1. #1

    Lightbulb Development Update - July & August 2013

    Hello Runners!

    It is time for another Development Update! This update covers our activities over the course of July and August. Going forward you can expect these Development Updates every two months, due to the changes in our Development Strategy we explain below.

    Neocron & Agile Development
    We want to go a little bit into detail about our general Development Strategy for the future, we hope this means you will have a better understanding of where things are heading.

    Going forward, instead of the 'classic' method of releasing larger patches now and again, we want to shift towards a more modern agile development approach. After the release of R#184 we will try to shift to a more rapid release process – trying to release early and release often. In the video game world you may be familiar with this as the "Minecraft Method" of development.

    On average patches will become smaller in size and the list of changes per patch will shrink. However you will receive patches more often so over time the same number of changes should occur.

    So why do it?

    The idea here is to retrieve feedback from the Community as early and often as possible, allowing to you to have your say and help shape the course of Neocron's development. An example of this is our new feature, "Faction Warzones", a feature which we introduced the basis of with the latest patch on Vedeena.

    There is of course a downside to this approach, new features may feel incomplete upon initial release to Vedeena and may not give you the full intended experience - However! - Getting your feedback at this early stage, will save us from developing features in the wrong direction. This also offers you the opportunity to make Neocron an even better place, by providing us with constructive feedback and discussion at this conceptual stage.

    This more rapid deployment of changes is the reason we're adding more space between formal Development Updates; instead of reading about where we're going, you'll be able to see it for yourself.

    Sparta & Balancing Neocron
    Such a shift in our Development Strategy will of course have consequences for Sparta, the Neocron Balance Test Server. Instead of supplying you with a large mixed overhaul of everything (think Neocron 2.2) we will start out with a smaller, more concise and defined, set of focused modifications.

    This initial set of modifications has been discussed at great length and we're excited to bring you more details on these modifications in the next few weeks.

    As you know patching will not be required to adjust and tweak the balance of items on Sparta, instead a more agile system has been implemented allowing us to quickly and easily make changes. When we apply each "batch" of changes to Sparta, players will be given a few days to test the changes. After this brief familiarisation period we will hold a PvP event. There will be at least one PvP event per change "batch" applied to Sparta.

    After these PvP events it will be up to you, the Community, to provide us with feedback. We will try to make this easier for you by supplying you with as much detail about the changes as we can. Once we reach an initial "post-2.2 state" we all feel is better than the current one, that balance state will find its way to Titan.

    After the release of the initial balancing patch to Titan, the more interesting work on overhauling all classes and play styles will begin. Although, some parts of these class/play-style overhauls might find their way into Neocron via a normal patch, to be tweaked and brought into line later on.

    We will release more details about Sparta and the Balance Project over the course of the next few weeks!

    Launch of Sparta? Before the end of September!

    Retail Patch #184
    A considerable number of changes are currently available on Vedeena, the Public Test Server. At the current state most of these changes will come together as Patch R#184 which we hope to release alongside Sparta before the end of the month.

    We'd like to take this opportunity to encourage our Community to get on Vedeena and help us ensure the release of R#184 will be as smooth as possible. Every test report and piece of feedback is graciously received. Providing feedback on each patch that lands on Vedeena, is the greatest way you can help move Neocron forward. We often see players asking how they can help us – this is how!

    Soul Light System & Improved 'Bad Guy' Experience
    Our work on the soul light system, which we started months ago, is heading towards a big step forward. The Outzone Jail (OZ8) will soon become the new 'unsafe heaven' for lawless characters and those who enjoy living amongst the underground of Neocron's society.

    As a place to call their own, the Jailhouse will offer lawless runners several things; Missions to lose further Soul Light by working for Neocron's lawless factions, and missions to regain Soul Light by helping the NCPD as an undercover agent, while still being able to relax with their fellow criminals.

    This is not all though, we will have more information on the Jailhouse Revamp Soon™...

    CityCom Missions, Newbie Dungeons and Mob Variety
    With the release of R#184 you will notice two things with regards to CityCom Missions. First of all Twilight Guardian have a new set of VERY EASY and EASY missions to enable a better low level experience in the faction's new Canyon Facility home. Secondly, the CityCom will serve up 100% more missions every time you perform a mission download. Yes, 6 missions to choose from instead of 3!

