News

Jan
30

Vendetta Online 1.8.368

VO 1.8.368 includes:

- Missions that may only be taken a limited number of times for a given period will now remain visible, but grayed out, when unavailable. A countdown timer indicates when the mission may be taken again.
- Border Patrol now tells Itani players to go to Deneb and records the final destination sector to the mission log.
- Optimized rendering of individual stars in the background.
- Active mission dialog now says to check the mission log for more information, and the nil 'Location' line was removed.

Hopefully the new handling of limited-availability missions will make things a lot clearer to newbies, and also be helpful to veterans. This was raised in a Suggestions post recently, and was pretty fast to do, so we bumped the priority to get it in there.

Speaking of priorities, we have a lot of other big changes going on right now, which are time-sensitive as we need to hit certain release dates that coincide with the shipment of other products. Much of this is VR and immersion related, but the changes we're making go well beyond VR, and this will all be pretty beneficial to the game as a whole.

For example, we recently enhanced the ability of all game interfaces to be located on a panel that "floats" at a particular location in 3D space. This will be of significant value in allowing us to break up interface or HUD mechanics to different locations in a "cockpit" type environment, docked "hangar bay" scene, or other situations which are critical to a VR experience. But while many of these environments and interfaces are primarily targeting VR, we expect they'll also make a lot of people happier who have long wanted features like cockpits and the like.

There are also a number of other benefits that fall out of this enhancement. For instance, floating signs could be interactive interfaces. Race Tracks could show signage with top times, and interactively display other data. To take this to the silly extreme.. with a bit of additional server-communication work, two players could interactively play "pong" over a common interface floating in space, while other players watch.

Don't expect a lot of complex, interactive floating signs to suddenly appear in the immediate future, this is just to underscore that the game's capabilities are evolving, and we expect this all to be of significant benefit, both now and for future work on replacing and re-working the current menu system and user interface experience.

Thanks everyone, have a great weekend.

- Guild Software, Inc.
Jan
30

Forum Policy Changes

In the release last week I had hoped for more gameplay changes to make it into the build. These were delayed, in large part because of some lengthy conversations about behaviour on the Forums. Over the last few years, the general quality of conversation on our forums has declined, due to some negative, attack-driven behaviour that ratcheted up the degree of melodrama, and generally polarized or derailed a number of conversations that might have been otherwise useful. It's also created some volatile situations (like the PK-reset debacle of last October) which used up a tremendous amount of developer time, and would have been far better handled through Support Tickets instead of inflamed public forum threads.

As a result, we've have established new guidelines for forum usage and behaviour (across all forums, including Role Play), which are now being enforced by our volunteer administrators. The specifics are in a sticky-post at the top of the General Forum. Please be aware of, and adhere to these updated, more specific guidelines, as violations will result in being muted on individual threads, across individual forums, the messageboard as a whole, or even administrative action that impacts access to the game.

The last thing we want to do is mute or ban anyone, but things have gotten really out of hand lately, so some action is needed. The forums are intended to be a positive place for the community to give constructive feedback and suggestions about the game, and plan community events and the like. Obviously this can work well, as evidenced by some of the new content in the last patch. But while it's good that people have strong opinions about the game and its process of evolution, keep the discussions civil: debate the idea on its own merits, and not the individual posting the idea. Avoid attacking entire play-styles, but find a way to logically express how a change could improve and balance the game to the benefit of everyone.

Thanks everyone.

- Guild Software, Inc.
Jan
17

Vendetta Online 1.8.367

VO 1.8.367 includes:

- Linux version no longer attempts to rescan for joysticks whenever certain keyboard keys are pressed.
- Radar blip coloring can be modified by plugins again. When a plugin wants to change the status of a player by overriding the GetFriendlyStatus function, it must call the UpdateRadarFriendlyStatus(<node_id>) or UpdateAllRadarFriendlyStatus() function to update the radar with the new status.
- The Advanced Combat Training and Border Patrol group missions are now available.
- For multi-theaded rendering with dynamic lights and shadows, shadows are now processed in their own thread.
- Raptor UDV armor increased from 10,500 to 12000.

We're aiming to have some gameplay tweaks at the end of next week, and a major announcement before the end of the month. Have a great weekend, everyone!
Jan
09

Raptor UDV buffed.

Per a lengthy player discussion on the Suggestions Forum, the Raptor UDV has had its armor mildly increased from 10,500 to 12,000, to enable it to compete on a little more even footing in PvP combat. The Raptor has a fairly large frontal area, a long tail, and reduced maneuverability compared to some other ships, so this buff is intended to help mitigate those disadvantages a little.

