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Jeudi 29 juin 2011  
 
Waking back up?

Alright. We have had an incredibly intense three weeks, so really sorry for the long posting gap (while of course the team has kept updating Facebook and Forums regularly). This will just be a quick preview of what's coming up, and I hope to follow this up with much more detail at 'some point™' when some of the critical items we are working on have gotten sorted out, and at that point also post a brand new roadmap.

We just released patch 1.5.1.96 tonight, which fixes various issues, and adds more server-side controls for certain items to reduce some specific client exploits. That's the good news. Keep in mind patch 96 is a specific hotfix patch, and does not contain the large items the team has been working incredibly hard on for version 1.5.2 of the game.

The Next Big Thing - version 1.5.2

1.5.2 introduces many new items outlined in the roadmap, most importantly district recommendation and skill-rating based matchmaking and it ALSO introduces a lot of items we had not yet talked about; meta-grouping for better PuG-ing, action grouping relaxation (fancy way of saying you will be able to shoot right as you stop sprinting instead of being blocked from shooting), 70+ different mission fixes, new clothing, new items and a boat-load of various bug fixes and improvements based on much of the forum and tester feedback we have had. So there is much more to talk about once that version is ready to go live.

The plan had been to get the 1.5.2 build out by June 30 (per the roadmap), but right now it seems we will go past that by 'some period™', partly because of the massive amount of changes requiring a lot of testing. In the next few days we will also decide if we will use this build as the first one to go up on the Public Test World. We have recruited and selected about 500 volunteers (who do not yet know who they are I should add), and people with those accounts will be able to test builds going forward before going live to the public. The next few days will determine if the PTW system will in fact go live before 1.5.2 or vice versa.

We have also completed the networking upgrades that were scheduled on the roadmap. Now players in Europe will also be able to connect through Telia, which should give customers a drastically reduced ping when going to the servers especially from Northern and Eastern EU. We are in the next few weeks also adding TiNet (an Italian telecom) which has improved network coverage for Southern EU, for areas such as Spain, Italy, France and Greece.

Some Currently Known Issues in the Beta

Finally - we are fully aware of several annoying issues we are tracking and hoping to address shortly. There are a lot of specific or individual items that are on our list - but there are two in particular that are more general and requires a special mention here - Latency spike and 32-bit issues.

There is a latency issue that kicks in every few minutes or up to every 10 minutes for several players, where suddenly latency spikes to 800ms in the game. However, if you simultaneously happen to be running a long-running ping in the background to 173.195.41.254 (our ping probe in the EU) or 173.195.39.254 (ping probe in US-East) or 173.195.32.254 (ping probe in US-West) - you'd see that the network ping/latency actually stays low during the spike, and server side and client side frame-rates also stay normal during the latency spike. So from what we can tell the current spike is not a direct networking, datacenter or server issue and instead appears to be a client side issue, at least the most likely culprit at the moment. We are working to sort out what other dependencies trigger the random client latency spike, but because of the complex interactions of all the components it will take a bit of time to isolate the root cause. We will update as soon as we have a patch that addresses this particular issue.

And the biggest issue of them all continues being 32-bit optimization for those who do not yet have 64-bit systems. APB LOVES memory. The districts are VERY large (compared to other high end games APB's districts can even be described as HUGE), and therefore the game demands 1.8GB of memory or more (and especially after a few district switches and encountering 100 other players with their customizations, that usage easily hits 2GB plus). We are working to optimize this, but at the moment the game will continue running close or at the 2GB limit. Unfortunately 32-bit windows by default only addresses 2GB of RAM, so this can lead to crashes on Vista-32 and Win7-32 in particular (XP-32 tends to fare a little bit better).

For MOST Vista-32 and Win 7-32 systems, especially if you have 4GB of Ram we continue to highly recommend TRYING (at your own risk) the bcdedit /set IncreaseUserVa 3072 command (here is a great reference from Autodesk which uses the same trick for AutoCad and 3DS Max on 32-bit systems). This command will increase addressable application space from 2048MB (default) to 3072MB, minus any memory mapped devices (such as graphics cards). Unfortunately it also means if you have a large memory mapped device (such as 1GB graphics card) this setting could cause conflicts. Some players have reported success when using a slightly smaller amount - in particular bcdedit /set IncreaseUserVa 2560, which sets the user-mode (program) address memory to 2560MB, which often seems to be enough to keep APB and it's very large world happy for a few hours. Here is the Microsoft reference on the bcdedit /set command. Again - try all these commands at your own risk (or go the proven route and upgrade to 64-bit Windows 7, which is clearly the preferred route).

There is a pretty good collection of known workarounds by moderator nXe here, which we have not fully vetted - but certainly feel free to try these as well in case you have compatibility issues.

Expanding the Team; more C++ game coders needed!

