Heartbleed SSL Vulnerability.

Just as a quick heads-up to our player base: No Guild Software or Vendetta Online servers were exposed or vulnerable to the recent Heartbleed security compromise. All our servers make use of non-vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software, largely due to our particular choice of server platforms and (frankly) happy circumstance on our part. Thus, we have remained secure throughout this disclosure, and we were never compromised on this specific issue.

We have been tracking this issue since it first came to light, and we will be continuing to do so, while also carefully working through our own infrastructure and codebase to make sure we aren't affected by any secondary or tertiary ramifications of this vulnerability, and taking steps to mollify our own healthy paranoia. We remain vigilantly dedicated to keeping your data secure and private.

Vendetta Online 1.8.287-288

VO 1.8.288 included:

- Optimized of UI updates when mining asteroids.
- Capship energy drain now properly persists between NPC and player controlled capships.
- Capships can no longer be used to conquer stations by wedging it into the docking bay of the station when it is conquerable.
- Players are now notified if they get Temp KOS by damaging a conquerable station defense turret.
- Fixed conquerable station issue when a Temp KOS player attempts to conquer the station. The 30 secon requirement was no longer in effect after that case.
- Fixed conquerable station issue when players set it as their home station. They weren't properly respawning there and were bounced to a different station instead.
- Fixed problem when a player owned capship was destroyed when the owner was logged off and logging back in would send them to a station other than their home station.
- When a player logs in while in a station and they are not allowed to dock at that station (access key is revoked for example), the player is bounced to another station but their ship stays at the original station. The player will need to regain access to the station to get their ship back.
- Fixed disconnect error when a passenger is in a capship when it explodes.

VO 1.8.287 included:
- All grey space systems are now running the experimental threaded code. Please report any problems through support tickets.

As the final release note states, we have rolled out the new sector code to all sectors in grayspace. We'll be continuing to monitor things, and then eventually roll it out to the entire game. We're doing this in stages to make sure our fixes don't compromise other areas of game stability.

At the same time, we aren't convinced that we've fixed all hit-check related issues with these architectural change, and we're continuing to monitor and enhance things as we move forward. If you experience problems with shots not hitting, please submit a Support Ticket to let us know when/where. If you're seeing a large ping time, then that is likely to blame, but we're targeting those occasional situations where the ping times are very low, but hits are failing to register.

There will be a major next-generational enhancement to the engine rolled out soon, allowing far higher asteroid densities, which will first appear in a few sectors. In the long run, this will completely re-make the face of our galaxy, and make expansion of the universe a far easier and more interesting concept.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Vendetta Online 1.8.285-286

VO 1.8.285-286 incuded:

- Conquerable station sectors Bractus M-14, Latos I-8, and Pelatus C-12 are now running experimental code to test a solution to weapon hits sometimes not registering. Please test these sectors and report any problems through support tickets.
- The virtual mouse (when used through a gamepad controller) on mobile devices now highlights the virtual keyboard button that was selected so multiple presses of 'A' on the gamepad will repeat the same action again.

Please note the changes to the current conquerable station sectors. We've been putting a lot of development effort into tracking down and eliminating the periodic "no-hit" issues that crop up during certain types of player events. We think we have greatly improved the situation, but as the changes are quite major, we're unwilling to roll them out universe-wide without smaller "regional" testing in specific sectors. So, testing and feedback on this new implementation is both welcome and likely to result in a more rapid adoption of the new code throughout the galaxy.

Vendetta Online 1.8.284

VO 1.8.284 includes:

- The Capship Shipyards station maximum cargo storage limit has been increased to 150,000 from 50,000 cu.
- Windows Store version has been updated to add gamepad support, tweaks to graphics settings on AMD tablets, and capship owners can control their own turrets like how PC/Android platforms can already do.
- Capship owner's mines no longer get triggered by their capship.
- Updated the Oculus SDK to drastically reduce drift.
- Capture-The-Cargo convoys report updates on their respective channels (201/202) again.

Several larger projects are also proceeding in the background. We're working on improving the scalability of larger player events, as well as tracking down some persistent bugs that have been cropping up from time to time. Graphical updates are also in the works, and a more thorough post with some before/after shots will appear soon.

We've also added joystick support for iOS, and will be releasing an iPad update with joystick support in the not too distant future.

Vendetta Online 1.8.283

VO 1.8.283 includes:

- Group owner's mines will no longer detonate on other group members if the mines were layed before the group was created.
- Mines will no longer detonate on a group member if the member joined the group while in the proximity of the mine.
- Fixed Voice Chat cross-talk.

