Mar 23
MMORPG Tycoon 2 - VectorStorm
Hi everybody! It's been a little longer than usual between updates to the main Steam build; I've been working on localisation support and it's taken longer than expected! the base systems are now *mostly* in place (I'm aware of a couple things which still won't get translated, but the vast majority of the game is now ready for translations).

Ordinarily I'd wait for the feature to be fully complete, but there were a couple important new features and bug fixes I wanted to push to the default branch, so.. as a bonus, you're also getting a preview taste of translations!

New stuff in this build:
  • Fixed an important bug about destroying a network fiber which extends across a region boundary.

  • Fixes an important bug which caused things keyed to the current date to read the wrong date. This fixes the daily finance report, the finance graph, and advertisements ending earlier than they ought.

  • Fixes a few important bugs around orphaned roads/flight points.

  • Fixes a few navigation mesh generation issues.

  • Re-enables save file deletion within the game, from the 'load' or 'save' dialogs.

  • Monsters will no longer attack players who are traveling on flight paths (oops)

  • Adds an in-game "Submit file to devs" button, which automates the process of sending me a save file to investigate. (If I've ever asked you to provide me with a save file, this will make that process a *lot* easier!)
And a bunch of other little features!

Oh.. and of course the preview of localisation support that I mentioned at the top! It's not yet *technically* supported; I'm sure I've missed some text which isn't going through the translation system, and the translations themselves are in a very early state and aren't yet verified as being correct.. but if you'd like to take a look at them, you can switch languages from the Options window's "Debug" tab. Note that you can't yet set your language through Steam settings (as I'm not ready to declare that these other languages are 'supported'), and we don't save your language selection yet, but.. that's all coming pretty soon!

Right now we have an initial set of translations for French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese-BR, all generously supplied by the game's community and wrangled through Localizor. If you're fluent in English and another language, and have an interest in helping out with translations, please visit that link and take a look!

Thanks for your patience everyone! Setting the whole game up for localisation was a *lot* more work than I'd expected, and has taken a lot longer than I'd planned! But we're very nearly there, now, and the full proper Localisation Update will be here soon!
Mar 13
MMORPG Tycoon 2 - VectorStorm
Apologies for the lack of new features over the past week! I've been working really hard toward localisation support and I'll have another announcement about that probably later today! But I've just updated the default steam build to 0.17.78 with some bug fixes, and wanted to talk about those a little!

New in this build:
  • Fixed a number of (thankfully, rare!) stability issues around the new navigation mesh generation.
  • Player badges now vanish correctly when they log out.
  • Show a visible error message if OpenGL initialisation fails (due to OpenGL not being supported on the device)
  • Fixes a crash if the user attempts to close the game in the middle of a loading screen.
  • Improvements to region styling algorithm during map generation for a new game.
  • Extra safety around deactivating regions which players might be pathfinding inside.
  • Extra safety around attempts to print non-printable strings
...and a bunch of other more minor fixes/improvements!

Most of the navmesh stability issues only happened if the map was generating really small navigation triangles; it would mostly only happen with triangles that were less than 1cm in size! (which could happen if you were packing buildings really really close to other obstructions, but not *quite* touching them)

I promise the next update will be much more exciting! :D
Mar 3
MMORPG Tycoon 2 - VectorStorm
Hi, everyone! I argued with myself for a long time about whether to categorise this update as a "regular update" or as a "small patch".

From a programmer point of view, this is a pretty big change! But.. from a player's point of view, maybe less so? Here's what's changed:
  • I've done an almost complete rewrite of the core pathfinding system, switching us from our old "dynamic-node A*" system to a more traditional Navigation Mesh ("navmesh") system.

    It's really just a different way to figure out the best path to travel from one place to another. But it's heaps faster and more reliable, and fixes all sorts of issues like players barging straight through walls and similar issues when they were travelling to a new region.

    (caveat: subscribers still don't understand the idea that there might be somewhere where they simply can't go; if the pathfinding system can't find any legal way to reach the place where the subscriber wants to go (because you've built a solid wall all the way around that landmark, for example) then the subscribers will continue to just barrel through every obstacle in their way to get there. That's a fix for a future update!)

