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Development Status Update

Hi Everyone. It's been a few weeks since we've posted much in the way of news or updates, and I wanted to check in real quick and bring you all up to date with what's been going on.

Among other things, E3 was last week in Los Angeles (the Electronic Entertainment Expo, one of the bigger gaming-related conference), and I was out there, briefly demoing the game on the OUYA and speaking to business partners. It was a useful trip, and while I can't talk about most of the business discussions (under Non-Disclosure Agreements), I can say that we unexpectedly received a Gamestick device as well, and will most likely be supporting that, as Vendetta Online should "just work" on it out of the box (the Gamestick is an Android-on-console device, similar to the OUYA).

I'll drop a quick mention that we received an Oculus Rift not long before I headed to LA, and we already have a simple prototype of the game that can be played on the VR headset. Our current implementation is far from elegant, but we do intend to release support for this system after we've improved our UI experience a little. If you have a Rift devkit, or plan on buying the retail version, keep an eye out for the VO support; it'll hopefully happen in the not-too-distant future.

We've also been intensely busy in development. We had some opportunities come up in the last couple of months, to do some development for outside parties that will also help the game in various ways, particularly in graphics optimization. These opportunities provide chunks of funding that will allow us some extra time to take on larger development tasks. These funds are quite helpful, because the big gameplay development cycles tend to also have a large associated burn rate on funds.

To look at this another way, I'm still targeting the same set of Kickstarter goals that I laid out in the videos back in January, but with a modified timeline, funded by a handful of brief external development deals. The result has slowed visible game development for a little while, but the payoff allows us to then focus much more intently on some of the "Big Gameplay Goals" that we know are going to take some time. In my world, "money" and "development time" are interchangeable; and since I don't have a zillion dollar Kickstarter or other windfalls, I have to juggle other opportunities to let us evolve Vendetta Online into the experience of our dreams.

We are planning some meaningful gameplay changes for the near future. There has been quite the clamoring on the forums for enhancements to capship usage, allowing Trident owners to switch to controlling turrets and such. We've certainly heard that loud and clear.

Dynamically Conquerable Stations can expect to see continued tinkering. The turret sizes need to be increased, along with some potential gameplay improvements like a countdown at the final docking attempt, to make the last stage of conquest a little more exciting.

We will also continue to tweak some of the concepts of Temp KoS and automated factional defenses. As our Vets are well aware, there's still work to be done on the factional balance, as well as informing pilots of danger when they cross the Grayspace borders, and generally making sure the "gradient" of security (or, often, non-security) is striking the right chord throughout all space.

But lastly, the current plan for the "Next Big Thing" still remains the same: tools for constructing more complex persistent NPCs, available to both developers and PCC members. Obviously we have a number of persistent characters already, with various dialogue, but I want to see a far richer galaxy filled with traders and miners and mercenaries and pirates, each of whom has their own unique story to tell, and all of whom contribute to the life of our universe.

On the face of it, this may seem like a toolset that is limited to relatively simplistic use cases, but when coupled with our existing (and, currently, under-utilized) "Kourier" subsystem that manages millions of persistent NPCs at once.. this toolset will have major endgame ramifications. Whole sub-factions and dynamic clans of NPCs engaged in various goals. Real targets for Trident Captains to take on with their friends, where outcomes have a distinct impact on the galaxy and are written into our history and lore.

It also ties into plans for the endgame economy and expanded galaxy, when the ability to hire NPC captains to run routes on your behalf, and supply your station with raw materials or trade goods, becomes a more critically relevant feature.

That about wraps up my report for this evening. Please keep us posted on any issues. We are highly aware and paying close attention, we've just been juggling a lot of travel and development lately.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

- John "Incarnate" Bergman