Also - as a result of the great response the game has had in Beta, we are right now expanding the development team in Edinburgh, UK. If you (or someone you know) is a fantastic C++ coder interested in either game engine development or game play development you can send in your cover letter (describing why you would be great for a critical job on the APB team), and your CV/resume to careersUK /a t / GamersFirst / d o t / com (split apart just to help with our spammier friends - so your first test is to see if you can figure out what email to send your resume too :) ).

There is some additional info on this page (click on "UK" to see the description): http://www.gamersfirst.com/corporate/?q=Careers. Our team is located right at the heart of Edinburgh, one of the coolest cities in Europe, with many great direct connections to other key cities on the continent. If you or someone you know are up for an amazing job and an amazing challenge where you will have a lot of impact, certainly drop us a line and try to convince us why you would be a great team member. Only friendly, well adjusted, optimistic and nice people need apply :) . And we are pretty serious about that requirement, since the team requires incredibly tight collaboration between all team members around the planet at all times.

In Closing

So - in closing - this preview is intended to get everyone up to speed, and prepared for the next major build, which really is the foundation for the more complete game that we had envisioned when we set out on this journey many months ago. A huge thanks to everyone who have played, tested and engaged in the world of San Paro for the last three months. We expect the game will be that much better thanks to all those efforts.

See you in San Paro!


 
Posté par Bjorn / TechMech  


Mardi 28 juin 2011  
 
Game Update 1.5.1 (96)

Here are the patch notes to the latest version 1.5.1 (96) update hot off the press.

Game Update 1.5.1 (96)

    General

      Fixed a bug where Criminals could add police lights to the Dolton Broadwing.
      Added a server security update.
 
Posté par Bjorn / TechMech  


Mardi 21 juin 2011  
 
Game Update 1.5.1 (95)

Here are the patch notes to the latest version 1.5.1 (95) update hot off the press.

Game Update 1.5.1 (95)

    General

      Fixed an exploit where players could make a death theme last the same length of time as a song (5 mins), which they then used to grief other players. We also added a ‘surprise’ for any players attempting to still use this griefing tactic.
      Fixed preset vehicles having the wrong mail text.
 
Posté par Bjorn / TechMech  


Mardi 7 juin 2011  
 
Game Update 1.5.1 (93)

Here are the patch notes to the latest version 1.5.1 (93) update hot off the press.

Game Update 1.5.1 (93)

    General

      Fixed a knock-on bug that caused the matchmaking system to not always check for dispatches before offering unopposed missions
      Relaxed the matchmaking restrictions slightly to allow more potential matches.
      Fixes a stall-issue in the patcher itself

 
Posté par Bjorn / TechMech  


Lundi 6 juin 2011  
 
The Development Road Map

In our effort to "hyper-communicate" about what we are working on, today we have released the Development Road Map (also reachable as a tab on top of this blog page).

At the moment it only has the high level public items we are working on for the next 30 days (and a lot of low level details which are not yet published). However, later this week we are going to expand  include all the cool long-term features that we are working on, such as Clan Warfare, Asylum, Racing etc. which really will open the game up to a whole new set of experiences.

Instead of answering the same questions (and quite frankly - zany conspiracy theories) over and over again on forums and on the blogs, we figured we'd rather publish all the ongoing work in one place, so if you have any concerns or constructive suggestions, hopefully the most common issues (lag, queues etc.) are addressed as ToDo items in the Road Map; for example the upcoming Firewall rebuild happening this week in the EU, the new ISP peer and IP provider we are adding next week to improve latency for EU players, the launch of the CBAK (Closed Beta Appreciation Kit), the launch of car kits, the new matchmaking and the new district recommendation items.

So - while the current list is just a taste of what we are hoping to share, at minimum our aspiration is to NOT promise things "soon" Wow-style, nor on "Valve-time"  but instead the plan is simply to share things that we feel comfortable promising within some reasonable time frame. Will we ever miss a date? You'becha. And occasionally we will beat a date or two by getting there a tad early. But the general development direction should certainly be very clear from the roadmap itself.

Development Road Map

Version: June 6, 2011 (Short Term Public Roadmap)

The below items represent our public Development and Operations roadmap for APB Reloaded. Keep in mind that this roadmap changes frequently, but should give you a good general idea of what items are currently being prioritized by the development, network and operations teams.

On the other hand we are trying very hard to NOT do any of these items using the WoW definition of "Soon", not on "Valve-Time"

Instead we are going to try to be as accurate as we humanly can be. If we are not certain it can be done in a certain time frame we will TRY avoiding putting any time on it (just the sequence in which we ANTICIPATE these things will happen).

While you are not going to be able to make comments on this direct page, you can provide comments on the related blog posts that refer to this page.

