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.

Vendetta Online 1.8.397

VO 1.8.397 includes:

- Powercells are now classed as "Large" and "Small" for capships and fighters respectively. Each type of ship may only use powercells for the given class. This allows more expandability of powercell types for both classes of ship, without concern of exploitative usage of powercells on other-than-intended ship types.

This change has been met with a certain amount of (expected) controversy. However, the description is accurate. The goal here is to create a system where Capship class powercells can become an intriguing and expanded set, without impacting exploitability cases on smaller, fighter-class ships.

This is particularly critical for the introduction of new classes of capships, like the upcoming Goliath. The Goliath will likely introduce its own powercell, with different properties, and we'd like to see various other upgrades available for all capships.

This is always what was intended. The usage of fighter-class FC powercells on Tridents was never part of the design. It was simply held over for a long time, due to a lack of development resources. So, now we're going about improving things, and this is the first step.

If you'd like to be involved in the discussion on what NEW powercells should be created for the capship class, please visit the Suggestions Forum.

Vendetta Online 1.8.396

VO 1.8.396 includes:

- All empty sectors in Capitol systems that contain Training Sectors are now Monitored.
- Fixed issue where no menu was visible after doing an auto-generated account conversion on mobile devices.
- Made some tweaks to the management of powercell energy in capital ships, during jump-out.

The fact that Capitol systems are now entirely Monitored (at least) was actually intended to be implemented a long time ago, but someone failed to finalize the changes. Major-Nation Capitols can be expected to be fairly heavily patrolled, so this kind of response shouldn't be too surprising. As always, we're open to feedback on any changes like this.

Many other tweaks and changes are on-going (including the Goliath), along with efforts to bring some neglected platforms back up-to-date. Bigger news to come in the November newsletter.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Vendetta Online 1.8.394-395

VO 1.8.395 includes:

- The Goliath has been added to random NPC convoys.
- Gear VR version now applies a dead-zone to the analog triggers on gamepads; this mitigates flawed controllers with non-zero "button-off" states, and helps prevents spinning in space.

VO 1.8.394 previously included:

- Mines and cargo crates can no longer be laid inside of asteroids or stations.
- Players are now moved outside of asteroids if they are found to be inside of one when they log in.
- Self defense ability is now given to all crew-members of a ship so they can defend themselves. It is applied at the time of the attack and does not propagate to players who dock after the attack, unless the ship is attacked again.
- Fixed capship station docking bay zone sizes and other misplaced station components.
- Added Goliath assets for future debut.

The Goliath is getting ever closer to production usage, now appearing in automated trade convoys for the first time. We're also putting time into fixing and mitigating issues related to our recent platform releases, like GearVR. We intend to dedicate more time to content and gameplay related changes, as things begin to stabilize post-release.

As always, if you experience any problems, please post them to our Bugs forum, or submit them via a Support Ticket on our website. That's a much more effective way of reporting issues than using a review-system, as we have no way to contact people who post "reviews" on the Oculus Home, to ask them for more information.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Vendetta Online for GearVR released!

We have formally shipped Vendetta Online for the GearVR. This will allow owners of the GearVR system to enjoy a fully immersive VR experience in Vendetta Online. All configurations of the GearVR are supported, except for the Note 4, which is too slow. The game supports both headmount-only and game-controller input modes, and offers four different flight models in headmount-only mode.

Nonetheless, we strongly recommend a quality bluetooth game controller, such as those made by Steel Series, Moga, Razer and Nyko.

Similarly, the GearVR version also supports integrated voice chat, voice-to-text input, as well as text-to-speech for mission updates, all of which makes a good quality headset (stereo headphones + mic) a wise investment as well. We have predominately tested with wired headsets: the Razer Kraken Mobile, and a modified/adapted Logitech H110. Hopefully we'll see more stereo gaming headsets in the future that support mobile devices, but right now the field is a little thin.

