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Jeudi 28 avril 2011  
 
Game update 1.5.0.77 and 1.5.0.78 - two for one day on patching!

Here are the patch notes to the latest version

Release 1.5.0 (77 and 78) update

Yup it's a 2fer day! Also - note that today's patch time is going to be quite lengthy between 2 and 3 hours long.

    Bugfixes

      Fixed a high-frequency client crash.
      Fixed LC vehicles retaining the speed restrictions of task items they were carrying when they 
      Fixed the field supplier cooldown rates being swapped for premium and F2P players.
      Fixed a character migration bug, enabling migration of old RTW characters.
      Enabled new PunkBuster build, to reduce incidences of PB stuttering

    Environments

      Changed the factional restrictions in the Social District. Everyone can now enter the ground floor of both clubs, but the upper-levels will be off-limits to the opposite faction.
      Adjusted several locations in Financial and Waterfront to improve balance.

    Weapons

      Updated the ‘Whisper’ with temporary VFX and SFX.
      Improvements to HVR Scout (Premium Leased Weapon) - Improved Accuracy regeneration rate significantly. Increased fire rate to make it equal to the HVR-762. Initially we had it lower as to provide a downside to offset the increased mobility. After testing it definitely feels that the inability to 'almost' 1 hit is enough. This really helps it feel much more mobile than previously. It also now retains its accuracy on the move.
      Slightly lowered damage of the NFA-9
      Reduced Reload time on the NFAS.

    Spawning

      Made a few fixes to the spawning system. Now always uses targets from the current mission stage, and uses probable spawn locations for players to weigh spawning for dying players. Still a few fixes left here, but spawning is getting closer to being finalized.

    Known Issues

      Localisation/Translation; Much of the new and edited in game text has still to be translated and entered into the game. Playing APB in languages other than English may result in English text being shown anyway in some places.

Next priority items for the team; observe the results of these two builds, review other high priority bugs and items, while the rest of the team continues implementing the new and improved skill rating system.


 
Posté par Bjorn / TechMech  


Mercredi 27 avril 2011  
 
New release - version 1.5.0.76 now [post updated Wed night]

(note: Wednesday night 11:00pm PST update)

To clarify - the patch itself (version 76) doesn't actually perform the Punkbuster update, it only changes our game so that it can use the update from the Punkbuster side. We are now waiting for PB to push the change live on their end, and once their systems have been updated as well, then we expect the stuttering issue to be resolved.

We expect this update to happen sometime overnight between Wednesday and Thursday PST (so Thursday morning in Europe).

Cheers / TechMech

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(original post)

We are now going live with version (76) of the game.

This build contains one specific fix - a Punkbuster time-lag issue that we have been observing which can make the game slow down for a few seconds every 20 or 30 seconds.

The team is additionally working a long series of other fixes as well, and I will update this page when those are live.

Also - at this point we have invited everyone who applied for Closed Beta. If you have NOT been invited it means one of three things (1) you told us you were too young to play, (2) your application was not processed (usually corrupt DxDiag), or (3) you simply didn't get the email.

While you could contact our customer support for this - the easiest method to get early access is actually to simply create a G1 account, and then sign up for the newsletter at the front of the APB page on gamersfirst.com using the same email.

We will pull people from that batch, and enable their G1 accounts for access as the next big step. I will update this post as soon as we are ready to do so (probably after some additional minor fixes)


 
Posté par Bjorn / TechMech  


Mercredi 27 avril 2011  
 
Minor payment issue work-around for European APB customers.

First - if you haven't yet read all the various fixes we just released yesterday, and all about the 100% credit promo in the Marketplace, you can recap that here

This post is to discuss a temporary work-around for European credit and debit card holders, since right now EU card holders are having a problem completing credit purchases in the game browser (no such issues with US card holders since they use a different provider, and also no issues reported with those using PaySafeCard in the EU - ie a prepaid card).

We have been monitoring the activity in payments, and just realized that low EU payments at this hour appear to be because some features of our European payment provider do not work as expected in the live game, due to the dynamic nature of the payment options (there is a different set of options for every country you connect from). So in particular the EU provider tries to bring up "Verified by Visa" or "Secure Code by Mastercard" (and similar for each payment type) - but unfortunately the in-game marketplace browser cannot permit these secondary pop-ups.

The temporary work around is pretty simple - just go to GamersFirst.com to purchase the G1 credits separately before you enter the game - and THEN go back in to the game and spend them (and keep in mind you STILL get to participate in the 100% credit-back promo as long as you spend the credits in the game).

To buy the credits on the website follow these steps:

First - make sure you log in to GamersFirst:
http://www.gamersfirst.com/login.php

Second - either click the big Get G1 Credits button  - or simply go to the following link to buy credits:
http://www.gamersfirst.com/marketplace/get_g1c.php
(remember to make sure you are logged in at the top right corner BEFORE you click "I want this")

Third - simply pick the G1 Credit package that you want to add to your account ($5, $25, $40 etc.) and then pick the payment method (a whole range of methods - and more than what's in the game)

Bonus Item - you can also EARN credits by taking various sponsor offers:
http://www.gamersfirst.com/earn_g1c.php

And again - any actual G1 Credits you spend in the game will STILL count toward the 100% free credit rebate that runs through May 1, even if you bought the credits from the website (as long as you SPEND the credits in the APB game itself of course).

We apologize for this minor issue (but then again - that's why we are doing this in a bit of a test mode). We are working with the payment provider to get past this issue.


