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Everything posted by MattScott

  1. Hi everyone, Fight Club can be an amazing experience in APB when everything works as intended. However, since there is no threat segregation and we allow team killing, these districts have some unique problems. Moving forward, we are requiring a minimum of rank 30 to enter Fight Club. We feel that this will help newer players avoid this area till they have more experience. We have also had some player disciplinary issues, and now it will take them longer to raise up new characters to enter these districts. As always, we will continue to monitor this change to make sure it has the intended effect. Thanks, Matt
  2. Hi everyone, I've just posted the newsletter here. And my February Blog on "Listening to the Community" is here: https://www.gamersfirst.com/apb/news/2019/2/8/listening-to-the-community Thanks, Matt
  3. MattScott

    Armas Update Feedback

    Hi all, Apologies for the issues in the upgrade. We are looking at things now. BTW - I want to acknowledge all the work people put into this thread pulling comparisons. We did actually build a spreadsheet and dump all the new pricing and then apply a discount for bundles. However, there appears to be a situation with bundles in bundles that caused an issue. Also many items were manually edited with extra discounts that got missed. Thanks, Matt
  4. MattScott


    Hi all, This month's Developer Discussion is likely a can of worms, but I feel like Little Orbit is damned if we don't talk about this, and damned if we do. We have been accused of not taking Cheating seriously enough, or being too slow to act. So in the spirit of transparency, I'm going to open this topic anyway. It is meant to be a conversation starter. Please try to keep this civil, and try to respect each other's experience in-game. Let's start at the beginning. 1) Why do we care about cheating? Unlike many other online games, in APB there is no PvE (player vs. environment) content. In APB, you're always playing another live player. Where there is a winner, there is also a loser, and that kind of system only thrives if players know they are getting (a) fairly matched and (b) other players don't have a significant advantage to win. 2) What is cheating? Some players might describe cheating as "gaining an unfair advantage over another player", and while that may be technically true, it's not an enforceable definition for me. In my opinion, there is no true way to level the playing field between players without one or the other having an advantage. One player will always have a faster computer or less latency. I would argue that is not a cheating topic, that's a match making topic. For me, cheating is consciously tampering with a game to gain extra information or advantages which make it easier to win. That includes (but is not limited to) aimbotting, triggerbotting, wall hacking, and other forms of scripting. 3) How do people cheat? Very few cheaters have the know how to create their own hacks. In my opinion, the largest pool of cheaters pay for it. They go online and buy cheats that are supported by other hackers. No matter what you hear or believe, cheating is a business based on supply and demand. The bigger and more competitive the game, the more likely hackers are to create cheats for it. I am surprised that any hacker feels APB is worth their time to make cheats for. 4) Why do people cheat? This is wildly subjective. But in my opinion, people cheat for one of two reasons: (a) they are afraid of being embarrassed by losing / they want fame or glory for winning. or (b) they want to ruin other people's fun. Now onto the more difficult parts... 5) How do we know someone is cheating? In traditional FPS shooters there are very specific ways we can detect cheaters. But this game is unique. In my opinion, APB has one of the largest skill gaps in any game I have come across. The distance between a novice and an expert is massive. Many of the behaviors that are commonly flagged as cheating in other games, are not only valid, but considered good gameplay in APB. Experienced players will master the map and their surroundings. They will anticipate what their opponents are going to do next and appear like they are wall hacking. They will control their camera, and execute "snaps" to flip around and snipe opponents while running away. They have spent hours practicing with their weapon to utilize distance and falloff so they can consistently deal maximum damage to an opponent who wont be able to retaliate. And sometimes, they are just cheating. The problem is telling the difference. To detect cheaters, we use one of three systems: BattlEye - a commercial client-side anti-cheat that is constantly upgraded to identify and block all of the common entry points for cheats. This system inspects player hardware at runtime while they are in the game. There are a lot of myths about BattlEye, but I can assure you there isn't a "good" version and a "bad" version. There's isn't a "lite" or "premium" version. That literally makes no sense. Why would BattlEye want any company running around damaging their reputation with a version of their software that didn't work 100%? Companies pay money, and they get access to the product to integrate it into their games. Some do a good job and they upgrade all the time. Some do a poor job