Vendetta Online 1.8.437

VO 1.8.437 includes:

- Improved fidelity of the specularity maps used by many recent ships, for systems with GPUs capable of full DirectX 11 support, across Windows (DX11), Mac (GL4) and Linux (GL4). Older GPUs will fall back to alternative techniques.

While this update may not be thoroughly exciting to everyone, it was important to get this in place so we could create new PC "installers" for people to download. The existing ones are quite old and require new users to pull down some big patches, so this will hopefully alleviate that situation.

Additionally, it does also illustrate our moving into higher-fidelity graphics and textures, which should continue to be more evident as we release graphics updates.

There is still a goal for some bigger gameplay changes this month. We have been delayed a little by Mac development (mentioned in the last newsletter), which is also laying the groundwork for the Steam release.

Thanks everyone, have a great weekend.

Vendetta Online 1.8.435-436

VO 1.8.436 included:

- New "Debris Test" sector in Latos D-14. This sector uses new asteroid-style debris, as opposed to exploded-ship and battle debris, but in much the same way these objects are physically interactive. The asteroid-derived debris has much higher mass than the ship paneling, as one might expect, but it will move if struck with enough force. We're still optimizing the performance of these kinds of sectors, to potentially use this type of content more widely in the galaxy.
- Fix for high-resolution asteroid on PC that was not loading correctly.

VO 1.8.435 included:

- New Centurion graphical ship assets, across all platforms.
- Fixed mouselook for Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

Some small content drops and graphics updates lately. We intend to use the new "physically interactive" debris and asteroid objects much more widely in the universe, but for starters we have to test their impact on server performance, and how they're working for players across different platforms. Hence, releasing them in remote one-off sectors for people to play around with.

More news coming soon. Have fun everyone!

Vendetta Online November newsletter.

For any who missed it in their inbox, you can read the November issue of the Vendetta Online Newsletter here:

It details some of our recent advancements on the iPhone and Mac, as well as graphics changes and gameplay tweaks in the works.

Vendetta Online 1.8.432-434

Tonight's VO 1.8.434 includes:

- New Capella hulk assets.
- New enemy NPCs in Latos F-12.
- Updated test debris sector in Latos F-12, much denser debris (some slower devices may have performance issues).
- Debris chunks are no longer selected when selecting enemy ships.
- Engine performance optimizations for large debris fields.
- Fixed menu problem with lower-resolution Android devices.
- Linux version now properly selects the default desktop resolution instead of 800x600 for new installs.

Previous releases, 1.8.432-433 included:

- Fixed mouse issues when closing the PDA on the Mac OSX version.
- The buzzing sign sounds are now muted when docked to stations.
- Added a $2.99 Bag of 250 Crystals in-app purchase product for Play Store and Apple Store.
- For mobile players, Station Storage rent now costs 25 Crystal per 10,000 CU in addition to credits.
- Lite mode now adds a 50% increase to the maximum amount of daily crystal from NPC kills.
- Fixed wrong menu being displayed after timing out from the server the first time the game is run.
- Updated the initial Tilt/Touch menu on first run to be less confusing.
- Added warnings for new players when attempting to set up a nav route outside of their nation.
- Added HUD warnings when leaving your Capitol system for the first time and when entering nation border wormholes.
- Increased the resolution of the Mic image in the virtual keyboard.

Experimentation with higher density battle scenes continues. I hope you can stop by and check out Latos F-12, it has become pretty dramatic. It may run a bit slow for some people (particularly on mobile or VR), but it is an experimental sector, after all.

But beware! There are some particularly aggressive NPCs lying in wait for unsuspecting pilots to pass through the area.

A lot of other development has been going on, but this NPC and Debris scene was the most we could reliably release tonight. I hope it's fun. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Vendetta Online launches for Free on iPhone!

As you can read in the Official Press Release, we have launched Vendetta Online on the iPhone! You can find the game on the App Store here.

All devices capable of running iOS 10 or later should be able to install the game, all the way down to the smaller iPhone 5S (the game is better on a larger screen, but it works on the SE and 5S).

