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Mardi 25 juin 2013
 
Means of Production

We spoke with our Lead Producer, Scottomon, about how he contributed to the development of APB Reloaded. Once we got his attention for long enough, that is - he was busy working on getting 1.12.0 running smoothly and we were the sacrifice he was willing to make. We did eventually steal him away during a free moment to get some answers though...

Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do at Reloaded Productions.

I'm Scott, the Lead Producer at Reloaded Productions. I manage the Production team and oversee all development at the studio, which includes art, programming, design, hosting, and QA. In the first instance, I work with the Executive and Development teams to set our high-level goals and deadlines. After those are in place, I manage the Producers and the Development team throughout the process of meeting those goals.

I mainly work on long-term strategy and planning, but the role is quite broad - the simplest description I can think of is that I make sure the team has all they need to do their job and that I work to remove any obstacles in their way, even if that obstacle is a really persistent community manager. (surely some mistake - Jotunblut)

How did you get started as a producer?

I studied software engineering (specifically game development) at university and got a taste for producing during a group project in my third year. After graduating, I joined my first games company as a tester on their in-house tools team and after a year saw that the company was advertising for Assistant Producers. I plucked up the courage to ask and before I knew it, I was the first Assistant Producer on the company's flagship title. Fast forward another year and I was both Associate Producer and Release Manager, responsible for coordinating the entire team to ship the game. I've been in Production ever since.

What do you do on a day-to-day basis? What are the sorts of decision that you make?

Day-to-day I look at our progress towards milestones across all our different projects and make adjustments to any plans (if necessary). This includes things like looking into reported issues and deciding how important those issues are against other issues and even other features. My main daily role is making sure that any issues blocking development or causing us pain get removed so that development can keep going.

What's the decision making process behind what features stay in a release and which ones get held back?

This is a tough one, and there's no hard and fast rule for deciding. Dropping features from a release is always a last resort and can happen for a variety of reasons. Our Executive Team may have news that changes our priorities, we may find issues in the game that make that feature difficult to implement, or we may even drop a feature because the developer working on that feature is unavailable for whatever reason. Before a feature gets dropped or pushed, we explore every possibility that would allow us to keep the feature, including sacrificing a less important feature, extending the deadline, or even pulling in a developer that was working on a future release.

The goal with every release is to ship the most important features within a reasonable time period and to the highest level of quality possible. Using that description is the best way to decide when it's time to hold back a feature for a later release, to extend the deadline, or even push the team harder.

What's the decision making process behind picking what item to release on Armas?

We decide this between what the community is telling us they want along with our own analytics. We saw that a lot of people wanted new, preset weapons so we started to make more preset weapons. We've seen people want new, more fashionable clothing items, so that's going to be a big part of the clothing artists' push over the next six months. We're pretty well sorted for armor at the moment. The goal is always to balance what we have on the store - we might highlight weapons that are underused by players at the moment so people will be more tempted to give those weapons a go, like we did with the NFA-9 and RSA.

What feature are you most proud of seeing in the last 12 months, and which one are you most looking forward to seeing in the next 12 months?

I’m more proud of our combined progress in the last twelve months rather than any single feature. We’ve added a lot of new features and have definitely improved the game immensely while also paving the way for even more new features. We've got lots more to look forward to over the next twelve months, but the one that excites me the most is our brand new [REDACTED] game mode. It’s a whole new way to play APB and definitely highlights APB’s strengths. We’ll release the details painfully slowly over the next few months.

How has development on Reloaded changed in the last twelve months?

In the last twelve months we’ve actually been able to focus a lot more on long-term work that should start making appearances over the next couple of months. We’re keeping quiet on these things just now, but players have already seen snippets, such as the Overkill servers and the early-version Chaos Ruleset. That's just a couple of the things we’ve been working on.

Can Jotunblut have a pay rise?

We've kind of blown the employment budget on Server Hamsters.

 
Posted by APB Team


Lundi 24 juin 2013
 
Tuesday is Patch Day - 25th June Update

Greetings,

We will be releasing a major update on Tuesday the 25th of June which will bring the game to version 1.12.0

The servers will be brought down at approximately 10:00 BST / 02:00 PST. Estimated downtime will be between 3 and 4 hours.

Release Notes

1.12.0 introduces two main features into APB

    I. An Elective Spawning System for opposed missions.
    II. The introduction of the Scaleform User Interface. 1.12.0 starts with the game's front end, but we'll be expanding it over time to be integrated into the whole game.

Elective Spawn System

We've been working on an Elective Spawning System which will allow players to choose where to spawn themselves. At its core, this uses the same set of rules that our current spawning system does, but instead of choosing the best one, it chooses the top five. We have also added an additional rule to remove spawn points close to chosen ones, so once it chooses the first spawn point, it won't pick the one beside it as well.