 
Posté par Bjorn / TechMech  


Mardi 26 avril 2011  
 
Patch (75) going out, Store Going Live test with 100% G1 credit refund promo, Patch (76) lined up for tomorrow and "Semi Open Beta" process

Ok - the patches are now streaming in to the game like roaring wildfires, all addressing various issues. There will likely be a patch per day for a few days to deal with various items before Open Beta (and do keep in mind this is STILL a Beta game).

First up; Patch 1.5.0.75 is being applied to the servers right now. It contains the following items:

Launch of 1.5.0 (75

    Bugfixes

      Fixed a server crash.
      Fixed player losing Premium status under some conditions.
      Stopped witness missions counting towards a players Threat Level and Win Streaks.
      Fix for Armas Sniper Preset 2. Added second mod (Bandolier) and now using correct model.

    Spawning

      Heavily increased the Objective spawn weighting (above 2 now).  This means the objective will count for 2+ enemy players in the mind of the spawning system.

    Known Issues

      Localisation/Translation

        Much of the new and edited in game text has still to be translated and entered into the game. Playing APB in languages other than English may result in English text being shown anyway in some places.

      Spawning

        Spawning currently has a couple of bugs that we’re working on and hope to get out as soon as possible.

      Punkbuster

        Performance issue, slated to be fixed in next patch.

Armas Underground Cash Shop Going Live for Live Testing (Armas Marketplace)

Tonight we are rolling out the Armas Marketplace. For the first 5 days you will be able to buy a limited set of items and premiums, AND because we are in a testing period on day 6 we will give you a full (100%) deposit back to your GamersFirst account of any G1 Credits you used in APB for the first 5 days. What that means is that you can buy 3 months of Premium Account access today, get a deposit back on Tuesday, and then buy another 3 months if you so chose, while still keeping the Premium you bought during the first 5 days. Of course you can keep your Credits to spend them later in the year when we start releasing our big list of 1,400+ items that you will be able to buy in the game.

So go wild. This is one of the perks of having been part of the Closed Beta!

Scheduled for tomorrow; Patch (76) fixing PunkBuster CPU spike

Tomorrow we are rolling out a fix to a common PunkBuster CPU spike. Once this patch is live, we should see vastly decreased incidences of random 2-3 second CPU spikes every 15-20 seconds. It's a bug in the last PB implementation causing the issue, and the issue has been addressed.

All the other fixes (GPF caused by sound issues, various graphics bugs, new SkillRating system etc.), and THEN going to Open Beta

After the PunkBuster patch, then it's on to a whole series of Other important items to fix - in particular some more bugs that were triggered by all the changes, new skill rating system, new district segmentation system, and only THEN do we plan to go to Open Beta.

We are likely to offer an IN-BETWEEN stage between Closed and Open beta next week which will work the following way; if you submit your email address on the front of the APB page: www.gamersfirst.com/apb/ AND if your GamersFirst account is NOT YET part of the Closed Beta, AND if you have a GamersFirst account with the same email, THEN we are going to enable your account to participate in the Early-Open-Beta period (semi-open?) just ahead of making it fully Open.

Insanity will ensue! But we are thrilled with where we have gotten so far!


 
Posté par Bjorn / TechMech  


Mardi 26 avril 2011  
 
Quick patch, more to come!

We just patched which seems to have solved the most annoying District Switching issue. Next we are tackling a few OTHER much smaller (or rather more hardware specific) GPF issues as well. More info at the end of the day Tuesday.

Also - since we delayed the store launch by one day, tomorrow we are going to do something pretty cool as a short-term event in the store to celebrate how close we are to ending Closed Beta. Did someone say "limited time 100% credit refund promo" as an incentive to try some items without buyer's remorse? Maybe! We;ll see how long we can afford to keep that kind of an insane promo out there after the store goes live.


 
Posté par Bjorn / TechMech  


Lundi 25 avril 2011  
 
Monday update - more patches, more info, Item Store on temporary hold for a day or so

First of all, unfortunately in the last build there is a VERY annoying issue that snuck in along with all the various fixes (in v.73) that makes it so that you cannot switch districts once you have joined one without crashing.

The crash actually happens when you try to unload the current district, and the bug is related to what happens when 50+ people have custom characters and it gets pushed to everyone else in the district, and there are thousands of people in the world, and then you try to exit your district. We didn't catch it in QA, simply because we didn't throw enough people at testing it for this last build.

We expect to have a working patch shortly to put out there. Of course patching this bug will be hard to 100% confirm until we put in under live load and this patch may even require a follow-up patch depending on what data we see in live.

For the next few days we anticipate having several patches and updates that we release until OB is really ready (and yes - keep in mind - THIS IS STILL A CLOSED BETA GAME! Some of the comments seem to disregard this time and time again, though we are now extremely close to go Open Beta). So again - thanks to all our Beta testers for their patience and their diligent reporting of the issues (or in this case, the automated crash reporting system's reporting of the issues).

Also once we get through the general issues, we will then turn toward solving more specific case issues. In particular issues related to specific hardware configurations (this is where your Beta Application DXDiag is very helpful to us in conjunction with the crash report) where we solve for more and more unique combinations of hardware, and much less frequent crashes (like the first-time startup issue we are seeing at some frequency).

We also were originally going to  put out the Item Store today for the current group, but we are keeping it on hold until we can confirm the current general fixes. We don't want people buying things before the general issues are solved.

So now - back into the grind (!), and we will update this blog as new patches get applied. And yes - we are intending to be the most communicative game publisher/developer of all time :). I hope we are succeeding so far!


 
Posté par Bjorn / TechMech  


Samedi 23 avril 2011  
 
Sunday patch addressing crash issue and various fixes.

