servers – deploy your own set of brainCloud Relay Servers
      • Room Servers – configure brainCloud to host your custom Room Server images
      • Room Server Managers – for integrating with a custom-developed, externally-hosted Room Server Manager
  • Multiplayer | Lobbies
    • Room Server selection updated to use the new My Servers configurations (instead of referring to servers from Web Services, which 3.X did) 

Monitoring

  • User Monitoring | User Summary
    • You can now trigger the sending of a password reset email to Universal Identity users (if they have a contact email stored against their profile). Click the mail button to send.
  • User Monitoring | Recent Users
    • The New column has been replaced by a new “Logins” column – which shows the number of times that user had logged in. Much more informative!

Reports

  • Reporting | Analytics
    • We have added a new section that reports the # of Dormant Users in your app. Dormant Users are defined as users who have not logged into your app in 180 days.
  • Reporting | API Usage
    • We have added new RTTand Hosting usage statatistics

General

  • DOCS top menu
    • We’ve added a Forums link to the DOCS menu. Hmm, maybe we should rename the menu to HELP?

API Changes

Important: The 4.0 libraries (especially Unity) contain changes that will be breaking for some apps. See this blog post for migration instructions. As always, the older libs continue to work for existing apps. We recommend all devs upgrade at their earliest convenience. 

The following changes/additions have affected the brainCloud API:

  • Authentication
  • Cloud Code Bridge
  • Global Statistics
    • Support for new MIN and MAX operations. Very useful for keeping track of the personal high scores of a player. For details, see the updated Statistics Grammar page.
  • Lobby
    • New CancelFindRequest() cancels an asynchronous FindLobby request.
    • New JoinLobby() call allows a user to skip matchmaking and immediately join the specified lobby instance (potentially with party members).
  • Player Statistics
    • Support for new MIN and MAX operations. For details, see the updated Statistics Grammar page.
  • RTTService

We have also deprecated the following methods:

  • Wrapper
    • Removed the deprecated singletonmode
    • Removed EnableRTT(), RegisterRTTChatCallback(), etc. – and moved them to the RTT Service
  • Client
    • Removed EnableRTT(), RegisterRTTChatCallback(), etc. – and moved them to the RTT Service

Finally, a few miscellaneous changes have been made:

  • We are now wrapping all 3rd party libraries in a brainCloud namespace in the Unity / C# libraries
  • We have renamed the Settings plugin in the Unity library

For more details and migration steps, see the V4 Client Changes blog post.


Miscellaneous Changes / Fixes

  • Updated libraries
    • All libraries have been updated to include all 4.0 APIs, with the exception of the Relay Service
    • The new Relay Service APIs are currently available in the Unity / C# libraries only. Unreal + other libraries will follow soon.
  • Documentation updates
    • TBC
  • Important Fixes
    • BCLD-4679 – Duplicate leaderboard config issues (leaderboard Duplicate, new “MOCK” division set instance creation) if Enrol or Announcement minutes and called when rotation minutes remaining < (Enrol + Announce + Buffer) minutes
    • BCLD-4651 – Permissions issue with groups – ReadGroup() vs. ReadGroupData() with other=1
    • BCLD-4415 – [Documentation] – More documentation support for the parameter ‘isOpenGroup‘ for the ‘AutoJoin’ operation
    • BCLD-4650 – Issue in the UpdateGroupACL cloud code proxy
    • BCLD-4645 – UK Area code is missing from Authy
    • BCLD-4494 – Add documentation for ‘UpdateEntityIndexedId’ call in both API and S2S Explorer in the API Reference Docs.
    • BCLD-4524 – Add Server Session support for Leaderboard Service operations that are currently only supported for Player Session
    • BCLD-4337 – Sending null match state on create Async Match should not clobber the summary!
    • BCLD-3192 – ‘GetSharedEntityForProfileId’ returns positive log response without entering the profileID
    • BCLD-4307 – Improve speed of ChildEntity – UpdateEntity using updateFields instead of update
    • BCLD-4293 – Operations are not alphabetized on the APIHooks screen – should be
    • BCLD-3250 – PostScoreToLeaderboard has wrong name in Javascript example
    • BCLD-3232 – Client API – ‘ReadServerTime’ Operation returns a definite response, despite entering incorrect app ID
    • BCLD-4483 – DataStream Push Notifications – new safe mode to reduce excessive DataStream-related usage charges
    • BCLD-4499 – PostTournamentScoreWithResults is missing in the Unreal Client
    • BCLD-4503 – resetCurrency is missing from the virtual currency service
    • BCLD-4448 – Defect being seen in async match profile urls
    • BCLD-4498 – If a company is in a Suspended state, they are unable to edit their billing information to get out of that state…
    • BCLD-4488 – User can create Leaderboards with spaces and special characters using the ‘CreateLeaderboard’ API call
    • BCLD-4449 – User can create Leaderboard with spaces and special characters using the ‘PostScoreToDynamicLeaderboard’ API call.
    • BCLD-4454 – StartTime matches Registration time for Monthly Tournament in ‘GetTournamentStatus’ call
    • BCLD-4228 – API: Updated player names and picture urls not reflected in turn-by-turn match summary
    • BCLD-4358 – Inconsistency between comms initialize parameter order and wrapper order for java android and desktop
    • BCLD-3200 – JSON error when saving a quest with an already existing name
    • BCLD-4268 – Attaching an email identity overwrites an exisiting contact email
    • BCLD-3470 – Monitoring -> Global Entities -> Bulk options -> Export should be disabled when there are no global entites for the app
    • BCLD-4294 – Missing data in the new AppStore VerifyPurchase() call…
    • BCLD-2788 – Portal: deleting an image in [Achievements] without saving the achievement causes a missing image
    • BCLD-3968 – Errors handing $and in Where clauses
    • BCLD-3969 – getRandomEntitiesMatching sometimes returns 0 items for max 1, even when items match
    • BCLD-3977 – Log processor is incorrectly attributing mongo log collection write failures (too to large log sizes) to a particular app
    • BCLD-3927 – Clicking on resetpassword email link twice gets user to a valid looking reset password screen
    • BCLD-4111 – Design Portal should not be able to configure invalid Steam product info
    • BCLD-4105 – Add the missing readUserStatsSubset() cloud code method
    • BCLD-4108 – Global Entities: allow filtering and sorting on entityId, version, and expiresAt
    • BCLD-3989 – File Storage being reported on the API Usage page appears to always show 0.0
    • BCLD-4118 – When we do a SwitchToChildProfile(), we should add a login log entry for the child profile
  • Plus miscellaneous fixes and performance enhancements…

Release 3.11

Release 3.11 provides some key feature requests with some under-the-hood improvements that will be delivered upon in Release 4.0 (coming soon!).

Release Highlights

SendGrid Dynamic Templates

We have updated our Mail APIs and integration code to work with Sendgrid’s new Dynamic Template format, which includes support for Handlebars syntax.

