Vendetta Online 1.8.346

VO 1.8.346 includes:

- Changed the 'Route' button in the Mission Info to 'Dock' and displays text saying to dock to the local station to accept the mission when clicked.
- The "PLAYER_DIED" lua event now triggers for anyone who dies within your sensor range (15km). Chat messages are only displayed if you are the victim or the killer.
- After un-docking from your own persistent capship, your capship now retains current velocity and slows to a stop, instead of stopping immediately.
- Jumping into a sector and landing directly into a capship docking bay no longer auto-docks your ship.
- Fixed typo in Training Neutron Blaster description.
- Also, server-side changes from this week: new production database system, new game webserver, etc.

Lots of infrastructural changes took place this week. We're still kind of "settling in" with the new servers and database systems, so please continue to let us know if anything isn't working properly. We'll have more announcements about all of this next week. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Scheduled Maintenance Window

Vendetta Online will be undergoing planned server-side maintenance tonight, July 29th 2015,between 11:59pm and 3am, US Central Time.
Maintenance will impact both the game and the website forums, and downtime could be as long as an hour.
Thank you for your patience while we're working to improve the game.

Scheduled Maintenance Window

Vendetta Online will be undergoing planned server-side maintenance tonight, July 28th 2015,between 11:30pm and 2am, US Central Time.
Maintenance will impact both the game and the website forums, and downtime could be as long as an hour.
Thank you for your patience while we're working to improve the game.

On-going server development.

We've had a long week of very carefully moving database tables from one place to another, and then fixing all the related code. This is pretty delicate, time-consuming and tedious work, but it's critical to the upcoming "server migration" that has been referenced in the last couple of update notices.

For many years, we've run almost entirely out of a single datacenter, operating from hardware we own. But times have changed, we need to be able to scale in the face of possible large player counts from feature-promotions on iPhone, Android, Steam, and the like. "Cloud" computing services allow a degree of elasticity that will strongly benefit the game, letting us spin up a large amount of hardware when briefly needed, and then turn it back off again when the demand goes down.

For instance, this enables options like firing up a huge dedicated server to handle a massive sector battle-event for a few hours, and then shutting it down when the event wraps. The cost of creating that "new" server for a couple of hours would only be a few cents, compared to the big cost of our dropping several grand on a big server (and needing to host it, maintain it, power it, cool it, and having it sit idle when not-needed). By the same token, this same scalable infrastructure can potentially help us absorb hundreds of thousands of new iPhone players for a week, or other difficult-to-predict spikes in player concurrency.

The game architecture itself was always built around this model, even going back to the 90s, as we always wanted to be able to scale the game very quickly. So that part is pretty easy. Some players may even recall that we ran the whole game off of a cloud provider for a week, as a testbed experiment, before pulling it back to our own (less costly) hardware.

But, even with that, there's still some legacy development-baggage from having all your hardware in one place. Right now we're primarily focusing on changing the way the website and the game will communicate, to allow us greater freedom to host the game itself (or parts of it) anywhere, while the website and secure billing data will remain on physical hardware we actually own. This means the connections and services must be robust to potential disconnects from fiber cuts, routing flaps and other unexpected internet outages.

In the meantime, of course, we're also doing a lot of administrative "cleanup", updating and further hardening the security of various systems, while making others more flexible and robust. We originally budgeted a week for this process, but we keep discovering legacy stuff we need to take into consideration with the new design. It's amazing the amount of code cruft and legacy services you end up with, after 13+ years of running an evolving, production MMORPG.

Given that context, a couple of weeks of cleanup is probably not surprising? Still, we're hoping this will mostly wrap up next week, in terms of what is soaking up most of our development time.

After that, we'll be back to patches and release updates, and in a much better place to continue the push for VO 1.9 and beyond!

Vendetta Online 1.8.345

VO 1.8.345 includes:

- Removed older, deprecated method of creating account from within the game client.
- Other background changes to make possible an upcoming server migration.

Not the most exciting update, but we've been really busy with a couple of tasks. One is that we're trying to address a number of recently-reported problems with the MacOS X version of the game, when using the new GL4 renderer. This is proving tricky and time-consuming to debug, as we're finding some surprising and unpredictable OS behaviour.

To our non-Mac users: please have patience. The lack of content updates in the meantime is not that fun, but we really need to squash these kinds of major bugs (across all platforms and versions) prior to the 1.9 release.

