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Sunday, May 11, 2014

The People's Blog

Today's blog comprises some the most requested topics we've seen recently regarding what we're doing, where we're going, and why it's taking so long. It's arranged in a factual point-by-point layout with little fluff, so let's dive right in with updates on the following:

New Contacts
There are two remaining specialist “New Breed” contacts that will be heading to the San Paro streets later this year. If you are an Enforcer there is Lynette Casey - a Prentiss Tiger who is looking for her sister’s killers. On the Criminal side there is Lucas Van Rooyen - a former MMA fighter from South Africa, who is now working for the Bloodroses as Michael Simeone’s personal body guard.
If you check out your character select screen, you’ll actually already find these contacts in the backgrounds of the Prentiss and Bloodrose character scenes.

Turf Wars
There are a variety of larger systems and changes that we’ve wanted to add to APB for a long time now – the question has always been, how do we do them in a timely manner with a small team?
This question is what led us to start developing the dynamic event system as it allows us to have a separate framework that we can use as a foundation for larger more involved systems, while also providing constant content updates without having to go into hiding for months or years.
Additionally, the other advantage to this method is you’ll have front row seats on the development of these features – of course it means they won’t always work first time round and you’ll see more iteration and polish than if we developed it in total isolation - but we believe that this form of more iterative development is both good for us as developers and you as a community because it means we are all working together to make future features as good as they can be.

Leaderboards
Our primary dilemma with leaderboards has always been working out a way of doing them without having the same issues we saw back at Realtime Worlds, where the leaderboards, and reward structure for leaderboards, were badly broken and easily exploited.
To this end we are currently planning on initially adding a new leaderboards structure to the dynamic event system and then expanding it based on what we find does and does not work. We’re still working out the details of it all and we hope to share more with you soon.

Turf Wars
We’ve had the Turf Wars design kicking around for a while and when we starting building the Dynamic Event system, the goal was always to expand upon it until we reached “Turf Wars”. This is the why the event system is built around more dynamic actions that move away from the rigid structure of our missions system. We’re intentionally keeping them simple for now so we can see what types of gameplay work well within the play space of a full action district – if you’ve been playing with us from the Chaos districts, you’ll know that simply having full PvP districts without structure quickly becomes frustrating and uninteresting.
Our challenge will be to find systems that allow us boundaries while also giving players the opportunity to feel like they are part of a dynamic 90-100 player district that can be affected by everyone in it, rather than being, in many ways, only a large lobby.

Engine Upgrade
Since our last update (please see the “Looking Ahead; Status of the Engine Version Upgrade” post below), work has been progressing at a steady pace. We’re getting closer to having it ready for our internal art and QA teams to start looking at. We’ve still got a fair way to go (for example we’ll need to evaluate and convert all our existing custom art asset pipeline technology and tools to support the newer engine) but we are getting there!

Overkill EU
Our IT bros have been pretty ridiculously busy with lots of foundational work behind the scenes. How this relates to you is the holdup behind Overkill for Obeya and Patriot. The logistics of how exactly we were going to go about importing, constructing, and installing everything was kind of a nightmare, but at least we've got the process sorted now (in case you ever get the urge to ship large, expensive, complicated electronics internationally, I guarantee you that just dealing with customs alone will be the worst part of your year). Conversely, it may have been possible to source everything locally and have it built there, but then we realized we have neither robots nor voodoo minions to scurry around and do all of our bidding. It turns, though, that there are services who will accept money in exchange for doing some of our bidding, though, which is the next best thing. This process not straightforward though, so we don't have a precise delivery date. Within 30 days seems a bit aggressive; within 60 days seems far more likely.

Armas
Here's a quick rundown of a few things happening in Armas now/soon:
Gifting. 
Gifting has recently come to Armas; thank you to everyone who is helping us test it out. Today we expect the 1000th gift to be given, and will probably give a special prizes to the sender and recipient.
Optimizations. 
Our resident web developer has been shoring up slight inefficiencies and found new ways to handle data extraction and display, optimizing how quickly pages load. We expect this to be an ongoing process as we hopefully find new ways every so often to improve the experience.
Detailed Stats. 
If you visit Armas you’ll know that fairly recently detailed stats were added to some weapons. This is being expanded to include all weapons, and we’re in the early stages of seeing how we might do the same thing with vehicles (though there are a few reasons we may find it best not to do this for vehicles, given a vehicle is far less the sum of its apparent stats, but I wanted to point out it is at least something we're looking at).
Refer-a-Friend. 
Eagle-eyed folks have spotted references to the upcoming ‘Refer-a-Friend’ system (also I talked about it once), which will, much as the name states, allow you to refer friends in exchange for points redeemable for exclusive rewards. Why this, why now? Most of APB’s new players come from friends referring other friends. Not only is this good for you (more people to shoot and call names in District Chat) it’s good for us as a business, and we’d like to add what will hopefully be a force multiplier on the process of bringing new people aboard.
Wish List. 
Sometimes you want something and it’s just too expensive. We get that. To that end, we’re putting together a wish list so you can keep tabs on your most coveted items, and even be notified when something goes on sale. We hope to expand on this in interesting ways in the future as well.
Welcome Screen. 
Getting information across is sometimes difficult. We can post on the forums and launcher (and blog, of course), but while players like yourself (thanks, by the way!) pay attention to that…most people don’t. To help with that, we’ll soon begin testing a new ‘Welcome’ screen you’ll see on your first session each day, launching between logging in and character select. In addition to having the latest news and listing any active promotions, it will also give you some interesting gameplay stats for yourself and your clan.
Upcoming Gear Pack. 
For those wondering, it will be called the Dressed to Kill Pack and will release later in May. We'll have some teases coming out in the coming days.