and don't upgrade. We're probably somewhere in the middle. We have been running BattlEye since May 2018. and I've very happy with the results. Internal - a custom client-side anti-cheat that we implement and maintain. This is a secondary watchdog that we use to protect BattlEye and other known vulnerabilities. It's a system that we upgrade less frequently, but it does a good job of catching folks off guard. FairFight - a commercial server-side anti-cheat. This is a system we inherited, and I'm going to officially say that we are no longer moving forward with it. This is not a disparaging review of Gameblocks or their product. They are a great company. They worked with G1 for years, and it's fine for most games. But as I said above, APB is unique, and after evaluating the results, I've decided FairFight isn't a good long term solution for us. To be clear, we absolutely need a great server-side anti-cheat. But based on our experience with custom solutions like Trade Locking and the new /Report system, we have started implementing our own server-side anti-cheat that integrates with all of our GM and Support tools. 6) What is not considered evidence of cheating? This is the next tricky area. I am often sent videos, screenshots, or other forms of evidence that players feel "undeniably" shows that another player was cheating. And while I sympathize, please know that we cannot blindly accept this as a reason to ban someone. We *must* take the effort to monitor and collect evidence to properly prove they were cheating. 7) How do we handle cheaters when we detect them? Based on APB's history, I didn't feel we could permanently auto-ban cheaters based on any of the systems mentioned above. We do temp ban for a window long enough that my staff can review the data and then decide whether to extend the ban or remove it. Overall, I consider cheating to be one of the most difficult parts of running APB. I honestly wish we didn't have this problem, because it damages the enjoyment of the game. Please know that we continue to invest lots of time and effort into making this a fun, fair game to play. We aren't perfect. No anti-cheat is 100%. But we are working at getting better at this. Thanks, Matt
  5. Hi all, My State of the Game for the end of 2018 is up. We got off to a slow start, but looking back I’m pleasantly surprised by how much we were able to do. Here is a recap of 2018 and a little of what is planned for 2019: https://www.gamersfirst.com/fallenearth/news/2018/12/31/state-of-the-game-2018 Update 1/1: In order to give a bit more information about the size of the project, here are some basic stats that we can use to create a "progress meter" along the way. The code for the Frontend client: There are about 175 code files and 210 headers with nearly 165,000 lines of code in total. The code for some common libraries and tools: There are about 250 code files and 1450 headers with nearly 650,000 lines of code in total. The code for the Backend services: There are about 720 code files and 1170 headers with nearly 1,000,000 lines of code in total. The data for the game: There are 77 3D levels There are 6,200 3D models There are 5,100 3D animations There are 22,500 Textures Thanks, Matt
  6. Hi everyone, It's been about a month since my last post on this topic, and many players have reached out to me to ask about progress, so I'm going to take some time to do an update. I also want to talk about the SPCT and testing to help shed some light on their role and activities. At this point, we have all three platforms Xboxone, PlayStation 4, and PC on the same code base, and all three platforms are compiling. We are working through some issues with Xboxone and PlayStation 4 that will need work before we can actually run them. But the PC is up and in test. We are behind where I wanted to be. We'll do our best to catch up, but we had some technical challenges in January getting the new build up and running for testing. We had just gotten the game to run internally at the end of the year, but I seriously underestimated how much effort it would take to build an environment that SPCT could hit externally. I'm sure there was a lot of frustration on their side, week after week, when we would tell them "be ready this weekend", and then the servers weren't up. Once we finally got things sorted out, the entire SPCT had to spend hours downloading the build. Then we had more problems getting into the Action Districts due to a networking issue. We figured out a work around that let most team members in, but then the disconnects started. Right now the server is very unstable and crashes based on a number of broken things that players can trigger. Due to a number of issues, players get disconnected every 5-10 minutes. Again, I feel for the team attempting to test or explore issues when they are getting constantly kicked and have to log back in. Week #1 We have now had almost a full week of testing, and in a way the SPCT and Little Orbit are exploring this version of the game together in real time. My raw initial impression of this build is... it's a mixed bag. I have publicly stated that that I didn't think UE3.5 was going to be that big of a change. And in some cases, I was wrong. There are some significant changes to loading times, visual look and feel, and CPU/GPU usage. However there are also LOTS and LOTS of oddball bugs, crashes, and