Vendetta Online 1.8.551, Server Side Updates

Tonight, the following server-side updates went live:

- Remote, player-owned capital ships are now correctly impacted by "TempKoS" states that are incurred by the owning player in other sectors.
- NPCs now have radar awareness limits, impacted by local phenomena (ion storms, etc). Mission NPCs are not affected, and Strike Forces have a long radar range.
- Latos economy tweaked to allow a limited period of static-price trading, before low quantity concerns cause the station to begin raising prices. This will likely continue to be adjusted.

Last week, VO 1.8.551 included:

- New Enduring Content mission, for Goliath owners.
- Enduring Content missions now require the capship to be named.
- Capship 'attack', 'defend', and 'follow' targets need to be in the radar range of the capship.
- Fixed issue with Interface menu being clipped with the font size is too large.
- Fixed typo in the Power Cell Blaster mission.

Please report any issues on the Bugs Forum (or via tickets, if exploitable), and any ideas around intentional changes or tweaks on the Suggestions Forum. Have a great weekend, all.

Vendetta Online 1.8.550

VO 1.8.550 includes:

- Player-Capship remote 'attack' command should no longer cause the capship to back away (this was happening only at large distances from the sector center).
- Keychain info region is no longer very wide.
- Fixed Lua error when attempting to un-equip an empty port.

Beyond this, the past week included a number of background, server-side fixes. We had some unusual bugs appear with player capital ships when transitioning between sectors (along with related Support Tickets), and a few other game stability challenges in particular corners of the galaxy. We've also taken steps to further expand the monitoring of server-side problems, so we can detect more granular detail and react more quickly to future problems.

A lot of important background work has also happened, relating to the interface and other changes, which will be announced when those developments are closer to release. Thanks for your patience in the meantime, this major project should go a long way towards making the game more accessible to new players and a wider audience.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.549

VO 1.8.549 includes:

- Added sorting options to the Keychain menu and the ability to delete multiple keys at once.
- Static Queens don't attack fighters unless it is attacked or all of its escorts are destroyed.
- Convoy escort behavior has changed to be more aggressive when attacked.

Again, more changes pulled from the Suggestions Forum.

We also addressed some server-side bugs that were causing issues in Dau L10, and elsewhere.

Substantial progress is continuing to happen in the background. More specific news in due course.

Vendetta Online 1.8.548

VO 1.8.548 includes:

- Enduring Content History is now included in the /charinfo menu ("k") when targeting another player.
- Players can no longer dock to stations if they have weapon fire in-flight. This includes blasters, missiles, rockets, mines, etc. Conquerable stations and capships do not have this restriction.
- No-Fire Zone violations now cause Pillar of Society standing with the given faction to be reduced to Admire after the TempKoS expires.
- Sectors with Ion Storms are now un-monitored.

A whole series of different requested changes sourced from Suggestions over the last couple of months.

We have some pretty major work happening in the background (longer term), so we're trying to drop in a series of smaller Suggestions and and tweaks every week, if we can.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.547

VO 1.8.547 includes:

- NPCs now ignore mines that are more than 1000m away from them, in non-station sectors.
- Fixed more issues with capship 'attack' and 'defend' commands, they should now stay within their weapon's firing range when attacking.
- Fixed issues with the new Character Select menu not setting focus to the correct button when it is shown.

More fundamental work happening in the background, as usual, which we'll announce as it gets closer to release.

In the meantime, we're doing our best to be responsive to player Suggestions (like the mines issue), whenever we have time availability.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Vendetta Online 1.8.545-546

VO 1.8.546 includes (last night):

- Enduring Titles now include a unique serial number per content type.
- Fixed issue with capship 'attack' command sometimes not working.
- Queens now attack fighters if no capships are in the area.
- Warning message regarding non-printable characters is no longer logged to the errors.log file.
- Fixed issue when attempting to enter a turret and launch from a capship at the same time.

VO 1.8.545 included (last week):

- New prototype UI for the Login, Character Select, and Options menus available on Windows. The previous skin can be selected in Options -> Interface -> UI Skin -> Platinum
- If a player's "Named" capship is destroyed and is not Enduring, the name is reserved for 30 days for the player to use again, during which it may not be taken by another player.
- Fixed an issue where the Strike Force would ignore a player's capship when a TempKoS is placed on the player.
- Fixed issue with Vulkan driver not using the correct window size when changing resolutions in window mode in Windows.
- Alt-Enter now works in the Vulkan driver in Windows.
- If the Vulkan driver crashes on Windows, the game will fail over to DirectX 11 the next time it is run.

The prototype UI on Windows is probably the biggest news, from last week. This is still very much a work in progress, but if anyone has any problems, please post to the Bugs Forum.

