Focused on additional fixes to RIOT with emphasis on improving the overall experience based on player feedback
Changes / Fixes
Added in 5 more contact levels for RIOT BETA with the new �Dragon� weapon skin as the reward for getting to Rank 10
Players now appear on the radar of the final zone of RIOT
Players can no longer see opposing player names through a RIOT gas emitter or RIOT van
Updated max survival revive cost in RIOT to $5,000 instead of $4,000
RIOT now always plays in peak daylight hours
Arming a gas emitter in RIOT will not get interrupted when starting to arm during the last remaining seconds of having the arming code
Fixed a bug related to arming a bomb during missions
Minimum amount of players for RIOT is now 8 players
RIOT now require 16 participating player in order to maintain pre-made teams
Gas Masks equipped on respawn in RIOT now last 45 seconds (instead of 30) and have no cooldown when they expire (only on respawn)
Arrests now correctly count as a single death in RIOT
Improved HUD Messages for RIOT
Spectating players are now reminded that their teammates can revive them in RIOT
The message for when you are spectating in RIOT should now always be shown
Players will now see their bribe amount, even if they are not leading
Now correctly updates the winning bribe amount when a team that was leading the bribe is eliminated
Added the title "Firecracker"
The following guns now have permanent unlocks in the Joker Store
Colby .45 AP now sells for 6,000 JT and 60,000 APB$
AR-97 'Misery' JT1 now sells for 6,000 JT and 60,000 APB$
AR-97 'Misery' JT3 now sells for 10,000 JT and 100,000 APB$
Dragon Weapon Skin does apply correctly to the N-TEC 5 weapon model
Yakuza Weapon Skin does apply correctly to theISSR-a PR3 'Artemis' weapon model
Vendredi 28 juin 2019
Message from Matt
An update on Riot beta
Listening to feedback and short-term plans.
First, many players have asked why we "wasted" time doing RIOT, and I think that's a valid question.
The mechanics for RIOT were specifically designed to give my team a chance to learn how the inner workings of APB fit together. I felt that we could implement this mode without taking a lot of dev resources and we could keep our focus on the Engine Upgrade. Not only that, the experience would give us an excellent sandbox to make mistakes. If we messed up RIOT, we could simply set it aside with no lasting damage. If we mess up the main game, then it becomes much more difficult to fix.
The design for RIOT also included a number of underlying systems that we need. Some systems are focused on design elements such as cleaning up the district blocks or tracking new aspects of play. Other systems focused on replacing Joker Mystery Boxes. It's clear that legislation will eventually make these illegal, so we needed new ways of building value that our players can spend money on.
Next, here are some interesting stats for the first week:
RIOT was played 4x more on Citadel than on Jericho due to low population issues starting the mode
Fight Club ran 2.2x more matches than RIOT during the same week on Jericho, but 92%+ of accounts playing FC also played RIOT
Fight Club ran 1.2x more matches than RIOT during the same week on Citadel, but we saw 1.5x more accounts in RIOT than FC
~40% of the active player base during the week played RIOT at least once
We are spending a lot of time going through all the feedback here on the forums to see what is feasible. There have been lots of great suggestions.
There are clear issues with the mode, and the team is working on a relatively light weight pass of tweaks and fixes to make it more fun. Areas that need work are the end-game, sound, and respawns.
Right now, the big decision I need to make is whether to:
1. Take the mode down until it has seen major work or 2. Add some more tiers along with another reward that will enable players to continue grinding Joker Tickets while we make changes.
I'm not interested in clinging to or defending something that isn't working, but I still see some value in the mode itself - just perhaps not in the original way we intended.
We are not moving forward with any Battle Pass or Seasonal content until the kinks are worked out.
For PC, everything is now done except for migrating Unreal package content.
To give specifics, there are 1498 packages used in the game:
919 regular packages
537 map packages including dynamic layers to action districts for events and missions
So far we have converted about ~83% of them:
706 regular packages
542 map packages
That leaves 249 packages to migrate, but these are all somewhat more difficult.
Some of them wont be migrated because G1 or LO already made changes that weren't ever in 3.0. This includes reworked Financial and Waterfront textures and geometry.
Some of the packages are for User Interfaces. These are tricky because we have a chunk of UIs in 3.5 already that have been glued up for console. And we have new UIs in 3.0 for the trading system and other areas. Anything we migrate from 3.0 will step on aspects of the 3.5 screens and work will need to be redone. I'll have a better sense of this effort once we get a little further.
Some of the remaining packages have changes in both 3.5 and 3.0 and those will need to be hand merged. Again, I'll have a better sense of this effort once we get a little further.
We still have plenty of bugs and crashes that need to be fixed, but we now have all the code, systems, and server work completed.
Performance testing of the Engine Upgrade is very important. Not many people would trade better looking graphics for worse performance. In APB's case, there are currently disk-based stutters and bad support for multiple CPU or GPU cores. One of our primary goals with the Engine Upgrade is to fully utilize modern hardware.
DISCLAIMER: It is important to point out that the Engine Upgrade has an entirely different rendering pipeline - some good and some bad. Many players have seen what the console builds look like, and the performance on those devices is terrible. The starting point of the Engine Upgrade was these exact console versions just running on PC, so there has been a lot of work to do since we started. Unfortunately most of the work is very specialized and cannot be done by a huge team without tripping over each other. We have kept as many people dedicated to the upgrade as possible, but this work is filled with rabbit holes and pitfalls. Sometimes areas that appear simple to optimize end up using global data that touches many other areas of the code.
I want to thank @SKay for all of his hard work leading the benchmarking effort to help us gauge progress in these areas.
To make sure the test runs were valid, they had to be able to easily reproduceable as well as being able to give a proportionate representation of what a user might see during their time in APB. The game environments vary from claustrophobic to wide open, and the benchmarks needed to account for both. In the end, he chose a short car drive that would force the game to move quickly through as many different areas as possible under consistent conditions.
