Tuesday, September 9, 2014

High Roller Video Promo

With the release of 1.17.1 and the High Roller pack tomorrow, we sincerely hope you enjoyed our series of posts over the last few days and look forward to seeing you in game!

As promised, here's a preview of the video series showcasing the High Roller pack:

Be sure and check the High Roller pack on Armas, when it releases this Wednesday and remember, you can grab a leased version of the Shredder from Wilde, at Joker Affiliates store in Breakwater Marina!

See you on the streets of San Paro!

-The Reloaded Team

Monday, September 8, 2014

1.17.1 Release Date and The Bishada Spectre

Introducing The Bishada Spectre

The Bishada "Spectre" kit marks the last of our little teasers for the new High Roller pack. Our primary goal when designing this new kit was to give the Bishada components that would drastically change the silhouette for the vehicle, whilst also being more refined, elegant and visually punchier than the Mako kit. At the same time, we also had to ensure that the kit still complemented the large catalogue of existing components, in order to maximize the options available for customization.

As you'll see below, the Spectre kit has a bolder, more aggressive use of lines and shapes, which we believe will really shift the look of the base vehicle. Additionally, we've added components like the Renzo Aero S-X2 wheels, complete with distinctive text around the tyres that really add a unique character to the Bishada, and also a new set of police lights, complete with license plate readers for the Enforcers.

Here is a large resolution (1920x1200) version of the High Roller pack for your shiny monitors:

If you'd like a clean version of this image, then we've got you covered too:

1.17.1 Release Date

Now that we've completed our little set of teaser blogs for 1.17.1 and the High Roller pack, all that is left to do is tell you when you can expect to get your hands on it.

*Drum Roll

1.17.1 will be released on LIVE this Wednesday (10th of September at 9am (UTC)) with the High Roller pack being made available on the same day!

Remember, you'll also be able to lease a version of the new Shredder shotgun, ahead of it's Armas release, from Wilde in Breakwater Marina - so check it out and let us know what you think.

*We'll start the maintenance at 9am UTC and should have it back up and running in 2-3 hours.

Did we mention this was the last teaser? We've got one more for you! Join us once more tomorrow, when we'll share a set of exclusive videos showcasing the High Roller pack!

-The Reloaded Team

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Shotgun Balance Changes and The Shredder

Shotgun Changes

Shotguns where once the de-facto short-range weapon, but the last set of changes they received left them performing less reliably than we'd like them to. While the previous changes addressed the unreliable nature of the the pellet spread, we felt we could better still address the base accuracy or the accuracy changes that occur when a player moves and fires. To combat this, we've heavily changed the accuracy of all of the existing shotguns by improving where the centre of the spread will land. We've also removed any movement modifiers that would previously have affected the accuracy while running or sprinting.

This means that shotguns will now always hit near-centre, even when fired while running or sprinting . However, jumping and firing will still have a major effect on shotgun accuracy.

We've also taken this opportunity to change how the CSG and JG behave, as we felt they were a little too similar and we really wanted them to have their own distinctive flavour that better complements different play styles. To this end, we've upped the damage of the JG, while increasing its spread. This makes it a close-range monster. With the CSG, we've left it with a tighter spread which, when combined with the benefit of not losing any accuracy while moving, turns it into a excellent mid-range option that still performs well at closer ranges.

Throw the N-FAS and the Shredder into the mix and you now have a better suite of reliably competitive options when you want to play with a shotgun.

High Roller: Shredder Shotgun

The Shredder Automatic Shotgun is a powerful and precise weapon that can provide extreme amounts of fire against enemy targets. It's the exception to the new shotgun changes above, being fairly inaccurate when moving, but it's high rate of fire combined with the tightest spread of any shotgun makes it a powerhouse when used in marksmanship mode.

The High Roller pack will come with the "Shredder DF PR3" (The DF stands for "Drum Fed"). There are also two other versions of the Shredder: the Shredder SB JT1 (Short Barrel), which will be available to lease in-game from Wilde in Breakwater Marina; and the Shredder EB (Extended Barrel) PR3, which will be made available separately.

Join us tomorrow, when we'll be sharing the official release dates for 1.17.1 along with the final piece of the High Roller pack: the Bishada's Spectre kit!

- The Reloaded Team

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Performance Improvements and High Roller Clothing Revealed

1.17.1: Performance Improvements

For the past few months we've been running tests, adding logging, analysing data, going over client and server logs and reviewing network latency reports, all in an attempt to find out what the main causes of our performance bottlenecks are. Frustratingly, the answer is not entirely straight forward (we can't just blame Howard the server hamster, for example) as there are a range of potential issues in various areas of the game that could be causing problems. There are, however, a few systems that are primary candidates for potential performance hiccups. So - with 1.17.1, we've made changes to some of these systems that we believe should make a noticeable improvement to the game.

One of the primary candidates to optimize has been the garbage collection system - this has nothing to do with the Green Planet trucks and everything to do with how the game frees up memory by releasing objects no longer required by the game.

To give you a more technical overview of what we've done here, we're going to hand you over to the lead engineer who has been spearheading the development effort to improve performance, and has written an overview of the problems he's encountered and how he's gone about addressing them.