(updated post Saturday night)

We ran in to an unrelated issue with Punkbuster when trying to release the Crash patch tonight, so we have pushed off the patch until 9am Sunday morning PST. Patch 73 is now ready to go out Sunday. Happy Easter!

---------- (back to the original post) -------------

Around that time of yesterday's posting on the leased weapon debate (you can find that posting here since it has an interesting discussion about the way leased items work) we also realized that there were some serious issues with the current Thursday patch, and while we have not fixed ALL the issues, we are going to perform a Saturday release to roll out as many fixes as we have been able to address.  And keep in mind - this is STILL Closed Beta (though a much bigger one), and we expect to make a few more tweaks before going full Open Beta.

The team worked all day Friday and Saturday to fix these issues:

Release 1.5.0.73

    Fixed a client crash that occurred frequently in Financial, by the freeway near Veronika Lee.
    Fixed corrupt vehicle wheels on deployed vehicles.
    Fixed issue where players were not given rewards from completing witnessing missions
    Fixed an issue where enforcers could receive tutorial part 2 twice.
    Removed vehicle speed penalty for carrying open world loot stashes.
    Arresting a Notoriety 5 Criminal now makes you Prestige 5.
    Slightly reduced the impact of VIPs on vehicle speed.
    Stabba CCG - Improved Accuracy, increased recoil.
    Added small contact standing rewards for open world activities.
    Reduced prices on most body customizations.

So on a total sidenote, there is an ongoing raging debate about LTL weapons (Less Than Lethal) used by enforcers to arrest criminals. So the CCG change should improve arresting capability for the CCG. I am sure LTL is a topic we will come back to.

And (this was in a previous post) US-East servers are NOT currently located on the East Coast (!). The reason was that it would cause a delay to bring them up there. However, as soon as the true East Coast servers are operational anyone on the US-East server will automagically switch over to that location (and should then see much lower latencies).


 
Posté par Bjorn / TechMech (Traduction Unskilled)  


Vendredi 22 avril 2011  
 
The Next 35,000 invites going out - and the giant virtual currency leased weapon debate!

Ok - so - we have just enabled the next 35,000 people to enter the Beta.

You will be getting your notices in the next hour or so, but you are already permitted in to the game with your GamersFirst accounts. Have great fun in San Paro this weekend!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The second item I want to address head on is the peculiar outcry over the leased-weapon expiration for weapons bought using virtual in-game money. So, I will be VERY frank about it. We have done this for two reasons (1) it actually LOWERS the amount of in-game cash (virtual in game money - which really equals TIME spent in the game) that you need to spend in order to try out every single weapon and find your favorite gun. In some cases it lower this "cost" (ie time spent) substantially before you get a chance to try the guns (as in the item now costing tens of thousands of in-game cash instead of MILLIONS as it was before), and (2), we are (and always planned) to use leased weapons (for real cash) and premium account access as a way to monetize the game - but not before you get a REALLY fair chance to TRY these weapons and features completely for FREE!

Also we are NOT saying there will not be permanent weapons in the game. There WILL be permanent weapons in the game. There will even be permanent weapons you can buy for REAL CASH too. Just NOT NOW while we are trying out game balance and watching player behaviors. And since the GAME IS FREE, we feel somewhat entitled to running various tests in Beta that we think will give us the required information before we come back with a new permanent weapon system both for in-game cash AND for real world cash. This will clearly let us design the best system to keep the game alive for the long term.

How much will permanent weapons cost when they DO get re-introduced, both in terms of in-game cash and real cash? Not sure yet. Again - the overarching goal here it to make it so that first time APB players can pick up the game and try almost all of it RISK FREE for NO MONEY. The second goal is to let people with large amounts of free time on their hands basically play the game long term FOR FREE by grinding (or potentially for some REALLY low nominal initial charge like $2 to get some base items that will give you a pile of items that will suffice to sustain you along with some grinding). The third goal is to let people who want LESS of a grindy experience buy a premium account (for something like $10-$15 a month) which REDUCES the amount of grinding substantially (but since they have TRIED everything FREE, you know what you are getting in to and will never be a "surprised" consumer), and the final goal is to let people who engage with the game long term (ie probably someone who ends up spending "retail-like" amounts of north of 50 USD / 40 EUR / 30 GBP or similar) have a really great long-term experience in the game, not too dissimilar from the experience you would have if you bought a retail product (but with far less risk since you have actually gotten to try EVERYTHING before you ever paid for ANYTHING). All this seems quite fair, given the enjoyment we hope you will have.

In the end, the GREAT news for everyone; if you install the game now, and don't like the game play (or the monetization system as it exist right now) - then simply DON'T BUY ANYTHING right now. That's ok (though our Dev Team won't really feel your loving support if you don't upgrade your account). However - it's perfectly ok if you are not ready to buy premium now, or lease a gun (OR BUY a PERMANENT GUN when that option is available), since we will just presume that at some point in the future, when we have added other features you like, you will then jump in to the game and become a PREMIUM PLAYER when you are having fun! For example; maybe you love racing cars and blowing things up? Great - when the racing system is added, then maybe this game is for you? At that point we hope you come back and re-engage with the game. We have seen this time and time again with our other F2P games, people make an account, and 12 months later return and suddenly become really engaged with the game when it's been updated to match their tastes.

Sounds like a heck of a deal to me! A game which will continue being updated, get new features, get more items, get new game modes (Mad-Max style racing anyone!), and you can continue to try it out casually until you find something that grabs your attention. ONLY AT THAT TIME are you ever likely to convert to a paying player.