If you see any issues with the new GearVR build, please let us know, either via the Bugs forum or by a Support Ticket for anything critical and time-sensitive. Thanks everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.386-393

We've had a lot of updates over the last couple of months, but as they've mainly impacted the non-public GearVR version, we hadn't been as attentive to updating our newspost Changelog. Last week, however, we made some broader changes:

VO 1.8.393 included:

- Self-defense mechanism now propagates to the capship and all crew members if any member triggers it. If anyone docks before the self-defense timer expires, it will also propagate to them. The victim will be able to defend theirself without faction penalty from anyone who was ever inside the capship during the self-defense time.
- Fixed crash/lockup at startup on Linux64 version.
- Updated Oculus Rift version with updates from Gear VR.
- Minor bug/crash fixes.

This addressed a meaningful gameplay bug that, while we had been aware of it, we simply didn't have the development time to address it this summer. Now, however, we're working diligently to track down and iron out a whole list of long-standing bugs, before moving ahead on other areas of gameplay.

Prior to last week there were a variety of patches, mostly for GearVR; although many of the efficiency changes and engine optimizations we made for GearVR will also improve other platforms, like the regular Android/iOS builds, and even the PC versions:

*** Vendetta 1.8.392.2-386
- Fixed crash on Gear VR version when a gamepad is connected when
the game is starting up.
- Fixed issue with not being able to select ships to purchase in
the Gear VR version.
- Improvements to Gear VR version for gamepad detection.
- Confirmation menus can now be closed without having to look directly at the close button in VR.
- Left/Right shoulder buttons now properly change interfaces when looking at the nav map in VR.
- Selecting news items now automatically bring up the news article instead of having to double-tap or press the 'Read Article' button in VR mode.
- The 'Back' button now takes you out of a turret in addition to double-tapping in Gear VR.
- UX improvements for Gear VR.
- Gear VR version now uses ASTC compressed textures and load-time has been reduced.
- Fixed lua error when using a gamepad's D-pad as the first action in the virtual keyboard on Gear VR.
- Fixed issue with not being able to get to Gear VR Universal Menu from the login screen.
- Improved stability of Gear VR version on Galaxy S7 devices.
- Reduced loading times on Gear VR.
- Increased efficiency of font rendering on Gear VR.
- Changed how the Back button functions on Gear VR to conform to Oculus requirements.
- Added experimental Speech-To-Text feature to the virtual keyboard on the Gear VR version.
- Fixed issue on Gear VR version when exiting through Oculus Menu and then rerunning VO quickly would cause VO to not start properly.
- Fixed lua error on iOS and Windows Store versions under certain circumstances.
- All tutorial missions specific to GearVR and Game Controllers have been re-worked to be more Text To Speech compatible.
- Fixed a problem with controller inputs being stuck after receiving a call on GearVR.
- Further improved the login menu background for GearVR.
- VR Cursor is now a white circle, similar to the Oculus Store.
- Added support for "T3 Wireless Bluetooth 3.0 Gamepad Gaming Controller" with digital trigger controls.
- Added 'Convert Account' button in the Options menu that only appears when you haven't connected an email address to the account.
- Updated the VR Login menu scene.
- The radar controls rotation on the HUD have been fixed.

And more to come..

Server Outage Today

Our cloud service provider experienced a serious network outage today, within their internal network. This effectively corrupted and disabled disk access for all of our servers for an extended period of time. Once their outage was resolved, it took some time for us to confirm our server and database consistency and bring the game back online. As a result, we were down for a few hours total.

It's unusual for us to be down for this long, but aspects of this outage made recovery more challenging. Thanks for your patience in the meantime.

Vendetta Online 1.8.385

VO 1.8.385 and prior patches included:

- Simulated VR Mode now has a bindable key or button for looking around, called "+VRLook". It currently defaults to right-mouse-button.
- Fixed a Lua error for capship owners launching their fighter while manned to a turret.
- New dynamic server packet-queuing and priority change to drastically improve chat and effect delays during larger capship battles. Tested in development with 200 close-proximity capships per battle. Prioritization only dynamically scales with larger numbers of ships per sector, so less populated regions and sectors are unaffected.
- Changed the distribution of services within the game-server cluster, to enhance performance with higher peak player counts.
- Fixed issue with dropped key and mouse inputs in OS X with the new OpenGL 4 video driver.
- Fixed lua error when joining a group and Voice Chat is enabled.
- Removed dark background of HUD notification text when not in VR mode.

