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Vendetta Online 1.8.570-571

VO 1.8.571 includes (today):
- Turrets now use a unique auto targeting system that triggers firing when the target is in view of the turret, but the center-of-mass is out of view, to enable more effective fire against large ships. This is true of both "ActivateTurrets" automation, as well as NPC turrets.
- Turrets using "ActivateTurrets" automation will now always fire homing-missile weapons, as long as the target is within distance range, and within the *weapon's* field-of-view. For Swarms, this is 180 degrees, meaning they will always fire.
- Fixed bug with "ActivateTurrets" not correctly utilizing the Turret field-of-view limits for Energy and Projectile based weapons (such as railguns).
- Android initial loading screens now solely show the game logo and progress bar.
- Android now loads and pre-caches less texture-data on startup, to improve game startup times.
- Fixed MacOS crash on Vulkan driver, when entering the joystick deadzone menu.
- Green scanner effect now renders properly with DirectX 11 and Vulkan drivers.

VO 1.8.570 included (earlier this week):
- Android now uses an experimental multi-threaded loading system, to improve startup performance.
- Android first-time game startup has been experimentally simplified, solely for new users.
- Android streamlining of initial game tutorials: some changed, some removed.
- Android version now has progressive blinking dots under the loading progress bar: shows app is not frozen, if loading is slow.
- Android internal analytics improvements, to measure slow-startup problems.
- All Android versions (HD and non-HD) now detect CPU core-count and have some limited multi-threading.
- Improvements to cross-platform game build-and-release backend infrastructure.

Between these and a few bugfix patches: a whole lot of releases this past week.

First of all, some explanation of the altered situation with Turrets. It came to our attention that there was a greater disparity between player-turrets and automated "ActivateTurrets" than we realized, partially because of actual code bugs, and partially because of some design and implementation problems.

It was always intended that these would have feature-parity with one another, and today's release takes some steps in that direction:

1) Turrets automated with "ActivateTurrets" will now fire on targeted enemies more aggressively, when using Energy and Projectile weapons, because the "center" of the enemy no longer has to be within the turret's field of view. Some part of the target still needs to be visible to the turret, but it will be "willing" to fire in many more circumstances, including close-proximity battles with large vessels, like player capital ships.

2) Turrets will now "effectively" fire Swarms whenever requested, using ActivateTurrets, as the system now uses the homing missile's field-of-view (which is basically "everywhere" for a Swarm missile), instead of the turret's field-of-view. This makes defensive use of Swarms more usable on capships, and negates the need to turret-hop or other technique to manually activate them. Homing missiles other than Swarms are limited by the missile's own field-of-view, and most of them do not have the "everywhere" visibility of Swarms, so they may or may not fire, depending on the location of the target.

3) Both situations (Energy / Projectile weapons, and Homing Missiles) will still fundamentally check the "range" of a given target, so the ActivateTurrets implementation may still choose to not-fire, if the enemy is too far away.

People should be using ActivateTurrets, and not other solutions, as scripted options around Turrets are likely to go away. There are a number of reasons for this, but they include needing a certain amount of control over Turret firing characteristics, both to maintain Player-vs-NPC parity, as well as making sure we can guarantee scalability in certain server conditions. We've done a lot of testing of large capital ship battles, and "rate of fire" is a major factor in server impact.

Similarly, we know there have been those using turrets to manually fire "forward", but expect that to become less feasible. Instead, we'll be more interested in creating actual heavy weapons, to be front-mounted on capships, for more aggressive usage. This will be instead of using combined turrets, because the total amount of combined firepower will quickly become a problem for larger and more complex capital ships. Even a Constellation could do tremendous damage, let alone something like a Capella. This then becomes a really serious issue to balance, because we cannot put aggressive limits on Turret usage via powercells or other factors.. without also impacting capship defensive capabilities (which is the intended usage of Turrets).

Instead, expect things more along the lines of the Teradon (firing the "golden sphere" primary weapons): high-powered weaponry with massive trade-offs, like slow projectile speed or other defensive / consumptive balancing factors. Slow-moving torpedoes that can be shot-down, not turret-mounted railguns that do incredible combined damage, with little chance to evade.

"Broadsides" from turrets will probably be a viable tactic, particularly for ships with higher turret density, that have more defensive than offensive loadout. And that is, specifically, well-suited to the ActivateTurrets system.

The ActivateTurrets mechanism is not cast-in-stone, and respectful feedback is still welcome on the Suggestions forum. But, that should be the main focus of on-going interest, and not historical scripting systems built around turrets or multiple clients, which will become deprecated.

That's all for now, plus a Newsletter is likely to be forthcoming in the near future. Have a great weekend, everyone.