generally unexpected areas where the game behaves strangely. I'm going to try and give regular updates on our progress, so everyone can track where we are, but for now here is my best general update: Most of the code is based on the console version. That's great for engine optimizations, but generally bad for many aspects of gameplay right now. The menus, districts, weapon balance, and other areas are all based on what you can see right now on XB1 and PS4. My team will be pulling across all the PC specific pieces and updates as fast as possible, but there's a fairly big gap at the moment. There are lots of frustrating bugs (like not responding to ALT-TAB) that make the game not much fun to play. We need to slam a bunch of quality of life changes in as soon as possible, or I worry that SPCT folks are going to get very frustrated. Visually the game looks very different. Materials were updated. Textures improved. Reflections improved. Lighting changed. There are aspects of the game that I'm still hoping to adjust, and I'm sure each player will determine how much they like or dislike the new look, but I was surprised how much I liked it. Framerates seem to be more stable, but generally slower than Live. This is due to a number of unoptimized things. I'm confident that we'll actually get the game running better than Live once we apply some fixes. We are going to need to do some work on the districts themselves. Missing kiosks need to be replaced. Some elements need to be removed, and collisions will need to be thoroughly gone over. Update UE3.5 Screenshots I know some players have asked for a new round of sexy screenshots from the new engine. However given where we are, I don't think hyping this effort is the right route to take. We have time for that later. Instead, I'm going to make an exception to the NDA and allow each SPCT member to post a single bug or feature they found interesting from their experience so far - good, bad or ugly. Thanks, Matt
  7. Hi Wastelanders, What's better than surviving a nuclear holocaust and wandering your way across a blasted brown landscape rife with societal collapse? Why, sharing said wanderings with someone you love, of course (or at least, someone you lust after in that we've-got-to-do-this-for-the-future-of-mankind sort of way). Starting from February 13th through February 26th, the gruesome festivities will include a special "My Bloody Valentine" mission which features a Heartbreaker item and a crafting recipe that will enable players to rip out, preserve, and gift their hearts to whomever they desire. Check out the details of the Valentine's Day 2019 event. https://www.gamersfirst.com/fallenearth/news/2019/2/8/valentines-day-2019-event Thanks, Matt
  8. I can appreciate your sentiment. We're just buried and all of our focus is on 3.5.
  9. Lots to unpack from the comments/questions. I'll do my best to try and answer. I don't believe we have messed with Weapon Trial periods yet. But that is on the roadmap. It's also worth noting that some of the changes to ARMAS were based on simplifying pricing and information for new players. We're evaluating those options, but we wanted to take baby steps first. This re-pricing effort is a bit extreme, and it affected nearly everything in the store. I'm not going to disagree. But it's difficult to gauge when 3.5 will be stable enough to rollout. So right now RIOT is disconnected from 3.5 simply so that we have the option of turning it on. If the timelines work, then it's relatively easy to port RIOT into 3.5 and launch them together. I appreciate the kudos. I've been leading companies and actively developing software for more than 20 years, but building transparency week after week on a project this size is one of the most challenging things I have ever done. There are days where I spend all my time answering players and writing/editing blogs, posts, newsletters, tweets, or other communications to try and share where we are at. And then there are other days where I have to ignore everything because I have other more pressing matters. There are too many moving parts to always have a solid timeline that we can hit. We had intended to do the ARMAS update in January, but the scope of it took much longer than we intended. So our only choice was to just keep plugging along and have a quiet month. Given the history here, your fears are totally valid. While I'm proud of our progress, Little Orbit still hasn't delivered on anything game changing enough yet. We'll get there. Prices will change when we launch the AMOROUS store. And now the more important answers: I guess I should put my resignation in now.... (I don't honestly know who made the character.) MartinPL's version is really good! Perhaps we should have the community help us generate a nicer looking avatar. This is probably a good post for an entirely different thread. I haven't done the 23andme.com test, but as far as I understand it, I am Scottish, Irish, Dutch, Welsh, German, and a tiny amount Native American. There is no criteria. Players send us stuff they made, and so far we have been able to post most of them. Little Orbit definitely lost productivity in the office during the "Cupid Challenge" to make the avatars that GMs will be running around as during the event. We'll be paying royalties to AsgerLund in the form of Valentine's Day heart candies. Thanks, Matt
  10. MattScott

