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Vendetta Online 1.8.481-482

A bit of a composite update, that started back in march, and was only finalized a day ago:

VO 1.8.482 includes (recently):

- Enabled multi-threaded rendering on all Android versions.
- New collision sound effects.
- New jettison sound effect.

VO 1.8.481 attempted to include (back in March). Everything in here was released, except the threaded rendering was reverted at the time:

- New mission tree "Salvage Your Goliath", allows players to break their Goliath capital ship back into constituent parts. There is a cost involved in utilizing this mission, and the salvage process does incur some degree of loss, so not 100% of the contents are returned. However, this is still an effective way to recover most of the capital ship components.
- Missions that transfer cargo content to players will now allow the player to temporarily exceed their station cargo limit, for the sake of preserving everything that comes from the mission, such as manufactured components. No additional cargo may be manually added to the station, until it is reduced below the limit. Other costs and limitations may eventually be added for those who exceed the station storage limit.
- Sectors will now require full game-client load of all newer-style debris and dynamic objects before spawning the player. This may cause the perception of longer load-times for a few sectors (Pirate Stronghold, etc), but gameplay performance will not be marred by "loading" while in-sector.
- The multi-threaded renderer is now enabled by default on both Android regular and "HD" versions. This enhances the performance of CPU-intensive sectors, like the Pirate Stronghold, across all device types.
- Android players should be advised, however, that the best performance is from the ES3 renderer that's currently only offered with the "HD" version, because this version specifically requires newer and more capable hardware for installation. The more modern hardware has special features that improve CPU efficiency, which can make the ES3 version twice as fast as the ES2 version, on the same hardware. This is particularly true in CPU-intensive sectors, like the Pirate Stronghold. We will eventually make the ES3 renderer available in the Free version, but we will have to develop more logic to detect whether the device has entirely stable capabilities for using the newer renderer; it may be some time.
- Improved sector load times across all platforms.

Updated explanation:

Basically, this multi-threaded improvement was intended for mid-March, but ended up having some unforeseen stability problems. This caused us to revert and hold the release until we could really thoroughly run it through testing on a wide variety of systems and cases, and make as certain as possible that everything was completely stable, before releasing it again.

Android players using both the "Free" and "HD" versions of the game should see a noticeable performance bump from this update, and there will probably be more to come. We have a lot of plans for Android updates, but Android is also our most-challenging platform, in terms of driver stability and other issues. Thus, we prefer to release a long string of many "smaller" updates over a period of time, and see how each update works "in the wild". That way, there's a more limited number of possibilities if something goes wrong, and issues are quicker to resolve.

Android devices have become much faster, on average, since the last time the game was optimized for them, but also much more "capable". It's a little ironic, but as newer hardware emerges, it's usually not only faster in a generic sense, but also has architectural options that can make rendering far more efficient (and thus, faster, or less power-intensive). It's ironic, because one would really wish the "efficiency" features had been in the older chips that needed it more, but that's not really how i

So, over the next couple of months, we'll probably be making the Android version quite a bit more efficient, and possibly updating graphics and other areas as well.

To non-Android players, understand that this isn't "months of development time" that we're putting specifically into Android. These are features we already have, and we've had for years. We're going to be doing staged Android releases, over several months, but largely of existing changes.

These changes couldn't be released previously, in the standard "Free" version, because the OS drivers tended to be too unstable. Thus, we had to wait for Android 7 and 8 to become more pervasive, with their included updated drivers, before we could realistically ship some of this.

Other changes:

We have a lot more in development than just "Android maintenance tweaks", but it's sufficiently broad development that it's all taking some time to ship. Any time you make a lot more changes, it requires a lot more testing. Bear with us a little longer; you should see some new technology testing on the PC soon, as well as a few other things.