This means that you can:

  • Use Dynamic Templates for brainCloud’s Email Authentication and Tournament Notification 
  • Use Dynamic Templates with brainCloud’s SendAdvancedEmail*() APIs
  • Take advantage of the Handlebars syntax (with substitution, conditions and iterations) in your templates
  • Even send attachments!

And of course, Sendgrid’s legacy templates still work.

Please note – the substitution parameter format of SendGrid’s API for new dynamic templates is different. So if you are using the SendAdvancedEmail*() calls and are changing from legacy → dynamic templates, you’ll need to modify the serviceParams JSON that is provided with the call.

UniversalId Wildcard Searching

If your app supports looking up other users (for friends, challenges, etc), we highly recommend that you identify and lookup users by UniversalId instead of by user name.

UniversalIds are better than user name because:

  • They guarantee uniqueness
  • They are case insensitive
  • Searching is 3 – 5 times faster! (because they are unique, case insensitive, and we anchor all searches at the beginning)

But… until now we really weren’t providing you with enough search flexibility. Which is why we have added some new methods:

  • FindUserByUniversalIdStartingWith() – use for wildcard-like searches
  • FindUserByExactUniversalId() – use for exact searches

And remember, we do provide a handy method that allows your app to use UniversalId’s (to identify/lookup users) without using them as authentication methods – check out AttachNonLoginUniversalId().

A few notes:

  • We have deprecated the old FindUserByUniversalId() – its spec was pretty misleading (looked like an exact search – but performed like a wildcard search – and an unoptimized one at that!). Note – it will still work if your app was already using it.
  • For those of you stuck with already-implemented user name searching, we’ve added some improvements as well:
    • FindUsersBySubstrName() is now 10-20% faster 
    • FindUsersByNameStartingWith() (new!) is ~50% faster than FindUsersBySubstrName() – so switch to this one if you can!

Improved Cloud Code Debugging

Good news for you cloud code developers – we’ve added some new smarts to the API Explorer and Cloud Code Editor that makes it a lot easier to trace and debug your scripts!

The two big additions are:

  • Activity Window Logs – log entries that your script creates are now visible in the activity window on the right-hand-side of the Cloud Code Editor and API Explorers
  • Debug Log-level – we have also added a new debug log level that only prints to the Activity Window log. This is perfect for analyzing and debugging your scripts, without unnecessarily clogging up your logs otherwise.
  • New JSON context methods– we have also expanded to provided Logging APIs to provide new methods that allow you to log JSON contexts directly (without stringifying them first)
  • Bridge access– finally, we have added all these new logging methods directly to the bridgefor maximum convenience!

Check out the GIF below to get a feeling for how the new script logging works.

Miscellaneous

Plus a few more shiny features, including:

  • Lobby Event Optimizations – a bunch of the data in the Lobby RTT events was unnecessary – we’ve trimmed it down to be more efficient
  • Faster user name lookups in the Design Portal
  • View WebHooks calls in the Server Logs
  • Filter the Server Logs
  • Export a user’s data from the User Summary page
  • and more!

Portal Changes

Design

  • Cloud Code | API Explorer
    • Activity pane now shows log messages
  • Cloud Code | Scripts | Script Editor
    • Activity pane now shows log messages
  • Segmentation | Segments
    • Page should load faster now

Monitoring

  • Global Monitoring | Server Logs
    • Incoming WebHooks calls are now captured here
    • Added ability to Filter the logs shown by typesourcedate, etc.
  • User Monitoring | User Summary
    • Select User– faster searching by user name! ← Popular Customer Request!
    • (beta!) Debug data export – new ability to export a user’s data. Very useful for debugging!

API Changes

Client API

The following changes/additions have affected the client API:

  • Client
    • isRTTEnabled() convenience method added to allow apps to check their RTT state
  • Entity
    • GetSharedEntityListForProfileId()and GetSharedEntitiesForProfileId()now return entityListCount for convenience 
  • Friend
    • New Universal ID searches: 
      • FindUserByExactUniversalId()
      • FindUsersByUniversalIdStartingWith()
    • New name search methods
      • FindUsersByNameStartingWith()
  • Group
    • ReadGroupMembers() – now returns the profile picture URL (if present) for each member
  • Identity
    • SwitchToChildProfile() and SwitchToSingletonChildProfile() cloud code methods have been simplified to align with the client versions of these calls. To clarify, the new methods no longer require you to pass in values for platform, language, etc – these values are all inherited from the current session.

Cloud Code

  • Bridge
    • Added logging calls to the bridge for convenience – LogInfo()LogInfoJson()LogWarning()LogWarningJson()LogError()and LogErrorJson()
    • Also added new debug log calls – LogDebug()and LogDebugJson()Note these calls are not available on the logging service itself, because they do write to the persistent logs. 
    • Added new context calls – getScriptName(), getAppName(), and getEnvironmentName().
  • HttpClient
    • Added new PostJsonOffboard() call – for efficient posting of HTTP requests in scenarios where it isn’t necessary to wait for the result
  • Logging
    • Added new JSON-context calls – LogInfoJson()LogWarningJson(), and LogErrorJson()

RTT (Beta) Events

We have made some small changes to the Lobby events being returned – essentially just removing some redundant / unnecessary fields.

We largely removed:

  • Nested and redundant id information (i.e. nested fields like idseqappId, etc.)
  • lobbyTypeDevsettingsconnectDataand occasionally members fields from events that didn’t require them 

For full details on Lobby Event composition, check out the details here.

Note – although RTT is still in beta, we don’t take changes like this lightly. Rest assured, we have reached out to our live RTT customers separately to give them a heads up re: these changes. 


Miscellaneous Changes / Fixes

  • Updated libraries
    • All client libraries have been updated for this release. Be sure to grab them!
    • We have added additional killswitch code to prevent errant apps from endlessly spamming our servers on authentication failures. As a rule folks, retrying an operation in an endless loop is bad form! Do not do that! 🙂 
  • Updated examples
  • Documentation updates
    • Improvements to content and accuracy of code examples
  • Important Fixes
    • BCLD-4163 – Presence cloud code proxies missing some methods
    • BCLD-4989 – File storage being reported on API Usage page as 0.0 or NaN
    • BCLD-4139 – Import script issue
    • BCLD-4105 – Added missing readUserStatsSubset() cloud code method
    • BCLD-4112 – Portal not editing / saving Steam IAP products properly in some cases
    • BCLD-4160 – lobbyService.switchTeam() can result in an NPE
    • BCLD-4159 – Improve speed of Use Monitoring – Select User – Search by Name
    • BCLD-4147 – Unable to save rewards in tasks (milestones) embedded in Quests in some circumstances
    • BCLD-4148 – Deleting an embedded task (milestone) from a Quest results in an orphaned Milestone
    • BCLD-4108 – Global Entities should allow filtering and sorting on entityId, version and expiresAt
    • BCLD-4118 – When performing SwitchToChildProfile(), a login log entry is now added for the child profile
    • BCLD-3969 – getRandomEntitiiesMatching() sometimes returns 0 items for max 1, even when items match – fixed.
    • BCLD-3267 – getChannelId() should confirm that a channel exists before returning the constructed id
    • And many, many more!
  • Plus miscellaneous fixes and performance improvements

Release 3.10

Release 3.10 is a modest release that fulfills a number of customer requests before the holidays. We hope that you find something you like!