The game is also no longer a Premium install, and has been changed to a Free install to mirror the other mobile platforms.

If you have any issues, please bring them to our attention on the Bugs forum, or you can post general questions to the iOS forum. Thanks!

Vendetta Online 1.8.431

VO 1.8.431 includes:

- Your Home Station is now set to the station you're launching from if you're currently homed to a Training Station and you're no longer in the Training Sector.
- If you have a Training Blaster and you're not in a Training Sector, performing a Buy Back after your ship explodes replaces it with a free Government-Issued Plasma Cannon.
- Tilt calibration menu now displays the current tilt angle to help explain what it's doing.
- Updated Training IV Station Interface tutorial mission to refer to swiping on touchscreen devices that are using Condensed UI mode (mainly phones).
- In-App Purchasable item descriptions can now be canceled immediately instead of having to proceed to the given App Store's IAP menu and cancel from there.
- The exit nav point in Training Sectors no longer choose a point behind the large station asteroid.
- Fixed the direction of trackpad and mouse wheel scrolling on Mac OS X.
- Added a Show Password toggle in the account conversion menu to reduce mistakes when entering a password and confirming it.
- Fixed issue with XInput gamepads not getting their analog inputs set up properly on first detection on Windows.
- Fixed spickle error message in the errors.log file.

Lots of fixes and newbie improvements, with more to come, along with some upcoming announcements for iPhone.

Vendetta Online 1.8.430

VO 1.8.430 includes:

- Latos F-12 demonstration sector is now a larger and more complex scene, using all the capships hulks and floating pieces.
- Mac version now requires OS X 10.9 or newer, and only supports 64bit Intel processors.
- PowerPC support has been formally and permanently dropped from Vendetta Online.
- Mac version defaults to OpenGL 4 drivers for all new installs. We recommend existing users also switch to GL4, and help report any remaining issues.
- Mac GL4 version's auto-detection of discrete vs integrated GPUs and default graphics options have been updated to match the DirectX 11 version.
- Mac Retina display support is now possible. Defaults to "off", but may be added with "Enable Retina Support" in Video Options. It may impact performance.
- Mac version should now better handle Cmd-Tab, "Spaces" (virtual desktops), and other MacOS features.
- iPad version now uses specialized archive files with much faster load times.
- iPad users may now configure their gamepad sensitivity curves, under Options -> Input.

Clearly, a major update for Mac users, with also some cool new "capship hulks" to check out for everyone else.

The Mac version has been in need of a major "architecture upgrade" for quite some time, and this is important to also getting the game on Steam and the Mac Store. If you find any problems, please let us know. There are still some open questions with multi-monitor scenarios and mixed Retina and non-Retina monitors, what we've released should work pretty well, but we're still open to changing default behaviours and adding other feature support.

There will still be one more major Mac update, which will basically re-work the way the game actually installs on Macs, to conform to changes Apple has made since our last re-architecture.

The new iPad update is to help bring the latest iPhone TestFlight advancements into production for final testing. We are expecting the iPhone version to launch in the near future, more on that later. In the meantime, please report any issues you see on the iPad!

Thanks much everyone, and have a fantastic weekend!

Vendetta Online 1.8.427-429

VO 1.8.429 includes:

- Items and Ships that are visible in the station menu, but not purchasable by the user, will now provide a more detailed explanation of their purchase requirements.
- Fixed issue where selecting an un-purchasable addon via the arrow keys caused the 'Purchase Selected' button to not become disabled.
- Fixed issue with the description of un-purchasable addons showing a "Item will be placed in station storage." message.
- Added more hulk and space-junk assets, not yet released into the demonstration sector.

VO 1.8.428 included:

- Updated Constellation hulk collision mesh.
- Added more types of collidable debris.
- Fixed possible crash or extreme memory usage under certain circumstances when starting Vendetta Online.

VO 1.8.427 included:

- Added five new types of physically-interactive space debris.
- Space debris can now be damaged and destroyed.
- Latos F-12 test sector updated to use additional types of debris.
- Capship hulk no longer requires 3000m distance for sector jump.
- Capship hulk is now dynamically colored to a random color.

