Vendetta Online for GearVR released!

We have formally shipped Vendetta Online for the GearVR. This will allow owners of the GearVR system to enjoy a fully immersive VR experience in Vendetta Online. All configurations of the GearVR are supported, except for the Note 4, which is too slow. The game supports both headmount-only and game-controller input modes, and offers four different flight models in headmount-only mode.

Nonetheless, we strongly recommend a quality bluetooth game controller, such as those made by Steel Series, Moga, Razer and Nyko.

Similarly, the GearVR version also supports integrated voice chat, voice-to-text input, as well as text-to-speech for mission updates, all of which makes a good quality headset (stereo headphones + mic) a wise investment as well. We have predominately tested with wired headsets: the Razer Kraken Mobile, and a modified/adapted Logitech H110. Hopefully we'll see more stereo gaming headsets in the future that support mobile devices, but right now the field is a little thin.

If you see any issues with the new GearVR build, please let us know, either via the Bugs forum or by a Support Ticket for anything critical and time-sensitive. Thanks everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.386-393

We've had a lot of updates over the last couple of months, but as they've mainly impacted the non-public GearVR version, we hadn't been as attentive to updating our newspost Changelog. Last week, however, we made some broader changes:

VO 1.8.393 included:

- Self-defense mechanism now propagates to the capship and all crew members if any member triggers it. If anyone docks before the self-defense timer expires, it will also propagate to them. The victim will be able to defend theirself without faction penalty from anyone who was ever inside the capship during the self-defense time.
- Fixed crash/lockup at startup on Linux64 version.
- Updated Oculus Rift version with updates from Gear VR.
- Minor bug/crash fixes.

This addressed a meaningful gameplay bug that, while we had been aware of it, we simply didn't have the development time to address it this summer. Now, however, we're working diligently to track down and iron out a whole list of long-standing bugs, before moving ahead on other areas of gameplay.

Prior to last week there were a variety of patches, mostly for GearVR; although many of the efficiency changes and engine optimizations we made for GearVR will also improve other platforms, like the regular Android/iOS builds, and even the PC versions:

*** Vendetta 1.8.392.2-386
- Fixed crash on Gear VR version when a gamepad is connected when
the game is starting up.
- Fixed issue with not being able to select ships to purchase in
the Gear VR version.
- Improvements to Gear VR version for gamepad detection.
- Confirmation menus can now be closed without having to look directly at the close button in VR.
- Left/Right shoulder buttons now properly change interfaces when looking at the nav map in VR.
- Selecting news items now automatically bring up the news article instead of having to double-tap or press the 'Read Article' button in VR mode.
- The 'Back' button now takes you out of a turret in addition to double-tapping in Gear VR.
- UX improvements for Gear VR.
- Gear VR version now uses ASTC compressed textures and load-time has been reduced.
- Fixed lua error when using a gamepad's D-pad as the first action in the virtual keyboard on Gear VR.
- Fixed issue with not being able to get to Gear VR Universal Menu from the login screen.
- Improved stability of Gear VR version on Galaxy S7 devices.
- Reduced loading times on Gear VR.
- Increased efficiency of font rendering on Gear VR.
- Changed how the Back button functions on Gear VR to conform to Oculus requirements.
- Added experimental Speech-To-Text feature to the virtual keyboard on the Gear VR version.
- Fixed issue on Gear VR version when exiting through Oculus Menu and then rerunning VO quickly would cause VO to not start properly.
- Fixed lua error on iOS and Windows Store versions under certain circumstances.
- All tutorial missions specific to GearVR and Game Controllers have been re-worked to be more Text To Speech compatible.
- Fixed a problem with controller inputs being stuck after receiving a call on GearVR.
- Further improved the login menu background for GearVR.
- VR Cursor is now a white circle, similar to the Oculus Store.
- Added support for "T3 Wireless Bluetooth 3.0 Gamepad Gaming Controller" with digital trigger controls.
- Added 'Convert Account' button in the Options menu that only appears when you haven't connected an email address to the account.
- Updated the VR Login menu scene.
- The radar controls rotation on the HUD have been fixed.

And more to come..

Server Outage Today

Our cloud service provider experienced a serious network outage today, within their internal network. This effectively corrupted and disabled disk access for all of our servers for an extended period of time. Once their outage was resolved, it took some time for us to confirm our server and database consistency and bring the game back online. As a result, we were down for a few hours total.

It's unusual for us to be down for this long, but aspects of this outage made recovery more challenging. Thanks for your patience in the meantime.

