Vendetta Online 1.8.532

VO 1.8.532 includes:

- Unaligned Pirate capital ships should no longer follow players into deep space.
- Fixed issue with Enduring History kill count not displaying properly.
- Fixed "Daily Trade Report" not being properly posted in-game.
- Fixed bugs and improved stability of NPC convoys.
- Fixed a rare problem where NPC convoys could excessively pile-up in a sector, under certain conditions.
- Fixed issue with spawning a persistent ship for a player, if a sector lags and the player relogs into a new instance of the sector.
- Improved account-creation flow on the website, made it more friendly to phones.
- Reduced memory and CPU usage of Kourier subsystem.
- Fixed issue with logged-in state of player characters.

Lots of other working going on in the background, both around advances in gameplay, as well as development to enhance the early game experience for new players.

Please continue to keep us post about the bugs you find, via the Bugs forum (several of the above fixes are thanks to player reports), and have a great weekend everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.530-531

There have been a number of fairly significant updates lately. Some of them introduce entirely new features, which merit further explanation and commentary, likely slated for the next Newsletter.

VO 1.8.531 includes (tonight):
- Text-To-Speech feature added for PC platforms. It can be muted in Options -> Audio -> Mission Text To Speech volume.
- Goliath Powercell grid power increased from 55 to 58, per Suggestions thread.
- Added 'Clear A Bind' button to Keyboard menu, so keys and commands can be unbound from each other.
- Efficiency and performance improvements to server-side economy and NPC management systems.
- Missions may now filter availability on whether a station has Capship docking bays.
- Improved error handling and automated reporting of server back-end economic systems.

VO 1.8.530.1 included (last weekend):
- Enduring History is now displayed in the information panel in the Inventory menu.

VO 1.8.530 included (last week):
- Added options in the Buddy Menu allowing the player to toggle whether
buddies can see their Online status on their Active Players web page.
- Fixed incorrect stacking of items in the Inventory menu when sorting
by Type.
- Fixed issue with Strike Force deciding to leave instead of attack.
- Fixed issue with NPCs ending their pursuit when you enter a player-
owned capship.
- New Enduring Content mission, for Trident owners.

Vendetta Online 1.8.529

VO 1.8.529 includes:

- Fixed issue with displaying too many missions in the new System.
- Fixed inaccuracies in the Best Price calculator for the Latos stations.
- Capships can now be renamed when docked.
- Fixed issue with empty Deneb Skirmishes.

There is also some other new functionality in this update, which is still in testing and hasn't been formally released yet. We'll talk about that in a separate post, next week.

Vendetta Online 18.525-528, A new rare drop.

Tonight's release brings a number of tweaks, including a new rare-drop, which will become relevant in upcoming content.
Beyond this, we've also made it easier for former-subscribers to play the game in Freemium mode, even when they have a Capital Ship using up their station cargo space.
You can now see the "Best" prices for goods you're carrying, throughout the entire Galaxy. We're still working on this interface and improving things, but you can expect more tools like this as we evolve the Economy. Obviously, the massive increase in NPC convoy activity (among other things) can attest to the Economy changes that are on-going.
We'll go into all of this in greater detail in the next Newsletter. In the meantime, please keep us posted on any issues you find via the Bugs Forum, as well as ideas on the Suggestions Forum.

We haven't been posting news about patch updates, for a few weeks (development has been very intensive), so please bear with the long list here..

VO 1.8.528 (tonight) includes:
- New rare drop: "Rarified Heliocene Alloy" can occasionally be found from certain NPCs in the Unknown System.
- Fixed error when using In-App Purchasing on Linux platforms.
- Buy-back cost now displays Crystal cost with the Credit cost.
- Fixed issue with the Prediction Monitoring system being triggered when jumping/warping.
- Added recurring Lite membership billing options to the Billing page of the web site.
- Added 12 and 24 month Lite membership Gift Keys to the Billing page of the web site.

VO 1.8.527 included:
- Players are always allowed to switch to a ship they have in storage, even if there's not enough storage space available.
- Players can always purchase a small ship if they don't own any at their current location.
- Players can now activate their capship even if they can't launch with it due to subscription restrictions. This allows the player to remove items from the ship's inventory.
- System best prices now include Galactic best prices and no longer include stations the player can't dock with. The profit/loss replaced the cost. The location is now a shortcut to that system's navmap.

