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Background Developments

I know there haven't been many flashy feature releases going on lately, and not a lot of words from me, so here's a few explaining what's been going on.

The whole migration from Deliverator to Kourier has had its up and downs. Erlang is entirely new to us, and there's been some time spent learning how to use it, how to debug with it, and how to deal with mysterious memory usage (recently). We're pretty happy with how things have gone, of late, as we seem to have tracked down most of the major problems. I posted to the General forum earlier this week, asking people to take escort missions and the like, as we're intensely monitoring Kourier to see how it behaves. The whole point is to make sure the entire environment is as stable as possible before we start giving it more responsibility. So far, things seem to be working well, and we've learned a lot.

Because we've spent so much time trying to tweak and stabilize, we've spent the last week kind of "watching" and seeing if we've actually fixed all the problems. This is one of the more annoying areas of software development: some bugs just don't crop up immediately, or under any sort of automated "testing" you think to devise. Real usage will inevitably expose some unexpected behaviour, then excitement commences. To deal with this, we fix bugs as quickly as we can, and then wait and see if others crop up. During this "monitoring period" we're running the server continuously for as long as possible, which means.. no server releases. Hence why tonight's update was a minor client change without even a protocol update.

While we're waiting and monitoring, we're dusting off other projects that are related to this bugfixing process, such as increasing the performance of the server (and the client) under certain bad situations.. like when lots of capships have a big battle. Hopefully by the end of next week we'll not only have a warm and fuzzy feeling about the stability of the new Kourier infrastructure (meaning, we're ready to move on to making new features), but also improved performance on the server-side allowing new and exciting capship-battle gameplay to be created with that infrastructure.

The other projects, like the changing faction system and the like, are still running in the background, but briefly stalled until we start doing server updates again (next week). I'm also personally doing a lot of server-maintenance work, to improve our scalability and making more fine-grained monitoring. None of this work immediately yields exciting gameplay, but it's necessary to make the new gameplay actually work properly.

There will be some actual new-game stuff appearing in the near future. Our PCC people have created a whole bunch of cool new missions, and I intend to push some of them out into production as soon as I can play through them. Hopefully this weekend, but if not, early next week. In the meantime, thanks for your patience of late, we do want to get back to adding significant features as soon as possible, and things are looking pretty good in that regard.

Here's to a stable and expanding VO.