We're continuing to expand and improve on the Enduring Title concept, which has always been the intent, but has benefited from feedback on the Suggestions Forum as well.

Other substantial updates are in the works, but we'll discuss those when they're ready for release. Have a great weekend, everyone.

Vendetta Online March Newsletter

For anyone who missed the latest Newsletter in their Inbox, you can still check it out online:

There's some greater detail on recent changes, as well as a little bit of a look ahead at some upcoming development, which may be debuting very soon.

Vendetta Online 1.8.544

VO 1.8.544 includes:

- During the operation of the Corporate Sector Run (game event), all systems that are part of the race-course will have a minimum of a two-second jump time for all players (sectors and wormholes).
- Fixed issue where rapid succession of purchases would display incorrect cost amounts.
- Fixed issue where kills made by explosions from capships with Enduring Titles were not being recorded in their histories.
- Fixed issue where, in certain circumstances, ship skins and liveries could be improperly applied to player vessels.
- Fixed issue relating to Lite and Freemium players occasionally having improper access to capital ships with higher membership status requirements.
- Windows version now saves crash info into a separate crash.log file, instead of in the errors.log file.

The CSR jump-delay comes from a related post on Suggestions, which we're willing to try out specifically in the CSR case. We will not be rolling it out game-wide in all other cases in the immediate future, there are optimizations around load-times that we're still trying to improve. Ideally, we'd rather try and make everything fast for everyone, rather than equally slow for everyone. Still, for "racing" purposes, this is a reasonable thing to try.

Otherwise, we've had some cool developments this week, in developing new tools to help us update the UI. Part of the historical delay there has stemmed from an *incredibly* time consuming design and implementation process; suffering from a lot of cross-compatibility and platform testing problems, due to the way our UI system worked. At some point, we would get so battered by the UI system, that we were just happy it was all working, even if it was kind of ugly or dated.

Hopefully the new toolchain will help address that; it's still very early, but progress is promising.

That's all for now, please continue to post any problems on Bugs, and have a great weekend, everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.542-543

VO 1.8.543 includes (tonight):
- Performance and stability improvements to the Vulkan GKGL driver for Windows.
- Added V-Sync, Antialiasing, and Anisotropic settings to the Vulkan driver.

VO 1.8.542.1 included (last week):
- Fixed issue with "Keystroke Receiving" request on the Mac version.

VO 1.8.542
- The "/report" command now visually responds with an error message, instead of nothing, if the character name was wrong or the reported player hasn't said anything since the reporter logged in.
- Reduced network traffic when rapidly scanning through objects in the sector.
- Minor technical tweaks and updates for improved compliance with the Mac Store

VO 1.8.541.2
- Fixed issues with glow and ice effects on Mac OpenGL 4 and Reference drivers.

Last week we completed a number of final bugfixes on the Mac version, and finished with updating the install in the actual Apple Store. Please let us know (via the Bugs forum) if you find any new problems on the Mac. As far as we know, it should be pretty solid at this point.

This latest update is to the Windows Vulkan driver, which is definitively the highest performing way of running Vendetta Online on a PC. We've kept the DirectX 11 driver as the "install default" for some time, but now we're looking at migrating that to a "fallback" status for older hardware, and making Vulkan the default API for new installs (assuming Vulkan support is detected on startup).

Stabilizing the Vulkan renderer opens the door to a lot of potential graphical improvements, such as those supported by recent, higher-end GPUs. This is not to say that a high-end GPU is going to become a requirement, simply that we have the ability to add support for next-generation features which would be otherwise impossible.

If you have a somewhat-recent graphics processor (GPU) that supports Vulkan on Windows, we encourage you to switch over and try running on that, instead of the DX11 default, and let us know if you run into any problems (also via the Bugs forum). As of this most-recent version, it should be quite stable, and as I mentioned before, is considerably faster than the DX11 renderer.

Aside from NVIDIA and AMD, even Intel Iris integrated GPUs do support Vulkan, although you will want to make sure you download the latest drivers for your particular hardware.

If you have a higher-refresh gaming monitor that supports Freesync or G-sync, we recommend enabling vsync, to give you a smooth experience without frame-tearing artifacts.

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

Vendetta Online 1.8.541.1

VO 1.8.541.1 includes:

- Fixed a crashing bug in Vulkan (Metal) driver on macOS.
- Fixed black screen when using Vulkan (Metal) driver on macs with a discrete GPU, such as Macbook Pros.

Thanks to the individuals who reported the new MacOS issues and helped us track them down. We're working to quickly find, fix and patch any problems.

