Buying/Selling of Game Items: Clarification of the EULA.

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Section 9 of the Vendetta Online "End User License Agreement" states:"You may not buy, sell or auction (or host or facilitate the ability to allow others to buy, sell or auction) any Game characters, items, coin or copyrighted material."Obviously, the point of this is to dissuade the usage of real-world money (or monetary items) to purchase in-game content (ships, addons, characters) or currency (credits). One of the goals is to mitigate "pay to win" scenarios, where people are able to pay to find a short-cut to a challenging gameplay goal, like constructing a capital ship.The other major reason is the amount of administrative overhead that is created by these situations like this that go awry. People complain because they feel (understandably) that the value of their game effort is de-valued by the "pay to win" offers made by others. Or, worse, if exchanges like this go awry, people end up coming to us, angry that some player took their money and didn't give them their illicitly-purchased item. This stuff is bad enough when it's just people arguing over in-game credits, let alone involving real money.Lastly, there's also a negative impact on the game environment as a whole. We recently had to take action against someone who was badgering people with offers to sell them in-game items for real-world money. Previously, I've had to take action for people spamming offers of subscription keys in exchange for goods. Both cases are bad for the game environment, and no, the fact that someone uses subscription keys (or liveries, or other VO purchasable goods) does not mitigate the fact that this activity is banned by the EULA.So, just by way of a reminder, I would like to clarify this issue:1) Buying/Selling of in-game items for out-of-game currency or cash-backed goods (like sub keys) is not allowed, and may result in banning.2) No, it doesn't matter if you conduct your trades on Discord, or some other forum somewhere, because people still get upset and we still end up hearing about it.3) At the very least, there's a good chance that real-world "purchased" content may be revoked. So, as you pay someone a bunch of dollars for that capital ship, keep in mind that it may suddenly vaporize at any time. We have logs for years..4) Buying the goods is just as bannable an offense as selling the goods.5) Guilds whose leadership specifically fosters this kind of activity, may have action taken against the guild itself.Now, people will raise a couple of points in relation to the above, which I'll try to address here:- "But if we're using sub keys, you make money! It's good for VO!" No, the tiny amount of revenue generated from sub keys for this kind of activity, does not remotely offset the time and effort required for the administrative complaints that often result from it. - "People are doing it anyway! You should enable it!" Maybe someday, but not at this time. As people know, I'm not opposed
Vendetta Online May 1st 2018

Vendetta Online 1.8.457

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VO 1.8.457 includes:- Fixed issues causing the game to freeze on the Oculus Rift and in Simulated VR Mode.- Fixed bug causing classic DirectInput flight-sticks to be improperly recognized and configured as gamepads on Windows.- DirectInput flight-stick buttons are now named by button number, instead of by gamepad-style concepts.- Chord button combinations will no longer be bound by default for DirectInput joysticks. This should not impact most gamepads, which use Xinput instead of DirectInput.- Added a new default control layout for the Logitech Extreme 3D Pro joystick.Hopefully some more joystick and other improvements coming soon, as we continue to clean up the PC version in advance of a Steam launch. Enjoy!
Vendetta Online April 29th 2018

Vendetta Online 1.8.456

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- Pirate Clan Tridents will now drop items on destruction. Some common items will appear frequently, but occasionally you may see capital ship parts drop as well (FCP, FFSA, and even more valuable items).- Fixed broken skybox issue with Low and Medium background settings.Notably, the probabilities for capship component drops are all calculated separately per-item, so it's entirely possible that you could have several high-value drops happen at the same time. However, this probably won't happen very often.More improvements to the game next week, and some possible announcements. Have a great weekend, everyone!
Vendetta Online April 21st 2018

Vendetta Online 1.8.455

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VO 1.8.455 includes:- Increased the default dead-zone of the analog triggers on gamepads, to reduce "spinning" issues with flawed hardware.- Fixed an issue with the 7-day guild disband timer not being cancelled under certain conditions.- Fixed a recent bug with stats tracking of currently active players.- Other server improvements and bugfixes to non-player-visible issues.Lots of other development in the background that's not yet ready for release. Also, another Newsletter is due in the near future. Stay tuned!
Vendetta Online April 14th 2018