I think the confusion is that often console and traditional PC gamers feel their games are "free" (since after making the initial purchase it all "feels" free, when in fact you already spent a lot of money to buy it in the first place, often before you could ever try the game out).

Well, here is the perfect alternative model. Try some weapons. Try some customizations. If you like the direction of things, or just want to expand what you do, then go Premium. If you feel this will be great longer term - then go get some serious permanent items (of course, ONCE they are actually available that is). If you don't like things this very moment, then we invite you to hang around for free, chat with friends, try out new tactics, and wait for future updates that might be more to your taste :) !

Nothing is set in stone anywhere in this game and APB will continue evolving along with the behavior of its players. So enjoy it! And support us (by going premium or buying an item) if you enjoy what we are doing! We clearly would appreciate it as that type of support since it will let us continue working hard to bring you an even better product in the future, and turn APB into the amazing virtual world centered around your custom tastes that we know it can become!


 
Posté par Bjorn / TechMech  


Vendredi 22 avril 2011  
 

Bonjour à tous,

Nous l'avons attendue fort longtemps et elle est enfin là! La version 1.5 d'APB, il ne nous reste plus qu'à attendre (encore ...) de pouvoir se connecter pour tester tout ça ...

Bon même si la mise à jour du site est beaucoup moins volumineuse que celle d'APB Reloaded, sachez que deux fonds d'écran de plus sont venus enrichir la page Wallpapers et ce grâce à notre valeureux Unskilled

Par ailleurs, nos forums sont maintenant actifs et nous vous y invitons chaleureusement

    Mise à jour du site

      Ajout de deux fonds d'écran.
      Ajout de la news officielle sur la version 1.5.
      Ajout de la page Bannières dans la section Divers.
      Mise en service des Forums!
 
Zazoou  


Jeudi 21 avril 2011  
Version 1.5 is Live!

Whew! So with the exception of some last minute visual issues (for example, the Crim starter car has an issue with its shader, making the car and its wheels have a bizzare glow, and a few other graphical issues) we decided to roll out version 1.5 in closed beta mode. We expect to release small patch updates nearly daily over the next few days to clean out the last few issues, in preparation for inviting A LOT of people next week.

It's a 4GB+ sized patch, so clearly will take some time to patch up. Once you do, our first release of 1.5 has the following items:

1.5.0 (72) External Release Notes

    Locked and Preloaded!

    Build 1.5.0.72 – early Closed Beta edition of “Open Beta RC-1”

    Open World Crimes and Witnessing

    Witnessing has RETURNED and it's bigger and badder than ever! Criminals earn notoriety and stash by committing crimes all around San Paro. Any crime – ram raids, stealing cars or mugging citizens –will earn Criminals notoriety and add to their stash. Criminals will want to get their notoriety as high as possible before dropping their stash off at the Money Launderer who'll give them an APB$ bonus based on their notoriety.

    Enforcers however, need to be on the lookout for Criminals committing crimes. When an Enforcer sees a Criminal commit a crime they can "Witness" them (by pressing ALT) and start a mini-mission. When killed during this mini-mission Criminals will drop their stash which Enforcers can then grab. Whoever has the stash needs to make a run for their drop zone to get the cash! Get rich quick, or die tryin'!

      Details

        Added new ‘Stash’ logic for criminals. All cash from open world crimes is now added to a stash of dirty money rather than directly to the player’s actual cash. Players are required to drop off the stash at a money launderer to receive the actual cash.

          Added new Work in Progress (WIP) Heads-up Display (HUD) icons to show stash amount and current notoriety multiplier – the higher your notoriety, the higher the reward.
          Dropping off the stash adds cash equal to the stash amount times your multiplier and then reduces your notoriety to zero.
          Money gained from dropping off the stash is split between group members.
          While playing in a group, all group members’ notoriety will return to zero when one member drops off a stash, so remember to return stashes as a group!

        Added new ‘Witnessing’ Mechanic for Enforcers.  Enforcers can witness crimes performed by criminals with a stash over $100.  Witnessing this crime starts a 5 minute witness mission between the two player groups where they fight it out over the stash. First to drop-off the stash gets to keep it.

          Added new HUD element for Enforcers on targeting a criminal to show stash amount if witnessing the criminal will result in an immediate match.
          No HUD element means that you can’t be matched against that criminal due to other restrictions.

        Increased rewards for completing a mugging and added a reward for ramraid.
        Adjusted amount of items pedestrians will drop when mugged.

          Poor: 0 items.
          Middle Class: 2-3 items.
          Affluent: 4-6 items.

        Altered vehicle drop off rewards based on vehicle cost.
        Altered item drop off rewards.

    Spawning

    Never fear spawning hundreds of meters away from your team again. We've made significant improvements to the spawning system so that you are more likely to spawn near your teammates. Also, you are more likely to spawn close to your target and with your other fallen teammates. Gone are the days of spawning right on top of an enemy!

      New Spawning system implemented. This takes into account locations of teammates, enemies, objectives and dead players (both teammates and player) to determine the best location to spawn nearby.

        Increased spawn time to offset this. Takes slightly longer now, but you spend far less time running back to the action.

      Tripled number of potential spawn points in both districts to aid in better spawning.

    Weapon and Vehicle Leasing

    After serious consideration and review of closed beta participant behavior, we have added additional APB$ money sinks to the game and simultaneously reduced the initial in-game money cost for several items. All weapons and preset vehicles will now be leased for 10 days at a time before the items are repossessed by the thuggish people working the Repossession Squad. After the 10 days weapon or preset vehicle are unequipped and any modifiers that were in the item will be returned to you and can be reused later.

