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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.