The additional physically-interactive debris, along with capship "hulks" is expected to help enable quite a bit of new content for the game, but we're still in the process of making everything functional. We do hope to have more extensive testing environments soon, as well as the addition of "physically-interactive" debris in all capship explosions. Yes, we are moving towards concepts like "salvage", but we still have some work to do to get there.

Additionally, we have some major work on-going to improve the Mac and Windows versions, in advance of higher-profile releases on platforms like Steam. While the game does currently function on both platforms, the standards of the recent OS versions have changed enough to where it's realistically necessary for us to modernize and update the architecture of our game's installation and runtime.

As a result, we're completely revamping aspects of the game's installation and functionality, beginning with the Mac version. The next Mac release will likely be a 64bit-only install that requires OS X 10.9 or newer, drops all legacy support for the PowerPC, and hopefully integrates much better with modern Mac desktop functionality (such as the "spaces" virtual desktop environment).

This kind of development is not particularly "exciting" to announce, as it doesn't directly result in big gameplay changes. But, it should make the game more usable for people, and it will make it possible for us to ship the game to large-scale marketplaces where it would not otherwise be allowed. So, this makes the development highly worthwhile.

Thanks everyone, and have a great weekend!

Vendetta Online 1.8.426

VO 1.8.426 includes:

- New test-content in sector Latos F-12, featuring dynamic ship debris and a damaged Constellation "hulk". The new dynamic debris can be pushed around and impacted by explosions, and will physically interact with objects in the sector. The new "hulk" objects are intended to be used for upcoming dynamic gameplay of discovery, rescue, salvage and other situations.
- Fixed buffer overrun that could cause crashes at exit on some platforms, mainly Windows.

VO 1.8.426.1 also includes:
- Fixed a problem with Mac game launchers (if the launcher locks up, you may need to reinstall).
- Fixed a crash related to joysticks on recent Windows 10 installs.

The most interesting thing here is likely the new "damaged spaceship hulk" in Latos F-12 and the physically-modeled interactive debris field floating around it. The debris can be pushed off into space, so if you fly in when others are around, that may account for a reduction in visible debris. We're looking at adding a lot of different cases for this type of content, along with old "hulks" and "battle debris" that can be flown through and interacted with, which will play a major part in future missions and other content. Check it out!

Policy Clarification: Vote Muting.

In view of some recent issues, it seems a clarification in policy is needed.

The purpose of the "/vote mute" function is to allow the player base to exercise some immediate action against individuals who are spamming the channel, making egregious racist remarks, and similar extreme behaviour that is "VERY obviously over the line".

The purpose is NOT for groups of players to use mute-voting and guild organization as a secondary weapon to publicly silence people they happen to dislike. Individuals who engage in that may face much longer-term mutes themselves, along with losing their voting ability.

The first response to avoiding chat you dislike should be the "/ignore" command. If an individual is being particularly abusive, but not deserving of a "/vote mute", then you should be opening a support ticket.

Because of the combative nature of the game, we do not historically take action on mild trash-talking, nor should this be a use-case for a vote-mute. That's a case for /ignore.

We are aware that 100 has been getting out of hand for some time, and we are working on solutions to help mitigate and improve that in the future.

- Guild Software, Inc.