Now, when you die you will be returned to a spawn map with a selection of spawn zones. The system still picks a favourite (and it will eventually spawn you here if you don't pick yourself), but if you feel that one of the others is better for you, you can choose that instead. During the spawn time, you are free to change where you are about to spawn, and when the timer is up it will spawn you at your chosen point. In addition, you can see where any other dead teammates are about to spawn, allowing you to make tactical decisions about where you want to be.

There is one caveat here. If an enemy gets too close to one of your spawn zones, that spawn zone will be rendered invalid as long as they are close. Any players that have chosen that spawn zone will need to select another.

On top of this system, we have also added Spawn Waves. If you die shortly after a teammate, you will inherit his spawn timer and his selection of spawn points. This especially helps fights in public groups, where players often attack piecemeal. Now, if you all die within 8 seconds of each other you'll spawn at the same time, which helps increase group cohesion and provide more opportunities for teamwork.

Elective Spawn - A New Spawn Point Mod For Vehicles

We've also added a new modification for spawning within vehicles, simply called "Mobile Spawn Point". Any group with this mod equipped in their vehicles can choose to spawn directly into the vehicle instead of at one of the other spawn points, as long as the vehicle isn't too close to an enemy, on fire, and has available seats (and to avoid some exploiting, is within bounds of the map). This is a huge change. It potentially opens the game up to be much more heavily based around player vehicles, and hunting them down / protecting them. As such, we need to open this functionality to everyone, so this modification will be unlocked to all players very early in progression, be awarded as part of the initial set, and will also be available on the default starting vehicle.

You can read more about these features on our blog: http://apbreloaded.gamersfirst.com/

Other Changes in 1.12.0

    Environment Changes - Financial

      Changed the back of the bank in Financial to make the roof easier to assault
      Moved the task target drop off point from the front of city hall to behind one of the city hall pillars
      Moved the bomb point in front of city hall to one of the side rooms
      Added various props to make task points slightly easier to do inside City Hall
      Removed a vehicle mission point near Violet & Mirri that was difficult to deal with
      Added various small props to City Hall
      Added various props to the Border High School roof, also added a new access point
      Adding a ladder access to the roof above Wilson LeBoyce
      Added various props to block 24 (Cross City Cabs Depot area) to improve gameplay flow, and added new scaffolding to get onto a roof that previously only had one way up
      Fixed a vehicle spawn point in the multi-story car park (Block 29) that would occasionally spawn mission objectives in an out of bounds area
      Fixing Floating Vehicle Spawn decals in LeBoyce's Car Park
      Fixed Z-fighting on the roof of the road that runs under (and just up from) Mist
      Fixed the level of detail issue that prevented the lower part of a building on Exchange Street being shown from upper floor of The Beacon
      Removed an exploitable fence in Gresty
      Fixed the lighting on the roof of the Gazebo
      Fixed a lighting issue with the tower plaza building
      Added a street market to the Park area in Border, across from The Plantagenet
      Removed a satellite dish in Eastside, as it was extremely difficult to do as a task target
      Removed ladder access to the highest roof on the hospital. Moved a ladder and added cover to a facing point too, making it easier to clear people off of the roof
      Fixed Blocking volume in "The Needles - Seindorf", so it correctly stops players entering an illegal area

    Environment Changes - Waterfront

      Fixed a crime target in the Yard Stretch that could previously be completed from the other side of the wall
      Fixed collision issues that previously allowed access inside the roof of Baylan Logistics Import/Export
      Fixed display issues with the open world graffiti point near the Baylan Logistics Warehouse so that graffiti is now correctly displayed on it
      Fixed a collision issue in the Atlas Apartments in Prentiss
      Fixed a door that was not aligned properly in Netherport - The Rev
      Fixed various issues with the roof top west of Eva Orlandez
      Fixed various level of detail issues in the Docks of Waterfront and added more yachts
      Fixed a level of detail issue that did not properly show the roof of the Traditional Sushi Restaurant from a distance
      Improved access to Open World Graffiti Point in New Haven Road
      Fixed an out of bounds exploit in the Ward Street Apartment's car park
      Moved props in the Wharfside's Vacant Warehouses to prevent exploits during item hold missions
      Lowered the fence around Rimbaud Cocktails so it can now be easily jumped over
      Fixed a Z-fighting issue on the second floor of the Atlas Apartments
      Fixed a camp spot in Sandford Keep
      Added a blocking volume on the top of the San Paro Port Authority building, which will prevent players from getting places they shouldn't be allowed...

    Environment Changes - Baylan

      Grounded some floating props

    Threat

      Rebalanced threat levels based on data from users active in the last month. With the adjustments, the percentage players in each level is now:

        Green : 9%
        Bronze : 31%
        Silver : 40%
        Gold : 20%

    Vehicle Health Changes

      Patriot T-25 : 1200-1300
      Patriot Vegas G20 : 1250-1350
      Dolton Fresno : 1350-1450
      Benkz Mhuller M1 : 1825
      Packer Ceresco : 1200-1250
      Nulander Pioneer : 1400-1600
      Seiyo Espacio : 1400-1600
      Montane : 1150-1250
We've also reduced the penalty on Steel Plating from 5/10/15% to 2/4/6%, which also indirectly increases vehicle health by making the mod more viable.