The Raptor in general is not intended to be "the best" at any given function (including combat), rather it's supposed to be one of the more flexible ships. It includes integrated storm-radar extenders, and the UDV further adds cargo/addon and mineral/temperature scanners. It also includes more cargo space than the average fighter-class vessel.

These kinds of features are more in-line with UIT thinking: Flexible craft for long-term exploration, prospecting, defense. A good general-purpose craft that can cover a lot of bases. It is not intended to be a warfare-driven dogfighter on the level of a Valkyrie, or a heavy hitter like a Prometheus, or even a specialty light fighter like a Centurion Superlight. These are far more specialized instruments of combat, where the entire Raptor class did not evolve to address the same need within the UIT.

The Union Defense Vessel variant of the Raptor was created to allow the UIT Senate (and member-factions), a reasonable vessel for border defense, anti-piracy and other interdiction needs, while still retaining many of the flexible advantages offered by the Raptor platform as a whole.

More gameplay changes and announcements will be coming in the near future, we're a bit buried in development at the moment. Have a great weekend, everyone.
Dec
30

Voice Chat Fixes

There have been some long-standing problems with the integrated Voice Chat system, which stem from bugs in our own server-side codebase, and not the third-party voice chat libraries. We've been working to fix these bugs recently, and have added a lot of debugging to further improve our chances of tracking down any problems that do occur. Some improvements were made last week, and other fixes were just put into place today.

If you experience "channel leakage", where you hear people on voice chat who are not supposed to be a part of your group or guild chat experience, please submit a Support Ticket and let us know.

Tracking down this issue is critical, as it is part of the system which communicates with our game server, and would still be used with any other voice-chat solution, now or in the future. Thanks much.
Dec
19

Vendetta Online 1.8.366

VO 1.8.366 includes:

- New client CPU optimization should make the game run smoother and better across all platforms, but especially those with slower CPUs (older PCs, mobile devices, etc).
- Strikeforces now include Warthogs in all levels of response.
- Strikeforce Power Seeker combat tactics have been improved slightly.
- Power Seekers no longer drop drain weapons or other addons on death.

The CPU optimization is a pretty big deal on some devices. For slower phones, it may be as much as a 40% framerate increase for some cases. Unfortunately, we're also seeing some new sporadic bugs crop up in the implementation, which is related to radar dot-coloration (friendly/enemy). We're actively working to resolve these bugs, but please be aware in the meantime (we did test this pretty thoroughly before release; but in any code this complex, it's tough to cover all cases).

The Power Seekers no longer dropping PCBs is a side effect of testing a new feature that allows us to vary the addon drop-rate of individual NPC types. We've wanted this for a long time, it helps enhance situation where, for instance, we might want a particularly difficult NPC to drop their addons more often, or other cases where we want to avoid trivial farming of some valuable addon on a relatively fragile bot. Please let us know if you see any addons being dropped by Power Seekers. We are not moving towards a general "no-drop" policy on bots (that would be.. bad), we're just making the capabilities more flexible so we can offset the rarity against the difficulty of the individual bot.

Thanks everyone, have a great weekend!
Dec
12

Vendetta Online 1.8.362-365

VO 1.8.362-365 included:

- Strike forces now include new "Power Seeker" NPCs, who fire energy-draining weapons.
- Tab-complete on mobile devices now work the same way as on PCs.
- Fixed issue with friendly IFF not getting set on turrets for conquerable station user keys when the station is first conquered.
- Fixed the text at the end of the Offline Training Simulator to reference free-to-play instead of trial accounts on mobile devices.
- Fixed issue with gamepads on Android and joysticks/controllers that don't have any D-pad/POVhat on PC platforms rapidly scrolling through menu items.
- Fixed issue with flight controls getting changed by plugged-in but unused joysticks/gamepads on all platforms.
- Fixed mouse becoming visible when using the mousewheel while flying in space.
- Fixed issue with not being able to toggle the navmap and mission log with the n/m keys while in space.
- Improved usability of the UI when using a gamepad.
- Added ability to use a gamepad in the navmap to manipulate your navigation route. When the navmap is highlighted, press A to activate it. Then use the D-pad to highlight a sector and press A to select it or long-press A to add it to your existing route.
- The gamepad help menu now highlights the relevant controls in the Offline Training Simulator.
- The HUD is now locked to the ship instead of the player's view in the Offline Training Simulator demo scene when in Rift VR mode.
- Keychain list is now properly sorted by id. Owner keys and their user keys are first, with user keys second.
- Fixed issues with Offline Training Simulator not properly explaining gamepad controls when in Oculus VR mode.
- Fixed backwards controls with horizontal scrollbar when manipulated with the D-pad.
- New characters should now be automatically joined to channels 100 (general chat), 11 (nation chat), and 1 (help chat).
- The 'Continue' button in missions should now always be the default focused button.