    These changes let players try different weapons and preset vehicles without having to first earn millions of APB$. Players can try a weapon or preset vehicle for a short period of time for relatively little APB$ instead of only expensive permanent choices. This change will control in-game inflation and controlling inflation will make it easier and more fun for new players to come into game and participate in the in-game economy elements like the Auction House, and also allows us to create a new set of base prices for future weapons

      Weapons and Preset Vehicles are now Leased with in-game cash (this change does not affect Equipment, Modifications and Customizable items).

        Leased items are not tradable.
        Upgrades are automatically removed and returned to player when a weapon expires so they can be applied to another weapon.

      Adjustments to most costs for weapons and vehicles.
      Removed pickup time for items.

    Modifiers

      ‘Upgrades’ renamed to ‘Modifiers’.
      lMods have been coloured to denote grouping. Characters can only have one mod of each colour type equipped at any time to prevent stacking.
      lMost upgrades now have detrimental effects as well as benefits.
      Rebalanced all existing modifiers.
      Reworded ‘Activate Nitro’ and ‘Activate Field Supplier’ keybinds.

    Gameplay

      Fixed the ‘look behind’ key exploit for burst fire weapons.
      ‘Witness’ now set to Alt key.

        This leaves Look Behind unbound by default (note: this isn't the fix to the fire bug :P)

      Reduced impulse applied to ragdolls from being shot.
      Very slightly reduced crouch speed to make it fit the animation better.
      Slightly reduced the extra time players stay arrested.
      Added neutral vehicle collision immunity.

        If a player is rammed by someone not on their mission, no collision damage will be applied in most cases.

      The camera now bobs when the player is moving, adding a bit more dynamism to the game.

    Progression

      Fixed the “Supercop” enforcer achievement unlocking after an arrest streak of 1, now unlocks after an arrest streak of 5.
      Adjusted the number of levels per contact.

        Tutorial contacts have 5 levels, Boss contacts 15 levels, and all other contacts have 10 levels.
        The Standing required per contact has not been increased; players now just hit milestones more often.

      Rewards spread out more throughout contact tree.
      High-End vehicles now unlock earlier.
      Enabled ‘Simon Tran’ and ‘Pagan Bloodrose’ again.  These contacts don’t have any progression or missions, but we’ll be adding experimental new mission types to them in future.
      Added cash reward for levelling contacts.
      Items unlocked by contacts are now shown on the contact pledge screen, in order of level unlocked.
      Locked items are now shown under the buy menu of all contacts, rather than just the contact that unlocks it.
      Players are now able to pledge to and progress any unlocked contact individually, regardless of the group leader’s pledge.

    Weapons Balancing

      Re-enabled UI stats for weapon properties (they were previously disabled for balance testing).
      Colby CSG-20:  Now is more accurate with a tighter spread than the JG (though less damaging)
      ACT44: Damage lowered
      Colby RSA: Increased recoil, slightly lowered firing rate and slowed the accuracy gain slightly.
      OBEYA CR762: Damage lowered, now loses accuracy if fired at full cyclic rate.
      DMR-SD: Recoil Lowered, Movement accuracy in MMS increased. Fire rate slightly increased.
      OPGL: Fire rate substantially decreased, slightly increased fuse timer. Slightly reduced kill radius.
      SHAW: Increased Damage, increased minimum accuracy, increased horizontal recoil.
      N-FA9 : Increased Damage, slightly increased accuracy
      SAS-PDW: Significantly increased accuracy.
      OCA-626: Increased recoil.
      PMG-28: Increased recoil.

    Vehicles

      Re-enabled vehicle stats in the UI.
      Task items in vehicles now slow down the vehicle.

        Slowdown is based on task item type and number of items.

      VIPs now slow down vehicles.
      Vehicle spawn cost now varies based on vehicle (starter vehicle is free).

    Character Slots

      Players are now able to create one character initially for free in a free account. As an extra bonus, during Beta phase, everyone will be able to create a SECOND free character for as long as the game is in Beta.
      More character slots can be purchased from the Armas Marketplace, and a player could in theory have a very large number of characters in each account spread across the different servers. The benefit to the player is that if the player buys a "Premium" to upgrade the account, it applies to ALL characters in that account as long as the Premium is active, regardless of how many characters the account contains.

    Environments

      Complete overhaul of all post-process and lighting values.

        Modified values to iris response.
        Balanced every district material containing emissive values, to help mitigate some of the over-blooming that was happening.

          Vehicle emissive maps toned down in order to prevent detail corruption.
          Signage balanced so that it is much more legible.
          Skyscraper windows balanced so the colour variation comes though.

        Depth of field greatly modified in order to:

          Set back the plainer, LOD2 geometry.
          Help soften the harsh edge of buildings in general.
          Give a better sense of depth to the environment.

        Improved day/night cycle, including a 1 in 5 chance of heavy fog cycle:

          16:00 culminates in heavy sea fog and overcast sky.
          03:00 – 05:00 has heavy night fog with darker shadows and brighter pools of light, to give the occasional horror/film noir vibe.

        Re-lit many areas where bounce lights were set too brightly.

      Ever get bored of grey? We were bored to tears by it. Some of the worst offending spawn zones have had an initial material pass to add a bit of colour and variety to San Paro.

      Many spawn zones adjusted in order to ‘plant’ the relevant contact characters more effectively.

