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Friday, September 16, 2011

Entering the Open Beta "Home Stretch" - Part I

Player Motivation, Player Control and Cheats


First a quick note; from September 15 - September 20 we are offering a 100% rebate G1C bonus for everyone who buys any items in the new APB Reloaded (version 1.5.3) which we launched September 15. Click here for some more information about this promotion. There are always issues with a major new version, and this promo will let people make purchases while knowing they get a complete 'redo' later on.

Hi everyone! I cannot believe it's been more than four weeks since my last post! 

A lot has happened in the past four weeks, so this post is going to be quite long (and hopefully filled with some great information). After the last entry, we left our offices and went on a pilgrimage to Cologne where the team participated in GDC Europe (we discussed APB in some of the seminars) and GamesCom (which is one of the largest consumer game shows in the world).



GamesCom was great, especially since it gave us a chance to meet players, many who offered us a lot of great feedback and good ideas for the development team to mull over (though it was also a little bit entertaining to watch some new APB players search for the XBox game-pad controllers), and it was also a chance for us to meet some of the more well-known APB players in person.

To make it even better, we gave away tens of thousands of codes to players who stopped by the booth, and a lot of other swag and items. It's always good when you get a chance to play Santa in the middle of summer.


Upcoming Development Roadmap
In August the development team focused on finishing up the first 1.5.3 version build (which we released today). Builds 1.5.3 through 1.5.7 represent the "Home Stretch" for the entire Open Beta process, and after 1.5.7 we anticipate considering making the fateful leap to the Live version of the game (wooo!).

Version 1.6 is scheduled as the first Live (non-Beta) release, but before we actually get to 1.6, we still have a lot of work to complete, so today I will cover the most drastic upcoming changes, discuss a lot of the overall issues in the game and what we are doing to address them, and finally next week I will share the 1.5.3 through 1.5.7 roadmap as a link at the top of this page so you can see some more details about the upcoming changes.



Issues spotted in Open Beta
The first 90+ days of Open Beta have been great in helping us identify how players actually interact with the game, where players (like yourself) go, what you do, what you are willing to pay for, what you like to spend time on, what customizations you like, what cars you drive, what players you group up with, how you make your clan, what you hate, what you like and what activities motivate someone to continue playing the game (and sending virtual love-letters to the staff), and what issues and problems drives someone to rage-quit (and makes them email us 15 tickets in a row that all start with FFFF---KKK). The amount of data collected in Open Beta has been staggering. Unfortunately we have to now prioritize and structure this insane amount of feedback into actionable things.

Issue (1): Lack of Player Control
One of the core issues the game suffers from is the lack of player control. Not 'control' in terms of changing your character or designing a clan (which obviously are great customization features in APBR), but simply the inability to pick the types of missions and gameplay you like to play when you want to play them.

Unlike traditional games, APB Reloaded uses the "Mission System" to assign you missions while you drive/walk/sprint around the city (of course only if you remember to 'press K' - which is another annoyance of those we observed from watching people play at GamesCom).

The main problem with this fundamental design is that you may not be in the mood for the next mission you will be assigned. Even if it's a good mission, you might not have the right crew, time etc. for that particular game type. But as soon as the mission is assigned - that's it - you are committed (or if you quit, you of course lose Threat Level and thus risking your "Motivation" - so the Threat Level system is ANOTHER problem altogether which I will address below).

How are we going to return player control to the game, while still letting people have a wide open 'Living City' experience?

The first answer we are pursuing is "Fight Club" / "Proving Grounds," now scheduled as our 1.5.4 release. These missions, which you will be able to trigger directly from the district select screen, are the first iteration of what will become a series of dedicated matches that teams and players can launch and get a pre-defined "tweak-able" experience. We will also be able to tune what is included in the pre-defined experience on a weekly or monthly basis until we have given it the right length/content/feel (and take player feedback on which encounters are the most engaging and fun).

The idea is to give you the chance to jump in to a violent 10 v 10 (or similar) death-match or territory capture in a very small isolated portion of a district (which - by the way - also solves some 32-bit and low spec machine issues by being much smaller than the standard districts) for intense short-burst action. Think of it as a PuG clan fight, but with open ended groups/teams on each side and without all the Clan Mechanics.

While this provides insta-match content for players to experience, it also helps us try out new map changes and game-types which if successful, will be added to the main game maps as well.

We will have a whole post about these insta-missions, and how it relates to other districts and features still under development. In the current schedule Fight Club / Proving Grounds are in version 1.5.4 and Clan Warfare is in version 1.5.7 (check back next week for the details of the roadmap). We are really excited about the possibilities of this system, and letting players use it to get to the 'meat' of various types of action in just one click (again - without removing the current open ended districts).

Issue (2): Cheaters - and the Perception of Cheaters
APB is a Server-Side game. This means that barring various programming snafu's, there really are very few things you can do in the game to actually cheat. Unlike peer-to-peer games or games that rely more on the client being authoritative, APB is impossible to cheat with things like 'one shot kills' or 'invincibility cheats' and similar cheats of those types. The server rules all. Therefore (again barring coding mistakes, which do happen on occasion) most of these types of cheats are useless against the game.

However - there ARE things that the game is vulnerable to - specifically two items; aimbots and wallhacks (opponent 'ESP tags') since those two types attack the local client and exploit locally hidden information (players behind walls etc.). There is nothing quite as frustrating as finding a good hiding spot, only to be 'magically' found by your opponent. We agree.

We have two ways of attacking this issue, one is to change actual game code that will make certain exploits much harder, and the other is to work with an enhanced cheat deterrent system. The pros and cons of PunkBuster (or according to the community - the Cons) are quite well known, even though just last week it banned 2,000 players in one swoop when it was able to suddenly detect the latest evasion attempt from a cheat maker. The issue with PB is that it remains one step behind the aimbot/wallhack makers. But there is a solution for this issue in the pipeline as well.