We've had a number of frequent releases going on recently, across a range of topics. Tonight we add a little to gameplay with some strike force tweaks (other NPC changes coming), but previously in the week we've seen everything from VR updates, to Android fixes, to game-controller improvements, etc.

VR is a pretty important part of our long-term goals, and this also requires good gamepad/controller support in the menu interface, since one is basically "blind" when wearing a VR headset. But, beyond this, we're the game is also starting to appear more frequently on Android-based platforms with "10-foot" experiences (console-like), such as Smart TVs, set top boxes, and other hardware.

To this point, the game is currently being featured and promoted across Sony Bravia Smart-TV sets, which are basically Android-powered televisions that can natively install and run the game. This is a pretty niche market right now, but controller improvements targeted for VR will also help these users, as well as potential players on the Amazon FireTV, or possibly a future release on Apple TV or other similar types of devices.

We're still pushing hard on the 1.9 release goals, which were delayed for several months by our unplanned server migration over this summer, but we're still headed firmly in the right direction. The 1.9 goals do include a number of gameplay-specific goals, like some improvements to station defense and kill-on-sight concepts, along with some new expansions of NPC behaviours, and deeper complexity to the combat system.. all of which will allow a more meaningful release of the long-awaited expansion of the Trident capship family. It's has been frustrating (for us) to have had this all be delayed, but you should start to see some bot changes and game tweaks every week now (with any luck), which is a good sign that we're headed towards the final stretch in the 1.9 goals. Some changes may be big, others may be small, but they're taking us where we want to go.

We hope you're all looking forward to 1.9 as much as we are! Have a great weekend, everyone.
Dec
10

Scheduled Server Maintenance Window

Vendetta Online will be undergoing some degree of server maintenance between noon and 4pm Central Time, today, 12/10. We do not expect the game to be down for more than a few minutes at any given time; but please bear in mind the potential for a game restart or downtime when making your game-related plans for the afternoon. Thanks much.
Nov
30

Vendetta Online 1.8.361

VO 1.8.361 includes:

- Oculus Rift "Beta Test" VR support updated to the 0.8 SDK. As always, the presence of a Rift is auto-detected on runtime, and prompts for the option of starting the game in VR mode.
- New "VR Welcome" panel on startup, lists the currently known issues and workarounds.
- New "VR Options" added to Options area, when a VR headset is detected.
- VR game startup environment, for initial orientation and controller settings.
- Improved Windows gamepad support for Xbox One, 360, PS4 and Logitech F710.
- If you have a Rift, please consider posting feedback on the Windows forum of our site, vendetta-online.com!
- Temporarily disabled default anti-aliasing (in non-VR, 2D mode) for new installs with AMD GPUs, due to a crash with their most recent drivers. It will be re-enabled when the issue is resolved.

Our Oculus Rift VR headset support has been updated! We were widely reported as the first MMO to launch support for the Rift, back in July of 2013, and we're happy to now bring it up to the latest 0.8 SDK support, along with adding many new VR-specific features and improvements.

This is also concurrent with the launch of our recently-updated DirectX 11 rendering engine, adding a lot of new visual effects and image quality, with more yet to come.

This is still considered a Beta Test of our VR-headset implementation, and will undergo considerable change between now and when the Rift headset finally launches to retail in Q1 of 2016. For the moment, we'd appreciate feedback (on our Windows forum) from any early adopters of the Rift DK2 development device. We still consider our VR support to be "rough", it's lacking some of the more VR-specific interface solutions we intend to add, and the tutorials and mission system need improvement. But re-working our DX11 engine over the last year, getting the right performance and image quality has been the top priority. Once that is proven stable, it's easier for us to add in newer features (which may make a lot of non-VR players happy as well, since they've often requested "cockpit" interfaces and the like).

We've also spent some time improving PC integration of gamepad controllers, specifically targeting the Xbox One controller (Oculus's recommended default), as well as 360, PS4 and Logitech F710 controllers. Some aspects of controller integration are also still a bit rough, particularly navigation in the UI, but this will be improved. The benefits of this work go well beyond the Rift implementation, to help all gamepad users, across PC, mobile, AndroidTV, Steam "big picture" mode, etc.

