It's been nearly five months since Reloaded Day, so we thought we'd take some time to talk about what we've done since March and our plans for the next six months. If you have no clue what we're on about, here's a quick recap: we celebrated the second anniversary of the APB: Reloaded team on March 7th and dubbed it 'Reloaded Day'. It seemed like a good time to reflect on what had transpired since we began our journey with APB, to celebrate what we've achieved so far, and to explain our plans for the rest of the year and beyond.
The first half of 2013 has been good for us. We've been able to move forward on feature work more quickly than was possible in the past. We've continued to have great success with in-game events. Our community continues to produce some brilliant creations, some of which have made their way onto the Joker Associates store in the Social District. The Artist Program is starting to give us a lot of great music from both inside and outside the community.
So FarBack in March we listed our major goals for 2013. So far this year, we've brought in:
- The updated score system
- The new front end
- Elective spawning system
- Another test of Asylum
- Threat segregation
- The smart district spin-up
The team has been hard at work to reach the numerous goals we've set ourselves for this year. Overall, we're pleased with the additions we've brought into the game recently. We feel that they add more player choice, more options in how you fight, and more feedback as to how you're doing. We're pairing more players up with people of their skill level and we're making the game less spiky in terms of difficulty. That being said, not everything has been perfect, and there's always room for improvement. Here's a few things we're planning to improve upon following recent changes we've made to the game:
- Score is going to get a bit of an overhaul. We're going to bring in assists on more objectives, give bonus score for taking down a VIP, and give the VIP score whenever a teammate performs a scoreable activity (to counteract VIP's usually getting the lowest score in a match). We also want you to generate a little bit of score while a mission objective is in a Defend state to give defenders a bit more score for their play.
- Threat segregation will be changed; players will no longer be able to go down into districts below their current threat level. We found that too many people were going into districts below their recommended threat level and making life miserable for those players. Design on this is subject to change, but it's something we're looking into and intend to move forward.
Wins and LossesWe've had some victories this year, as well as a few unexpected setbacks. Three members of the Reloaded Productions team have moved on, and two things have had to be pushed back from the 2013 Roadmap. In terms of victories, we've found that the new front end allows us to iterate new versions of it very quickly, including making event specific front end scenes (such as the 4th of July update). We're getting some awesome new content for the game that's coming straight from the community - outfits, vehicles, and symbols are now being sold through Speedball (who was also community created!).
Due to some unforeseen circumstances, two of the four new contacts have been pushed to early 2014. However, we still have plans for two contacts (one Praetorian and one G-King, both in Financial) who will come with a new wave of interesting weapons and equipment. The mission revamp has also been pushed out of 2013. We started really digging into the level of work that would be needed for this to make it through production, design, and code, and it was too much for us to get done while working on bringing out the fully-featured version of the Chaos game mode that was previewed in Anarchy Week. We're working on the mission revamp and have some awesome designs for it (including missions where everyone on your team gets opposed to the entire opposite faction, given a number of lives, and told to hit several checkpoints deep inside enemy territory for a huge reward), but the scale of the task is a little outside our reach with everything else we have going on right now.
Don't fret about the delay of these things though; they are still happening, we just have to adjust our schedules according to feedback and circumstance.
The FutureWe're hoping that the next six months are going to be huge for the game. Just some of the things that we're going to be doing over the coming months include:
- New tutorial with checklisted activities that players can complete to make the learning curve of APB Reloaded a little less vertical, as well as introduce rewards for people that complete the tutorial entirely (don't worry, you can go back and do the tutorial on your old character to get the reward too).
- Two new contacts - Aletta Cadagen and Gumball will be appearing in the Financial district. Aletta is the embodiment of the Praetorian endgame - she's the natural and logical conclusion to Operation Urban Firestorm and she's advocating total war on the Criminals of San Paro. She's cold, calculating, and one hundred percent certain that in San Paro, the only way peace can be achieved is through overwhelming firepower. Gumball is pretty much her exact opposite - he's not in it for anything more than his own desire to see just how much fun he can have. He's not like any contact that we've seen before - there's no endgame with him and there's no real 'plan.' He's just a guy with a healthy disregard for property law.
- Daily Activities in mission districts will be coming to the game in a release that's getting the finishing touches now. Keep checking back here for more information; just be aware that Joker Tickets aren't the only prize you'll get in Mission Districts in the near future. Joker Tickets are a long standing feature request and they're also bringing with them another longstanding feature - the ability for low level players to get their hands on late game modifications. So, if in a couple of patches time, you see a group of three people standing on top of a Han Celante with STAR-556's, don't be alarmed; they've just got their hands on leasable car-surfer. Details to follow...
- We just re-released Asylum for another test run and the feedback from the community was outstanding. The fully featured version of Chaos will have high score tables, objectives to fight over, and territory control points.
- The re-designed HUD is something that we've had our UI artist working on for a month (at time of writing) and it's looking great. It blends very well with the UI in the Front End and the Options menu.
|A development meeting about the new tutorial. Note the incredibly cheap doughnuts. Brain food.|
The Armas Marketplace will be seeing a bit of an overhaul in the near future too. There's some content up there that's not as fresh as it should be, and we're going to put more of a focus on packs and bundles to help provide you with the most value possible.
We've got a team of dedicated artists that are creating new content for the game. We're working on two completely new weapons for the game that will bring some variation to secondaries and the SMG weapon class. And below you'll see Danny, one of our vehicle artists, working on the new Packer Vaquero kit.
|One of our vehicle artists working on a new vehicle kit.|
One of the things that we're aware of is how long some of these things take to create and get to players (small scale projects like individual weapons and much larger scale projects like rolling out Overkill servers globally). To help speed up this process, we're continuing to hire dedicated and talented people across all departments to work on code, network support, and art. If you're interested in working at Reloaded (or know someone that might be), please visit Talentscotland.com and find Reloaded Productions for more information.
Speaking of Overkill, we recently converted every Mission district (Financial and Waterfront) on Colby NA West to Overkill servers and we saw a significant improvement in performance. The Overkill servers that you're seeing at work on Colby are the third iteration of the hardware, which is now a great mix of performance and future-proofing. We're very happy with the hardware and hope to have it deployed to the rest of the servers as soon as humanly possible.
Right now our next major release is scheduled to be 1.13.0. Since we're totally not scared of apparently unlucky numbers, we're doing something a little weird with this release - we've pulled all the new features from this release and moved them into the 1.14 release series and we've filled 1.13.0 with bug fixes, client optimization work, and quality of life changes for players.
We've been listening to and collating a lot of the feedback, and we're now getting the chance to act on it. Expect the 1.13.0 patch note post on the forums to be one of the biggest notes lists that we've ever posted. We'll be talking in greater depth about the client optimization changes, the major bugs that we're fixing, and what else is coming in the 1.13 series as the weeks progress, so keep an eye here and on the APB Reloaded forum for further details.
We hope that you've enjoyed the changes that we've made to the game recently. It's great to see some of the reactions that we get from players as we continue to improve the game. Thanks for reading and thank you for playing.