Vendetta Online 1.8.421-425

VO 1.8.421-425 included

- When chatting while warping out, the virtual keyboard no longer disappears.
- Increased accelerometer deadzone for mobile devices.
- Advanced Options menu buttons now support the Touch-Hover feature like the main Options menu.
- 'Enter Game' menu buttons now support the Touch-Hover feature.
- Moved General tab's touch settings into a 'Touch' tab in the Controls menu.
- Tabs are now larger in the Controls menu.
- Tilt Sensitivity slider is larger in the Tilt tab in the Controls menu.
- Fixed green texture on station docking bays on iOS.
- Hide the 'Don't show this again' check for the Swipe to change menus message when entering station/PDA for 3 times.
- Removed the 4:3 HUD option for mobile devices.
- If a mission becomes unavailable just as you attempt to take it, it no longer says "error".
- Renamed Input tab name to General in the Controls menu.
- Renamed Accelerometer tab name to Tilt in the Controls menu.
- Renamed Sensitivity to Tilt Sensitivity in Tilt tab of the Controls menu.
- Removed Mouse tab in the Controls menu on iOS and Android.
- Removed Keyboard tab in the Controls menu on iOS.
- Fixed Samsung GearVR remote controller issues.
- Optimized multi-threaded rendering.
- Added basic Oculus Rift Touch controller support.
- Fixed tutorial text for GearVR.
- Increased the quality of dynamic shadows being cast onto the cockpit for Rift and Simulated VR mode on PC.
- Adjusted the positions of HUD displays when using the Alternate 1 cockpit in VR.

Many small changes in tonight's update, along with a few added to this post from other recent updates. iPhone users on our TestFlight group will also receive an updated version, as we continue our march towards iPhone release.

As always, please let us know if you run into any issues (via the Bugs forum, filing a Support Ticket, or using the TestFlight Feedback feature).

If all goes well, we may be able to start experimenting with some new graphical content next week. Fingers crossed!

An Indie MMO's perspective on Network Neutrality

I generally avoid posting about any political issues, as I see my role as creating an environment for the entertainment and escape of our players.

However, today 80,000 different online sites and services are speaking out against the United States FCC's plans to eliminate Network Neutrality, and this issue directly bears on our ability to operate this game.

If Network Neutrality is removed, it will be harder for small companies like us to stay in business, delivering innovative new online games and services.

Basically, it places network providers in the position of "negotiating" which players can connect to what games or sites, and at what speeds or ping-times. You might buy "50mbit" service, but actually have a much slower and intentionally rate-limited connection to our game, and many others.

An example of this is when Time Warner Cable ("Spectrum") clamped down on League of Legends player-bandwidth during negotiations with Riot Games.

As a small indie that doesn't have the revenue of Riot, we cannot afford to pay every ISP for "special treatment". Frankly, it's enough of a burden for us just to host our game. Everything beyond our servers is supposed to be a flatly-billed "Internet". I can specifically speak to this, as a former engineer who helped create a sizable national Internet network (AS3857, AS4323) that's now a part of "Level 3 Communications".

On the end-user side, just look at when AT&T blocked Facetime on iPhones in 2012, demanding that users upgrade to a more expensive service package (even blocking their "unlimited data" subscribers).

There may well come a time when you go to connect to our game, or many others, and get a pop-up from your provider requiring you to buy a costly new "Gamer Internet" service package.

The argument from the large cable and telecom providers is that repealing Net Neutrality will allow them to better "re-invest" in their infrastructure. But big shops like AT&T have a pretty spotty history of actually improving infrastructure the way they claim (especially with limited competition), while also killing municipal broadband in rural areas (even when they don't serve those areas), and gleefully fighting to collect and sell your personal internet usage information.

Fundamentally, it's unlikely any of these big providers will substantially "re-invest" in their network infrastructure while their profit margins are incredibly high, they lack serious competitive threats, and they don't see a clear value for their high-cost investment. Why bother giving you gigabit internet for $60/month when they can charge you the same price for a dozen megabits, without having to change their network? There's no reason for them to start spending their profits, with or without Network Neutrality. They'll continue to make "show" upgrades in a few locations, and announce them loudly, but mostly the infrastructure stays the same.

The issue can seem pretty confusing to an outsider. I mean, the planned FCC rollback is called "Restoring Internet Freedom". Who can't get behind a name like that? Similarly, AT&T is now (hilariously) claiming their "support", plus there's a long history of using dubious means of getting outside groups to help kill Network Neutrality, while basically making it sound like the opposite.

This confusion by the telecom/cable lobbies is strategic and intentional. But to be clear, the internet is supposed to be largely flat, and not charge you different fees based on where your traffic goes. The only realistic way to keep providers from trying to do this, is to keep the Network Neutrality rules in place.