    February 2019 Newsletter

    FEBRUARY 2019 Criminals are Red, Enforcers are Blue, San Paro is out of control and desperately needs you. With Valentine's day on the horizon, we wanted to show our affection to the players who continue to support and contribute to the world of APB. This update brings us a sweet treat in a revamped ARMAS, the return of our Valentine's day event and Matt's update on where the game is going. There is much to love so continue below for all the latest and greatest in APB. UP & COMING FEELING AMOROUS? WE ARE. Starting in early February, ARMAS will be transformed into the AMOROUS Marketplace. Come for the exclusive V-Day weapons and stay for a refreshed ARMAS store that has seen significant reductions in pricing on a ton of cool stuff. We have heard your feedback and took it to heart. We are thrilled to introduce a new simplified pricing model that makes it even easier to understand and gets you the gear you have been lusting over at significantly reduced prices. Here are just a few of the highlights from the updated store – Standardized pricing across the board. Everything within ARMAS has been reviewed and or updated – over 2,500 items. Due to lack of use, we are saying good bye to the 3 Day options for weapons. The majority of weapons have seen a price decrease. Of the items reduced, the price has been lowered on average by 30%. The amount of bonus Joker Mystery Boxes awarded to console players are now in sync with PC. Bundles have been updated to reflect the standardized pricing with some seeing an increase. The cost of Premium has been reduced on console by up to 20%. Dropdown menus now make navigation a breeze. SHOP ARMAS LOOKING FOR LOVE? Can you smell it? Love is in the air and our Cupid is invading San Paro. Starting soon, track down our surly cherub for a chance at swag that will make your heart swoon. Keep an eye on the APB Twitter feed for details. APB TWITTER HIGHLIGHTS COMMUNITY CREATIVITY Back again this month, we wanted to highlight one of our fans in the community. We have amazing players out there and we wanted to highlight a cool find. We thought this was particularly impressive. Keep it up. We love seeing the passion and creativity. It’s inspiring. GORDO GAMEPLAY EPISODE 3 OF APB TORQUE NEWS MARCHING FORWARD We are checking in with Matt this month on the transition to Unreal 3.5 and the progress on syncing up the PC and console versions of APB. As always, this is a great opportunity to get a sneak peek behind the curtains and see what it takes to get you the great game we all love. At the beginning of the month, Matt gave a quick update on progress. READ THE UNREAL 3.5 UPDATE Also Matt's February blog is up, and this month he talks about how listening to the community is driving changes in APB. READ THE FEBRUARY BLOG ARMAS STEALS & DEALS Check in daily to see what's new and featured in the ARMAS Marketplace. Be sure to take a look at the following gear that will make your heart race. Love-Gun Heartbreaker Casanova SHOP ARMAS
  11. MattScott