Additionally, as mentioned in the release notes above, we're also working our way up to a major server migration. We hope for part of that to wrap next week, which will mark a major improvement in our infrastructure. There'll be an announcement when it goes live, but it's one of those things where.. if all goes well, you won't be able to tell anything changed at all. Nonetheless, take our word for it that this is much-needed (a bit overdue, even), and we'll write more about some of the specific improvements after it goes live.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.343-344

VO 1.8.343-344 include:

- Increased support for anti-aliasing with certain Intel GPUs, and perhaps others.
- Mitigated issue with Mac OS X mouse cursor when cmd-tabbing in fullscreen.
- Windows version now built with a better optimizing compiler, some performance improvements should be evident.
- Fixed intermittent sector crashes.
- Fixed a rare potential issue with /vote mute.
- Fixed issue with joystick input on the Windows version.
- NPCs now require more collision damage to be applied to them before they will consider the attacker a threat.
- New station designs for Sol II H-13.
- Added anti-aliasing and gamma correction to the Mac OpenGL 4 driver. The Linux version already has anti-aliasing.
- Added ability to manually set the screen rotation on Android. The option is in Advanced -> Controls -> Input and has Landscape, Reverse Landscape and Sensor Landscape as the three options.
- NPC capships now target and attack PC capships with their primary weapons.
- Optimizations to multi-threaded rendering.
- Multi-threaded rendering is now default to enabled on DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4 versions. When switching to those drivers, a restart of the client is required to enable multi-threaded rendering. The setting can be turned off by editing the config.ini file and adding multithreaded=0 in the [Vendetta] section.

A variety of infrastructural improvements, in the lead-up to VO 1.9. We also have quite a bit of server-side work going on in the background as well, along with some interesting new gameplay scenery and content. Next week we may start to reveal some of these enhancements, as well as prepare for some significant server migrations, to increase game capacity and performance. Have a great weekend!

Summer Sale, Newsletter, Upcoming 1.9 Release.

We're rapidly approaching the release of Vendetta Online 1.9! This major milestone is a cause for celebration, so we've started our first Summer Sale, with a 33% discount on 1-year Premium Subscriptions in the form of purchasable Keys (which may be applied to any account, or saved indefinitely, or given to friends, etc). Only a limited number of discounted keys will be available, so get them while you can. For more information, check out the recent newsletter:

Vendetta Online 1.8.342

VO 1.8.342 includes:

- New station designs for Itan J11 and Odia M14.
- Six missions updated in the LAR Project tree, substantially improving issues with the Stygian Furies.
- The mission "Rush job! Ores and minerals needed" may now be re-taken (Xang Xi Research locations, Respect standing) to acquire the Xang-Xi Self Propelled Concussion Mine Launcher. Mission is available once per week, per character.
- Concussion Railgun grid power requirements dropped from 12 to 9, allowing dual-usage on the Raptor UDV, etc.
- Rendering optimizations for the new DX11 and GL4 engines. On some machines, that are more CPU-limited, these updates can make a big speed difference. More related improvements next week.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.341

VO 1.8.341 includes:

- Android version now supports both landscape modes. Requires Play Store App Update or sideload update. The Amazon Store version will come out at a later date.
- Added Video driver options to change the number of dynamic lights and toggle shadows in the DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4 drivers.
- Fixed a crash when switching from OpenGL 4 to the OpenGL Reference driver when multithreaded rendering is enabled and the glow effect is on.
- Border Skirmish Teradon firing distance has been lengthened and the average combat distance is shortened by 100 meters.
- Please rate the Android version! The Android version gives the choice to review the app when docking to a non-training station after 10 minutes of being online or after an in-app purchase. You can choose to have it ask again later (one week later) or never.

We're nearing the DX11 and GL4 drivers becoming the production standard, so please continue to help us test them, and report any issues on the Bugs forum, or in a Support Ticket if privacy is needed.

The new rendering-engine becoming "production-ready", as well as some other emerging features, will help mark a major update planned for the near future.

Vendetta Online 1.8.340

VO 1.8.340 includes:

- New station design for Dau L10, more carefully integrating the Capship Hangar components. In the future, there will be more fully-customized stations replacing those with recently added capship hangars.
- Experimental: Fog and radar limitations now impact bot's targeting visibility and aggression. However, this may have undesirable secondary effects, and may require on-going tweaks and changes. Strikeforce NPCs have integrated radar extenders.
- Maximum rent-able cargo capacity of new capship-capable stations now increased to 100,000 cu. Existing cost thresholds for extended cargo space still apply.
- When a Trident pilot switches to a turret view, the local (Trident) ship is now properly visible.
- When launching from a Trident while it is mining, the ore is now properly placed into the Trident's cargo hold.
- Fixed a bug where a persistent Trident may collide with the player's copy during the change-over.

Have a great weekend, please provide feedback on any of these changes, especially if you run across undesirable ramifications (such as the fog/radar situation). Bugs is a great place to report, or open a Support Ticket if something is critical. Thanks much!

Vendetta Online 1.8.338-339

VO 1.8.338-339 included:

- Fixed Deneb War Stats web page. The dates were off by one day under certain circumstances.
- Integrated Mineral Scanner on ships can now be used for the prospecting missions.
- Changed Conquerable station under attack warning timeout to 5 minutes from 1 hour and report each station separately.
- Improved Updater robustness when unable to write to storage.
- Added a larger mouse cursor for Retina and other high-res displays.
- All cargo nested within ships inside of capships will now drop when the capship explodes.
- NPCs can no longer turbo or jump/warp out of a sector if their energy level is too low.
- Mac OS X Updater no longer crashes if there is no network connection.

