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Battlestar Galactica Online - Development Blog 24 - "4th Anniversary"

13 February 2015

Hey pilots,

Back on February 8th, 2011, Battlestar Galactica Online went into beta. Now, four years later, the list of upcoming features hasn’t shrunk – so let’s take a short moment to celebrate, before we go on with the next releases (Reminder: don’t miss out on your goodie!).

In advance, we’ll share new insights about current development.

Today’s blog will be about:

  • Liner Accuracy Bugfix
  • Technical Stability Issues
  • Server Merge Status
  • 3D Sector Map
  • Loot System 2.0
  • Top Gun Battle

We’d also like to make you aware of the community requests Hardy and his team recently shared in your language forum boards. The first one is for the arena scoring system and the second one is your chance to make the game better in your language – handling localization issues.

Liner Accuracy BugfixEdit

First of all – what’s the “liner accuracy bug”? Each time one ship attacks another ship; weapon accuracy will be calculated against targets’ avoidance to define the hit chance. In the constellation of line ship vs strike the result is often lower than 5%, which is set as minimum chance. If the calculation results are lower, 5% will be used as hit chance – so 1 out of 20 shots should hit on average.
Sometimes liner pilots were able to reach an average quote of 20 to 40%, often noticed in burst hits. The first reports in this direction were posted around 1.5 years ago – so it’s been quite a long time. It has been observed several times and partially refused as “bad luck”, which is sometimes possible in a chance based system. We also dug deeper and exchanged the RNG (random number generator) with one of the previous releases. Since the new one provides more uniform distributed random values, we hoped to possibly fix the burst hit issue in the same run.
Still, the results didn’t improve the overall hit chance issue. Recently we checked other systems that are connected to the avoidance system and came to the conclusion that the issue isn’t in the avoidance calculation itself. A couple of other systems had been checked in the past also, e.g. ammunition types and several other theories as to the possible source. Now we know that it the speed system has been at the root.
As many of you may have acknowledged, speed and boost speed are two different systems. Speed is regulated via the throttle bar next to DRADIS, while boost speed only relies on the boost key on your keyboard.
The system wasn’t capable – mostly because of performance reasons – of identifying your current speed dynamically, so it resulted either in full avoidance for boosting or zero avoidance, releasing the key on the keyboard – even when the speed was just slowly decreasing (assuming the throttle bar was set to 0).
Speed in general is a factor for current avoidance, because non-moving objects are easier to hit. So by only using the boost key, avoidance dropped drastically - for example, in fast turning maneuvers where players shortly interrupted boosting. In those situations, hit chance was easily above 60% and so burst hits were also easy to achieve.
With the coming bug fix, also boost speed will influence the calculation dynamically, because we found a solution that’s gentle on the performance. So instead of dropping instantly from 5% to 60%+ (from target point of view), the hit chance will slowly increase in periods of not boosting accordingly to current speed drop.
It has always been important to us to get this issue sorted out and we are happy to have finally found a solution. Average hit chances of 4.6 - 5.5% have been confirmed within recent tests between players and moderators, so pretty close to the “ideal” value.
We’re also aware that this fix will bring up some general balancing discussions, but those have to be solved in a separate run. First the systems have to work as they are supposed to.

Technical Stability IssuesEdit

Earlier this week, we’ve announced that we could fix the EU connection issues. The problem has been caused by malfunctioning network switches in our German data centers. Those have been exchanged and based on tracking and support workload we’re seeing great improvements.
Unfortunately the US connection issues couldn’t be solved this way. The switches in our US data center work as intended. Also the software against DDOS attacks is not responsible for current issues.But don't worry, IT is still investigating and will find a solution for the US servers, too.

Server Merge StatusEdit

So far we are waiting for the hardware delivery. Internal preparations are on a good run, but also have shown that we have to make slight adaptations to the original plan.
Due to BP infrastructural reasons, it won’t be possible to have the character selection inside the game. Therefore, we’ll pull it to the website, but without the Unity scene we showed before. Players will have to select the character on the website, similar to current server selection. Furthermore, we’ve started to work on a new website to reach a new quality level.
From there, you can decide whether you jump directly into the action or into a modifier screen, specifically for the chosen character. This will include the opportunities for changing in-game name, faction, character appearance, and character deletion.

3D Sector MapEdit

In the meantime, the team is working on upcoming releases. Navigation with a 2D map in a 3D game can be tricky sometimes. That’s why we decided to listen to your wishes and are currently working on a 3D sector map. Aside from a fresh and modern look, it will help you to navigate better and observe a sector on a larger scale. The current test version will give you nearly unlimited view on a sector, which will require new tactics as it allows coordinating fleets and fights in a more comfortable way across the whole sector.
Soon we’ll start a public test run on Troy where you can check out the new map and submit feedback.

Loot System 2.0Edit

Working from your feedback for the 3D sector map, another public test run will start on Troy. Currently, new loot system is in development which will completely scrap the current concept of loot.
The actual loot system was never able to fulfill the requirements a faction based game has. In order to encourage group play or playing together as faction, each player will be rewarded with individual loot, not sharing the result with other contributors.
A new contribution system that has been running in the background for a while is capable of tracking many different actions in a fight - such as dealing damage, taking damage, buffing, de-buffing and more, so we can encourage many different roles to participate in fights.
While everyone is contributing, no one needs to worry that only one pilot will received credits for his assignments or loot. Everyone is fighting for his own loot, while fighting together against one enemy. As mentioned before, each action will be tracked as contribution, counted in a contribution point system. Reaching a certain threshold value (which is defined per enemy), loot and credit will be enabled. Ceasing participation will trigger contribution decay. So it’s not wise to do only a minimum amount of work as only a certain amount of players will get loot from an enemy - this is basically to avoid exploiting the system.
Another addition will be special actions. To mention only a few, “killer”, “assist” or “savior” will honor special behavior that will be tracked in new achievements.
Also the overall loot in the game will be streamlined – each type of fight will give distinct rewards. So instead of getting each currency from each feature, the new system will require a mix of certain activities. Nearly all locations/features in the game will receive adjustments to their rewarding behavior and we’ll also follow the request of putting water back into central systems.
We’ll observe impact in all those systems and may do some further tweaks, e.g. to the galaxy map alignment in the long run to fulfill all the needs.
As mentioned at the start of this paragraph, a 2nd public Troy test will be done to gather feedback to for the loot system as well.
All in all, this also means that R50 will need a lot of input from you and some time to be released in the right quality.

Top Gun BattleEdit

Last but not least, we decided to shorten the duration of all ”Top Gun” tournaments to 1h after the next release. On one hand, this will allow shorter, more intense fights for the ”Top Gun” title. On the other hand, it will allow us to have the competition more often.
But that’s not all; the new contribution system delivers a basis for further adjustments and improvements which won’t be in R50, but follow in one of the next releases.
The contribution system is able to detect formations continually fighting together and will mark those and either apply direct penalties or at the result board once a tournament is finished.
This system is also able to define the right player for being the killer in arena or tournaments as it often has been an issue that players still get kill credit for others even, if they died earlier and someone else finished their killer.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog update and I look forward chatting again with you soon. Updates for new servers and tech stability issues will follow as soon as possible.

Thanks for your patience and continued support for BSGO,

Tobias_BP

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