Short Term Road Map (next 30 days)

Category Description Estimate
Network
Re-engineered firewall deployment in EU-1 and EU-2.
The upcoming firewall change enables removal of all current remaining game queues (at current traffic levels and will also add 50% headroom). Even though we have been able to drastically shorten queues using other optimizations, the upcoming firewall expansion and refactoring solves most EU capacity problems and allows us to expand rapidly in the future should the need arise.
Week of June 10
Game Operations Deliver the Closed Beta Appreciation Kit to CB players.
All Closed Beta participants, plus any previous RTW players who used the same email address to register their GamersFirst account as the one they used with the RTW version of the game, will receive the CBAK. Delay: not yet possible to recognize CB players in-game via special in game "veteran" color or flag. Delivery will proceed without this feature during week of June 10.
Week of June 10
Dev
Car Customization Kits
Adding the first car kits to the Armas cash shop, as a precursor to the present Enforcer and Crim cars that are coming up shortly thereafter.
Week of June 10
Network Enable Telia as direct IP transit peer in Frankfurt.
The addition of Telia to the ISP pool in FRA will provide vastly improved traffic peering and lower latency from northern Europe to EU-1 and EU-2. This will reduce the use of PacketExchange Amsterdam hop for non-UK and non-Benelux users.
June 17
Dev District Recommendation System
This system will alter the district logic, so that instead of having 100 players with random skill levels in each district, instead various districts will "skew" toward a certain skill level, and the default selection from the district select screen will drop you in to the proper district for your skill level. Therefore you will be joining approximately a "low", "medium" and "high" level district, still with quite a wide variety of levels, but much more narrow range than today. The result should be much faster and better matches, since the match making system doesn't have to work nearly as hard to concoct a workable match from a more narrow range of skill levels. While players will not be stopped from moving around to different districts, as a future enhancement there will be penalties for very high level players joining low level districts and trying to ROFL-stomp newbies.
June 30
Dev Quality Score Match Making
The current match making system, while functional, does not compute a proper "quality score" for the match before it gets initiated. This enhancement to the matchmaking system will actively seek out matches that "score" well by doing a pair-wise comparison of all possible matches in the district. This will significantly improve match quality.
June 30
Dev Additional Dev fixes
Fixes for various bugs and compatibility issues, hack items, including external dependencies such as getting Nvidia to support proper SLI profiles.
Patch 92 onward

Long Term Road Map for 2011

Coming Soon! Our long term roadmap includes the list of our next major developments in the game from July onwards. We plan to release the long term roadmap later this week.


 
Posté par Bjorn / TechMech  


Vendredi 3 juin 2011  
 
Game Update 1.5.1 (90)

Here are the patch notes to the latest version 1.5.1 (90) update hot off the press.

Game Update 1.5.1 (90)

    General

    Fixed an exploit where players would close the game in order to avoid losing a mission and losing Threat. All incomplete missions now count as losses and player Threat will adjust accordingly.
    Added a background to the chat area of the screen to make the text easier to read. Both chat and the background fades out after 15 seconds of inactivity. Reduced number of lines of text in chat from 8 to 5. Full chat (accessible via the 'Home' key) is unchanged.
    Fixed a bug where if the group leader had been ready for over 30 seconds before the rest of the group was ready, the mission system would skip looking for dispatches and go straight into an unopposed mission.
    Fixed the Social District graffiti display points not activating.
    Adjusted the reward weighting for font pages to make it more likely to receive them first and added them to the following Contact's random reward lists:

      Veronika Lee
      Terri Quan
      Britney Bloodrose
      Strega Bloodrose
      Shift Chiro
      Byron Bloodrose
      Suji Javez

      Ty Durrant
      Eva Orlandez
      Chung Hee
      Violet Prentiss
      Grissom Sabbat
      Stu Pheonix
      Mirri Kent
      Saul Linklater

    Players past this point can still receive these packages by pledging to the contacts and playing missions.

    Weapons and Vehicles

    Updated Bishada Rapier and Patriot Jericho V20 handling.

      Rapier

        Increased turning speed
        Increased suspension speed
        Slightly increased health

      Jericho V20

        Rebuilt from scratch basically
        Now fast, fairly nippy (though not as much as the rapier)
        Fairly heavy
        Good handling
        Decent health

      Increased Nitro power at max torque.
      Reduced Nitro cooldown from 90 to 60 seconds.
      Fixed an issue where pearlescent paint on preset vehicles wouldn't display correctly for the owner, but would display correctly for other players.
      Fixed a subtle issue with car interior lightmaps showing incorrect colours.
      Removed debug projectile tracers toggle in game files that players were exploiting.
      Updated the inventory and kill icons for the STAR 'LCR'.
      Fixed an issue where the STAR bought from ARMAS would use the old weapon model.
      Fixed the Scoped NTec not having a unique kill icon.
 
Posté par Bjorn / TechMech  

 

 

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