We've had some larger development projects going on in the background, while I was away, and some interesting announcements coming up pretty soon. In the meantime, we've been continuing the flow of cool gameplay tweaks and changes. Particularly notable is the energy impact on NPCs, which should have expanded value as we re-work some of our NPCs and other things with the coming universe changes.

Vendetta Online 1.8.337

VO 1.8.337 includes:

- Fixed issue with queens and its escorts getting reset to full health when the idle-sector timeout occurs.
- Idle-sector timeout experimentally reduced back down to 30 seconds, except for conquerable station sectors which retain their 5 minute timeout.
- Improved fallback resiliency of the game launcher/updater under certain conditions, particularly on Android.
- Android version now includes a call to help translate the game, on non-English devices (
- Geo-located patch servers are now back into usage, including two in Europe. For best results, we recommend using your ISP's local nameserver, and *not* a global public provider like Google DNS or OpenDNS.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.336

VO 1.8.336 includes:

- New temporary placeholder "capship" stations in: Itan J11, Dau L10, Sol H13 and Odia M14. These will allow Trident owners to dock with these major capitols. The station configurations will be changing to something more customized to each sector (and nearby hazards, like asteroids), but for the moment they each have the same capship-hangar module, attached to the existing station.

- Idle-sector timeout experimentally reduced from 5 minutes to 30 seconds, to potentially reduce server ram usage in high-concurrency situations (very large numbers of players). As we have recently made mines, capships and other content persistent, this change should not have a significant gameplay impact. Note, this is simply the sector-shutdown that occurs after all players have already left a given location.

- Experimental "emergency instancing" added to all sectors: if a very large number of players should congregate in a single sector (many hundreds), additional players "jumping in" will be transparently sent to a secondary instance of the same sector, to better distribute load across the server cloud. This will only be an emergency-level tool to help deal with unexpected peak loads of huge numbers of new players (mobile-platform promotions, etc), and we'll be doing updated stress-testing to set it as high as possible. It can be dynamically defined on the server-side, to support very large future player-events, as needed.

- Fixes to server-side issues related to players getting stuck at "entering universe" during the login process.

Lots of other development work is on-going. Please keep in mind that we intend to expand the number of capship-capable stations to include all "capitols", but that some additional testing and development time is needed to roll things out more broadly. In the meantime, have fun everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.335

VO 1.8.335 includes:

- PowerCell Blaster has been buffed to 215 velocity, 8 energy per shot, 60 drain.
- We are now accepting Character Nation Change requests again. Once per character, per lifetime, submitted by Support Ticket. The character inventory will be WIPED (ships, items), but credits and stats will remain. Be sure to sell your character's inventory before requesting a Nation Change.
- We are in the process of moving to a much more robust and distributed patch-update architecture. However, the transition may continue to have some bumps as we discover and resolve issues. Please be patient with any connection delays.
- Updated the secure-HTTP connection functionality of the Android version, and added it to all other platforms and versions. Will help enable future game features.
- Training Sector Beam Cannon defenses have been significantly buffed, to reduce threats to newbies by more advanced player capships.
- Fixed issue with application full-screen interface on pre-4.4 Android devices.

One of the bigger additions here is the ability to do administrative nation changes, once again. This required adding some custom functionality to our admin toolset, so hand-editing of character is no longer needed. However, please heed the above warnings.. the character's inventory is wiped, so be prepared to lose all items/ships when you change nations.

Please continue to report any problems or delays with the game update server, on the Bugs Forums. Thanks much!

Vendetta Online 1.8.334

VO 1.8.334 includes:

- Fixed turret leadoff indicator color when target is outside the field-of-view.
- Temperature Scanner now properly obeys its range limit.
- Added Retina support for the OpenGL 4 driver on OS X.
- Fixed touchscreen virtual keyboard issues when using plugins on Android.
- Fixed double-press issue when going into the Nav menu from the HUD on Android.
- Fixed issue with the Auto-Aim Advanced Game Setting being set to Disabled when touchscreen mode is disabled and a gamepapd is being used on Android.

We're expecting some bigger changes next week, and we're approaching some major announcements. As a result, we've been spending time to build out and improve our server infrastructure:

A new "update server cloud" will be launching next week, including new patch servers in Los Angeles and Europe. A combination of BGP Anycast and GeoIP DNS will make sure you receive the update server closest to your location, while careful monitoring and automated failover of the individual servers will minimize the impact of any outages (which are very unlikely anyway). Even if the entire new cloud should fail, the game update-client itself will fall back in a few seconds to our current, long-running Midwest-US service. As time goes on, you may see us expand our patch cloud into other locations, like Asia, Australia and Brazil.

It should be noted that this new proprietary global patch network will not actually improve your "ping times" within the game. They are purely to improve the distribution and resilience of the game patches, although your patch downloads should be faster. Beyond this, we are also working on other changes to the fundamental game infrastructure, which we think will be a big improvement for most players, but those changes are still a little ways out.

In the meantime, a lot of game content is in development, including new Capship Station Components that will allow Trident docking at most Capitol stations. We think this will usher in a new relevance to the Trident, and its usage as a platform for trading and other activities.

Have a great weekend, everyone!