Vendetta Online 1.8.385

VO 1.8.385 and prior patches included:

- Simulated VR Mode now has a bindable key or button for looking around, called "+VRLook". It currently defaults to right-mouse-button.
- Fixed a Lua error for capship owners launching their fighter while manned to a turret.
- New dynamic server packet-queuing and priority change to drastically improve chat and effect delays during larger capship battles. Tested in development with 200 close-proximity capships per battle. Prioritization only dynamically scales with larger numbers of ships per sector, so less populated regions and sectors are unaffected.
- Changed the distribution of services within the game-server cluster, to enhance performance with higher peak player counts.
- Fixed issue with dropped key and mouse inputs in OS X with the new OpenGL 4 video driver.
- Fixed lua error when joining a group and Voice Chat is enabled.
- Removed dark background of HUD notification text when not in VR mode.

The new server changes are pretty interesting, as they open the door for larger battle events, with the eventual goal of player contention for territory in the expanded universe. We plan to do some big events to help test this in the near future.

We're also pushing hard towards a number of other goals, including shipment of the GearVR version, now in its second wide-area Beta test. Thanks to all those beta participants for making the game release better for everyone.

Beyond that, there's been a lot of other work behind the scenes. We have a new mailing list and newsletter system, after our previous email-provider abruptly increased their prices many-fold earlier this year, so you can now expect to start seeing some VO newsletters again in the near future.

Lastly, we've been doing quite a bit of server housekeeping, upgrades and administration. Thanks for your patience during the periodic downtimes. We keep them to a minimum, but every year or so it's good for us to do this kind of extended update and cleanup process, especially in advance of our upcoming launches on Steam, GearVR and elsewhere.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.384

VO 1.8.384 includes:

- Added /voicegroup set of commands, similar to /group, that creates arbitrary Voice Chat channels (up to 32 players). Use the /voicechattoggle command to switch between subscribed channels, such as Group, Guild, and others. Type /voicegroup to display its usage.
- Added a description overlay to the nav map in VR mode, when Look-To-Select is enabled, to show the description of the currently selected sector.

The new general-usage voice chat system is just a first pass. We intend to also add an elaborate UI around it, but after we do some more testing with VR and other use-cases to determine what kind of interface will work best.

In the meantime, let us know how the functionality works?

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.381-383

Many gameplay, VR and other small enhancements over the last few weeks. Lots more changes coming as we move towards various launches.

VO 1.8.383 included (tonight):
- Mines can no longer be dropped in No Fire Zones.
- Cargo inside of ships that are docked in the Trident's cargo will now drop when the Trident is destroyed.
- A message notification now appears on the HUD when attempting to pick up cargo but your ship's cargo hold is full.
- Fixed Marauder, Valkyrie, Prometheus rendering issues in DirectX 11 dynamic lighting mode.

VO 1.8.382 included (last week):
- Fixed chat entry while changing sectors in Simulated VR.
- Enhanced compiler optimizations for both Linux 32 and 64bit versions, potential performance benefits.
- Glibc 2.14 and Glibc++ 3.4.15 are now required for the Linux 64 version (Linux from 2012+).
- Large port on the Corvus Greyhound has been changed to a Small port (per extensive Suggestions forum thread).
- Updated Oculus Rift PC SDK to version 1.6 and included basic support for the Oculus Touch controllers.
- Improved default settings for the Oculus Rift, to enhance performance.
- Added Simulated VR support for Mac and Linux.

VO 1.8.381 included (two weeks ago):
These changes are for PC (Win/Mac/Linux) platforms only and will be released for the remaining platforms in a future update.
- Added Simulated VR Mode for Windows. The option is located in Options -> Game -> Simulated VR Mode and can be turned on or off. A restart of the game is required for the setting to take effect. When in Simulated VR Mode, use the right-mouse button to look around. When the button is released, the view snaps back to the forward direction.
- Added missing fonts: Michroma, Orbitron-Bold, Raleway-Regular.
- Default to Play-Bold if a font fails to load.
- Fixed the key/button activation of zoom.
- Fixed /fps font size.
- 'Front' and 'Rear' text should no longer appear briefly during sector transitions.
- 'Press the Activate key...' no longer appears at the wrong time when entering sectors.
- Fixed HUD chat box disappearing during jump cinematics.
- Added sector loading progress bar to first-person-cinematics HUD

GearVR Testing Signup now Available.

Vendetta Online for GearVR is about to enter a round of pre-release testing, open to players who already have the required hardware (the older Galaxy Note 4 is not supported). The list signup can be found here:

For any who are unfamiliar, the Samsung GearVR is a VR interface for certain Samsung phones. Our game specifically supports the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S6 Edge, S7 Edge, or Note 5. Those are currently the only phones currently supported in GearVR by Vendetta Online with mobile VR.

Although the idea of mounting a phone to your face may sound kind of silly, the GearVR actually works really well, and is pretty impressive.