VO 1.8.526 included:
- Additional trade items updated to have "Locally Produced" locations in Nation space, allowing proper fulfillment in the new Latos economy.
- Latos economy is now updating and engaging traders more often, both players and NPCs. This may result in an increase in missions and convoy traffic.
- Fixed issue with ships spinning around and then popping back into position.
- Trade Guild Procurement and Retrieve missions no longer ask for items that the local station has available for sale.
- Continued adjustment to the generation of Crystal (from XP, in this case). This process will be on-going as we evaluate different models.

VO 1.8.525 included:
- The winning "side" of Deneb is now able to purchase Neutron Blaster MkIIIs in their home nation for the following week.
- Deneb players are no longer kicked out of the mission for friendly kills.
- Friendly kills in Deneb no longer count against your nation's casualty count.
- Valkyrie and Prometheus NPCs in Deneb have been replaced by Vulturesin "Fighter" sized Skirmishes.
- Valkyrie and Prometheus NPCs in Deneb that previously carried rockets, now only carry Neutron Mark II weapons.
- Deneb "Battle Points" are now the determining factor for which side wins in a given week, the skirmish sizes have been separately weighted at 12 for Battle, 8 for Large, 5 for Medium, 3 for Small, and 1 for Fighter.
- Deneb "Battle Points" are now displayed on the website Deneb Stats.
- Fixed PC issue with some shortcut keys not working correctly in the station/PDA menus.

Vendetta Online 1.8.523-524, Uncapped Freemium on All Platforms

Some pretty major changes in tonight's release. Here are the patches from the last couple of weeks:

VO 1.8.524 includes:
- Secure In-App Purchase is now available in the game-client, on native PC platforms, using Guild Software's existing in-house credit card handling. See in-game Options for details.
- Freemium gameplay access is now possible from all platforms, including PC, along with the usage of Crystal.
- Freemium is now the default for new PC accounts, instead of Trial.
- Freemium and Lite accounts may now submit Events.
- Freemium and Lite accounts may now create Guilds, and serve as Council.
- All level caps have been removed for Lite and Freemium players.
- Lite Members now gain access to build and use Goliath-class capital ships (also retains 50% higher daily crystal limits from bots).
- Technically, all players may now construct Capital Ship components, but final assembly and usage is limited by membership tier.
- Added more internal analytics to help monitor the changes. On-going business model changes may be expected (crystal tweaks, etc).
- Premium access still includes: Tridents, less aggressive AFK logoff, LTS benefits, etc. New content will be added to the Premium tier, along with other benefits.

(Last week on 08/07):

VO 1.8.523 included:
- First-gen, non-public testing of a new cross-platform "In App Purchasing" system, tied to our own billing backend.
- Security updates and improvements for the game client, related to upcoming IAP features.
- Fixed problem on Windows causing threaded renderer to not properly utilize systems with non power-of-two core counts.
- Mitigated a rare concurrency issue with threaded job system.
- Players now respawn more quickly after death, particularly for high-ping players.
- Network protocol "streaming" mode is now enabled when a player leaves a sector, for faster transitions on high-ping connections.

Obviously, tonight's release includes very significant changes to the game's business model and availability, which have been planned for a very long time and we're happy to see them finally released.

We'll be discussing them in greater detail in the next Newsletter. Stay tuned!

Server Side Updates

The last few weeks have included a lot of purely server-side updates, as we've improved the robustness of the game, fixed a lot of bugs, and added internal features to give us better insights when there's a problem.

Changes include:

- Mitigated a bug with duplicate NPCs (Leviathans, etc) showing up in some locations.
- Fixed a bug causing some NPCs to "park" in the wrong locations.
- Fixed problem causing people to occasionally damage their capital ships when undocking.
- Optimized performance of the game server for certain cases.
- Added many new performance-monitoring analytics for the core game server.
- Made purchase experience more robust to upstream payment-gateway outages.
- Fixed a problem with AI path data being generated incorrectly on some sectors.
- Threaded AI path generation, plus other tweaks, to improve startup time on certain complex sectors.
- Added new analytics for monitoring a variety of connection and internal performance data.

We appreciate all the reports on Bugs and elsewhere, sometimes it takes us a few days to track something down, but we fix any issue as quickly as we can.

Newer game-content updates are slated to appear before long. It's been important that we focus on back-end stability and capacity for a little while, before the next round of content drops. Thanks for your patience in the meantime.

Vendetta Online 1.8.520, Prediction Monitoring

VO 1.8.520 includes:

- Players' positions are now reset if high latency transients are detected during combat situations.
- Added client-side prediction to the application of explosion-force on dynamic debris.