Vendetta Online 1.8.452-454

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VO 1.8.454 (tonight) includes the following:- Pirate Clans now respawn 8-16 hours after their destruction.- Added debris and hulks to the Pirate Clan capship sector.- Added ability to double-tap a sector in the navmenu to add notes, for gamepads and mobile devices.- Fixed Trident hulk material on PC.Earlier recent updates included:VO 1.8.453:- Turret ports are no longer show Multi-Aim reticles.- Added name tab-completion to these menus: Gunner Invite/Accept, Give Access Key, Buddy Invite/Accept, Group Invite/Join, Ignore Player.VO 1.8.452:- New first-generation implementation of NPC-based Pirate Clans. Every few days, one clan may spawn in a deep Grayspace system and invade the wormhole sectors of that system with aggressive pirates. If an individual NPC pirate ship is damaged over 70% (but survives), it may then be followed back to another empty sector, where their capship hideout may be discovered. Destruction of their capship hideout will then result in all pirates leaving the system. A few days later, the process may start again in a new location. This is only the most basic framework implementation, but will eventually lead to more progression, like badges, bounty hunting of specific pirate clans, conflicts with the Hive and minor Factions, rare drops, as well as Clans gaining strength over time and becoming a greater threat to the region if their hideout is not dispatched. Stay tuned!- Fixed issue with the Gamepad menu buttons not being visible on devices with aspect ratios wider than 16:9.
Vendetta Online April 7th 2018

Vendetta Online 1.8.451

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VO 1.8.451 includes:- Fixed issue with dynamic shadows not rendering properly on Windows.- Guild commanders can now appoint lieutenants if they are not logged in.- Guild members are now notified at login of any guild actions taken on their character while they were not logged in.A few more small changes and improvements, as we work towards some larger developments in the background. Have a great weekend, everyone!
Vendetta Online March 10th 2018

Vendetta Online 1.8.448-450

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VO 1.8.448-450 included:- Integrated ClickCommander plugin and named it MultiClick. It allows commands to be bound to single, double, triple tapping, and holding buttons/keys. A UI to set up various actions is in the Settings -> Controls -> Keyboard tab as a button labeled "MultiClick Settings".- Integrated WeaponSafe plugin as a command called /weaponsafe that effectively deselects weapon groups so fire controls don't do anything. To reemable your weapons, select an existing weapon group.- Integrated the Multi-Aim plugin that adds the option for multiple lead-off reticles, one for each port, up to 5. It can be enabled in Options -> Interface -> HUD Settings.- Added a 'Gunners' tab to the Ship tab that contains UI controls for the /gunner command.- Increased maximum number of Guild Lieutenants to 5.- Fixed spurious "Unable to jettison that type of cargo" message when logging in.- Locust Swarm trails are now red.- Capship Swarm turret trails are now green.- Integrated the Trigger Colors plugin. It is disabled by default. The setting to enable it is in Options -> Interface -> HUD Settings named "Use Weapon Group Trigger Colors". When enabled, the HUD weapon group display highlight is blue if the weapon is connected to Primary Fire, Magenta if it is connected to Secondary Fire, and Yellow if it is connected to Tertiary Fire. If the weapon is connected to more than one trigger, the highlight will be multiple colors to indicate which trigger it is connected to.Over the past month, we've released lots of UI changes and feature additions that had previously been solved by player-created "plugins". This makes the "base" game client more full-featured, and gives new players more direct access to these enhancements. Additionally, when we implement these features directly, they're usually faster and more optimized than the player-created "plugin" version, making a better-performing game for everyone.We are still evaluating the implementation of other plugin features. In some cases, we're considering different ways of storing data, even storing things on the game server, so content like "asteroid prospecting results" might be easily shared across different client logins and platforms. But, all of this has various technical ramifications, so some changes are faster to drop in than others.We're hopeful that we may be able to drop in some newer gameplay content before long, in addition to these features. We've also had a lot of other development in progress over the last few months, which will hopefully be well received when it's able to debut. All of bears directly on our march towards the launch on Steam and beyond. Thanks everyone!
Vendetta Online March 6th 2018

Last One Out, Turn Off The Lights

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I guess I should say something. If for nothing else, for the fact that there's nothing left to lose here.

It's been a few weeks now that the "main" Perpetuum server is no longer running, which I suppose is the symbolic conclusion of the development of Perpetuum, something that was our first venture in game development and took 10+ years of our lives. In some ways, it was an emotional moment to pull the plug, and in other ways it really wasn't. Let me try to explain why.

