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!

Vendetta Online 1.8.413-418

VO 1.8.413-418 included the following:

- Goliath may now be manufactured from the shipyards in Latos.
- New Ragnarok graphical ship assets, across all platforms except for iOS (delayed there, but coming soon).
- Older non-manufactured Goliaths purchased through the LTS testing program have been revoked, but their inventories and addons will be retained in the respective stations.
- All Manufacturing missions will now return components to inventory if the mission is aborted before the current set of objectives are achieved.
- Fixed possible buffer overrun in multi-threaded renderer when there are a lot of effects going on at the same time.
- Fixed issue with many effects starting up concurrently when a entering a sector that has been running while empty of players.
- Input menu should now fit on smaller screen mobile devices.
- Touchscreen HUD components are now sized and placed relative to a 1920x1080 screen size for phones that are higher resolution.
- Fixed an issue with the look-around tutorial in the Offline Training Simulator where it stopped responding to input.
- Added option to hide the touchscreen discs on the HUD. It is located in Options -> Advanced -> Interface -> HUD Settings
- New Hornet graphical ship assets for Android.
- Added "Designate Enemy" option in the Target HUD menu. It tags the currently selected ship as an enemy when pressed.
- Added optional larger HUD touch regions on Android and default to using it on phone-scale devices.
- Touchscreen analog (left) throttle/strafe region now uses linear input for more rapid response.
- Touchscreen analog (right) orientation input now defaults to an improved "vector cube root" curve.
- Multiple input curve options now available for both touchscreen analog regions.
- Touch input regions now use linked X-and-Y axes for more uniform sensitivity.
- Disabled input filtering for touchscreen devices, with options to re-enable.
- Touch tracking circles are now drawn in the HUD touch regions.
- New "flight/strafe" tutorial back-propagated from "HD" version to regular Android release.
- All Android versions now default to the Platinum UI skin.
- Android non-VR font now defaults to NTR-Regular.
- Removed un-needed "Use UI With Head Tracking" option for Gear VR and Daydream.
- Improved graphics for Hornet variants, on PC platforms.
- The old EC-88 is now only available in the Latos N-2 station. Related missions have been updated to indicate this.
- Fixed potential crash on Android Daydream version.
- Daydream version now defaults to "look-to-select" user interface, if a full gamepad is detected.
- VR Cockpit now defaults to Alternate 1 when HUD is not in locked-to-head mode on Android.
- Moved the radar displays inward and chat display downward when VR HUD is in locked-to-head mode on Android.
- Added Render Depth setting for VR Android versions. Gear VR version requires updated app from the Oculus Store.
- Added better error messages when unable to create a new one-click account on Android.
- Touchscreen strafe tutorial no longer resets when the screen stops being touched.
- Changed exit timer for backgrounded Android versions to 20 minutes from 60.
- Added a 30 second progress meter to the radar-look-select VR tutorial.
- Added a strafe tutorial in the Offline Training Simulator for Android.
- The initial in-station ship purchase tutorial now uses a custom voice-over instead of the text-to-speech system on Android devices with small screens.

A lot of updates and improvements over the last few weeks. New ship graphics, big tweaks to the Android version, final release of the Goliath, as well as a lot of work trying to find bugs in the hardware drivers of the new Galaxy S8 (a time consuming headache, and not from anything wrong with our game).

The Android changes will eventually also figure in forthcoming iPhone development.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Vendetta Online launches for Google Daydream VR!

As of today, Vendetta Online is now available for Google's Daydream VR platform. This means, if you own a Pixel, Moto Z, or other Daydream-compatible phone, you can play Vendetta Online in fully immersive virtual reality!

There is comprehensive support for the Daydream controller, although for advanced gameplay we still recommend a full-sized bluetooth gamepad (SteelSeries, Moga, Razer, Nyko, etc).

The game is available via a separate Play Store install, for $2.99, and otherwise uses the same business model(s) as the regular Android version (Free to Play, Lite, or Premium subscription). For more information, check out the Google Play Store:

Vendetta Online 1.8.410-412

We haven't updated news recently, but there've been quite a few new changes in the last few weeks..

VO 1.8.412 includes:
- Taking damage now aborts the logoff timer.
- Added a new, third optional cockpit model for VR.
- Muted players are now able to remotely command their capship via msg commands.
- Private messages are now echoed to chat in the SendChat() lua function instead of being echoed by the caller of SendChat(). This is intended to make plugin chat activity more transparent to the person running the plugin.
- Premium accounts that have never paid (used subscription keys instead) are not eligible for pledging as a Long Term Subscriber, unless the key is for at least a year of time.

