Today we bring you a merged Development Update covering the months of May and June 2013. Due to a number of factors this update is a little more informal. The aim was to provide an update in the second week of June and then again in the next week or so. Due to the server issues we have been experiencing which took priority, we have chosen to merge the two updates.
We would rather provide you with the following information than remain entirely silent on our current status.
Sparta & Development Team Availability.
The delivery of the new Balance Test Server Sparta has been pushed back to later in the year, at the time of writing we are not sharing a revised schedule. Over the last number of weeks several members of our small development team have been maxed out in the real world. Much higher than expected day job workloads have taken their toll on availability. On top of this both planned and unplanned absences have reduced our output in the last couple of months significantly. Due to the fragmentation of our virtual team around the globe, this reduced output has been unavoidable.
While the sun is shining (well, in theory) we have moved focus slightly to recharge our batteries after 15 months of hard work turning Neocron around, for you, the community. We hope to be able to share more with you soon but recently needed time to reflect, get our heads back in gear and come back to you in the months to come with more exciting developments. We hope you can appreciate the amount of time we have given in the last 15 months and the need for this regrouping.
Server Migration – The Why and the What Happened.
Over the last few weeks Zoltan (assisted by ArkHive) has been working hard moving everything over to new infrastructure for the Neocron Service. Since our tenure began for Neocron our infrastructure has changed a number of times, this is mainly due to the unique way in which Neocron is operated. Up until now Neocron has been ran mainly on servers the team had available from personal projects. Previous moves allowed us to switch things around between hosts, when available resources began to show their inability to cope with the way in which Neocron's server architecture performs.
This latest move has been planned for some time, we have now reached a point where our infrastructure is in a much better position to serve our players and the Neocron Service. Multiple servers now at a single data centre has significantly reduced the internal overhead, both financially and computationally. These changes will allow us to better manage server resources, provide improved stability and improve latency for some of our international players. Plus it is saving us a significant amount of money coming directly from the pockets of the Neocron Support Team. Money we can potentially put to better use providing better services in the future.
At a new host and location the improved infrastructure is better positioned to serve data to our players all over the world. We are much closer to some of the globe's major links. While some users may only experience a change of a few milliseconds, we know how important those are when fighting it out in the streets of Neocron and the Wastelands.
Clearly this process has not been as smooth as our tests suggested. The increased load and communication between servers under 'retail' operation far out stripped anything we were able to produce in a test environment. The sheer number of random interactions players make with the game and the game world was unfortunately not something we were able to accurately account for. We are now operating with much faster Neocron server software (a result of our previous patches) and without the internal latency between servers in our previous infrastructure. With these two factors we are having to deal with a lot more internal traffic all at once which has caused the issues since the migration.
We believe those issues are now in the past. Since bringing the server back online we are pleased with the performance of the server, and (fingers crossed) hope things will now return to normal. Only improved pings and a smoother experience should remain.
Content & the Next Patch
We have prepared a Content Patch which ties into the Powder Keg storyline. While we would have liked to deliver this much, much sooner we can say it is certainly on the way. We hope to bring this to you in the weeks to come. The patch, which focuses on bringing new life to a community favourite location, is something we have a feeling you will enjoy.
The creation of this patch has given us a much better understanding of what is required to improve Neocron's content offering. With this knowledge we hope to make some changes internally to increase the pace of content delivery. There is a MASSIVE amount of potential in the Neocron game world and we really want to tap into that.
Faction Representative Scheme
A while ago now we launched applications for a new faction representative scheme, something to bring more fun and role-play to the in game experience. We would like to urge anyone interested to please get in touch via the appropriate channels.
If you have previously sent an application please PM Trivaldi directly on the forum to discuss your application. It appears that during our migration some out bound and in bound email traffic was lost and as such it is possible a response to your pending application has been lost to the ether, or we did not receive it.
Exploit & Bug Reporting
Please continue to submit these reports. They are vital to the continued improvement of Neocron. If we do not know about an exploit or bug we cannot fix it. Any information you are able to provide on either topic is very important to us. Bug reports should be posted in the relevant forum area and please continue to send detailed exploit information to the usual email address.
We do not tolerate the use of exploits. Any information you have which will allow us to remove an exploit is vital. Never assume we already know about it. Report it. We will fix it.
Community Meet Up – August 23rd & 24th in Chelmsford, UK.
In the past the UK based fans of Neocron used to gather in a random location a couple of times a year, for a weekend of drinking and Neocron based chat. All in order to get to know the faces behind the runners of Neocron.
This is a tradition we would like to reignite, those members of the team who used to attend in the past always had a great time. As such we have decided to hold an official gathering in Chelmsford, UK on Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th of August, 2013. It would be great to see as many of you there as possible, the full details can be found in the dedicated thread. Everyone is welcome for a few days of relaxed chat and copious amounts of beer.
We already have a selection of the Neocron Support Team in attendance, everything suggests it should be a great weekend!
A huge thank you to each and every one of you for being part of our community, while this is a departure from our normal development routine we hope you will understand the circumstances which we currently face. Things will be back up to speed before you know it!
The fact you guys are still here and as passionate as ever about the game we all love, keeps us going and the fires in our bellies well and truly lit.
All the very best,
Your Neocron Support Team.