Chris' Daily Work Blog

Discussion in 'Developer Depot' started by Chris, Apr 5, 2017.

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  1. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord SOTA Developer

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    Don't hate but I didn't check in the trainers for Proficiencies yet. I'll get them in today for tonight's QA build.

    Currently working on a few bugs negatively impacting proficiencies and putting the finishing touches on taming and other new options.

    Also... hrmm... wonder what is going on in that closed room with Dallas and Scotty?

    [​IMG]
    Also, while I'm posting pictures, here is one for those curious about how big Mojito (lives on the bridge in Owlshead) really is. Pictured here with my amazing munchkin that inspires me to push so hard to make this game an amazing success:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  2. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord SOTA Developer

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    Hey, apparently people who follow me don't get updates when I just edit a post so making a new for some more updates.

    More stuff I'm doing now:
    • Added the tech for the 6th rune in proficiency trees that have reached mastery level (80)
    • Normalizing the damage range for magic spells
    • Tuning the focus cost and reagent cost for all AE spells... (spoilers, AE spells are going up in focus cost and reagent cost!)

    Hello, my name is Chris Spears and I am an idiot. :p I'm not sure how I turned Specializations into proficiencies the R51 post. Thanks for the easy and obvious catch!
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  3. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord SOTA Developer

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    Woohoo, Lockdown day! In the office by 5AM and fixed 20 bugs by 9AM!

    Pass taken at balancing the focus cost of AE spells as well as reagent use. Some stayed the same but many went up, a few significantly.
    Added a small damage effect to Ice Field.
    Most SPECIALIZATION bugs fixed.
    Back to work on performance, now looking at Brittany fields.

    Also the Unity Patch we've been dreaming of went live! YAY!!! But it actually didn't fix the corruption issue we've been seeing. BOOO... Seems very likely that R51 will be going live without the extra big performance boost we were hoping for.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
  4. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord SOTA Developer

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    Friday I took another huge pass at asset optimization focused on the Brittany maps. Which of course Rick Chaox had to summarize by saying thank for all the work on Britanny Spears... grrr. Good news is I think all three of those maps should work and perform better.

    Lots of balancing work is still going on and consuming lots of my time.

    There was a lot of concern about how to deal with death mages specifically in PVP so I made the other change I had been intending to make and gave Purify and Purifying Burst a lasting effect of Death Resistance. This is similar to how Douse gives you a lasting fire rest effect. That should help a bit but also not be something that players will feel they need to keep active at all times.

    Also, just because it felt like the oddball in the room, I removed the Obsidian Specialization that gave magic resistance.

    Next big change I hope to make today is to double the XP cost of all specialization skills BUT also make it so decay in your current specialization trees will be cut by 75%.

    Currently I'm not able to work on that because, we finally got the latest Unity to work with Shroud! While this doesn't include the holy grail performance magic of IL2CPP it does fix a number of big issues and open up some new optimization options for us. Normally we would never do a major engine revision change at this point in the release cycle BUT I feel we need to try because if not, we won't be able to for launch. I want a full release of testing on it if possible. This could mean that we do more patch releases than normal during R51 but that should probably be expected as we race towards launch!

    Sadly, moving to the latest unity means I'm out of commission for doing work this morning as my home Unity is still working to open the project 24 hours after I started it. Might get some work done later today or tomorrow but right now I'm kind of blocked.

    Also, QA build for Monday should be on the new Unity. We also are rolling the dice and enabled some more graphics threading code. It has caused stability issues in pass releases but we're going to see if they improved it at all for this release!
     
  5. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord SOTA Developer

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    So this weekend I had planned on writing up a complete brain dump on Specializations. Rather than do the work twice, I am just going to spend the morning updating the tooltips for all skills to include information about specialization. Then I will write up a brief overview of what it does globally.

    BTW, my little munchkin tested positive for Flu Type A yesterday. She will be fine but like myself, she did get a flu shot. This means the strain she has was missed by the flu shot this year. That means I'm pretty much expecting to get wiped out by the flu sometime in the next week which sucks because it is release week. I already have my Tamiflu ready and will be dosing up at the first hint of symptoms.
     