A few fixes here, but much greater and more important development is currently in the works.

We've long planned to roll out a "universe redux", a far denser and larger assortment of asteroids within individual sectors, along with an expansion and potential explorability of the greater galaxy.

Our universe and game engine have always had this in mind, going back many years. But now with far higher densities of objects, we need to engineer some clever optimizations to allow us to still generate wholly "new" parts of a galaxy, without necessary needing to do a "patch" (ie, wholly new content that is dynamically added, while connected to the live game). This set of optimizations lately boils down to a couple of things, a way to effectively transmit complex arrays of data to the client very quickly over a network, and methods of optimizing our rendering of very large and complex environments over extreme view distances.

Right now, we're working on the first of the two, developing "smart objects" that contain programmatic information about how they're utilized, allowing a single object to expand into massive asteroid ring, or any other feature, once it has been interpreted by the client. This gives us a lot of flexibility for re-using assets in interesting new ways. Plus, the actual data sent across the network is far less, resulting in much improved load times.

From our testing over the past week, we found in the best-case scenario (connected to the test-server on local gigabit ethernet) that load times of a complex sector were cut to 1/10th of what they are when loading the sector content the "traditional" way. These improvements would be even better when used over the actual internet.

Beyond these next-generation changes, we're also doing capacity testing, to improve the responsiveness of the game under large battle scenarios. This should allow us to track down and squash any remaining bugs in larger multi-player environments, while also helping us scale up our battle situations and allow the ever-more gigantic battles that we envision for the future.

Plans are still in the works for rolling out new Trident variants, along with some cool new artwork and content drops that I'll be talking more about in the near future.

Vendetta Online 1.8.282

VO 1.8.282 includes:

- Trident Type M maximum shield strength bumped to 40k.
- Player-owned capship shield repair timer now resets after each hit, like the NPC shields.
- Group health and sector list health now includes shield strength.
- Shield strength while manning a player-owned turret now shows the correct value.
- Repair guns no longer damage player-owned capship shields.
- Shields no longer look like they disappear when the capship pilot mans their own turret.
- Fixed infrequent lua error when the capship pilot launches from their own capship.

Mostly a lot of fixes for the recent, major capship enhancements. More significant updates are in the works, once we've gotten the recent updates stabilized. (Yes, more Trident variants are coming as well).

One thing that looms pretty large on our to-do list is the long-running "universe redux" plan, that will include re-working the entire universe with far larger, denser and more complex fields of asteroids. We're working on advancing our engine technology, on both the network and rendering sides, to allow us to expand on the dynamic, procedural sectors to scenes of truly.. epic scale. Combined with some updated assets, and future shader/renderer improvements (lighting/shadow/etc), I think this is going to be pretty amazing. It will also play into the expandability and explorability of an expanded universe, which has obvious gameplay ramifications for all the "territorial ownership" content I've been talking about.

As we get a bit closer, I'll start to post some screenshots from some of this work.

Vendetta Online 1.8.281

VO 1.8.281 includes:

- Player-owned capships now have shields that work the same way as NPC capship shields.
- Ships stored in capships can now have their ammo refilled by the capship owner without having to launch and dock with the capship.

At long last, player-owned capital ships now feature re-charging shields, just like their NPC counterparts! This was an important step in development, making the shields persistently the same whether the player logs off or not. All of this is going to be very useful in the future, when we're dealing with more cases of larger player ships, player-owned stations, territory and factions.

Please continue to bring any issues to our attention on this. Major changes always bring up the potential for bugs, and while this underwent an entire extra week of testing and tuning, there's always the potential for something to be missed. We want to squash any bugs as quickly as possible.

Another feature was also added in this latest release, but not yet enabled. I'll discuss that in a future post, when we're closer to rolling out that feature.

Thanks everyone, have a great weekend!

Vendetta Online 1.8.279-280

VO 1.8.280 includes:

- Added Sony DualShock 4 support to Android and Windows.
- Faction logos now display properly on ARM Mali Android devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition.
- Players can no longer dock to capships with CTC cargo. It will need to be jettisoned first.
- Radar extender addons now only work if they are equipped as addons, not if they are in your cargo hold.
- Google+ Achievements are now supported in the Android Play Store and sideload versions.
- Fixed PVP Veteran 1 achievement for Amazon GameCircle and iOS GameCenter.
- Added a 'Log off' button to the mutually exclusive faction choice menu.
- Your character name is now displayed in the faction choice verification menu.
- Added a 3 month non-recurring in-app purchase to the Android version, supporting Play Store "Gift Cards".
- Persistent capships now mirror the player's weapon addons after player log-off.