Bringing the Rift implementation up to date has always been a goal of the 1.9 release, and a key part of our Steam plans, and we're happy to get this out the door. We made a lot of generalized improvements to game performance to help this development, which are also to the benefit of all players (VR or otherwise, including mobile).

Related to all of these changes, we recently updated the game's Official System Requirements. Please pay particular attention to the new VR requirements: if you want to do VR in the game, you will need very strong, recent desktop system with a big discrete gaming card. Oculus themselves specifies a Core i5-4590 CPU (or AMD equiv) with an NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD R9 290 as the bare minimum. We'd suggest going further than that, if you can. You aren't going to want to do VR at the "minimum" settings. Laptops are not currently recommended for the Rift (not yet, anyway).

Players have periodically asked us if they should buy a one of the Oculus development kits, and we've generally said "no, wait for the finished product". Well, we've used the pre-release Consumer devices, and we think the experience is great. If you're an avid VO pilot, you will find an incredible level of immersion with VR. It can be pretty intense, you may want to try out VR in general before buying, to make sure it's compatible with your particular inner ear sensibilities (some people get motion sick).

To players looking at other types of VR headsets and the like, we are considering broader support down the road (SteamVR in particular). "VR" development is mostly a user experience and performance issue: once one integrates one type of headset, others should be pretty simple to add.

Lastly, to any wondering about upcoming gameplay changes and improvements, yes those are coming soon as well. We have a whole laundry list to get through before 1.9 drops, but it has been important to get the Rift update "out there" for testing sooner, so that can now be happening in parallel, while we switch back to other development. That's why the timing was prioritized.

Thanks everyone, hope you all had a great weekend and holiday!

- Guild Software, Inc.
Nov
24

Vendetta Online 1.8.360

VO 1.8.360 includes:

- Improved quality and efficiency of the glow effect.
- Windows version now requires SSE2 support. It should be faster as a result.
- Removed the loading progress bar under the Guild logo on startup
- Fixed ice crystal rendering error when changing resolutions in DirectX 11 mode.

One important change here is that the Windows/PC version of the game now requires support for the SSE2 instruction set. This has been a feature of all new computers for over a decade, so we don't expect it to be a problem for anyone. Still, if you have a particularly old machine and still want to run the game, we recommend installing Linux, and running the 32-bit Linux version of Vendetta Online. You can also read more about this change, and comment, on the related General Forum thread.

This system requirement has NO impact on any other platform. It is purely a PC-Windows specific change.

We have been doing a lot of work on an update of our beta Oculus Rift support, which also mandates some graphical and performance optimizations, to try and yield the best possible framerate.

However, the Oculus development is still in testing, and we wanted to get some of these other changes out more quickly, so we rolled a separate release. Aside from the speed increase from SSE2, we've changed from our own modified-Gaussian filter to a Kawase filter for glow, with the overall effect of better fidelity at a higher framerate.

If anyone has any issues, please post to the Bugs Forum and let us know. Thanks!
Nov
15

Vendetta Online 1.8.359

VO 1.8.359 includes:

- Modifications to Livery system to allow more dynamic addition of new ship skins.
- Mitigated issue related to Hive Queens disappearing from the game universe.
- Key IDs are now shown in key lists.
- Key lists are now sorted by Key ID.
- User keys now default to IFF and can-dock access.
- F2P specific: Crystal limit on bot-kills is doubled to 20 crystal per day.
- F2P specific: Some Hive bots now give increased crystal rewards, from 2 crystal for Assault-class bots, up to 5 crystal for Hive Queens.
- F2P specific: All ship addons/weapons at or above level 3, in any license, now cost 1 crystal each.

Several changes for Free To Play users, allowing them to gain more Crystal through daily bot kills, while also adding long-planned Crystal costs for addons and weapons. The Free To Play game balance will be changing over the coming months, including potential improvements to level limits and the like.

The "Key" changes, for keys related to capship and station ownership, were suggested by the player base easier this week, and integrated to help lower the hassle-factor in key management. As always, we'd appreciate continued feedback on how this is working.

Beyond that, we intended this release to also debut the next-generation beta of our Oculus Rift support, but after some testing we chose to defer a little longer and make sure things are solid (probably until next week). We initially only expected the Rift to be disabled for a week or so, but Oculus also released their 0.8 SDK in the same timeframe, so we chose to update and optimize for that, in addition. The upcoming release will still be very "beta" for Rift support, the game needs quite a few improvements to help polish the VR experience, but we think early Rift adopters will still enjoy it in its interim state.