Vendetta Online 1.8.541 - Enhanced Mac support

VO 1.8.541 includes:
- Mac version now supports Apple ARM processors natively, such as the M1.
- Added new "Vulkan (Metal)" video driver for recent MacOS versions, using "MoltenVK" Vulkan-on-Metal API.
- Vulkan + Metal driver supports "full screen window mode" on Mac, for ease of switching desktop "spaces".
- Major performance improvements for OpenGL 4 driver on ARM-based Apple M1 devices.
- Improved installation compatibility of Mac version with recent versions of MacOS.

This is the most significant technical change to our Mac install in quite awhile, and we'd appreciate feedback on any issues you may find (preferably by posting to Bugs, or using the Support Ticket system if necessary).

We now have essentially a Metal-native renderer, through the MoltenVK support for making our Vulkan renderer show up as a Metal renderer. Vulkan is itself a very efficient, hardware-level API, so bridging from that to Metal is not much of a leap that will impact performance, but it does make our engine easier to maintain. The proliferation of rendering APIs has been a big headache for us, over the long history of our game (we've been through: Glide, D3D, DX5, DX6, DX7, DX8, DX8.1, DX9, DX11, OpenGL 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 2.x, 4.x, ES 2.x, 3.x, etc), so we're really aiming to just focus on Vulkan from here on out.

The MacOS version is also now includes support for both Intel / x86 CPUs, as well as the new ARM-based processors made in-house by Apple, such as the "M1". For those players who have Intel-based Macs, have no fear, we tend to support older Macs longer than anyone else. I mean, we finally dropped PowerPC just a couple of years ago.

Our GL4 driver has also been significantly enhanced on newer M1 Macs, where it was really yielding terrible performance. The GL4 driver should no longer be necessary there, since we recommend using the Metal renderer on that device, but if there's a need for compatibility reasons, it should now be a far faster fall-back option. Notably, it was not slow because of anything we did, but rather an apparent issue in Apple's GL4-to-Metal driver, which we managed to work around.

The GL4 driver on Intel (which is not nearly as slow as it was on the M1) has not been updated, because unfortunately a different Apple-side bug causes it to only render a black screen on certain older Intel-based Macs. This kind of thing is why we don't do a lot of frequent Mac technical updates, they tend to be fraught with a kind of debugging whack-a-mole that is often not related to our own software.

Still, if your Mac works with the Metal driver, we suggest using that, and making us aware of any problems you encounter. That way we can focus on making that rendering-path as stable and performant as possible. Remember, if you don't report a bug, we may never know about it.. we only have a limited selection of Mac hardware and MacOS versions for testing.

For those installing from scratch, as of this writing our direct-install downloadable DMGs, linked from our site, have been updated to include all the new features, but the "Mac Store" version has not yet been updated. A new version will be pushed to the "Store" sometime soon.

That's all for now, have fun everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.539-540

VO 1.8.540 includes (tonight), scroll down for more details:

- TempKoS status, timers and escalations, are now shared across all factional stations within UIT space. Outside of UIT space, TempKoS status is still per-faction, and not shared.
- Incoming convoys of a faction different from that of the local sector/station no longer fire, within the NFZ, at characters hated by their faction. They will fire back if attacked.
- Fixed issue with trophies and other unique items incorrectly stacking.
- Remote capships no longer wobble when trying to align themselves.
- Navroutes that include the Unknown System now properly load if you've previously visited the system.
- Fixed issue with 'prepare for docking' remote capship not working.
- Fixed memory leak when resizing the HUD or reloading the interface, which may have contributed to recent crashes on plugin-heavy clients.
- Fixed bot pathfinding issues in the Hive Leviathan and other dynamic sectors.

VO 1.8.539 included (a week ago):

- Background can now be disabled in Android.
- Fixed issue with faction penalty being applied when a strike force NPC destroys another strike force NPC while they are targeting you.
- Added error message to character name verification menu if the name doesn't match what was typed in.
- Removed error message when Autojettison is enabled and your remote capship is mining asteroids.
- Added more logging to the Windows version to help track down crashes.
- Fixed issue with players launching from their capship but being spawned at the wrong location.
- Remote capships now stop mining when they are given another command.
- The correct mining beam effect is now used for remote capships when they mine asteroids.
- Remote capships no longer attempt to mine if they don't have a mining beam equipped.
- Launching from your capship now stops any mining in progress.

To clarify the TempKoS change tonight: Basically, the UIT now enforces Temporary Kill On Sight as a "single entity" and not as a whole mix of different individual factions.

For instance: Timed TempKoS status may be acquired by various means, such as killing 3 non-hated players in a Monitored or Guarded sector, within a single 7-day period.