VO 1.8.279 included:

- Pressing X+Y at the same time on the gamepad in Android now displays the gamepad help menu that shows what the different controls do.
- Dialogs with 'Do not show this again' checkboxes now default to the OK button being focused instead of the checkbox.
- Attempt to fix clipped screen on HTC One devices.

There are a lot bigger changes and deeper fixes in the works, as we continue to test and tune and respond to feedback following the factional changes and new capship features. We expect to also have some new content dropping in the near future, but for the moment we're focused on making the persistent capships as robust as possible. These same code-paths being implemented for capships are going to be used for player-owned stations, player-owned convoys, factions and other mechanics down the road, so it's very important that we lay a solid groundwork.

We also have some new graphical and environmental changes in the pipe, which I'll talk about next week. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.277-278

These are some pretty major updates..

VO 1.8.278 includes:

- Serco Vulture Guardian turbo drain changed from 56 to 55, top speed increased from 220 to 225.
- New Raptor UDV available in UIT stations, requires high Admire standing with UIT, also minimum of Dislike with both Serco and Itani.
- Faction standing for major "foreign" nations (to which your character does NOT belong) are now capped at +600. This only impacts Serco, Itani and UIT standings, there are no changes to minor and corporate factions.
For instance, this means if your character is UIT, the highest Itani faction standing you may acquire is "Respected" (the reverse also being true). The levels of "Admire" and "Pillar of Society" are reserved for native faction members.
- Serco/Itani mutually exclusive faction standings have been changed to equalize at Neutral (0). This means that if a character achieves +600 with Serco, the character's Itani standing will fall to no-higher-than -600, and visa-versa.
- The default faction standings for Itani on a new UIT character has been changed to Neutral (0) to reflect the updated mutual exclusion of Itani/Serco.
- Player-owned capships now inherit the owner's keychain so the capship won't get attacked in conquerable stations.
- Player-owned capships are always visible on the keyholder's radar no matter how far away they are in the same sector.
- Turreted non-capital scale ships no longer persist.
- Player-owned persistent capships should now use their custom name.

VO 1.8.277 includes:

- Players can now leave their capship if they have a flyable ship in the cargo hold. The ship is chosen in the PDA Tactical->Hangar tab. When the capship owner docks to their own capship, they can regain control of the capship through the PDA Tactical->Operations tab. Passengers will experience a short interface update when the capship owner logs out/in, launches from, or regains control of the capship.
- Capships now stay around for 5 minutes after their owner logs off.
- When a player logs in and they have a capship floating anywhere in space, it will immediately spawn whereever it was last located.
- Capship owners will be notified if their capship is under attack. The capship's health in the owner's inventory list does not currently update.
- While the capship owner is not in control of their capship, it is displayed in the sector list as the custom name of the capship if set, or the owner's name plus a unique identifier.
- The capship owner currently can always dock with their own capship even if no space is available, so they cannot be locked out of the capship.
- The same capship access key currently works for all of a player's capships. This will change to allow a different access key per capship in a future update.
- The Connecting dialog text has changed and now includes a timeout progress-bar.

All the additions, like new fighters and capship-features will likely be well-received..

But there may be some controversy over the factional changes, and let me say that I understand where people are coming from when they see their hard-won standing going away. However, I strongly believe this is the best overall direction for the game, especially in light of changes I intend to implement over the coming months, and it seemed best to "quickly rip off the band-aid", get it over with and move forward.

A few things to keep in mind, in relation to the changes:

- Items / Ships that are faction-exclusive is really just an opportunity for a more player-driven economy, something I plan to help enable.

- Mutual exclusion does not rule out the possibility of changing factional "citizenship" via some specialized and very difficult mechanic. But, it was beyond the scope of what I could deliver this week.

- Options like "dual respect" might even become possible, again, via mechanics that are very difficult to achieve and maintain. We can still have flexibility and let people find their own path, without it being as fast of a pendulum swing as the "game of standing" had become.

- As always: Nothing is cast in stone! I'm still open to continued feedback on all of this, particularly on the Suggestions Forum. I'm really aiming to change a LOT of gameplay over the coming months, and the reality of my.. commitment to that, is hopefully becoming self-evident. I'm all for tweaking whatever I can to make the best possible game for everyone involved, across all play styles.