The main goals of the benchmark are to insure that:
The 3.5 performance would at least reach the same speeds (on average) as LIVE
The main issues (stutters, low 1%' and .1% frame rates) were at least looked at and/or addressed
New visual upgrades or changes didn't affect the overall experience
The route above shows the benchmark run that was used in all cases. The test run as outlined above has open areas and enclosed areas in a single run that could be repeatedly reproduced for apples-to-apples comparisons to help identify progress with the Engine Upgrade.
Starting at Darryl Kent, we take a left out and stay on the road passing right of Suji. Taking the next right and keeping the City Council building to our left, we take a right at the crossroads outside of Violet Prentiss and Wilson LeBoyce, following the road as it sweeps towards Javez and passing him on the right. We hold that road and turn right when it meets the river, coming back to end in front of Darryl Kent.
Stats were captured with MSI Afterburner using RivaTuner Statistics Server running on Ultra settings 4K resolution.
Here are the benchmark results:
To explain the numbers for the graph:
Max FPS is the highest framerate detected during the test. This in conjunction with the other metrics can determine if the game is able to push good framerates on the current hardware.
Avg FPS is the average of all the frames that were taken during a run. This is used as a base metric to compare the other metrics in this list with.
Min FPS is the lowest framerate detected. This is not necessarily the lowest framerate outright, rather the lowest framerate that could be normally detected through normal gameplay.
1% FPS is the average of the lowest 1% of frames that were taken during a run. This metric, when compared to the average, is used to determine if the PC is struggling to run the game, or if the game is struggling to drive a consistent frame rate.
.1% FPS is the average of the lowest .1% of frames that were taken during a run. This metric is used to detect for stutters or freezes (if any)
NOTE: The benchmarks do not included the non Multi Threaded renderer results. The state of the renderer was bad enough when we started that it was clearly well below LIVE and not acceptable.
Here is a quick summary of our development timeline on the Engine Upgrade:
May 2018, we chose to focus on infrastructure which took us a couple months to clear the cobwebs
End of July I posted my first update on the Engine Upgrade with details around bringing on more devs for the Unification project
November we rebuilt the Music Editor for 3.5 and the majority of external libraries had been upgraded just to get the build running
Early February we had finally sorted out a number of crash bugs that allowed SPCT to get their first play tests on 3.5
March we had realized how bad the renderer was and had implemented most of Multi Threaded rendering
And here is a walk through of the results working up from the bottom:
The bottom shows our LIVE comparison which was taken in the March / April time frame.
The first set of results above the bottom was from the initial Multi Threaded renderer implementation back in April. These results were very encouraging, however in-game lighting was completely broken in this build, so the results were skewed higher than any other build that had lighting working correctly.
806538 shows what the initial finished implementation of Multi Threaded rendering from May. This was our first good look at performance, but it revealed several areas in the renderer that needed work - mostly in the Culling and Level of Detail systems. Culling is what decides which elements on screen to render and which to ignore. Level of Detail (LOD) determines if we can show a lower resolution model based on distance.
809566 shows some early Culling work from late May, but the routine had severe graphical issues with objects not getting rendered properly.
810873 shows our current build that is rendering properly with Culling and LOD fixes.
Checking in on customer support
Addressing frustrations and extended response time.
This has been an ongoing issue. Clearly my staff was too small, and our trouble ticket queues ballooned as soon as we announced unbanning players. Since then we have been hiring staff and improving tools to help speed things up. As of today, there are 819 total tickets (unsolved) which continues to come down week by week, and there are 523 total tickets that have not been touched (contacted). Today we are answering tickets from June 5th, which means we are now at a 23 day response time.
23 days to get a response is still far too long for support turnaround, but these are the lowest numbers since we took over last year.
With this release, we are addressing player feedback within the new RIOT mode in addition to tackling ongoing stability optimization efforts.
New Glory's update
"Controlled Aim" now gives the correct amount of accuracy
Players now keep their unlocked weapons when they respawn in RIOT
Primary weapon unlock now costs $2,000
Secondary weapon unlock now costs $1,000
Added number of kills to the mini-game HUD
Amount gained for arming a gas emitter now happens immediately
No known issues
Vendredi 14 juin 2019
Riot Supplemental Release - Build number - 1.20.0 (1145)
Bug Fixes, Stability and Weapon Drop Rollback
This update addresses bug fixes and stability issues. It also rolls back the Global Weapon Drops.
Weapons only drop from players hands while playing RIOT
Weapons in RIOT respawn more frequently
Updated respawning mechanics in RIOT, this will be an ongoing process
Updated the icon for the Hightop boots to the correct icon
Fixed some RIOT van spawns and vehicle wreaks that were not placed correctly
Moved some crates in Riot to keep players from being able to get stuck
Picking up a temporary weapon from a giftbox will cause you to drop your currently equipped weapon on the ground
Jeudi 13 juin 2019
Message from Lixil
Meet our Team
This month, we continue to introduce you to the folks behind the scenes that make APB shine. Let's get started and say hello to our crew highlights for this month and remember, the next time you are online, be sure to say hi to our awesome team.
Selali - Associate Producer
My name is Selali and most of you know me as the one who provides customer support for Little Orbit. I am moving on from being your CSM and transitioning into a role on the APB production team. My love for gaming and anime are what led me to work in the gaming industry. If you want to contact me, I will still be available on the forums and in Discord under the name Selali.
Stichly - Customer Support Manager
Hi everyone, I'm Stichly. I am taking over as the new Customer Support Manager from Selali. I come from a background of over 20 years of customer service experience. I have a deep passion for video games and the various gaming communities. I'm a Star Wars fan, as well as Disney and Pixar. I look forward to assisting this community to make sure we are doing everything we can to make the games under the G1 banner the best place to play. Find me on the forums by tagging @Stitchly
SpuzvaBob - Head Moderator
Hey, I'm SpuzvaBob, or just Spuzva for short. I'm your head moderator on the GamersFrist and Steam forums, guiding our growing team of friendly moderators, as well as moderating myself. I try my best to keep our team friendly and approachable! If you have anything you want to ask or need to know, feel free to send me a PM on the forums!