        Lilith and Jeung can now be found hanging out together at the Beltane with Bloodrose-themed feature graffiti.
        Tyron Sennet shifts his focus to matters of planning… A better context and a better view of his jacket customisation.
        Bonita Benjamin no longer stands in a dark corner, but is brought out to her own table outside the Golden Mall.
        Shift given more boyish pose, and now leans next to some of her own graffiti.
        Double B given a more prominent position in the subway.
        Mirri Kent now has something to look at.
        tu Phoenix spawn zone given some Prentiss theming.

      Some of the contacts given a visual update to bring them in line with some of our more recent/incoming character assets. Notable changes:

        Miguel Esteban – Urban gumshoe and brawler.
        Shift – Riot version as seen in intro cinematic.
        Violet Prentiss – Gets a hot cowgirl style to compliment the accent.
        Kaspar Danko – Grizzled army vet and overall badass.

      South West side of the Waterfront District now has ‘Ophelia Customs’ blimp to aid navigation around that area of the city.

      Lots of bug fixes applied to props and features. Some examples:

        ‘FU’ two-pane shop window corruption fixed.
        Glass modified so that restaurant interiors are now fully visible.
        Some of the shop windows given a facelift.
        Organic food no longer available at petrol stations.

      Social District given a bit of a visual revamp:

        Vehicle display zones improved.
        New banners and blimp.

          Introduction of incoming contact, Ophelia.

        Shop interiors made more colourful and varied.

      Added ramps to north end of Financial District freeway to tie up routes more effectively.
      Fixed several locations where players could exit the world or get within geometry.
      Added some cover to a roof in waterfront that leads to a nasty camping location. Still work to do here but this should help in the meantime.
      Added a large number of new vehicle spawn machines to both maps.

        Additionally, all vehicle spawn machines that aren’t in factional spawn areas are no longer faction-locked

      Fixed a non-functioning graffiti target in Waterfront.
      Removed a possible Truck mission target that was in an area that a truck cannot get out of.

    Tutorials

      Reduced number of missions from 5 to 3.
      Updated initial tutorial mail.
      Added ‘Ready’ mechanic to tutorial, with an explanation of how it works.
      Removed majority of on-screen popup tutorials.
      Removed ‘Welcome to San Paro’ achievement.
      Added following tutorial mails sent to players:

        Explanation of how contact progression works.
        How to equip and use modifications.
        Importance of Teamplay and group composition.
        Open World Crimes and Arresting…

    UI

      Players can no longer send each other APB$ in the mail.
      Removed the world recommendation when creating new characters. Server names will include their location so players can choose the one they want.
      Minimum client screen resolution is now 1024x768, in order to increase the size of some UI screens which were getting cluttered.
      Cyrillic and accented characters are now disallowed for character names. Some players were unable to interact with each other due to localised keyboards and OS settings. Russian players will be moved to Russian servers once those go live.
      Updated the in-game browser version to Gecko 1.9.2.13 / Firefox 3.6.13.
      Fixed the in-game video recorder saving video at the wrong aspect ratio on ATI machines.
      Updated the in-game video capture code to use the latest LibTheora, LibVorbis and LlibOgg libraries.

        The new version of the encoder should improve performance and video quality, and includes SSE2 optimisations.

      Cleaned up the character select UI

        Increased the font size of the email address.
        The account type is now displayed on the same line as the account type header.
        Decreased the size of the header panel and slightly increased the separation between the header and character list.

    Story

      Hooked up contact levelling emails.
      Lengthened contact and organisation biographies significantly.
      Added 88 Biography emails as random rewards detailing companies, manufacturers, celebrities and the city itself.

    Miscellaneous

      New Developer splash screen intros added.
      Updated and reintegrated the intro cinematic.
      Fixed audio display points in the Social District having the wrong ‘Obtained By’ text.
      Hooked up URLs across the game to bring up the relevant pages using the in-game browser.
      Adjusted customisation limits for free players.

        Clothing/Tattoos are now 3 symbols per item.
        Vehicles are 7 symbols.

    Client Size, Performance and Stability

      Fixed top stability issues:

        Client crash due to rendering issue (seemed to happen to players on death mostly).
        Client crash caused by changing the colour of unselected duplicated layers in the symbol designer.
        Client crash that happened sometimes when you accessed your inventory.

      Added DXT texture compression, which reduces in-game memory usage and significantly improves the texture/graphical quality for players on a 32-bit OS.
      Updated WWise libraries, increasing game performance (more so on lower-end machines)
      Recompressed the game audio with no noticeable drop in quality. This substantially reduces the total client size on disk (now ~4GB).

    Known Issues

      Starter Vehicles
      There is a known issue with some shaders for the starter vehicles, in particular for the Crim starter vehicles which will make the tires and sometimes the whole car look insane. Will be addressed in an early patch.
      Localisation/Translation

        Much of the new and edited in game text has still to be translated and entered into the game. Playing APB in languages other than English may result in English text being shown anyway in some places.
 
Posté par Bjorn / TechMech  


Dimanche 17 avril 2011  
 
Beta Updates; Version 1.5 Updates; Updates all Around!

Ok, last week was INTENSE to say the least. Crazy INSANE in fact.

Also the level of anxiety among our posters seem to reflect the same kind of intensity that we have inside the team. And yes - we are a pretty small team making giant changes, so bear with us.

The Studio Team spent insane crunch hours getting version 1.5.0 up to snuff and in particular battling a couple of really nasty and hard to isolate crash-bugs which eventually were vanquished, while the Operations Team worked it's tail off to make sure that the EU servers were all running as designed. As of Friday, things had finally started to get sorted out.