  • Impassable terrain now blocks traversal in a much more reasonable way.

    Previously, whole square terrain blocks were being blocked off; now we only block the actual parts of the terrain which *look* like they ought to be blocked; this means more rounded edges, etc.

  • Fixed the "out of space writing in vsStore" crash, by far the most reported crash bug over the past few weeks. Apologies for how long it took me to locate and squash this bug!

  • Fixed some stability issues around alert popups which referred to players who unsubscribed shortly after the alert popped up.

...and the usual collection of other small fixes and improvements!

Over the next few days I'm going to begin setting up for localisation into other languages. Then once that's ready, I'll be moving straight on to making players group up into 'parties' to adventure together as a group!

Thanks so much for all your patience while I finished all the bits and pieces on this pathfinding update! It was a silly amount of work, but I think it's improved subscriber behaviour by a lot!
Feb 27
MMORPG Tycoon 2 - VectorStorm
This is just a few small fixes and updates. Nothing tremendously exciting, but I'll tell you all about it anyway! :D

New in this build:
  • Fixed an AI bug where if a subscriber decided themselves to discard a quest from their list (often due to gaining a level), they could become annoyed as if you had destroyed the quest while they were trying to complete it.

  • Fixed another way that saved business records could get jumbled, breaking a few of the daily financial reports. Saves with that problem will automatically be fixed during load.

  • Fixed roads (and maybe other things?) being indestructible when placed too close to the ocean.

  • Fixed road intersections sometimes being left behind when a road is destroyed.

  • Fixed a bug which could cause subscribers to be charged an extra monthly subscription fee during a load.

  • Fixed rendering of the network layer if the game window is resized to a different aspect ratio.

  • Fixed setting custom quest XP and gold amounts greater than 1000.

  • Fixed wall turrets sometimes not being visible immediately after being placed. the usual assortment of minor fixes and performance improvements!
Feb 23
MMORPG Tycoon 2 - VectorStorm
Hi everyone! It's been a couple weeks since the last feature update, and I've been hard at work! Here's what's new in this new build:

Big New Stuff
  • Quest Rewards Nerfed!
    By default, low-level quests now give far less experience on completion than they did before. Previously, a low level quest might give anything up to 1000xp or more when a player turned it in; that's enough to often catapult a level 1 player straight up midway through level 3! Now a default level 1 quest will give only 40xp. This means that your players will level up more slowly and more controllably, and will give you more time to build new areas ahead of them! But also, high-level quests now scale up their rewards to help them keep up with the increasing XP requirements!

  • Quest editing!
    I've completely re-implemented the UI for quest editing! Now quests can be renamed, their rewards can be seen and edited, and (for combat quests) you can set precisely how many monsters must be killed, instead of having only a limited number of choices.

  • Are you tired of quest editing? Because there's more quest editing!
    In addition to all of the above, you can now change the way the game automatically sets XP and Gold rewards for quests; set an approximate number of quests it should take to gain a level, and the game will set XP values for everything across your whole game appropriately! (and you can still override the defaults for specific quests whenever you like!)

  • Editable leveling curve!
    Are your players leveling up too quickly or too slowly? The 'Design' window now has a new "XP & Leveling" tab where you can change how much XP monster kills are worth, as well as how many monster kills are required in order to gain levels! These settings interact with the default quest settings to let you specify how quickly you want your players to gain levels, and also how much of their experience should be coming from quests vs. how much from combat.

  • Let's do the time warp!
    Slowed down the game's wall clock speed, but sped up its calendar! On 1x speed, it now takes 2 hours for a full in-game day to finish (previously was 1 hour); this gives your subscribers a lot more time to play before their playtime per simulated day is over! But at the same time, I've reduced the duration of a simulated month from 30 in-game days to just 5 in-game days. These two changes, taken together, mean that you'll get your first 'monthly' subscription payments after just 10 hours of play on 1x speed, instead of after 30 hours of play (and of course, much less than that if you turn the speed up!). Capitalism is easy, when you control all the clocks!

  • I want to be big!
    Player, Monster, and NPC character types can now be scaled. This ability is available from the 'Adjust' interface on the character model's "torso" piece.