We also strongly recommend a bluetooth gamepad! Like a SteelSeries, Moga Pro, Razer, Nyko, or other. The absolute cheapest bluetooth gamepad is this Sminiker thing from China, which we've never tested, but some people claim is actually usable (probably if you get one that works, which is sort of the risk with bargain off-brand hardware from China).

We have gone to great lengths to make it technically possible to play the Vendetta Online without a gamepad on the GearVR, to at least give an introductory appeal to a large market-share that doesn't have gamepads. But the gameplay experience is substantially degraded compared to what you can do with a gamepad. Any serious VO player should have a gamepad, with GearVR.

Once we accumulate some testers, we'll push out Keys to people, which may then be redeemed via the Oculus App on your GearVR-enabled phone.

Vendetta Online 1.8.380

VO 1.8.380 includes:

These changes are for PC (Win/Mac/Linux) platforms only and will be released for the remaining platforms in a future update.

- New user-selectable fonts for PC platforms, with the new default font set to 'Play-Bold'. Fonts can be selected at Options -> Interface -> Font
- New UI skin called 'Platinum' and it is now the default for PC platforms. The old skin can be set at Options -> Interface -> Skin
- New option to enable first-person warp/jump/launch animations located at Options -> Game -> Cinematic Camera Mode
- Performing 'Activate' will continue certain missions if there is only a 'Continue' button and nothing else to activate.
- Y-B gamepad chord added to open the jettison menu by default.
- Added a shadow behind HUD Notification text for better legibility.
- The blinking docking bay arrows are now angled inwards for easier head-on visibility.
- New head-based flight models for VR.

There are a lot of changes in this update.. far more than one might realize from the changelog. As a result, we would really appreciate people posting bug reports to the Bugs Forum and letting us know of any problems you find.

Patches for other platforms will be coming, but are delayed a little so we don't have to test and monitor every possible version and device during this relatively significant update.

We expect there will be a round of bug-fix releases in the near future, as there usually is with any major codebase change. After that stabilizes, we'll be in a better position to consider doing some gameplay tweaks and the like.

Updates are a-comin'.

We've been building a lot of features over the last eight months, in the push towards a launch on VR, Steam, iPhone and elsewhere. As is often the case when we're rapidly developing, many of these changes have not been pushed into production yet. The amount of time required to carefully commit changes, test them thoroughly across all platforms, and release a patch is basically prohibitive when we're developing quickly; so it's often delayed until later.

We're now approaching the point where we're going to start merging a lot of our development changes and pushing them into production. Some changes will be quite noticeable, others may be more subtle, or are more specific to certain use-cases (like VR). But understand that when you see the changelog for the next-release, there are also a LOT of invisible things changing "under the hood".

Most of the visible changes are client-side stuff, tweaks or bits of polish here and there, and not fundamental gameplay changes. I also (personally) have a huge backlog of gameplay changes to do, so some of those might happen concurrently, but the patches themselves will be more about client-side development. Changes to the default UI "skin", the available fonts, various features and options we built for VR, etc.

We may also "stage" the release, so the patch only hits on PC first, and then another patch follows later for Android/iOS/etc. This can help simplify our testing process.

This past week, we aimed to release an update on Friday (yesterday) with these new changes, but that just proved to be infeasible. The longer we go without a patch, the more testing there is to do, and the more inevitable small bugs or issues we find, so it can take a bit longer to synchronize the development and production versions. Still, I expect we'll get a release out next week, so please keep an eye out, and report any problems you find on the Bugs forum.

Once we get this next update out of the way, we'll potentially be in a better position to work on some gameplay and content related features, which I know is something people are waiting for.

I also have another announcement related to GearVR beta-testing, if players would like to get involved with that, but I'll save that for a separate newspost to be written in the near future.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Policy clarification: Duel cheating.

This should be pretty clear and self-evident without explanation, but to make sure this is well-understood:

Dueling is intended to be a PvP experience between two specific people, represented by two specific characters/accounts. This is why we have a duel ranking system, to illustrate the relative outcomes of these battles, and help players measure their skills against one another.

Two individuals colluding to switch places on one account, so that a relative newcomer who is poor at fighting can then switch out and be replaced by a very strong and experienced player, is considered to be "Fraud", as defined by Section 1.1 paragraph 4 of the Vendetta Online Rules of Conduct. It also damages our entire duel-ranking system, in ways that are challenging to fix, and is generally bad behaviour.

Now, if a single individual wants to roll a new alt-character, and try to behave like a newbie for a long period of time, and pretend to be bad at fighting, and then duel someone and surprise them with their actual skills.. fine, we aren't currently going to raise an issue over that. It skims too close to variants of Role Playing.

But two people colluding together and sharing a character, that crosses way over the line, clearly violates a number of well-known policies, and will receive disciplinary action.