Cheat solutions in 1.5.3 through 1.5.7

Starting with 1.5.3 we are making various aspects of cheat coding much harder to perform and/or easier to detect. Because it's cheating we are talking about we cannot really disclose exactly what we are doing, but as of this patch key cheat functions are starting to break in really odd ways. There should be plenty of frustration in the cheat maker side over the next several builds, though 1.5.3 has only implemented a portion of these changes. The goal is to get to make cheating a non-issue by the time we go formally "Live" with the game. As you can imagine, that's a tall order, but based on recent progress (some not yet in the game), we are starting to feel better about the prospects of solving this issue.

In a later patch closer to Live we have a much more drastic change that will also be rolled out, in addition to the road we have started down in 1.5.3. The goal is to have the full suite of changes in place before we release 1.6.0. 

So - What do you mean by the "Perception" of cheating?

IF there are only TWO serious types of cheats that even work in the game, how about the 'perception' of cheating going on? Why is this perception rampant? (see Issue 3 for another critical problem - that also causes rage and/or cheat anger - so all these issues are tied together).

First Perception - Snapping
First - there is an oddity with the game itself. Snapping is part of the game (!). If you run in one direction, but are looking behind you, the moment you hit 'fire' your character on all opponent computers will appear to make an instant 180 and 'snap' in the opposite direction while firing the shot. Good players can make it appear they are 'multi-snapping' by being very exact. The effect is very easy to test with two computers opposed to each other.

The result is that in many matches you often perceive your opponent 'snapping' to you (almost magically), since you don't actually get a copy of the opponent's camera movement, only the end-shot (snap). That's not cheating. That's normal game play. When you face an extremely good player, it's very hard to NOT think they are cheating. Mostly because the visual appearance of the opponent (snapping around to different targets) makes it look like something is amiss (compared to playing MW2), but also because most of us think NOONE can possible beat us or have better map awareness :) . We know we are awesome :) (again - not saying that aimbotting and wallhacking cannot happen - just that often it also appears to be happening while it's really NOT taking place). Snapping CAN indicating cheating, but only when players target multiple targets that are large angles apart in a split second. Unfortunately the two types of snapping (legitimate and the real cheatin' kind) are hard to tell apart.

We will release some videos to show this in action as well.

Second Perception - Magic Bullets
Second - not all misses are noticed by opponents, often due to how bullet flight is handled. If you are being shot by an enemy all bullets that HIT your avatar will always be readily apparent. Bullets that MISS are still sent to your computer, but we often see test players in our focus tests that do not realize that a large number of bullets were fired in their direction during an intense firefight, and that many of them missed. This can lead to a perception that opponents magically HIT YOU with every shot they fire (and magically never missed!), though in reality your enemy is shooting more shots in your direction than you might realize. 

Third Perception - Cheats that Aren't
Third - there are some supposed cheats (some that are even sold to people) - that in fact are not cheats at all. The best example is the 'no-spread' supposed cheat. If you use a 'no-spread' cheat and fire at a wall - you will THINK that bullets are hitting a wall and strike a tight area (or even easier - you can muck with local INI files and see visual changes in your client without having any effect on the server or opponent games). That's because it's a client side change. But, in spite of what you might see on a wall, shooting another player is handled entirely on the server. Turning on a 'no-spread cheat' might make you FEEL you are aiming better (and maybe you DO aim better because you 'feel' better) - but you are actually just as spread-y against opponent players as you were before the 'cheat' from the point of view of the server and the opponent player. Ie the cheat has no effect other than on your computer.

Are there any cheats right now?
Yep. No bones about it - that some people are using wallhacks and aimbots (or after the current update, are certainly trying to use them with the 1.5.3 build), and there clearly is a delay before they get banned. Therefore we are very interested in seeing the changing pattern during this patch version (1.5.3) and then followed by the upcoming 1.5.4 through 1.5.7 series of builds. What will players do? What will the cheatmakers do? We will all find out!

Other possible solutions - player kicks?
We often get the request to implement cheat-vote-kicking. A small sidenote, when Zak/Qwentle jumped in to Combat Arms for some quick analysis on how they handle something he was trying to work on, he was quickly vote-kicked by the Combat Arms players for being a 'cheater' (something you can do in CA). He clearly was NOT cheating, but he was simply just very good at playing the game, even though he had a brand new character. So player-banning also have problems.

So - what are we going to do?
In 1.5.3 we have done some interesting stuff. In x.x.4, 5, 6 and 7 we are doing additional interesting things. Depending on how they work out, we will start disclosing exactly what has changed. Let's first see how people react to them...



Third issue: Wrong Motivation Goal - and Driving People Nuts (aka the evils of Threat Levels)
So - not only do you have a lack of player control (ie you get handed a random mission, and if you quit it you lose Threat Level) you also start thinking (incorrectly) that Threat Level is actually something you really want to care about as a progression metric and a community status symbol. It was never intended to be either.

We really apologize for not addressing this earlier... Threat Level (or ELO rankings or Glicko Rankings) should actually never be a driving factor for your enjoyment of the game, but partly because of how they are presented, it's become the ultimate status symbol.

To use a golf analogy, if I had to continually show my golf handicap (which is not great) and every day I played I was constantly shown Tiger Woods' handicap (which, even in his current slump is probably a sub-zero handicap), I would simply not feel all that great about myself. Or having my high-school football team compared to a professional football team every day (American football or European football - same issue :) )

In games like Golf (or Tennis, or Football) we get around this comparison problem by simply 'grouping' ourselves in logical cagegories, divisions and leagues. NFL teams (or Premiership / Bundesliga teams for the football games where you actually use your FOOT) are never ranked against or compared with high-school or low category club teams. And that's for a good reason. It doesn't make sense.