  • Reduced-Bandwidth Monster Zones!
    Monster zones now have approximately half the network bandwidth upkeep requirements they used to have, which means you can have a lot more and larger monster zones using fewer network uplinks!

  • Player/Monster Unlocks!
    You now start a game with three player classes unlocked (previously was two), and four monster types unlocked (previously was three). More player classes and monster types are now unlocked as you gain more subscribers! (Previously, unlocks happened based on maximum player level)

Bug Fixes
  • Vastly improved CPU load when viewing the Network layer, when many regions were active!

  • Miscellaneous improvements in our interactions with FMOD which hopefully should sort out launch issues for a few players who had unsupported audio devices connected to their computers.

  • Stopped monsters from attacking players while the game is paused.

  • Moved "Game Features" tab from the Overview report to the Design window. Same features, different window!

  • Much better support for window resizing and window minimise/restore, especially during the loading screen!

  • Much better support for UI scaling, for folks with much higher resolution screens than me! (I'm so jealous right now)

  • In "Fullscreen Window" mode, we no longer grab the cursor, so you can now move the cursor to other monitors.

  • Fixed "Optimal DPS" calculations to correctly handle attacks which use floating point numbers (previously Optimal DPS rounded everything down to whole numbers, which meant that an attack which did 0.9 health damage was treated s if it did no health damage at all)

  • High level monsters now respawn with full attribute values! (Previously, they spawned with the health and mana values of a level 1 monster, and then healed up over a short time, which could make them easy kills if someone attacked them immediately after they spawned!)

  • When leveling up, players now instantly heal up to their new maximum health and mana values!

  • We now stop the player from giving two types of monster/player classes/npcs the same name, which could make the game confused.

  • Fixes a crash if you take over control of a character with more than four attacks available.

  • ...and a bunch of other miscellaneous fixes!

Thanks for your patience, everyone; this was a pretty big update touching a whole lot of areas! I'm going to try to keep them a little smaller and more focused than this one, in future! :D

Feb 9
MMORPG Tycoon 2 - VectorStorm
This build is mostly minor bug fixes, and trying to improve stability for folks who were having trouble!

New in this build:
  • A fix for a few rendering issues very early during the loading screen. These *ought* to have been harmless, but I've seen a number crash reports -- mostly from very old Intel graphics chipsets -- which seem like they might be related, so.. I cleaned it all up, in hopes that it'd solve issues on those Intel graphics chipsets!

  • Upgraded our FMOD library from version 1.07.04 to 2.00.07. (It was almost four years old!) This seems to have worked around problems for at least one tester!

  • Fixed the ‘elite monster’ placement tool to only offer to place monster types, not player classes or NPCs. (oops!)

  • Fixed monsters to immediately update their name and other information if you changed the name of their monster type.

  • Fixed GUI 'meter' widgets to display values above their configured maximum. This can make a big difference for a region's capacity, or for a 'buzz' amount, or for the number of people waiting in a login queue, all of which would commonly exceed their default "maximum values". Now fixed!

  • AI Change: Previously, new subscribers usually would not play as newly created classes until they had been awarded a FotM tier. Now, new subscribers will instead flock to new classes before they're rated, as they're new and exciting and *might* be amazingly awesome!

  • Fixed an only-reported-once crash if your ‘desktop.vrt’ desktop file has somehow become highly corrupt (say, by someone going into it and deleting all of its contents but not removing the file itself)

  • Fixed an only-reported-once crash if the user has deleted some (but not all) of the crash data from a previous run which hasn’t yet been reported.
Feb 5
MMORPG Tycoon 2 - VectorStorm
Hi, everyone! It's been a little over a week to get here, but the long-awaited 'Abilities' update has finally landed!

Let's talk about what's new:
  • Add new abilities to your player and monster classes!
    You can now add or delete combat abilities from Player, Monster, and NPC character types; do it from the character editor's "Abilities" tab in the Design dialog.

  • Players can now gain abilities as they level!
    Each ability can now specify the level at which it becomes available. Monsters and NPCs learn these new abilities automatically, but Players need to be taught by a class trainer. Learning a new ability is very rewarding for players, and makes them happier!