    Changes to the Twilight Guardian missions are the first part of a much wider CityCom Mission and Newbie Dungeon overhaul. At the moment most factions have a large number of missions which players are simply unable to finish. In most cases this is due to the density and availability of mission mobs being incredibly poor or that they simply do not exist in the gameworld.

    To address this we intend to review the "Mob Loadouts" of levelling areas, proving a wider variety of mobs but also ensuring they exist in mission suitable quantities and locations. At the same time we will be adjusting the missions available for each faction. Each faction will receive missions suitable to the locale in which those factions start and these new missions will be mapped to locally available mobs as per the Mob Loadout review.

    At the moment you'll find most low level characters in the "Aggie Sewers", with these changes we hope to make it more appealing to try new levelling paths.

    Basically (deep breath!), you'll have a wider variety of stuff to kill, a wider variety of dungeons in which to kill it and a higher chance of easily finding a mission to kill that stuff. Some mobs will remain rare of course and there's a chance you'll still get missions to kill those mobs, but if that is the case we'll be sure to make it worthwhile.

    This is just the start of improvements to CityCom Missions. We'll tell you the next chapter once we begin to deliver the above.

    Neocron's New Art Department
    As we hope you're aware, not everyone in the world is a programmer. This means there are many artists in the community, artists we asked to join us a while ago, who have wanted to improve Neocron in a visual way.

    Today, we're pleased to tease you that you will soon get to see some of the fruits of our Art Department's labours. Stay tuned for more news on this in the future.

    In Conclusion…
    We hope the above has given you an insight to what is currently going on behind the scenes, what is coming in the future and the direction in which we are heading.

    All the very best,
    Your Neocron Support Team
    Last edited by Trivaldi; 06-09-13 at 14:03. Reason: Typo
    Trivaldi
    Neocron Support Team
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  2. #2
    Dream Cast Cursed Shadow's Avatar
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    Awesome.

    I work with the Agile approach daily, and I believe that most people are willing to accept the mallus of incompleteness because it provides a better community driven support and they can actively see the progress.

  3. #3
    Registered User Neallys's Avatar
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    Great news about the CC and the SL. I honestly haven't touched my characters since week because they are sitting somewhere with very bad SL I just can't get myself to do. So excited to see some changes!
    Keavy Oona and a bunch of clannies accounts I log on because WHY NOT on Titan, Muge/Nerije/Neal/Keavy Oona on Terra

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    We are the CityMercs
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    Great news indeed! I΄m Looking forward to the improved Neocron experience.
    Why did i know beforehand that the first reply would be from you, CS?

  5. #5
    former king of saturn
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    Great content Triv. Very satisfying to read. I have a much stronger sense of where the devs want to take the game nowadays than back in the heyday of KK, which is amazing to say given the history this game has.

  6. #6
    Registered User ou7blaze's Avatar
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    Very good indeed and nice to see development picking up again.



    Titan
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    » .mphiz - Pistol PE - The Citymercs - 17th Squad
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    » .mphiz - Pistol PE - Twilight Guardian - NCAT - National Carebear Assasination Team
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    » offspiN - Droner Spy - Cityadmin - eX - elite eXtreme

  7. #7

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    I think I'm most looking forward to the CityComm mission overhaul! This is sorely needed and I'm very glad you guys can finally do something about it.
    Of course, I'm also looking forward to testing stuff out on Sparta.
    I like the sound of this agile development approach. Hopefully this will help hold people's attention.


    Quote Originally Posted by Trivaldi View Post
    Today, we're pleased to tease you that you will soon get to see some of the fruits of our Art Department's labours. Stay tuned for more news on this in the future.
    This gets me very excited, but I just hope the speculation doesn't result in disappointment.

  8. #8
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    Wow. There are exciting times ahead! Very great!

    You really took the most important issues that the community told you about and started working on it.

    I think the initial balancing is the most important part at the moment, so stay focussed.

    In my opinion you don't need to give a time frame for Sparta and the big patch ("end of september"). The reason is that I fear this will put you guys under pressure which is not needed in any way. You guys are volunteers and you have daytime jobs and a social life, so it's more difficult to plan a release than for a company.
    I also wouldn't want the patch to be rushed or that you have to tell us that it takes longer because some jerks here start to complain.
    I remember how difficult it was to add Vedeena to the system last year and how much time the recent move to the new data center took. So even if the programming and the level design is done the administration side can easily cost a few days more.

    What I want to say is that whenever Sparta arrives it will be good, so Soon (tm) is good enough for me.

