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Look! A newspost!

Hi, it's been a little while since the last update. Holidays and so on, hope yours were all happy ones. Anyway, the game is coming along pretty well, a lot of work still going into the same major areas as last time I posted, but with a few cool new updates:

For one, you may have noticed we've hit our Vendetta Online 1.8 milestone. This isn't really a very exciting milestone from an external standpoint.. the game doesn't look much different (there are three independent Hives now). It is a *very* important milestone from our perspective, however. We've spent a little over a year rewriting a large chunk of how our game's back-end works. How bots get sent around and told what to do, even what language is used to develop certain areas. This has been slow work, but we've finally hit a point now where it is considered "production quality" and we're ready to move forward with new actual gameplay (yes, amazing, I know).

The first appearance of this New Actual Gameplay should be the redux of Border Skirmish, which, with luck, will be appearing in production this weekend. If something bad should crop up, of course, we'll hold off, but so-far so-good in testing to date. This version of Border Skirmish is written a little differently than the previous one, and stems from a few basic ideas:

The skirmish takes place every four hours, between the Serco and Itani (currenly only in Deneb B12, but more on that later). There's a persistent mission posted to "advertise" the event, as a placeholder (shows starting time, etc, auto-aborts if taken), and is replaced by the "real" mission when the actual event starts. Each side has a certain number of "casualties" they are willing to take before retreat (1000). Each side uses fighters (1 casualty each) as well as capships (varying by scale up to 800 for the Heavy Assault Cruisers). Participants will have a little graph on their HUD, displaying the number of casualties remaining per side. The first side to hit 1000 (arbitrary number, all of which are subject to tweaking) will retreat and "lose" that skirmish. Weekly Border Skirmishes are planned to lead up to a major battle held on the weekends, probably at 8pm CST on Saturdays or some such (still working on this). Win/loss outcome will affect factional item availability (not sure how yet), and medals, ribbons and newspost mentions will be awarded to those deserving. UIT people will be able to take part on either side, but will be *locked into their choice of side*, and in the future will not be able to hold higher-level positions in the respective nation militaries (this is still a little ways off, but just an FYI).

This new version of Border Skirmish is written entirely within the Kourier framework, the "production-ization" (is that a word?) of which is a big part of the above-mentioned 1.8 milestone. When this new Border Skirmish goes online, that will mark the end of Deliverator and hopefully a new road to scalable and interesting new gameplay.

Anyway, back to the gameplay and where we're going with it. We have always intended to have some form of continuous conflict, representing the Serco/Itani war; and potentially also sporadic conflicts in other areas, representing the shifting alliances of the various corporations and their sometimes cutthroat competitive enterprises. The exact form this warfare will take is still not entirely certain, but the general idea is that individual sectors will be able to swing from one side to another, giving the winning side access to the resources therein (minerals, ores, stations?). This new form of Border Skirmish is a testbed of some of those concepts, on a smaller scale; much as the original version tested the usage of capital ships in combat. For the moment, we'll play with this, and use it to see how well things perform, what sort of gameplay mechanic tweaking is necessary to keep things balanced and fun, and so on. As time goes on, the conflict in Deneb will probably expand, until control of the entire system may fluctuate.

It is worth noting that we originally planned to do this.. a year ago. Things didn't go quite as planned, a relatively common thing in the software world, but we're happy to be here now, and very excited about where we're headed.

In other news, Ray is still hard at work making a cool new item editor that will allow us to much more easily create, test and roll out new gameplay content. Andy has had a lot of tweaky back-end stuff on his plate, related to the 1.8 milestone, but will shortly be getting back to making the bots a lot cooler and more useful in the sort of large-scale galactic conflict towards which we're headed.

For those curious about some of the other goals, like the Faction System Redux, no worries, those are still coming.. in fact, the faction system has to be redone before we can really do this conflict thing on a large scale. As it is, we're forced to just keep conflicts to unmonitored space, but this will change. Station assaults, here we come!

Anyway, that's about all for now. Hopefully you're as excited about this as we are. A lot of different areas of gameplay are finally starting to change and come together, and I'm excited to see how it plays out. Think of it as fresh rains coming after a lengthy drought. Except it's raining.. capital ships. Yes. Ok, losing the simile.

Have a good one.