Release Highlights

Chat Profanity Filter

We have added profanity filter support to our chat service. With it, you can automatically filter profane words (across multiple languages), as well as email and web urls from chat conversations. Offending word segments will be replaced with the character that you specify.

You can configure this via the Design | Messaging | Chat page in the Design Portal. Note that you must have signed up for WebPurify and configured it via the Design | Integrations | Manage Integrations page first.

Email Validation Enhancements

We have added two new features to make incorporating email verification into your apps easier.

  • Validation hooks – brainCloud can now automatically trigger a cloud code script to run when a user clicks on the validation URL included in the verification email. The script to be called is configured with the Design | Cloud Code | API Hooks page – just choose the EmailAuth service and assign scripts to Post and/or PostFail.
  • Continue button – we have also added a configurable [Continue] button to the web screen that pops up for email validation. This button is configured to send the user to the web URL of your choice when clicked. Very useful if you want to bring the user to your site login (or back into your app) after validating their email.

The continue button is enabled by configuring a validation hook script (see above) that returns results in the following format when run:

{
  "action": "continue",
  "label": "Continue",
  "hover": "Return to Login",
  "targetUrl": "http://myapp/login"
}

 

Hand-off API

There are times when it is handy to share a brainCloud login when traversing across multiple software systems (or apps) in real-time. For example, a user logs into App A, but to perform some action needs to be passed to a separate user flow in App B.

Accomplishing this in brainCloud is possible, but challenging. All three potential solutions have drawbacks:

  1. Passing the user’s credentials from one system to another <- major security concern
  2. Asking the user to login again <- usability issue
  3. Passing the active brainCloud sessionId to the other system <- doesn’t work due to packetId synchronization

So – we have created a new way to do this, which we call Handoff. The idea is pretty simple:

  1. App A: The user is logged into brainCloud normally, and a session created
  2. App A: The app calls the new CreateHandoffId() method, that creates a temporary handoffIdand securityTokenthat can be used to remotely log that user in. This id + token is only valid for a short period (~ one hour) and can only be used once.
  3. App A: The handoffId + securityToken is passed to the other app/system. How that is done is app-specific. It could be as simple as passing it along in a URL. You could even separate the data – send the id in an email with a clickable link, but text the user the token so that they have to manually enter it <- useful for more security intensive use cases
  4. App B: The app calls the new AuthenticateHandoff() API call to log the user into brainCloud

Voila!

Pro-tip: Hand-off can be combined with the Email Validation Enhancements above to redirect the user back into your app’s registration flow!

 

Non-login Universal IDs

The brainCloud profile nameproperty is a handy way for users to identify themselves. It is used throughout brainCloud (and brainCloud apps) for displaying player names in leaderboards, chat, lists of friends, etc.

Although handy, the nameproperty does have some inherent limitations:

  1. Names are not unique. Like in the real world, multiple people can have the same name.
  2. Searches can be slow. Searching through non-unique collections is slower.

We have long-advocated that developers assign Universal Identities to user accounts to easily enforce uniqueness and make them more searchable. To keep users from being able to inadvertently login via these ids, a generated GUID can be used as the password.

We have now taken the next step and implemented direct support for non-login Universal IDs.

Usage is simple:

Pro-tip: brainCloud just uses a string for universal identities. They are pretty free-form (i.e. can have spaces, in front, in back, special characters, etc.) If you want to be more restrictive, be sure to filter them and apply your restrictions before creating them!

 

S2S Library

We have always had a handy https-based S2S (Server-to-Server) API – but up until now we’ve left the heavy lifting of calling it to your custom server code.

Enter our new S2S Client Javascript libraries! You can grab them from our GitHub repo, or from npm.

They are fairly minimal – you still need to specify raw service and operation, together with a properly constructed data object for the parameters (use the S2S Explorer as your guide to how to format things). We just handle the drudgery of forming the actual requests and sending them to brainCloud servers. And we use the more optimal S2S session-based protocol – so your communications are more efficient and cost you less! It’s win-win!

 

Server Logs

Finally, we are working to make brainCloud’s server-to-server interactions a lot more understandable / debuggable.  As a first step in that, we are now logging all incoming S2S requests to a new log that can be viewed on the Monitoring | Global Monitoring | Server Logs page.

This page is currently limited to only a maximum of the last 100 requests. It will be enhanced significantly in upcoming releases.

 


Portal Changes

Design

  • Cloud Code | API Explorer
    • There are new API Calls available in the Authentication, Identity, and HttpClient services.
  • Cloud Code | API Hooks
    • Added the new EmailAuth hook for automatically triggering scripts when a user clicks on the link in the validation email.
  • Messaging | Chat
    • Added new Profanity Filtering config settings. Note that you need to configure the WebPurify integration from the Integrations | Manage Integrations screen first.
  • Segmentation | Segments
    • Improved the performance of retrieving the list of Segments

Monitoring

  • [New!] Global Monitoring | Server Logs
    • New page collects S2S requests and responses for easier debugging of server scenarios
    • Note – currently a beta page – will be enhanced soon with pagination features (and later with filtering!)

 


API Changes

Client API

The following changes/additions have affected the client API:

  • Authentication
  • Identity
  • HttpClient
    • Added a new PostJsonResponseText() method for those weird APIs <cough> slack </cough> that post in JSON but return the result as a string? I mean really – who does that? 🙂
    • The existing PostJsonResponseJson() method also more gracefully handles text-only returns – enclosing them in a JSON object with the text in a field called jsonString.