VO 1.8.411 includes:
- Added two new cockpit designs to VR. They can be selected here: Options -> VR Options -> Cockpit Design
- UI updates for upcoming Google Daydream release.
- Attempt to fix rare crash on Android 4.4 devices.

VO 1.8.410 includes:
- Ship selection list cargo branch is now expanded by default.
- Collision damage no longer resets the capship's shield repair timer.
- NFZ TempKoS no longer gets triggered when a player shoots at their own capship.
- Fixed bug on PC clients preventing mines from being destroyed by energy weapons.
- Players under TempKoS with a specific faction may no longer gain standing for that faction, for the duration of the TempKoS timer period.
- Players under TempKoS may now accumulate faction losses, for the given faction, during the TempKoS period. Losses are applied after the TempKoS ends.
- If a player is docked to a capship that does NOT belong to them, and enters Guarded or Monitored space where their standing triggers the launch of a Strike Force, the player will be ejected from the capship, or returned to their home-station if they do not have a ship.
- "/vote mute" will now succeed with only 5 votes, but mutes for only 30 minutes at a time. Successful mutes and participants are reported to the developers. Players found to be abusing the mute-voting feature may be permanently stripped of their ability to vote, and muted themselves for an extended period.
- Added Decelerate to list of available commands for analog inputs on gamepads/joysticks.
- Fixed Invert setting for Trigger inputs on XBox One controllers in Windows to go from center to left instead of right to center in the Joystick menu. This allows the Accelerate/Reverse command to work as Reverse on an inverted trigger.

Vendetta Online 1.8.408-409

VO 1.8.408 and 409 included:
- The new Capella-class capital ship has been added to random NPC convoys.
- Capship Hangar and station Manage Ship tab ship lists now show the addons and cargo of each ship, and display the ship's total mass in its description.
- OpenGL 4 driver on Linux now uses 3.1 Core Profile to enable instanced rendering support on hardware that supports it.
- Self Defense flag now expires only when the 15 minute timer runs out, or the original victim kills the attacker.
- Gear VR now allows mining guns to operate when they are in the primary weapon group, and no gamepad is detected. The tap-to-select action changes to Select Nearest in Front and the mining guns auto-start when close enough to the asteroid.
- Previously unseen character names coming from kill messages are now added to the name tab-autocomplete list.
- Capella's rear launch bay is now also a docking bay.
- Fixed visual artifacts and improved quality of the Capella's texture maps.
- Increased number of turrets on the current Capella variant in convoy testing.
- Fixed crash when starting VO for the first time on a system with no audio driver enabled.

A number of substantial changes lately, starting with the introduction of the new Capella-class capital ship previously announced in the Holiday Newsletter.

Additionally, GearVR users on headset-only can now mine, something that was impossible before due simply to the limited number of controls and buttons when in headset-only mode (no game controller). Now a new automatic-fire mining system has been created to allow these players to invest in mineral and ore content as well.

OpenGL users on Linux can expect some performance enhancements from the additional of Instanced Rendering on the platform, a feature we utilize much more intensively on mobile and we intend to expand drastically on PC as well. It's basically a best-case scenario for handling large numbers of identical objects, like asteroids, and helps enable much higher potential densities in asteroid fields. On the flipside: Players with old graphics chips, that are not OpenGL 3.1-compatible, will have to resort to using our older GL 2.x "Reference" renderer. Overall, we feel this compatibility matrix is the best fit for the game as a whole, as the vast majority of systems now have GL 3.1 support, and we should be targeting the game for the common-case and not the oldest machines out there. Support for older hardware, via the Reference driver, will be maintained for a very long time to come; but performance will not be guaranteed on slower systems, of course.

Many other fixes and tweaks in this release as well. We hope you all enjoy it. We have bigger changes and announcements in the works as well. Have a great weekend, everyone!


Vendetta Online 1.8.406-407

VO 1.8.406-407 included:

- Teller-Ulam mine ammo now no longer free in capships.
- Mine timeout lifespans increased, maximum count per user/sector also increased.
- Added a 'Local' option to the Mission Category filter that shows all missions that are local to the sector.
- New gamepad configuration menu in Options -> Advanced -> Controls -> Gamepad for Android when a gamepad is detected.
- Added an 'Insufficient Energy' warninig message when using weapons that require 400 energy or more and the power cell doesn't have enough available.
- Auto-fire and the target lead-off reticule now work when non-blaster weapons are in the primary weapon group.
- An itemized list of storage rental deductions is now displayed in the log when you are charged each week.

