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!

Vendetta Online 1.8.509

VO 1.8.509 includes:
- Added experimental chat abuse reporting tool. Type /report "character name" to open the UI to select the offending text and category to submit it for administrative review.

While this is still early in feature development, this is a big step down the road towards our being able to react more quickly and effectively to toxic and inappropriate chat behaviour, when it should arise.

Basically, this will replace the "vote mute" system, instead providing a Report mechanic, where-in people can select an example of the bad behaviour, from their text-chat history, and submit it along with their "report". This has two effects, first that it makes it much easier for administrators to make a decision about specific behaviour, and secondly it should drastically reduce the abusive use of vote-mute itself to make organized "attacks" against people who may not actually be behaving badly.

The results of submission may have several effects. For instance, Reporting a spammer may have the same effect as "vote mute", where the spammer is temporarily silenced by a variety of people reporting their behaviour. Then, once the Report is also validated by administrative staff, the spammer may have additional repercussions, like a longer-term mute, or other action.

Reports that are seen as inappropriate and invalid by administrative staff are also more likely to get a rapid reaction, up to (if necessary) removing an individual's ability to make a Report.

People who submit Reports are likely to see whether or not their report was Validated or Invalidated at some point when the administrative decision is made. This will help them gauge their future reports, and hopefully also give some sense that their feedback has been evaluated and put to good use.

The nature of "Mutes" themselves are also evolving. We've added the ability to permanently mute players on public channels of 1 and 100, if they're unable to improve their behaviour; and we may also change traditional administrative mute actions to function on a "logged-in-time" basis, rather than a "wall-clock" basis.

To be clear, this "/report" implementation is only a prototype. We do intend this to become fully integrated into the game UI, and be usable by players on mobile devices, VR and PC. But, to begin with, it has been implemented as a console command.

We would appreciate it if people would try to use this new system, instead of "vote mute" or Support Tickets, in the event of people behaving inappropriately on the public in-game chat channels (1 and 100).

Have a great weekend, everyone, and be sure to stop by for the Events on Saturday!

Server Maintenance Over

The server maintenance has been concluded, and the game is back online. Thanks again for your patience.

Game Outage, Scheduled Maintenance Tonight

The game will be going down sometime after 12:30AM CDT on Friday morning (5:30AM UTC), to update the game servers and do some improvements intended to increase scalability and resilience.

We're defining a possible maintenance window from 12:30AM to 04:00AM, although it is our goal to bring the game back online as quickly as is feasible, so things may be back considerably sooner, if all goes well.

Thanks for your patience, as always.

Server-side Release

A variety of bug fixes went into place over the last week, based on player feedback.

- Addressed a problem where Escort/Convoy ships were sometimes getting behind, or stuck in previous sectors, depending on various factors. This should be rectified.
- Unaligned Pirates now choose their own jump points instead of using the group's jumppoint.
- Fixed a problem with certain types of Unaligned Pirate escorts not spawning correctly.
- If bots take too long to reach their jump point and trigger manual movement by the server, they will now appear to properly jump, instead of simply vanishing.
- Lots of new analytics to help track mission activity and usage, across both "static" type missions, as well as the dynamically generated Kourier missions (Hive, Escort, etc). This includes a lot of insight into how and why particular missions have failed, to help us identify when things are a problem, and how they need to be fixed.

Beyond this, there will likely be a scheduled outage during the coming week, for server maintenance, upgrades and capacity improvements.

Please keep an eye out for a Developer-run Event next weekend (the 28th), as well as (hopefully) a Newsletter update.

All the best everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.508

VO 1.8.508 includes:

- Static queens are now more likely to attack capital ships, and remain aggressive.
- Convoy traffic should no longer block docking queues under certain conditions, or choose jump-out positions that are unnecessarily far away.
- Fixed rendering issues with the OpenGL Reference driver on Windows and MacOS, which were causing inverted CAPTCHA displays and other problems.

Some of these bugs were time-consuming to track down, but hopefully we've resolved the related issues that people were running into. As always, if you see anything that's obviously not working correctly, please post it to Bugs and let us know.

Additionally, we've had some development and testing going on, related to increasing the capacity of the game, and measuring how far we can push individual sectors, which we expect to be relevant as we experiment with more elaborate and intensive sectors (similar to Bractus P1).

As always, have a great weekend.

Vendetta Online 1.8.507

VO 1.8.507 includes:
- Escort mission convoys now attempt to stay together more effectively.
- Keychain list now properly updates when access rights change.
- Added Help menu information to Gunners tab.
- Additional analytics and log data to try and debug the rare "dud avalon / missile" problem, reported on Bugs. Please continue to post specific (date/time) reports on that forum.
- Generally biased all NPC action preferences to favor "following" goals over "destination" goals, while their follow target is around; part of the Escort mission fixes, but may have effects beyond that as well. Please report any issues on Bugs

Hey everyone, some additional fixes and tweaks. Please particularly let us know if the Escort missions are improved. Hopefully players will get full-credit for staying with the capital ships now, for instance. Plus, the missions should generally be more fun, and more interactive with the entire convoy around.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Vendetta Online 1.8.506

VO 1.8.506 includes:

- Mining smoke effects are no longer drawn when they are far away. This should improve Bractus P-1 rendering performance.
- Added Interface options to disable reporting and displaying of location info in various chat messages.
- Fixed bug with missions not cleaning up their internal timers when the mission ends.
- Players no longer count as a kill if they self destruct in the Axia Must Die mission.

The ability to disable other players seeing your location from Guild Chat and System Chat can be optionally toggled from within the Options menu (by default, your location is shown). This change came from a Suggestions thread, intended to help mitigate the value of spy-characters joining rival guilds to find player locations.