We are working on a drastically different way of representing Threat Level and progression in the game. Some aspects will be the same (a cool symbol), but what the symbol means will be radically different (and potentially more informative).

Here is our latest idea of how we will do this. You will be assigned a skill rating and a progression. The skill rating (based on the underlying system we have today) will give you one of four colors; Green, Bronze, Silver and Gold. Players will be assigned one of those four colors based on skill rank.

The actual symbol will be one of 20 different symbols (initially) representing the progression you have made in the game; 0-9, 10-19, 20-29 etc. So you will get a different progression symbol every 10 levels from 1 through 195 (until we expand the 195 to permit higher levels as well).

In all matchmaking locations where today you see the Threat Level symbol, you will instead see the new combined Skill / Progression symbol giving opponents information both about your general threat, as well as your progression through the game.

This way you actually get better information about the gear and content that a player is likely to have equipped. Especially for Gold players there is significant difference between a Gold who is progression 25 and one who is progression 125,since the higher progression player has a lot more versatility in equipping the right gear for the right encounter. With the current TL system, this critical information is never communicated.

Will you EVER get to see the 'real' underlying detailed skill information? Potentially yes - in particular in our upcoming Clan Warfare system you are likely going to have the ability to 'see' your mates detailed data (partly so you can build the most competitive clan fighting team to defend your clan ladder rankings). There is becomes important info (and not unlike how WoW deals with the ELO levels, and the same reason you can only see your own team's detailed rankings, but not your opponents).


New contacts coming soon


Now in order to expand the game for those player who are already high level, we are also working hard at adding new levels of progression above the current contacts.  Those who have completed both organisations for their faction will be given the chance to work with several specialists which we are adding in the next several versions of the game leading up to the Live Launch.

In addition to expanding the Progression range above 195, new rewards for working with these contacts will also include High level Vehicles, Symbols and the first parts of Tactical Gear / SWAT Gear (Helmets, Pads, Loadouts, Webbing Armor etc).

More importantly, they’ll also unlock a plethora of new Modifications that are not yet in the game, giving players new options and choices to make when deciding on the best mods for Weapons, Vehicles and their Character.


Back to the Grind-Stone...

These are the three areas where we are really putting a lot of focus as we race toward the first 'Live' finished game. As we roll these features out, we hope to continue getting your feedback (though, you may want to wait with final feedback until the features are live :) ), and then get to a successful 1.6 Live Launch.

Next week I will post the updated Roadmap at the top of this page, so, check back then for more details about the upcoming changes, as well as the design details of Proving Grounds.

Until next week,

88 comments:

  1. Solution to dealing with hackers:

    Implement a killcam. Give it a report button that can send any suspicious footage directly to Gamersfirst, so they can investigate the person. If someone were to abuse the report button, take away their privilege to report people.

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  2. @Leissak That's a good idea, but has some issues. But one of many we are pursuing.

    In 1.5.3 we have actually done something more interesting than that, so we'll see this incremental change before the next major change that's coming.

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  3. I notice there's no mention of the lack of player control when it comes to being kicked by other players just because they don't think you're doing as well as they would like. Getting kicked doesn't just mean losing TL. It also means losing the money and standings you get for completing the mission (especially if you were going to win it).

    I don't like how other players can directly affect my ability to even play the game.

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  4. aweome blog and will require multiple reads!

    as long players cant trigger what they get for opposition for fight club then its alllllright!

    this new patch has been freaking awesome, cheaters dont even know what hit them http://i.imgur.com/803Zx.png

    (and yay for the TL display problem, we have neem pitching ideas for a while and its great to see some form of it be implemented)

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  5. will fight club will allways have same number of people regardless of TL? that be nice

    now if i could get crouchlock bug fixed.. XD

    (and ingame smg silencer) AND expanded roles... i got 2roles maxed already :/ and sucks to not see kills being counted

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  6. Yep. Wall hackers are going to have a hell of a time going forward. And that's not all... (so stay tuned for the next series of future updates :) )

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  7. And yes - expanding the progression is part of the updates that are coming. Qwentle will discuss that in more details.

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  8. its kinda sad that much of this info.. takes months to reach the avg players ear.. i can see why they complain sometimes :/

    APB has so much potencial and all it needs is time and the right feedback :D

    and honestly.. customization is for fools! this is a shooting game.. we need more ways to murder each other not look pretty while doing it (ok we can have both as long we get new ways to kill each other)

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  9. On Hackers: What about hardware ID and IP bans?

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  10. Well - there is a reason it's Beta... but all we can do is to continue to solider on to solve the issues and make the game even better.

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  11. @FnN - we have new things that will address those too. They are not yet active, but in the works.

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  12. F|nN forget about ip bans they wont do much, as you can see from the antiwallhax fix.. they working on clever ways to take away resources cheaters can use.

    bans ARE comming.. but at the same time they working on making it so that cheating is more frustating than playing the game legit

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  13. I'm impressed, if all you say is true, I think I'll be playing a lot more APB. I've sort of slowed down on my playing after I hit 195, mostly because of the cheaters making me buttmad. New progression will be fun too.

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  14. What about people on a mission who drop mission so as not to be enemy then get back in mission once in a dominant advantage spot.

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  15. u cant quit and opposed mission and return to the same one. even then if they call for backup and get backup

    the system will let you call for backup if their team becomes to big

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  16. I cant still believe you're going through with the garbage threat indicators.

    Just throw them all out the damn window.

    This whole green/brozne/silver/gold is pointless.

    Make it so when you press K, you just get opposed. Instant action, just like every other game. A "skill" based matchmaker has no place in a shooter. Leave it to chess.