  6. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord SOTA Developer

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    My precious pumpkin Maxine is doing much better with the flu and didn't have a fever this morning. Still no symptoms for myself or the wife so wish us luck on missing this one.

    Yesterday was pretty much a wash for me because of a sick little one followed up by our sewage pump dying! It was 11 years old and, you guessed it, a 10 year warranty. It is magical how well they know the failure times for stuff these days. Anyways, $3500 out of pocket and a new one is going in this morning. Good times... :/

    This morning I was in at 4:30AM again (wife is staying home with the munchkin so I was able to just up and come i) and I'm spending the morning redoing all of the skill descriptions. This is long overdue as many were incorrect or at least incomplete. Also adding in what specialization does.

    So good news, we got the new Unity working and it should go live on QA today. Also, some more optimizations went in. For the first time on my home computer (3.4ghz with Nvidia 970) I was getting 30fps or better is Owlshead, Central Brittany, and Ardoris with shadows and anti-aliasing on! /cheer The engine upgrade opens up more options for optimizations for us as well but we might not be able to capitalize on those until next release.

    Today will be work on bugs, descriptions, a little performance work, leads meeting, and who knows what else!
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018
  7. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord SOTA Developer

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    Today's story... Maxine was doing MUCH better yesterday morning but my wife was at home because she got president's day off so we let Maxine stay home for the day. Around 4PM my wife texted me a picture of the thermometer showing 100.7. I texted back, "Oh no, poor pumpkin. I guess baby will have to stay home one more day." She replied saying, "That was my temperature". Doh, so the update is my little one is now well but the wife has Flu Type A! I live in a den of virulent diseases! So far no symptoms for me yet! *knocks on wood*

    Ok, yesterday was consumed with meetings, re-writing about 150 skill descriptions, some bug fixing, some performance work, and lots of talking about how to ship the current release with all the Unity problems. The update is we moved to the newest Unity version and enabled a few new features. The new version of the game crashes on changing scenes on most Mac and Linux boxes. We aren't getting great information on why either. So today's QA build is old version of Unity for Mac/Linux and new version for Windows. We'll see how that does. Only a few random issues reported on it currently.

    Design changes of note today, the experience for Specializations will be going up! Yes, up to 20x or twice the xps of dex/int/str stats. So that is the bad news. The good news is that I'm working on tech right now so the server will only charge you 1/4th as many Decay XPS for schools that you are specializing in! Hoping to get that in for the first release!
     
  8. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord SOTA Developer

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    The exciting release has kept me super busy the last couple days. Un
    fortunately, the other thing that kept me busy was being the next guy in line for the flu at the Spears household. The 3-year-old got it, then my wife, now it is my turn. For the first time in 50 releases, I was not in the office on the day of release and instead just worked from home. Flu is type A and mild and both the wife and kid got over it in 3 days. This would be day 3 for me so we'll see if it is the same for me.

    Good news on the flu is the sinus issues woke me up early so I decided to get some work done! Just submitted the fix for the 6th glyph, banish undead with lich ring, and 3 other bugs. Working on tuning the ranged specializations now as they felt quite weak...

    • So disabling shot = lame bonus. Adding a dodge debuff feels more appropriate for a specialization effect. So removed the extended duration and added a dodge debuff, 10 points at level 80 specialization.
    • Following the same line of reality thinking, Blinding shot (also had duration), will give a parry debuff. 10 points at 80 skill.
    • Aimed shot's focus reduction feels fine to me as this is already a POWERFUL skill.
    • Piercing shot feels fine as well. Small damage boost for the skill that skips armor.
    • Multishot also feels fine. People may not see it but this greatly increases the effective damage for the skill
    • Rapidshot... this is a tough one. Expanding this to add to the effective level of the skill for arrow counts. So at specialization skill level 80, it will at 20 effective skill. At 100 specialization it will add 25 points or one full additional arrow to a max of 10. (10 if you are crazy and level Rapidshot to 130 and Specialization to 80)
    Updating the descriptions to match this and checking it in. It won't be in the morning patch but it will be in the patch after that.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
  9. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord SOTA Developer

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    What better way to start the weekend than by getting up at 4AM the morning after a telethon to work! Great response yesterday. Super happy to see people getting as excited as we are about launch. This morning will be a smattering of random work stuff. First up is verifying Death magic specialization stuff!