Some changes in here were controversial, like the cost for re-loading TU mines in capships. But, the TU mine is an exceptional case, a very powerful item whose usage was always intended to be offset by the high cost of ammo. On the upside, other mine stats, like lifespans have been bumped, to make the regular mine fields a bit more interesting.

The gamepad configuration UI should be a big benefit for players. It is being tested first on Android, specifically for GearVR and regular Android users, but will eventually be featured on the PC as well (PC is a little more complicated, due to the use of flight-sticks and the like).

Work on the new Capella-class capship and other features is still on-going. Have a great weekend, everyone.

Vendetta Online 1.8.401-405

We've run a little behind on posting updates to News/RSS over the holidays, but there have been quite a few changes. Also, be sure to check out the latest Vendetta Online Newsletter:

VO 1.8.401-405 included:
- Gear VR 'Stop Ship When In PDA' setting is now saved on exit.
- Ships launching from the Goliath no longer scrape the sides of the launch bay.
- Fixed issues with resetting the calibration of the Left and Right Triggers on Android gamepads (also for GearVR).
- Increased timeout length of DNS server name resolution to 30 seconds.
- Added IPv6 Support option in Network Settings to disable it if there are problems connecting to the game server.
- Fixed lua error when taking missions and 'Mission Text To Speech Volume' audio setting is set to Mute.
- Android version now defaults to first-person flight mode for new installs.
- Text-to-speech is now disabled for Training V and Hive/Border skirmish missions.
- Music and sound effect volume is now lowered while Speech-To-Text or Text-To-Speech are active.
- Removed extra highlighted gamepad controls in the help menu before the Rings tutorial.
- Fixed Mission History list control to work properly with controller and/or headset in VR.
- The selected Nation logo in the character creation menu is now highlighted.
- Fixed issue with being unable to equip Goliath Powercell to the Goliath after un-equiping it.
- Fixed issue with preferring IPv6 over IPv4. IPv4 is now preferred on Android platforms.
- Fixed issue with mission log Text-To-Speech setting not being saved on Android.
- Internal changes to support new Android APK expansion files for the Play Store version.
- Fixed issue with power cell sometimes not recharging after jumping into a sector.
- Fixed issue with text-to-speech and recorded voice-over playing at the same time for the Training I mission on Android.

As mentioned in the Newsletter, the new Goliath light freighter is in testing with our "Long Term Subscriber" users. We recently increased the Goliath's cargo capacity to 600 cu, and improved the docking and launch bays, more tweaks (graphical and otherwise) may be coming prior to final "removal from testing" and production launch.

We do intend to give a few days of warning before we remove the existing "testing" ships from inventory. Subscribe to our RSS, Facebook or Twitter to stay in touch with announcements.

RSS: Here

Vendetta Online 1.8.399-400

*** Vendetta 1.8.400
- Updated the crystal intro menu to better explain the Free-To-Play business model.
- Added Speech-To-Text feature on the virtual keyboard for Android. It requires a Play Store App update.
- Added Text-To-Speech for mission text for Android. It requires a Play Store App update.

*** Vendetta 1.8.399
- Improvements to analog stick sensitivity is now applied to all Android versions.
- Fixed launch bay positioning on the Goliath so your ship doesn't scrape the side of it when launching.
- Removed unused device selection controls int the Voice Chat settings menu for Android.
- Updated OpenSSL library on Android.
- Updated the voice-over for the Offline Training Simulator's Ring tutorial intro menu.
- Fixed a couple of uncommon lua errors.

Lots and changes and improvements for Android, coming from developments made for GearVR. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.398

VO 1.8.398 includes:

- GearVR: Significant improvements to analog stick sensitivity, for game controllers such as those made by SteelSeries, Moga, Razer and Nyko. Custom sensitivity curve is now applied, allowing better "small motion" accuracy when aiming. Center deadzone has been reduced, and outer saturation deadzone has been eliminated entirely, giving an additional 13% of analog input range. Continued feedback on this is welcome, on our forums.

Basically, the goal here is to improve support for playing the game with a console-style game controller, particularly in VR. From our own testing and usage, this above change is a big improvement, but we may continue to tweak things before we bring to across to other platforms. We also intend to eventually add more heavily customizable options for controller sensitivity.

Notably, this change was a direct result of recent feedback from GearVR players on the Suggestions forum. Thanks for the input, everyone, and please continue to let us know how this update changes things.