With July in the books, we wanted to take the opportunity to recap the progress made over the month.
The siege system received some beginning framework updates allowing for siege camps to be deployed, GUI work to display siege information and setup the windows described in the siege article. August will see a lot more of the siege system implemented.
Inquiries were a major addition, and are fully documented in a new feature. This system allows you to ask questions to most of the NPCs in the game. You can ask questions about numerous topics which an NPC may be aware of. You will also gain new bits of knowledge in your travels, which will open up additional subjects. These can lead to hidden missions or achievements.
Vehicles received a series of upgrades this month. New hover-cycles, hover-speeders, and a mech were introduced, along with a number of other physics and control related improvements.
Our voice features also gained refinement in the form of new Master Volume and Voice sliders, audio upgrades and important fixes. We also began adding voice overs to the tutorial NPCs.
August should be a busy month with us getting prepared for PAX Prime, which starts August 30th . We have a few things to show off and announce and we look forward to bringing those to you here shortly. If you happen to be attending PAX Prime you can come check us out at booth 681 and keep an eye on us for more updates and information. Those looking for new videos will be very happy as well.
- There is now a proper Master Volume slider in the Audio Options.
- There is now a Voice Volume slider in the Audio Options window.
- Added numerous new voice styles which are voiced by Mike Oliver. This includes a range of creepy, military, radio, and robotic voices.
- When doing missions if you advance to a new response option and the NPC is still voicing over the last bit of information, it will abort the old information and immediately start into the new information. Previously this was causing overlapping audio.
- Tweaked numerous bits of audio to better balance volume.
- Accuracy was removed as a weapon modifier and instead we introduced distance modifiers that impact optimal (100%) damage based on range. This includes getting to close or stepping out of the optimal firing range. The previous accuracy UI was updated to reflect these new changes. A forum posting with more detail can be found here.
- The zoomed scope effect is much improved. It includes new graphics and a field of view adjustment to make it easier feel more realistic.
- Implemented an aiming/held setup while in combat mode so you aren’t constantly running around with a gun pointed at something/someone. If you aren’t actively targeting something you will go back into the held mode with the weapon still drawn, but not aimed.
- Action Mode targeting is much improved in 3rd person mode, especially in situations where you are using non-standard screen resolutions.
- Left clicking in Action Mode will now only fire, heal, or buff. You must right click in the same fashion as RPG mode if you wish to interact with an NPC for an Inquiry, Mission or to Buy/Sell.
- Adjusted the damage calculation bonus based on NPC attack speed. Previously slower attacking NPCs would deliver massive amounts of damage when they did hit. They still will deliver significant damage, but the bonus now features diminishing returns, which should make those surprise ambushes a little more survivable.
- Increased the rate at which you gain defensive skills ups.
Crafting and Harvesting
- Refined Galfernol Bar added as primary Decreased Minimal Range stat modifier for the new damage/distance modifier.
- Nitric Acid added for Decrease Minimal Range agent.
- Nichrome modified to have Decreased Minimal Range as a secondary stat (removing Increase Aggro as its secondary and moving it to Galfernol )
- Added Decrease Minimal Range as a Tertiary stat to 5 different refined ores.
- HarvestableRegion code updated to a more lightweight setup reducing network usage and fixing a bug or two.
- Item Info Cards now display component types of the item if they are used in recipes.
- You can now harvest tissue and blood samples from the following species: Turlocs and Mubark.
- Added the following harvestable resources to the Boglands: Morgun Trees and Geel Flowers.
- Added the following harvestable resources to the Northern Range: Hok Weed and Lesapen Fruit.
- Added the following harvestable resources to The Shed: Geflech, Placebo Plant, and Alluvium.
- There are new Fish and Juro Tree spawners outside of Freedomtown.
- Desks and Tables are now learned by reading the Basic Installations Manual.
- You can once again start new characters as members of the FPR. Next month's focus is shifting towards PvP and sieges, and this is a precursor to that.
- Optimized idle animation code to improve network performance.
- Made some adjustments to the day/night code to give a little more daylight than was previously the case.
Graphics and FX
- OWON and FPR are each sporting new logos/insignia.
- Over a hundred new models were introduced or upgraded including stalagmites, crates and containers, doors, cables, mountains, lights, plants, vehicles, furniture, mechs, rocks, buildings and trees.
- Roughly 120 new icons were added.
- Introduced a new Bog weather environmental effect.
- Loch Aza and Doma Highlands have received environmental upgrades and look much better.
