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Another month is in the books. The focus of October was on polish: we asked our Alpha testers and staff to compile a list of the most annoying bugs and issues they have encountered during testing, and we then focused much of the month on eliminating those issues.

A heavy focus was placed on AI improvement. Starting with a new Maneuver system, which allows us to synchronize advanced NPC movements. We also improved the cover code in numerous ways, allowing NPCs to move from one cover area to the next, and to form formations behind a single piece of cover.

Missions also received a significant amount of attention based on tester feedback. You can now select your Ability card rewards from a list of three suitable abilities within the appropriate category, rather than being awarded a randomly selected card. Support for wide area mission markers which display a radius for your target rather than a specific spot was also added, and we added marker support to a wider number of generated mission templates. As always, this is configurable on a per mission basis. Other improvements include tooltips on mission arrows, and variable mission icon support.

You can find the complete list of changes in the notes below.

Artificial Intelligence

  • Implemented a new Maneuver system. This system allows NPCs to move around in non-traditional ways, like leap backwards and then roll sideways, or other non-standard types of movement. It allows our NPCs to be more mobile, and does not need to consume an attack round for the NPC when performing these maneuvers. This allows us to produce more lively combat sequences.
  • Cover areas now support slots which NPCs can fit into, allowing many to line up behind the same piece of cover without brushing into one another.
  • NPCs can now intelligently progress from one cover area to the next.
  • Hooked cover into the NPC trait system so NPCs can be set to avoid cover or use it on a per-NPC basis. We can also tweak how important cover is to individual NPCs.
  • NPCs will no longer seek cover in an area that does not provide them with line of sight.
  • Improved the synchronization between server and client on movement rates which improved some prediction related pathing issues.
  • NPCs should now turn and slide more smoothly.
  • Certain tactical decisions, such as crouching, now have an AI wait time so they won’t perform an ability or other action during it.
  • Adjustments made to the tactical AI code
  • Improved pathing.

Combat

  • Momentum gains were greatly increased (8-15x what it was before in some cases). Momentum is consumed by some abilities.
  • Two-handed weapons cost more endurance, but increase momentum at a faster rate than their one-handed counterparts on a DPS scale.
  • Implemented a new client side status visualization system. This system is designed to make it easier to spot openings on other players or NPCs. It is more responsive than the server side system which is important for time sensitive openings.
  • Improved knockdown effects which now look better and are more effective.
  • Introduced new melee animations.
  • Increased endurance consumption rates on melee abilities across the board. This is scaled against weapon speed.
  • Endurance regeneration during combat was reduced.
  • The Action Mode targeting reticle will now be hidden when you open any other window and it will reappear when the window is closed.
  • Improved synching of pain animations and effects when damaged in combat.
  • Spread attacks now support Chained particle FX.
  • Many combat FX were improved including Lightning Shotguns, Cold Procs, Smoke, Fire, and many types of AoE attacks or buffs.
  • Improved melee and handgun stances.
  • Fixed a bug with the minimal distance code that was causing it use the diminished values. This was causing a lot of damage issues with sniper rifles and other weapons.

Engagements

  • Engagements now support the new Pending Rewards system for Ability card rewards. You can find details on the Pending Rewards system below in the General section. Along with this upgrade players will now be able to choose from up to three Ability card rewards rather than being randomly assigned a card randomly.

General

  • Introduced a new Pending Rewards system. This systems can be interfaced by various systems of the game for selectable rewards. The advantage of this system is that players will not lose rewards if they disconnect or log out while selecting rewards. The system can also queue several rewards until a later time if you wish to put off this decision until later. If you have pending rewards a selector to choose a reward will pop up the next time you log in. Be warned that if you accrue more than ten pending rewards it will start removing the older pending rewards.
  • Added the capability to hold animations during certain processed such as looting so the animation cannot be normally broken out of and the camera will rotate around a positioned player until the process is complete.
  • Added the capability to hide/reshow the weapons and other objected attached to the player so it wouldn’t show up during certain animations (such as looting).
  • Flashlights effects are now centered around your head rather than being oriented on your weapon (previously, when weapons were stowed players were unable to see with them)
  • Introduced a new system which makes it easier to create cinematics or fly by shots for videos.
  • You can use “/destination clear” to clear your current destination on the minimap.