Thanks everyone, and have a great weekend!

Vendetta Online 1.8.275-276

VO 1.8.275-276 include:

- Corvus Greyhound turbo thrust increased from 350 to 450.
- Mines now persist for 30 minutes.
- Added a Drain Proximity Mine that drains power cells by 250 units when it explodes. It is available at some Serco stations and requires a high faction standing to purchase.
- Added ability for players attacked in monitored and guarded sectors to attack back in self-defense without any factional loss if they kill their attacker. This self defense ability persists for 15 minutes from the last hit by either player or until the original attacker dies for any reason.

Lots of other changes in the works, particularly with persistent capships. We're just working through a lot of different edge cases and making sure they're all handled. Hopefully that will debut next week.

Vendetta Online 1.8.273-274

VO 1.8.273-274 include:

- Music now crossfades when changing sectors.
- Killing 3 players in a 7-day period, within a single faction's Guarded space, will result in that faction placing Temp KoS status on the killer for 24 hours. Exceptions are made for killing players of Hated or lower standing with the local faction, and active duels. This only impacts Guarded regions (ie, station sectors). Corvus stations ignore all kills and are not affected by this change.
- Linux Sandybridge and Haswell Intel drivers use full shaders now.
- Lowered the default texture detail settings for Android devices with 512megs or less of system memory.
- Other internal changes.

We're putting quite a bit of time into enhancements to the faction system, aiming to allow self-defense in monitored and guarded space, as well as other improvements. Beyond this, we expect persistent capships to debut in the near future. A little later in the month of January, you should see some changes to game balance that are likely to continue in the first two quarters of 2014.

Many more announcements to come, including the overall plans for VO 1.9 and 2.0. Happy new year, everyone!

Holiday Promo, Ships and Missions!

The Holiday Promo mentioned in the Holiday Newsletter is now in effect! Any previous subscriber may play for free between now and the 1st of the year. Happy Holidays, everyone.

Ten new player-created missions have been rolled out, some of which allow access to manufacture new types of addons! Check them out.

Several Events are in the pipe, be sure to stop by for the Sedina B8 invasions expected tonight, as well as another one on the 27th, a tube Race Tournament on the 28th, and Nation War on the 29th. See the front page, or the in-game listing for details.

We also have some ship updates! Check out the new Camo Edition of the Corvus Greyhound, available exclusively to Long Term Subscribers.

Aside from this, we also have totally updated all the standard Vulture graphics, as well as the Anniversary Edition you can see below. This ship has many color variations, depending on the selected color palette, there are some pretty fascinating and unique combinations.


Vendetta Online 1.8.272

VO 1.8.272 includes:

- Plasma Annihilator has been buffed and re-balanced per the Suggestions Forum thread.
- Group member mines are now blue on the radar.
- Android gamepad virtual mouse sensitivity and axis invert settings are now configurable in Options -> Advanced -> Controls -> Mouse.
- Fixed Android touch-HUD so the elements don't overlap in 1080 mode.
- Fixed possible crash on the Amazon Appstore version if GameCircle fails to initialize.

Work is continuing to move forward on Capship Persistency and other features, along with the debut of some new graphics and ship variant types. Stay tuned!

Vendetta Online 1.8.271

VO 1.8.271 includes:
- Mine persistency! Your mines no longer disappear when you log out or change sectors.
- Because mines now persist, if you get Temp KOS with the faction that owns the station you're currently in, you will get launched out or thrown to your home station if you don't have a flyable ship.
- Added preliminary Leap Motion support for the Windows version. 6 new binds are available: LEAPOX, LEAPOY, LEAPOZ, LEAPTX, LEAPTY, LEAPTZ; where LEAPO* are the three axes of orientation and the LEAPT* are the three axes of position. When a Leap Motion device is detected at startup, flight-assist is enabled, mouse-look is disabled, and LEAPOX, LEAPOY, LEAPOZ, LEAPTZ default to Pitch, Turn, Roll, and Accel analog controls respectively.
- Fixed button positions in the one-click login menu for mobile devices.
- Default Moga binds have changed to be more usable.
- Changed the default invert mode for the Right-Stick Y axis on mobile gamepads.
- The D-Pad on Android gamepads can now be used to select controls in the UI.

