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2019 Updates

2019 has been a very busy year for us, with a lot of technology changes and tweaks, and we wanted to bring everyone up to date, before we start making more significant announcements.

But first, a few Upcoming Events:

  • Saturday, August 24th, 9pm Central (02:00:00 UTC on the 25th) (Sat, 9pm Central) - "Open TeamDX #24" team deathmatch
  • Sunday, August 25th, 5pm Central, (22:00:00 UTC on the 25th) - "Thinning the Herd #1" a Developer-run PvE competition

Player Ping Display

A long-requested feature has been added, allowing players to get a general idea of the "ping" latency of other players. This has a lot of value for settling arguments over "who is lagging" in combat situations, and enabling people to make more informed decisions about who they choose to engage in PvP, duels and the like.

We avoid showing the actual raw ping-time of remote users, to protect player privacy, but we vary the color of the word "ping" on the Selected Target display. Green shows up for targets under 150ms, yellow for 150-300ms, red for 300-500ms, and blue for over 500ms.

Similarly, we display your own ping (to the server), using the same colors cheme, underneath the ship's Health Percentage on the right side of the HUD.

High resolution gas giant

Graphical and Performance Updates

We've been working diligently towards our goals of drastically expanding and enriching the game universe, while also making sure this updated universe will be accessible to hardware across mobile and desktop.

  • New threaded game engine on Windows, now in production usage for some months.
  • New Vulkan engine continues to make progress.
  • Android rendering performance has been significantly increased with multi-threading.
  • Android now has improved efficiency in high density sectors, using OpenGL ES3 by default.
  • Trident texture resolution increased by 16x (PC) and 4x (mobile).
  • Mobile ES3 renderer now includes options for dynamic lights and shadows, currently disabled by default (in testing).
  • Improved anisotropic filtering, background detail settings, other tweaks.

Late last year we introduced some intriguing new sectors in remote Grayspace locations, such as the "Pirate Stronghold". These sectors had far higher object densities than most others in the game, and provided us with an excellent real-world test of gameplay performance across a large cross section of devices and hardware.

Although initially a bit slow for some people on mobile, we were able to use the data we collected to substantially enhance performance, making this kind of content more accessible for mobile users and low-end PC players.

The upcoming Universe Redux requires this kind of testing and evolution, improving the engine to deliver the new content to everyone in a manner that allows great gameplay across all platforms.

Many other graphical and performance tweaks are in the works, such as the gas giant screenshot above, which uses much higher resolution textures.

Mobile Usability Improvements

Enhancement of touch screen playability has had some major updates, including:

  • Aim and Throttle touch regions now have variable sensitivity sliders.
  • Default sensitivity settings for Aim and Throttle touch regions have been improved.
  • More options for moving touch-input locations.
  • Total redux and simplification of the Touch Controls area in Options.

We also fixed some substantial bugs in the touch UI system as a whole, and playability has definitely been improved. We're still going to continue iterating on the touch implementation, and other areas, as time permits; although development bearing on long-term gameplay and content changes are our biggest priority.

Plus Many More Changes..

Here's a recap of other updates, since the last Newsletter. It's important to understand that while this list isn't trivial, most of the larger changes we've been working on have not been released yet, so there's a lot more to come:

  • New "Salvage your Goliath" tree allows players to break up a Goliath into constituent parts, with some loss.
  • Power Cell Blaster Turret: A variant of the standard PCB may now be manufactured to mount on vessels with turrets.
  • Player-owned capships are now automatically added to the owner's group and do not count towards the group size limit.
  • Sector notes now include an option for the color of the sector in the nav-map.
  • New collision and jettison sound effects.
  • Added Audio options to toggle the collision and jettison sound effects.
  • Sensor Notification is now enabled by default for new users, and set to "Player Only".
  • Changed "entered the sector" sensor notification text "entered your radar range".
  • Fixed issue with Text To Speech volume control not functioning properly on Oculus Go.
  • Drain Mines have been buffed from 250 to 1500 in power-drain impact.
  • Violating NFZ six times in a 24h period, with a single faction, causes Temp KOS for 24 hours for that faction. Corvus is excluded from this.
  • Guild and Group members are now tagged as friendly on the radar.
  • Text colors are now configurable by skins.
  • Capship Swarm Turrets have been nerfed from 25 to 35 grid power, to limit combative power against planned higher-level NPCs.
  • NPCs will now continue to persue and attack you if you get too far away.
  • Windows version has a new experimental feature that displays selection boxes and names on other ships.
  • Capship hulks no longer prevent you from jumping out of the sector.
  • No-Fire-Zone TempKoS is now applied to players who self-destruct and damage others.
  • Missions that transfer cargo content to players will now allow the player to temporarily exceed their station cargo limit.
  • Improved performance impact of sector loading.
  • Ships that have been damaged more than 25% now require powercell energy equivalent to their damage to make any kind of jump.
  • Teradon turbo max speed increased from 140 to 160.
  • Power Cell Baster auto-aim improved from 0.995 to 0.85.
  • Revenant MkI turbo energy drain reduced from 50 to 48.
  • Mining heat issues with tiny asteroids and HE mining guns have been addressed.
  • Queen Retinue are now more aggressive.
  • Plus a variety of other updates..

Things to Come

Usually we wrap Newsletters with a look ahead at future development. This time, however, we're going to leave that for the next Newsletter, which we expect to come along sooner rather than later.

We have a lot going on, and when changes come, they're probably going to happen pretty fast and be.. substantial. So, be prepared for that possibility. But, the exact order of events is going to depend on development outcomes that are still in process, so I'm not going to promise anything more specific at present.

We hope you'll stop by and check things out, and perhaps watch the next-generation version of the game begin to take shape.

Download the Game

You can install the game client for Android, iPhone and iPad, Samsung GearVR and Oculus Go, Google Daydream VR, as well as find the game on the Mac Store. Or, you can directly download the game installation for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Keep in Touch

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Screenshots from the game.

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