Graphics

  • The Vulture model has been re-scaled (now it´s larger) and has all new animations.
  • Added 20 new armor pieces to the female model, along with numerous improved animations.
  • Introduced many new models including tanks, satellite dishes, rocks, containers, tents, ruins, walls, fences, pods and towers.

Inquiries

  • Extended the destination marker system to support Inquiries, which will be its primary means of access. You can obtain directions to your destination by choosing the Where Is... branch when inquiring with an NPC. The NPC must know directions to that location and must be willing to provide them to you (Diplomacy based). Similar to other inquiries, the available questions can be based on pre-requisites, allowing us to only show certain destinations if you meet the criteria.
  • Asking about NPCs through an inquiry can now yield improved results. This includes additional background information and location information on many NPCs.
  • Added the following new locations to the destination (directions) system: Camp Kjell, S&B Supply Post, Plymouth’s Underbelly, Exile Camp, LZ Kabura, Plymouth Pond, Lurker Lair, Camp Payton, F.S. Research, F.S. Supply Post, Camp Taak, Mysterious Cave, Hole on the Hill, Ranger Station 56, Aemar Hydro Plant, Plymouth Control Center, Aemar Mine, Oasis Watch, and Ammann Village.
  • Many new bits of knowledge were added to the inquiry system including new responses to about the Aemar Corporation and Julie Aemar.
  • Added a new Orientation Bot NPC near the cloning point in Plymouth City. This is a helpful NPC who is used for inquiries. It will give three times more often/complete answers than your average NPC and can be asked for directions to local NPCs, or various places, as well as giving you details on local events, or about local businesses.
  • Introduced the ability for questions about certain NPCs to always give complete details. This was primarily introduced for the inquiry and mission tutorial but can also be used for other special case scenarios.

Missions

  • Introduced a new Ability Reward system for missions which allows you to select between up to three different Ability rewards when you complete a mission. Previously we randomly assigned players with only one card based on abilities they already qualified for, and they needed to click the card to train it. This adds some choice to the rewards, and is implemented using the new Pending Reward system.
  • Added mission marker support to many more of the menial missions based on tester feedback. This is still configurable on a mission by mission basis. Most missions will only give a marker once you have moved within a few hundred meters of an NPC, though some allow for long range tracking.
  • Goals can now optionally set themselves as being large radius goals. If that is the case then rather than giving a direct location to the goal, they will instead produce on the map a large circular red marker indicating the general position in which the NPC has last been spotted. As is generally the case these markers can be displayed or hidden based on the designer specified configuration options. The end result is that many kill tasks or other missions will now display a radius where an NPC might be found in, rather than displaying a single dot, or no marker at all.
  • Mission marker icons have been improved. Not only do they have new looks, but they are now color coded and have different icons based on the mission relevant to this NPC. If the mission is an offer the marker includes an up arrow on the side, whereas if it is a turn in or interaction it is a down arrow. Normal missions are color coded yellow, where static collections are colored green, and tutorials are a shade of blue.
  • NPC mission chat is now private and is disabled in your chat channels by default. You can enable it through your chat tab settings.
  • Background information was added for most of the NPCs in the game who should have it. This allows for better directions or details through the mission system when a mission supports it.
  • Introduced numerous new long-range generated and static missions. These missions are primarily designed to introduce players to new locations, and they take advantage of the destination system added last month. The story behind these missions varies from deliveries to supply runs, or patrols.
  • Kill goals which allow you to kill various mobs of a certain type can now leave markers to known locations for each of the mobs in the list.
  • Mission Arrows will now display the name of the mission or NPC in a tooltip when you mouse over the arrow.