We've delayed making this official announcement until we were pretty confident in the reliability of this recent release, which heralded major changes to the persistency of universe objects, while also giving a window on things to come. The persistency of player content will be a major thread running through much of our development in 2014, as we continue to add more tools with which players may impact and influence the face of the galaxy. This will eventually lead to our long-awaited goals of an explorable and conquerable expanded universe of massive scope.

In the meantime, we're still fixing issues and polishing up the new gameplay as we add it. You can expect improvements to HUD and mine friend/foe identification in the near future, along with other tweaks and fixes. Please continue to submit Support Tickets, Bugs forum posts, and Suggestions forum posts for aspects you think should be improved.

Beyond persistency, we've also done a lot in the last few weeks to improve the game's graphical fidelity on high-end Android devices, as well as the default interface experience on micro-console devices like the GameStick, OUYA and Mad Catz MOJO. Tweaks and improvements here will continue. It's not a trivial thing to shoehorn an MMO developed for a mouse-and-keyboard onto a mobile device, and it's even harder still to make it a pleasant experience with only a game controller, but we're working hard to improve the interface and polish that use case.

The Leap Motion is a fascinating device, a next-generation "air" controller, able to detect very fine movements in fingers, opening doors to a lot of really cool "sci-fi" interface possibilities and gestural controls. We have some friends at Leap, and we're happy to support them, but we also have some ideas for how Leap might play into our next-generation plans and give players a more immersive experience than ever before. It's a little early for me to go into details; for now we have a very simplistic interface and flight mechanic that allows the use of the Leap Motion, but does not yet illustrate the far greater plans for the device. Supporting the Leap Motion, while interesting, might seem like an unusual use of development time to some of our players: I ask that you bear with me, this basic implementation was pretty easy for us, and there are some really interesting possibilities on the horizon.

Thanks everyone!

Development Update

Hi everyone, we've been rather quiet lately as we've been quite intensely productive. Also, I'm really tired of being repeatedly wrong about when we'll release the persistent mine feature, so I've been a little reluctant to keep posting "Still working on it@!#". But, we are. Fingers crossed, you will see it in a Vendetta Online near you Very Soon Now. Perhaps days, perhaps only hours?

In other news, we've had some people testing the new "Event Commands" that we've built over the last month or so, creating some cool new scenarios and content that will hopefully be pretty fun. The general goal is to have a whole bunch of cool events and things going on during our usual holiday-season period (Christmas to New Years), and I think this one is going to be better than ever.

There seems to be a lot of market interest around Android-based micro-consoles and set-top-boxes this holiday season. Devices like the GameStick and Mad Catz MOJO in additional to the OUYA and other players. As a result, we're doing a little quick work to improve and polish up the experience on these devices. In some cases, fixing simple bugs (the pitch axis default was reversed by accident, in a mistaken commit some time back), in other cases adding a few easy features (basic menu navigation with the D-pad). These changes are beneficial to everyone, as they impact the general playability of VO with a game controller on any platform, including possible future cases like Steam Box "Big Picture mode" and the like.

We may have a bit of an influx of newbies sometime soon, although we don't know exactly when. But we've been trying to spruce up our various different sites and listings, from the front page of (iOS AppStore link, soon new screenshots) to the Android Play Store, to Amazon, and so on. Keep an eye out, and as always, please be kind to the new folks.

Graphical changes are still in the works, they'll debut as soon as I can get a chance to test and roll them out. This includes capship skins, Vultures and so on. Unfortunately, everything is always more complicated than one hopes; so some of my goals, like a clear "Military" class of vessels, require re-vamping some AI definitions to make sure the skins are used in the right situations.

We're also working on new replacement asteroids, for certain types, that will drop in seamlessly on the PC, as their shapes are very closely matched to the existing asteroids, but with more polygons and detail. Don't expect these to roll out immediately, the work is still in process, but this is one example of a multi-pronged effort that's going to drastically change the way the game looks in 2014, building towards the Vendetta Online 2.0 goal set. Big changes to lighting, shaders, and content density. Do you have a super fast video card in your gaming desktop, and expect to max out all settings? Great! Expect your power bill to go up.

We will retain compatibility with mobile, by mainly using the (current) older assets on those platforms, with their current lighting and shaders. As always, we'll have options to disable shader features and reduce graphical quality for those on PCs with more modest capabilities.

As soon as we get some of this mine/capship persistency work in place and stable, we'll get back to things like content changes and automated-Events.

That's all for now everyone, thanks so much for your support, and please continue to post any issues you run across, to ether the Bugs Forum or via Support Tickets.

- John "Incarnate" Bergman, Guild Software Inc.