Vendetta Online 1.8.500

VO 1.8.500 includes:

- Escort mission NPCs now jump properly from non-running sectors (server-side, fixed last week).
- Android version should properly support camera cutouts on the non-HD version.
- Certain economic trade routes have been tweaked.
- Fixed upside-down Trident material on iOS.
- More developer analytics added for monitoring of game economy, other aspects of gameplay.
- Fixed a bug, on first runtime, where the Character Selection menu occasionally appeared, instead of the Character Creation menu.
- Enhanced the first-runtime startup experience on Android for new users.
- APK and library updates for all Android versions.
- Further improvements to server-side CPU utilization, management.

A whole lot of small changes this week, of which this list is only about half of what we actually accomplished. Most of the iOS updates had to be pushed out to a future release.

Most of this maintenance is a stepping-stone to accomplishing specific gameplay and game expansion related goals. Stuff like "We need better economic analytics before we start actively improving the game economy". Or "We need to update our iOS engine to more efficiently render large numbers of objects, like we do on Android".

Please report any issues on the Bugs forum, have a great weekend everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.499

VO 1.8.499 includes:

- Fixed issue with the client incorrectly displaying the cost of repairing ships that are in the cargo hold of capships when docked to a station.

This issue has been reported by a few players, and while it was entirely "cosmetic" (it did not actually impact credits or purchases in any way), it certainly looked scary, with ammo purchases supposedly taking tens of millions of credits. It was an obscure bug, in an odd case, and after a bit of digging to track it down, should now be resolved.

Additionally, quite a bit of background bugfixing and enhancements continued this week, on making the server more efficient, with better usage of available CPU time. This is going to become quite important, we're looking to increase the number of bots per sector, as well as create more interesting NPC groupings and behaviours, all of which mandates the maximum server efficiency.

Moth Race Events coming up on Sundays! Be sure to stop by around 5pm Central (11pm UTC) on Sunday for the first of a whole series of Behemoth Races. Check the in-game Event news for more information.

Vendetta Online 1.8.498

VO 1.8.498 includes:

- NPC capships and Queens should no longer drift out into space when battling other vessels.
- Fixed issue with Updater crashing due to invalid code signature on MacOS 10.15.

Another week with a lot of background and server improvements, to help the game as a whole. For instance, this update also includes a feature helping sectors share available-CPU on a given server more effectively, dynamically updating their own relative CPU priority, making the game run a bit better for everyone.

We've also added many more analytics, which is helping us shed light on existing debugging problems, while also better keeping an eye towards any future issues.

Mac users should be happy with this latest update, which we hope will finally bring better stability to OS X 10.15+. If anyone continues to encounter problems on their Mac, please let us know, either on the Bugs forum (preferred), or via a Support Ticket if there's a need to convey private information.

Thanks everyone, and have a great weekend!

Vendetta Online 1.8.496-497

VO 1.8.497 includes:

- Attacking and defense distance of Unaligned Pirate defenders now varies more randomly.
- Unaligned pirate trident now comes back between 4 and 12 hours after being defeated.
- Access Key names can only contain letters, numbers, and spaces. Leading and trailing spaces are removed.
- List of items desired by a station are now determined by maximum profit.
- Framerate limiter is not used when VSync is enabled on Windows.

Earlier this week in 1.8.496:

- Improved game stability with MacOS X 10.15 Catalina

A number of updates this week. The OS X patch should alleviate problems with the 10.15 update, but if anyone runs into other new problems on the Mac, please let us know via the Bugs forum or (if necessary for privacy) a Support Ticket.

We've made some tweaks to the Unaligned Pirates, based on Suggestions Forum player feedback, hopefully you enjoy them. Further (respectful) feedback, based on testing, would be welcome. The Pirates are a system in which we can experiment with NPC behaviour, without risking breaking other large areas of the game, so we're much more willing to try "new things" there.

The Items desired by the station is now based around maximum profit, which means it excludes items where we cannot calculate profit, like items the station may "want" but are inherently "drops", and the like. We will continue to evolve this, but for now it should at least solve the issue of people arriving to sell things on the "High Demand" list, and finding they didn't make a profit.

That's all for now. Have a great weekened, everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.495

VO 1.8.495 includes:
- New experimental unaligned pirates show up in Latos on Saturdays around Noon Central (5-6pm in Europe). They are more likely to drop high-value capship parts, although it's still a rare occurance. They are independent of the other unaligned pirates.
- Fixed issue where swapping Aim and Throttle input regions on mobile didn't get applied immediately.
- Owners of User Access Keys no longer see other owners of the key unless you also own the Owner Key.
- The Keychain.list command is rate limited to one query at a time. Subsequent querys are queued up until the current query finishes. This may affect the speed of plugins that query all keys in a keychain in rapid succession.

