Vendetta Online 1.8.378

VO 1.8.378 includes:

- Fixed voice chat failing to load on Android.
- Fixed lua error when leaving Offline Play mode on all platforms.
- Fixed issue with Vendetta Online not resuming after waking up the Android device and it doesn't have a lock screen, like Android TVs.
- Sony DualShock 4 controllers are now properly detected when connected via Bluetooth.

This is a small interim patch release to fix some problems that have been plaguing people. We're still focused very intensely on our VR goals, so that's taking up much of our time. We expect to get back to game content enhancements as soon as we hit certain milestones, hopefully within the next few weeks. Thanks for the patience, everyone.

April Newsletter: Upcoming VR releases and other news!

If you aren't subscribed to our newsletter, be sure and take a look at the latest via the web. There are a few previews of our current work for the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Gear VR, as well as other news and tidbits for the near future.

Vendetta Online 1.8.372-377

VO 1.8.377 included:

- Serco border defense turrets have been added to the Geira Rutilus O-4 wormhole, on the Serco-Deneb border.
- The giant Latos M-7 station has been replaced with something more reasonably sized, to let capship owners get from place to place more quickly.
- Faction standing display and radar-color for ships with multiple docked players now shows the highest standing of any given player onboard the vessel.
- Sporadic rendering glitch, related to shadows and threaded rendering, has been fixed on OSX and Linux.
- Guild member limit increased to 1,000 members.

*** Vendetta 1.8.376
- Improved performance of the DirectX 11 driver by utilizing instanced geometry.
- Fixed rendering glitches when shadows are enabled on the Windows client.
- Fixed issue where multi-threaded rendering wasn't being used the first time the client is run in DirectX 11 mode.
- Fixed crash when logging in while being awarded a ship livery.
- Improved the Offline Training Simulator's initial animation to be more VR-friendly.

*** Vendetta 1.8.375
- Vendetta Online public VR Prototype now has support for Oculus SDK version 1.3, enabling consumer Rift headsets. To allow the game to use the Rift, the Unknown Sources option must be enabled through the Oculus App settings by clicking on the gear icon in the upper right, choosing 'Settings', selecting 'General', and then checking the 'Unknown Sources' option.
- Improved the VR in-station hangar bay.
- Increased general performance of the Windows client.

*** Vendetta 1.8.374
- Fixed lua error when viewing ship liveries under certain conditions.

*** Vendetta 1.8.373
- Small bugfixes and security enhancements.
- Furies are no longer attacked by conquerable station defenses if their owner has IFF rights.

*** Vendetta 1.8.372
- Changed the way the Windows Updater handles missing installed path registry entry.
- Changed Rift Offline Training Simulator initial demo scene and removed black backgrounds of tutorial menus.


Obviously, we haven't been making newsposts for awhile, partially due to GDC travel, and partially because of a lot of "background" releases with good engineering-changes that are not the most exciting from a gameplay standpoint.

But, tonight we pushed an update with a fair number of small gameplay tweaks, and we expect to be doing more of that in the near future. Also, keep an eye out for the Newsletter, which should start to go out sometime this weekend, bringing with it a few further updates on VR, 1.9 and the state of the game. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Server Downtime Today

The Vendetta Online core server cluster experienced a catastrophic filesystem outage today, starting around 1:50pm central, when our Enterprise Cloud provider sustained a major SAN failure. To put it another, simpler way, all of the game servers suddenly had no "harddrives" for an hour or two. Our provider is taking steps to keep this from ever happening again.

In the meantime, the game experienced an extended downtime, and is currently still undergoing maintenance to be sure all of our redundant, distributed databases are consistent. Because of the nature of this particular type of failure, it's very important that we take a little extra time to bring everything back up cleanly.

The game should be back online and available within the hour. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Vendetta Online 1.8.371

VO 1.8.371 includes:

- The "Furie" related missions have been added back into the game.
- Furies no longer target players if they or the targeted player is in the No-Fire Zone. Temp KoS ramifications of Furie actions are now applied to the owner of the Furie, as though the action was performed by that player.
- Removed support for Windows XP.
- Added a CAPTCHA for anyone who is not a premium subscriber and has been logged in for 6 total hours over the previous 12 hours. The CAPTCHA must be solved within 5 minutes, or the player is kicked offline; after which it must be solved the next time the player tries to log in.
- Updated Leap Motion drivers.

