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Old May 21st, 2009, 00:56:09   #1
Means
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Funcom employee Friday with Means - May 22nd, 2009

A little early this week as the team will be off for a long weekend this week...and I will be nowhere near an internet connection of any kind on the west coast of Sweden near Skredsvik...an unplugged weekend.

This has been a week of ups and downs.

The Engine

We have been working on the conversion to Ogre for quite some time now...and there have been good days...and bad days. The team has really done a great job and it has been amazing to watch AO slowly move towards a day where we could release the game "fresh" with the upgraded look the AO world deserves. The problem with this journey is a matter of time and the destination. While the Ogre engine is an excellent choice it is just not providing the full featureset that we originally hoped to would deliver...moreover to add those features seems to be a task with ever growing estimates....which is something our small team can not afford, nor expect our players to wait for. When the decision to go with Ogre was made the engine used for Conan was in its adolescence...it ran but it was gangly, awkward and had stability issues. After two years of constant work by a large and brilliant render team the engine used by Conan runs beautifully and stably and offers a great number of complete features that would require additional years of work in Ogre. With the delays due to difficulties associated with optimization of Ogre to work well with current AO and the estimated timelines for a full implementation of the Conan engine (Dreamworld Engine/Cheetah) being nearly identical we were faced with a difficult decision.

We chose to go with the Dreamworld Engine.

With time estimates being roughly the same..the more fully supported/featured engine was the obvious choice. The fact that Dreamworld is being used in both Conan and our other "Secret World" project means that it will receive the future love and care it needs as AO grows older and the AO world continues to grow. This future consideration was impossible to ignore.

This has not been an easy decision. Letting go of Ogre after so long is painfull and I feel for all those who put so much work into trying to bring it to completion. A great many evenings and weekends went voluntarily into it with the hopes and dreams of a brighter future for AO. It was purely for the future of Anarchy Online that we had to steo back let go of Ogre...and move forward with Dreamworld. Today felt exactly like saying goodbye to an old friend...however the facts and plans for the future make it impossible for me to think of it as the wrong decision.

We will get there!

What this means for us:

Within the Ogre timeline the sheer amount of unanticipated optimization of essential features had slipped to November this year. With additional resources from the larger technical team we hope to bring the Dreamworld engine to AO in 2009. I truly believe that Age of Conan is a visually stunning world and I look forward to seeing the same technology available to us in the near future.

Our Hosts:

Our monitoring of the new servers at IPSoft suggests that all is going well and we are ready to proceed. After months of work and preparation Anarchy Online will be moved from Savvis to our new IPSoft hosts on Tuesday this week (May 26th). Downtime will be about 6 hours...but we will be coming uip on new machines. We have wanted this for a very very long time...that day is finally here!

Spammers:

Our efforts to track down and eliminate the spam in AO is slowly paying off. Spam mesages are down to 9% of what they were three weeks ago. Last week we removed 41 Billion illicitly gained credits from the AO economy and banned well over 100 accounts. 9% is still too much...but we are still working on it and the automated systems and client chat filter on not even live yet...I'm hopefull and optimistic.

*ahem*

Take that you ******* spamming bastards!

As our tracking systems improve and continue to develop all transactions of this kind are going to be found and reversed. To the players who had credits removed this week: Shame on you!

We will always find these credits eventually and remove them. Shuffling the credits through many accounts/org banks/player shops/city controllers etc is not effective and is only annoying for the CS investigators....please don't make it more cost effective to ban you than remove the credits. Note: Anyone who lost credits can probably reverse the financial transaction through their Credit Card company.

Should you continue to feel like wasting your money you could always just deposit it in my account...I'll find a good use for it. My house needs painting and I don't have time to do it. CRedz plz! 11001001!!

The Database:

Macrosun has the problem I mentioned last week well in hand and we hope to bring a new build to the Test Server at some point next week that will include the new apartment, further balance tweaks based on player feedback, adjustments to instanced Pande and the instanced cities and new stuff for this years AO birthday.

8 years...hard to believe...but it is coming soon. I look forward to celebrating with you all.

Thanks to all who have taken the time this week to speak with me about constructive ways to address balance issues in current game mechanics.

Whoa...time for sleep. Have a great weekend all!
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Old May 21st, 2009, 01:01:16   #2
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first! now to read it

PS I beat Macrosun unless he cheats and moves his!
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Old May 21st, 2009, 01:01:54   #3
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2nd!
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Old May 21st, 2009, 01:08:29   #4
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I agree with the change to the engine although I'm sure it hurts after all that work. But now you can bake some cookies for your old programmer buddies who still work at FC and they will come help the current team code for free just to expedite the conversion!