As always, thanks for your patience and support!
Oct
31

Vendetta Online 1.8.357-358

Deneb Run this weekend! Check the in-game Event Information!

VO 1.8.357-358 included:

- Fixed rendering issue with fog on Android.
- Added setting to toggle fog blob particles on Android. The setting defaults to on for Android 5 and above, and for higher-end Tegra and Snapdragon devices. The setting is at Options -> Advanced -> Graphics -> Show Fog Blobs if the effect is too slow on your device.
- Specialty development for an upcoming OEM promotion, across phones, tablets and TVs.
- Improved UI navigation with gamepads and remotes.
- Rearranged some hotkeys for Capship PDA tabs.
- Attempt to improve issues with ANR (Activity Not Responding) errors on Android.
- Reduced black screen time on startup on Android and slower PCs.
- Fixed issue where selecting the Livery button during the initial in-game ship purchasing tutorial would cause the tutorial to restart.
- PatchStorm Update Server cloud has new nodes in Dallas, Texas and Sydney, Australia.

Usually our development is based on a "soft" schedule (defined by us, internally), and sometimes we're trying to work around "hard" dates defined by an outside party. In the case of this past week, we were offered an opportunity by a major OEM (electronics company) to help them test some new promotional channels to their millions of users. That bumped up the priority of related development that would make the promotion possible, and quickly tweak/improve the game on the respective devices.

We expect to return to our internally-driven development goals next week, and continue the push towards VO 1.9. Thanks for your patience, everyone. Have a great weekend!
Oct
31

PK Farming wrap-up.

This is a final note that we are, for the moment, wrapping up our investigations in historical "PK farming", or the process of cheating to increase the PK stat by repeatedly killing a drone "alt" running on another account (in some cases, thousands of times). This practice is not welcome in Vendetta Online. The PK stat has little inherent value in gameplay; but it still carries a perceptual value within the community, as an indication of experience and skill.

After concerns over the issue were raised by people within the community, we started the research process in our logs, and found half a dozen or so suspicious cases that merited further investigation.
The fact that we found a number of cases of different individuals meant two things:

1) The issue was common enough to require a "policy" response. We couldn't just deal with one person quietly, or even two: we had to create a response we could apply more broadly and fairly to a larger group of people, and potentially maintain moving forward.

2) The individual cases still required considerable time to investigate. People kill each other all the time in VO, and there are a lot of factors to consider in identifying this kind of behaviour. We wanted to be absolutely sure we didn't punish anyone inappropriately, so some depth was required.

Because this process was so time consuming to research and correlate (and we're already busy), some people were "punished" before others. This only resulted from the "luck" of who was in more recent logs, or had cheated on a grander and more easily-verified scale. The order and timing of our actions was simply based on when we came to some certainty from log data.

While investigating the individual cases, we found some people had been doing this kind of thing for as far back as we had logs (about a year). This presented a conundrum: for these players, we couldn't really provide any realistic count of the person's "actual" PKs vs their "fake" PKs. So, in fairness to the apparently overwhelming majority of players who don't engage in this kind of activity, we zeroed the PK stats of the people who had been definitively cheating.

This wasn't a step we took lightly, some of these players had been with us for a long time. Regardless of how this issue came to light, we probably would have come to the same conclusion on the appropriate minimal action. It seemed to be as fair as we could be; if we had had older log data available, we might have tried to do more to mitigate the punishment, but that simply wasn't possible.

Above and beyond this, some individuals really kicked up a controversial mess in regards to the "cheating", with the issue basically being used by different factions to troll one another, both in-game and on the forums. This further elevated the level of controversial hysteria over the problem, and gave everyone a headache. So, above and beyond their stat resets, two people also earned week-long mutes (now well expired).

In some cases that were suspicious and not conclusive, we've elected to continue monitoring the respective individuals. In a few smaller inconclusive cases, usually "newbie" types, we also sent out email warnings; but the lack of receiving a warning doesn't mean we aren't monitoring.

The level of controversy and player-consternation over this issue was really not warranted by the problem itself. This situation definitely used a lot of developer time, and inspired considerable irritation in the lead developer (me). But, my final administrative actions and choices were not without methodical logic and forethought, while trying to take the minimum corrective action that I could, that was the fairest to the overall playerbase.