We were able to bring back the Furies, in part by creating ramifications for those who command their NPC subordinates to do things that run counter to factional laws. In this way, you will receive Temp KoS for telling a Furie to attack a locally-friendly newbie in guarded space, etc.

If all goes well in testing this system, I'd like to add more to the Trident remote commandset as well, including commands to attack or defend targets, and the like.

Please post to Bugs about any problems you find (or submit tickets for issues that might be exploitable). Thanks!

Vendetta Online 1.8.369-370

VO 1.8.369 and 1.8.370 include:

- Updated Voice Chat, now available again on Mac OS X! (Intel only) Voice Chat quality should also be better, and use less bandwidth, thanks to a new codec (Opus 20kbit).
- Improved pre-release Oculus Rift VR implementation, with new VR ship-cockpit and VR space-station hangar. Please understand, this experience and related graphics are still in development. VR-specific tutorials and other features are still missing.
- Background Detail settings improved, now with Off, Low, Medium, High. The "Medium" setting is similar to the previous "Highest" setting, but uses higher resolution textures. The new "High" setting is similar to the previous "Super High" setting, but is faster to render thanks to some engine optimization. Because of these changes, the Background Detail setting will now reset to the new default for your particular hardware.
- When a player gets kicked offline for logging in when already logged in while in space, their ship now stays around for 1 minute instead of disappearing instantly.
- Added an Account Setup button to the Login menu that includes the ability to request a password recovery email.
- In-game players are now informed of the duration of any mute that has been applied to them.

We drastically updated the Voice Chat system last week, please post any issues you find with it to the Bugs forum. It should be significantly better than at any point previously, but we're still working hard to make it as solid as possible, and will eventually add support to the iOS version as well. We're also looking at expanding the usage of Voice Chat to include large user-created channels; this is something that has been requested for a long time, and we think it will be a bit more feasible with the new Opus codec.

Only players with Oculus Rift devices can see the new prototype VR content, but it's pretty cool. Cockpit views and other graphics may become more generally available, but for the moment we're just working through the process of streamlining the VR user experience. This prototype is still missing much of what's planned for final VR release, but the upside is that it's also acting as the testbed for implementing many of the interface and user experience changes that the game has needed for years.

Have fun, everyone!

Vendetta Online 1.8.368

VO 1.8.368 includes:

- Missions that may only be taken a limited number of times for a given period will now remain visible, but grayed out, when unavailable. A countdown timer indicates when the mission may be taken again.
- Border Patrol now tells Itani players to go to Deneb and records the final destination sector to the mission log.
- Optimized rendering of individual stars in the background.
- Active mission dialog now says to check the mission log for more information, and the nil 'Location' line was removed.

Hopefully the new handling of limited-availability missions will make things a lot clearer to newbies, and also be helpful to veterans. This was raised in a Suggestions post recently, and was pretty fast to do, so we bumped the priority to get it in there.

Speaking of priorities, we have a lot of other big changes going on right now, which are time-sensitive as we need to hit certain release dates that coincide with the shipment of other products. Much of this is VR and immersion related, but the changes we're making go well beyond VR, and this will all be pretty beneficial to the game as a whole.

For example, we recently enhanced the ability of all game interfaces to be located on a panel that "floats" at a particular location in 3D space. This will be of significant value in allowing us to break up interface or HUD mechanics to different locations in a "cockpit" type environment, docked "hangar bay" scene, or other situations which are critical to a VR experience. But while many of these environments and interfaces are primarily targeting VR, we expect they'll also make a lot of people happier who have long wanted features like cockpits and the like.

There are also a number of other benefits that fall out of this enhancement. For instance, floating signs could be interactive interfaces. Race Tracks could show signage with top times, and interactively display other data. To take this to the silly extreme.. with a bit of additional server-communication work, two players could interactively play "pong" over a common interface floating in space, while other players watch.

Don't expect a lot of complex, interactive floating signs to suddenly appear in the immediate future, this is just to underscore that the game's capabilities are evolving, and we expect this all to be of significant benefit, both now and for future work on replacing and re-working the current menu system and user interface experience.

Thanks everyone, have a great weekend.

- Guild Software, Inc.

