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New and Exciting

Not a lot to report lately. We've posted some minor bugfix releases and repaired some server-side problems. A lot of work is progressing, and going well. Andy and Michael are moving forward with a plan to get Kourier (our greater bot/NPC backend) completely stabilized and ready for new content, with three independent hives, by the end of June. That may seem like awhile, but there's still a lot of rewriting and code-porting left to be done. Nonetheless, this is a good deadline, and we're all feeling fairly happy about it at the moment. Sorting this situation out will make the newer, "bigger" gameplay a much nearer reality. Once all three hives are in production, we'll put the system to the test with some more involved Border-Skirmish / system conquest (deneb) type nation war stuff, and then move forward with the greater economic redux. Redoing an economy doesn't sound all that exciting, but it's a necessary stepping stone to the "big" stuff we all want: crafting, user-ownable capships, user-stations with user-defined convoys, and the like.

In the meantime, Ray is still migrating and reworking how the database handles certain things, all of which is also important for the above mentioned content. In-line with that, he's moving forward with some of the Faction / Friendly Fire goals, things that will be required for the total new system to be functional. The first I expect to be implemented (or re-implemented) will be station turrets, which will probably show up within the next week, if all goes well. As another notable effect of Ray's database work, hopefully we'll have some near-term resolution to the great "addons don't stack" problem. Probably a simpler solution rather than anything complex, but still, a solution is in progress.

Not a lot has been visibly changing in the game of late, and I apologize for that. With everyone else (mostly) doing Big Important Long-Term Projects, it's up to me to create short-term content, and I've been sick as a dog for the last week and a half. Anyway, I hope to get some new mission trees into production in the short term, along with some other "low-hanging fruit".. some good medal prospects have been suggested, and I need to rework sectors a bit to put in data for the station turrets. So, you can expect some, or hopefully, all of that next week. For anyone curious about the "station turrets", see the thread "On the Removal of Friendly Fire: Request for Comment" on the Suggestions forum. Station turrets will be a necessary part of defending newbies, defending stations (station conquest) and defending nation space.

As the plan for Kourier becomes more solidified, I will be posting more specifics here. We're working towards a more clearly defined, more openly structured development, and this is part of our "training", if you will. We're using our Trac system to define dated milestones for timely completion of this project, and the projects to follow it, with tickets filling out the various milestones. With some luck, it will better illustrate our forward motion and intentions for the game, when the Trac system becomes public. I know we've been keeping that one in the dark for awhile, but with any luck it should be public on or before the time that Kourier becomes "production ready" (end of June), with a roadmap of at least the following six months.

The road to VO 2.0 has been kind of a bumpy one for us all, especially over the past half a year, but we anticipate a lot of sudden forward motion once Kourier becomes stable enough to build upon. We're all very tired of rewriting and re-structuring, and want to get on with making the game cooler and more fun (and in big ways, not this penny-ante Medal stuff). So, as a group, we're all looking forward to getting this out of the way and moving on to the next phase. I'm sure you all feel similarly :).

Please don't be disheartened by the "end of June" date, there will be plenty of activity between now and then.. after all, the whole faction/FF mess has to be put in place and sorted out, not to mention a lot of other groundwork that's been waiting in the wings for some time (station cargo limits, added energy-based parameters for ships that allow more interesting ship/weapon types without causing grave imbalance, and so on).

As always, thanks for your patience and support. If people have ideas for "quick and dirty" content (or any other ideas, for that matter), please feel free to post to Suggestions.