Friday with Means - July 9th, 2010: Summertime Fun
After a well-deserved break last week, The Main Man returns with a slew of news on the engine, the rebalancing, the new startup experience, and even a few new heads!
It was a relief when the rest of the team arrived safely on dry land again this week and returned to the office. It was waaay to quiet here while they were gone.
That being said it did give me a chance to get started on some things I had been forced to "down-prioritize" for quite some time. I am sorry that we missed being able to provide information from the team last week (for what I think was the first time in what hs probably been years..) but by the end of Friday last week I simply ran out of time before stepping onto the boat for the company party (I'm sure by now most people are aware I had some pretty important issues to make sure would never bother us again after this week's update). Having missed almost every single company event in the past..and with the rest of the AO team pretty much away someone needed to at least represent our group...and that kind of left "me" as a choice. Again...I'm sorry that this ended up causing "drama" on the forums...I'll try not to miss one again any time soon. The rumours of my death were highly exaggerated.
I had a great time on the boat and after last week I was definitely in need of a drink and copious amounts of fresh air. I ended up having more of both than I planned...but I survived.
Anyway, the things people ARE interested in:
Work continued this week (and last) on what we can all agree is our most important area of focus. Ninja Russian code genius Sergey was hard at work optimizing both New AND old AO render code. This was fascinating stuff as I don't think anyone had really touched any of this stuff for a VERY long time. Among the many slowdowns Sergey eliminated last week it was surprising to find out that one of the main sources of graphical "stalls" was actually the chat window of all things. It turns out the text used in the chat is all rendered real-time as it appears in the window...and the more text sent in a message surprisingly enough the larger "stall" it would produce. Luckily this issue was discovered years ago in the work put into producing Conan and the solution could be ported rather quickly into AO. The engine is getting smoother and smoother and the performance with all the bells and whistles turned on is quickly stabilizing into a version we can use for a closed beta client within the next few months. The work on the heads is also progressing at a good pace...so the closed beta might even contain the full set. I've added some to the bottom of this post...even including one that can not possibly be "too asian".
We fought with each other for a protracted period of time this week to FINALLY agree on the Nano changes for the Martial Artist profession this week. We hope to release these numbers/new mechanic to the community next Friday. I'm hoping we have another fought out and agreed on next week too.
New Starter Experience
Lindelu and I spent a fair amount of time working out the "High level" details of the new start-up experience this week. This was basically trying to take into account as much of the feedback as we have received into account and trying to make sure that players coming out of this experience would have all the basic knowledge and tools they would need to transition themselves into a productive start on Rubi-Ka. It is really only when you try to see AO from the perspective of a new player that you fully realize the true depth and complexity that our game has to offer. I imagine it is overwhelming for someone starting the game..it was certainly overwhelming trying to structure a starting point that wouldn't leave players in the dark while not giving them a possible brain damage at the same time. It is definitely not going to be easy to keep this "fun" and "light" for people starting out...but I think we have a good structure for what we want them to learn...and a plan for leaving this information available for those who want to learn more.
They are progressing faster than I would have thought...but unfortunately they are not complete yet.
The New Birthday Building
Seems we have a small problem here. In my desire to give something new this year I over-stepped a bit of the technology I wasn't aware of when it comes to creating new buildings that actually have an "inside". Apparently the location the door leads to is stored on your city controllers when the building is actually built. If the building doesn't HAVE an inside when it is built then regardless of what we do with it later the inside will never work...until the building is placed AGAIN.
This means unfortunately if you have "placed" your wrapped building in your city you will need to petition to get a new one before you will be able to access the inside. If you haven't placed it yet...DON'T. Wait until we update the building THEN place it.
If you HAVE placed it. Petition from your city. The GM will watch you delete your current building then supply you with a new one to be placed when the new building has been "revealed". Do NOT delete it before speaking with the Customer Service representative.
Again...my bad about the building. Sometimes the systems still manage to surprise me.
Have a great weekend everyone!
--Colin "Means" Cragg
Game Director, Anarchy Online
To view the original post on the official Anarchy Online forums, click here: http://forums.anarchy-online.com/showthread.php?t=578216