Forum Policy Changes

In the release last week I had hoped for more gameplay changes to make it into the build. These were delayed, in large part because of some lengthy conversations about behaviour on the Forums. Over the last few years, the general quality of conversation on our forums has declined, due to some negative, attack-driven behaviour that ratcheted up the degree of melodrama, and generally polarized or derailed a number of conversations that might have been otherwise useful. It's also created some volatile situations (like the PK-reset debacle of last October) which used up a tremendous amount of developer time, and would have been far better handled through Support Tickets instead of inflamed public forum threads.

As a result, we've have established new guidelines for forum usage and behaviour (across all forums, including Role Play), which are now being enforced by our volunteer administrators. The specifics are in a sticky-post at the top of the General Forum. Please be aware of, and adhere to these updated, more specific guidelines, as violations will result in being muted on individual threads, across individual forums, the messageboard as a whole, or even administrative action that impacts access to the game.

The last thing we want to do is mute or ban anyone, but things have gotten really out of hand lately, so some action is needed. The forums are intended to be a positive place for the community to give constructive feedback and suggestions about the game, and plan community events and the like. Obviously this can work well, as evidenced by some of the new content in the last patch. But while it's good that people have strong opinions about the game and its process of evolution, keep the discussions civil: debate the idea on its own merits, and not the individual posting the idea. Avoid attacking entire play-styles, but find a way to logically express how a change could improve and balance the game to the benefit of everyone.

Thanks everyone.

- Guild Software, Inc.

Vendetta Online 1.8.367

VO 1.8.367 includes:

- Linux version no longer attempts to rescan for joysticks whenever certain keyboard keys are pressed.
- Radar blip coloring can be modified by plugins again. When a plugin wants to change the status of a player by overriding the GetFriendlyStatus function, it must call the UpdateRadarFriendlyStatus(<node_id>) or UpdateAllRadarFriendlyStatus() function to update the radar with the new status.
- The Advanced Combat Training and Border Patrol group missions are now available.
- For multi-theaded rendering with dynamic lights and shadows, shadows are now processed in their own thread.
- Raptor UDV armor increased from 10,500 to 12000.

We're aiming to have some gameplay tweaks at the end of next week, and a major announcement before the end of the month. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Raptor UDV buffed.

Per a lengthy player discussion on the Suggestions Forum, the Raptor UDV has had its armor mildly increased from 10,500 to 12,000, to enable it to compete on a little more even footing in PvP combat. The Raptor has a fairly large frontal area, a long tail, and reduced maneuverability compared to some other ships, so this buff is intended to help mitigate those disadvantages a little.

The Raptor in general is not intended to be "the best" at any given function (including combat), rather it's supposed to be one of the more flexible ships. It includes integrated storm-radar extenders, and the UDV further adds cargo/addon and mineral/temperature scanners. It also includes more cargo space than the average fighter-class vessel.

These kinds of features are more in-line with UIT thinking: Flexible craft for long-term exploration, prospecting, defense. A good general-purpose craft that can cover a lot of bases. It is not intended to be a warfare-driven dogfighter on the level of a Valkyrie, or a heavy hitter like a Prometheus, or even a specialty light fighter like a Centurion Superlight. These are far more specialized instruments of combat, where the entire Raptor class did not evolve to address the same need within the UIT.

The Union Defense Vessel variant of the Raptor was created to allow the UIT Senate (and member-factions), a reasonable vessel for border defense, anti-piracy and other interdiction needs, while still retaining many of the flexible advantages offered by the Raptor platform as a whole.

More gameplay changes and announcements will be coming in the near future, we're a bit buried in development at the moment. Have a great weekend, everyone.

Voice Chat Fixes

There have been some long-standing problems with the integrated Voice Chat system, which stem from bugs in our own server-side codebase, and not the third-party voice chat libraries. We've been working to fix these bugs recently, and have added a lot of debugging to further improve our chances of tracking down any problems that do occur. Some improvements were made last week, and other fixes were just put into place today.

If you experience "channel leakage", where you hear people on voice chat who are not supposed to be a part of your group or guild chat experience, please submit a Support Ticket and let us know.

Tracking down this issue is critical, as it is part of the system which communicates with our game server, and would still be used with any other voice-chat solution, now or in the future. Thanks much.

Vendetta Online 1.8.366

VO 1.8.366 includes:

- New client CPU optimization should make the game run smoother and better across all platforms, but especially those with slower CPUs (older PCs, mobile devices, etc).
- Strikeforces now include Warthogs in all levels of response.
- Strikeforce Power Seeker combat tactics have been improved slightly.
- Power Seekers no longer drop drain weapons or other addons on death.