We started working on the game (then just called "GenXY") in around 2004 - we genuinely had no idea what we were doing, we had no idea of the scope of it, we had no idea what it'd become or what we'd WANT it to become; we just had a faint idea that it was possible, and we started on it because we didn't know better. Turns out, that was kinda really we needed to get it done - because if we would've known what's coming, we probably never would've started.

I don't mean that as necessarily a negative, it's just that we mostly just made shit up along the way as we went: there's no "How To Make An MMO" handbook, and there sure as hell wasn't one in 2004. Most of us were still in our early 20s, and we never realized the amount of technology we would need to conjure up along the way, but we were ambitious (and stupid) and the fact that we can't (or not supposed to) do it just never occurred to us. So we went to it head first. We really were indie before "indie" was a thing.

Of course, the mission objective changed a few times along the way - initially we didn't want character models, just these little soul-like particle bursts, because we wanted to cut down on having to write an animation engine. Then when we realized that'd be boring, we went for robots because we didn't want to code skinned animation. The longer we went on, the more it snowballed, and next thing we knew we had this elaborate multi-platform architecture to have a game, a client, a website, a webstore, a backend, all these things in all different programming languages, platforms, database engines, that we just cooked up out of nowhere because we just thought "we have to figure this out", and we did, even though many many people not only warned us against, but actively predicted we couldn't do it.

That's not to say it wasn't bumpy. Even after alpha, even after closed beta, even after beta, it was bumpy. There were some joyful fuckups (like accidentally shutting down servers with a piece of pastry and setting our kitchen equipment on fire), some a bit more stressful (like screwing up the game launch because we weren't drunk, as opposed to the early access launch when we were) and some of them pretty miserable (like the cease-and-desist letter - guess who!). But through all of this, we had one goal and one goal only - to finish and release a game and do the best we can. And in that, say what you want, we succeeded. Not opinion, fact.

We didn't always see eye-to-eye with you - and that's putting it nicely; as developers, it was necessarily to be cagey and secretive sometimes, to be stern at other times - even though we desperately wanted to keep in contact with out playerbase, we learned quickly that any reaction we released to the public had immediate ripples in-game, sometimes considerably bigger ones that we imagined, so we often secluded until we had something that was ready to show. This of course sometimes meant that what we produced wasn't in line with the general expectations, or that it split the playerbase even more - it often felt like a no-win-scenario, but we soldiered on, because we were desperate to make this work. There's a delicate balance between listening enough and not listening too much, and we often missed that balance - but we always tried.

The way I imagine studio closures happen in gamedev, they're probably come more as a sudden shock - for us, that wasn't the case. There were several moments where we knew that this isn't gonna go for long - we all hoped it would, but I think reality set in when we weren't able to reach the numbers we needed; we reached a number that was enough to sustain development, but we had no funds to market the game, or to produce massive amounts of content, and our creativity and work-ethic was only able to get us out the door, not all the way to the next town. So yeah, we've seen the end coming for a long time - and who are we kidding, you did too. But we didn't want to go away without leaving a mark, pretending this never happened, so we did what we could to make sure the legacy at least in part lives on.

I personally am still 100% proud of the effort we've put in over the years and the spirit we've invested in this game. Would I do things differently, knowing what I know now? Sure. But hindsight is always 20/20, and with the naive mindset we had, and the resources we had available, I think we made the best game we could.

A few people have asked what projects we moved on to, so here's a brief summary: (I'll continue to expand this if I can find others)

  • Zoom spent a bit of time in motion graphics, and now works at Primal Games on a yet-unannounced title
  • Alf is developing cloud technology at Nokia, which he says is a lot less stressful
  • BoyC is working on car UX software at NNG
  • Quodys, in his own words, "is on his journey to wreck a yet bigger enterprise, this time a global telco company"
  • Gargaj (me) moved on to Slightly Mad Studios and has worked on Project CARS 2, and is now working on a yet-unannounced title.

Aside from that, as many of you know Zoom, BoyC and myself have been and will continue releasing work under the name Conspiracy; we've recently released our first venture in VR on the Oculus store - it's not really game-related, but it's something we'll keep on doing if you wanna follow us there.

Anyway.

Thanks for sticking with us over the years - you helped us achieve something that very few people could.

See you around, somewhere, sometime.

