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New & Exciting

Sorry for the delay in recent news. We've been very busy, and there haven't been a lot of specifics to report. A few major projects have been continuing. For one, Ray is making a lot of progress on getting addons to stack, which ended up being a much more complex prospect than he initially thought. I've been buried up to my neck in very important, but boring and completely game-unrelated work, like migrating our mailserver (now finally wrapping up). Migrating mail doesn't sound like something that should be a priority right now, but unfortunately circumstances dictated otherwise. Such is life.

Andy and Michael have been continuing their work on replacing Deliverator with the new Kourier system, and the first examples of that progress should become visible in the very near future (this week). We thought it would be happening last week, and also the week before, but we had a number of irritating bugs crop up, and took the time to do a lot of extra testing. Hopefully (fingers crossed) it'll be pretty solid when it goes into production.

The Kourier release due mid-week will basically represent an interim version, improving on our current less-than-ideal situation, while not yet achieving the goals of totally removing Deliverator. It should fix a lot of the problems with convoy bots piling up at stations, and generally make the whole convoy / escort situation a lot more reliable. We're also aiming to fix several of the other annoying problems of convoys, like making sure they take the same storm jump point as their escorts, and keeping them actually in formation together. Because this is still kind of a "hybrid" release, there will be some side effects. For one, NPC pirates will temporarily go away, along with the related liquidation missions and such. We'll be bringing pirates back eventually, but hopefully in a much improved and less-stupid form. Secondly, the Hive will still be running off of Deliverator, and it should be fine, but the hivehunt missions will only be available at Xang Xi stations for the moment. Even in cases where the missions in question take place outside of Sedina, they'll still only be offered at Xang Xi stations, so keep that in mind.

Once this is released, and hopefully brings us a more stable, scalable and useful NPC framework, Andy and Michael will get back to work on replacing the rest of the bits still run by Deliverator (the Hive) and creating new bits to bring back lost functionality (pirates, etc), then tying it all into what will become the new economy. We expect to be completely free of Deliverator within a month of this interim release. Of course.. stuff happens, but we think the timeline is pretty realistic.

A Deliverator-free NPC framework is our goal, and the main barrier between us and cool server-driven gameplay. Once we get this into place, the first test-case will likely be a more complex Border Skirmish type event, with capships and some element of sector conquest, taking place in the Deneb system. This big rewrite has been a major hassle, but we expect to finally be at a position where we can look at changing server-side gameplay within the next month.

We're also shooting for a client release on Friday. It'll probably integrate some of Ray's work on making addons stack, as well as a number of other minor tweaks and fixes. I'm hopeful about getting some sort of new gameplay bits in there (maybe just some missions), but not totally certain. It depends on how things shake out this week. In any event, sorry for the lack of releases and newsposts of late, we're working to remedy that as soon as we can. Plus, once I get some of these administrative chores out of the way, I'll be back to focusing on gameplay (next week at the latest). I'll post an update then, expect more FF/Faction changes to start popping in soon after.

Thanks again for all your support.