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  17. I felt that after playing immediately after the patch, that all the hackers that still had semi-working hacks were on full force trying to see if they would be banned...

    one guy was clearly wallhacking, at not5 I watched him on radar come right at me from ~50m when I was hidden behind a wall he couldnt see and I was opposite my allies and immediately got on the ledge above me and looked straight down to me instantly. Same guy went 22-1 against 4 high silvers.

    The next one was either extremely good or aimbotting, though I dont really know of a way to no scope consistently with the HVR and use it in close range like he did.

    So difficult to tell good players from hackers/aimbots... I have been hackaccused for killing people with an OCA over and over again and called 'other' names for using an osmaw.

    Question 1: Is there any attempts to try and solve the General Fault Protections that seem to be plaguing some of us? I have even had a few BSODs that point to APB.exe as the cause for MEMORY_MANAGEMENT when I run debugging tools on the minidump files. I have tried reinstalling fully and nothing. My friend also gets General Fault Protection and Out of MEMORY on a 16GB RAM system.

    Question 2: is the 60004 issue fixed?

    Question 3: I feel like the adding of separate areas for fights like TDM is going to take away from the experience of being in the city itself. I also feel that, from experience in other games, that when you add something new everyone will flock to it and no one will play the old stuff. IE: is there going to be something to keep players playing in actual districts when this 'Fight Club' / 'Clan Warfare' is implemented?

    Question 4: can you make people shut up about the Pay2win crap already? Its clearly not pay2win if an OCA that is unlocked ingame will destroy any bought weapon, besides the paid shotty.

    Question 5: Is Griefing a part of the game that will not be a bannable offense unless it turns into harassment or will there be strict anti-griefing enforcement? I kind of find it entertaining when people grief, even if they grief me, but others don't seem to have the same opinion. I feel it adds to the experience of APB especially when crims are doing it, aka they are being crims and causing chaos. I mean, it is a PvP game after all and there are other games that just tell people to suck it up and live with it. Just wondering what Devs/G1 thoughts are on this matter. leads me to the next question,

    Question 6: spawnable dump trucks? yes?

    Question 7: make a FFA district where crims and enf can go all out on eacother in massive 50v50? Sounds like it would be a lot of fun and make a fun experience for some of us.

    Anything else I can think of, Im sure I iwll pass it on.

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  18. What about the permament weapons ? Will they come ? And if YES, will they have open slots ?

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  19. lol noobiesnack my main is dedicated around proving the fact that this game is not p2w :) my alt does own a whisper and its r10 g7 (main is g8)

    your technical issues are.. probally more likely caused by your pc/friends. a healty computer will have little apb crashes

    hell... i have 1000 action hours and havent seen an APB related crashed in 2months (my mobo was dying but after that it was smooth sailing)

    8gb of ram here btw

    (also... techmech an fyi: windows has a file cache mechanism that does not have a limit on 64bit pcs, AoC had to release a limiter to avoid out of ram issues. after tweaking with this APB was able to use an extra 400mb of ram. acording /fps)

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  20. ON THAT NOTE: i really wish i could upgrade my whisper pr1 to a pr2 (by paying)... if i had known it was comming in 2 weeks i would of waited for it :(

    sadly support said no :(

    ANYHOW.. more money for g1 this way techmech. cause you cant expect players to own a pr1 AND a pr2 on the same character.

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  21. Not sure what would cause it. all it says is 'General Fault Protection' and does not give any other info than that. Some weeks I dont crash at all and then some weeks are unplayable. It seems like it just depends. I have played for 10 hours straight without getting them and have gotten them as quick as on the loading screen for a district.

    I have recently had a problem with my computer getting random BSODs due to sound driver and am currently in the process of testing out if it is fixed or not. As for APB, it just crashed a few hours ago for General Protection Fault so its not the sound drive out of date. I have gone as far as completely reinstalling the game, reinstalling .net frameworks, and this is all on a fairly fresh windows x64 install with 12GB RAM clocked at 1333MHz later switched to 1600MHz (where it is now).

    This is a healthy computer besides the faulty sound drive that needed to be updated (which I am still testing to see if the drive is fixed). My last option which I wont do unless I get another BSOD related to Drives is to reinstall windows freshly and go from there. However, I dont think this will solve the problem as I had the problem before I installed windows, months ago when the OB started, and still get them after a fresh install as well... I am at a complete loss at what to try.

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  22. also note: I have no problems with other games. Just APB.

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  23. make a forum post or come to irc.. ill help u troubleshoot.

    i assume you ran stress test programs like ramtest86 or occt/prime?

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  24. Still no word on the "Disconnected from server, the server may have gone offline etc." bug?
    It's extremely annoying to not be able to finish a mission because you constantly DC after 15-20 minutes.

    No it's not a connection issue; I have no problems with any other online games, only APB:R.

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  25. yes, the ram is perfectly fine. tested each unit individually with over 10 passes on each stick... the memory is fine. Iv run drive Verifier to stress the system, and it returns sound driver faults which I have since 'patched'.

    Also, whats the IRC?

    @Dahlia, which server you on and where you located?

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  26. EU2 Patriot, playing from Sweden.
    Was fine before I moved 720km north to where I live atm.

    No, I cannot tracert the server either; ICMP is blocked for some explicable reason (this is not the bug trigger though, many others suffer the same bug and are still able to use ICMP services).

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  27. \o/ google is good for finding IRC :P

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  28. @Dahlia sounds like a connection problem that is difficult to trace since you cant trace it. It might not be on your end but the provider that you are using to the APB servers.

