Advancements in Server Architecture

Comments Off on Advancements in Server Architecture
We've been making a lot of changes lately, quietly behind-the-scenes and without shipping any normal "patches".These changes have been primarily on the server, rather than the game client. As we discussed in the October newsletter, we've made a lot of recent changes to the game client that have really enhanced performance and efficiency, and some of these changes also make sense to apply to the server itself.You see, the performance of a given sector is a limiting factor on what kind of content can take place there. How many bots can be flying around, or what they can be doing. The number of asteroids and debris floating to and fro, the complexity of station or mission mechanics; all these things are controlled by the Sector Daemon, that process that maintains authority over a particular area of geographical space.Vendetta Online's server has always been fairly efficient, but in the interest of adding a lot of complex new gameplay, and giving us more opportunities and options to really scale-up some intriguing new scenarios, we wanted to work on enhancing the performance.Thus far, we've managed to see some big gains. The measured increase in performance depends on what kind of work-load is being run, but so far we've seen improvements between 2x and 10x. This is thanks to a couple of major developments: big efficiency changes in our own code, based on profiling and testing; as well as moving the Sector Daemon's internal Lua programming language from standard "interpreted" Lua 5.1, to LuaJIT, a high-performance just-in-time compiled version.Although there have been some differences and issues we've had to track down as a result of these changes (which made for some quirky problems last weekend), the final upshot is that we can now handle a LOT more activity within a given sector, on the same amount of Server CPU, while actually using less Server RAM. Similarly, Sector Daemons can now more-efficiently utilize large numbers of CPU cores, if necessary. All of that is a good thing for everyone, and particularly for next-generation gameplay.Have you ever wondered what it might look like if every Collector Drone in a sector decided to attack you at once? Drop into Latos F-12 and see 300 Artemis Collectors that will all attack you on-sight. This unique, static test-sector exists just to see how things work with larger numbers of enemies, and what problems or ramifications emerge for players. The sector could handle more than 300, but this is a reasonable test-case for now.This simplistic test-case does NOT mean we're aiming to have huge clouds of Collector Drones roaming around for no reason. But it does mean that we can make more reactive and interesting gameplay under some circumstances, and aim for much larger space battles, complex station-city environments, more complex AI, and the like. Ever seen a movie with thousands of ships in a massive real-time battle, and wonder what it might be like to fly through that? We'd like to see
Vendetta Online November 17th 2018

Vendetta Online 1.8.477

Comments Off on Vendetta Online 1.8.477
VO 1.8.477 includes:- Rescaled VR cockpit to a more realistic size, for the Oculus Rift.- Fixed crash when using Vulkan driver.- Added a reporting system for framerate issues. If you are experiencing unusually low framerates, open a support ticket and we can tell you how to use it.
Vendetta Online October 20th 2018

Vendetta Online 1.8.476

Comments Off on Vendetta Online 1.8.476
VO 1.8.476 includes:- Fixed lua error when attempting to change dead zones of controllers.- Fixed lua error when attempting to save HUD settings in VR mode on Android.- Fixed crash when switching to new Vulkan driver.- Fixed flickering issue when using Vulkan driver in full-screen mode.- Fixed bug with not properly reusing font cache under certain conditions.- Reverted some recent changes to track down performance loss.If you experience any unusually bad framerate behaviour (test with "/fps"), please post about it on the Bugs Forum. We've had some intermittent reports of framerate issues, but we have not yet reproduced any actual problems on any devices in-house.
Vendetta Online October 6th 2018

Vendetta Online 1.8.475

Comments Off on Vendetta Online 1.8.475
VO 1.8.475 includes:- Fixed issue with mining beam effect not staying connected to ships.- Fixed memory leak.- Goliath powercell grid changed from 125 to 55- Hive Queen top speed increased from 140 to 180- Hive Queen turbo thrust increased from 1640 to 16400- Hive Queen braking thrust increased from 1290 to 12900- Stronghold-specific Hive Queen blaster powercell drain increased from 80 to 160- TPG Goliath description changed to remove the term "freighter", as all VO ships are multi-role.Still a lot of technical work going on in the background, major changes and improvements to the physics engine, which could have far-reaching implications for future large-scale gameplay.
Vendetta Online September 29th 2018