 


Miscellaneous Changes / Fixes

  • Updated Client libraries
    • The following libraries have been updated with the new 3.10 feature set:
      • Unity + C# libraries
      • Java libraries
      • Javascript libraries
      • Objective-C + Swift libraries
      • Unreal
      • ActionScript (minus RTT features)
    • Additional notes
      • Javascript
        • We have combined our two node.js packages (one for node.js server, one for react) into a single package!
        • Our Javascript library now directly supports NPM. Include “braincloud-js” to grab it!
      • C++ (PS4)
        • FileUploader in place.
      • Objective-C
        • Chat and Lobby services updated.
      • Unreal
        • Unreal wrapper handling smart switching better.
    • We highly recommend that all apps update to the latest libs!
  • Miscellaneous changes
    • Improved handling of anonymous device ids
      • Certain scenarios, like profile merges, result in dormant anonymous ids being associated with a user’s profile.
      • brainCloud will now limit the maximum # of device ids per profile, and if there are more, delete then oldest <n> of them at each login – eventually returning the user to the proper maximum.
      • The default maximum has been set to 10.
    • Page performance
      • Improved the performance of the Design | Segmentation | Segments and Design | Core App Info | Admin pages.
  • Documentation updates
    • Improvements to content and accuracy of code examples.
  • Important Fixes
    • BCLD-3715 – Fix to SendMessage to allow passing in full jsonContext
    • BCLD-3860 – Scripts: Double-slashes in example parameters were not being preserved during export/import
    • BCLD-3737 – Chat service NPE when attempting to retrieve group chat listeners for a group
    • BCLD-3861 – NPE in lobby service runMatchmaker() API
    • And many, many more!
  • Plus miscellaneous fixes and performance improvements.

Release 3.9.0

brainCloud 3.9 is here! Check out the new hotness!

 

Release Highlights

Online Presence

Online Presence allows an app’s users to know which of their friends are currently online and available for collaboration.

Presence builds upon brainCloud RTT to deliver a rich solution which communicates:

  • online status – which users (friends, group members) are currently online
  • activity – customizable, rich activity data

In addition, presence supports:

  • real-time notification of status changes
  • ability of subjects to appear invisible (i.e. offline)

For more information, see the Presence Service API Reference.

Note – Online Presence requires brainCloud RTT.

Tournament Divisions

brainCloud already allows games to increase player engagement through global tournaments, which reward prizes (currency, xp, etc.) to users for their play in recurring and/or adhoc tournaments.

Unfortunately, the lure of tournaments diminish as the number of participants grow and the player’s chance of winning decreases. It is tough to motivate players when they need to rank at the top of a leaderboard with thousands of players.

That is where Divisions come in. Divisions horizontally divide your players into separate leaderboards (which we call division instances) of a set size – say 100 players each.

The advantages are significant:

  • Greater engagement – players are playing against a smaller set of opponents, and are more motivated because they have a greater chance of winning
  • Greater control – there is a greater ability to tune the risk / reward structure of the contest, since the numbers are constrained
  • Greater liquidity – divisions hide the actual size of your tournament pool, which can be advantageous when your app is still growing

For more information, see the new Division APIs in the Tournament Service API Reference.

Note – Divisions are available to Business Plan customers and above.

 

Refactored Currency and In-App Purchase APIs

We have completely refactored the Currency, Purchase, and Product / Pricing / Promotions APIs that were previously jammed together in our old Product Service.

We’ve created two shiny new services to contain the new goodness:

  • AppStore Service – houses the new purchase and Product / Pricing / Promotions APIs. The Purchase APIs have been completely re-designed for the new service.
  • VirtualCurrency Service – handles all the currency APIs (other than the move, the APIs are barely changed).

Have no worries – we will ensure that the legacy Product Service continues to work until July 1, 2020, but we strongly suggest that new apps move to the new APIs now, and older apps migrate when they can.

For more information, see the new AppStore Service and VirtualCurrency Service API References.

 

Customer Requests

We have also added a handful of features to satisfy key customer requests. Hopefully you’ll find yours here!

  • Global Pre-hooks
    • You can now set up a single pre-hook that gets invoked before any API call – which is especially useful if you want to significantly restrict the calls that can be made from the client, without having to individually configure the hook for each service + operation combination.
  • Global Properties
    • New JSON support – you can now directly add/edit JSON in your properties!
    • Deployment Enhancements – you can now preserve the values of select Global Properties though deploys. This is especially useful if you need to accomodate alternate property values in development vs. production, for example.  (Admittedly, using a JSON structure for the value, indexed by AppId is a decent solution for that as well!) 
  • Facebook
    • We’ve updated our Facebook libraries to support Graph API v 2.8
  • Improved Script Engine
    • Turns out our cloud code implementation had an issue where objects being passed and returned from scripts were being set to read-only – even though they were copies. This resulted in issues invoking certain methods on the objects, and of course not being able to modify them without performing another deep-copy within your script. This has been resolved. This result is fully back-wards compatible.

 

Miscellaneous

Last but not least, we have a few more improvements under-the-hood:

  • Improved Cloud Code performance
    • we’ve improved the caching of cloud code scripts for even better performance!
  • Improved Leaderboard caching
    • as part of our Tournament Division work, we improved the caching of leaderboard configuration data. The improvement will be most noticeable for apps with lots of leaderboards.
  • Improved Design Portal performance
    • We’ve been reworking our core Design Portal tech. You should notice improved zippiness all around when using the portal!

 

Portal Changes

We have made the following portal changes:

Design

  • Core App Info | Application IDs
    • Added a new Bundle Id field in Apple platform settings, which if filled in, is used to perform additional receipt validation in the new AppStore Service.
  • Core App Info | Advanced Settings
    • A new compatibility flag, [x] Enable legacy Purchase Collection support, has been added. It defaults to enabled for both new and existing apps.
      • Apps with existing purchases should keep this enabled – it will allow the new purchase APIs and old purchase APIs to coexist nicely
      • New apps can feel free to disable this and use the new APIs only.
  • Cloud Code | API Hooks
    • We have added new Dispatcher and S2SDispatcher support for pre-hooks.
    • Configuring a pre-hook against those services will cause the pre-hook script to run before any client or S2S call respectively.
  • Custom Config | Global Properties
    • When creating / editing a property, you can now configure the editor for String or JSON editing. Note that the underlying value is still stored as a String.
    • You can also choose whether the property value should be protected from being overwritten during deploys. This is useful for values that are set uniquely per brainCloud app instance (i.e. the profileId of a system user, a to tell the client that this is a prod vs. debug instance, that sort of thing).
    • Note that during deployment, the deploy process obeys the configuration specified in the source app, not the target app.
  • Leaderboards | Leaderboard Configs
    • You can now flag tournament-enabled leaderboards to act as templates for Divisions. Template tournament/leaderboards do not appear in the regular leaderboard lists, and cannot be joined.
    • You can also now quickly clone leaderboards by choosing the Duplicate option from the action menu.
  • Loaderboards | Tournament Templates
    • Quickly clone tournament templates by choosing the Duplicate option from the action menu.
  • Leaderboards | Division Sets
    • Jump into our new Tournament Divisions feature by defining Division Sets!
    • Division Sets allow you to break tournaments into random sub-tournaments for greater engagement.
    • To configure a division:
      1. First create a tournament-enabled Leaderboard to act as a template (setting the template flag to enabled)
      2. Then create the division set, selecting the Leaderboard template and configuring the maximum # of players per division instance
      3. Use the new Tournament Division APIs to join the tournament!
  • Marketplace | Products
    • We have made a bunch of under-the-hood changes to allow for easier integration of new AppStores in the future
    • The screen should work largely as before – let us know if you experience any issues!
  • Messaging | Presence
    • New screen for configuring the new Presence service
    • Once enabled, any RTT connection established by a client will contain basic presence info (i.e. online/offline) as well
    • From there, rich activity and real-time updates can be enabled as well