    • Confirmed death magic fizzle chance is working. It modifies the fizzle value based on death specialization skill so it doesn't show up under the specialization skill, just under each other spell.
    • grr... and now blocked by our 4AM perforce backup. I would change that to 3AM but daylight savings time next weekend and I'll probably start getting up at 5AM instead. :p
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018
  10. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord SOTA Developer

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    Ok, time to get some skill work done! Yesterday was consumed with meetings and manager up lift. Today will also be filled with meetings so I got in by 6AM to try and crank out some long overdue changes.

    • BAM - New spell, Chaotic Shield. This picks 2 effects from a list of 12. The effects are VERY powerful but can't be cancelled and last for exactly 1 minute. This spell is about as wonky as they come. So first, no matter what level your skill is, you get 1 instance of the rune. The only way to get a second rune is Chaos Specialization 80. Cool down time for locked or unlocked is 55 seconds. So those serious about CHAOS could potentially have 3 or even 4 instances of this running at any given time. Why would you want to do that? Because each cast, the 2 that it picks are randomized and you could potentially get up to 8 very powerful buffs. What does powerful mean? At level 100 in the skill, examples are +95 to 1 magic resistance or +45 to damage resistance. Chaos specialization, dramatically reduces the reagent cost which matters, because the base cost for it is 100% chance to use 4 obsidian chips. With an 80 in chaos specialization, it will use 1 chip.
    • Next up, Valiant Warden, heavy armor skill. When used on a party member, allows you to absorb some of the damage they take. Useful in PVE for when the nuker, archer, or healer steals agro or for helping the main tank survive vs boss types. For PVP useful in groups where you know they will go for the soft targets.
    • And then my day was swallowed up by meetings.... GULP! :O
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  11. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord SOTA Developer

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    OK, after a month off of blogging I was informed by Lord Andernut that I needed to start updating things again! So hopefully the reason I stopped was obvious, WE LAUNCHED!!! and I was just super busy and didn't want to add one more thing to my plate.

    So, first topic now that I'm back is our quick scheduled server downtime this afternoon. I think this was the first time we've done a scheduled down time other than the planned down time during each new release. Due to a lot of swirling variables, we didn't know when exactly this would happen but today it was now or never as one of my engineers was getting on a plane to Barcelona! The brief downtime was to add a second switch to our server rack. We have fail over options for our DB and backup machines for our game server and a backup firewall machine which left us with one single point of failure, the switch that sits behind our firewall but in front of the game servers.

    While we have a high quality switch there and they very rarely fail, if it had failed, we would be down for an extended amount of time. Extended being up to a day or more. Now that we're live and have a rapidly growing user base, having a downtime like that could be catastrophic. With the current config, we still could have downtime but it would only be as long as it takes us to drive to our center and swap a fiber cable from one box to another. Still not optimal but much better.

    Soon we'll probably have some better scheduled downtime as we're going to move from attended access to 24/7 card swipe access within the same facility. No ETA on that but we'll be able to plan to transition and let people know in advance it is coming.

    Second topic, home intruders! So apparently I was the last person to learn that there were easy ways to invade someone's house. I won't go into the details but players can easily get into most houses. This is not by design... :/ After some investigation, this was due to someone making the wrong fix to a bug a few months ago that disabled line of sight testing on house collision! The walls still block you for movement but many things use LOS to validate legal moves or spell casting and that broke. I probably would have noticed this sooner but there is a second type of collision surfaces in houses to define where decorations can be placed. This was still enabled and blocking line of sight BUT, as most know, there are lots of places in houses you can't put decos on the walls. So the real bug was hidden by the decoration collision hiding the bug.

    Working on a real fix now and hoping to get it in for R53 but it involves touching a lot of data so might slip until R54.
     
  12. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord SOTA Developer

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    JUMP... JUMP... That is what most players expect in a video game. Sadly, due to some questionable decisions made early on for the sake of immersion, what we have had up until now is ...JUMP ...JUMP. So for R53 players will have a new UI options because, if we hold no other record in the computer gaming world, I suspect we'll have the record for most options! :p This option will let them opt in for the old style jump.