NPCs

  • Vultures received new models, animations and AI traits. This includes the ability to leap, strafe, and an all new spitting attack. They also received new defensive abilities which they can use in combat.
  • Lingmaa now have the ability to grab rocks and throw them at players.
  • NPCs can now be marked to be ignored by other NPCs, disallowing other NPCs to do any damage or attack them even accidentally through AoEs. This was added to several NPCs in the Training Facilities, as well as neutral Lost and Found Managers.
  • Adjusted the inventories of NPC weapon vendors so they contain more variations of weapons and are more appropriately themed to the type of vendor.
  • Created a new Medic NPC type. This NPC type differs from previous Support types which had some healing capabilities but also used a ranged weapon. The Medic type will only use a Medical Scanner, but has improved healing.
  • Created an NPC setting which will use Lightning Shotguns and specialize in AoE attacks.
  • Lesoo have a new default set of clothing. They also feature new melee attack animations.
  • Whimpering Setlang will not run until 20% health now, making them easier to kill, especially for melee types.
  • The Sim Assault Bots in the tutorial engagements have been removed in favor of Mechs.
  • Movement rate to animation synching improvements for Nacoot, Calprates, Rocharus, Lurker, Turloc and some Robots to prevent the appearance of sliding.
  • Added new types of seated NPC animations, and a reasonable number of new NPCs who use them.
  • Rhinocs are no longer nearly invincible due to an issue with an ability and healing causing them to heal rapidly.

Skills and Abilities

  • Blindside (Assassination) had its stun length increased.
  • Aimed Shot (Rifle Tactics) now has a 20 second recharge time, instead of 40.
  • Head Shot (Rifle Tactics) now requires 1000 skill, rather than 1100.
  • Rallying Cry (Leadership) had its recharge time increased from 2 to 6 minutes.
  • Numerous Diplomatic, Leadership, Defensive Tactics, Entertainment and Intimidation abilities now have a vocalization component, which will prevent them from being used if you are unable to speak.

Trade Skills

  • Added the following new Artillery recipes: Grenade Engineering, High Powered Incendiary Matrix, Biochemical Matrix, and Physical Damage Matrix. They can currently produce including numerous items including Incendiary, Frag and Flashbang Grenades.
  • Added the following new Chemistry recipes: Metal Acidification, Metal Catalysis, and Anhydrous Chemical Synthesis. These can create many components including Thorium Dioxide, Thorium Nitrate, Thermite, Anhydrous Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Sulfate Heptahydrate, Anhydrous Barium Chloride, Anhydrous Barium Fluoride, and White Phosphorus.
  • Added Skill Imprinting rewards for extracting (corpse and resource).
  • Reduced the range at which you can view harvestable resource markers on the map.
  • Added the following harvestable resources to the North Plymouth Mountains: Sarnium, Pratinus Flower, Rue, and Abandoned Bundles.
  • Introduced over a hundred new crafting icons.
  • Improved Mining FX.

User Interface

  • The Character Sheet received a significant upgrade. There is now a new stats section on the right hand side of inventory. It features expandable and retractable sections where you can view the combined stats from all of your fittings. These are separated into the following categories: Vitals, Offense, Defense, and Miscellaneous.
  • Added a new button on the minimap which can be used to open a new larger scale and zoomable map of the surrounding area.
  • Tracking and Destination Arrows will now display the name of the Destination or NPC in a tooltip when you mouse over the arrow.
  • A new Mission chat channel was added. You can enable it to receive NPC mission chatter text in your chat window.
  • A new shadow distance adjustment was added to the graphical options for testing. This will greatly improve FPS for everyone. It should be enabled and integrated into the game fully soon, but for testing purposes it has to be enabled in the video settings.
  • You can now mouse over achievement names to get a tooltip with a description of how you received that achievement.
  • You can now mouse over the energy split ratio on the Character Sheet to obtain a tooltip explaining what it does.
  • The Character Window is now fully tintable like the rest of our GUIs.
  • Markers on the minimap now provide additional color coding options. Engagements are now marked in a shade of orange, where collection mission givers are a shade of green. Tutorial NPCs are a blue shade.
  • Effects now have the “clock effect” over their icon showing how much time is left. The “lit” area indicates how much time is left and it gets darker until it expires.
  • You can now double click on a fitting to add or remove it from a socket.
  • Skill gain messages are now localized and private.
  • Fitting stat display had a GUI display issue and would not scroll using the mouse wheel. Both issues were resolved.
  • The Survey button on the minimap has a new icon, and now acts as a toggle.