Bractus P1 showed up as a big performance hit for basically all PCs (in all rendering engines), since those used the higher-detail "mining" visual effects. This was fine with 5 or 10 or 50 NPCs mining, but with 300 it became a problem. So, we've make the visual effects degrade with distance, and the performance has jumped back up on PCs as a result.

We're particularly glad the performance issue has been resolved, as that was a blocker to further "next-gen Universe Redux" sectors, as we didn't want to slow the game down for people. Please continue to test in Bractus P1, and let us know if you find any issues.

That's all for now, have a great weekend, everyone!

Server-side Release, Android updates

Last night (02/21) we shipped:

- Vendetta Online HD update now supports devices without gyros.
- Unaligned pirates have been re-implemented as Kourier (Erlang) persistent NPCs.
- Additional analytics added for monitoring of Kourier stability and NPCs.
- Drastically decreased the bandwidth usage of Bractus P1 test NPCs.

The VO HD APK update has been shipped to broaden support for Android tablets that don't feature gyroscope sensors. This requirement was originally related to Daydream VR, but that system has been discontinued by Google, and it came to our attention that some people who purchased VO HD had since upgraded to tablets that weren't allowed to install the game. This addresses that.

The unaligned pirates have been completely re-implemented, moving from the Lua codebase into Erlang, using the Kourier persistent-AI system. The goal here is to see more expansion of this type of gameplay, not just of the pirates themselves, but other types of NPCs and varied activity, in the framework that allows us the best power and persistency in NPC management. The original unaligned pirates were a very quickly-implemented test case, and now we're trying to move in a more production-grade direction, which will also allow for possible future behaviours, like NPCs pursuing players across sector boundaries, and the like.

The addition of Analytics for the Kourier system may not seem the most exciting, but the point here is to monitor the stability of certain issues we've seen in the past, with the trade convoys dropping off in quantity and the like. The trade-convoy dropoff was actually mitigated in the fall of last year, as a side benefit of other changes. But, this is kind of monitoring is still very important to making major changes to the economy, which are planned.

We've also tweaked the behaviour of certain NPCs when mining. NPC navigation makes use of "control systems", which in some NPC ship/mass/thrust configurations could result in directional stability that never entirely "settles", when they're trying to do something like "look" at where they're mining. This was causing the new test-sector NPCs in Bractus P1 to "fidget" while mining, which un-necessarily used up bandwidth, especially given the 300 NPCs in that sector.

That's been addressed, and we still encourage people to play around with the NPCs in Bractus P1, and give us feedback. They will only become aggressive if attacked, but then they will tend to swarm if one of them is attacked.

That's all for now. We are working towards more substantial gameplay changes, we just keep running into issues we need to fix first. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.505, Content Testing.

The last two weeks have actually had some major changes in basic game functionality. Firstly, last week (Feb 7th) we released this:

VO 1.8.505 includes:
- Added new "Streaming Mode" to game network protocol, drastically reducing the loading time of complex sectors.

To help test this, this past Friday the 14th we released:

- Bractus P1 high-density asteroid test sector now includes Guardians, who drop items and grant XP, and will start out non-hostile, but then react based on proximity to direct aggression, in a way that is new to NPCs in the game. Expect these NPCs to be dangerous, if attacked.

First of all, the "Streaming Mode" release has been a long time coming, having been planned for years. Going all the way back to the early days of Deneb, we've run into challenges with high-complexity sectors taking too long to load for players. This was further exacerbated when we launched on mobile (higher average latency), and then further still when we added the "movable debris" testing sectors, like Latos F12, or the Unaligned Pirate sectors.

The new Streaming Mode goes a long way to alleviate this, and opens the door to much higher-complexity sectors becoming the norm, which has always been the goal for the Universe Redux. If you're used to annoyingly long load-times for certain sectors (like Latos F12, for example), we suggest you try things now.

People on high latency connections, like on mobile devices in Asia, have seen improvements on the level of 21-times faster load times, in sectors that have very high complexity. All players will see improvements, however, they're even apparent to us on "local" server connections.

The AI changes build on the AI navigation/pathfinding improvements we made in much of January, and open the door to a lot more interesting gameplay, like stealthy situations where one may need to avoid detection, while "stealing" valuable goods from core Hive sectors, or blockade running and smuggling on Nation borders, and other cases where barriers should be challenging to overcome, but with rewards that make those challenges worthwhile.

We delayed this announcement a little bit to make sure everything was working smoothly, but if you run into any issues, please report them on Bugs or (if exploitable) via a Support Ticket. Note that we already addressed the lightning-mine aggro issue on the new NPCs, yesterday.

Thanks much everyone!

Server-Side Release

There have actually been several server-side releases over the last few weeks, covering a lot of ground, and including (as of tonight):

- Destroying Unaligned Pirate fighters and capships now rewards with Light and Heavy Weapon XP
- Unaligned Pirate fighters have a greater variety of occasional drops.
- Game protocol has been tweaked to enhance sector load times and network performance. Further tweaks coming.
- Lone Hive Queen escorts are now fundamentally more aggressive.
- Smaller NPC ships are now generally more effective at queuing and docking with stations, in large numbers.
- NPC Capital Ships are better at navigating around obstacles, and adaptively learning sector layout.
- Implemented and tuned a variety of strategies to make NPCs better at navigating "extreme" density asteroid fields.
- Enabled active monitoring of NPC performance analytics across the entire universe.
- Tuned the AI "learning" algorithms to better adapt to dynamic changes in sectors, over time. Some of this may take a little while to evolve.

A great deal of work went into all of this development, and it should put us in a much better position to build content that was effectively "blocked" by problems with NPC navigation and the like.

Have a great weekend, everyone!