Lixil - Community Manager
Hi! I'm Lixil! I love games - both video games and tabletop games! I'm the sorta gal that believes that if the world could be made out of glitter, it would be a much better place. To prove this, I have fed our Devs glitter-covered popcorn when I am in the office! When I'm not making the world a more shiny place, you can find me in-game or on the forums every Monday (around 7PM) and Thursday (around 10PM) or reach me at my Discord (Lixil#2686) See ya around!
Ritual - Associate Community Manager
Roses are flowers, violets are smaller flowers. I am not. Summon me on our official forums every day at 9AM to 5PM PST... except Monday and Thursday. Those are my knitting days. You may also run into me in APB or Fallen Earth, and you are also free to use my Discord contact ID (Ritual#5891) in case the summoning Ritual fails otherwise.
ComFeyer - SR. GM / Forum Lead
Some of you may think I'm multiple people, others are convinced that I'm part of the advanced moderation AI. It doesn't really matter what the truth is, all that matters is that I'm here to help when possible.
Mercredi 5 juin 2019
Riot Mode Beta release with additional Anti-cheat measures - Build number - 1.20.0 (1134)
With this release we are pushing live our new Riot Mode BETA. This new mode will challenge the most skilled players as they race to make it to the end of a collapsing map and to be last man standing.
Riot is now accessible to everyone.
The new Yakuza Skin is available as a reward with the new mode.
The In-game Joker Store has had its inventory updated. More changes forthcoming.
Easy Anti-Cheat has been implemented to improve cheat detection.
New Joker Mystery Box
JMB 22 featuring the NTEC-7 Compact 'New Glory' is now available.
Improvements have been made to Trade Locking when moving computers.
General Bug fixes and improvements to stability.
Rewards for those who participated in our Alternative Reality Game have been implemented.
Optimized and refined messaging within the UI.
Automatic Respawn has been added when enough cash has been collected.
Switching districts during Spectate Mode is now possible.
Initial implementation of Scoreboards has been added.
Starting weapon has been revised.
Driving has been removed, for now, within RIOT.
Audio issues could be present resulting in minimal SFX.
Particle effects can be displayed before they are supposed to.
Boundary issues around Dangers Zones may be noticeable on uneven surfaces.
Unreachable weapon spawns may be seen sporadically.
Slight delays may be seen when the mode resets.
Vendredi 31 mai 2019
Fun, Fair, & Fixed
I want to start by acknowledging that it's been too long since my last update. Technically, I managed to stay on the monthly schedule, but I want to be more consistent going forward. Keeping you in the loop is a top priority.
On Wednesday June 5th, Little Orbit will be launching the largest patch for new content in APB since we took over last year. It's a great time to be an APB player so follow along below to find out what's instore. I'm going to walk through each of these updates and let you know what you can look forward to in the very near future.
This is more of a "Fix", but I didn't think this should be at the bottom of the update. To lead off the news, I wanted to let you know that I expect both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 builds will be submitted to our publisher by the end of the day for QA testing! This is the first of several steps that will get you the much-needed updates to the console version of the game. Once they are approved, we will submit to Microsoft and Sony. From there, we'll be able to push the builds live. I know this has taken a bit longer than we thought, but once these are approved, we should be able to roll out new content to consoles at a much faster rate, bringing you features PC players have enjoyed. Overall, this update will allow us to push new content, across all platforms, at the same time. This will be a big deal when it's live.
Riot beta going live
After a number of positive OTW tests to collect player feedback, we are ready to launch the live beta for APB RIOT!
As I have previously stated, we've been building the systems behind RIOT since August of last year. The Halloween and Christmas events allowed us to break up the development into bite-sized chunks so that we didn't take away resources from the engine upgrade or other developments.
It goes without saying that the RIOT Beta is still a work-in-progress. During the Beta phase, we will be collecting as much data and feedback as we can. We won't be introducing larger ticket items like the RIOT Pass or the updated reward structures until we formally launch with the Season 01 release. With this Beta, all players can rank-up to earn free rewards and a new weapon skin! Also, as part of this Beta release, we will be delivering the ARG Weapon Skin and RIOT Symbol Rewards. Jump in and enjoy RIOT and be sure to share your thoughts.
On a side note, for those of you who feel this is taking focus away from the main game, don't worry! The systems that are being introduced under the hood here will have a global impact across the full game and will make the general experience more compelling down the road.
A new JMB is here
Joker Mystery Box 22 featuring the NTEC-7 Compact "New Glory" is heading your way. I made a commitment to players that Little Orbit would not engage in abusive monetization tactics and so far, I feel we have made good on that promise. We have lowered the cost of G1C and globally recalibrated pricing in the ARMAS marketplace, lowering most prices.
In August of last year (nearly 10 months ago), we launched the Showstopper. This secondary was largely completed by G1. It was just waiting for final tweaks and refinements.
We know it's been a while but the "New Glory" will be launching next week. It will be Little Orbit's first ground-up weapon design to be added to APB and we are thrilled about it. We are working on a pipeline now that will see more content like this (in and out of JMBs) created on a regular basis.
Joker mystery box 22
A new legendary
Officially the NTEC-7 Compact "New Glory", is a modified NTEC 7 "Ursus". Whereas the "Ursus" was an Assault Rifle, the NTEC-7 Compact is a slow firing SMG/AR hybrid which uses smaller caliber ammunition to provide a quicker fire rate where needed. The "New Glory" features the Controlled Aim modification which lowers the rate of fire during marksmanship mode to gain increased accuracy. It also allows you to fire fully automatic without losing accuracy outside of marksmanship mode. We know you are really going to dig it.
Yesterday, members of the community were crafty enough to spot Easy Anti Cheat files that were included in our latest test patch, so this information leaked a little sooner than we had hoped.
As part of the next patch, we have removed BattlEye and replaced it.
There is a lengthy Community Discussion thread on Cheating. It covers why this is such an important topic for APB and the various forms of Anti-cheat. Ultimately, we want a Fun and Fair game for everyone.
During its history, APB has used Punkbuster (client side), Fair Fight (server side), and BattlEye (client side). This will be the first time that we can do runtime projection of the game and backend analysis of player behavior in one unified system. We have spent months integrating the system and connecting it to our /report system, so data from players can help drive detection systems.