    The new style jump activate on space bar DOWN vs space bar UP. While this only puts an extra 1/10th of a second or less lag into the jump, it is just enough to feel weird to most players. This does put us back to suffering from the animation challenges most all games suffer with jump. You want jump to be instantaneous BUT you also want your animations to look right and people in real life don't just go from walk or run to JUMP. They prepare for a step or two and crouch a bit and then launch. So we can do a little work to improve this a bit but sadly this is a fact of life all games have to deal with, the battle between fluid animations and the player desire for instantaneous response from controls.

    Another place we see this battle is in the combat animations. If you make them feel realistic and powerful, as if they are actually wielding a massive hammer, then it feels too slow and unresponsive. That is actually what we used to have and it felt bad to us and it was one of the top complaints from users. We still get requests though from people who want us to make it slow, powerful, and weighty feeling but we've already been there and know that it will just make the game less fun for most players.

    So for those who are curious about jump stuff I thought I would mention the jump system that most people grew up with and why it won't work for us. The Mario style jump system is what is used in most games that have a variable height jump. This is a jump system where you start your jump on button down BUT the system keeps giving you a little more upward velocity until you hit the apex of the jump or you let up on the button. The result is a jump that is instant but also variable height. This results in what appears to be a slightly slower rise with a fast fall. While it is unnatural in nature it is viewed by players as correct because it is what most platformers do.

    So while I would love to use that system, sadly it really would only work for a single player game and also is largely only needed for platforming type stuff which we try to avoid. In multiplayer it would be a problem because we would either have to delay showing someone's jump until they let up on the button or send multiple messages to everyone per jump. We could send a StartJump, EndJump style message rather than StartJump, LittleMore, LittleMore, LittleMore style system but all of them are very timing and lag dependent. While we used to insert a second of forced lag on everyone for smoothing purposes which would allow this type jump, that was way to sloppy in most situations and made everything look wrong.

    New jump will be live in R53 in roughly 2 1/2 weeks! If you try it on QA, let me know what you think!
     
  13. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord SOTA Developer

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    Back to being swamped! Built 2 brand new machines for the office from parts. Partially because people needed new machines but also to get a couple more unique configurations to help us catch problems with hardware setup. One was our first AMD Ryzen box and both have AMD graphics cards which are under represented in the office.

    Other IT work included finally getting our TeamCity machine virtualized and moved to a box with more adequate storage. TeamCity is the continuous integration software we use. It doesn't do any builds itself BUT it directs 5 other machines on doing builds and also runs the hundreds of integration tests to make sure no bad data or art sneaks into the build. This is the system that lets us do 9 builds(3 steam, 3 normal versions, and 3 GM clients) and publish them with the click of a button. In other words, kind of an important system and we had no backup system or redundancy for it until now.

    Also, while I was messing with VMs, I moved our Jira (bug database) and Confluence (internal wiki) to a new host box as the old one was out of space and constantly causing problems.

    Last few days also had me unwillingly digging into issues with the ad campaign that were preventing us from pushing as many ads as we had hoped. We think this has been resolved and that our ad campaigns will now start to take off. We had been intentionally slow rolling the ad campaign to give old users a chance to settle in but we ended up slow rolling more than we wanted!

    If any of you guys want to help out, make sure and share our posts on FB or Twitter. Your recommendation will mean more to friends than 100 ads!

    This morning I'm adding in about 20 virtue based items! Prepare yourselves as the first batch is aimed only at those with a positive virtue. I'll try and spent time next week improving the cabalist weapons and gear by giving them more bonuses to those with negative virtue!

    I look forward to doing some more role playing in Blood Bay this weekend!
     
  14. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord SOTA Developer

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    Lets talk about....virtue gear! I can't go into too much detail because...spoilers! Here is what I can tell people though. There is an upper and lower cap to virtue for bonus math. So stealing a billion times isn't going to make your negative virtue gear crazy over the top powerful.