So, this coming week, we have BIG plans. Unless something last minute comes up with version 1.5.0, we are ready (any day now) to release it to production. Once we release the build - it also means WE WILL WIPE OUT all existing characters and progression, since the new upgrades, progression systems etc, are not compatible with the old way of doing things.

As soon as this build is live, THEN we plan to invite EVERYONE else who applied for Closed Beta (!).

I can hear the questions already so I will try to answer them ahead of time;

    Q- what day will you release version 1.5?
    A - when it's ready.

    Q - when will it be ready?
    A - we really truly hope it will happen this week! But as with anything in game development, there could be unforseen snags along the way.

    Q - if I am NOT already a Closed Beta tester, but have been sitting on my hands patiently waiting to get back in to San Paro, is there any chance you will invite me before 1.5 goes out?
    A - No. But if you DID complete a Beta Application in February, then you are first in line to get in while the game is still in Closed Beta and as soon as 1.5 is out. (see note below). That means this COULD happen this week.

    Q - are you SURE you will not invite me before you release 1.5, especially if 1.5 gets delayed?
    A - yup - we are NOT planning to invite more people to 1.4.x. Could it happen? Only if there is something terribly wrong and we revert back to an earlier version or there is some massive delay with 1.5 - but barring that - there will be no new invites until 1.5 is live.

    Q - why will you not invite me before 1.5?
    A - because we have ALREADY tortured and abused 25,000 people (or more exactly the 20,399 people who properly activated their closed beta characters) and now we REALLY want people to experience (and TEST) version 1.5 more than anything else, since that version is so different (and improved) from 1.4.x versions. So no point in having more people in 1.4.x, when we REALLY need you in 1.5. The priority is to get everyone else who completed the beta app in to 1.5 while it's in Closed Beta, and after that, open up the Open Beta and invite the full original 150,000 who registered an interest, and after that slowly open this up to the world

    Q - will version 1.5 be Open Beta?
    A - sort of. The very first release of 1.5 will in fact now happen in Closed Beta mode. That means people cannot actually buy things on the first day this goes live. There will also be some other oddities with the first version of this build, but we will share those in the official release notes.

    Q - will there be another character wipe after 1.5 has gone out? 
    A - maybe. There will be a wipe WITH the release of 1.5. But even after 1.5 has BEEN out, this is a really tricky question, since we presume we haven't done anything mental. However, in case we have done something mental, keep in mind that this is STILL Closed Beta. And as such, any Closed Beta character and account could in theory be wiped at any time, and even multiple times (though we would hope NOT to ever have to do that). As soon as we officially go to Open Beta (and especially after we start taking payments), then we will clearly try to not wipe anything again (the operative word is "try" - since there are extreme cases where changes have to be made even after OB release).

Critical changes completed

As he normally does, Scott (our Development Producer) will prepare the official release notes for 1.5, but in the meantime I will share the list of the most critical changes that are now finished (or lined up to be added as a first patch to 1.5)

Core changes already in version 1.5:

    New Spawning System - unlike the old system where players often spawned in opponents faces or far away from the action, the new system actually works logically; you will respawn near your own team mates and generally away from where you last died. The actual code is quite complicated given the sheer number of strange conditions and team locations the system has to account for. But our development team created something really great. From our playtests the new system makes a lot of sense and actually make you feel part of the same team.

    Witnessing - you know this REALLY is working well and is something quite special when one of our developers witnessed another developer during a playtest, and suddenly the entire development team descended into an absolutely insane chase through the city to grab the loot before the crim claimed the money. We lost a large chunk of development time to this unforeseen side effect of making a great system.

    Modifiers (formerly "upgrades") - the new Modifiers simply behave completely differently than the original "upgrades" did back in the day. Now if you pick "Kevlar" you will surely become much harder to kill, but you will also run much slower. By the time you have 3x Kevlar implants, you will run like a tank (or like a grief truck). All the mods now also sit in color-coded ‘classes’, with only one mod per class being allowed at any time.

    Individual pledging - Say goodbye to district chat containing “Looking for <Insert Contact Name Here> group” since in the new system players will be able to pledge individually when in any group, so you’re always progressing while on missions with your mates.

    Camera changes - The camera now moves more naturally when the player is running/sprinting adding that little bit more dynamism to the game.

    Reduced run-time memory usage - Implemented use of DXT Texture compression which reduced our run-time memory usage and significantly improved the graphical quality for users on 32-bit machines. Should be a welcome change for all non-64-bit users in the world.

    Reduced client size - Reduced client disk space by several changes, much of the savings coming from audio re-compression. It looks like the final build will be just at 4.2GB through the launcher and under that for the DVD-style installer. This means we are now near 1/2 the original game size (original size was 7.8GB) without giving up much (if any) perceptible quality. In fact, the game looks visually much nicer now than it did during the original release.

    Critical changes NOT YET completed - but scheduled as a very early patch to 1.5:

    Skill Ratings - ie - the brand new threat level system based on a true skill rating algorithm, that in turn will integrate with the matchmaking system, and how that eventually figures in to district segmentation. The skill rating implementation is probably the most critical pending change, and the one we hope to roll out as soon as possible after the first release of 1.5, to finally settle the "why do I get slaughtered all the time" issue.

    District Skill Segmentation - to make the game more MMO-like, we will actually let people that have "progressed" in the game go play in their more sophisticated districts (and any upstart who WANTS to go join them can certainly do so at their own risk). This should let people who are casual players play in a world that's just slightly different than players who are more serious competitors. Obviously we will be sharing much more info about this particular feature as we get closer to releasing this.