The health and enjoyment of our community is critical to the success of APB. We will continue to ensure that everyone has a chance to play on an even-field where legitimate winning isn't deterred by a few bad actors.
May was objectively a challenging month for Little Orbit. Server migrations are hard. We underestimated the difficulty of a very complex data center move that impacted a lot of players and us at an important part of our development timeline. The downtime generated support tickets, which in turn impacted our support team. We are working overtime to address everyone that was impacted and will make-good where we can.
While the extended downtime was unexpected, the transition to new equipment will set us up for a future where stability and speed will be worth the short-term pain. Again, thanks for sticking with us through this rough patch.
New joker store items
Over the last couple months, the team did some analysis of the game and decided that Joker Tickets, as a currency, have a really low value proposition.
We are working on a larger initiative that we feel will directly improve the main game, and I'll talk about that more as we get closer to the Engine Upgrade. But as a starting point, we have decided to revamp the in-game Joker Store and added some exciting new permanent Primary, Secondary and Cosmetic items for purchase.
That just about wraps up the big news for this month. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates on APB RELOADED.
The community has been very patient with us as we learned all of the critical systems that make APB so unique, and while we have now been at this for over a year, I feel like we are just getting started.
Got any questions? Want to chat with other players? Then discuss this article in our Forums! You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Vendredi 19 avril 2019
After months of manipulation and clever business deals, the Redhill Institute of Technology (R.I.O.T.) has infiltrated San Paro's financial district and set in motion their plan to rid the city of its violence problem by eliminating their source - Criminals and Enforcers.
Lured to the scene by the promise of money for aiding Redhill or the desire to stop them, you need to watch out for their emitters planted throughout the area. They will eventually release their lethal chemical concoction. Luckily, there is a way out. An escape van awaits and will evacuate out the last team standing. But this isn't a free ride. Either take everyone out, or bribe the driver with the most cash to get out of the city. This is of course all before time runs out.
Mode Walk Through
To get started, pick your favorite weapon loadout and enter the RIOT district. You'll have a brief amount of time to decide whether to team up or take your chances with strangers. Take this time to run around the map and familiarize yourself with the changes that Redhill has made.
Once the mode has started, everyone will have their weapons removed and you'll be left with a single pistol. You can improve your odds of making it to the end by scavenging randomized weapon drops and building a cash stash.
Somewhere on the map is the final block where an armored truck and the driver waits someone to bribe him. If you can collect enough cash, you can find the truck and deposit it to win.
You can also use cash to:
Unlock your weapon loadout
Spawn your vehicle
Purchase an extra life if you have no remaining lives
Initially, all of the financial district will be open and available to search.
Emitters will start triggering around the map on their own and blocks of the district will be filled with highly concentrated lethal chemicals that will slowly close off the map. The order that the blocks close is random. Empty blocks are safe. Yellow blocks have an emitter that has been activated. Red blocks have been triggered and are dangerous to enter.
If you want to make some quick cash, Redhill will pay handsomely to any players who speed up the process. Find any of the R.I.O.T PDAs to acquire a time limited access code. Use this to activate any emitters before the code expires. Make sure to not linger.
To safely enter the chemical clouds in dangerous blocks you will need a hazmat suit. You can find these life savers in containers scattered across the district. However, they won't last forever, and it'll take some time before you can equip another one. Plan your escape carefully.
Those who make it to the last zone will then race to deposit cash into the escape van. The highest bidder or last remaining team will get a safe ride out of the Financial district.
We'll be opening OTW to general players to conduct a stress test for the mode. The test will run from 1200 to 1500 PDT.
We'll be running an open play test for the mode. OTW North American - Available from 1900 to 2300 Pacific time. OTW Europe - Available 2000 to 2400 Central Europe time.
Ongoing tests will be scheduled as needed. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates and any additional tests. We sincerely hope that the community will join us and help provide quality feedback, so that we can make this a fun new addition to APB.
Our core intent is to be open and transparent with the community but just note that some specifics may change as we follow the development path.
The goal is to release RIOT as a "Pre-season" as soon as we can on the live servers. The Pre-season won't have the following, but it will have rewards to chase for a limited time. The hope is that once the engine upgrade is ready we will formally kick off RIOT with Season 1. This would include a full set of content.
With RIOT we want to introduce Season-based rewards and potentially items that can be used in the main game modes. Don't worry. We still have plans to expand mission-based content, but RIOT gives us an opportunity to make specific things available sooner, as opposed to burying them somewhere deep in the contact progression.
We also wanted a Season system that encourages players to play within the time-frame, gaining unique benefits throughout the season, while also allowing new players who missed previous seasons to still gain the same rewards.
RIOT Subscriptions & RIOT Tokens
At the heart of this repeatable system is a new currency, which we are calling RIOT Tokens. Players will have the option of purchase a RIOT Season Pass at any point during a Season to gain the tokens they missed.
To launch Season Passes, we plan to make the following updates:
We are going to be removing the 50% reduced cooldown from Premium and giving it to all players
We will be eliminating the 3 month and 6 month options for Premium
We will be reducing the cost of 1 month of Premium
We will be adding RIOT Season Pass that can be purchased on its own
We will be adding a Pass which gives players 2 months Premium + RIOT Pass
Final pricing will be announced closer to launch of Seasons.
Season Specific Rewards
Each regular season will have 10 contact levels and several achievements that players can progress through. All players can earn the APB$ and reward items for each level.
RIOT Pass players will also get a RIOT Token for reaching specific levels. Within each Season, players can win up to 15 RIOT Tokens. These will be used to buy very limited things in the RIOT Token Shop. Items in the shop will be kept season to season, with multiple season's worth of content in the shop being available at any one time, though they might eventually rotate out.
Players who enter RIOT at any point in the future will start at the season one.
In order to allow us to have a single contact stretch multiple seasons in an interesting way, we are introducing Contact Prestige to the game. "Prestiging" a contact costs APB$ and/or Joker Tickets. Doing so will increment their Season, resetting their standing and showing the next series of rewards.