Monitoring

  • Global Monitoring | Leaderboards
    • We have added a “Choose a division…” option to the Leaderboard selection menu (for apps that are using Divisions). Use it to view the leaderboard results for a Division instance.
    • Rationale – division instances are hidden from the Leaderboard lists (because there may be hundreds of them).
    • Pro-tip – You can use the API explorer to find the division instances related to a particular player
      • Go to Monitoring | User Monitoring, and find the player in question
      • If the Live Lock banner is showing, click the lock to unlock it
      • Click on [Login as User] to login as this user in the API explorer
      • Choose the Tournament service, and the GetMyDivisions() operation, and click [Run].
      • Voila – a list of the division ids instances for that player. Note that each id contains both the division set code, and the instance id (a number).
  • User Monitoring
    • We’ve added a new Recent Users tab to make it easier to find users that have recently logged into your app
    • Note that this is a log, so you may see the same user listed multiple times (only really noticeable at low activity counts)
  • User Monitoring | Transactions
    • Updated to support the new purchase services and transaction formats
    • You can now view purchase receipts, and even delete purchases if you would like (useful during testing)

General

  • Improved Portal Tech
    • We’ve been doing some work under-the-covers to improve our Portal technology
    • The first thing you should notice is a performance boost – yay!
    • You may also notice a few CSS-related bugs. Feel free to report those so that we can stamp them out!

API Changes

The following changes/additions have affected the brainCloud API:

  • AppStore Service
    • New AppStore Service for querying products / pricing / promotions, and performing in-app purchases.
    • The product / pricing / promotions APIs are identical to the Product Service versions – but the IAP APIs are all new!
  • Group Service
  • Leaderboard Service
  • Product Service
    • Important: The Product Service is being deprecated in favour of the new AppStore and VirtualCurrency services.
    • The service and its APIs will continue to work until July 1st, 2020.
    • There is a new compatibility flag in the portal under Design | Core App Info | Advanced Settings, which controls how purchase transactions are written to the database. Keep [x] Enable legacy Purchase Collection support checked if your app uses the old Product APIs, or a mixture of the old Productand new AppStoreAPIs. New apps that will only use the new AppStore APIs can feel free to clear that flag.
    • Although deprecated, we did add the missing cloud-code version of the VerifyItunesReceipt() back to the service (for those who need it!)
  • Presence Service
    • There is an all-new Presence service. Check it out!
  • Tournament Service
  • VirtualCurrency Service
    • New VirtualCurrency Service for currency operations. The operations are largely the same, with a bit of clean-up.

Miscellaneous Changes / Fixes

  • Updated libraries
    • All libraries have been updated with the latest API enhancements (with a few exceptions). Go get ’em!
      • C# / Unity – fully up-to-date for 3.9
      • Unreal – fully up-to-date for 3.9
      • C++ – fully up-to-date for 3.9 (though UWP and Nuget packages are outstanding)
      • Java – fully up-to-date for 3.9
      • JavaScript – fully up-to-date for 3.9
      • Objective-C / Swift – fully up-to-date for 3.9
      • AS3 – does not include RTT or RTT-related features (Chat, Presence, Lobbies) but otherwise supports all 3.9 APIs
  • Documentation updates
    • API references have been updated for 3.9
  • Important Fixes
    • BCLD-3513 – Calling RemoveMember on a lobby instance that only has 1 member causes a null pointer exception
    • BCLD-3388 – When receiving a peer currency reward from an xp upgrade, the peer currency balances were not being returned
    • BCLD-3321 – Wrong error code returned for invalid lobby id
    • BCLD-3265 – Unreal and objective-C – fix set profileId after merge call
    • BCLD-3348 – ‘View tutorials’ link in Portal was broken
    • BCLD-3217 – Improved RETRY and PACKET_IN_PROGRESS handling for Unity client library
    • BCLD-3211 – Improved RETRY and PACKET_IN_PROGRESS handling for JavaScript client library
  • Plus miscellaneous fixes and performance enhancements…

Release 3.8.0 – RTT is here!

brainCloud 3.8 marks the beta release of our new Real-time Tech, which we ingeniously call brainCloud RTT.

The brainCloud Platform is built upon a request + response foundation – which provides great flexibility and reliability, together with incredible performance and scalability. There are times, however, when more adhoc communications are desirable (online gaming, chat, monitoring, etc) – and that is where RTT comes in.

brainCloud RTT adds a real-time channel to our client API. This channel allows clients to listen for and react to real-time events – without polling.

This enables a whole suite of new brainCloud features – the first of which you’ll see in brainCloud 3.8!

Note – brainCloud RTT is available to customers using the Business Plan and above. Usage pricing above the initial set of included concurrent users will be announced soon!

To enable RTT, check [x] Real-time Tech (RTT) Enabled on the Design | Core App Info | Advanced Settings page. 

 

 

Release Highlights

Chat

Thanks to RTT, brainCloud now supports online chat!

We have focused primarily on supporting chat for groups, but we also provide support for global chat channels – which are available to all users of an app.

Chat offers the following features:

  • global and group channel types
  • simple or rich content messages (developer defined)
  • caching of recent chat history
  • support for system messages (from the app, instead of an end-user)
  • support for hidden (semantic) messages
  • ability to edit / delete chat messages

Note – Chat requires brainCloud RTT to be enabled for the app.

For more info, check out the Chat API page, and try out our example chat app – bcChat!

 

Messaging

brainCloud now provides a Messaging service as well. Messaging is different from chat, in that:

  • recipients are addressed directly (i.e. not via channels)
  • message history is managed on a user-by-user basis (i.e. not by channel)
  • RTT is optional; if enabled, users will receive real-time notification of new messages

Messaging features:

  • Support for multiple recipients
  • Messages are organized into incoming (“inbox”) and sent (“sent”) messageboxes
  • Support for readvs. unreadmessages
  • Support for system messages (from the app, instead of an end-user)
  • Automatic clean-up / deletion of expired messages (important to keep storage utilization low)

For more info, check out the Messaging API page.

 

RTT Online

With RTT, brainCloud now directly supports the development and integration of custom servers for shared experiences – such as online games (async or otherwise), online meetings, shared document editing, etc.

 

Room Servers

Room Servers are custom servers used to provide a shared experience (i.e. an online game, online meeting, etc.) to a set of users.

These servers are light-weight and simple to develop, and can easily integrate with brainCloud’s new Lobby and Online Matchmaking services.

In 3.8, Custom Room Servers must be hosted outside of brainCloud, but future brainCloud releases will support hosting the services directly under brainCloud via Docker containers.