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  29. Hello. What about russian servers? I want to play on them :-/ (I am from Russia)

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  30. Wow. All very great news. Developer blogs like this one really go a long way, as having an idea of what's coming down the road really gives me some security in playing the game. Kind of hard to explain, but it makes me want to play it more for the long term. It's incredibly good to know you're working on the cheating issue, as well as new content. Bravo.

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  31. Is the new threat system just going to divide people into 4 different categories and then just use that and the rating to determine the matches? Or will the real skill rating still be used for the matchmaking?

    I'd really prefer not to see a ton of new-made alts roflstomping the beginners (Not to mention having to face 6 of these) because the rating makes the matchmaking think that it's a fair match.

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  32. Expanding on what "DeadlyAccurate" said above, I have definitely played against players who continually kick low-threat members from their team and repeatedly call backup until they get someone of a high threat level. I've also seen high-threat players quit a mission if it starts to go bad for them, presumably because they believe abandoning the mission before they lose will preserve their threat rating. Both of these behaviours negatively affect other players (the people who get kicked from missions for being "too" low threat, and the folks who are left behind to continue playing when half their team quits) and are all based on the perceived importance of threat level.

    I don't know that there is any plausible way to prevent these... antisocial behaviours, but maybe you could take it into consideration.

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  33. Ughhhh I don't like this update at all. It skirts around the BIGGEST issues of cheating, and basically makes light of it like we are just dumb and can't tell the difference between aimbot snapping and normal camera snapping.

    1. WHAT ABOUT BANS? I don't care if PB banned 50,000 accounts last week. They aren't sticking. That is the biggest issue of all cheating issues. The bans are slaps on the wrist. They mean nothing. To even talk about banning as if you are doing great by banning cheaters weekly... it's nonsense.

    2. Missions are crap. The majority of missions now just involve running. Camping the most exploitable rooftops, running away, rushing to a point first. There is barely any combat in this game anymore. Not even a single mention about this in the post. Also, letting players pick their own missions... well if you let us pick what type of missions, I will guarantee you that the majority of missions will be takeouts/lives missions.

    I can also guarantee that you will have people doing everything they can to set up the match to lean in their favor. It will not be pretty.

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  34. @Chris - ouch - maybe I did a really bad job explaining how these will work

    (1) New ban methods will be introduced in builds 1.5.4 through 1.5.7. People are of course still being banned right now using the old method - but - as soon as the new methods are available we will start using those.

    (2) Right. I would suggest there are SOME fun missions. But Proving Grounds / Fight Club are actually not missions. They are new game types. So the types of win/loss conditions you will have are not like anything we have ever had in a mission. Stay tuned for 1.5.4. But basically 'setting up the match' will be far harder than you suspect, mostly because the game type will be so radically different.

    Also - per the comments we have been tracking all day for the various aimbotter sites, the answer is yes - if you see someone shooting up in the sky or in strange directions - there is a good chance their aimbot has gone haywire... Also a good chance they cannot find you behind walls any longer.

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  35. this patch reworked some missions, landgrab is great now :) tons of fun

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  36. @dreamss - yes - we'd agree that "Landgrab" mission is now much better.

    Also - to address something else that people are commenting on today - we ARE looking at methods to discourage group leaders to continually kick players. Stay tuned for that as well.

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  37. Well I'm glad to hear that at least new ban methods are coming soon. Again, it's totally not doing anything to ban people right now... In fact it might be better to just stop banning because people just come back on alts and cheat worse than ever, to get "revenge" for being banned.

    There are some fun missions, but they are very few. There are times when you can play for a few hours and just get crapped all over due to bad missions or matches. The game can be immensely fun at times, and incredibly awful at others. I just want to see the incredibly awful part become the "not so bad" part.

    Please, please, please think about reworking missions to be more combat oriented and less about just getting lucky to be near the objective to cap it before the opposing team even gets a chance to do anything. I enjoy shooters but this game does not let me really do that much.

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  38. Right on! Not to sound like a jerk, but any word on a less-demanding client? The system requirements are rather ridiculous. If APB could run in a wider range of systems, there'd probably be more folks playing -- and more players means more potential customers and larger/more active community.

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  39. @Chris - right!

    Your line " I enjoy shooters but this game does not let me really do that much." is exactly what we are hoping to change with the new gameplay maps. You can now jump in and SHOOT! Stay tuned.

    @1337 - the new missions will be much smaller - and will have less system requirements. The big missions will still be available, but people with low spec systems will get a "recommendation" to not play them.

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  41. uc forums is one of these site with aimbot available one aimbotter told me about that site...

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  42. iam glad to hear you guys are doing your best at dealing with the aim-bots and wallhacks,ive been checking in from time to time with the game but i just cant get back into it till this problem is dealt with at least 90%. keep up the good work youll nail it by live time

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  43. Having played the original RTW version and a lot of the G1 version, I can safely say that not much has changed in the way of deterring cheaters. If anything, the f2p aspect has made it easier (or less risky,) to cheat.

    I also feel this game IS pay2win now. I won't bother saying why as it's been said over and over before. I know you have to make your money, but it should be for vanity items, not for increased fire-power.

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  44. @Stylus - there are long long long discussions about the balancing on the boards. We still maintain it's not P2W, but that you will want to buy a gun at the higher levels to give you more specialized gameplay.

    Also - 'not much has changed' is a bit unfair as well, given the very large amount of work that went in to re-writing some really major parts of the engine in 1.5.3, causing certain hacks to no longer have any data to operate with.

    Finally - we realize that EVEN IF we succeed in making versions 1.5.3 - 1.5.7 progressively more and more cheat resistant (and we feel pretty good about those prospects) we also understand that it will take a LONG time before we can shake the reputation of 'the game is full of haxors'

    So - stick around to see how it works out. And keep in mind that even if we succeed in crippling remaining hack functions it will take a long time before the reputation can be change. But we are certainly going to make a go of it.