We've spent a lot of time on server maintenance, over the last few weeks, but it's been paying off very well. Practically every single server and aspect of our infrastructure has been migrated, upgraded, and otherwise re-done. Some things have been made anywhere from 2x to 100x as fast, or more robust, or easier to maintain, or better monitored. This was much-needed maintenance, and puts the game in a much better place moving forward.

It may not sound like the most relevant thing to gameplay, but it directly bears on our plans. For instance, it's difficult for us to make major changes to large-scale gameplay (say, economics or mjoar nation-level AI) without effective analytics on the results, and our analytics system was aged and not really up to the task, so that needed a serious upgrade.

Similarly, we've been doing capacity tests on how well NPCs can scale on a given (single) CPU of the server back-end cluster, which clarifies for us exactly how far we can try to "push" things in a Universe Redux and other gameplay updates that directly impact on the number and distribution of NPCs.

Last night's addition of some new Pirates was a quick thing to hopefully a little content that people might gather around on Saturday afternoons (or evenings, European time), as people had been asking for more Unaligned-Pirate related content. We do have a lot more complex plans for the Pirates, but we only had a small window to try and add something new.

As always, thanks for your patience and support everyone, and have a great weekend!

Database Maintenance

The game will be going down this evening, 10/9, for a period of database maintenance and upgrades.

The maintenance window will begin at 9pm Central, and end at 1am Central. Within that time, the game should only be offline for less than an hour. If all goes well, perhaps as little as half an hour. Any outage should be during the scheduled window.

The upgrades will make the database perform better, be more robust against issues, and be easier for us to maintain. It will also be able to support a larger concurrent player count.

Thanks for your patience and support, as always.

Server Maintenance

We're planning to do some server migrations on Thursday and Friday evenings (September 12th and 13th, Central time), so there may be some related outages while we bring online some major infrastructure upgrades.

Thursday should be primarily related to the game website, and only impact new account creation, billing and some other areas, while leaving gameplay unaffected.

As always, we'll endeavor to keep these outages as brief as possible.

Vendetta Online 1.8.494

VO 1.8.494 includes:

- Added blinking arrows to the offline strafe tutorials on mobile versions.
- Reduced the lengths of some of the offline training tutorials on mobile.
- Improved precision of camera calculations on Android version when far away from the center of the sector.
- Fixed issue with very low resolution screens truncating menus on Android.
- Added full-screen support for Android devices with camera cutouts.
- Fixed lua errors.

A number of small tweaks and changes for Android and iOS.

August 2019 Newsletter

Our latest Newsletter recaps a lot of what's been publicly released this year, with a bit of context about where we're headed.

There's a lot more development going on behind-the-scenes, but that will hopefully begin to be announced in upcoming Newsletters.

Vendetta Online 1.8.493

VO 1.8.493 includes:
- Player-owned capships are now automatically added to the owner's group and do not count towards the group size limit.
- Sector notes now include an option for the color of the sector in the nav-map.
- Added Audio options to toggle the collision and jettison sound effects.

We're happy to hear the sector-notes option has been helpful to people. Please keep these kinds of ideas coming on Suggestions, we'll add them when we can!

Mining Changes

Tonight's update is entirely server-side, and is a very small tweak to the algorithm that controls how quickly asteroids will heat up, and cool down.

There have been some long-standing exploitative issues that have recently been coming to light, wherein particular mining beam and asteroid combinations could yield situations where the asteroid would be mine-able indefinitely (never heating up).

The mathematical model that governs the thermal properties of our asteroids is somewhat complex, so we've made the smallest and most minimally-invasive change to the algorithm that we can, removing only cases where the efficiency of certain beams and the lightly-randomized thermal properties of certain asteroids could interact in a nonsensical way.

This was an important issue for us to fix, particularly as we approach the Universe Redux and the potential for new ores and minerals, along with vastly greater quantities and types of asteroids. We don't want the underpinnings of a production-driven economy to have any issues like this.

If people run into other unexpected mining behaviour in the future, please let us know via a Support Ticket (if exploitable) or a forum Bug Report (if not). As always, exploitation of a flawed game mechanic is grounds for administrative action, so please, make the game better and more balanced for everyone, and report the issue.