Vendetta Online 1.8.474

Comments Off on Vendetta Online 1.8.474
VO 1.8.474 includes:- Windows version is now using new experimental multi-threaded job system.- Windows version now includes a Vulkan graphics driver. To try it out, go to Options -> Video -> Change Driver.Tonight's Windows-only release is the first public test of a long-running project to re-architect the Vendetta Online engine, and bring it up to a point where we can deliver the kind of next-generation content required from many of our goals.From our benchmark testing, we've seen about a 15% performance improvement over the previous version of the game, across the board. The new engine is only partially utilized at the moment, so we expect things to continue to get better from here.We'll discuss this a bit more in the next newsletter, but basically, the new engine should make much better usage of systems with many cores, while still being very efficient on systems without them. Even low-power devices have a lot of cores now (8-core phones, and the like, and new Windows-on-ARM laptops), so multi-core scalability is increasingly important.Similarly, we're very excited for the future of our new Vulkan renderer, which has been in development for quite some time. At the moment, you should not expect major performance improvements for using Vulkan over DirectX 11, as we're still in the process of re-tooling the greater engine to make better usage of Vulkan's advantages. However, we still encourage you to try the new renderer, if you have a reasonable Intel, NVIDIA or AMD GPU with recent drivers. Please post any issues to Bugs, and revert back to DX11 if things don't work for you. Basically, expect this to be a "beta" renderer, right now.To those not on Windows: Yes, the improvements will be coming to you as well. As always, our world is very cross-platform, and one of the big benefits of Vulkan is the potential to use a single API across both mobile and PC.. unlike the need for DirectX, OpenGL, and OpenGL ES. On Apple devices, there are translation layers to allow Vulkan renderers to work via Apple's "Metal" API.We released this only on Windows, as it's better to have a narrower test-case when the code is still relatively "early". We'll expand the engine testing onto other platforms, once we're a little more confident. If something goes awry, it's a lot easier to debug the process on just one platform at a time.As always, please post any issues on the Bugs forum, and have a great weekend!
Vendetta Online September 22nd 2018

Vendetta Online 1.8.472-473

Comments Off on Vendetta Online 1.8.472-473
VO 1.8.473 included:- Stronghold Queens are now more dangerous.- Added numeric entries to joystick axis dead zone menu.VO 1.8.472 included:- Fixed crash when a drop-down list control's selected item is set to nil.- Fixed crash on Android when searching for gamepads too many times.- Fixed crash on Gear VR when the Back button on the remote control is pressed too many times.
Vendetta Online September 22nd 2018

Vendetta Online 1.8.471

Comments Off on Vendetta Online 1.8.471
VO 1.8.471 includes:- Added a slight 200 millisecond delay to auto-fire, to equate it to average human reaction time, and mitigate usage with the Railgun.- Fixed issue with turret fire delay exploit.- Buddy invites now persist across logins and invites/accepts/declines work when the other player is not online.- Fixed issue where your buddy list doesn't update when you accept your first buddy invite.
Vendetta Online September 1st 2018

Vendetta Online 1.8.469-470

Comments Off on Vendetta Online 1.8.469-470
VO 1.8.470 included:- Behemoth and Atlas class vessels now mention their Turret capabilities in the description.- Latos D-14 is now more dangerous.- Flight stick Throttle axis is now saved properly on Android.- Fixed velocity direction indicator API functions.- Added further mitigation of spy bots. If you run another type of bot, be sure it stays docked to a single station.- Added code to mitigate capship turret firing delay exploits.VO 1.8.469 included:- Added optional display of guild tags in Nearby Players list in the Sensor Log. It defaults to on and can be changed in Options -> Interface -> Show Guild Tag in Sensor Log.- Added optional display of a velocity direction indicator on the HUD. It defaults to hidden and can be changed in Options -> Interface -> HUD Settings -> Show Velocity Direction Indicator.For modders, the size, color, and icon can be changed with the new lua functions radar.SetVelocityDirIconSize(<number>) radar.SetVelocityDirIcon('iconfilename') and radar.SetVelocityDirIconColor(r,g,b,a,'&') (r,g,b,a are between 0 and 1 and the '&' sets the blend mode to pre-multiplied alpha blend)
Vendetta Online August 27th 2018

Vendetta Online 1.8.467-468

Comments Off on Vendetta Online 1.8.467-468
VO 1.8.468 includes:- Fixed issue with flight stick buttons being unmapped when the game is restarted on Android (includes Oculus Go, etc).- Fixed issue with certain forbidden console flight commands working on Windows.- Persistent capship timeout now gets reset when the capship is damaged.- NPCs now continue to target persistent ships when the player logs off.- Fixed information-leak about whether a player is currently on or offline.VO 1.8.467 included:- Added mission text to speech for Oculus Go.- Added option to lock HUD/Cockpit to ship instead of head when engaging turbo for Oculus Go for a more immersive experience.Quite a few bug fixes in tonight's release, building on our improvements from Monday for the Oculus Go. Please let us know via the Bugs forum if you find any additional issues.
Vendetta Online August 11th 2018

Vendetta Online 1.8.465-466

Comments Off on Vendetta Online 1.8.465-466
VO 1.8.466 includes: - Added option to show player guild tags in chat. It is disabled by default and can be changed in Options -> Interface -> Show Guild Tag in Chat Log.- Added option to colorize sectors that have notes applied to them in the navigation menu. It is enabled by default and can be changed in Options -> Interface -> Colorize Sectors with Notes in Navigation Menu. The options are in Options -> Advanced -> Interface for mobile devices.VO 1.8.465 included:- Fixed an issue with decreased mouse aiming speed when mouse-look is off on Windows, Mac and Linux.Other announcements are in the works, please stay tuned!
Vendetta Online July 21st 2018