Miscellaneous Changes and Bug Fixes

    Score

      Added additional checks to prevent you getting score for arrests and knock outs against people of maximum heat

    Joker Store

      Adding the N SSW 74 to the Joker Store in both 1 slot and 3 slot guises
      Added the competition winning Air Mech Vehicle to the Joker Store

    Design (Text)

      Adding line-break to the tooltips for inability to purchase items
      Adjusting all references to 'Armour', 'Armoury' or 'Armoured' to use the American 'Armor' instead
      Changing all mentions of 'Calibre' to the american 'Caliber'
      Fixing a number of typos in Birth and Templeton's mails
      Fixed an issue where the HVR-243 was occasionally referred to as the HVR-232
      Fixing minor typo on one of the effects of Hunting Sight 3
      Flagging correct hud message for Hack Assists
      Fixed a few grammatical error's in Speedball's biography
      Adjusting names of N SSW's to fall into the usual naming convention for Nekrova weapons
      Added Airmech Bomber vehicle to Joker Distribution store.
      Removed last sentence in Nano description as it was truncated

    Design (Mods)

      Allowing players to sell modifications to the shop

    Design (Missions - Text)

      Adjusting 'GUN-KINGS' mission to reference Prentiss Tigers rather than Bloodroses

    Design (Missions)

      Changing Investigate stage of 'Bookie on the Run' to spawn 3 items rather than 1 spawning elsewhere

    Design (Environment)

      Stopping players using a vehicle to reach a specific area in Financial Block 01 (The Needles - which is to the left of Mist)
      Fixed an issue where players could get vehicles into the Cross City Cab's office

    Design

      Fixed the issue that could cause "pocketed" grenades to explode on you
      Players can no longer perform arson objectives from behind walls

    Design (Rewards)

      Balancing 'End of Mission Medal' rewards. This adds score for the Champion medal, while increasing the rewards for the Judicator medals. Note, the reward for Champion isn't exceptionally high. This is due to it not being a gameplay style we want to heavily encourage (we want players to work as a team, not feel upset when their teammate gets to a point first)

    Design (Heat)

      Criminal players now lose heat for killing players in their own group, or teammates in the same mission

    Audio

      Changed the vehicle amp distances from 35, 45, 60, 75, 85 to 30, 35, 45, 55, 60. This will better balance the audio levels when the vehicles are in the distance
      Fixed an issue that was causing the Joker Vending machine speech to play as soon as the player entered relevancy with one

    Vehicles

      Fixed the Kurai kit 1 & 2 spoiler damage distortion issue

    UI

      When deciding whether to turn a reticule red when over a vehicle, take into account passengers if there is no driver
      Fixing incorrect UI icon for Charge Cisco Boomer Raptor III Lights
      Hooked up additional suicide icons and corrected the numbering error that was present on the icons before. These new icons will now trigger from 2-10 suicides and then 15, 20, 25 & 30

    Decal

      Fixed a visually corrupt preset symbol ("CogBot 9000")

    Clothing

      Added an additional check when deploying an outfit. This checks that all the clothing items are in outfit layers. Any clothing item which isn't in an outfit layer is removed. This scenario can occur when a player deletes an item which has another item dependent on it

    Splash Screen

      Added the 1.12.0 splash screen
 
Posté par Jotunblut


Jeudi 13 juin 2013
 
Thursday is Patch Day - 13th June Update

Hello,

We're going to be deploying a patch on Thursday the 13th of June 2013. The servers will be brought down at approximately 10:00 BST / 02:00 PST. Standard downtime length is expected.

Release Notes

    Weapon

      Balance tweak to the N-SSW that lowers it's hard damage very slightly.

    Visual

      Fixed an issue that could cause graphical corruption on the small weapon crates.
 
Posté par Jotunblut


Vendredi 7 juin 2013
 
The Scale of Scaleform

We've got a little surprise in store for you all with the 1.12.0 release of APB Reloaded. One that we've been keeping very quiet on. Patch 1.12.0 will bring with it the first implementation of our new Scaleform User Interface.

We've spent a long time working on this, getting all the systems and mechanics in place. One of the biggest challenges has been creating it in the background of the game without disrupting the existing User Interface. The first release of this major improvement contains entirely remade 3D versions of the Login, Character Select screens and more. While our newly revamped front end doesn't include updates for the HUD or Editors yet but we hope to have more news on that in the coming months.

It's also bringing a new theme song to APB Reloaded. Sharp-eared listeners might recognize parts of this new track from Asylum back in Halloween 2012. We hope you enjoy more of the unique work by our very own in-house audio guru, Farfletched.

There's another secret in this update but, that would be telling...

 
Posté par Quinzel

 

 

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