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  45. So, what happens with our characters once 1.6 rolls around (Going "Live" with the game)?

    Our characters wiped and refunded any G1 credits we've spent on them, or are we keeping our characters through the transition from beta to live?

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  46. @Drathamus - good question. You would keep everything once we 'go live'. You might even get bonus items for having been part of the beta (especially if you made purchases during the beta). Since that's still a few months away, we are still planning out the details of the transition.

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  47. Answer my question -.- I asked you about ingame permament weapons. Will they come ? And if YES, will they have slots or not ? ( if you are going to put those perma weapons without slots, it would be stupid though )

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  48. I don't quite understand how a Developer could write anything like this. To blatantly sit there and say that people are confusing really good players for cheaters. Have you ever played the game? First off you say that Snapping is just the movements of the other players that we cant see. Yet you agree to the fact that players are using Aim bots. Snapping and aim bots go together. The cheats are made from the Unreal code that was written for the game. The hackers modify the data from the engine and use it to make their cheats. Most aim bot programs will lock on to Enemy targets and some cheats will auto-fire for you. So if there are 3 people moving in from the same direction but with varying degrees of separation between them, then the aim bot will lock on to the nearest player and fire, once that player is down, it will auto target (or snap) to the next player and repeat. The 180 snap maybe harder to figure out, but is usually easily figured out who cheating once the player snaps around and takes you out in 3 hits while your strafing and he never once moves to adjust to your movements. You have too much faith in thinking that the Client side is keeping people from using certain cheats. If a person can make it then a person can crack it. If you "turn on" a no spread cheat and you start killing people left and right, then most logic dictates that the cheat is working. The placebo effect doesn't work in the virtual world. That's saying if I go to the Options menu and cut off the sound, but turns out there is no option to turn off sound, but in my mind there was so I cant hear anymore. Yeah doesn't work like that. It either works or doesn't. That's the funny thing about code, if its in there to manipulate, then most likely people will have cheats that you have a hard time believing exist.

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  49. You guys are too smart for your own Good.
    You could have all ready eliminated hacking.

    No formal reporting process
    Why not empower people that are willing to help for free. You have tons of core testers and test monkeys playing thousands of hours. And very little actual testing. Why not let them temp ban. Or have them follow up reported players. We know who the hackers are. We play with the same ones every night day week month. 4 of us are trusted testers who obviously enjoy the game enough to test it for free. Why not let us remove the hackers ruining the game. You dont need to make new resources. Just use what u already have in place. For example I alone could eliminate the vast majority of players on any servers I am active on. My friends and I play 5-6 hours 7 days a week that's over 40 hours a week. We know every hacker on the server. We use our friends list to track them. They are not being banned as we track them for months and there on full hackIng everyday of the week. We are core testers but almost powerless to do anything about it. If we had the ability to temp ban pending GM review there would not be any hackers than new accounts. No 195 level hackers only low level. This would allow players to out level hackers. As a hacker I dont want to constantly start over I don't want to buy premium and lose it and it drives them out of the game. Again no need for anything more exciting than a formal way to report players to someone with enough bite to do something about it. No need to have paid employyees do somthing testers are willing and capable of doing them selfs. Community anti hacking project.

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  50. I would still take non slot perma weapons over no perma weapons at all. Runing out of cash as it is now :(

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  51. I only ask that you guys rethink the death screen/spawn transition. It doesn't have to be a killcam (I hate those damn things), it just needs to be something other than the camera remaining on my bullet ridden corpse for what seems like twelve eons before it fades to that annoying gray APB logo screen. I only need to be reminded of my sub-par skills for two, maybe three seconds max than it should cut to a 3rd person view of another team mate and there should be a countdown timer that informs how long I have till I respawn and get blown away again. You know...like COD does. If you guys implement that and get rid of the cheaters, you'll be like Charlie Sheen. WINNERS! WITH TIGER BLOOD!

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  52. Heya, first off thanks for the update. APB continues to improve.
    A couple of things:
    1) The Whisper's still grossly OP. Take another look. I'm sure it's working as intended, but what's probably not intended is the amount of disgust and rage generated by this weapon. The everyday OCA is already disproportionately effective, the Whisper takes it to another level.
    2) The Vegas needs more Grip. I've got lots of interest in the potential of the Racing District, but racing a Vegas would be a really improbable idea right now. Yes, I've practiced driving mine. =]
    2a) the Vegas gets stuck on it's roof and sides waaaaay too easily. Please examine/address this.
    3) ENOUGH WITH THEMES. Please. Or give us an off toggle, at least. This game's got enough flaming, teabagging, griefing and hostility in it already -losing the screeching fire-alarm death notice would be a solid step in the right direction. Hell, make a theme toggle a Premium feature! I'm going to subscribe eventually anyway, why not sell me what I want so badly?
    4) Camping. Oh look, the VIP's fled to Club Gaijin again. There's a surprise. C'mon. Enough already with the grossly advantageous hiding spots. There are more of course -the Blades Hotel is a gigantic Charlie Foxtrot -but at least snipers have a chance to pick someone off. Gaijin's a frustration all unto itself.
    5) Finally, more style please. Like, more outfit slots, more then 40 total pieces of clothing, etc etc. I'm confident this is just something waiting to happen, but couldn't hurt to bring it up as a desire, right?

    Anyway, keep up the good work. APB's coming along nicely, for all it's vexations.

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  53. Vegas is the best car for drifting so don't even touch this car...

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  54. as for the VIP missions...i think the VIP in one team should be changed... my idea was more like in Rainbow6 Vegas2, one VIP for each side, only the VIP´s can see each other, and goal is, surprise, to kill the opposite VIP several times...