The new server changes are pretty interesting, as they open the door for larger battle events, with the eventual goal of player contention for territory in the expanded universe. We plan to do some big events to help test this in the near future.

We're also pushing hard towards a number of other goals, including shipment of the GearVR version, now in its second wide-area Beta test. Thanks to all those beta participants for making the game release better for everyone.

Beyond that, there's been a lot of other work behind the scenes. We have a new mailing list and newsletter system, after our previous email-provider abruptly increased their prices many-fold earlier this year, so you can now expect to start seeing some VO newsletters again in the near future.

Lastly, we've been doing quite a bit of server housekeeping, upgrades and administration. Thanks for your patience during the periodic downtimes. We keep them to a minimum, but every year or so it's good for us to do this kind of extended update and cleanup process, especially in advance of our upcoming launches on Steam, GearVR and elsewhere.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.384

VO 1.8.384 includes:

- Added /voicegroup set of commands, similar to /group, that creates arbitrary Voice Chat channels (up to 32 players). Use the /voicechattoggle command to switch between subscribed channels, such as Group, Guild, and others. Type /voicegroup to display its usage.
- Added a description overlay to the nav map in VR mode, when Look-To-Select is enabled, to show the description of the currently selected sector.

The new general-usage voice chat system is just a first pass. We intend to also add an elaborate UI around it, but after we do some more testing with VR and other use-cases to determine what kind of interface will work best.

In the meantime, let us know how the functionality works?

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.381-383

Many gameplay, VR and other small enhancements over the last few weeks. Lots more changes coming as we move towards various launches.

VO 1.8.383 included (tonight):
- Mines can no longer be dropped in No Fire Zones.
- Cargo inside of ships that are docked in the Trident's cargo will now drop when the Trident is destroyed.
- A message notification now appears on the HUD when attempting to pick up cargo but your ship's cargo hold is full.
- Fixed Marauder, Valkyrie, Prometheus rendering issues in DirectX 11 dynamic lighting mode.

VO 1.8.382 included (last week):
- Fixed chat entry while changing sectors in Simulated VR.
- Enhanced compiler optimizations for both Linux 32 and 64bit versions, potential performance benefits.
- Glibc 2.14 and Glibc++ 3.4.15 are now required for the Linux 64 version (Linux from 2012+).
- Large port on the Corvus Greyhound has been changed to a Small port (per extensive Suggestions forum thread).
- Updated Oculus Rift PC SDK to version 1.6 and included basic support for the Oculus Touch controllers.
- Improved default settings for the Oculus Rift, to enhance performance.
- Added Simulated VR support for Mac and Linux.

VO 1.8.381 included (two weeks ago):
These changes are for PC (Win/Mac/Linux) platforms only and will be released for the remaining platforms in a future update.
- Added Simulated VR Mode for Windows. The option is located in Options -> Game -> Simulated VR Mode and can be turned on or off. A restart of the game is required for the setting to take effect. When in Simulated VR Mode, use the right-mouse button to look around. When the button is released, the view snaps back to the forward direction.
- Added missing fonts: Michroma, Orbitron-Bold, Raleway-Regular.
- Default to Play-Bold if a font fails to load.
- Fixed the key/button activation of zoom.
- Fixed /fps font size.
- 'Front' and 'Rear' text should no longer appear briefly during sector transitions.
- 'Press the Activate key...' no longer appears at the wrong time when entering sectors.
- Fixed HUD chat box disappearing during jump cinematics.
- Added sector loading progress bar to first-person-cinematics HUD

GearVR Testing Signup now Available.

Vendetta Online for GearVR is about to enter a round of pre-release testing, open to players who already have the required hardware (the older Galaxy Note 4 is not supported). The list signup can be found here:

For any who are unfamiliar, the Samsung GearVR is a VR interface for certain Samsung phones. Our game specifically supports the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S6 Edge, S7 Edge, or Note 5. Those are currently the only phones currently supported in GearVR by Vendetta Online with mobile VR.