Vehicles

  • Light Mechs now support multiple attack animations and impact animations, and had their movement rate tweaked.

World

  • A new military base has been added: LZ Kabura. This area is accessed by a trail up the mountain on the edge of Mid-Plymouth and the Falls Trail. The first time you visit this location you will receive a small but permanent boost to your Acrobatics skill. It includes a vehicle garage, skill imprinting station and crafting station.
  • Introduced a new area to the southeast of The Pipeworks in FPR territory: Scorched Gorge. This includes a research outpost, and volcanic activity. This area features heat waves and a new volcanic ash environment effect which will increase based on weather conditions.
  • The Aemar Hydro Plant received a content pass. The interiors areas have been completely redone, new outdoor structures were added, and many of the exterior models have been replaced. The surrounding area also features additional hunting opportunities.
  • Plymouth City refinement continued this month. Many buildings have been decorated, though the most notable improvements are in the Mayflower Pub, which received a large revamp. Signs and seatable chairs have also been added to additional locations. Along with these changes we saw an optimization pass being applied.
  • Loch Aza has seen another batch of improvements. This includes new military bases, archeological sites, and improved weather effects.
  • Plymouth Control Center received the first part of a complete overhaul in the closing week of October. The new design features elevators into the pits, and many additional structures. We'll continue this process in the next build.
  • The area surrounding Ammann Village has received significant spawn adjustments. There are new dens, and an increased number of mobs overall.
  • The OWON Training Facility saw additional refinement. This includes new tent locations where Sim Invaders will spawn from, as well as additional NPC cover areas. Nacoot are also found throughout the area and in higher numbers. It also includes new decorations in some of the buildings, optimizations, flora, pathing improvements, and an improved opening sequence.
  • Populated the North Plymouth Mountains with mobs. This area now includes Rocharus, Okolat, Elkar, Turloc, Achillea, and Calprates. These are managed through multiple dens.
  • The Hole-Plymouth Trail now has new explorable ridges up the hills, which feature new hunting locations and rare mobs.
  • Increased the brightness of lighting in Plymouth's Underbelly, which has improved the ambience of the dungeon.
  • Blood Valley now features escalating dust clouds during bad weather conditions.
  • Many new mob locations and several new rare mobs were added to Mid-Plymouth.
  • The roads in Plymouth Pond have been adjusted, and more space has become accessible in the area. The Rocharus section is now better spaced out, and deepened some sections of the Pond itself. The overall mob count in the area has also been increased.
  • The entire Plymouth region received a terrain optimization pass, resulting in large performance increases in some cases.
  • Snow effects have been significantly improved, and snow has been re-enabled in Kaavo.