So stay tuned. Much stuff going on this week, and if you continue following the blog, facebook and the forums, then we surely will have a lot of fun things to share with you this week.


 
Posté par Bjorn / TechMech  


Mercredi 13 avril 2011  
 
EU Servers are now live!

That was a slog - but as of about an hour ago, the EU servers are now live!

Right now we have two EU servers running in Frankfurt - and I am very curious to see the performance of those that used to play across the pond before.

More news to come shortly about the upcoming patch.


 
Posté par Bjorn / TechMech  


Vendredi 8 avril 2011  
 
Steaming toward Build 1.5.0, first in Closed then in Open Beta, and then End of the Grief-Truck era!

Another 'phew - what a week' moment!

On The Road Again Still

Since I am still on the road, I will make this short - but we have some exciting items to share, so, at minimum I will get those out before crashing for the night. Our team of absolute fantastic troopers are working their tails off on progressing build 1.5.0 (basically the version which will eventually become Open Beta 1), and while all the core code is now in place, they are working like maniacs to track down some final pesky crash issues and other critical fixes that need to be solved before the game can go live using the new version.

1.5.0 - the Beta Path

Originally 1.5.0 was considered to be "Open Beta." Because of the delay in getting this build live, what we are LIKELY to do is the following, which actually makes 1.5.0 the next build in the closed beta series instead;

    As soon as the current issues have been worked out, we will release 1.5.0 in Closed Beta Mode to the current 25,000 players.  This will ALSO wipe the current characters and progression from the game (but you will be able to recover them later - see note below).
    If the initial release appears stable then we will bring the EU servers online (see below) and now all 25,000 players can access BOTH the EU and US servers (though you will have to make new characters for each world you want to play in)
    If that works ok, then we will mass-invite at least another 25,000 players (for 50,000 total) STILL in Closed Beta mode (that would be a very large chunk of remaining EU players)
    If that works fine shortly thereafter we will invite ALL remaining eligible Closed Beta applicants. 
    If that works fine, we will then GIVE all Closed Beta testers a temporary Premium Account (just to test all premium functions system wide) for 24 or 48 hours.
    If Premiums work fine, then we will ENABLE monetized content (ie leased weapons, permanent mods, character slots etc.)
    If there are STILL no major issues, then we will open up the floodgates, and formally go into Open Beta!
    Once we are in Open Beta, we are looking to see if we can let you reclaim custom characters from the Closed Beta. This will likely be the case. Along the way you will ALSO be able to reclaim any of the original characters from the original version of the game.AND it's likely you will get to keep items that you create in the Closed Beta stage of 1.5.0, when you have short access to the REAL premium account status for free.

If anything hits a snag along those 8 steps above, we may pause the roll-out at that step, but at minimum you would know exactly what comes next.

After the OB roll-out we expect we will be in monetized Open Beta until August, and will be iterating on new districts, new content, and more than anything, the new balance, progression, witnessing, rating and spawning that will all be introduced during various stages of Open Beta (some from the very start), all the while we will be introducing newer and cooler premium content (did anyone say "Swat Gear?").

EU Servers

We have FINALLY secured the network equipment's passage. What a freakin ride. SUPPOSEDLY it all gets finally delivered on Monday. Presuming this is TRUE (I am not customs and cannot guarantee this), then we have had a fun 3 week adventure in how not to ship and clear equipment. In fact some of it got returned all the way to the US so we could reship it with a different carrier, one that was actually going to be able to clear it through customs. I am now holding my breath it will be there Monday. If it is there Monday, then it will still take a couple of days after that before we are online in the EU. But it's certainly very close at this point.

The End of the Grief-Truck Era

In addition to major changes to spawning, upgrades, witnessing and so on for the first version of 1.5.0 - it's also very significant for a VERY specific reason. 1.5.0 will be the death of the grief-truck. Many have rightly pointed out that what causes the griefing is the fact that it's very difficult to tell the Physics system NOT to blow you up, since collisions between car and car are tricky to separate from car and house, or car and pole (and those two cases clearly SHOULD blow you up, presuming you were not being rammed in to the wall or pole using a grief-truck). However - Aphadon dug around in the darkest corners of the code, and put in place code that actually fixes the issue. Now, there are a few strange side effects from this fix (the grief-trucker will BOUNCE you off a wall instead of blowing you up), but it basically makes you NOT blow up when a non-opposing player smashes you into the wall (no such luck when it's an opposing player). How will this fix play out? Well I for one cannot wait to see it in 1.5.0 to see how people react to it!

The Start of the User Control Era

Through OB releases after OB-1, we will be introducing new ways for users to take charge of their in-game experience. The improved rating systems will clearly help with some of the experience improvement, but, more so all the new ways players will be able to initiate matches, and engage each other. I will share more details as we get closer to the various systems (Chaos, Turfwars, Racing, DJ etc.), and especially as we contemplate which one of the new systems we will be releasing first.

But before any of that - right this moment, we will continue to crunch to get this next giant milestone delivered! Woo woo!


 
Posté par Bjorn / TechMech  


Dimanche 3 avril 2011  
 
Short travel update

This week I am on the road, so this will be a very short post. The team continues toward Open Beta at a blistering pace, and we will be meeting to take some important decisions about the direction of the game in the middle of this week.

I will post an EU equipment update in the next few days, and also some exciting news about the progress of the next version of the game (aka APB 1.5), since it features big changes from the current version (including spawning and progression, and later also the new skill-rating methods)

PS - and watch out for post commentary by "fake Bjorn" - someone who has made an OpenID profile identical to my own.


 
Posté par Bjorn / TechMech  

 

 

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