- The following areas have been optimized and should see noticeable performance boosts: Aemar Hydraulics Plant, Timbertol's Underground Caves, and large parts of the Plymouth area.
- Optimized the Grenade Cloud and Explosion FX so they emit less particles, giving a noticeable frame rate gain in large scenes.
- Added Rifle muzzle flash lighting effects.
- World lighting was adjusted to make it a bit more neutral.
- Introduced a new Inquiry system. This system allows you to engage in an inquiry with most of the NPCs in game. We'll cover the major bits of functionality below.
- When a player inquires an NPC they will receive a list of chat bubbles to filter the type of question they wish to ask. Clicking on those bubbles allows you to refine that question based on a number of subjects. For example the "Tell Me About..." option might give you a list of NPCs or locations this NPC has knowledge about.
- Diplomacy is checked any time you ask questions to an NPC. Depending on the results of your diplomacy check you could receive little or no information, moving on to partial or complete information.
- Many bits of knowledge require you to have prior knowledge in order to ask about them. For example, if you first ask about the war, then you become aware of Obore Daniels. You can then ask other NPCs about him to receive more information.
- Missions can be given through inquiries, allowing us to have hidden missions that are only available by characters who have the proper knowledge. There are many pre-requisites available to filter who can receive these missions.
- The majority of NPCs have a Where is option that includes a prompt where you can enter in any local NPC name and if you succeed in your diplomacy check you will receive a tracking location on your mini-map which guides you to that NPC or location.
- Some NPCs are more willing to divulge information that others. A talkative or friendly NPC is much more likely to give you information than a jerk or a shy NPC.
- Most NPCs also allow you to ask about other nearby NPCs and will give you their opinions based on your diplomacy check. This can include knowledge such as an NPCs time of day habits, profession, personality, moods, desires, etc.
- You can obtain new knowledge bits in many ways including through missions, engagements, books or other inquiries.
- You're able to receive a lot of backstory through the inquiry system. Ask the NPCs about different corporations, locations, or events to receive it.
Items and Fittings
- You can now receive training cards as a reward for participating in engagements.
- Fittings and their attributes adjusted for the new distance/damage modifications put in place to replace accuracy. Weapons had their base stats updated to include these new modifiers.
- Many items had 20 or 99 stack limits. Those have been increased 10x for now to 200 and 999 respectively.
- Missions can now be aware of the time of day which an NPC is available and can refer to that in the mission journal or helper text.
- Mission actions can now specify if they wish for any FX they play to be played to everyone nearby, or only to the player involved.
- Added voice overs to several of the tutorial missions.
- Numerous missions have been adjusted to add Knowledge rewards as part of the mission reward or as branch rewards. These will open up new options in the new Inquiry system.
- Adjusted the credit reward system so that it ensured that all players in the group receive a reward.
- Slightly reduced the credit reward for each group member while slightly increasing the reward for the player who turned in the mission.
- Made improvements to NPC rotations so they don’t instantly rotate making the rotation look much smoother. A minor improvement was made so if you are very close to the NPC it will adjust even smoother.
- A new Mubark species has been introduced. These gigantic quadrapeds make good targets for groups. This species looks like the lovechild of a wooly mammoth and various species of dinosaur. They specialize in overpowering AoE attacks, each featuring their own animations. Don't forget to dive out of the way!
- Introduced a new Turloc species. This bipedal species features thick shells covering their back and upper side. They make their first appearance in the Boglands outside of Freedomtown.
- Lesoo now have several new types of clothing and armor looks.
- Scout Bots now feature enhanced range.
- Reduced NPC babble distance by 40% to reduce NPC chatter spam in town.
- Achilleas had their attack rate slowed down substantially.
- Basic framework for sieges was started by allowing a siege camp to be placed a close distance outside of a city to start a siege.
- The nation window was updated with a siege tab showing any sieges you are currently involved in along with some information about the declaration time, current stage, and the options to set the Persecution and Siege Windows.
- Window times are presented in a dropdown box in 5 minute increments making it easy to figure out what times are valid as they are clearly listed in order.
- Destruction or removal of a siege camp will destroy the siege process.
- The conversation camera should now properly exit if you press both mouse buttons at the same time, or hit the auto-run key.
- In order to make action mode easier to use with your left hand you can easily toggle in/out of action mode by hitting q and your inventory can be opened using e. These were previously mapped to a camera rotation option and they were moved to [ and ]. Key bindings can be remapped, but this makes it much easier to do a lot of common actions in action mode without needing to move your hand making it less strenuous. Many actions that require UI input will automatically go in/out of action mode, but this makes it easier to do some other tasks as well. Thank or blame Stadi for this adjustment.