    Wiping progress

    Hi everyone, There has been no official announcement that we are wiping progress. I have answered questions on this, and based on where we are there is still a possibility that the new code may end up being incompatible with the old. We do need to solve adjusting the economy to account for duping issues in the past. It would be a shame to invest this much time and energy only to see a flood of old materials enter the market from some forgotten clan vault. We will do our best to either (a) preserve progress or (b) reward loyal players with some level of progression / item bonus to help ease the transition. Thanks, Matt
  12. Hi all, Rather than clutter up the forums with random posts, I'll be putting up progress shots on my twitter feed (@mattpscott) using the tag #ThisOldGame. Lately I've been bouncing back and forth between finishing the art import and starting some of the backend server programming. This test was slightly tricky because the raw data is Z-Up and rotations are in angle tenths for Yaw, Pitch, and Roll. I had to experiment a bit to get things to line up properly. Dynamic lights are all temporary values, so they don't match the actual game. I tried to line up the camera angle as best as I could for the comparison. Here are the latest test shots of Boneclaw. Thanks, Matt
  13. MattScott

    Posting progress on Twitter #ThisOldGame

    Hi there, It’s still esrly days, but right now we are using Unity to visualize the reconstructed art assets. Thanks, Matt
  14. Hi all, Over the last couple days, a significant amount of accounts were banned. We do not normally acknowledge or discuss these bans, because it's a toxic behavior, and I believe the community is better off without it. However, my mods have had to deal with several posts about the issue, and I also believe in being upfront with the community when there is a situation. For context, I recently posted publicly that we were tracking a number of cheats/hacks and that we were working with BattlEye to detect and block them. Over the last couple days, many accounts were finally banned as we wrap up that process. This included two groups. 1) Accounts permanently banned based on company evidence These were all researched by my team so that proper evidence could be directly collected and added to their account. I do want to thank the many players who reached out with copies of cheats, videos of evidence, and the vast amount of /reports that were collected and processed by our analytics systems. All of these things helped us identify problem areas. Overall, this wasn't a lot of players, but it was a large amount of accounts. This means that we banned all or most of the accounts owned by the player caught cheating - not just the account they cheated on. We tried to be extremely careful and diligent about how this was done, but at the time you get caught, all your accounts can be banned. Clearly this came as a surprise to some players. For the most part, we do allow players to reroll and come back. But that is not a free pass to cheat, damage the experience of other players, while you play consequence free on your main. 2) Accounts temp banned based on new BattlEye detections We have been working diligently with BE to improve their ability to detect and block the latest round of cheats. We have seen a big jump in global BE bans. Per our policy these are initially implemented as temp bans which give my staff a chance to review them to make sure we aren't mass banning innocent folks. If you feel you have been banned unfairly, please make a ticket with support at https://support.gamersfirst.com. I know Support is still behind, and we don't want to make innocent players wait unnecessarily. @Selali has temporarily assigned some resources to review incoming tickets over the next couple days to try and address these as fast as possible without negatively impacting the rest of the players who have been patiently waiting for their issue to be addressed. We will do our best. But please be patient. Finally, I understand the temptation to make the game easier by cheating, but please don't. We continue to build out our internal systems, and over time they will get better and better. While you may get away with it for a while, you open the door to losing all of your accounts. A number of very unhappy players today learned that all their progress and even real money spent on the game was lost, and they wont be able to participate in engine upgrade or any of the other new content coming. For that I am deeply sorry. Thanks, Matt
  15. Hi everyone, The first phase of the new ARMAS Store has been rolled out, so I wanted to take a moment a let you know about it. Our initial focus has been on readability and discoverability for a more enjoyable browsing experience. You also will notice the main (featured) page has been redesigned and modernized with the following changes: Featured Carousel - We now have featured items rotating atop the main page to highlight the new and cool items available. Larger Item Cards - In addition to being bigger, items on the main page are now categorized and scrollable for better browsing. Streamlined Navigation - The navigation bar as been updated to reflect how users search, grouping similar categories. Weekly Discounted Items – Check back each week, because we have started featuring selected items with a limited time discount. Overall Price Drops – We took the time to review the first batch of our pricing and have standardized in a number of categories, bringing down the overall cost by as much as 20-50%! More is coming in the weeks ahead. We will be refreshing the individual item pages in addition to the presentation of the items themselves so stay tuned. We hope you enjoy this and continue to look forward to making ARMAS that best place to get all your APB gear. Thanks, Matt
  16. MattScott