Vendetta Online 1.8.378

VO 1.8.378 includes:

- Fixed voice chat failing to load on Android.
- Fixed lua error when leaving Offline Play mode on all platforms.
- Fixed issue with Vendetta Online not resuming after waking up the Android device and it doesn't have a lock screen, like Android TVs.
- Sony DualShock 4 controllers are now properly detected when connected via Bluetooth.

This is a small interim patch release to fix some problems that have been plaguing people. We're still focused very intensely on our VR goals, so that's taking up much of our time. We expect to get back to game content enhancements as soon as we hit certain milestones, hopefully within the next few weeks. Thanks for the patience, everyone.

April Newsletter: Upcoming VR releases and other news!

If you aren't subscribed to our newsletter, be sure and take a look at the latest via the web. There are a few previews of our current work for the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Gear VR, as well as other news and tidbits for the near future.

Vendetta Online 1.8.372-377

VO 1.8.377 included:

- Serco border defense turrets have been added to the Geira Rutilus O-4 wormhole, on the Serco-Deneb border.
- The giant Latos M-7 station has been replaced with something more reasonably sized, to let capship owners get from place to place more quickly.
- Faction standing display and radar-color for ships with multiple docked players now shows the highest standing of any given player onboard the vessel.
- Sporadic rendering glitch, related to shadows and threaded rendering, has been fixed on OSX and Linux.
- Guild member limit increased to 1,000 members.

*** Vendetta 1.8.376
- Improved performance of the DirectX 11 driver by utilizing instanced geometry.
- Fixed rendering glitches when shadows are enabled on the Windows client.
- Fixed issue where multi-threaded rendering wasn't being used the first time the client is run in DirectX 11 mode.
- Fixed crash when logging in while being awarded a ship livery.
- Improved the Offline Training Simulator's initial animation to be more VR-friendly.

*** Vendetta 1.8.375
- Vendetta Online public VR Prototype now has support for Oculus SDK version 1.3, enabling consumer Rift headsets. To allow the game to use the Rift, the Unknown Sources option must be enabled through the Oculus App settings by clicking on the gear icon in the upper right, choosing 'Settings', selecting 'General', and then checking the 'Unknown Sources' option.
- Improved the VR in-station hangar bay.
- Increased general performance of the Windows client.

*** Vendetta 1.8.374
- Fixed lua error when viewing ship liveries under certain conditions.

*** Vendetta 1.8.373
- Small bugfixes and security enhancements.
- Furies are no longer attacked by conquerable station defenses if their owner has IFF rights.

*** Vendetta 1.8.372
- Changed the way the Windows Updater handles missing installed path registry entry.
- Changed Rift Offline Training Simulator initial demo scene and removed black backgrounds of tutorial menus.


Obviously, we haven't been making newsposts for awhile, partially due to GDC travel, and partially because of a lot of "background" releases with good engineering-changes that are not the most exciting from a gameplay standpoint.

But, tonight we pushed an update with a fair number of small gameplay tweaks, and we expect to be doing more of that in the near future. Also, keep an eye out for the Newsletter, which should start to go out sometime this weekend, bringing with it a few further updates on VR, 1.9 and the state of the game. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Server Downtime Today

The Vendetta Online core server cluster experienced a catastrophic filesystem outage today, starting around 1:50pm central, when our Enterprise Cloud provider sustained a major SAN failure. To put it another, simpler way, all of the game servers suddenly had no "harddrives" for an hour or two. Our provider is taking steps to keep this from ever happening again.

In the meantime, the game experienced an extended downtime, and is currently still undergoing maintenance to be sure all of our redundant, distributed databases are consistent. Because of the nature of this particular type of failure, it's very important that we take a little extra time to bring everything back up cleanly.

The game should be back online and available within the hour. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Vendetta Online 1.8.371

VO 1.8.371 includes:

- The "Furie" related missions have been added back into the game.
- Furies no longer target players if they or the targeted player is in the No-Fire Zone. Temp KoS ramifications of Furie actions are now applied to the owner of the Furie, as though the action was performed by that player.
- Removed support for Windows XP.
- Added a CAPTCHA for anyone who is not a premium subscriber and has been logged in for 6 total hours over the previous 12 hours. The CAPTCHA must be solved within 5 minutes, or the player is kicked offline; after which it must be solved the next time the player tries to log in.
- Updated Leap Motion drivers.

We were able to bring back the Furies, in part by creating ramifications for those who command their NPC subordinates to do things that run counter to factional laws. In this way, you will receive Temp KoS for telling a Furie to attack a locally-friendly newbie in guarded space, etc.

If all goes well in testing this system, I'd like to add more to the Trident remote commandset as well, including commands to attack or defend targets, and the like.

Please post to Bugs about any problems you find (or submit tickets for issues that might be exploitable). Thanks!