- Allowed players to adjust their distance awareness of players/npcs for testing purposes via Game Options.
- The vendor window now has a new tab that allows you to enter into an inquiry with the NPC, assuming they are capable.
- Multiple visual changes to the Mission Journal. Mission names are using smaller text and should no longer have parts clipped if they have a very long name.
- The Nation creation window has seen a number of adjustments. The window is smaller with condensed content. It also includes new nation logos.
- The Audio Options window has seen a number of adjustments. There are now Master Volume and Voice Volume sliders, and the order of the settings has been rearranged to make it more logical.
- You can now disable Camera Shakes through the Options window.
- Added a new UI Toggle action which defaults to being ALT-Z or SHIFT-Z. It features four levels. The first removes the entire UI. The second adds the action mode cursor. The third level adds combat damage bubbles, and the fourth and final level displays the full GUI.
- Many adjustments were made to vehicle physics. They are performing much better in general, and the feel of movement is significantly improved.
- Introduced a new Light Mech vehicle. This is a slow moving, but heavily armored mech which will also be upgradeable to allow mounting weapons into it in the near future.
- Introduced new Hypercycle vehicle which is a motorcycle-like hover vehicle. It has a small turn radius and good acceleration/deceleration, but can only hold a single driver.
- Introduced a new Hypercross Speeder vehicle which is a one-person vehicle that has a very fast movement rate.
- Hypercycle vehicle supports turning animations to make it look like it is leaning during wider angle turns. Support will be carried into other vehicles as needed.
- The Silver Racer has been renamed to a Silver Crawler and now moves slower and turns wider, more in line with the vehicle's appearance. This vehicle can seat both a driver and a passenger.
- Holding left/right movement keys in vehicle mode no longer snaps rotation or strafes, it now just moves you forward normally.
- Vehicles now hover over the water instead of diving into it.
- Introduced a new vehicle riding animation.
- Freedomtown has been completely overhauled. We scrapped the old models and replaced them with new ones, redid the city’s layout to make it more logical, a small pond is now present, along with numerous new buildings, including a pub. Lights and signs will switch on and off as the time of day changes, as well.
- The Boglands has received a major content pass. Among the changes include new Lesoo based raid opportunities and scouts, a group oriented area that includes Calprates during the day and Malagion at night, several dens and hidden exploration points.
- An exile camp has sprouted up along the ridge of Plymouth's Pond. It includes multiple new mission opportunities.
- The Northern Range received a fresh pass on content. The number of mobs in the area has been doubled, Elkar have begun prowling at night, and new rare mobs and harvestables are now available.
- The Shed has received a content pass. Mob distribution is now controlled with a zone wide den, which allows us to increase or decrease spawn rates based on the number of players in the area. New Turloc, Setlang, Lesoo, Vulture and Arrvor dens have also been introduced. The area is also more rich in harvestable resources than was previously the case.
- The area southeast of Freedomtown has received a number of content upgrades. It now features a lurker-infested pond, as well as a number of new dens and harvestable resources. The mountainous areas contain a series of small, branching trails.
- Introduced a new area known as Drake's Pass in the easternmost mountains outside of Freedomtown. This is a dangerous pass that contains Drakes, Malagions, Calprates and other dangerous beasts. It is best avoided without backup.
- Created a new volcanic region on the southeastern portions of the areas outlying Freedomtown. It is littered with volcanic activity and craters.
- Timbertol continues to be fleshed out. The cave system underneath it has received a significant art and optimization pass.
- Introduced the Wailing Woods. This woodland is located inside of the Wailing Chasm in FPR territory.
- Numerous improvements to the Kalazar Mountains. The largest of these changes includes a highly fortified FPR base which will be an important hub in this borderlands area.
Bug Fixes and Minor Tweaks
- The usual assortment of mission and engagement additions.
- Regular combat attacks in action mode now properly override the animation calls from the server so they are not played twice.
- Fixed a rotation issue when going from running to combat mode.
- Fixed an interaction issue causing issues with interactable objects (harvestables, crafting benches, etc).
- Fixed an issue with using escape in action mode that would cause the game to stutter badly.
- The Lost Data mission now lets you know that one of the NPCs is only around at night.
- Fixed a few tutorials which were completing the mission instead of aborting it if you selected that you weren't interested, which didn't allow you to do it later.
- Improved normal maps on teleporter models.
- Corrected some grammatical issues in the Awakening mission.
- The respawn point in Upper Oasis Valley is now above ground.
