Vendetta Online 1.8.558

VO 1.8.558 includes:

- Trident and Goliath-class capital ships now include scanners for cargo (2000m), addons (2000m), asteroid temperature (500m) and asteroid mineral content (500m). This joins the existing sensors for ion-storm radar extension, as well as grouped shared-radar AWACS capabilities up to 2000m.

- Guild Voting notification system: The creation of a vote topic, initiated in any given month, will create an email that goes out to all voting Council members, to notify them of the voting topic. This email goes to the main address of the account of record (like the Newsletters, or administrative Tickets). If more than one vote topic is initiated in a given month, by a single guild, the later topics will not trigger emails. Players may opt-out of Guild Voting emails, through the game website (Account Info), or using a link from the emails themselves.

- Instant Notification system: A new category of notification has been added, to enable immediate email-based notification of game activity. Currently, this is only enabled for attacks on stations where the player holds an owner's key. This email address is unique and separate from the main address, allowing players to use their mobile carrier's SMS-to-email gateway to receive instant text messages, if they choose. For the moment, this must be specifically enabled by adding an email address to the Instant Notification field on the game website, in Account Info. The address must then be verified by a unique code, for confirmation purposes, before any game messages will be sent.

Some pretty major additions, in terms of external notification systems, intending to build towards larger conquerable content, territory and broader long-term features.

We hope the guild-related communications will also help player guilds better organize around changes and continue to thrive.

Last but not least, the sensor updates to the capital ships, another feature change brought about through community discussion on the Suggestions Forum.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Vendetta Online 1.8.555-557

VO 1.8.557 includes (today):
- Non-UIT stations in UIT space are no longer listed in the Galactic Best Prices if you are hated or KOS by the UIT.
- Fixed issue with invalid characters breaking chat text.
- Guild Commanders may now both add and remove Lieutentants, without Council oversight, using "/guild promote" or "/guild demote". The older "appoint" command has been removed.
- Guild internal voting has been changed, in a number of ways:
- A given Guild voting topic lasts two weeks from the time of the initial vote being cast, at which time the entire voting topic expires, along with all votes.
- Guild votes now persist across server restarts.
- Guild Council members are notified of new Voting topics on login and/or station docking, and see a display of the active topics, total vote counts for and against, voting options or status, and the expiration of the given topic.

VO 1.8.556 included (last week):
- Screamer Rocket energy firing requirements dropped from 30 to zero.
- Flechette cannons reduced in mass from 600kg to 500kg.
- Firefly homing missile ammo buffed from 6 to 12, and speed from 75 to 95 m/s.
- Self Defense timer for response to attacks in factional space changed from wall-clock to game-time.
- CSR race results now includes the ship type.
- Best Prices info is now updated immediately when a player launches from a capship.
- Fixed issue with players being able to lay mines and dock with certain stations.
- Fixed Gunner Kick command not kicking a player out of a turret.
- Fixed issue with Small Skirmish fighters not attacking Tridents.
- Fixed some player-transparent server-side issues, added more logging to certain cases.

VO 1.8.555 included (two weeks ago):
- Hulks and hulk debris now occlude player radar, allowing players to hide from one another behind hulks and debris.
- Enduring Content is now sorted first in their respective lists.
- Fixed Border and Hive skirmish NPCs not attacking opposing forces.
- Fixed bug with completed border skirmishes appearing in the available mission list.
- Fixed bug relating to messaging capital ships.

A number of substantial updates to Guild organization and management, tonight, which will hopefully be helpful. Feedback on Suggestions is always welcome, of course. We are going to be continuing to tweak things related to Guilds and other user-experience issues over the near term, particularly as we dig further into the updated interfaces and localization process.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Vendetta Online - May Newsletter

The May Newsletter covers some of our recent development in Interface updates, plans for Localization (translation and language support), as well as other game updates:

Vendetta Online 1.8.553-554

VO 1.8.554 includes (tonight):
- Warthog Mark IV hull armor increased from 10,000 to 10,500.
- New prototype UI for the Account Recovery menu available on Windows.
- Guild creation now persists across server restarts.
- Fixed issue when choosing a mission for a different location and then docking with the station where the mission is located.

VO 1.8.553 included (last week):
- Fixed issue with the mission Accept menu reappearing after the mission was already accepted under high latency conditions.

Development of the updated UI is on-going, as are some other substantial (time consuming) features.

Beyond this, we also been much more aggressive about tracking down smaller server-side bugs, over the last couple of weeks. These have been mainly "benign" bugs that were not player-visible, but could have become larger problems under the wrong circumstances. The goal is to make the game as robust as possible, and also improve our automatic error-detection, alarms and debugging systems, so we can react to future issues more quickly.

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

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!