Don't get me wrong, running an ISP is complex and challenging, with technology and usage that are constantly evolving.. but that does not excuse fundamentally screwing up what makes the Internet a great thing in the first place.

If you would like to comment on the FCC's planned policy changes, you can follow the link below, and click on the "+Express" link. There are only a few days left to comment:

- John "Incarnate" Bergman, Founder and CEO of Guild Software.

Vendetta Online 1.8.420

VO 1.8.420 includes:

- New Centaur graphical ship assets, across all platforms.
- New Ragnarok and Hornet graphical ship assets now available on iOS.
- Improved Windows XInput device detection.
- Fixed lines disappearing in Gamepad menu on Windows.

Please let us know if you run into any problems with this version, especially the new Centaur graphics assets.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Player Thefts and Gameplay Ethics.

We have a long-standing policy of not getting involved with player-versus-player or guild-related "thefts" or "espionage", and it appears a reminder is needed of this fact.

If you give another player a large sum of credits (or manufactured goods, or whatever) with an expectation of an exchange for some other good/service, and they instead "run off with your stuff", that is NOT cause for administrative action.

As long as the game mechanics are used as-intended, and there's no "exploit" or account-compromise, or other external-factor involved, and everything happens within the context of regular gameplay.. then we consider it to be a part of regular gameplay.

As far as we're concerned, this game is built as a framework, a model to which people may bring their own behaviours and ethics. The fundamental existence of piracy in our game, defended as a legitimate means of accruing wealth, gives a clue to the variable ways in which the game may be played. We, the developers, do not pass judgement on who should be a pirate, or who should be EMS or some sort of altruist, that is the player's choice to make.

Probably the most fundamental decision players have to make in VO is "who to trust". Is this person on radar going to attack me and take my stuff? Is this guild-member going to behave responsibly? Will this exchange of manufactured goods go as planned? These choices are your own, and are made at your own risk.

This doesn't mean we approve of people behaving badly or in an un-trustworthy manner, but it does mean we don't take administrative action to reverse the results of bad decision-making or trust issues between players.

We ARE open to Suggestions (posts on that specific forum) on ways of improving the game to mitigate issues with un-trustworthy people.

But, fundamentally, we do not get involved if you give someone your stuff (or access to your stuff), and they run away with it.

Guilds should consider carefully who they choose to trust. People have spent months rising in the ranks of guilds for no other purpose than emptying their bank, stealing their other content, or practicing espionage on behalf of a rival guild. Again, we don't pass judgement on this.

There have been "thefts" or trust-related issues resulting in the losses of Billions of credits over the last year, and we have not reversed or refunded any of them. These join many other incidents (large and small) over the past years, where we also refused to get involved.

Be Cautious! It is a large and scary galaxy, and not everyone has your best interests at heart. If you do choose to trust someone, do so knowing that that decision is yours alone, and you have to live with the results.

Vendetta Online 1.8.419

VO 1.8.419 includes:

- Android gamepad analog sticks now use a linked sensitivity curve.
- Updated damage indicators for the new Hornet and Ragnarok.
- Added a Gamepad Settings menu for PC when a gamepad is detected.
- Fixed blank screenshots on Windows when Anti-Aliasing is enabled.
- Fixed VR settings not getting properly reloaded when a gamepad is detected.
- Fixed plugin issues when changing HUD options to hide touch-region discs or changing the size of the regions.
- When a player with a passenger enters a sector and they are hated by the monitoring faction, and the passenger is also hated by the same faction, the passenger no longer gets ejected.

Lots of tweaks. The Android gamepad curves should provide a valuable improvement on that platform.

Similarly, let us know how the new Gamepad Settings menu works for you on the PC? It should be a big improvement, but like any major new item, it may have some aspects that need tweaking. The menu is another step towards supporting use-cases like Steam Big Picture, or generally allowing more convenient re-mapping of gamepad controls while in VR, etc.

There's a newsletter in the works, as well as another ship-update, and more. Hopefully next week, but we'll see how it goes.

Have a great weekend, everyone!