Happy New Year/Tet 新年好
It is Game Update time! We are happy to say that we are releasing a small update that includes a few performance boosts to the mainland, a small one to the Island and a bit more detail added to the world.
It is the year of the Rat. The rat symbolizes overcoming disasters and troubles. It is good for future development and prosperity and seeing the completion of projects or tasks. It is a time that begins with the past years difficulties and overcoming the to a more relaxed, peaceful and completed year. This is perfect for The Repopulation! Lets hope there is some truth when it comes to the Zodiac.
This update focuses on additional bug fixes for the last update as well as to some of the core systems. Though these fixes may not all be directly seen by the players it does help fix some of the conflicts and prepares us for the next state of development for the next quarter.
You can view the patch notes here: Therepopulation.com
For Future Testing- Coming Soon:
In an upcoming update after we have cleared the next set of current tasks for performance and optimizations we will be adding in a new panel to the UI for players. This panel will display the Repository Requests. In other words, it will expose/display what is loading or updating.
This will help new players see something other than black screen or long loading screen with nothing on it and help some of that confusion.
We will also be adding an optional panel that players can turn on that will display the same information while in game. This will help you see what is loading and when. So when you see those hitches in the game right now, you can view what is loading. It will also help you (and us) see what assets or files take too long to load, get stuck or a possible cause to crashing.
We will release more information on this once we are finished building this into the player client and GUI.
We want to thank everyone that has submitted bug reports and feedback, from our great testers to the production players. All of that information has been most valuable, especially in the area of style and performance.
With your help we have been able to confirm a few of the old bugs and help narrow down additional issues that came from the mainland into the Island test. With this we should see a large improvement in the crashing, and should be mostly related only to area strt_02, with some possibly remaining in strt_04. However, the rest of the island areas should be much more stable. Work is continuing on the Island and the systems involved, and with the continued testing and work behind the scenes we will get our island working nicely.
Crashing: A lot of the focus has been on tracking down areas that are still causing an overload of the memCache that builds up and can cause the crashing to desktop on both the HeroBlade and the game client. We have optimized several aspects of the Island with a lot more to go.
Optimizations: The primary focus on optimizations was to bring file size down. Because of the replication issues, we have had to focus on file size of assets and game nodes. This includes redoing a few assets to the creation of LOD’s.
Primary areas of work for visual and server communication optimizations are (but not limited to):
- Terrain heightmap node file size
- SpeedTree file size
- Updated (additional) Speed Tree LOD’s
- LOD Creation for architectural assets
- Removed Dynamic Occlusion culling from assets (due to changes in the HeroEngines core scripts)
- Addition of static occlusion culling walls in the 6 areas.
Scripts, Systems and Missions:
Scripting Systems: We have been focused on building the base for the new Item system. Several fixes have also come in to help with things like stacking, visible representation to counts, and more. The new changes now and coming up will improve performance by removing some of the extra overhead (client and server alike) and move us into the container system revamp.
Missions and Dialogue: Thanks to the great feedback we were able to make additional adjustments to the old dialogue and missions to help fit the island a bit more.
We want to remind all players that once we have the core systems recreated and new tools, like the Mission/Dialogue system, we will be revamping the Missions on the island.
With your feedback using the old missions, we have been able to develop and tweak/adjust the direction to flow a bit better with the huge change to the starting area. This will give you in turn a more cohesive and natural flow of the Island Missions, introducing players to the game and allow players to pick their own path. The goal is to have a more sandbox (or sandpark) aspect as the game was promised and should have.
All changes and new development work has been done with the purpose of “forward development”. This means that as we update or create new, we are working towards the point for when we can update the Repoulations engine version to a more recent and not have to rely on the 2013/14 version with several years of changes made to the core files.
Once we are able to update the engine, it will revert all core files back to default. The changes we are putting in now helps both current game build as well as allowing us to develop on top of clean scripts and make the correct changes without having to search for bandaids.
This does mean we will have a lot of work ahead of us, but it will also allow us to make more frequent game updates once that phase of development is completed. We will announce when we begin this phase. Before we begin this next big step, we want to make sure we have as much fixed and ready for this massive change as possible. Hence the forward facing development method.