Lobbies

Lobbies are used to gather up users prior to launching Room Servers. They provide an online matchmaking service (as opposed to the offline strategy provided by our existing Matchmaking service).

Lobbies provide:

  • support for multiple teams – with min / max # of users
  • automatic assignment of users to teams (users can switch afterwards)
  • management of user settingsand readystatus
  • support for multiple lobby types
  • support for calling an external room server managerto launch a room serverwhen the lobby is ready

Lobby Matchmaking

Online matchmaking is used to match up users with lobbies, in preparation for entering Room Servers.

The Lobby Matchmaking APIs allow the developer to:

  • specify the type of lobby / room to match with
  • specify the player rating to target
  • specify an algorithm to use when escalatingthe search
  • provide a custom filter script to use to filter out candidates

For more info, check out the Lobby API page.

On Demand Tournaments

We have greatly enhanced our Leaderboard and Tournament systems to make the scheduling of tournaments more flexible.

brainCloud previously supported only regularly recurring tournaments – which are tournaments that happen daily, weekly, monthly, etc… (i.e. at preset intervals). brainCloud 3.8 introduces new On Demand / Adhoc Tournaments – to support irregularly scheduled tournaments (i.e. major holidays, new releases, etc.)

To create an adhoc tournament, create a leaderboard and choose the “Adhoc Tournaments” rotation type. Then manually add each tournament period.

 

 

Cloud Code Import / Export

Finally, we are reworking our cloud code management sytems. As part of this, we have created a new serialization format for cloud code scripts, that makes it easier to export the scripts, edit them locally on your workstation, and upload them back to us.

The handy cloud-code method below allows you to post a score to multiple leaderboards:

var result = {};
result.posted = 0;
result.errors = 0;
result.errorsList = [];

// Grab the parameters
var leaderboards = data.leaderboards;
var score = data.score;
var extras = data.extras;

var _leaderboard = bridge.getLeaderboardServiceProxy();
var postResult = {};

// Loop through the leaderboards
for (var i = 0; i < leaderboards.length; i++ ) {
    
    // Post the score
    postResult = _leaderboard.postScoreToLeaderboard(leaderboards[i], score, extras);
    if (postResult.status == 200) {
        result.posted++;
    } else {
        result.errors++;
        result.errorsList.push(postResult);
    }
    
}

// Return the results
result;
//*** ------------- brainCloud meta-data begins now - do not hand-edit -----------------
// "scriptName":"PostToLeaderboards",
// "clientCallable":true,
// "s2sCallable":false,
// "peerCallable":false,
// "scriptTimeout":10,
// "description":"Posts a score to multiple leaderboards",
// "parms":"{\n  \"leaderboards\": [\"weekly\", \"alltime\"],\n  \"score\": 1000,\n  \"extras\": {}\n}",
// "version":3,
// "updatedAt":1530799500264

To import it into your app:

  • Click here to download the serialized version of the cloud code script to your workstation
  • Launch the Design Portal, and go to Design | Cloud Code | Scripts, and choose the Import Script option from the Import / Export menu button
  • Navigate to your download directory, and choose the PostToLeaderboards.cloudcode.js.zip script
  • Click okay – and voila, you should now have the script, with all setting intact.

This new serialization format is the first step to a bunch of new features that we hope will make creating and managing cloud code scripts a lot easier for devs. We hope you like it!

 


Portal Changes

The following additions and changes have made to the Design Portal:

Design

  • Core App Info | Advanced Settings
    • Added a new setting to enable RTT to the App Settings section.
  • Cloud Code | Scripts
    • Added new options for importing and exporting Cloud Code scripts.
  • Leaderboards | Leaderboard Configs
    • This dialog has been completely re-designed to better handle Tournament scenarios, including new On Demand Tournaments.
    • One tournaments are enabled, a new Tournament Periods section appears – allowing the developer to select and edit the settings of a specific tournament rotation.
    • Recurring tournaments will always show the current period, followed by the next (recurring) period. Changes to either period will affect all periods that follow.
    • Adhoc tournaments will show the the current period (if there is one) and any future periods. Adhoc tournament periods do not repeat – you must individually schedule each one.
  • Messaging | Chat
    • Used to enable and configure the new Chat service.
    • The settings determine how much chat history is preserved.
  • Messaging | Chat Channels
    • Used to configure the list of Global Chat Channels for the app.
  • Messaging | Messaging
    • Used to enable and configure the Messaging service.
    • The settings determine message retention, and whether outgoing copies of messages are saved.
  • Multiplayer | Lobbies
    • Used to enable the Lobby service, and configure the list of Lobby Types.
    • Lobby type settings include:
      • team definitions – including min / max number of partipants
      • progression rules – including timing and ready-up percentages
      • matchmaking filter – used to customize matchmaking beyond the built-in skill, lobby-type and team space algorithm
      • room server manager – the web call to make to allocate a room server for the experience
      • custom config – custom json parameters to pass onto the room server at the start of the experience

 

Monitoring

  • Global Monitoring | Leaderboards
    • Updated the leaderboard viewer to view On Demand / Adhoc Tournaments

 


 

API Changes

The following changes/additions have been made to the brainCloud API:

In addition, all brainCloud file downloads (global and user) are now resumable (we have added the “Accept-Ranges” header).

 


 

Miscellaneous Changes / Fixes

  • Updated libraries
    • RTT support, with Chat, Messaging and Lobby APIs, have been added to the Unity, Java and Javascript libraries. More libraries will follow soon!
    • All libraries have been updated with improved retry and packet-in-progress handling
    • Our Javascript library now directly supports NPM. Include braincloud-js to grab it.
  • Documentation updates
    • We have updated the docs to reflect the new brainCloud services
  • Plus miscellaneous fixes and performance improvements

 

Release 3.7.0

We are happy to present Release 3.7.0. It’s a mid-sized update that satisfies some key customer requests and incorporates some foundational changes that we will be leveraging in upcoming releases!

Release Highlights

Inherited Friends!

The Shared Accounts feature in brainCloud allows developers to build relationships between apps – so that users can log into a single master account (i.e. parent profile), and utilize that account (and data) across a suite of related apps. The user data from each app is still stored independently (allowing independent save state, achievements, scores/leaderboards, etc.) in a separate sub-account (i.e. child profile).

We have now extended this mechanism to better support social relationships between users. So, instead of having to manage a set of friends individually for each app, child apps can now inherit friends from their parents. This is a great boon for social leaderboards – and means that new entrants in a suite of apps can easily extend the social graph of related apps.

If you are already using Shared Accounts, you can enable Inherited Friends by going to the Design | Authentication | Shared Accounts page and checking the [x] Include Friends of Parents option.

The ListFriends(), GetSocialLeaderboard(), GetPlayersSocialLeaderboard() and GetMultiSocialLeaderboard() APIs have all been enhanced to utilize inherited friends.