The fact that this is a "two sentence update" belies the complexity and development time that went into it.

- Update 1 - Firstly, this update includes a new system we'll call "Prediction Monitoring". To put it simply, this is a system that, under a very specific and narrow set of PvP combat conditions, will begin monitoring the movements of players, and if necessary, replacing player-client derived network updates with server-enforced positioning.

This should only impact people with *very* high latency (on the order of 800ms), or people who suddenly experience network dropouts (packets lost or delayed). If the server enforces a network update, the player may move or "drift" in a direction the server thinks is most appropriate based on their previously-accepted movement update. This prevents people from inducing lag that may cause them to "jump" excessively long distances, or become impossible to target.

People experiencing server-enforced positioning from the Prediction Monitoring system will not be "instant kills". They'll still be moving, and their momentary periods of linear motion will still be sporadic.

CHAT will also display a message to anyone who experiences server-enforced positioning, which says "High latency detected, resetting position."

See the Suggestions Forum for a more thorough RFC thread on the topic, and how the system is implemented. There are a great many factors that narrow the scope of the system to the smallest number of circumstances, specifically to minimize any impact of the system outside of PvP (for instance, PvE against bots is unaffected).

Most importantly, for the system to be engaged, players must currently:

A) Be able to harm one another (no same-nation players in a Capitol system).
B) NOT be grouped with one another. The system is explicitly disabled for group-members.
C) NOT be located in a No Fire Zone (NFZs exclude the system, as it could make docking too challenging for high ping players).
D) Weapons fire must be instantiated within 3000 meters of another player.

If this is all fulfilled, then Prediction Monitoring will be engaged for 30 seconds on the respective players. The expectation is that each future "shot" within 3000 meters will re-engage the system for another 30 seconds, and the timer will allow the system to "turn off" quickly when not needed.

Like everything in this game, the system is a Work In Progress, so real-world testing feedback is welcome on the related Suggestions Forum thread.

- Update 2 - Certain sectors, like Latos F12, have been testing new physically dynamic "debris" for some time. These debris can be moved by ship impact or explosions, and will physically interact with other objects based on relative masses, creating an interesting set of physical reactions based on gameplay (also leading to a lot of potential future gameplay).

The physical reactions are shared over the network, and we've recently improved the game's ability to instantly predict the physical impacts on the game client, before later re-synchronizing the results with the server.

This means that previous issues with "delayed jumping" of physics responses in debris, due to ping times, are now drastically less visible.

The combination of previous performance enhancements to the rendering engine (since April), along with improved network synchronization and fewer visual artifacts, may cause the "debris" to become much more widely employed in the game in the future.

Eventually we may even have options for players to move high-mass objects around, such as asteroids, to create strategic barriers. Similarly, miners might need to move surrounding asteroids to get their larger ships closer to higher-value ores. Lots of different possibilities emerge, with a more dynamic, physically-reactive environment.

Vendetta Online 1.8.519

VO 1.8.519 includes:

- Corporate Sector Run prizes have been added. 100k credits for each System the racer complets along the designated route. 50k credits for each kill of an eligible racer outside of Odia M-14. Top prize raised from 5M to 9M credits.
- Corporate Sector Run advertisement and registeration descriptions have been updated.
- Fixed lua error when displaying System Notes.
- Fixed issue with Trade mission's Procurement list being blank in the new dynamic economy sectors.
- Improved NPC path-finding persistence between sector restarts.

We intend to continue expanding and refining automated Events, like the Corporate Sector Run race. If you have feedback on how existing events work, or ideas for additional events, please feel free to post about that on Suggestions.

Server Side Updates, VO 1.8.518

The 06/12 Server-Side Update (last night) included:

- Leviathan weapon fire no longer goes through thinner asteroids. Should also impact Conquerable Station Turrets, etc.
- The NPCs no longer use the internal docking bays on the station in Verasi I-5.
- NPC AI path generation has been improved and adjusted.
- Our ability to visually debug problems with the NPC AI path generation has been improved.

VO 1.8.518 included:

- Added new NPCs to the Unknown System that may pursue you throughout the system.
- NPCs may continue to aggro on pilots after they dock and re-launch from capships.
- Queens now defend the Leviathan instead of drifting away.
- Fixed lua error when attempting to load system notes that plugins created.

The change to high-speed Gauss from large turrets should make for improved strategies in approaching Leviathan, Conquerable Stations and the like. Note that this is a physical-impact change; it's possible there are some long-lived visual effects that may still pass through objects, for the moment, but you won't be damaged by them.