Previously, this would mean you might achieve a TempKoS flag against your character by killing 3 players near TPG stations during that time, but that would make you "unwelcome" near TPG Corp stations, it would not impact your status around stations owned by other factions, even though they were all within UIT space.

Now, all factions within UIT space will accumulate the triggering factors together, and will all enforce the TempKoS status achieved against any one of them, so long as it is within UIT space.

Minor factions, such as TPG, also have stations in Grayspace. Within Grayspace, they will only enforce the factional impacts that are directly held by the individual faction. So, angering TPG will impact whether you are welcome in TPG stations anywhere. But angering the UIT Senate (who only has stations in UIT space) will not impact whether you are welcome in corporate Grayspace stations, even though those same corporations will not permit your presence within UIT space.

At the moment, all of this purely impacts *Temporary* Kill On Sight status. For now, it does not impact the longer-term Faction Standing system, although that may change in the future.

Server Side Updates - Many fixes

A lot of fixes have been made on the server-side over this past week. We started testing them on Thursday, and followed up with more fixes and a full server restart on Friday night. Incuding:

- Fixed bots not attacking player owned capships outside 4000m.
- Standard bots will now correctly limit their group numbers when attacking a capital ship containing targeted players.
- Fixed issue where players launching from their own capship would spawn them in the wrong location.
- Fixed lua error that was causing players to get stuck entering sectors.
- Fixed lua error if a player without a ship died in the capship and a hulk was spawned.
- Fixed bandwidth usage problem in sectors containing many hulks and debris.

Please continue to report any problems on the Bugs forums (or via Support Ticket if exploitable). Thanks, and happy new year!

Server Side Updates - Capship Commands

First a brief recap: Last week we added a server-side update that caused "debris" to drop for capital ships, in addition to the "hulks" that were spawned on-destruction in the prior patch. The debris lasts for 24 hours, much like the hulks.

Tonight we've released a server-side update that enables additional commands which may be issued remotely to Capital Ships. The following commands may be issued to Capital Ships, via /msg, including:

park - Ship will hold position.

follow - Vessel will follow the owner, within the sector. It will not jump to other sectors.

follow "name" - Vessel will follow the given character, within the sector.

defend "name" - Vessel will attempt to defend the character against other Capital-scale attackers.

attack "name" - Vessel will attack other capital-scale ships, using only its primary equipped addon.

cease fire - Ship will cease any weapons fire and park in place.

patrol - Vessel will fly a circle through preset points in the given sector, it will not defend itself.

prepare for docking - Ship will turn the primary docking bay towards the location of the owner at the time when the command is issued. It will not "track" the owner's ship. The command can be issued multiple times if adjustments are needed.

mine - The vessel will mine using a mining beam equipped in the primary port. If the owner has a specific asteroid targeted on radar, the ship will mine that asteroid. If no asteroid is selected, then the capship randomly chooses an asteroid to mine (within 6km of the center of the sector).

All of the above commands will temporarily cease operation if the sector goes into an "offline" state, after the last player leaves the sector. Mining, patrolling and combat are not "simulated" in non-running sectors for player capital ships, at the moment. Whenever the sector is started again, by a player being present, the capital ship will be re-instated with whatever commands were last issued, and will pick up where it left off. Thus, a player will need to be present in a given sector for the capship to meaningfully mine, for instance.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.537-538

VO 1.8.538 (tonight) includes:
- Some capital ships now leave behind hulks when they explode, which persist for 24 hours in the universe. Hulks do not appear in sectors with stations.
- Unaligned pirate capital ships now patrol the debris field, instead of staying still.
- Blockade convoy capital ships now stay near the wormhole when the sector restarts, instead of always coming in from 5000m.
- Leviathan hive skirmish missions have been reverted to re-starting even if players are in the sector, leading to Queens respawning more often.
- Fixed issue with player capship turret list is sometimes being empty.
- Fixed issue with current ship's weapon group loadout not getting saved and used when buying back your last ship.
- Any changes to weapon groups while in flight are now applied when buying back your last ship.

VO 1.8.537 (last week) included:
- Corrected the Corporate Sector Run 4-hour notification text to say 4 hours instead of 1 hour.
- Corvus Strikeforce should now chase a TempKoS player when they launch from a Corvus station.
- Ship Unequip actions now check for available storage space and prompt to rent more when necessary.

A mixture of fixes and gameplay changes, as we continue to work on larger projects. The "hulk" feature has been a goal for a long time, and has some interesting long-term possibilities, like creating a more persistent history of battles in the game, as well as possible "locations" where people might hunt for drops, items, or special NPCs.

Have a great weekend, everyone.