- Fixed a bug with the Open Mind entertainer ability that was causing the buff to never be applied. This buff requires multiple other lines to be active and gives a bonus to the rate that nearby players gain skills.
- Reworked the trail markers for the Shed to Freedomtown patrol missions because the world has changed significantly in this area, causing the patrol paths to no longer match the world.
- Fixed some chat sequencing issues in multiple tutorials.
- Tweaked the response text in the Purifying Water tutorial to bring it up to date with the most recent crafting changes.
- Fixed a bug in the loot system where if you clicked the corpse multiple times quickly you would appear to have duplicate cases of the items. While this was only a visual bug and not a true dupe, it has been removed.
- Adjusted the text in the Destroy the Lesoo Raiders timed missions so that it better fit into multiple areas.
- Added mesh LODs to the tent models.
- Reduced the Combat Knowledge requirement of the Destroy the Lesoo Raiders timed mission.
- Fixed a species mastery issue on certain species which was erroring out and not recording the kill.
- Changed a case where Staff Sergeant Simpson referred to the guidance bots as guidance counselors, as that had been changed.
- Fixed an issue where the scrolling animation on the SI stations in the training facilities was not connected to the monitor properly and sort of floating.
- The Bladed Weapons, Grenades, Automatic Weapons, and Storytelling tutorials no longer refers to the NPC by their old name.
- You can now properly skill up a few skills that were previously unable to skill up unless you used a toggled ability. This includes First Aid, Thievery, Disguise, Defensive Tactics, Veterinary Medicine, Intimidation, Leadership, Spiritual Arts, and Entertainment.
- Fixed some occlusion issues in the OWON housing instances.
- Looting or extracting resources in Action Mode should now properly take you right back out of UI mode after closing.
- Removing a helmet at character creation should no longer make your character bald.
- Fixed an issue which was causing NPCs to float in some cases.
- Spatial Awareness adjustments have been made to correct an issue where NPCs would sometimes stay in sleep mode even when characters were nearby.
- Brigit Dalby in Plymouth is now properly flagged as a female.
- Fixed a bug in auto-groups that was causing the player who turned in a mission to not receive a reward, even though their groupmates were rewarded.
- Willie Smith is no longer a giant.
- Repaired an issue with Dorothy Morgan's spawner.
- Fixed the city credit display in the nation window if you were not part of a city.
- Renoldo Ross has begun working as a fitting salesman at Stuff that Kills in Plymouth City.
- Fixed an adjust issue with structures where scale was needed to be set properly or things were floating or digging into the ground.
- The Peacekeeper Commander in Plymouth City will no longer try to stealth.
- Fixed an issue related to switching to third person while zoomed in sniper scope mode.
- You can now properly rest in the rest area in Camp Taak.
- Repaired a bug in the NPC Weapons code that was erroring out when you were in a vehicle.
- Fixed a bug that was eating credits if you tried to deposit into a non-existing city.
- Corrected an issue which was sometimes causing it to echo voice overs.
- Toned down robot footstep sounds.
- Fixed the NPC portrait for Scrap Bots.
- Assorted grammatical or spelling fixes.
- Fixed an issue where the animation was not set correctly while stealthed and Swimming.
- Corrected an ability related bug that was causing it to repeatedly request information due to an error, reducing performance.
- Toggled abilities (such as stealth or basic dances) are again toggling properly.
- Fixed a bug that was causing the Raid on the Hill engagement to never give bonus buffs.
- You will no longer see the targeting reticle when using a lens zoom. The zoom lens has it’s own reticle already.
- The Mission tab on the journal is now labeled as Missions instead of Quests.
- Fixed an issue with target reticles not updating properly when hardware cursor was enabled in action mode.
- Corrected an issue that was causing you to keep firing when in action mode if you were holding both the left and right mouse buttons to move.
- Otis Boris can now be pick pocketed.
- Fixed a bug that was causing the right mouse button to show the RPG mode cursor when in action mode.
- Repaired an issue that was causing the “Those Numbskulls...” and “The Calm Before the Storm...” engagement text to not clear properly on the minimap.
- Fixed a rooming issue on the roof of city hall. The trees just outside of it were disappearing and reappearing due to it.
- You will no longer gain the desk recipe from the Melee Crafting Manual.
- Fixed a bug that was causing regeneration to not kick in after mobs were all killed in certain cases.
- Sandstorms are no longer able to move through buildings.
- Fixed an issue swapping out the new weapon visualizer specs.
- You can no longer gain swimming skills while in a vehicle.