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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 18:53:37   #1
Ilaliya
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Funcom employee Monthly Development Update – Nov 5th 2012

Monthly Development Update – Nov 5th 2012

Announcements

Hey guys,

Some quick announcements first:

As most of you are aware, professional revotes are underway. This means, in some cases, we're taking applications for new professionals. Venachar is overseeing this effort. For those of you who have been closely watching this process, the deadline for applications has been extended. For information please refer to the sticky thread in each profession's sub forum.

Due to Hurricane Sandy, we are extending our Halloween content until the 12th. We want to give our east-coast players who may have been otherwise occupied a little extra time to enjoy the content. Also, big thanks to the hard work that our customer service team, ARK and GSP put into the holiday!

Also, to reiterate… due to the Server Migration, if you are in an organization that has a president that is a deleted character, or a character on an inactive account, please contact Customer Service to get this resolved before the end of the month. And make sure there is an actual leader so we have someone to give a voucher!

You can contact CS by creating a ticket on the web, use live chat to talk to a representative live, or petition in game.


Server Migration

We’re currently finalizing our account transfer scripts, and putting them through the paces in our internal test environment. One thing to be clear about: we cannot transfer characters ahead of time, because if we did, nothing the player gained after we copied the database record would be saved (this is what a transfer means). So we basically have one shot at this, and it has to happen on the fly.

The migration will work like this:
  1. We announce we are taking the servers down
  2. Servers go down, possibility of slightly extended downtime. This is yet to be determined.
  3. Servers come up.
  4. We start migrating accounts behind the scenes, using a prioritized queue. This queue churns through the list of accounts that need to be migrated.
  5. Player logs on, and his account gets bumped to the front of the transfer queue, but behind people who tried to login before him (after the server-up).
    • At this point, you can shut down AO and you will get an email when your account has been transferred.
    • For example, if an account on average takes 1 second to transfer and a thousand people log on the instant we bring the server up, someone is going to be in a queue for 1000 seconds (~17 minutes)
    • Trying to log back in before you have transferred won’t interfere with the process.
  6. After the account is transfered, the player can log in and play as normal.

After you log in your account, you will see all of your characters from all dimensions appear in the character list as "inactive." This will work identically to the dry run we did last month. Note this is also our solution to German players, who may still have characters on a dead server.

As the time draws nearer, I will post details on the number of character slots. Just to reiterate: Free accounts will still have the normal 8 active slots on the new dimension, and we will give some additional amount to subscribers (just as a bonus for being a subscriber).

I can’t give you a set date, but it will be this year. We’re shooting for end of this month, but that’s assuming that our very rigorous internal tests all pass without incident. Believe me when I say this isn’t something you want us to rush. We have to get it right the first time.


Engine Upgrade

Last month was a strong focus on finishing up the "boring parts" of the Engine Upgrade (as far as you guys are concerned). Which is why there are no screenshots in this letter. Basically, we're doing automatic conversions of all existing playfields and dependencies into playfields compatible with the new formats. Let's just say there are a lot of playfields, and they all weren't exactly made in the same way.

Also, just as an illustrative example of the above, Vhab is making a new and better water-system because the way Dreamworld does water wasn't playing nice with the way the old engine handled water. Because we're not going to have artists go in and manually fix water for hundreds of playfields. There are number of similar issues we need to get cleaned up, as blockers for our planned beta.

On the art front, we're putting together new character models, new animations, new textures, new heads, and mesh armors (I had a screenshot of this on page 7 of last months update).

We're in the home stretch on this, and after the Server Migration the Engine will have the full focus of the entire AO programming team, as it will be our highest priority & highest urgency item.


AO on Steam

That last paragraph was a good segue into this section. Other than a steam overlay crash, we're good to go. Fortunately, the steam technicians have been nice enough to look at it when they have time. The crash is 100% reproducible, so it's not some mysterious phantom thing. We might take a look ourselves after the Server Migration, but I only want to spend our coder's time on this if other avenues requiring us not to divert our focus are exhausted.


New Player Experience

This is turning into the monthly update of "we're finally finishing everything up." Genele is bringing the NPE up to a releasable state on the completely new starter playfield, and revamped ICC hub. I want to stress again, this is a massive update and will include everything from profession-specific missions to PvP to some ground-work for upcoming progression changes. After the new playfield and revamped ICC, we'll patch out a new character creation, and a (skippable) more basic tutorial.


Next Patches - 18.5.4 & 18.6

18.5.4 will be patched from testlive to live later this week. You can read the preliminary notes here.

After 18.5.4 is out the door, we will deploy 18.6 to internal QA servers, followed by testlive. 18.6 has design enhancements (for example, player cities, new buildings, etc) that are intended to go out with the server migration, and when 18.6 is patched to live it will include the server migration.


In Closing

We have a big month ahead of us! We're closing down the Server Migration work, and Q1 next year you'll see the New Player Experience and Engine Upgrade Beta. Now it's just about keeping our heads down and getting it all done.

Next monthly update will be on December 3rd! I'll see you guys on the forums, and in game.

Cheers,
Ilaliya

Last edited by Ilaliya; Nov 5th, 2012 at 21:48:37..
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 18:53:52   #2
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Also, since 18.6 will have the server migration, does that mean we can expect the migration this month or like in December?