Minor Additions and Bug Fixes

  • Improved dust storm FX.
  • Harvesting FX are now networked.
  • Shortened the mail subject on the Hunting <randomhostile1>s template.
  • Internal improvements to the destination system.
  • Fixed a bug that was preventing many missions from displaying arrows when they should have. It should be noted that not all missions support arrows, it is based on the mission design. But many more will now support them to be easier.
  • Tissue and DNA Samples are now using new icons.
  • Rearranged some signs that were too close to the billboards in Plymouth City and causing some z-fighting flicker.
  • Corrected some floating harvestable nodes in the Plymouth area.
  • Private Smith in Plymouth City should be Missing in Action less often.
  • Fixed a number of places where players could fall through the terrain due to objects being erroneously marked as part of the neighboring zone.
  • Corrected some issues in the Rocharus' run loop.
  • Fixed some floating or underground trees in the following areas: Mid-Plymouth, Northern Plymouth.
  • Radio transmissions should no longer overlap on top of the tip window.
  • Changed the wording of an inquiry question where is asked about local Fauna when it meant Flora.
  • Stitched a seam in Plymouth Northwest.
  • Fixed a number of NPCs in Payton's Peak who were erroneously flagged as being in Plymouth Hills. This was causing some issues with generated missions.
  • Repaired an issue affecting some generic melee group bosses, who were only using their generated boss abilities and never using default attacks.
  • Dr. Nigh in Ammann Village will no longer continually walk around his house, he now just picks random points then rests.
  • Fixed an issue with The Awakening: Combat Training that was causing your goal text to disappear at one point until you fired another shot at the Sim Invaders.
  • Added hostile generated mission markers to the following areas: Aemar Hydro Plant, Ammann Village, Plymouth-Hole Trail, Falls Trail, and East Plymouth.
  • Fixed a bug with the spawns in Mid-Plymouth where Achillea and Setlang had their levels and number to spawn reversed, so there weren’t nearly enough spawning, and the ones that were up were too tough for their mob type.
  • Renamed two variations of setlang to avoid confusion when doing kill missions.
  • Fixed a gap in the armor of Medium armor sets.
  • Kim Bastings has returned to the S&B Supply Post.
  • Fixed tinting issues on certain armor sets.
  • Corrected some cases where you could attack while knocked down or knocked back.
  • Fixed some rooming issues in Falls Trail and Plymouth Pond.
  • Removed foliage from the roads in various locations throughout the world.
  • Player Abandoned Missions should now properly remove mission markers.
  • Fixed a floating camera location used in one of the generated missions in Plymouth Pond.
  • Training Facilities NPCs will no longer try to attract your attention by default, but this is overridden by certain NPCs. Since they are in such a condensed area this was causing the area to be a little spammy, when it could be assumed that every NPC in that area offers a tutorial.
  • Repaired some issues with harvesting FX not playing.
  • Adjusted the harvestable trees in game so they aren’t so far into the ground.
  • Stitched terrain seams in a number of locations.
  • Gunny Fennick is still large, but a little less so than was previously the case.
  • You can no longer rotate the mouse or zoom the camera while cinema locked.
  • The vehicle at the OWON Training Facility is now better centered on the landing pad.
  • Slowed down the spawn rate of Sim Invaders in the OWON Training Facility.
  • Increased the mob count along the Plymouth-Hole Trail.
  • Increased the damage done by the turrets in the OWON Training Facility
  • Fixed a localization issue with the top performer text in engagements. This was preventing the top performer’s name from being displayed after an engagement ended.
  • Corrected texture issues in some of the tower models in the game.
  • Fixed an issue with fitting crafting.
  • Increased Sim Invader and Sim Master Sergeant attack range.
  • Improved Mining FX.
  • Ability tooltip optimizations.
  • Fixed harvestable awareness range on Falasium resources in Plymouth's Underbelly, Sarnium in Upper Oasis Valley and Geel Flower's near Plymouth City or Fool's Sanctuary.
  • Repaired an issue with Ability cards and blueprints not displaying correctly after a restart.
  • Fixed a big issue with harvesters and removing them from harvestable nodes causing the nodes to stop appearing in game.
  • Fixed a bug that was causing the mission journal text to be empty on some static missions.
  • Removed the Defense emote from the Turloc Defense ability as it was there erroneously and it didn't have the proper animation.
  • Updated the mission markers in the Patrol to the Pond generated mission. They were slightly off after recent area changes.
  • The selection targeting arrow is now using a thick form of wireframe rather than being solid.
  • Corrected an issue that was preventing pets from landing the killing blow.
  • Moved some props and Matilda at the S&B Supply Post.
  • Fixed an issue with female turning animations.
  • The floodlight model no longer has all black textures.
  • Covered up some holes with rocks in the Chieftain's cave in Plymouth's Underbelly.
  • Cover in some cases was not properly covering the right direction from weapon fire. This was fixed and new indicators were added for developers to easily tell what direction is being covered.