It's an exciting time to be an APB player and we look forward to sharing more with you in the coming days and weeks.
Jeudi 18 avril 2019
April update from Matt
Tomorrow I will be releasing a walkthrough of RIOT, but in the meantime I thought I would give a general update on other topics.
Why release RIOT before the engine upgrade?
This question has come up a lot.
The simple answer is that we uncoupled these two efforts because I couldn't predict when the engine upgrade will be ready to officially launch. To put that statement into context, there is a big difference between opening access to the new engine for public testing and officially launching it. We're close on one date for opening access, but the date for launching it is still an unknown.
As a project, RIOT was mostly about content, art, and design systems that have been in the works since mid-last year. This effort had known requirements and a timeline that we could measure and work towards. While I am very aware of the current state of the game, I also believe we cannot only upgrade the engine and expect players to get excited about APB again. We need new content, and from its inception, RIOT was designed to ride alongside the rest of APB with the fewest dependencies possible.
The engine upgrade is a different beast entirely. For a long time we didn't have any idea of how much was left to do. As we were working through upgrading libraries, the game sometimes wouldn't even compile. Until recently, it was hard to gauge progress. At this point we're down to only a couple remaining tasks that can't be sped up by adding more team members.
Next week, we're going to start open testing on RIOT.
Please know that while RIOT will launch first, the team's highest priority is getting the engine upgrade into public testing, and then everything will come together so we can begin the work on phasing and matchmaking.
Next, I want to acknowledge a recently discovered challenge with the Banning System.
I have already talked about the escalation system that we use with BattlEye for temporarily banning suspected cheaters so that my team can review the ban and make it permanent. When we took over last year, it was important to me that we make sure to avoid the problems caused by Fairfight and Punkbuster in the past. Unfortunately, it looks like there was a bug that prevented the saving of permanent bans in some cases. This meant that when the temporary ban expired and our internal system showed the player was permanently banned, they could still log back in. This didn't happen in a majority of cases, but it did happen. We apologize. The issue has been fixed now.
I also want to give a small update on Nekrova. This was announced on the forums in March and then covered in the March blog post.
At this point Innova / 4Game cannot retrieve the payment records from their backup database. The team and I are working on a new plan to compensate these players. I'll update the community on the forums when that is ready. I still hope to get the migration complete as soon as possible.
Engine Upgrade - General
Lastly, here's the latest update on the engine upgrade.
We have completed the multithreaded renderer! Some of you may have seen my tweet from last week.
At this point there are two main areas that need additional work:
1. There are a number of small rendering issues with textures and lighting that we hope to fix fairly quickly. This is the main reason I have delayed showing off any screenshots for the time being. I want them to be as accurate as possible to what we'll be shipping. 2. There is some inconsistency in the benchmarks and initial frame rate tests. For instance, some hardware is running better than the current game and others are running worse. We already have another build queued up for testers this weekend with another round of changes. Improving the frame rate is critical, and that's an area that we will be focusing on until we can match or exceed the framerates in live.
For content, all of the new code that Little Orbit created since last year has been migrated over. We're currently fixing compiler issues, and after that we'll start migrating content packages that have been updated which includes everything for RIOT.
For User Interfaces, the SPCT has reported a fair amount of issues that need fixing. We're moving pretty quickly through these and the last crash bug is being fixed today. Overall this effort needs to undo some of the console work and bring the UI functionality back to where it is for PC.
For art, we need to finish optimizing lights around the level, fixing collisions, and addressing texture issues. The team has already gone through and adjusted time of day color ranges and values.
Engine Upgrade - Console
The Xbox One and PS4 versions are in good shape.
At this point both builds are working correctly and can play matches in our development environment. We still have to fix the texture issue on PS4 and the multithreaded rendering work needs to be ported to Xbox. But we're going to go ahead and pass both of the current builds off to QA for extensive testing. The hope is to get a release candidate so we can patch both systems just to get through the process, and then we'll patch again as soon as the major fixes are ready.
I want to finish this blog by saying that the team is passionate about APB and the upgrade. Lots of late nights and weekends have already been put in. I recognize that the community has already waited years. I'm excited to get it into your hands as fast as possible.
See you guys tomorrow with a full breakdown of RIOT.
Lundi 15 avril 2019
April Showers Brings Weird Flowers
Roll up with your crew on 4/20 as San Paro celebrates the day of the devil's lettuce.
Take a few pot shots at some bud-dies and when you see the enemy, light 'em up.
ARMAS will have ten 420 themed symbols (sold as a pack) to celebrate. Here is a sneak peek at what you'll find when they go live 4/17:
Devil's Lettuce, a Bong, Joints, Bud Leaves, THC, a 420 Clock and MORE!
420 MiniGame - Find the Dealer
For 1 day only, April 20th, 2019, we will also be hosting "Find the Dealer" minigames where we will be giving away the following decals to the winners of the minigame:
Find you friendly neighborhood dealers decked out in green within Social.
Smoking Skull Decal and Mr. Tokes Decal
How to Win the Decals
One of our GM's (#1) will hide somewhere on the map in Financial or Waterfront while a second GM(#2) stands in the general area of GM #1.
When the event starts, GM #1 will be hiding on the map (their map marker will be hidden) and GM #2's marker will be on the map, letting players know the general area they are located.
Whoever finds and touches GM #1 first, wins!
Smoke 'em if you got em!
Lundi 15 avril 2019
RIOT public testing!
We're going to be performing some public testing for Riot starting next week. As you see in the picture below there are different types of tests.
The stress test will only be performed on the NA server
The open test will be performed on both the EU server and the NA server.
More details in the picture below!
We might have to perform the third test if we require more details or information of any sort. If we do, we'll make sure to announce further details about this potential test after finishing performing the first test. We will keep you updated!
Collect as many eggs as you can within a set time by mugging bunnies, chickens and other players in special Easter versions of Financial and Waterfront. Earn several new titles and unlock fun animal themed clothing!
Find bunnies and chickens walking around the city, and mug them to steal their eggs. Bunnies carry 1 egg each, and chickens carry up to 5 eggs.
