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The Next Two Weeks

Hi everyone. Just a quick Monday update to say how we're doing.

Thanks to all the people who are testing the Beta4 client, we're working on clearing up all the bugs. At present, we're shooting to do another beta client this coming friday, which will hopefully be even more bug-free, and then shoot (tentatively) for a production patch updating to the new client on the following week. There may be some successive test releases and last-minute testing next week, but with some luck.. we hope to roll the new client into production within two weeks of today. If it isn't ready by then, then it isn't ready.. (we won't sacrifice client stability for our schedule) but this is the goal we're aiming for.

Production-izing the new client requires fixing all the major issues (lua bugs, crashed, etc) that are still occurring. The user interface and usability improvements will probably be put off until after production release, however. There's a lot of stuff that's being hung up by the lack of Production client updates.. so we're focusing only on the majorly catastrophic show-stopper problems for the moment. We will be revisiting the UI/ease-of-use/convenience type features after the new client is in production. In fact, you'll probably start seeing a lot more significant updates once we hit production, since we'll be able to do protocol changes which allow the implementation of.. the new Guild interface, Nav/mission interfaces and lots of other stuff. In the meantime, please continue helping us test the Beta4 client and reporting bugs via the messageboard. The more thorough our testing process during this phase, the smoother the final release will go. We want this thing to work for everyone.

In related news, we're also looking at a not-insignificant server side update on Wednesday. This will introduce the various new Deliverator-based missions that Michael has been testing on the Test server. But, the release itself is really more significant than that, as it also changes a great deal of other code and introduces a lot of fixes we've made over the last couple of months. Historically, we make server-side updates as soon as there's anything to change.. usually once every week or two. Lately, however, we've gone a couple of months without this (due to various debugging and major new feature implementations), so we're excited to get this all going in Production this week.

We hope the server-side rollout will go smoothly. If it has a few hiccups (which happens), please be aware that we will be actively monitoring and fixing any problems that come up. We will be babysitting this new server code for a least a week, and Michael will be working/debugging primarily on the production server for probably several weeks.. so if things go wrong, we should be in a position to respond quickly.

Andy is also finishing up the new web-based mission editor, which has undergone a major rewrite, but is (according to him) now much cleaner and more extensible than the first iteration we had a month or so ago. I hope to start making missions with the editor this week. Based on my feedback and further development, we'll start to work towards making something available to the userbase.

So anyway, please keep testing and giving us feedback. We're aiming to start doing some major changes in the near-term. The big holdup is just getting this client out the door. So, keep your fingers crossed and let us know if you find any bugs :). Thanks much.