    Very good dev update, Triv. Thank you.

    The Neocron Support Team r0cks!

  9. #9
    Dream Cast Cursed Shadow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Eres View Post
    Wow. There are exciting times ahead! Very great!

    You really took the most important issues that the community told you about and started working on it.

    I think the initial balancing is the most important part at the moment, so stay focussed.

    In my opinion you don't need to give a time frame for Sparta and the big patch ("end of september"). The reason is that I fear this will put you guys under pressure which is not needed in any way. You guys are volunteers and you have daytime jobs and a social life, so it's more difficult to plan a release than for a company.
    I also wouldn't want the patch to be rushed or that you have to tell us that it takes longer because some jerks here start to complain.
    I remember how difficult it was to add Vedeena to the system last year and how much time the recent move to the new data center took. So even if the programming and the level design is done the administration side can easily cost a few days more.

    What I want to say is that whenever Sparta arrives it will be good, so Soon (tm) is good enough for me.

    Very good dev update, Triv. Thank you.

    The Neocron Support Team r0cks!
    The nice thing about the Agile approach is that they can deploy as little or as much "complete" code as they want, and just roll the rest into the next Sprint.
    As such, they can give us a taste of whats to come and we can roll up our sleeves and starting testing/providing feedback. Whilst they're working on the next chunk of changes.

    Development Team, please tell me you're going to expose Sparta for full community testing. I fear that if you rely on a small subset of Closed Beta testers you'll have another imbalance in your hands...

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cursed Shadow View Post
    Development Team, please tell me you're going to expose Sparta for full community testing. I fear that if you rely on a small subset of Closed Beta testers you'll have another imbalance in your hands...
    Sparta will be accessible to the entire community, just like Vedeena.
    Trivaldi
    Neocron Support Team
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  11. #11
    Dream Cast Cursed Shadow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trivaldi View Post
    Sparta will be accessible to the entire community, just like Vedeena.
    You're quickly winning those Faction Sympathy points back with me Triv.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cursed Shadow View Post
    You're quickly winning those Faction Sympathy points back with me Triv.
    Though please remember, just like Vedeena, we can lead a horse to water but we cannot make it drink. We really will need support from the community in testing changes to balance before they are launched on Titan, this is the main reason we intend to host regular PvP events to hopefully add some purpose and focus to testing initiatives.

    Time and time again players ask how they can help improve Neocron. The biggest, best and easiest way everyone can help - regardless of their skill set - is by testing changes we make (on Sparta AND Vedeena) and providing constructive feedback.
    Trivaldi
    Neocron Support Team
    N E O C R O N - G A M E . C O M

    »I'm in a glass case of emotion!«

    DOWNLOAD NEOCRON • PLAY NEOCRON • FACEBOOK • TWITTER • IRC • GET SUPPORT • FORUM RULES • RULES OF CONDUCT

  13. #13
    Dream Cast Cursed Shadow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trivaldi View Post
    Though please remember, just like Vedeena, we can lead a horse to water but we cannot make it drink. We really will need support from the community in testing changes to balance before they are launched on Titan, this is the main reason we intend to host regular PvP events to hopefully add some purpose and focus to testing initiatives.

    Time and time again players ask how they can help improve Neocron. The biggest, best and easiest way everyone can help - regardless of their skill set - is by testing changes we make (on Sparta AND Vedeena) and providing constructive feedback.
    If you DM me with a list of items you specifically want me to test, I can work on it on Vedeena.

    I'm sure there are some areas where you feel feedback is lacking. If that is the case, let me know and I'll see if I can rally the 17th troops.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cursed Shadow View Post
    If you DM me with a list of items you specifically want me to test, I can work on it on Vedeena.

    I'm sure there are some areas where you feel feedback is lacking. If that is the case, let me know and I'll see if I can rally the 17th troops.
    Most of the things on Vedeena have been tested, but there are a few things which need further testing and feedback.

    I will get a list out either today or tomorrow and post it on the Testing and Development forums. Everyone's help with testing the patches and providing feedback is very much welcomed and appreciated.
    Bifrost
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cursed Shadow View Post
    If you DM me with a list of items you specifically want me to test, I can work on it on Vedeena.

    I'm sure there are some areas where you feel feedback is lacking. If that is the case, let me know and I'll see if I can rally the 17th troops.
    Agreed, i was about to post the same thing. The 17th stands firmly behind any movement to make our game better.

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