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Monthly Development Update: May 2012

The Gridstream Productions team recently celebrated ten years of bringing Live Streamed Entertainment to Rubi-Ka! As a development team we're very proud of them, and we had the pleasure of attending the in-game party held on the glass floor of Reet's Retreat – the very place where the GSP organization was founded! It was great seeing so many familiar faces, and new ones! I had a great time talking with everyone, and I wish to thank GSP for their devotion these past years. Happy 10th birthday GSP!

The 11th AO Anniversary
We're also really proud to have been running for eleven years this June! To celebrate, we've created some new phats, and for the first time ever we are going to offer a one of a kind Real Life Vinyl Doll, hand painted by one of our artists, OJ “Flaptoot” Kielland! The details on how you can win this, alongside the dates for the in-game celebration will be announced in June via our community outlets.

We're expecting the Desert Rider to make frequent appearances in Newland Desert during these festivities!
GSP Party! 

The Global Market Interface (GMI)
Based on the feedback that we've received during beta testing, we've completed a first round of improvements, focusing on usability. The GMI is a very powerful interface and we want to ensure that you as a player can use its full potential. 

You will be able to see these improvements in the next Test Live update!

We've already begun planning for other well-suggested features like supporting multiple items per deposit and allowing partial name search. In order not to delay the release of 18.5.0, these features will be included in one of the following patches.

System Changes
This month we've done many alterations behind the scenes to allow for smoother implementation of the proposed systems changes, including back end work to our internal tools platform as well as optimizing existing features, enabling us greater flexibility in the work ahead. You may have seen the after effects of this on the Test Server, at one point over a thousand Nano Formulas were broken as a result of altering the code! Macrosun and Vhab of course saved the day again. (:

To accompany the removal of pet hunt pet timeouts, we've improved the usability of pets and their default behavior, although we feel this is quite a big change that needs additional testing, so we've moved it in with the New Player Experience patch instead of the upcoming patch. This feature will allow the master to better control the behavior of their pets!

The Engine
While in development, the new Dreamworld engine has been running off a separate test environment including the server and databases, and in May we've continued our efforts to create a working stand alone client as a first step towards external beta. 

As I understand it, this work is not particularly fun to do, and involves resolving many conflicts between the old AO code and the new. We're very pleased with the progress made however, and I expect another month or so before we have results.

Game Performance Issues
Recently we've received multiple reports of lag occurring in-game! But with help from our Operations team we've now managed to locate and resolve what we believe to be the cause for these issues. We are very sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you during your play time, and we're thankful of the extensive reports you were able to provide to us!

The Next Update
All of our efforts this past month have been going towards getting this update to Live.

The preliminary release date for 18.5.0 is 12th of June! This update will include game improvements and bug fixes, a new log-in and character selection screen, the new global market interface, and of course the new birthday loot! Preliminary update release notes are available on the Test Live section of the forums, and a conclusive version will be coming soon along with the finalized release date.

I hope the AO Anniversary party will be just as great! See you all there!


PS. Thank you Sprklygrrl for providing the screen shots!