 

More Flexible Matchmaking

Our matchmaking service has been enhanced to offer more flexibility – namely support for overriding the player’s ranking that is the basis of the search, and the ability to substitute in a different matchmaking filter.

The new API methods are: FindPlayersUsingScript() and FindPlayersWithAttributesUsingScript().

Note – for security purposes, these new calls are cloud-code only.

 

Updated Developer Roles / Permissions

We have tweaked the permissions associated with the default development roles of the system to incorporate customer feedback.

The following changes have been applied:

  • Support role
    • Removed write access to all of Global Monitoring, except for Leaderboards
    • Removed access to Reporting | API Usage – leaving only access to Reporting | Error Analytics
    • Full read+write access to User Monitoring remains
    • Limited read+write access to Design remains as is
  • Read-only role 
    • Removed access to Design | Core App Info (all sections) and Design | Integrations 

 

Change E-mail Identity

We’ve added a new api that allows you to change the email address associated with a user’s EmailIdentity.

The new ChangeEmailIdentity() call takes as parameters the existing email and password (for security purposes), and the new email address to use. You can also optionally tell the method to update the user’s contact email as well (recommended).

Note – this method does not currently support our email verification system, so no verification email (with link to confirm) is sent. We plan to add that support in a future release.

 


Portal Changes

We’ve made the following portal changes:

Design

  • Authentication | Shared Accounts
    • Added the new [x] Include Friends of Parents option
  • Leaderboard | Leaderboard Configs
    • You can no longer add Tournaments to the active rotation of a leaderboard if it already has scores. The tournament will be queued to activate on the next rotation

Monitoring

  • Global Monitoring | Leaderboards
    • Now showing the status of the Tournament auto-claim and auto-join settings per leaderboard rotation

Team

  • Home | Audit Log
    • We now log any password reset requests for security purposes…

 


API Changes

The following changes/additions have affected the brainCloud API:

Plus the ReadProperties() method is now available from the S2S API.

 


Miscellaneous Changes / Fixes

  • Updated libraries
    • All libraries have been updated with the new APIs. We recommend that all apps upgrade!
  • Documentation updates
    • We have updated the docs to reflect the new API calls
  • Important Fixes
    • BCLD-2777 – Portal: when adding to the [Job Queue], the “Save” button becomes available without selecting a script
    • BCLD-2783 – Changing apps while on the script page causes the Peer Script Service not to update in the API Explorer
    • BCLD-2790 – Portal: [Monitoring] –> [Group Entities]: the data for a group entity is shown as an escaped JSON string, not nicely printed
    • BCLD-2904 – User Attributes don’t reset on reset
    • BCLD-2927 – fixed duplicate HTML ids across all pages
    • BCLD-2985 – User Monitoring | Friends – need space between friend name and email
    • BCLD-3003 – Team Select Screen – When the User adds a new team it does not appear in the select team drop down
  • Plus miscellaneous fixes and performance enhancements…

Release 3.6.6

This release is a minor update with some key optimizations and defect fixes.

Feature Highlights

Faster Leaderboards and Tournaments

We’ve spent considerable time profiling and optimizing key tournament and leaderboard APIs – we think you’ll like the results:

  • GetGlobalLeaderboardView() is now up to 25X faster! This is especially apparent for leaderboards of 50K or more users where the player doing the retrieval is near the end of the leaderboard
  • PostTournamentScoreWithResults() is also up to 50X faster! We had recently pulled that call out-of-service due to performance issues – we hope to reinstate it in a few days after we’ve got more real-world data

Miscellaneous Fixes

The following defects have been addressed in 3.6.6:

  • BCLD-2782 – Portal: Trying to “View Team” from Super > Users switches to random team instead of the selected team
  • BCLD-2777 – Portal: When adding to the Job Queue, the “Save” button becomes available without selecting a script
  • BCLD-2793 – Portal: Super – System Properties’ Categories drop-down does not function properly once a category is selected
  • BCLD-2847 – Portal: Part of WebHook URL changes to “null” after saving and re-opening it
  • BCLD-2821 – Portal: User Monitoring | Statistics – always shows “0 records”
  • BCLD-2802 – Portal: dropdown/context menu on Design | Custom Config | Files appears partly off the right side of screen
  • BCLD-2861 – Portal: Core App Info | Admin Tools – Deployment: Checkbox of second option gets checked while clicking on the text of the third option.
  • BCLD-2786 – Portal: Mouse-over texgt is either missing or incorrect (multiple locations)
  • BCLD-2856 – API: In some cases, non-shareable files can be downloaded without a session
  • BCLD-2826 – API: Leaderboard: GetGlobalLeaderboardView ranges now working properly with duplicate scores
  • BCLD-2830 – API: PostTournamentScoreWithResults reports the wrong error if a player is not registered
  • BCLD-2813 – Portal: Super user cannot perform “Sys Enable” action to enable an app that has been previously disabled
  • BCLD-2824 – Portal: Design | Integrations – the first three fields for SendGrid integration should have * next to titles to indicate required
  • BCLD-2825 – API: PostScoreToLeaderboard fails on any leaderboard that ever had a tournament attached

Portal Changes

There are no changes to the portal in this release.


API Changes

The following changes/additions have affected the brainCloud API:

  • Tournament
    • PostTournamentScoreWithResults() – we have removed the previousLeaderboard section of the returned JSON. It was debugging information that mistakenly got left in the response during initial development.
  • Client Library
    • We have added a new IGNORE_SSL_CHECK compiler directive to the C# library. Useful for when connecting an app to a developer-deployed brainCloud instance.

Miscellaneous Changes / Fixes

  • Updated libraries
    • All libraries have been updated with the refactoring and latest API enhancements. We recommend that all apps upgrade!
  • Important Fixes
    • See the list in the Feature section
  • Plus miscellaneous fixes and performance enhancements…

Release 3.6.5

We are pleased to present release 3.6.5 – just in time for the holidays!

Note that there are some breaking changes in the client libraries – but they are pretty simple to accomodate, and of course will not affect your app until you update. For more details, see the Refactored Client Libraries section below.


Feature Highlights

Fresher Matchmaking

We have added a new expiry feature to keep your matchmaking fresh. It is implemented via a nightly process that will disable the matchmaking flag for users that haven’t logged into the app within the specified number of days.

 

Enabling this feature will ensure that players don’t get matched with opponents who haven’t recently logged into your game.

Important notes:

  • The nightly process only runs for Live apps. This feature does not affect apps still in development. (This saves server cycles, plus while in development it is tough to get enough players to match against already!)
  • Auto-Expiry is turned OFF by default for existing apps.
  • Auto-Expiry is turned ON by default for new apps (with expiry set to 30 days).
  • Important: brainCloud will not automatically re-enable matchmaking for a disabled user once they login. Apps using this feature should directly call EnableMatchmaking() whenever a user launches the app.