  • The Keeping Busy tutorial will now ask you to inquire with a new Orientation Bot in the city, rather than asking you to inquire with random NPCs. This ensures the player will always receive a location marker to the Commander when they ask where he is, and will not have to ask multiple NPCs.
  • You can now receive mission or inquiry markers to the Peacekeeper Commander from anywhere near Plymouth City.
  • NPCs will now react to players who are inside of a vehicle.
  • Increased the LOD Factor on the blocks outside of the Shady Lady as they were fading to transparent too early, while you could still see the objects behind them.
  • Tweaked the dust fluff effect in Plymouth's Underbelly so there are now more particles of dust.
  • Fixed a bug with the Patrol: The Hole on the Hill mission.
  • Corrected an issue that could occur if a mission was pointing to a deleted treasure specification and bug out the mission.
  • Updated the apartment instances in Plymouth City so they match the recent city improvements.
  • Fixed a bug that was preventing the “low on endurance” warning from being sent to the client.
  • Rocharus, Lurker and Turloc now have unique species portraits for the targeting window. These can still be overridden by custom ones.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented you from regenerating health or endurance when you were using a speed buff.
  • Minor optimization to the mission indicator icon system.
  • Corrected an issue that was causing players to stand back up immediately after using a seatable object.
  • Rewrote the particle weapon code to correct some networking issues.
  • Fixed a bug that was preventing Elkar who were marked to crawl from crawling in some cases.
  • Dr. Rosa in Timbertoc is offering new research bounties.
  • Fixed hard edges on one of the commonly used smoke textures.
  • Improved LOD switching on the palm-like trees in Loch Aza.
  • Repaired some issues with Faugea death and movement animations. They were previously using the walk animation when they should have been switching to run, and the death animation was occasionally not playing.
  • Fixed some issues in the cover code that were preventing some larger NPCs to move around a lot trying to get a good angle to attack.
  • Fixed some grating sections in the sewer of the Aemar Hydro Plant which were not set at the right height.
  • Scaled NPCs will now properly play movement animations. The scaling was previously causing some synching issues between the server and client.
  • Brenda Hill no longer speaks in a man's voice.
  • Fixed a nameplate error that could occur while loading into a new area.
  • Lurkers should now properly play their run animations if they are moving quickly enough.
  • Minor Minimap optimizations.
  • Fixed an issue that was occasionally preventing NPCs from pursuing players.
  • Mousing over a friendly player structure will no longer display a targeting cursor or force you into combat mode.
  • Fixed a bug which was causing some combat related missions to display markers or indicators to locations even if you were not on the proper step.
  • Missions markers will now be properly updated when you enable or disable tracking of that mission on the helper window.
  • Fixed an issue that could position an NPC below the terrain.
  • Improved terrain texture transitions between Aemar Hydro Plant and Oasis Approach.
  • Created Rogue and FPR specific spawn points in the Aemar Hydro Plant.
  • Corrected a bug in the NPC chatter system which was preventing it from playing if you had a mission with that particular NPC.
  • Dr. Rothgeb in the Dead City will now properly give collection missions, as was previously intended.
  • Fixed a bug that was preventing Leech and Transfer abilities from working properly.
  • The Marked Target NPC ability no longer lasts forever.
  • Maintenance Bots can now run if need be.
  • Fixed an issue with some NPCs that spawned that could not use some navigation paths causing them to have pathing issues.
  • Removed stealth capabilities from some NPCs who should not have had them such as Carlo Amante.
  • There are no longer two Earl Corwin’s in Plymouth City.
  • Adjusted the spawn point in Falls Trail.
  • Reduced the range at which you can interact with the large rusted machines in the Aemar Hydro Plant.
  • Fixed a collision issue with structures which did not have the bounding offset rotated properly.
  • Corrected a rotational issue with the nudge arrows in player created cities or housing.
  • Improved selection circles.
  • Opening a window or performing other actions that take you out of action mode will now display the appropriate cursor instead of the targeting cursor.
  • Optimized client side fitting code.
  • Additional decorations have been added to Camp Taak.
  • You can no longer enter into sniper scope mode unless you are in first person action mode.
  • Extracting during action mode “hid” the cursor making it a little hard to interact with the window. The issue was resolved.
  • The mission tracking toggle buttons will no longer use the same color for hovering over them as was used when they were selected, as this was confusing.
  • Fixed an NPC grounding issue.
  • Corrected some issues where generated mission parsing text (such as <randomhostile1>) was appearing in the mission journal.
  • NPCs now properly have their awareness set that can lead to some npcs being aware of players at a further distance. This allows the AI to “wake” up and start going through the AI process.
  • When first logging in NPCs were not being positioned properly in other seamless areas. This positional issue was fixed.