Perpetuum Online February 18th 2018

Last One Out, Turn Off The Lights

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I guess I should say something. If for nothing else, for the fact that there's nothing left to lose here.

It's been a few weeks now that the "main" Perpetuum server is no longer running, which I suppose is the symbolic conclusion of the development of Perpetuum, something that was our first venture in game development and took 10+ years of our lives. In some ways, it was an emotional moment to pull the plug, and in other ways it really wasn't. Let me try to explain why.

We started working on the game (then just called "GenXY") in around 2004 - we genuinely had no idea what we were doing, we had no idea of the scope of it, we had no idea what it'd become or what we'd WANT it to become; we just had a faint idea that it was possible, and we started on it because we didn't know better. Turns out, that was kinda really we needed to get it done - because if we would've known what's coming, we probably never would've started.

I don't mean that as necessarily a negative, it's just that we mostly just made shit up along the way as we went: there's no "How To Make An MMO" handbook, and there sure as hell wasn't one in 2004. Most of us were still in our early 20s, and we never realized the amount of technology we would need to conjure up along the way, but we were ambitious (and stupid) and the fact that we can't (or not supposed to) do it just never occurred to us. So we went to it head first.

Of course, the mission objective changed a few times along the way - initially we didn't want character models, just these little soul-like particle bursts, because we wanted to cut down on having to write an animation engine. Then when we realized that'd be boring, we went for robots because we didn't want to code skinned animation. The longer we went on, the more it snowballed, and next thing we knew we had this elaborate multi-platform architecture to have a game, a client, a website, a webstore, a backend, all these things in all different programming languages, platforms, database engines, that we just cooked up out of nowhere because we just thought "we have to figure this out", and we did.

It was bumpy. Even after alpha, even after closed beta, even after beta, it was bumpy. There were some joyful fuckups (like accidentally shutting down servers with a piece of pastry and setting or kitchen equipment on fire), some a bit more stressful (like screwing up the game launch because we weren't drunk) and some of them pretty miserable (like the cease-and-desist letter - guess who!). But through all of this, we had one goal and one goal only - to finish and release a game and do the best we can. And in that, say what you want, we succeeded. Not opinion, fact.

The way I imagine studio closures happen in gamedev, they're probably come more as a sudden shock - for us, that wasn't the case

A few people have asked what projects we moved on to, so here's a brief summary:

  • Zoom spent a bit of time in VFX, and now works at Primal Games on a yet-unannounced title
  • BoyC is working on car navigation software at NNG
  • Quodys works at the Budapest branch of British Telecom
  • Alf works at Nokia
  • Gargaj (me) moved on to Slightly Mad Studios and has worked on Project CARS 2, and is now working on a yet-unannounced title.

Aside from that, as many of you know Zoom, BoyC and myself have been and will continue releasing work under the name Conspiracy; we've recently released our first venture in VR on the Oculus store - it's not really game-related, but it's something we'll keep on doing if you wanna follow us there.

Perpetuum Online February 18th 2018

Server Side Update

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Tonight's server update includes the following change:- Exploits involving disconnection or duplicate-reconnection during mid-jump, usually for the purposes of avoiding a pursuing attacker, have been more extensively mitigated. Some of these mitigation techniques are old, some are new, but we've gone to some lengths to make them more consistent and robust for both Fighters and Capital ships: * If a player disconnects mid-jump, a "proxy" ship controlled by the remote sector will be spawned in their place (with their ship and cargo), and will remain there for a minute until timing out normally. This proxy ship may not spawn until up to a minute after the player's jump, so if another pilot is in hot pursuit, and then finds their target has "disappeared" during jump, the pursuer should have patience for up to a minute. * Attempts at duplicate-reconnection to knock off existing connections while mid-jump will immediately spawn the replacement proxy ship in the destination sector, until the second player connection is able to establish control. * In all cases, a disconnection mid-jump will always result in the disconnected player being placed in the destination sector. * In all cases, if the disconnected user should re-connect while the proxy ship is "standing in" for them, they will re-establish control of their ship.This kind of development will be on-going, as we look to shore up and improve some areas of gameplay prior to the launch on Steam. As always, feedback is welcome, particularly if Bugs are found (please post to the Bugs forum, or submit via Support Tickets if you think there is a risk of bug exploitation). Thanks all!
Vendetta Online February 10th 2018