A Birthday Gift

By Rich Stone, 7 years ago
Hi good people of TA,

On the 15th of March we celebrated our 3rd Birthday – happy birthday to us!

As a mark of this fine achievement (pardon the pun), I present to you possibly the largest site update so far, containing a wealth of goodies…

Site Leaderboard Rewrite

By far the largest part of this update is a complete rewrite of the site leaderboards.

We have the following stats that leaderboards are created for:

• TrueAchievement points
• GamerScore
• TA Ratio
• TA Difference (TrueAchievement points-GamerScore)
• Achievements Won
• Completed Games
• Completion Percentage
• Games Played

I have redesigned these boards from the ground up to now include filters for:

• Game Genre
• Game Type (Retail, Arcade)
• Platform (Xbox 360, GFWL, WP7)
• Gamer Geography (by Region or Area)
• Whether to include or Exclude DLC

If you go to one of the boards you will see the new filter at the top of it – check Site Leaderboards to find the links (the boards in the first section have the new features).

You can now set up a TA Bot to check your tracking on any combination of these stats and filters. Let’s say I want to watch my position on the TA Ratio leaderboard in England for Retail Racing 360 games – not a problem. Simply make sure my regional settings are set correctly to Europe-England, go the TA Ratio leaderboard, choose the Racing genre, Retail Games filter, Xbox 360 from the platform dropdown, and Europe and England from the regional dropdowns. If I am on this leaderboard then a button will appear to track my progress on it. Every day my position and score will be stored, and it will appear on the leaderboards section of my homepage should I choose it to.

To see this in action, have a look at my homepage and the Leaderboard section. A week or so ago I set up tracking on the TA Different board across the whole site. Unfortunately I’ve not had time to play any games during that time as I’ve been working on all these features so my score (and therefore position on the board) has dropped during that time. Click on the little graph icon to see my rather embarrassing progress!

So far so good, right?

How cool would it be if when you reached a milestone in one of the boards you are tracking to get it to pop up on your friend feed?


Storm into the top 5000,2000,1000,500,200,100,50,20,10, 5 or one of the coveted top 3 spots on your chosen board and get notified via your friend feed so all your friends can appreciate your hard work!

I expect you’re wondering why you can’t just get tracked on all leaderboards all the time without setting up a little TA Bot to track your progress for it? Well, it’s to do with the volume of data.

There are 8 score types, 17 Genres, 2 Game Types, 3 Platforms, 12 Regions containing 276 countries. That makes a total of 5 gazillion leaderboards! Tracking a history for every gamer on every one of these boards would be impossible (don’t forget we want to store previous positions and scores) - we’d run out of disc space in a couple of days.

So donators can track their position up to 20 of these boards, and non-donators up to 5. These numbers may change, I just need to get a feel of how much data we need to store each day.

Leaderboard scores are regenerated every 3 hours, and every time someone views one of the leaderboards the positions and scores of the gamers on it are stored for their history. Additionally, if your score changes during a scan your position will be stored.

As part of this new development, the content team has spent many hours over the past couple of months working on a new genre categorization for all of the games on TA. This will eventually lead to us having a 2 tier genre category for each game, but for now each game will have one of 17 genres. Because these are subjective (to a degree), there will be some you may disagree with. I can assure that a lot of thought has gone into them and they are going to be staying like this for some time! So please resist posting a load of “Mass Effect is a shooter not an RPG” messages in this thread – there will be appropriate places for those discussions and this news post is not one of them smile

I also want to that the content team for their hard work sorting all this out, it’s been a frightening amount of work and they’ve done a fantastic job – go Content Team!

And before you ask that all of these funky features get added to the user leaderboards, it’s on my to do list smile

Friend feed filters

A couple of months ago, I added a way for you to chiggetty-check your own items on your feed without seeing all your friends. Due to popular demand this has been extended somewhat – you can now choose any of your friend groups to view independently, as well as checking anyone else’s public groups or just themselves on their feed. I’ve also added a show/hide button on the feeds, which you will also find…..

Page filters improved

Rather than taking up half the screen with a set of filters, I’ve added a way to show and hide these on most pages. Clicking on a different page will retain this shown/hidden state – a small change but you’ll probably find it quite handy.

Site invitations Rewritten

I have completely re-written the way invitations are handled on TA. Every friend request will now have to be approved by the person being “friended”. Adding gamers to leaderboards will now send a verification request to make sure they are happy to be on that board. And adding users to existing gaming sessions will also send them an invite to double-check they were actually there. You get a new funky page to do the accepting/declining from that tells you all the info required.

Hot Threads by Type

The Hot Threads list has now got 4 tabs, you can now easily the things being discussed based on the boards they are in – handy!

Slight changes to donation perks

Some of you will have heard about the recent closing of MyGamerCard due to hosting costs (among other things). As much as I want to keep TA free for all, I have to ensure we have enough money in the pot to maintain and hopefully upgrade the servers this year. To that end, I am changing the donation rules slightly.

Donate $5 or more and get the following benefits forever:

• Donator badge
• Extra Gamer Goals
• Extra Non-Registered Friends
• Extra TA Leaderboard Bots
• Extra To-Do list items

Donate $10 or more and for every $10 dollars you donate you will get 12 months of:

• Being on the super-fast donator scanner
• Not seeing any ads

So a donation of $15 gives you 18 months of no ads and faster scans.

However, these changes won’t apply to existing donators until May 1st, and they’ll be sent a PM detailing when your “uber-perks” will expire before then. It sounds more complicated than it is, the PM will explain things more clearly. I hope you understand the reasons for this, we still offer what I believe is a fantastic free service but if we want to make this site the best it can possibly be then a little extra revenue could make all the difference.



P.S. As you can imagine there’s a whole load of new code in this update. I’ve done by best to test it but the usual caveats apply. If you find something not working correctly then please post details in Bug Reports Forum
Rich Stone
Written by Rich Stone
Creator of TrueAchievements, TrueTrophies and TrueSteamAchievements. Writes site news and still finds time for the odd game here and there. Loves Racing games and Shooters, yet to be convinced that any RPG is worth the time investment!