Hope you all have been having fun with the Halloween events and gotten your hands quite a few special treats this year. Due to some small hiccups we have extended the Halloween event until the 11th of November to make sure everyone gets a chance to join in.
I wanted to give you a status update on what the guys have been working on and where the closed beta currently stands.
Firstly the closed beta. We have set up the server but we still have a couple of critical rendering bugs that we need to squash before we open it up to the public. The water shader has been giving us some trouble and has been causing a lot of strange behavior, such as making all of the water volumes in the world to blink in and out of existence when it is raining. Though the effect makes me think of 70s disco, it could cause epileptic seizures in the long run, which is not entirely advisable – even in Anarchy Online.
The limitations of DX9 have caused us another problem. Quite a lot of the animation setups for Anarchy Online have too many bones to be compatible with the new graphics engine. Just a month ago we had over 60 models that just wouldn’t work in the engine (though they looked kinda hilarious when they exploded), but our animators have been hard at work and last count there was only one model left that still required attention (croakers).
QA have been doing their best to break everything in the engine and the New Player Experience and Genele and Macrosun have been fixing all the bugs as they come in.
Quite apart from the engine and 18.7 bugs Genele has spent her time this month getting Halloween up and running. She also did some prep work for Christmas while she was digging around in the events anyway - expect to see some long forgotten quests and NPCs.
With 18.7 we will be introducing item rarity as a stat to the game. Obviously there are a huge amount of items that need to be updated, so with the first versions of 18.7 you can expect to see this only on a percentage of the items. However, as time passes, we should be able to get a good indication of item rarity across the game. Different colors will point to different degrees of rarity and the implementation will start with the items in the upcoming New Player Experience.
Macrosun has, apart from stomping around the new engine in his bug stomping galoshes, also been compiling some nice data tools for the in-game player market. Usage statistics will allow us to follow the trends in the auction house and make adjustments accordingly.
Michizure has spent some time fixing random bugs and wrapping presents for the Christmas event, reopening the entrance to the Crypt of Home and tweaking the reflect shield of The Beast so that it stops chain casting!
We have also been compiling a FAQ to go out with the beta which contains a list of what to expect from the new engine and what it brings to the table. This will make it clear exactly what will be different in the new graphics engine, what will be the same and what we will continue working on to make better.
Thanks for listening