    Some gear is beneficial to positive virtue players only. Some gear is beneficial to negative virtue players only. Some gear has a sliding scale where positive virtue gives this and negative virtue gives that. To look at a very well known example, the Shroud of the Avatar now has six stats that it grants. Three are beneficial when virtue is positive and three are beneficial when negative. This was a hard one to design and still not 100% satisfied with it because I know there will be some players that feel the negative effects are more powerful or beneficial and maybe they are! At Richard's request, I kept them as close to the virtue and anti-virtues core idea as possible. For instance, Love positive gives a +dex bonus but Love negative, AKA Hate, gives an agro generation boost.

    So now on to a totally new topic! Taking a pass on what skills are considered "Crowd control". Just got started with the audit but already found at least a few that did knockdown or stun but weren't properly applying or testing the crowd control resistance.
     
  15. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord SOTA Developer

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    Clarification on Damage Absorptions since I've seen a handful of players raging about this. So reminder that this didn't used to be this high until just a couple releases ago. So while this number decreased, it is just slightly lower than it used to be.

    Second important note, I should have added the two skills that grant damage absorption to the 100% unlearn return list. I will get that in for the second patch. First patch is already building and has some critical fixes in it for AE targeting, performance, Monkey room fix, and a few other items.

    Third, lets go over the math of what damage absorption does. If you have 50 Damage Resistance and 150% Damage Absorption and you get get for 100 points of damage, it stops 50 points. On the other hand if you have 50 Damage Resistance and 50% Damage Absorptions it stops...50 points.

    Damage absorption determines the max amount of a hit that can be stopped. So if you have 60% Absorption, at most, you can stop 60% of any hit but not more than your Damage Resistance. So damage stopped on a hit = Lesser of DamageAbsorption*AttackDamage and Damage resistance. So this means that you aren't stopping any less damage from big hits, just the little ones. Previously players could stand and let a pack of wolves or bears attack them and take no damage. That was broken and not intended and reported by a number of players as such.

    Fourth, in PVP this HELPS melee types. Why? Because casters don't care about your damage resistance! However, caster were also able to get their absorption up super high and ignore a lot of hits. Most importantly, they were able to ignore rapid barrages of small hits, like Rapid Fire and quad slashes. This does open tanks up to more damage from ranged players but other than that it is either a wash or a benefit.

    Fifth, yes, I need to do better at making fewer big swings in math. I had talked about this for a while but had said I would put a cap on Absorption. I decided against that because in my tests I found it was really easy to hit most caps with just leather or chain. That would be one more big reason to not wear plate.

    Again, sorry for the thrashing but I strongly believe this is the best for the game. This is one I really wish I had caught before R52 but didn't because I have too many balls in the air.
     
  16. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord SOTA Developer

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    Booh, Devotionals broken. Booh, AE's broken in a new and exciting way. Booh, item effects broken. Booh booh booh!

    Ok, getting all those fixed and should be kicking off a build within the hour so we can test changes and migrate to Live.

    Also going into the build will be that the level cap in Blood Bay will move to Opalis.

    So after spending several hours playing on my alt and talking to people last night, I'm softening the damage absorption a bit and adding the hard cap I had originally planned on having. So absorption for skills will go up about 50% and from armor will go up about 15% from the current numbers, this will give high end players a number closer to 80%. Then there will be a hard cap at 80%. No, we're not going back to 100%.

    So next up on my balance list this morning is fixing slows. Currently it is possible to get stuff down to 0% move rate... preparing for the ice mages to take over for the heavy armor users and screaming that they should totally be able to get creatures into a state where they just stand perfectly still and don't do anything except let you kill them. :/
     
  17. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord SOTA Developer

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    Ok, since I normally deliver what most would consider bad news in my blog I'll mix it up now and give you some bad news AND good news. So this release has some massive improvements in it BUT despite working until 9PM last night, we still have some crazy bugs in there. Yes, I know there are issues with at least some AEs not hitting some targets and artifact instruments are borked and a half dozen other small issues. We'll do another patch or three next week to fix it but too risky to do a weekend patch and the team needs a break.

    So that is the bad news... Here is the good news, I think the problems have been big enough that it is blocking people from not being able to play as much or preventing them from being able to gain xp for many. So the good news is I'm going to push to extend double XPs and not start the week until we get the issues fixed. I'm still trying to identify the issue but I know at least fire mages will be crying this weekend as it seems ring of fire isn't hitting a lot of stuff.

