News

Jul
25

Server Side Updates

The last few weeks have included a lot of purely server-side updates, as we've improved the robustness of the game, fixed a lot of bugs, and added internal features to give us better insights when there's a problem.

Changes include:

- Mitigated a bug with duplicate NPCs (Leviathans, etc) showing up in some locations.
- Fixed a bug causing some NPCs to "park" in the wrong locations.
- Fixed problem causing people to occasionally damage their capital ships when undocking.
- Optimized performance of the game server for certain cases.
- Added many new performance-monitoring analytics for the core game server.
- Made purchase experience more robust to upstream payment-gateway outages.
- Fixed a problem with AI path data being generated incorrectly on some sectors.
- Threaded AI path generation, plus other tweaks, to improve startup time on certain complex sectors.
- Added new analytics for monitoring a variety of connection and internal performance data.

We appreciate all the reports on Bugs and elsewhere, sometimes it takes us a few days to track something down, but we fix any issue as quickly as we can.

Newer game-content updates are slated to appear before long. It's been important that we focus on back-end stability and capacity for a little while, before the next round of content drops. Thanks for your patience in the meantime.
Jul
08

Vendetta Online 1.8.520, Prediction Monitoring

VO 1.8.520 includes:

- Players' positions are now reset if high latency transients are detected during combat situations.
- Added client-side prediction to the application of explosion-force on dynamic debris.

The fact that this is a "two sentence update" belies the complexity and development time that went into it.

- Update 1 - Firstly, this update includes a new system we'll call "Prediction Monitoring". To put it simply, this is a system that, under a very specific and narrow set of PvP combat conditions, will begin monitoring the movements of players, and if necessary, replacing player-client derived network updates with server-enforced positioning.

This should only impact people with *very* high latency (on the order of 800ms), or people who suddenly experience network dropouts (packets lost or delayed). If the server enforces a network update, the player may move or "drift" in a direction the server thinks is most appropriate based on their previously-accepted movement update. This prevents people from inducing lag that may cause them to "jump" excessively long distances, or become impossible to target.

People experiencing server-enforced positioning from the Prediction Monitoring system will not be "instant kills". They'll still be moving, and their momentary periods of linear motion will still be sporadic.

CHAT will also display a message to anyone who experiences server-enforced positioning, which says "High latency detected, resetting position."

See the Suggestions Forum for a more thorough RFC thread on the topic, and how the system is implemented. There are a great many factors that narrow the scope of the system to the smallest number of circumstances, specifically to minimize any impact of the system outside of PvP (for instance, PvE against bots is unaffected).

Most importantly, for the system to be engaged, players must currently:

A) Be able to harm one another (no same-nation players in a Capitol system).
B) NOT be grouped with one another. The system is explicitly disabled for group-members.
C) NOT be located in a No Fire Zone (NFZs exclude the system, as it could make docking too challenging for high ping players).
D) Weapons fire must be instantiated within 3000 meters of another player.

If this is all fulfilled, then Prediction Monitoring will be engaged for 30 seconds on the respective players. The expectation is that each future "shot" within 3000 meters will re-engage the system for another 30 seconds, and the timer will allow the system to "turn off" quickly when not needed.

Like everything in this game, the system is a Work In Progress, so real-world testing feedback is welcome on the related Suggestions Forum thread.

- Update 2 - Certain sectors, like Latos F12, have been testing new physically dynamic "debris" for some time. These debris can be moved by ship impact or explosions, and will physically interact with other objects based on relative masses, creating an interesting set of physical reactions based on gameplay (also leading to a lot of potential future gameplay).

The physical reactions are shared over the network, and we've recently improved the game's ability to instantly predict the physical impacts on the game client, before later re-synchronizing the results with the server.

This means that previous issues with "delayed jumping" of physics responses in debris, due to ping times, are now drastically less visible.

The combination of previous performance enhancements to the rendering engine (since April), along with improved network synchronization and fewer visual artifacts, may cause the "debris" to become much more widely employed in the game in the future.

Eventually we may even have options for players to move high-mass objects around, such as asteroids, to create strategic barriers. Similarly, miners might need to move surrounding asteroids to get their larger ships closer to higher-value ores. Lots of different possibilities emerge, with a more dynamic, physically-reactive environment.
Jun
20

Vendetta Online 1.8.519

VO 1.8.519 includes:

- Corporate Sector Run prizes have been added. 100k credits for each System the racer complets along the designated route. 50k credits for each kill of an eligible racer outside of Odia M-14. Top prize raised from 5M to 9M credits.
- Corporate Sector Run advertisement and registeration descriptions have been updated.
- Fixed lua error when displaying System Notes.
- Fixed issue with Trade mission's Procurement list being blank in the new dynamic economy sectors.
- Improved NPC path-finding persistence between sector restarts.

We intend to continue expanding and refining automated Events, like the Corporate Sector Run race. If you have feedback on how existing events work, or ideas for additional events, please feel free to post about that on Suggestions.
Jun
13

Server Side Updates, VO 1.8.518

The 06/12 Server-Side Update (last night) included:

- Leviathan weapon fire no longer goes through thinner asteroids. Should also impact Conquerable Station Turrets, etc.
- The NPCs no longer use the internal docking bays on the station in Verasi I-5.
- NPC AI path generation has been improved and adjusted.
- Our ability to visually debug problems with the NPC AI path generation has been improved.

VO 1.8.518 included:

- Added new NPCs to the Unknown System that may pursue you throughout the system.
- NPCs may continue to aggro on pilots after they dock and re-launch from capships.
- Queens now defend the Leviathan instead of drifting away.
- Fixed lua error when attempting to load system notes that plugins created.

The change to high-speed Gauss from large turrets should make for improved strategies in approaching Leviathan, Conquerable Stations and the like. Note that this is a physical-impact change; it's possible there are some long-lived visual effects that may still pass through objects, for the moment, but you won't be damaged by them.

Other tweaks to Queens and more elaborate cross-system NPC behaviour should also prove interesting, and lead to more content down the road.
May
30

New System and VO 1.8.517

As related in the latest Newsletter, a new Star System has been added to the game:

- The system is "hidden", but can be found with a clue from an in-game News article (PDA -> Comm) about a rescued explorer.
- The new system contains a particular type of bot that will occasionally drop a new weapon: the Gravity Mine Launcher.

This new system can be expected to change periodically; everything from the risks and dangers, to the actual sectors themselves. We're looking to add unique minerals and ores that only exist there, more unusual bot types with drops, and other content.

The wormhole may eventually become more challenging to locate, moving periodically. Threats to the main game universe may even pour forth from hidden strongholds.

VO 1.8.517 includes:
- Improved performance relating to instanced rendering on DX11, GL4, Vulkan and ES3. Most apparent with very dense sectors, using shadows.
- Fixed a graphics problem on PC, where certain asteroids were not using existing higher-quality object assets.
- Fixed a rendering issue with refracting ice crystals on Vulkan.

Anyone who hasn't seen it already, should also take a look at the latest game Newsletter:

https://www.vendetta-online.com/newsletter/05.2020/newsletter.05.2020.html
May
23

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.
May
09

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!
Apr
24

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".
Apr
03

Vendetta Online is now Free until June 1st.

For details, we recommend reading the latest Newsletter, which is going out now:

https://www.vendetta-online.com/newsletter/04.2020/newsletter.04.2020.html

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
Mar
28

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!
Mar
27

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!
Mar
27

Server Maintenance Over

The server maintenance has been concluded, and the game is back online. Thanks again for your patience.
Mar
26

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.
Mar
22

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!
Mar
14

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.