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  55. Yeah, I agree. A kill cam would be an effective method, but to be honest I don't think you're dead long enough to be able to see the other persons screen long enough to see suspicious activity.

    But that is a decent idea regardless.

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  56. OCA might be getting a few changes, so if you have feedback to give now its the time to speak up :p

    either way the whisper and oca cj3 is about the same deadly force, trust me i own both

    Mimx: what he means and that some players confused legit snapping with bots, they never denied whats happening AND this very patch made them quite inefective

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  57. the vaquero needs a fix too .. normally a car shifts up through all gears until it reaches the "final" gear and idles out there but the vaquero does not ... atleast not all times, it shifts up 1 gear and then it idles which sounds crappy please make it continously shift up all the way and then make it idling. (like it sometimes works). besides that i love to hear about new anti cheat systems keep up the good work.

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  58. it's great to see how the game is improving and looking better with every new patch. thanks for that.

    apart from the thing i feel is still missing, involving the "control" (for example, choosing walk/run animation style), would it be possible to send info about events/competitions by the in-game mail? i see plenty of people who don't know what's going on because they don't spend time on the forums or for some reason don't use the launcher which leaves them pretty dry on information.

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  59. Sorry, can I just say.. make a 1 v 1 system, so people won`t HAVE TO answer backup.. For me Threat level is something to work on after r195. For example, yesterday I gained gold 7 by teaming up with good people, and playing 1 v 1.. then, when everyone left, I started getting into bronze vs gold backup missions, and I had to support bronze.. I may have killed 3/4 of their people, but they spawn and come back, sometimes I wait for bronzes to do something, covering them till my whole ammo ends up.. its buggering me much, I want to play alone, I dont like getting with bronzes that do Jack all.. please fix this issue!
    Thanks:)

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  60. When will G1 give the "mp5" (whatever fake name you're using for the obvious mp5 model) the proper ammunition type? Currently it is using "machine" ammo while being listed as a "sub-machine" gun. If you're trying to replicate an mp5, it should be using 9mm ammo, which I assume is what you're calling "pistol". "Machine" ammo used by your LMGs would not actually FIT into the SMG weapon...

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  62. I apologise if my comment came across as offensive. It wasn't a stab at the coding behind anti-cheating.. It was more an observation as to the amount of cheaters remaining. The number doesn't seem to have dwindled in the slightest.

    I have a lot of experience with the Unreal3 engine. As a developer myself, I can understand the frustrations abusers can cause. It is commendable that G1 is attempting to squash the issue. But there have already been countless methods developed over the years to deter cheaters as opposed to eliminating the source of the hacks. One such method, and to my knowledge (however limited,) the most successful, is a simple host ban. It's a lot more difficult to change your host address than it is to change your IP. (Of course dynamic hosts occur as well, but even so.. it is a simple range method to eliminate that problem too.)

    Anyway.. sorry if I sounded obtuse.. it was not my intention.

    >Edited grammatical error.<

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  63. @Mimx

    I am not saying cheating doesn't occur (ie does, though with this build 1.5.3 it's certainly destroying some core ways of cheating), but there ARE some exceptionally good players who actually keep being reported as using 'aimbots' and we know for a fact they are just good. Because some of them are our own staff...

    To make it worse - a side-effect of this being a 3rd person game is that 'snapping' is actually part of normal gameplay (try looking behind you while running, and as soon as you hit 'fire' you snap around - all opponents will think you made a magic 180)

    But again - aimbots exist. And yes the methods we are adding in builds x.3, x.4, x.5, x.6 and x.7 will drastically cut down on the damage that can be done with wallhacks and aimbots.

    Also as of this morning at least a whole cheating clan completely disappeared off the system. Now we look forward to the rest of them quitting as well. At least that's some good progress :)

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  64. sense i have only been playing for a few months my question is will their be an update to the handling of cars anytime soon?

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  65. Would you like making the game more balanced? For example: A person with the best guns and/or modifications will win. Also sometimes people barely hit me with their car and it's an instant kill which is completely stupid. Making missions more balanced would be cool, sometimes you start a mission and you do all the hard work and at the end...the enemy kill you, take the package, start running until the time is over and they win after everything you did. The game is really fun and awesome but it's way too unbalanced.

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  66. @Bjorn / Techmech

    Can you PLEASE for the sake of all APB:R players optimize MISSION GAMEPLAY. I suggest to optimize the time assigning and respawn algoritm. This is ABSOLUTELY the biggest problem in the game now which hundreds of thousands of players would agree with!

    The second biggest problem is that there is no algoritm that takes camping in consideration. Camping has a BIG advantage over an attacking player! Attacking players need more time usually. In 10vs10 it's 99% IMPOSSIBLE to win as attacking team in some cases. In VIP missions for example you sometimes have 30 lives vs 8 VIP lives, in a team full of average players you lose that almost guaranteed when you're against a camping spot. I'm sure you heard about the Lillith Bloodrose spot for example, if you manage to come up there with your whole team you have at least 95% of winning that mission. There should be done changes with the time the attackers have to win or add camp-preventing (more entrances) or ANYTHING.

    The third biggest problem is being called as backup (especially last minute or second). It doesn't take in consideration how long of the mission you played and just changes you threat level exactlt like if you played 100% of the mission.

    The fourth biggest problem is that there aren't many GM's spectating all districts all day long (or on request) to kick cheaters. Ofcourse this isn't nessesairy if your team manages to almost completely exclude the possibility to aimbot/wallhack in the game.

    The fifth biggest problem is that players can't reach your developing team properly. It's especially annoying for the really active beta-testers who have played over 500 hours and have REALLY EXCELLENT FEEDBACK to help your team. Theoreticly some of these players could work for your developing team (nearly for free ofcourse).


