Friday with Means - March 13th, 2009
Friday the 13th...Oh noes!
It was an unusual Friday in that there were no disasters today. Normally I can count on some kind of explosion at about 3pm every Friday...but silence...only the tapping keys of artists and devs weaving magical notum dreams for the future.
I'm glad we didn't put out the perk reset npc last week as it would have broken all your characters. It is now working correctly and should be getting it on TestLive early next week together with the 12 man instance for testing...along with another raft small changes like:
New "team" specific chat channels for the Battlestations.
Battlestations working correctly again without CS help.
New PVP fears working again.
Orbital Strikes only hitting ONCE inside a period of time...no more stacking.
Various small adjustments to the booster ie: more convenience adjustments to the alien snare towers.
Some more new exploit fixes.
I haven't spoken about the engine for awhile...as it is difficult to make code optimization interesting...I only listen in those meeting because I have to. The coders are working hard at optimizing the new engine..as currently it is an "all features on full" affair that provides all features...but poor framerate. Optimizations that were missing from "old" AO are being looked into..like mesh instancing (load that tree once with a single call...and populate it out at no real framerate loss) was one aspect of the coder work this week. They were very excited to have 500 Turbine mesh's on the screen at once without significant issues. I'm going to assume this is a good thing...I sometimes don't always get those "coder moments". At any rate, an effect system is now working and we can begin to start producing some new effects, everything is being rendered...now optimization and the grunt work of producing a great number of effects can begin. Both these are going to take time...but we'll keep at it.
There will of course be some graphical updates with the new engine...the full extent of which isn't fully decided. New trees to freshen up the outdoor environments are definitely coming. Character bodies are going to be "smoothed" and better optimized for animation to lose some of the nasty poly issues. One test in progress at the moment is new character heads...AO has a huge number of these...so we are currently working on a "work in progress" opifex female head as a test case for possible production of new heads. I imagine it is unlikely we will simply replace all the heads in game as all of us have some attatchment to these...but more likely offer a choice to move to a "new" head if we want...and remove the old ones from character creation so all new characters will get new heads. Like I said...this is in the early phases...and not final yet...but exciting so I wanted to share an image with you for this week.
Have a great weekend!
Colin "Means" Cragg
This friday with Means can also be found in the Anarchy Online Forums.