If you're feeling extra spiteful on this festive day, then mug other players and steal all their eggs. If it's just too dicey, you can take out players for half of their egg supply (rounded to the nearest whole number).
You may deliver any eggs you are carrying to contacts, which will prevent them from being stolen. Keep the following in mind:
The Easter Egg Hunt is a free-for-all event, with no teams or factions.
Each game lasts 20 minutes.
After mugging a chicken, bunny, or player you will receive a speed boost and become invulnerable for a short time. This egg shield will allow you to make a quick escape and it's indicated by a ring of floating eggs appearing around your character.
While invulnerable you will not be allowed to use any weapons, and the effect will be cancelled if you enter a vehicle or activate certain character mods.
Other players cannot interfere while you are mugging someone.
While you're carrying the top 20% number of eggs in the district you will not be able to return to the lobby, so be sure to drop your eggs off at a contact first before heading out.
If you have the highest number of eggs, then you will become an Egg Lord! You will be visible to other players on the map making you easier to hunt down until you drop off your eggs.
Play the Easter Egg Hunt Event 10 times
Title: Battle Hopper
Kill 30 players in the Easter Egg Hunt Event
Title: Big Rooster
Mug 15 players in the Easter Egg Hunt Event
Title: Hot Chick
Mayor's Egg Hunter
Deliver 1000 Eggs to contacts
Role: Egg Wrangler
100 Joker Tickets
100 Joker Tickets and a choice of:
The Real Easter Bunny
100 Joker Tickets
100 Joker Tickets and a choice of:
100 Joker Tickets
100 Joker Tickets and a choice of:
100 Joker Tickets
Clothing: Egg Mask
100 Joker Tickets
100 Joker Tickets
100 Joker Tickets and a choice of:
The Big Hit
100 Joker Tickets
100 Joker Tickets and a choice of:
In the Hen House
100 Joker Tickets
Clothing: Rabbit Mask
100 Joker Tickets
Clothing: Animal Suit
Title: Egg Wrangler
Got any questions? Want to chat with other players? Then discuss this article in our Forums! You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Vendredi 22 mars 2019
End of First Quarter Review
It's nearly the end of March, and I'm overdue giving the community an update on our progress. Honestly, between travel to our London office and the Game Developer Conference, this month got away from me. I'll do better in the future to try and keep these updates on a more standardized schedule.
There is a lot to talk about this month, so bear with me for the length of this blog. I'm going to rundown status on our various workstreams, and then I'm going to spend some time talking about "Why we do what we do".
Alternate Reality Game: www.redhillinstitute.com
To start, I want to take a moment to thank all of the dedicated players who have spent hours scouring the Internet in our Alternate Reality Game for the Red Hill Institute of Technology. The team has had a fantastic time exploring some of the new APB lore and watching all the discussions on our forums and Discord. We're close to the wrapping that up, and I'm looking forward to seeing who claims the reward first. I'll be talking a bit more about the lore of RIOT, but if you want to catch up on what has happened so far, you can see the discussion here: https://forums.gamersfirst.com/topic/8072-the-redhill-institute-thread/
I announced this on the forums a couple weeks ago, and there was quite a bit of discussion surrounding our strategy and timing. As a quick recap, two years ago Innova ended their support for APB Reloaded in Russia. Based on their different economic pricing, possible GM issues, and some unique items they introduced into the game, it was decided to migrate those players to their own server named Nekrova. During that migration, players retained all their inventory, but none of the actual purchase records were ever handed over. Since that time, concurrency on Nekrova has dwindled to nearly empty, and due to some upcoming features later this summer, we need to finally merge that population into Citadel. There are tens of thousands of components that roll up into thousands of in-game and ARMAS items. Unfortunately it is impossible for us to manually map over all the inventory 1:1. We just don't have the man power. Instead I have posted our strategy here: https://forums.gamersfirst.com/topic/8220-nekrova-migration-update/
APB Engine Upgrade
I know this is the update everyone is waiting for. and we are nearing completion of the engine upgrade. The SPCT has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly for the last couple months. According to last year's Roadmap, I wanted to get the new engine into the hands of players on OTW in February, but we hit a fairly significant snag in the Multithreaded Rendering code. Ultimately we scrapped what was there and completely re-wrote it. We now have most of that working, but there is some work to consolidate code between PS4 and XB1/PC. The only other major task is to migrate all the content from 1.19 and RIOT mode, which has already started. As soon as that is done, I will post some screenshots, benchmarks, and timing for public tests.
APB Console Update
This is the second most asked question on the forums and Twitter. Both the XboxOne and PS4 are now working. Both platforms required extensive system updates along with a complete re-write of our voice chat system. The XboxOne still needs Multithreaded rendering to improve frame rates and the PS4 still needs texture memory fixes. Now that the PC version is synced to the same code base, it means that consoles are also getting the content from 1.19 and RIOT. There are so many fixes already, that I will likely submit what we have to our console publisher and then it will go to Microsoft and Sony just so we can get more stable builds into the hands of console players. Then we can keep submitting console updates on a more regular basis as the other items finish.
In an effort to give a more definititve status on the PC and console upgrade, we currently have 61 open bugs out of 116 total, most of the big bugs have been fixed except for items like centering text on a specific control, adjusting how scrollbars work in an area, or fixing how a window gets closed.
That news article got a little press on the Internet, and some fans took to the forums and Twitter to discuss their opinions. With that in mind, I want to share a little bit about "Why we do what we do".
Why aren't we just focusing on the engine upgrade? Why do RIOT first? Why did we introduce the Red Hill Institute?
The simple answer is that we need to do all of these things, all at once. My job is to line them up as best as I can. In my opinion just launching the engine upgrade isn't enough. Launching a new game mode isn't enough. We have been working hard sine May last year to do something big for the community, and this first big step needs to contain something for everyone.
Internally I felt that if we launched the engine upgrade but then took 4-6 months to build out a major new piece of content that would be a mistake. It's going to take a little more time to tackle matchmaking, new core gameplay contacts / progression, and a big F2P initiative that I want to roll out.