Other tweaks to Queens and more elaborate cross-system NPC behaviour should also prove interesting, and lead to more content down the road.

New System and VO 1.8.517

As related in the latest Newsletter, a new Star System has been added to the game:

- The system is "hidden", but can be found with a clue from an in-game News article (PDA -> Comm) about a rescued explorer.
- The new system contains a particular type of bot that will occasionally drop a new weapon: the Gravity Mine Launcher.

This new system can be expected to change periodically; everything from the risks and dangers, to the actual sectors themselves. We're looking to add unique minerals and ores that only exist there, more unusual bot types with drops, and other content.

The wormhole may eventually become more challenging to locate, moving periodically. Threats to the main game universe may even pour forth from hidden strongholds.

VO 1.8.517 includes:
- Improved performance relating to instanced rendering on DX11, GL4, Vulkan and ES3. Most apparent with very dense sectors, using shadows.
- Fixed a graphics problem on PC, where certain asteroids were not using existing higher-quality object assets.
- Fixed a rendering issue with refracting ice crystals on Vulkan.

Anyone who hasn't seen it already, should also take a look at the latest game Newsletter:

VO 1.8.514-516

Some really significant changes in the last couple of weeks, particularly expanding the new supply-based economy to include the entire Latos system. There will continue to be a lot of economic changes and tweaks, as time goes on and we continue to monitor how things are working. Feedback on the economy is welcome, via the Suggestions forum and the like.

Server side issues fixed tonight:

- Fixed rare issue with player getting stuck leaving a turret just as the capship leaves the sector.
- Fixed rare issue with player attempting to launch from a ship with no launch bays, or in a ship that is not in the local inventory.
- Fixed rare issue with player taking control of their capship and launching at the same time.

VO 1.8.516 included (Tuesday, 5/19):

- Next-generation dynamic economy has been expanded from Latos N-2, to now include all of Latos (C-2, N-15).
- Target supply capacities for related min/max pricing values have been tweaked a bit, for the Latos economy. This will continue to evolve.
- Convoy Escort missions will now only appear in stations where the "requested" delivery is Locally Produced. This changes the distribution and total number of available Escort missions.
- Escort mission state, along with more dynamic factors of the economy, are now persistently saved and restored during server restarts. This means Escort missions are available immediately after restarts.
- Fixed an issue where a source station may not continue supplying a destination station if that station was already supplied.
- Updated targeted Character Info menu to display more badges. The region can also be scrollable, although no scroll bar will appear.
- If an item that would otherwise disappear is sold to a dynamic economy station like Latos N-2, the item will be put into your station storage instead of disappearing and you will receive a message that it happened.
- Player-owned capships being attacked in NFZ now enable the Self Defense mechanism for the owner to defend against the attacker.
- Strike-force squads no longer accumulate (pointlessly) under certain conditions.
- AI sector navigation and long-term learning algorithms have been changed. This may take time to impact the game visibly.
- Server-side analytics have been improved and expanded for various AI, NPC and economic functionality. We can now simulate the economy at 100x speed, for testing.

VO 1.8.515 included:
- Destination sectors are now preloaded when a player begins a jump/warp/death animation for a smoother transition.
- Optimized navmap updates when Hive/Deneb overlays change.
- Trident livery textures are now preloaded to minimize stalls when it is seen for the first time.

VO 1.8.514 included:
- The cost of buying back your ship and addons when in a Deneb skirmish mission now displays the correct value of 0.
- Fixed issue with hive indicators in the navmap not updating properly.
- Clearing out Central and Critical Hives before the skirmish starts wasn't being properly counted towards the Hive Sector Hunter badges. Counts have been retroactively applied.

Server-side Release

Over the past week, we've made the following changes:

- Fixed a bug that caused spawning far too many escort missions, under certain conditions.
- Addition of new economy analytics, to further track millions of new data points relating to trade convoys.
- Improved existing analytics that track the state of AI relating to NPC navigability.
- NPCs convoys are less likely to be stalled for lengthy periods, while docking (although they can still take awhile on certain stations with limited docking bays).
- Fixed certain rare-condition bugs with NPCs docking.
- Furies will not become aggressive if a player repairs them.
- Mitigated Furie issue with aggression when transitioning from Park to Follow, further work remains to be done.