Although the idea of mounting a phone to your face may sound kind of silly, the GearVR actually works really well, and is pretty impressive.

We also strongly recommend a bluetooth gamepad! Like a SteelSeries, Moga Pro, Razer, Nyko, or other. The absolute cheapest bluetooth gamepad is this Sminiker thing from China, which we've never tested, but some people claim is actually usable (probably if you get one that works, which is sort of the risk with bargain off-brand hardware from China).

We have gone to great lengths to make it technically possible to play the Vendetta Online without a gamepad on the GearVR, to at least give an introductory appeal to a large market-share that doesn't have gamepads. But the gameplay experience is substantially degraded compared to what you can do with a gamepad. Any serious VO player should have a gamepad, with GearVR.

Once we accumulate some testers, we'll push out Keys to people, which may then be redeemed via the Oculus App on your GearVR-enabled phone.

Vendetta Online 1.8.380

VO 1.8.380 includes:

These changes are for PC (Win/Mac/Linux) platforms only and will be released for the remaining platforms in a future update.

- New user-selectable fonts for PC platforms, with the new default font set to 'Play-Bold'. Fonts can be selected at Options -> Interface -> Font
- New UI skin called 'Platinum' and it is now the default for PC platforms. The old skin can be set at Options -> Interface -> Skin
- New option to enable first-person warp/jump/launch animations located at Options -> Game -> Cinematic Camera Mode
- Performing 'Activate' will continue certain missions if there is only a 'Continue' button and nothing else to activate.
- Y-B gamepad chord added to open the jettison menu by default.
- Added a shadow behind HUD Notification text for better legibility.
- The blinking docking bay arrows are now angled inwards for easier head-on visibility.
- New head-based flight models for VR.

There are a lot of changes in this update.. far more than one might realize from the changelog. As a result, we would really appreciate people posting bug reports to the Bugs Forum and letting us know of any problems you find.

Patches for other platforms will be coming, but are delayed a little so we don't have to test and monitor every possible version and device during this relatively significant update.

We expect there will be a round of bug-fix releases in the near future, as there usually is with any major codebase change. After that stabilizes, we'll be in a better position to consider doing some gameplay tweaks and the like.

Updates are a-comin'.

We've been building a lot of features over the last eight months, in the push towards a launch on VR, Steam, iPhone and elsewhere. As is often the case when we're rapidly developing, many of these changes have not been pushed into production yet. The amount of time required to carefully commit changes, test them thoroughly across all platforms, and release a patch is basically prohibitive when we're developing quickly; so it's often delayed until later.

We're now approaching the point where we're going to start merging a lot of our development changes and pushing them into production. Some changes will be quite noticeable, others may be more subtle, or are more specific to certain use-cases (like VR). But understand that when you see the changelog for the next-release, there are also a LOT of invisible things changing "under the hood".

Most of the visible changes are client-side stuff, tweaks or bits of polish here and there, and not fundamental gameplay changes. I also (personally) have a huge backlog of gameplay changes to do, so some of those might happen concurrently, but the patches themselves will be more about client-side development. Changes to the default UI "skin", the available fonts, various features and options we built for VR, etc.

We may also "stage" the release, so the patch only hits on PC first, and then another patch follows later for Android/iOS/etc. This can help simplify our testing process.

This past week, we aimed to release an update on Friday (yesterday) with these new changes, but that just proved to be infeasible. The longer we go without a patch, the more testing there is to do, and the more inevitable small bugs or issues we find, so it can take a bit longer to synchronize the development and production versions. Still, I expect we'll get a release out next week, so please keep an eye out, and report any problems you find on the Bugs forum.

Once we get this next update out of the way, we'll potentially be in a better position to work on some gameplay and content related features, which I know is something people are waiting for.

I also have another announcement related to GearVR beta-testing, if players would like to get involved with that, but I'll save that for a separate newspost to be written in the near future.

Have a great weekend, everyone!