    I hope you read these points properly and maybe do a poll continously during the developing of the game on your main website or Facebook or whatever to see what the PLAYERS find the HIGHEST PRIORITY for the upcoming patch.

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  67. Yes, other then wallhacks and aimbots its gonna be great. Oh almost forgot about the enemy tracking, radar hacks and lots of other goodies. Maybe its just my imagination.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Duj1w2omz6I&feature=player_embedded

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  68. 2000 hackers booted... that is an infestation. That's like 20 districts full of hackers.

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  69. TechMech, I have just logged onto Apb and played using x22 cheats. The wallhacks/esp are still working fine, there may be a 1-2 second delay for the esp to show the enemy but it only seems to occur every 5-10 minutes or so and only occurs once.

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  70. @Reloaded them magz

    Doesn't seem to be the case. Yes - you WILL be able to 'see' some other players through the walls. That's intentional.

    HOWEVER - they are NOT in the locations you think they are... So good luck playing a match against them :)

    Some more discussion about that here: http://forums.gamersfirst.com/index.php?showtopic=216138

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  71. Sooo ... i agree there are a lot less hackers and i got a great perception of who is or who is not hacking (right now most of golds i played against in patriot arent hacking) but i still get some matchups against some now and then and they are f***ing hard all the same .... if a player kills a teammate and does a 90º degrees in 0.1 sec. and kills me, and none of us were too close to him (20 to 40 meters, that is not a skillfull player and that is not an error of perception and you gotta tweak this hack-killer of yours some more. still a lot less hackers. Killcams are a great ideia, needs im my opinion more 5 sec. at least or the option to skip and get back sooner to the game.
    Tell you this much, i have more then 450 hours, i like the game even with some gameplay problems unrelated to hacks but never purchased premium, so, IF i see this kind of improvements in the next updates, if you all do what you propose to in this blog, you can count my money on your wallets. i keep rooting for you and the game.

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  72. @Sr Antonio - thanks. We are clearly heading in that direction, and presuming we succeed, we will certainly count on your support!

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  73. Uhm ... question ( I did stop reading forums, etc because I can't find the answer ).

    I do have invested quite a few G1C in Armas vehicles/kits/weapons.

    If 1.6 goes live ( or along the road there ), will my chars be sent to genepool and those "permanent" items lost ?

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  74. I payed 2 months premium for help u guys

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  75. @FingerThief

    Nope. You keep it all during the transition to "Live". Things change along the way but the plan is certainly to let everyone keep their stuff.

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  76. Bjorn: any updates on crossfire profiles?

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  77. so you guys know, we been bitching at the devs about the UI and the devs agreed it needs work, SO while its not official announced:p the killcam/crosshair and UI MIGHT get modified sometime before release (or at least i hope so) this is one of the big changes im actually looking forward to

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  78. Bjorn / TechMech

    You reply to all insignificant messages but you forgot mine that were clearly posted earlier than theirs. Can you please look up my post and read it?

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  79. @Calamus056 - not forgetting your post :)

    I have forwarded this to our lead designer to take a think on. Some of the items are already being worked on (like missions). And you also have some good ideas in there - but most of the items actually seem to relate to missions or even geometry design (ie - camping spots).

    For 'participation' - we ACTUALLY already compute a 'participation score' when performing the threat calculation which means less impact on your TL. Going forward we might try to look at modifying the values that we use to assign less participation for the backup players than we currently do.

    Stay tuned.

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  80. Calamus056

    players can come to irc/forums to reach the devs fyi,sadly the devs seem to be scared to interact with the community since the community tends to overreact to anything they tend to do

    GMs: they login but... if the data is sent to the players then cheaters will get a headsup (this is why players think there are far less GMs than there are.

    camping spots: this issue was introduced when they nerfed vip car speed so they only choice left is to find a camping spot. imo they need to renable car chases, and change the imposible rooftops but keep the buildings

    respawn algorim needs a bit of tweaks and new spawn points... like the boat area in waterfront, its not perfect but just needs the proper feedback/suggestions :p (poor qwentle)

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  81. So Bjorn is there any news of what other gizmo's we the CBT-Testers are getting? Since besides those 3 Freebies, you did say or I've read on the forum, that there will be some more upcoming stuff for the CBT Testers. This is not to be greedy or anything, I'm just curious :)

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  82. aha i remembered :p deathscreen loadouts.. could be tied to premium and use mobile supply cool down ;D

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  83. Friday, September 16, 2011

    ...
    ...
    ...
    Upcoming Development Roadmap

    ...and finally next week I will share the 1.5.3 through 1.5.7 roadmap as a link at the top of this page...


    "Next week" is over...

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  84. @Bjorn / TechMech

    Thank you for your reply.
    For once you give the impression that you and your team actually care about the players and that you work really hard.

    Hopefully we can finally see some real essential improvement in the base of the game soon.

    Once again: since the main thing you can do in this game at this point is play missions, we HAVE to be able to enjoy that! Otherwise players are unhappy about 90% of the game and you REALLY don't want that as a game developer!

    Hope you understand the importance of this problem and looking forward to see improvements.

    Thanks

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  85. Hmm, so how about that roadmap?

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  86. What about sell permament weapons for those who aren't premium users, permanente weapons that can be accesed with the money you gain in missions, not to compare with another game but in CA after a few months, they decide to sell a GP weapon for permanent sale, (1 day, 1 week) it depends if they give GP bonuses etc, and with a very nice price.

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  87. Still no reply on ingame permanent weapons ?

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  88. It really makes me happy to see that you guys actually care about fixing what made this game unappealing because I absolutely love the concept of this game but once I got in I felt like nothing lived up to my expectations but I believe you guys can reshape this game into something incredible when you take a look at all the feedback you got

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