That's all for now. Did I miss something you wanted to hear about? That's ok! Run to the forums and complain endlessly about it! Bonus points if you do it in all caps; double bonus points if you craft a conspiracy theory surrounding its omission. Or I suppose you could politely point it out in the comments and I'll do a followup blog summarizing anything I missed. Just go with whichever method you find more personally fulfilling.

OH ALSO: I've been having a lot of fun lately checking out APBR streams on Twitch! Are you a streamer? Do you stream? Are you cool and funny and more interesting to watch than scenes with Arya and the Hound? That's good, you should drop me a line on here or Twitter or in the forums. If you're fancier than a velvet topcoat we might even just post it on the official APB Reloaded Facebook page. You'll get so famous you'll be talk of the family reunion, even more than Aunt Dotty's top secret potato salad recipe (come on it's just potatoes and mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce).

Toodles!

30 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Speaking of streams and velvet topcoats:

    http://www.twitch.tv/pk191

    I normally hate self-promotions, but you asked, so I shall provide.

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  3. Any ideas how to fix Threat/Matchmaking issues?

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  4. Nice blogpost! Finally got some information regarding Overkill on EU!

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  5. https://www.youtube.com/user/ReySalek/videos not stream but good stuff :)

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  6. Might as well throw in my stream:

    http://twitch.tv/imasser

    Mostly immature jokes and me whining about my aim.

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  7. Hi. I'm Russian streamer glad to see you.
    twitch.tv/sugarfreezgg

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  8. Nice, but we really need to make something with matchmaking. Maybe downgrade to old system?
    And, please, try to dont over-nerf N-HVR 762. Really, this gun is legend of this game like AWP in Counter Strike. Think about it.

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  9. A very solid blog post, thank you Linus.

    I know you guys are being target of a fair bit of hate and many misconceptions are made but these things flourish when there are no official words for a longer period. I suggested you to start including even the minor (to you) mundane affairs of your doings and you came through! Not only is it (for me at least) fun to read, it also portrays you as living human beings rather than a capitalistic cooperate who only wants to milk the last bit of the community.

    That said, I have a few things I'd like elaborated if possible.

    1. Threat/matchmaking
    Are there any plans for a change when it comes to the requirements for reaching gold threat? Many myself included feel it's far too easy to achieve gold currently which in turn creates a good deal of paranoia from new players who do not understand the huge gap between "new" gold, so to speak, and people who've been at the game for years. Last thing we need is more people seeing cheaters everywhere.

    2. Clans
    Are there any thoughts of a way to make clans play a role again? You mention leaderboards but they sound more directed at faction vs faction than actual clan warfare. The old crim vs crim idea is something I'd love to see brought back to life in a fun way. I don't have the answers to how it would done but maybe it's something you've talked about? Currently clans are nothing but glorified friends lists.

    3. Overkill
    It's good to hear about overkill again. I cannot help wondering why you buy the pieces in US, rather than let someone buy and setup everything in Germany? There must be someone on payroll maintaining the servers currently right?

    4. Scaleform.
    We've already seen a small portion of the scaleform but as I understand it both Kismet and Scaleform currently runs side by side creating some unfortunate performance drops. Is this something which will be fully implemented with the engine upgrade?

    Again thank you, this blog post was much needed.

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  10. Thanks for the new post. Glad to know that new contact is coming.
    I would like to see new threat/matchmaking system.
    Better anti cheat
    And chaos contract/G1C events.

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  11. YouToobers need love, too! <3
    youtube.com/user/silentcaay

    I make a point of putting out at least one video a week, I often do demos for items, weapons and other new content and I always do specials for events.