Last edited by Triadninja; Nov 5th, 2012 at 18:58:24..
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 18:55:16   #3
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 18:55:43   #4
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 18:56:42   #5
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 18:57:26   #6
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Good thing you can use someone else's coders!

So migration looks to be close... Any news on old plots around the world?
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 19:02:16   #7
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question:

someone on rimor has the same name as my character on atlantean. how will you deal with this? do i get to keep my name? does he get to keep his? is it by level? /played? /created? i REALLY don't wanna be lazyfixer-1 because some froob logged in before me...
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 19:04:07   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilaliya View Post
Engine Upgrade

Last month was a strong focus on finishing up the "boring parts" of the Engine Upgrade (as far as you guys are concerned). Which is why there are no screenshots in this letter. Basically, we're doing automatic conversions of all existing playfields and dependencies into playfields compatible with the new formats. Let's just say there are a lot of playfields, and they all weren't exactly made in the same way.

Also, just as an illustrative example of the above, Vhab is making a new and better water-system because the way Dreamworld does water wasn't playing nice with the way the old engine handled water. Because we're not going to have artists go in and manually fix water for hundreds of playfields. There are number of similar issues we need to get cleaned up, as blockers for our planned beta.

On the art front, we're putting together new character models, new animations, new textures, new heads, and mesh armors (I had a screenshot of this on page 7 of last months update).

We're in the home stretch on this, and after the Server Migration the Engine will have the full focus of the entire AO programming team, as it will be our highest priority & highest urgency item.
So now that we know roughly what's going on with the new engine, something I don't think we were ever truly aware of before, is there any possibility of getting a list of what's left to be done, maybe with estimates of how long each will take?

For example:
Vhab working on water (3 weeks)
Replacing trees (2 weeks)
Nerfing loot drops (5 days)
Reskin Lazy's characters as Hello Kitty (4 months)
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 19:05:55   #9
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 19:09:20   #10
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ask?
Why was the character transfer and turned off when it is again switched freely between 2 accounts?
binding info until 11.11.2012 please otherwise they would be useless, and you get no money from me: p

Da ich wie Fc ja auch mit googelübersetzern arbeitet hier mal das orginal
hi hab da mal ne frage.
Warum wurde der Charakter transfer abgeschalten und wann wird er wieder frei geschalten zwischen 2 accounts?
verbindliche info bis zum 11.11.2012 bitte sonst wäre sie nutzlos und ihr bekommt kein geld von mir
ps schreibe hier weil bei uns leider kaum einer ließt
gruss
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 19:11:22   #11
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 19:13:16   #12
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Omgz! Npe, engine and my firm favourite. Server migration. Good to see good progress being made. Its time you start feeding coders with some raw pork.

Pretty briliant plan for account transfeer, so first 1000 mostly active accounts will be transfered first, before them inactives. Also with less active chars game should run faster?

In any case, good job.
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 19:14:41   #13
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Something that would be fun is to see those OLD playfields that where never released brought into the game (the spur etc etc, names escape me atm) with just 1 server and (hopefully) more ppl arriving to rkX more space would be cool.
Might not be that hard/take a lot of time if those maps are kinda half-done as well.
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 19:25:21   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilaliya View Post
As I said in my Sept 1st update we're working towards some internal milestones, but we're still on track for a public beta early next year. Early next week we christen a new alpha client that is playable from inside the Funcom network, against our internal servers. So in the next update, I'll have some screenshots from that.
WTB promised screenshots
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 19:31:01   #15
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Also, to reiterate… due to the Server Migration, if you are in an organization that has a president that is a deleted character, or a character on an inactive account, please contact Customer Service to get this resolved before the end of the month. And make sure there is an actual leader so we have someone to give a voucher!
what would happen after the month if nobody in org contacts and gets a voucher?
does the inactive leader just continue to be inactive leader and no structural changes are made to the org?
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 19:32:20   #16
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what would happen after the month if nobody in org contacts and gets a voucher?
It could end up with an inactive player receiving the voucher.

In the case of a organization leader who's character has been deleted, a new leader is selected and promoted to receive the voucher.
But you're better off settling this before 18.6.0.
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 19:46:13   #17
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Awesome, looking forward to more character slots
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 19:58:28   #18
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When can we expect to transfer toons between accounts again? Not want the money or what?
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 20:00:59   #19
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Great update, November sounds exciting :-)
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Old Nov 5th, 2012, 20:31:38   #20
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If I'm not mistaken, the server transfer will assign new charIDs to everyone - which in turn will screw everyone's prefs (settings/shortcut bars/inventory/bank/etc...) - do you have plans to mitigate that or is everyone keeping their old charID ?
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yea...the best way to fix messed up game mechanics is by giving up item slots for new 'bug fix items'...like I said before, next we'll get the Staff of Pet Pathing and perhaps an Anti-LD Ring and how about some pants that make it so I don't get forced to autoface my opponent after casting a nano when I'm trying to run away...Combined Developer's Wear of Autoface Resistance, and maybe some new symbs with broken quest resistance, oh, and how could I forget the upgrade to the scuba gear that adds Rubberbanding Resistance...
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