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MattScott

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  1. Hi everyone, It's that time again - we have reached another two weeks since my last update. We are still at the ‘get the editor running’ stage of the build process. The script generation commandlet needed some unexpected additional work. We identified several new issues while building the scripts mostly related to serialization of classes. SIDEBAR "What is Serialization?" I don't like using jargon that isn't easily understood by everyone, so since this update is pretty short, I'll explain what "Serialization" is. At a high level serialization is the concept of translating structured memory into a format that allow us to store it - more specifically APB data is stored in files on disk. Structured memory is another way of saying data structures or in-game objects. These are things like 3D mesh data, Gun stats, or data that controls how parts of a district show up in a mission. The critical (and exhausting) part of serialization is making sure that each member of a data structure is translated at the proper size into a format that can be reversed back into memory giving us the same original value. There are a lot of different reasons why sizes can be problematic or truncate data such as 32-bit -> 64-bit conversions that might have smaller or larger definitions of a memory block. This is made worse by the fact that many parts of APB had hard coded block sizes set at the top of the data structure. So we have to go in and find every one of them to make sure they are all handled the same. END SIDEBAR And of course... there are lots and lots of data structures for APB (and Unreal). To address some of the issues we found, we spent some additional time pulling across relevant code sections from the 2.x upgrade back to 1.30. Our plan has not changed, but this process of pulling across code is still going so that serialization works properly. Then we can rebuild and regenerate APB: Reloaded’s Unreal scripts.. and then the editor will load. Our current benchmark is still to get APB’s Social District map loading. Thanks, Matt
  2. Hi everyone, It’s been another two weeks since my last update. Here’s another update on our schedule. We did pretty well. At this stage, every project compiles and links under 64-bit without warnings or errors! This is a significant milestone, as it means most of our time will no longer be spent merging in code, but instead debugging and getting the editor, game, and servers running. We are now at the ‘get the editor running’ stage of the build process. This involves resolving startup / initialization issues with dynamic link libraries, initialization, and instantiation of core engine components. Then, we will ensure that we can rebuild and regenerate APB: Reloaded’s Unreal scripts. After that, we will deal with existing disk-serialized package misalignments that would prevent maps from loading. So right now, the focus is on instantiation of core engine components. When we have all the items above sorted, then we will be able to attempt to load the Social District map. Thanks, Matt
  3. Hi everyone, It’s been exactly two weeks since our last update. Our progress continues with APB 1.30, and I promised to give more frequent updates on a bi-monthly schedule. My hope is that keeping that schedule will provide some insight into how the team is coming along. Firstly, we have cleaned up all of APB’s dependency projects to compile under 64-bit. For the most part, we tracked down the appropriate libraries that would work with 1.20’s codebase out of the box in 64-bit, and in some cases, we modified existing libraries ourselves to fit the older version of Unreal. Between middleware integrations (such as Scaleform and Wwise), a rewrite of some 32-bit specific optimizations and texture utility code written in assembly, APB’s custom Music Studio and Web Browser libraries, Windows API support, and APB’s User Interface and Editor modifications, there has been plenty of work completed. A total of about 3,000 warnings and errors have been resolved to date. Next, there is only one more project to finish converting to 64-bit – the gameplay code for APB itself. After the entire codebase compiles without warning or error, we will have to resolve issues that may arise from the process of linking the projects together. And then we can fire up the Unreal Editor and load a district. From there, we expect to find problems with serialized package structure alignment similar to what we encountered with the 2.x upgrade. Since most of these issues were already resolved in 2.2, I'm hoping we can reuse that work to do an ‘in-place’ upgrade of APB 1.20’s serialized content packages to support 64-bit architecture. Even though we missed our previous mark of wanting to be in editor attempting to load packages by the next two-week update, we still completed a significant amount of work in a small amount of time, and we have not encountered any unknowns that we haven’t overcome before. I’m hoping that we will be in-editor resolving issues with APB’s Social District map for the next two week update. Thanks, Matt
  4. Hi everyone, I've locked this thread similar to our original Engine Upgrade thread, so that I can post on a regular basis for people to follow. This week I'm traveling to Europe in prep for Gamescom next week. Then I'm staying over another week to wrap up business there before I return in early September. With that in mind, I'm setting a goal of posting every 2 weeks. Right now, we’re progressing nicely through with APB 1.30 (also known as the 64-bit port of APB). We’ve been monitoring feedback after my blogpost came out, and I get it. There is a lot to be frustrated with ‘yet another engine upgrade’ and the lack of tangible progress for players. Here is my update this week on exactly what actual work has been completed: 1) We have finished porting most of the core engine functionality, excluding APB-specific gameplay code, over to 64-bit. This involved a lot of different changes, most of which are backports from the 2.x code, however, some are entirely new changes to the codebase so that 1.20’s functionality is fundamentally preserved. The engine code had thousands of errors and warnings that we had to work through. At this point, I'm assuming that any warnings are really errors that need to be resolved before we ship 1.30. Here are specifics for some of what we had to do: Set up projects to have a consistent struct member alignment across the entire project (backport from 2.x) Ensure compatibility with the VS2017 toolchain. Identify and set up versions of third-party libraries, such as Scaleform and PhysX, that will suit a 64-bit client build of the 1.20 codebase Changing hard-coded, casted pointer types from implied 4-byte pointers to implied 8-byte pointers. Clean up declarations of local variables hiding class variables. Clean up declarations of local variables hiding other declared local variables. Modify the codebase to support newer versions of specific middleware libraries and ensure functionality is not compromised 2) We’re in the process of cleaning up the ‘core’ components of APB, such as the middleware made specific for APB. This is mostly complete but may need further adjustments. 