    Jericho Server Packet Loss

    Hi there, Yes. We are working on it, but there have been a couple different DDoS attacks today. Thanks, Matt
  17. Hi everyone, It's the end of a crazy year for us, and many players have been asking about the state of APB. In the December newsletter, we mentioned this update, but due to time constraints I didn't get to it until this weekend. Here is a recap of 2018 and a little of what is planned for 2019: https://www.gamersfirst.com/apb/news/2018/12/29/state-of-the-game-2018 Thanks, Matt
  18. MattScott

    Start having fun aaaaand... Its gone.

    Hi there, You have my sincere apology. I can assure you that we have in fact been DDoSed nonstop since early January. This has been a very humbling experience for me. We never saw anything like this in 2018. One day right after New Year, we hit nearly 1300 concurrent. Something I hadn't seen in months. And the very next day we got hit nearly every 30 minutes with the largest attacks I've ever seen. Additionally they did something new that our previous protection couldn't block. Since then we've had the occasional 12 hour break here and there, but for the most part the attacks keep coming on Jericho. We are working with our providers to get the situation cleared up as quickly as possible. Thanks, Matt
  19. MattScott

    State of the Game: Fallen Earth 12/31/2018

    Just giving you an idea of the scope first. I'll be updating our progress as we go attempting to figure out some overall percentage. This is an accurate statement. For me, when I have so little overall understanding of the game, you have to be willing to learn as you go and let the project take you where it needs to. I think the goal is to start with a completely rewritten version of the current game including tools. That gives us a really solid base to work with, and we can get a sense of all the places we want to dig into. From there we can decide whether the level of change fits into the current game or should be done as a sequel.
  20. MattScott

    alien invasion car

    Not going to lie. I wish we could have done something like this.
  21. I am not familiar with the HQ bloom settings. Can you walk me through those? After we launch the engine upgrade, we have plans for the threat system. The current plan is not to go back to the old system, but we aren't staying with the current system either. I try to update the community at least once a month, and the link to that blog goes out in our newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, and here in case you want to keep tracking our progress.
  22. Hi all, This was our first attempt at putting in a new vehicle, and it looks like there is a bug. We are going to be fixing that asap. Thanks, Matt
  23. Hi there, We had a build staged for SPCT to test right at the end of 2018, but we hit a snag while one of our developers was on vacation. I'm going to give us some time to test and work some kinks out, and then I'll let SPCT post pictures. Thanks, Matt
  24. MattScott

    alien invasion car

    I'm not going to disagree. Our focus is fixing the game, and we are holding back most of this sort of thing till after the UE 3.5 engine upgrade is live. However, in some cases we can't control the timing of opportunities like this or if we will get invited to participate. So I opted to do this one to get the experience. Thanks, Matt
  25. Hi everyone, I’m sure you have noticed consistent outages in APB since Christmas. Unfortunately, we have been getting hammered by a new form of DDoS attack, and it is taking our networking team time to work up and test a new defense. For the time being, I’m going to put the servers on Mitigation, so at least things are up and stable. I honestly hate turning on this form of mitigation because it adds significant latency. Apologies. Bear with us. Thanks, Matt Edit: Apparently my network engineers have determined that the large Citadel crash this morning was an issue with our provider. We’ll keep watching things.