    So you read it here first, I'm going to push to extend double XPs and not start the week countdown UNTIL we have these issues fixed.
     
  18. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord SOTA Developer

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    Busy busy busy!

    So lots and lots of stuff going on. First, I built a somewhat decent computer for Master Bard Iolo AKA David Watson, so he can join us in game. His old PC would die fairly quickly when he tried to play. So for those who are fans of the real life Iolo, expect to see him in game soon! Also, do remember though that in real life, David is a 60+ year old, not super technical guy so feel free to help him out with how ABC files work and other semi tricky stuff!

    Last week I spent a day working on a cleaner and safer internal server setup. I donated 2 of my personal Dell servers to the office so we can finally have the long sought after dream server setup. Two identical Dell servers running windows server that each run half our VMs and replicate the VMs to the other box in real time. So, if one box goes down, we can just turn on the VM on the other box. For longer term backups and images, there is a 3rd dell server just running windows 10 that manages the images and deltas. Not completely done yet but getting closer bit by bit!

    Did the new live stream format on Friday and seemed to go well. With no wheel and sales on for 12 hours it reduced the time we had to spend talking about the sales and made it more accessible to players in all time zones! Good stuff...

    So, now on to some game design and tech stuff that you really want me to talk about!

    So first off, we're working on the move to the latest version of Unity. This brings some big benefits and also some big challenges. This will be the first release that supports IL2CPP or native compiling instead of Mono style executables. This means a significant speed bump in code! This will help us out some but not a ton as our bottle necks are usually not in our code but rather in Unity functions that our code calls. We'll see but not expecting a massive boost.

    Another challenge is to build using this new feature, we have to build on a Mac! We don't currently have a Mac in our build chain so I'm working on fixing that as well. Sadly, no love for Linux still as it does not year support IL2CPP. :(

    Next up on the shroud... yes, I screwed up. The shroud is supposed to have zero net stats. In other words, if you got had a high Truth you would get +5 here and -5 here. That clearly didn't happen. The result is all players must wear the shroud or be at a disadvantage to those who are wearing it. I snooped a few parties this week and sure enough, I saw parties with 8 people and 6 of them all looked the same. :/ So for R54 I'll be expecting more 20 page hate threads towards me as I turn this back to how it should have been, +x and -y for each virtue. You choose to get one thing and lose the other. So it allows more customizations based on your virtue choices but the net effect should be fairly neutral relative to other cloaks.

    Last big item is performance. We found several big ticket items that were hurt performance in a number of scenes. The biggest was sound source were not being properly disabled and the Unity AudioManager is super inefficient. Have just 1000 sound emitters in the scene that are enabled BUT NOT playing was eating up roughly 5ms. We had seen this before and the easy fix was to not let Unity manage sounds and just completely disable them. We had a system in place to do that but apparently it wasn't working. It is working now so this will save a huge chunk of time in many scenes. Remember, 5ms may not sound like a ton BUT to run 60fps you have to do everything in under 16.6ms!

    Ok, time for some meetings!
     
  19. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord SOTA Developer

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    Oh, and update from OneAndOnly.... THE HIT POINT BUG IS FIXED...

    Also, Undone is working on a new map option so we don't have to rely on a DLL that virus scanners like to eat and that doesn't work on Linux.
     
  20. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord SOTA Developer

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    One last important note, while building Iolo's machine I discovered something scary. I put Windows 10 on it and ran all the updates windows had available. Then I installed the game and ran it. Played great for about 2 minutes then CRASH! No useful info in the crash logs. Tried again, CRASH in about 1 minute. Tried it again, CRASH after about 2 minutes.

    Checked the Nvidia drivers it had installed and it was Nvidia driver version 383 WHQL. I installed the latest NVidia driver, 397 and zero crashes. So apparently the default nvidia driver that Windows 10 installs crashes our game! This likely explains a fair number of the "SOTA crashes almost immediately" reports I've seen!

    Spread the word! If you know someone who was crashing, let them know to just upgrade their nvidia drivers.
     
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