Identifying Lag Spikes

We've been looking again at server performance in 1.17.1 and have been analysing some of the spikes reported in server log files.

A server ticks (updates) 25 times a second which gives it 0.04 seconds (40 milliseconds) to update the game world. Every tick we measure the time taken and if this is over a threshold then we have a spike (slow update) and we log additional information about the causes of the spike.

Whether a spike affects your experience of playing the game depends on many different factors. Some will be noticed, others won't be, but the less spikes we have, the "cleaner" the server is and the more predictable its performance will be.

The Two Primary Candidates

A game server needs to do different amounts of work at different times, it does standard things all the time; for example, moving characters, simulating physics, and sending network traffic.

The server will often have to do extra work, however, when a character enters a district, and during garbage collection. I've been looking at these two cases.

Reducing Impact of Character Entry

When a character enters a district, the district server needs to grab information from the database and then initialise itself with this data. After observing that this involved a lot of time reading files from disk (which is a slow process because hard disks are often the slowest part of a computer system) I've been able to reduce the impact on the server of reading these files.

Optimizing Garbage Collection

Garbage collection is the process which tidies up unused objects in memory. It currently runs every minute, at 40 seconds past the minute, and runs in two phases:

The first phase is to identify which objects are no longer required. This needs to be completed in one step, otherwise memory could change and its analysis will be invalidated.

The second phase is to tidy up the objects which are no longer required. This was taking longer than was desirable.

For some time now, we've been adding extra logging to provide more information about the process of tidying up objects. From this logging I was able to identify which sorts of objects take the most time to tidy up. In fact - one type of object was taking up the majority of time. I've been able to rework some code so these objects do not always need to be created in the first place.

Improving server performance is an ongoing process, and there are still improvements we can make. We'll be continuing to work on identifying the points on the server where spikes occur and figuring out new ways to smooth these out.

High Roller: New Gear

Welcome to the first teaser of the High Roller Pack! In this installment, we'd like to showcase the new clothing items that come in the pack. As you can see from these pictures, the clothes convey an element of professional deadliness; a mixture of style and function.

First of all, we have some new pieces of wearable equipment that will help players intimidate their enemies. Enforcers will gain access to a vest with a multitude of spaces to store shotgun shells, while Criminals will be able to adorn themselves with bandoliers. Female characters will gain access to some very fashionable threads, including an underbust laced corset, fashionable shorts, skinny glossy pants and some high heeled ankle boots. Male characters will also be able to equip some stylish new attire in the form of a bakerboy hat, a waistcoat/tie & shirt combo, patched fashion jeans and a pair of very chic ankle boots.

Looking good has always been a priority for the residents of San Paro, and the High Roller Pack will give fashion-conscious players the chance to create trendsetting new outfits for their characters.

Join us tomorrow, when we'll be revealing the new shotgun and talking about the raft of balance changes we've been making to shotguns in general!

-The Reloaded Team

Friday, September 5, 2014

A General Update & 1.17.1

Welcome to the latest blog update for APB Reloaded!

Today we'd like to share the status of our ongoing development efforts, introduce you to the latest member of our design team, chat a bit about what you can look forward to in 1.17.1, and give you a sneak peek of the our upcoming content pack.

Over the next few days we'll be talking about the upcoming 1.17.1 release in more detail as we'll as revealing the content for the upcoming High Roller Pack.

Unreal Update

Many have asked how the Unreal update is going? - rest assured steady progress is being made. The technological progress of the update has provided us the opportunity to start defining the visual look of the game, in the upgraded engine. More visual material will be shared, as progress on the upgrade continues - so you'll be seeing less of this:

and more of this:

Overkill in the EU

Updating our EU servers to the "Overkill" hardware is progressing, as we're currently sorting out a few logistical issues. In the meantime, we've been making a raft of server optimisations that we're rolling out with 1.17.1 - be sure and come back for tomorrow's blog, where we'll go into more details on what we've been targeting.

Introduction to our New Designer

We are delighted to announce that industry veteran Ricardo Viana has recently joined the Reloaded team!

With 17 years of experience he has worked on such titles as Eternal Darkness, The Outfit, Company of Heroes and Army of Two. Ricardo has plenty of experience designing for third person action games, shooters and strategic gameplay. As fans of his games, everyone here is super exited to welcome him to the team and we're all really looking forward to seeing what exciting changes he'll bring to the world of APB:Reloaded!


We're currently hard at work putting the finishing touches to the 1.17.1 patch and we plan to have it in your hands very soon. More details on the content of 1.17.1 will be provided in future blogs leading up to its release - but as a brief overview, 1.17.1 will feature further performance enhancements, a broad range of changes to the shotgun weapons as well as numerous bug fixes and tweaks.

High Rolling
Before we sign off on this blog we'd like to give you a sneak peek of the next content pack we'll be releasing soon: the High Roller Pack. It features a new vehicle kit for the Bishada, new clothing assets, and a brand-new and totally unique weapon.

Come back tomorrow and we'll present some of the server performance changes we've been making in 1.17.1 as well as reveal the new clothing assets from the High Roller Pack.

-The Reloaded Team