  • Did I say 'class trainer'?
    Yes I did! You can now place class trainers to train your players to use their new abilities, when they go up a level. Note that class trainers will only train players of the same class as they are, so be sure to place one for each class somewhere near wherever you’re expecting players to level up!

  • Did I just say that class trainer NPCs can use the same classes as players?
    Yes I did! All NPC types can now use any of the available character types, whether player, NPC, or even monster. Want to have a friendly bear who gives your players quests? You can do that now! (note: "Class Trainer" NPCs can only use Player model types; NPCs and monsters don't require training!)

  • Did I say 'performance improvement'?
    Er.. well, actually, no I didn't! But there's another big performance improvement in this build, as all our pathfinding calculations have now been moved into a background thread, and a few other expensive calculations have been smoothed out. This should give a nice frame rate boost to those really big games, and iron out the responsiveness troubles some folks had when setting the game to its highest speed in those games!

  • Literally half the RAM usage! (for large games)
    I fixed an issue which was causing players to store their complete play history in memory, instead of keeping only the history of their most recent play session. Purging this unused historical data, on extremely large games, tends to drop our overall RAM usage in half!

  • Fly over the water!
    Players no longer die when taking a flight path over an inactive region; as long as they remain on the raven, they'll continue safely to their destination! There are still a few bits of UI awkwardness around placing such a long flight path, but it's now at least possible to use a flight path to travel to or from an island to a nearby bit of shoreline!

  • Super-mega-ultra widescreen support!
    Fixed a bunch of rendering bugs which had been affecting players with extremely widescreen monitors! I am jealous of your monitors!

  • UIScale improvements!
    For those on 4k monitors, our UIScale system is now much more reliable and should now 'just work'! I am jealous of your monitors, too!

  • Want screenshots?
    I've added a "HUD Toggle" function that you can bind a key to, in the 'options' screen, to clear the screen to make screenshot capturing easier.

  • The Most Recent Save Problem
    We've stopped trusting the OS to tell us what save file is most recent, and now track this ourselves, which means the game should no longer (for new saves after this build) ever pick the wrong save file, when you use the 'Connect' button!

  • The "Level Two" tutorial!
    Added a new tutorial, triggered when your first player reaches level two, to explain character unlocks, point toward ability editing and class trainers, and give some basic advice about setting up a level 2 region. Just like the game's starting tutorial, this won't appear again after you've completed it once in any save (unless you start a new game with the "Play Tutorial" option enabled)

...and there's a list about four times that long of miscellaneous bug fixes and smaller improvements! This is definitely the biggest update we've sent out so far! Thanks so much for all your patience and feedback and bug reports while I was putting all of this together!

The plan for the next big new sprint of work is going to be working on bringing back multi-level region support, and then implementing basic localization support!
Jan 26
MMORPG Tycoon 2 - VectorStorm
Hi, everyone! I've just rolled out one more set of hotfixes for various bug reports ("bugs report"?) since the last build!

New features in this build:
  • Adds 'sideways' model part adjustments for costume editing.
  • Adds a 'destroy' tool to the 'NPCs' action bar tab. For all your NPC-destroying needs!
  • Players can now travel from one region to another purely by flight paths; it's no longer required to open a mountain pass in addition to the flight path.

    If they'll reach, flight paths can even cross over empty sea regions to islands, and players will now consider using them to spread out or to move to a more level-appropriate region, the same way they use mountain passes. EDIT: Oops, some of the other updates stopped this part from working! We'll get this going again in a near-future update. :)