I do wish I had delayed until we could apply all administrative actions at the same time, across all the involved players. Although this might have drawn out the controversy, it would have at least defused any accusations of "reactive action" based on the timing of various punishments. Instead, we just took action as we found certainty in each case, day by day, week by week, which led some to believe we were reacting to the requests of different factions. This was not true, and there is another simple reality to keep in mind:

We never, ever take administrative action without verified information from our own logs. We welcome player reports and tickets on issues, but they are considered "advisory" only. Specific times and dates help, as it allows us to more quickly zero in using the server logs. But, to put it simply, beyond the first report of a problem.. the number of factions writing tickets has no bearing on what actions take place. Once the ball on this issue started rolling from our initial investigation, we would continue until we had verified every case we reasonably could.

Moving ahead, we are doing more rigorous monitoring of this kind of activity (and other cheat-driven activities), as well as extending the total length of our logs, along with the type of data they store.

In closing, we ask that people try to enjoy the game as it is. Especially if you want to see the game evolve into something better. We simply don't have the resources to dedicate to this kind of issue on a regular basis.

If you genuinely have a concern about player-cheating, bring it to us, quietly. That's the best way to address the issue. Chances are, we may want to quietly enable extended monitoring on that individual, and you splashing accusations across the public forum may reduce the chances of our detecting definitive cheating.

Finally, a situation where half a dozen people over a given year, were exploiting a situation that resulted in little or no gameplay impact, does not imply we have much of a "cheating" problem as a whole. But, we remain vigilant to the possibility.

That's all for now, have fun everyone.

- Guild Software, Inc.
Oct
24

Vendetta Online 1.8.356

VO 1.8.356 includes:

- Fixed a server crash caused when too many hive skirmish missions were created at the same time.
- Fixed player online status information leaks.
- The automatic guild disband timeout that is started when there is less than 5 council members has been changed from 48 hours to 7 days.
- Guild Commanders can now limit display of current-login status of their members, via interface on the website.
- Improved server resilience to certain types of potential cloud issues.
- Improved server status, emergency monitoring.
- Fixed a server-side bug related to tracking of reloaded swarm missile ammunition, and a few other cases.

We did some critical work this week, and it appears that we have drastically improved the stability of specific server-side components. We've also strengthened our monitoring, and also updated and improved our ability to roll-back from a faulty release, should one occur (always a possibility).

So, obviously this is a lot of infrastructural work and not "exciting gameplay changes". But all things considered from recent experiences, these were pretty important issues to resolve and improve.

If all goes well with stability over the weekend, we intend to swing back to our previously-interrupted development schedule next week, and move forward with some planned game improvements. The delays of the last month have put us up against another hard-deadline at the end of next week, for a particular game partnership/promotion, which will also be taking some dev time (albeit just a few days).

In other news, we have some seriously new environmental content in the works, intended to demonstrate how we're changing some areas of space, and give some notion to the kind of "scale" we'll be rolling out in our game universe. It should be noted: these are purely graphical improvements right now, and are not delaying gameplay changes at all; but rather they will play a very important part in the forward evolution of the game, through version 1.9 and beyond.

Also, be sure to stop by some of the new player-organized Events that have hit the schedule lately! I'm sure they'll be a lot of fun.

Thanks for your patience, everyone, have a great weekend!
Oct
17

Outage and Related Development

We had an unplanned game downtime on Weds morning of this past week, and this post is intended to fill people in a little on what's been going on.

The basic problem was the "Kourier" AI subsystem, which controls the Hives, going a little bonkers and trying to create over 32,000 hive-NPCs at once, in a single sector. This then caused cascading failures elsewhere. The root issue, however, turned out to be quite complex, and not even a "new" issue, but rather something we've been lucky to avoid in the past.

Because of this, we've spent some effort over the last few days, to clean up and re-work the "Kourier" system, to make it more robust. This should also eliminate some of the other related problems that have plagued us for some time, like not-enough or too-many missions appearing for certain types of dynamic gameplay.

We did not plan for this development to be happening now; but now that we're aware of the problem, it has become the top priority and we've allocated our resources there. This has further pushed back other development that has been in the works. Such is the life of building a live, online game.

A lot of our planned gameplay improvements will also hinge on this same codebase (dynamic territory ownership with conquerable stations, a better Deneb War, etc), so there are other benefits to our doing this work, but it's still inconvenient timing.

We don't expect this issue to delay other development for more than a few days to a week, but, obviously server stability is critical. So we appreciate your patience in the meantime.