/wishful thinking
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Runspeed: - 1989
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Intelligence: -50

These befouled undergarments are painfully confining having previously belonged to a detail-oriented individual with much smaller genitals. Walking is difficult...running is impossible. Stains of a dubious nature adorn both the front and back of these "tighty-whities". Noxious fumes make your eyes burn and your nose run while wearing these. One can only imagine what you are doing wearing them.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 01:08:51   #5
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Good to see you didn't skip a letter!
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Old May 21st, 2009, 01:10:40   #6
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w00t first page
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Old May 21st, 2009, 01:16:00   #7
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*hands Means a cookie*

I think the team made a good desicion on the engine. Ultimately having a unified engine which three teams inhouse make use of will weigh out any advantages ogre had given that the AO team is relatively small in a MMORPG pov.

And yes, it's hard to imagine it has almost been 8 years now. (this not my original account for those who obsess over forum join dates)

Hoping for another 8 to come
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Old May 21st, 2009, 03:05:00   #8
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**** yes **** yes ****ING HELL YES!!

Incredible news and thank you for the update Means enjoy the unpluggedness!!
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Old May 21st, 2009, 03:07:54   #9
vadagget
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Some questions:

1) Will the Dreamworld engine be able to scale down to the hardware that Ogre was targetting?

2) Did you get to sit down with Sill and wrangle some effects/engine coders from him to help adapt the Dreamworld engine to AO?

3) Are we gonna get a world-class advertising campaign put into action when this comes online?
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Old May 21st, 2009, 03:09:00   #10
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Thats a sweet video of Journey.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 03:11:00   #11
Ayria
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I'm sure you've thought of this Means, but what happens if; with your backtracking of credit history, someone loses credits they gained legitimately?

Scum buys credits from Spammer, and proceeds to give it away to LegitDude as a random gift or as an inter-dimension credit transfer etc. No proof that it's not just a "money laundering" trade, LegitDude loses out?

Other then that concern, which probably has already been throught of you by Funcom, it all looks good.

P.S. nerf you buggers too, how am I supposed to get "First" when there's already posts by the time the website loads from its "Preforming Maintenance"?
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Old May 21st, 2009, 03:16:26   #12
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I LOVE YOU MEANS!

Now about my AO Website Redesign thread... I would really appreciate a comment from you about it, will you consider my suggestion? is there something being done at this time? please.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 03:17:41   #13
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PS: I loved that Journey vid, it was awesome and inspired the right feelings matching your post.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 03:22:17   #14
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Ouch to having to dump OGRE, but guess that's how the cookie crumbles.

I'm liking how things are looking on 18.1 so far, however you're going to have to do/say something about the fact that you mentioned 'blunt users' as being intended for this patch fix, and aside from Enforcers, that pretty much means MPs, and we weren't expecting a rework yet.

Any word on if Bone Crusher's going to be opened up a bit for MP use (Enfos are nice to their CM/Web/nano dispensers and said they'd be happy to share) and maybe get better access to Blunt Mastery as well? Plan on waiting for that for the MP/Pet prof shakedown? Some news on this wouldn't hurt, I can tell this patch isn't going to be an 'all in one shot' sort of deal.

BTW: Edit: Wednesday night here US time when this popped up, that's a mighty damn early FwM!
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Old May 21st, 2009, 03:27:56   #15
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Exciting news. A little bittersweet, but if I didn't have faith in the decision making of AO's team I wouldn't be paying my monthly fee. I do hope the Dreamfall Engine allows you to bring a similar level of detail as what we see in that early video from OGRE, and I'd actually appreciate it if at some point in the near future you could elaborate on what might change / be removed / be improved upon in comparison to what was being worked on before.

In any event, stay the course, and I'm looking forward to the end result ^^
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Old May 21st, 2009, 03:34:16   #16
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As long as it works on Linux. Otherwise I'll be saving myself 60 per quarter.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 03:51:08   #17
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I hope you're gonna look at having an actual linux client with an opengl renderer, or ensuring in some other way that ao with the dreamworld engine works with wine/cedega, else you're going to end up losing your linux-based subscribers.

At present time AoC doesn't work via wine/cedega, for instance.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 04:13:48   #18
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I hope you're gonna look at having an actual linux client with an opengl renderer, or ensuring in some other way that ao with the dreamworld engine works with wine/cedega, else you're going to end up losing your linux-based subscribers.

At present time AoC doesn't work via wine/cedega, for instance.
thats a whole.... 6?





someone had to say it...
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Old May 21st, 2009, 04:15:13   #19
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Hi thar...

TAKE THAT YOU CRED SPAMMERS AND CRED BUYERS!!!
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Old May 21st, 2009, 04:37:39   #20
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Means, just a clarification, are you now going to get more people on the redesign team for the engine since other devs have worked on it? It seems to me that that would be a more cost effective choice. Having the other devs that know the engine chip in instead of having to have your guys relearn what the other people already know.
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