So the design for RIOT was very intentional. We needed a shorter term way to support the new engine with new content that rolls out in 2 month season increments. We introduced the Red Hill Institute as a new lens to view San Paro and see how the classic factions that control the city react. Each new season brings an opportunity to progress the storyline with its own thematic flavor and rewards players can earn. RIOT itself is a journey - not a destination. While the gameplay is mostly finished and being polished, every 2 months we have an opportunity to tweak the rules or mechanics to refine the experience.
Lastly, many players have asked about whether RIOT is a Battle Royale mode or not.
Clearly if we look around the industry there is already a lot of variance in what Battle Royale is from game to game. We do have a collapsing map, but it closes off block by block based on player interaction. We do have guns that you can pick up, but we also allow you to come into the mode with your favorite loadout and earn the points to unlock those items for use during the match. In the end, some players will feel this is BR, and some wont.
The key point is that we didn't just copy what other games are doing.
RIOT was built with a larger strategy in mind to help us pull together a lot of different pieces while we continue rolling out updates to the main game itself.
I have an entire deep dive blog on RIOT coming as soon as the ARG ends. It will include full details on the mode, the seasonal reward structure, and even some upcoming regular gameplay meta changes.
As always, we appreciate your ongoing support and are eager to share more.
Jeudi 14 mars 2019
APB RIOT Reveal
The war between Enforcers and Criminals has now been raging for years , and unrest among the citizens has reached the breaking point. A new force has come to San Paro to gain control. RedHill Institute of Tech. Drastic measures are needed to tamp down the epic battle that is brewing. Whole blocks are being shut down. In this tug-of-war over control of the city, only one can come out on top. Will it be you?
Little Orbit and GamersFirst will bring a new generation of gameplay to APB Reloaded. APB RIOT.
Be vigilant. Keep your eyes open.
Something is happeningin San Paro
(2048 x 1536)
(2560 x 1440)
(2048 x 2048)
(1080 x 1920)
Click here to download the key art and share with your friends.
Mercredi 13 février 2019
[PC & Console] Patch notes 1.19.7 (1079)
[PC] A new patch is going up onto the Live servers for PC. This patch will be happening on Wednesday 2/13/2019. Patch will start at 9 AM UTC and will last for 6 hours. This patch will activate the Valentine's Day events. Log in during the event to receive a Valentine's day skinned 14 day STAR 556 'Love-Gun' and Colby SNR 850 'Cherub'. Use these 'Love Gun's to spread your love to other members of San Paro. These events will run for 2 weeks ending on 2/27/2019 at 9 AM UTC.
This patch will also introduce a minimum rank requirement of 30 to enter the Fight Club districts. More information regarding this change is posted here.
[Console] Valentine's Day events will start on console at 6 PM UTC. These events will also run for 2 weeks ending on 2/27/2019 at 9 AM UTC.
Enabling Valentine's Day events and the Valentine's Day contact skins
Fixed a few bugs related to messaging in the Valentine's Day items
Adding in a min rank requirement of 30 to Fight Club districts.
Fixed a bug that allowed you to bypass a district rank restriction if you joined as a group.
Samedi 9 février 2019
February 2019 Newsletter
Criminals are Red, Enforcers are Blue, San Paro is out of control and desperately needs you.
With Valentine's day on the horizon, we wanted to show our affection to the players who continue to support and contribute to the world of APB. This update brings us a sweet treat in a revamped ARMAS, the return of our Valentine's day event and Matt's update on where the game is going. There is much to love so continue below for all the latest and greatest in APB.
UP & Coming
Feeling amorous? We are.
Starting in early February, ARMAS will be transformed into the AMOROUS Marketplace. Come for the exclusive V-Day weapons and stay for a refreshed ARMAS store that has seen significant reductions in pricing on a ton of cool stuff.
We have heard your feedback and took it to heart. We are thrilled to introduce a new simplified pricing model that makes it even easier to understand and gets you the gear you have been lusting over at significantly reduced prices.
Here are just a few of the highlights from the updated store
Standardized pricing across the board.
Everything within ARMAS has been reviewed and or updated – over 2,500 items.
Due to lack of use, we are saying good bye to the 3 Day options for weapons.
The majority of weapons have seen a price decrease.
Of the items reduced, the price has been lowered on average by 30%.
The amount of bonus Joker Mystery Boxes awarded to console players are now in sync with PC.
Bundles have been updated to reflect the standardized pricing with some seeing an increase.
The cost of Premium has been reduced on console by up to 20%.
Dropdown menus now make navigation a breeze.
Can you smell it? Love is in the air and our Cupid is invading San Paro. Starting soon, track down our surly cherub for a chance at swag that will make your heart swoon. Keep an eye on the APB Twitter feed for details.
Back again this month, we wanted to highlight one of our fans in the community. We have amazing players out there and we wanted to highlight a cool find. We thought this was particularly impressive. Keep it up. We love seeing the passion and creativity. It’s inspiring.
We are checking in with Matt this month on the transition to Unreal 3.5 and the progress on syncing up the PC and console versions of APB. As always, this is a great opportunity to get a sneak peek behind the curtains and see what it takes to get you the great game we all love.
At the beginning of the month, Matt gave a quick update on progress.
With Valentine's Day on the horizon and love in the air, I felt this was an appropriate topic. Since we took over, players have reached out with feedback on our forums, Reddit, Twitter, or Facebook. In many cases, they shared important issues. Sometimes they highlight a reason for why they drifted away from APB or have stopped playing altogether.
My team takes these comments to heart, but I recognize that's an easy thing to say. For me, this is not lip service.
I believe that we are wasting our time attempting to release something new, if we don't fundamentally listen to the community and address the core trends that have been brought to our attention. The first step in finding a solution is acknowledging an issue. The second step is sharing the solution and committing to it.
Beyond the active work being done to curb some of the big-ticket items like cheating, DDoS issues, etc. there are three major areas that have been consistently brought up by players. Below we will outline them and highlight the upcoming solutions in the order that we will be addressing them.