The CPU optimization is a pretty big deal on some devices. For slower phones, it may be as much as a 40% framerate increase for some cases. Unfortunately, we're also seeing some new sporadic bugs crop up in the implementation, which is related to radar dot-coloration (friendly/enemy). We're actively working to resolve these bugs, but please be aware in the meantime (we did test this pretty thoroughly before release; but in any code this complex, it's tough to cover all cases).

The Power Seekers no longer dropping PCBs is a side effect of testing a new feature that allows us to vary the addon drop-rate of individual NPC types. We've wanted this for a long time, it helps enhance situation where, for instance, we might want a particularly difficult NPC to drop their addons more often, or other cases where we want to avoid trivial farming of some valuable addon on a relatively fragile bot. Please let us know if you see any addons being dropped by Power Seekers. We are not moving towards a general "no-drop" policy on bots (that would be.. bad), we're just making the capabilities more flexible so we can offset the rarity against the difficulty of the individual bot.

Thanks everyone, have a great weekend!

Vendetta Online 1.8.362-365

VO 1.8.362-365 included:

- Strike forces now include new "Power Seeker" NPCs, who fire energy-draining weapons.
- Tab-complete on mobile devices now work the same way as on PCs.
- Fixed issue with friendly IFF not getting set on turrets for conquerable station user keys when the station is first conquered.
- Fixed the text at the end of the Offline Training Simulator to reference free-to-play instead of trial accounts on mobile devices.
- Fixed issue with gamepads on Android and joysticks/controllers that don't have any D-pad/POVhat on PC platforms rapidly scrolling through menu items.
- Fixed issue with flight controls getting changed by plugged-in but unused joysticks/gamepads on all platforms.
- Fixed mouse becoming visible when using the mousewheel while flying in space.
- Fixed issue with not being able to toggle the navmap and mission log with the n/m keys while in space.
- Improved usability of the UI when using a gamepad.
- Added ability to use a gamepad in the navmap to manipulate your navigation route. When the navmap is highlighted, press A to activate it. Then use the D-pad to highlight a sector and press A to select it or long-press A to add it to your existing route.
- The gamepad help menu now highlights the relevant controls in the Offline Training Simulator.
- The HUD is now locked to the ship instead of the player's view in the Offline Training Simulator demo scene when in Rift VR mode.
- Keychain list is now properly sorted by id. Owner keys and their user keys are first, with user keys second.
- Fixed issues with Offline Training Simulator not properly explaining gamepad controls when in Oculus VR mode.
- Fixed backwards controls with horizontal scrollbar when manipulated with the D-pad.
- New characters should now be automatically joined to channels 100 (general chat), 11 (nation chat), and 1 (help chat).
- The 'Continue' button in missions should now always be the default focused button.

We've had a number of frequent releases going on recently, across a range of topics. Tonight we add a little to gameplay with some strike force tweaks (other NPC changes coming), but previously in the week we've seen everything from VR updates, to Android fixes, to game-controller improvements, etc.

VR is a pretty important part of our long-term goals, and this also requires good gamepad/controller support in the menu interface, since one is basically "blind" when wearing a VR headset. But, beyond this, we're the game is also starting to appear more frequently on Android-based platforms with "10-foot" experiences (console-like), such as Smart TVs, set top boxes, and other hardware.

To this point, the game is currently being featured and promoted across Sony Bravia Smart-TV sets, which are basically Android-powered televisions that can natively install and run the game. This is a pretty niche market right now, but controller improvements targeted for VR will also help these users, as well as potential players on the Amazon FireTV, or possibly a future release on Apple TV or other similar types of devices.

We're still pushing hard on the 1.9 release goals, which were delayed for several months by our unplanned server migration over this summer, but we're still headed firmly in the right direction. The 1.9 goals do include a number of gameplay-specific goals, like some improvements to station defense and kill-on-sight concepts, along with some new expansions of NPC behaviours, and deeper complexity to the combat system.. all of which will allow a more meaningful release of the long-awaited expansion of the Trident capship family. It's has been frustrating (for us) to have had this all be delayed, but you should start to see some bot changes and game tweaks every week now (with any luck), which is a good sign that we're headed towards the final stretch in the 1.9 goals. Some changes may be big, others may be small, but they're taking us where we want to go.