Batch Scripts

A common customer request has been a way to iterate through the population of an app’s users, performing some operations on each user’s account. It has taken some time to find a proper way to do this that is scalable and safe – but we are pleased to announce that the first evolution of this is now in place.

We have introduced a new S2S Script Service method called RunBatchUserScript(). This script can be called via the S2S Explorer or from an external server – and queues the specified script to be run against each of the users in a app (or optionally, against particular segments). Although the RunBatchUserScript() is triggered from the S2S context, each individual script is run in the context of the current player – so it is as if the script was called by that user’s logged-in session – greatly simplifying the script code.

Here’s an example script that writes a global entity (singleton) for each player it is run upon:

var result;

_globalEntityService = bridge.getGlobalEntityServiceProxy();

var acl = { "other": 1 };
var customData = { "test": "info" };

result = _globalEntityService.createEntity(data.entityType, null, acl, customData );

result;

You can call it via the S2S Explorer like this:

Note that the scripts get queued to run on the users in the background – and depending upon the app’s population may take several minutes or potentially several hours to complete.

Refactored Client Libraries

The brainCloud client libraries have been refactored for greater simplicity and flexibility. Key improvements with these changes are:

  • Support for multiple connections per device ← useful for devices that require multiple concurrent user logins – couch co-op, anyone?
  • Saved wrapper data is now differentiated with a wrapperName value ← necessary to support multiple connections
  • Access to all client services from the wrapper ← means the wrapper becomes largely invisible
  • Simpler client code ← yay!

Key API changes

The key change that allows this is the deprecation of the singleton behaviour of the brainCloud client libraries. As you may or may not know, for convenience the brainCloud client libraries declared singletons for both the BrainCloudWrapper and BrainCloudClient library classes. This provided a bit of convenience for developers – but at considerable costs to flexibility (and frankly, some code readability issues). We are hereby deprecating this behaviour.

In addition, we are making the client services callable directly from the wrapper – which greatly simplifies calling them (and abstracts whether you are calling via the wrapper or directly from the client).

For comparison – here are what two calls to the leaderboard API look like – before and after this API change:

// Old: Call leaderboard API via the wrapper singleton, to the leaderboard service via the BrainCloudClient object
BrainCloudWrapper.GetBC().getLeaderboardService.ListAllLeaderboards( ApiSuccess, ApiError);

// New: Same call. Note that whether _bc is an instance of BrainCloudWrapper or BrainCloudClient, this code looks the same. Simpler, eh?
_bc.LeaderboardService.ListAllLeaderboards( ApiSuccess, ApiError );

 

These improvements mean that some client code has to change – but the changes are pretty simple, and we believe well worth-it (see below).

Existing apps have the following options available to them:

  • No changes – stay with brainCloud libraries earlier than 3.6.5
  • Minimal changes – move to brainCloud library 3.6.5, but turn the legacy singleton mode on
  • Full changes – move to brainCloud library 3.6.5, initialize the brainCloud wrapper to your own global(s), and adjust your calling code accordingly

We highly recommend that new apps use the new paradigm – your code will be simpler for it.

For more information, see our blog post with the full details and rationale.


Portal Changes

We’ve made the following portal changes for this release:

Team

  • Navigation
    • We have restructured the Team navigation menu to better group the features. In particular, all of the Admin-management features are now located under the Manage menu.

Design

  • Core App Info | Advanced Settings
    • Disable Live Lock – Live Lock helps to protect your live apps by forcing you to unlock them before editing. You can now disable this behaviour if you would like (Note – not recommended for production apps!)
  • Integrations | Sendgrid
    • Fixed an issue where test emails were no longer being sent when the [Test] button was pressed.
  • Multiplayer | Matchmaking
    • Expire matchmaking – Automatically expire (disable) a user’s eligibility for matchmaking after <x> days without logging in. Helps to ensure that your players are matched with fresh opponents, instead of players who may no longer be active in your app!

Monitoring

  • User Monitoring | Logs
    • New Export feature exports requests and responses in their entirety… (before was limited to request and response summaries)

General

  • User Settings
    • Language and Timezone settings are now stored to the developers account profile (instead of local web storage). Also addressed an issue with daylight savings time.
  • Entity Editors
    • Global Entity Editor, Group Entity Editor and User Entity Editor have all been updated to handle Long values better.

API Changes

The following changes/additions have affected the brainCloud API:

  • Client
    • EnableSingletonMode setting – if you wish to use the brainCloud singleton mode, it is still available, but it must be explicitely enabled. You can do so by setting BrainCloudClient.EnableSingletonMode = true in your app.
  • Multiplayer
    • <New!IncrementShield() – allows you to increment the shield setting without reading it first. Especially useful when extending a shield that is already in place.
  • Script Service
    • <New!> RunBatchUserScript() – allows you to queue a script to be run against all of your apps’s users! (or select segments)
  • Wrapper
    • Singleton behaviour is now deprecated, but can be re-enabled using the EnableSingletonMode setting of the Client.
    • All of the brainCloudClient service accessors (except AuthenticationService) have been added to the wrapper.
    • Unity: Removed static class method Client() (which returned the client singleton) and replaced it an instance-level Client() get / set accessor (which returns the client object associated with this wrapper instance).

Miscellaneous Changes / Fixes

  • Updated libraries
    • All libraries have been updated with the refactoring and latest API enhancements. We recommend that all apps upgrade!
  • Documentation updates
    • We have updated the docs to reflect the new client calling conventions
  • Miscellaneous updates
    • We have updated brainCloud to use version 2.7 of the Facebook Graph API
  • Important Fixes
    • BCLD-2756 – Losing verification code on merging Email account into another account
    • BCLD-2746 – PostTournamentScore/WithResults should auto-join player if Auto Join enabled for leaderboard config
    • BCLD-2742 – Rank added to postTournamentScoreWithResults
    • BCLD-2739 – Fix to before and after handling of postTournamentScoreWithResults
    • BCLD-2721 – When attaching an Email identity and app email feature Send Verification Email is checked , we aren’t updating player emailAddress when should be
    • BCLD-2710 – PostTournamentScore(WithResults) – Null pointer exception when posting score to a leaderboard with tournament configured but not active until Next Cycle
    • BCLD-2699 – GlobalEntity Raw Export fails to import when <timeToLive> is 0 (Integer vs. Long)
    • BCLD-2696 – Portal – If you switch apps while editing a web service the page does not update
    • BCLD-2662 – Non Admin Users see the Remove option in the actions menu of the Members page
    • BCLD-2607 – Disable the [Go Live] button once the user clicks it
    • BCLD-2597 – Portal – If data field for an Entity contains an integer that is too high show a proper error dialog
    • BCLD-2594 – Segment country-code not standardized as UPPERCASE
    • BCLD-2593 – BigInteger web defect – GlobalEntity, ChildEntity, Group and GroupEntity editors
    • BCLD-2646 – Fix the banner in Safari
  • Plus miscellaneous fixes and performance enhancements…