Vendetta Online 1.8.506

VO 1.8.506 includes:- Mining smoke effects are no longer drawn when they are far away. This should improve Bractus P-1 rendering performance.- Added Interface options to disable reporting and displaying of location info in various chat messages.- Fixed bug with missions not cleaning up their internal timers when the mission ends.- Players no longer count as a kill if they self destruct in the Axia Must Die mission.The ability to disable other players seeing your location from Guild Chat and System Chat can be optionally toggled from within the Options menu (by default, your location is shown). This change came from a Suggestions thread, intended to help mitigate the value of spy-characters joining rival guilds to find player locations.Bractus P1 showed up as a big performance hit for basically all PCs (in all rendering engines), since those used the higher-detail "mining" visual effects. This was fine with 5 or 10 or 50 NPCs mining, but with 300 it became a problem. So, we've make the visual effects degrade with distance, and the performance has jumped back up on PCs as a result.We're particularly glad the performance issue has been resolved, as that was a blocker to further "next-gen Universe Redux" sectors, as we didn't want to slow the game down for people. Please continue to test in Bractus P1, and let us know if you find any issues.That's all for now, have a great weekend, everyone!

Server-side Release, Android updates

Last night (02/21) we shipped:- Vendetta Online HD update now supports devices without gyros.- Unaligned pirates have been re-implemented as Kourier (Erlang) persistent NPCs.- Additional analytics added for monitoring of Kourier stability and NPCs.- Drastically decreased the bandwidth usage of Bractus P1 test NPCs.The VO HD APK update has been shipped to broaden support for Android tablets that don't feature gyroscope sensors. This requirement was originally related to Daydream VR, but that system has been discontinued by Google, and it came to our attention that some people who purchased VO HD had since upgraded to tablets that weren't allowed to install the game. This addresses that.The unaligned pirates have been completely re-implemented, moving from the Lua codebase into Erlang, using the Kourier persistent-AI system. The goal here is to see more expansion of this type of gameplay, not just of the pirates themselves, but other types of NPCs and varied activity, in the framework that allows us the best power and persistency in NPC management. The original unaligned pirates were a very quickly-implemented test case, and now we're trying to move in a more production-grade direction, which will also allow for possible future behaviours, like NPCs pursuing players across sector boundaries, and the like.The addition of Analytics for the Kourier system may not seem the most exciting, but the point here is to monitor the stability of certain issues we've seen in the past, with the trade convoys dropping off in quantity and the like. The trade-convoy dropoff was actually mitigated in the fall of last year, as a side benefit of other changes. But, this is kind of monitoring is still very important to making major changes to the economy, which are planned.We've also tweaked the behaviour of certain NPCs when mining. NPC navigation makes use of "control systems", which in some NPC ship/mass/thrust configurations could result in directional stability that never entirely "settles", when they're trying to do something like "look" at where they're mining. This was causing the new test-sector NPCs in Bractus P1 to "fidget" while mining, which un-necessarily used up bandwidth, especially given the 300 NPCs in that sector.That's been addressed, and we still encourage people to play around with the NPCs in Bractus P1, and give us feedback. They will only become aggressive if attacked, but then they will tend to swarm if one of them is attacked.That's all for now. We are working towards more substantial gameplay changes, we just keep running into issues we need to fix first. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.505, Content Testing.

The last two weeks have actually had some major changes in basic game functionality. Firstly, last week (Feb 7th) we released this:VO 1.8.505 includes:- Added new "Streaming Mode" to game network protocol, drastically reducing the loading time of complex sectors.To help test this, this past Friday the 14th we released:- Bractus P1 high-density asteroid test sector now includes Guardians, who drop items and grant XP, and will start out non-hostile, but then react based on proximity to direct aggression, in a way that is new to NPCs in the game. Expect these NPCs to be dangerous, if attacked.First of all, the "Streaming Mode" release has been a long time coming, having been planned for years. Going all the way back to the early days of Deneb, we've run into challenges with high-complexity sectors taking too long to load for players. This was further exacerbated when we launched on mobile (higher average latency), and then further still when we added the "movable debris" testing sectors, like Latos F12, or the Unaligned Pirate sectors.The new Streaming Mode goes a long way to alleviate this, and opens the door to much higher-complexity sectors becoming the norm, which has always been the goal for the Universe Redux. If you're used to annoyingly long load-times for certain sectors (like Latos F12, for example), we suggest you try things now.People on high latency connections, like on mobile devices in Asia, have seen improvements on the level of 21-times faster load times, in sectors that have very high complexity. All players will see improvements, however, they're even apparent to us on "local" server connections.The AI changes build on the AI navigation/pathfinding improvements we made in much of January, and open the door to a lot more interesting gameplay, like stealthy situations where one may need to avoid detection, while "stealing" valuable goods from core Hive sectors, or blockade running and smuggling on Nation borders, and other cases where barriers should be challenging to overcome, but with rewards that make those challenges worthwhile.We delayed this announcement a little bit to make sure everything was working smoothly, but if you run into any issues, please report them on Bugs or (if exploitable) via a Support Ticket. Note that we already addressed the lightning-mine aggro issue on the new NPCs, yesterday.Thanks much everyone!

Server-Side Release

There have actually been several server-side releases over the last few weeks, covering a lot of ground, and including (as of tonight):- Destroying Unaligned Pirate fighters and capships now rewards with Light and Heavy Weapon XP- Unaligned Pirate fighters have a greater variety of occasional drops.- Game protocol has been tweaked to enhance sector load times and network performance. Further tweaks coming.- Lone Hive Queen escorts are now fundamentally more aggressive.- Smaller NPC ships are now generally more effective at queuing and docking with stations, in large numbers.- NPC Capital Ships are better at navigating around obstacles, and adaptively learning sector layout.- Implemented and tuned a variety of strategies to make NPCs better at navigating "extreme" density asteroid fields.- Enabled active monitoring of NPC performance analytics across the entire universe.- Tuned the AI "learning" algorithms to better adapt to dynamic changes in sectors, over time. Some of this may take a little while to evolve.A great deal of work went into all of this development, and it should put us in a much better position to build content that was effectively "blocked" by problems with NPC navigation and the like.Have a great weekend, everyone!