3) We are beginning to do the same conversion process for the Unreal Editor components. Our next steps will be to finish converting the Unreal Editor components, and the APB-specific components. Once that process is done, we will attempt to launch the Unreal Engine Editor and attempt to get a map loaded in-editor. This was the same strategy we successfully implemented for the APB 2.x upgrade before we started beta testing and realized that the underlying implementation in 2.x was never going to perform very well. This time, we have taken the right steps to ensure (crosses fingers) that the Editor process will go smoothly. My hope is that there will be minimal time from getting a map loading in-editor to having it running in our actual client/server setup. That will allow us to do some performance and stability testing on both the APB client and its district servers. I'll be looking for opportunities to share ‘client havoc’ as it comes up, as that seems to be a community favorite. It's been a little over a week and a half since my last update. I'm hoping to do my next update in 2 more weeks once we are in the editor resolving issues with APB’s Social District’s map. Thanks, Matt
  5. Hi all, I'm going to ask that you reserve judgment on STFU. We have a slew of information and articles coming out that will explain our "Web 2.5" hybrid approach. I'm tempted to remove the word "NFT" from anything connected with STFU, because they have such a bad reputation. STFU is a big experiment, but we're well aware of the market. It's would be folly to try and do what everyone else is doing. We have no interest in creating meaningless assets to make a quick buck. I am very interested in establishing clear ownership of content created by players so they can earn real revenue from it - if they want it. Stay tuned. Thanks, Matt
  6. Hi everyone, I know it's been a while. I didn't get sick or die. I've just been buried with the studio and getting some work-for-hire projects shipped. Little Orbit is very close to announcing a couple new things we've been working on, but I'm way overdue for an update on APB. I finally unpinned the APB 2.0 thread, and I'm starting this one. Here is my first APB update in a long time to explain where we're headed. https://www.gamersfirst.com/apb/news/2022/8/5/message-from-matt Thanks, Matt
  7. Hey everyone, Sorry about the outage. We are back online. Thanks, Matt
  8. Hi everyone, I hope you enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday. We had some days off, but still made decent progress. At this point everything in Social is working except for collisions on the skinned meshes like statues. We started work on Financial this week as well. There are some issues with streamed assets that are getting loaded twice due to older and newer code running at the same time. We'll dive into that next week. For now, here's another video with progress. Working collisions are: Joker Ammo vending machines Mailboxes (specifically, the spot in Social where people gather most often) Marketplace Kiosks Static Meshes Streamed Terrain 2021-12-03 15-42-55.mp4 Thanks, Matt
  9. Hi everyone, Apologies to the community. It's now been 45 days since my last update. I have been in Europe for the last 5 weeks, and my schedule was been incredibly busy during the trip. If I had to choose a single word to recap progress, it would be: "frustrating" Back on October 2nd, we had a big breakthrough, and I was feeling really good about next steps. You can see from the screenshots in that post that we had finally gotten collisions working on the sidewalk. That update was posted minutes after we got a build that worked. What we didn't realize at the time, was that if you stepped onto the grass, you immediately fell through the world again. Additionally, several different types of placed props and static meshes in the map also had collision problems. During the weeks that followed, we fell down a lot of rabbit holes attempting to find the issues. While we could have individually made those objects conform to the new collision system, doing so would have been wildly unsustainable. Once we start work on Financial, there are thousands of objects and checking everyone of the them would be a nightmare. Instead, we chose to take additional time to step through line by line in the collision code on the current live version of the game versus the engine upgrade. We need the conversion process to properly rebuild each map and all of the collisions in one pass. After a bit of digging, we were able to identify the core issue for terrain, so that is working properly now. As with all things APB, of course there are still issues. For some reason we have some oddball props and items that still aren't colliding properly. So the team is still working on restoring old 1.20 collision code to handle every specific case. Below is a video running around Social with nearly all of the collisions working. As I stated in the last update, ignore the lighting, we haven't turned that code back on yet, so everything is either fully lit or not lit at all. You can see once we get to the placed crates, those don't work. And the statues don't have collisions. As soon as we have those sorted out, we will reprocess all of Financial to see how that district does. apb-engine-update-2021-11-19.mp4 Thanks, Matt
  10. Hi everyone, Sorry about all the maintenance and downtime. We've been adding pieces to help with performance. I was notified about the downtime that started this morning, but it slipped past me and I didn't get a chance to post it. We're currently down for a bit longer. I'll post when the game comes back online. Thanks, Matt
  11. Apologies. This one slipped past me. There was another resource increase scheduled that I forgot to post.
  12. All everyone, We have just started some maintenance to add more resources for the game. Be back soon. Thanks, Matt
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