This work doesn't necessarily scream "gameplay drop", but we're still trying to expand on the new Latos N-2 test economy, and a huge part of that is making sure the delivery convoys actually work properly. Because we're actually delivering items in the NPC convoys "for real" and are not faking it in the background, it's fairly complicated to handle all the different edge cases and unusual circumstances.

The actual individual ship carrying the actual item has to reach the destination. For a single given ship, that's fine, but across thousands of ships flying across the galaxy per day, there are plenty of problems that can arise.

That's where the analytics come in, to help us monitor and measure that situation. Of course, monitoring roughly 135 stations delivering about 250 unique goods to another 135 stations, with various convoy states and success / failure conditions, can quickly blow up into tens of millions of data points to track. That's a whole other type of challenge. But, that's also why we spent a bunch of time building a new analytics cluster to handle this, last fall.

Anyway, we're hopeful that next week we'll be able to do some more content drops. In the meantime, please let us know if you find any bugs or major issues, via the Bugs forum. Thanks everyone!

VO 1.8.510-513: Sector Conquest, Corporate Sector Run, Badges, more.

We've had quite a few gameplay changes of late, which I'll recap, and then we'll list the standard game patch-logs after that:

- Corporate Sector Run: This clasical race through Gray and UIT space has been fully automated, with substantial credit rewards, a trophy, and an automated in-game Newspost discussing the winners and their times. The race happens every Saturday at 4PM Central, 9PM UTC, starting in Odia M14.

- Hive Sector Conquest: It's now possible to drive the Hive out of occupied sectors, if player(s) successfully attack and destroy enough Hive vessels in a given sector. There is a Badge progression for driving the Hive from sectors, and this will be an area of future gameplay expansion. Related to this, you can now see the state of Hive conquest in any system with a Hive presence, via the Nav map.

- Several new Badges can now be acquired, relating to:
NPC Unaligned Pirate kills
NPC Pirate Trident kills
Hive Sector Conquest
Watch My Six - Score 50,000 damage in a non-capship turret (Atlas, Behemoth, etc).
Explosive Personality - Destroy an enemy ship after dying with your explosion.
Galactic Traveller - Visit every system.
Badge King - Earn 50 badges.

- Beyond this, there have been a number of changes and improvements to the administration and functionality of the new in-game "/report" anti-toxicity system. This system has never used AI.

VO 1.8.510-513 have included:

*** Vendetta 1.8.513
- Added colored highlights to sectors occupied with Milanar, Siepos, Prosus hive bots in the navmap.
- Updated descriptions of the new Pirate badges to include current count and how many are needed to achieve the next level badge.
- Fixed issue with player-capships not appearing correctly when in different sectors from their owners.

*** Vendetta 1.8.512
- Added new badges for actions against Unaligned Pirates and other specialized combat actions.
- Added weekly Unaligned Pirate report to in-game newsposts.
- Free ship buy-back during Deneb border missions now include addons.
- Added Corporate Sector Run Advertising mission that includes the rules.
- Corporate Sector Run registration now takes place by taking the Registration mission when it is posted 15 minutes before the race begins.
- Corporate Sector Run now creates a post-race in-game news item listing the race winners.

*** Vendetta 1.8.511
- Players muted from a "/report" are now notified of the offending chat text.

*** Vendetta 1.8.510
- Corporate Sector Run race has been automated and takes place on Saturdays at 4pm Central time.
- User Keys can now be used as a proxy for the Owner Key when keying conquerable stations.
- Some administrative mutes have been changed to in-game time instead of wall-clock time.
- Storage rental fees are now capped at 26 weeks.
- Fixed issue with strike force attacking when docking to a group member's capship when both are in a Deneb Border Skirmish mission but the capship's owner is not in the sector.
- Fixed issue with losing radar target when targeting a player-owned capship and they launch from it.
- Changed virtual keyboard tab icon to "Tab".

Vendetta Online is now Free until June 1st.

For details, we recommend reading the latest Newsletter, which is going out now:

Additionally, please note the two Events planned for tomorrow:

- April 4th, 5pm Central (04/04 @22:00 UTC) - Developer Run - Flag Battle #4
- April 4th, 6pm Central (04/04 @23:00 UTC) - Bus War

Saturday Events at 5pm and 7pm Central

There are two Game Events planned for Saturday Evening.

At 5pm Central (10pm UTC) "Flag Battle #3" will be run by developer Raybondo in Pelatus D11.

At 7pm Central (Midnight UTC) "PvP Free For All" will begin in Edras I8.

Hope to see you there!