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Vendetta Online 1.7.21

Not a major visible release, but a lot of work going on in the background. The two apparent "features" in this version are A) that we finally made Effects Detail actually do what it's supposed to do (for some reason, our prior fix didn't work), and B) a new system of ribbons and accomplishments. "A" should be pretty straightforward, hopefully people won't experience as much trouble with Swarm Missiles.. just set your Effects Detail lower in Options. "B" is a little more complex..

We've had requests, for some time now (Hi Bytewriter!) to add more visible medals and accomplishments to the game. We have a few for things like.. well, killing people using an EC-89, or destroying a lot of Queens, but there aren't really very many. We're now moving towards a system that should make the creation of new medals a lot easier for us. The "Accomplishments" interface under the Character panel will change a bit, on the left side will be a series of ribbons, and when you click on the individual ribbon, it will show the full "award" on the right, along with a description of the award and so forth. This makes it much simpler for us to display a lot of different awards condensed in one place (in ribbon form). It also makes it a lot simpler for me to add new medals to the game, since it's possible for me to quickly make the ribbons and descriptions, and delay making the full-sized medal graphic until we have time. Our existing medals are actually quite complex, graphically, usually modeled and rendered in 3D and then worked over heavily in Photoshop. This time-consuming process isn't particularly great when it comes to being able to add new awards.

Simplifying the whole ribbon/medal process also makes it much easier for us to create "campaign" or "battle" specific awards, which will be totally unique for that period in time. Things like "The great Deneb battle of 4434", or even "Winner of the Explorer Contest", Deneb Run placings, Miner of the Month, and so on. Some awards will be designed to "replace" the previous award (like 25 Queen kills replacing the 10-kill award), other awards will "stack", representing multiple recipients with battle stars and the like. Some awards will also provide access to some special new equipment or feature, others will simply be there for show, the specifics of the award being in the description.

It'll be a little while before all of this is in place, but that's where we're headed, and it shouldn't be long before you start to see a lot more types of accomplishments and medals.

For everyone who isn't terribly enthralled by medals, don't worry, we're working hard on much bigger projects. But, as it is with large projects, we keep trying to find something smaller that we can do in the meantime to add a new aspect into the game. Longer development projects can take months, but we still want to add *something* to the game on a weekly basis.

In regards to those large projects, Andy and Michael are working hard on Kourier, trying to improve stability of our pre-existing Lisp code, and also expanding the functionality of the Erlang codebase. I'm still working on a greater plan for handling factional alignment and friendly fire issues, and I think it's going to make most people reasonably happy, and will greatly help with most of the major issues in those areas. Ray has already implemented some features to make it work, although they're disabled until needed. This whole factional/FF thing is going to be a pretty big multi-pronged change that impacts a lot of different stuff, and will all have to happen at once. It has ended up a lot less "simple" than I hoped, but I think the end result will make people happier and solve more problems. Once everything is a little better defined, I'll be posting the general design to Suggestions for player feedback. The system will not be implemented until I get some feedback, and I'll tell people exactly *what* is going to go into place, and how it's going to impact things, well before it actually does. Anything that does result in a significant change of existing faction (ie, choosing between high standing with two opposing factions, where you can't have both), will be left as a choice to the user.

Ray is working on bringing a lot of our general game-data, which is spread around in pre-generated Lua files, into the database. This will be important for everything from economics to our greatly improving our ability to create and roll out new content in real-time, in the live game. For instance, it lays the groundwork for being able to make a "station construction" type interface, plugging modules together and placing a station in a sector in realtime. This has obvious benefits both to our ability to develop content, as well as user-intended functionality like station construction and the like. I don't want to give the impression from this that we're going to be having user-constructed stations in the immediate future (we have a lot of other fires burning), but rather that it's one example of a lot of possible coolness that will be enabled by the database-structuring work that Ray is currently doing.

Anyway, that's about it for this week. As always, please report any bugs or issues you run into, and continue posting Suggestions to the related forum. I haven't been posting there very often lately, but I am still reading when I get a chance, and I'll be going back to re-read and post further as soon as I can. Thanks much, have fun.