We hope you're all looking forward to 1.9 as much as we are! Have a great weekend, everyone.

Scheduled Server Maintenance Window

Vendetta Online will be undergoing some degree of server maintenance between noon and 4pm Central Time, today, 12/10. We do not expect the game to be down for more than a few minutes at any given time; but please bear in mind the potential for a game restart or downtime when making your game-related plans for the afternoon. Thanks much.

Vendetta Online 1.8.361

VO 1.8.361 includes:

- Oculus Rift "Beta Test" VR support updated to the 0.8 SDK. As always, the presence of a Rift is auto-detected on runtime, and prompts for the option of starting the game in VR mode.
- New "VR Welcome" panel on startup, lists the currently known issues and workarounds.
- New "VR Options" added to Options area, when a VR headset is detected.
- VR game startup environment, for initial orientation and controller settings.
- Improved Windows gamepad support for Xbox One, 360, PS4 and Logitech F710.
- If you have a Rift, please consider posting feedback on the Windows forum of our site,!
- Temporarily disabled default anti-aliasing (in non-VR, 2D mode) for new installs with AMD GPUs, due to a crash with their most recent drivers. It will be re-enabled when the issue is resolved.

Our Oculus Rift VR headset support has been updated! We were widely reported as the first MMO to launch support for the Rift, back in July of 2013, and we're happy to now bring it up to the latest 0.8 SDK support, along with adding many new VR-specific features and improvements.

This is also concurrent with the launch of our recently-updated DirectX 11 rendering engine, adding a lot of new visual effects and image quality, with more yet to come.

This is still considered a Beta Test of our VR-headset implementation, and will undergo considerable change between now and when the Rift headset finally launches to retail in Q1 of 2016. For the moment, we'd appreciate feedback (on our Windows forum) from any early adopters of the Rift DK2 development device. We still consider our VR support to be "rough", it's lacking some of the more VR-specific interface solutions we intend to add, and the tutorials and mission system need improvement. But re-working our DX11 engine over the last year, getting the right performance and image quality has been the top priority. Once that is proven stable, it's easier for us to add in newer features (which may make a lot of non-VR players happy as well, since they've often requested "cockpit" interfaces and the like).

We've also spent some time improving PC integration of gamepad controllers, specifically targeting the Xbox One controller (Oculus's recommended default), as well as 360, PS4 and Logitech F710 controllers. Some aspects of controller integration are also still a bit rough, particularly navigation in the UI, but this will be improved. The benefits of this work go well beyond the Rift implementation, to help all gamepad users, across PC, mobile, AndroidTV, Steam "big picture" mode, etc.

Bringing the Rift implementation up to date has always been a goal of the 1.9 release, and a key part of our Steam plans, and we're happy to get this out the door. We made a lot of generalized improvements to game performance to help this development, which are also to the benefit of all players (VR or otherwise, including mobile).

Related to all of these changes, we recently updated the game's Official System Requirements. Please pay particular attention to the new VR requirements: if you want to do VR in the game, you will need very strong, recent desktop system with a big discrete gaming card. Oculus themselves specifies a Core i5-4590 CPU (or AMD equiv) with an NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD R9 290 as the bare minimum. We'd suggest going further than that, if you can. You aren't going to want to do VR at the "minimum" settings. Laptops are not currently recommended for the Rift (not yet, anyway).

Players have periodically asked us if they should buy a one of the Oculus development kits, and we've generally said "no, wait for the finished product". Well, we've used the pre-release Consumer devices, and we think the experience is great. If you're an avid VO pilot, you will find an incredible level of immersion with VR. It can be pretty intense, you may want to try out VR in general before buying, to make sure it's compatible with your particular inner ear sensibilities (some people get motion sick).

To players looking at other types of VR headsets and the like, we are considering broader support down the road (SteamVR in particular). "VR" development is mostly a user experience and performance issue: once one integrates one type of headset, others should be pretty simple to add.

Lastly, to any wondering about upcoming gameplay changes and improvements, yes those are coming soon as well. We have a whole laundry list to get through before 1.9 drops, but it has been important to get the Rift update "out there" for testing sooner, so that can now be happening in parallel, while we switch back to other development. That's why the timing was prioritized.

Thanks everyone, hope you all had a great weekend and holiday!

- Guild Software, Inc.