Thanks everyone, have a great weekend!

Vendetta Online 1.8.491 and NPC fixes.

Tonight's update is largely server-side, and should fix a lot of the "aggro" problems with NPCs. Please continue to report any issues you see on the Bugs forum.

- Hive Queen escorts ("Retinue") will now aggro properly when you attack the Queen, or when you attack any respective escort. We may further bump their aggression, but for now we're just trying to fix the problem.
- General issues with NPCs "running away" after being attacked should now be resolved. You can aggro many NPCs onto yourself by attacking them.

Again, we're looking to add more interesting behaviour, but right now this is just intended to "make sure we've fixed the known issues" before changing things further.

VO 1.8.491, last week, included:
- Added 64bit support for Android, requires App Store update.
- Fixed crash on exit for Android when Voice Chat is enabled and disabled.

Some of the visible changes recently haven't been the most exciting (like 64bit Android), but we've had some external deadlines that needed to be met, like Google mandating a hard requirement for 64-bit Android apps in August. Normally, something that would be trivial for us, but because of an external library requirement, it became something that required a bit more time and planning to come together.

We intend to push a variety of mobile updates over the next month, bringing the mobile versions "up to date" for another lengthy period of time, while also hopefully streamlining the introductory experiences for new players, as well as rolling out a lot of engine improvements to mobile.

There are also other major projects and server-side developments that more directly impact gameplay, which are slated for the near-term. All in all we hope to see a few different areas of content be updated or improved in the near future. Stay tuned!

TeamDX and Nation War this weekend!

Be sure to stop by the game this weekend for:

Nation War #468 - 06/30 at 00:00 UTC (Saturday at 7pm Central Daylight Time)

TeamDX #20 - 06/30 at 02:00 UTC (Saturday at 9pm Central Daylight Time)

You can also sign up for the events on the Vendetta Online Facebook page. See you there!

Vendetta Online 1.8.490

VO 1.8.490 includes (06/28/19):

- Aim and Throttle touch regions now have variable sensitivity, with a separate bar that may be adjusted for each field to raise or lower the control sensivity levels.
- Default sensitivity settings for Aim and Throttle touch regions have been improved. To restore classic functionality, set the sensitivity levels to 2x in Controls -> Touch.
- Aim and Throttle touch regions are now optionally set inwards a little to reduce the chance that the Android Menu bar is activated. Enabled by default for phone form factor devices.
- Sensor Notification is now enabled by default for new users, and set to "Player Only".
- Changed "entered the sector" sensor notification text "entered your radar range".
- The "Touch" tab is now selected by default on Touch platforms, when entering the Controls menu.
- Renamed and moved various Interface HUD touch settings to Controls -> Touch.
- Fixed issue with Field of View not being fully restored when entering sectors using First-person Cinematic Camera Mode.
- Fixed issue with Text To Speech volume control not functioning properly on Oculus Go.

Basically, this may be the biggest single improvement in mobile/touch game usability that we've made in a long time. It covers a number of areas, including the discovery of a long-standing bug in the touch control UI, and a lot of small improvements to help people configure things to best suit their particular play style.

No, we have not integrated a fully-configurable UX yet (a-la DroidButtons), but this should at least be a big help in the meantime.

If you run across any bugs, please post them to the Bugs forum. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.489

VO 1.8.489 includes (06/21/19):

- Drain Mines have been buffed from 250 to 1500 in power-drain impact.
- Violating NFZ six times in a 24h period, with a single faction, causes Temp KOS for 24 hours for that faction. Corvus is excluded from this.
- Text To Speech volume control now works on Oculus Go.
- Guild and Group members are now tagged as friendly on the radar.
- Text colors are now configurable by skins with a custom config.ini file located in the skin's directory.
- Capship Swarm Turrets have been nerfed from 25 to 35 grid power, to limit combative power against planned higher-level NPCs.

The capship adjustment at the end is pretty controversial, understandably so. However, it's already been said that Capship-v-Capship gameplay is not yet implemented, and the current loadouts are overpowered, which is going to cause problems in the rollout of new PvE goals (basically, creating far too much of an advantage for capship ownership). So, as with any set of major changes or updates, you can expect other things to be adjusted.

It doesn't mean anyone will be left defenseless, or that people's investment in their capship will be devalued. If anything, the value will increase in time. But, adjustments will be made throughout the process of change. It's been some years since we've had major gameplay updates, and some newer players aren't familiar with the process: Don't stress out too much, we'll get through it, and the game will be far better and more interesting as a result.