Bug fixes in this build:
  • Fixed players getting stuck if they accidentally stray over a region boundary into an inactive region (typically this would only happen at sea boundaries). Now those players are immediately killed for their trespass, and are respawned at the nearest available respawn point in the region they came from.
  • Fixes players becoming stuck in too-high-level regions and being unwilling to move back into lower-level regions.
  • Players no longer attempt to use buildings if they would be unsuccessful at doing so. For example, if a player can't afford to buy a weapon, they won't try to buy one and fail. If a hotel is full, players won't attempt to move into it and fail.
  • Much improves the discrepancy between number of users who log in when the game is set to normal speed and when the game is set to fastest speed.
  • Potential new subscribers now think about the value of your game's purchase price when deciding whether or not to buy. If your price is set much over the default price, then these customers may now decide not to purchase your game, *even if* they could afford it! This resolves the mild exploit of setting an absurdly high purchase price, which new subscribers would pay out of their savings without even noticing that it was a surprisingly high price. (Apologies! This exploit was fun while it lasted!)
  • Elite monsters placed inside a monster zone are no longer "owned" by that monster zone, so modifying or removing the monster zone no longer automatically destroys those elite monsters. (NOTE: This only affects newly placed elite monsters in this version or later; eilte monsters placed using earlier builds still belong to the zones they were placed inside)
  • "Common Thought" heatmaps are now much more visible when "bloom" is disabled in the Video options.
  • Fixed a bug which caused a subscriber to not discard the quest chain they were working on, if they gained a level from the quest XP reward while in the process of turning in a quest from that chain. They would discard all *other* out-levelled quest chains they'd been working on, but not that one, which could result in high-level players continuing to do one low-level quest chain before deciding to move to a new region which better suited their level.
  • Fixed a very subtle bug which could result in a single subscriber being logged in *twice* with the same character, when a region's login queue is active. This would result in that character moving quickly, as if they were using a speedhack, and then continuing to move around in the world even after "logging out" (and could even result in a crash if they unsubscribed!) This bug fixed itself every time you saved or loaded, which made diagnosing this bug tricky!
  • Fixed building placement/movement logic to actually only place/move buildings in regions where it thinks it's legal to do so, instead of only telling you that it couldn't place a building there but doing it anyway if you told it to.
  • Vastly improved the generated meshes for bandwidth-covered areas on the network view (vertex counts are down about 90% compared against what they were in the last build!).
  • Fixes "Negative buzz" HUD meter vanishing, after you've taken and released control of a monster.
  • Fixes a lot of "daily" reports and graphs incorrectly "wrapping around" as we move from month 1 day 30 to month 2 day 1.
  • Fixes flickering of network objects during placement.

...and the usual set of more minor miscellaneous bug fixes as well! Thanks for your patience and support as I've been gathering all of this together, everybody! I'm looking forward to focusing more on exciting new features, for the next update!
Jan 22
MMORPG Tycoon 2 - VectorStorm
This is just a little update which fixes a persistent problem experienced mostly by players using Macs with AMD graphics cards. This update fixes terrain rendering for those players!

Changes in this build:
  • Fix for Mac/AMD terrain rendering glitches! (I've had a report that this same fix also fixed a persistent rendering bug for one PC user with an NVidia GPU, which surprises me, but I'll totally take credit for that fix too!)
  • Disables gamepad input, which previously was wired up to camera movement. This change means that folks who happen to have a badly calibrated gamepad connected to their computer no longer have to cope with a drifting camera!
  • ...and a whole bunch of little bug fixes, based upon feedback and bug reports!

Thanks again to everyone who's been playing, sharing, and reporting feedback, requests, and bugs! I'm really excited to show folks what's up next for the game! :D
Jan 19
MMORPG Tycoon 2 - VectorStorm
Hi everyone!

This is another maintenance update, just generally working toward full stability!

In previous builds, we were accidentally not submitting some crash reports. We now catch those! As a result, if you've ever had the game spontaneously close without a message, it'll probably try to upload that report the next time you launch the game. Thanks for your patience!

The other big thing in this build is that I believe I've identified the cause of brief stuttering (and occasionally even hard lockups) some people were reporting in medium/large games, when playing at the fastest speed setting, in Windows build. It seems the issue was coming from the audio middleware we're using. We'd been sending every audio event in the game to FMOD, and at our fastest speed setting that often seemed to be overloading FMOD. Now we're no longer sending every event to FMOD; only the ones we think might actually be audible. Net result: no more lockups on fastest speed settings!

Also, there were a few more pathfinding performance boosts in this build, particularly for games which include a lot of walls!

That's pretty much all that's new in this update; next plan is to arrange a publicly viewable development roadmap, and then I'll be onto adding more combat abilities and making them more configurable!

Thanks to everyone for all your feedback and patience!

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