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  12. Have some ideas for the clan leaderboards+dynamic events.Must be in separate districts.Otherwise i dont see it.Otherwise all in silver dist gonna be poor matchmaking and gold groups gonna be probably dispatch vs silvers and so on.Must be like separate districts for green,bronze,silver and gold groups of 4.Atleast 3 members of the group must be gold for the group to be gold and able to join the district.Then when the group start the dynamic event in the district for the clan leaderboards must be not allowed to exit anymore(i mean the scoreboards) Some clans have little members others many so i suggest to see whos actually better next:Best clan will be decided by the aggregate between wins and loses.Like 50:20=+30.If clan group of 4 make win streak of 5=+1(every win is 1 point),streak of 10=+2,streak of 15=+3,streak of 20=4 and so on.Thats how group gonna be able to add aditional 10 points to the 20 already have.Thats my suggestions and idk if can be made but i express things i was thinking.Hope i helped for something to come to your minds
    P.S. sry for the bad english

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  13. I would like to first thank your team of SPCC and SPCT for helping make this game bug free and easier now more than ever to dethreat from gold to green. City Council for showing us what a triggerbot is, epic goat explaing in detail how it works, and a SPCC member letting us know that it is Ok to use.

    i look forward to future updates. thanks again!

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    Replies
    1. Also thank you for choosing emotionally driven forum mods that like to sweep things under the rug by banning any mention of their team. shout out to JDawg. thanks for naming and shaming me after saying no naming or shaming! double standard man. must be a feminist.

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  14. Boopity boop

    http://www.twitch.tv/oni_shema

    No streams till I purchase another monitor.

    Here's the YouTube as well
    https://www.youtube.com/user/DemonIsland

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  15. As you probably know, Enigma on Colby has been a crazy big on and off thing. This is JessiKitten, Senior Officer and two year running member. I am really looking for ways to be able to expand the clan attributes and ways for the clan to become closer. I hope that soon, there could be changes that would spotlight the importance of clans, and give them something to hold on to together.
    Thanks. (:

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  16. I like waffles. This is on topic if you like waffles too.

    PS - Nice blog but touching on Scaleform and maybe more info on the new clothing pack would have been cool. Would be nice to see new customizable clothing through progression and polish on existing clothing (major issues include skirt modelling and resolution down scale when adding facial accessories to them). And thanks for continuing to add new clothes and not sufficient inventory space!

    Oh, and RP's thoughts on the current explosion of "opinions" on fotm guns would always be interesting.

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  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  18. Solid post all round. A little annoyed that we had to wait a month and a half for it but such is life. At least we have one now ^^

    I would really like to see the Cisco get a buff along with the engine upgrade - it's a little odd that it's the only Top Tier sports car with a top speed lower than all others. 4x4 Vegas doesn't count, it's a ridiculous premium fun boat. The Cisco should at the very least have a top speed of 23m/s, equal to all other cars in it's class, which would make it a viable mission vehicle and a cool non-faction alternative to the Vegas. As long as it's current handling is preserved (and body lowered, it's sitting far too high in mission districts) it will remain balanced for it's tier. It's just the speed is letting it down - and I really want to put those racing kits to good use ^^

    Can't wait for dynamic lights :)

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  19. If you want a reference of how a massive 40vs40 turf wars would work you must check a old game called "Fontlines - Fuel of War" there you have multiple spots to capture and hold and that way you push the frontline but you can't capture any other spot beyond the front line. Is something I've been playing a long time and I've been always wondering if we could have something like that here on APB, it definitely worth to take a look and it could be easily implemented on APB. ;)

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  20. www.twitch.tv/xrean
    Great quality but boring stream ; )

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  21. pls show "sneak peak" screenshot of pack like u did with the last one thank

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  22. Interesting blog post.

    I was thinking that before they start marching down further development paths that will sap away the available man-hours, that they ought to do some relatively simple changes that would make life a lot easier for the player base.
    Specifically the in game item menus which all suffer from the unwieldiness of not being able to arrange the order in which the items are presented. It's not as if the concept of drag and drop is a new one! I refer to weapon, clothing, vehicle, symbol, and modification inventories but the worst one of these is the weapon inventory which you have to scroll through under immediate time pressure during field supplier deployment and often in close proximity to opposition during a mission. Being able to alter the order in which the weapons are presented prevents the awkwardness of sifting through a long list instead of being able to shift the order so your most frequently used weapons are at the top as opposed to having weapons you rarely use any more shoved in your face and have to find the ones you use.

    On the subject of new weapons I do like what you have done with the SA80 variants - before you release the NSSW variant can you PLEASE review the thread in the suggestions forum and actually read what is being said there about where the NSSW is lacking as the 'buff' if was given last tim was misdirected in that it didn't address the reasons why it just does not in any way come close to its design brief in actual gameplay.

    Looking forward to the new contacts.

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  23. Uploaded over 400 apb videos in total. (including the ones on my apb reloaded fanbase channel)

    ah shout out will always be nice for extra views

    https://www.youtube.com/user/Str33tsGaming

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  24. I have just started a youtube channel for apb :)

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqMqm3wo3Pte9CN39t-k4lA/videos

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  25. I think you should focus on the engine, because I'm lagging alot, and I dedicated my life to APB and it's just too hard to stop playing it. It's a shame I can't play without lag and I begg you to focus on the engine. I'm not very rich, I'll never be rich so it's appreciated and keep up the good work.

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