1) Inconsistent and or confusing item pricing
I've seen this argument come up nearly everywhere that APB has been talked about. I made a commitment to look at the pricing in my first Twitch interview. Back in May, due to the old G1C exchange rate, it was possible to pay more than $40 for an Account Bound gun. We improved the amount of G1C per dollar, and we tried to lower prices a couple months ago. However, we made the mistake of trying to follow the pricing rules that were already in place. Right now an Account Bound ARMAS weapon still ranges from $20 - $32, and when we surveyed other online games, we still found we were priced a bit high.
With the next patch we will be launching the second update to ARMAS Marketplace. This is an aggressive pass through the entire store - not just weapons. We standardized around a few simple pricing tiers within categories like vehicles, skins, clothing, etc. Additionally, weapon pricing has been lowered on average by 30%. This will make for a much more consistent and ideally enjoyable browsing experience.
2) Desire for new content or In-game rewards
It's been a very long time since any permanent new content was added to the game including new rewards that can be unlocked through progression. Even Little Orbit has only been able to release the Showstopper on ARMAS and some holiday events with minor items and new symbols.
In March, we are going to be launching a new game mode. We are excited to share more with you about this in the coming weeks. This will unlock a completely new persistent mode that has contacts and rewards that we will be rotating out on a regular basis. After that, we will be introducing new contacts with more in-game progression items when we launch the big engine upgrade.
3) Optimizations needed for modern hardware
Players often tell me about the slowness of APB when they run it on their new rigs with high end multi-core processors and state-of-the-art GPUs. The current version of the game is 32-bit running on Unreal 3.0. As counter intuitive as it sounds, in order to get good framerates currently, you need a single very strong processor or a GPU with a single strong processor. This is because, Unreal 3.0 only supports single threaded rendering. For XboxOne players, the game is choppy and runs at a less than ideal framerate. For PS4 players, the streaming sometimes results in pixelated low resolution textures.
We now have new internal builds running on PC, XboxOne, and PS4 under Unreal 3.5. I have talked a little bit about the upgrade, but I haven't shared many of the optimizations players will see. First, it's 64-bit and makes use of multi-core processors and more RAM. Even our early play tests showed a massive improvement in resource utilization. Second, we are adding support for multi-threaded rendering. Interestingly, the PS4 version of the game has this already. But that code isn't being used on PC or XboxOne yet. This is likely the single biggest improvement that players will see. Also, we have re-worked texture streaming to make it far more efficient and improve performance. This is an exciting development that should go a long way in improving the overall gameplay.
I initially felt that there wouldn't be noticeable visual improvements. And I am happy to report that initial testing with the SPCT have proven me to be wrong. Those players were quite pleased with the upgrade and new effects that bring APB more in line with current games.
All of this is coming in the weeks and months to come, and I look forward to seeing old and new players alike come check out the new APB Reloaded. It’s an exciting time for APB and we thank everyone for coming along for the ride. Keep the constructive feedback coming!
Happy Valentine's Day from all of us at Little Orbit and the APB Reloaded team.
Vendredi 1 février 2019
Progress with UE3.5 / Integration
It's been about a month since my last post on this topic, and many players have reached out to me to ask about progress, so I'm going to take some time to do an update.
I also want to talk about the SPCT and testing to help shed some light on their role and activities.
At this point, we have all three platforms Xboxone, PlayStation 4, and PC on the same code base, and all three platforms are compiling.
We are working through some issues with Xboxone and PlayStation 4 that will need work before we can actually run them.
But the PC is up and in test.
We are behind where I wanted to be.
We'll do our best to catch up, but we had some technical challenges in January getting the new build up and running for testing. We had just gotten the game to run internally at the end of the year, but I seriously underestimated how much effort it would take to build an environment that SPCT could hit externally. I'm sure there was a lot of frustration on their side, week after week, when we would tell them "be ready this weekend", and then the servers weren't up.
Once we finally got things sorted out, the entire SPCT had to spend hours downloading the build. Then we had more problems getting into the Action Districts due to a networking issue. We figured out a work around that let most team members in, but then the disconnects started. Right now the server is very unstable and crashes based on a number of broken things that players can trigger. Due to a number of issues, players get disconnected every 5-10 minutes. Again, I feel for the team attempting to test or explore issues when they are getting constantly kicked and have to log back in.
We have now had almost a full week of testing, and in a way the SPCT and Little Orbit are exploring this version of the game together in real time.
My raw initial impression of this build is... it's a mixed bag. I have publicly stated that that I didn't think UE3.5 was going to be that big of a change. And in some cases, I was wrong. There are some significant changes to loading times, visual look and feel, and CPU/GPU usage. However there are also LOTS and LOTS of oddball bugs, crashes, and generally unexpected areas where the game behaves strangely.
I'm going to try and give regular updates on our progress, so everyone can track where we are, but for now here is my best general update:
Most of the code is based on the console version. That's great for engine optimizations, but generally bad for many aspects of gameplay right now. The menus, districts, weapon balance, and other areas are all based on what you can see right now on XB1 and PS4. My team will be pulling across all the PC specific pieces and updates as fast as possible, but there's a fairly big gap at the moment.
There are lots of frustrating bugs (like not responding to ALT-TAB) that make the game not much fun to play. We need to slam a bunch of quality of life changes in as soon as possible, or I worry that SPCT folks are going to get very frustrated.
Visually the game looks very different. Materials were updated. Textures improved. Reflections improved. Lighting changed. There are aspects of the game that I'm still hoping to adjust, and I'm sure each player will determine how much they like or dislike the new look, but I was surprised how much I liked it.
Framerates seem to be more stable, but generally slower than Live. This is due to a number of unoptimized things. I'm confident that we'll actually get the game running better than Live once we apply some fixes.
We are going to need to do some work on the districts themselves. Missing kiosks need to be replaced. Some elements need to be removed, and collisions will need to be thoroughly gone over.
Update UE3.5 Screenshots
I know some players have asked for a new round of sexy screenshots from the new engine.
However given where we are, I don't think hyping this effort is the right route to take. We have time for that later.
Instead, I'm going to make an exception to the NDA and allow each SPCT member to post a single bug or feature they found interesting from their experience so far - good, bad or ugly.