Apotheosis City - latest look

Here's a couple of images posted on the official forum showing the latest view of part of Apotheosis City. The area certainly isn't flat, offering many points to jump onto unsuspecting bad guys (or be jumped on!) and plenty of interesting areas high up providing landing pads, etc. This is starting to look like a really interesting place to explore.

There are some more on the forum.

Mission Difficulty Sliders!

Here's an interesting post by Consultant on the official forum...

We are working on the code for missions, and this reflects our plan for the mechanics of how missions should work. I thought that perhaps we should start describing what we have in mind so that all of you can weigh in before we settle on this approach. Each of these factors is more less independent from the others.

First we still plan to let characters set their difficulty level for most missions, so if you are level 20 you should be able to dial the level of the mission up or down and get level 21, or level 19 enemies to fight. And perhaps a few more levels as well.

Next we also intend to allow characters to affect (perhaps with a slider) the composition of enemy mobs. So you want more trash mobs? Fine by us. More lieutenants, bosses and maybe an Arch-Villain? Again fine by us.

Enemies need to scale to the size of the hero team, so a mission that has a solo hero obviously needs to spawn fewer enemies and lower level enemies than the same mission being played by a team of 10 heroes.

These factors do all interact, and we are planning this out right now, in detail. And some mission types begin at higher levels of difficulty than others. So any given mission can deliver a totally different player experience, depending upon how the player makes his selections and forms his team (or does not form a team).

So we'll basically be able to choose our own level of difficulty. They really are going all out to make this as friendly to play as possible. If you have any comments about this, hop over to the forum to add your voice ;)

Upgrade to Unreal Engine version 4.21

Heroic Games have announced an upgrade to version 4.21 of the Unreal Engine they're using to develop and run their new MMO, Ship of Heroes. You can read all about the benefits offered by this new engine on their website.

Also last year, was the release of an enormous amounts of assets by Epic Games which developers can use as a base for their own creations. Some of the hairstyles have been shown by Heroic Games - it's worth noting though, that these can't just be copied to Ship of Heroes, a lot of work is required to modify them to fit the new character models used in SoH.

Here's part of the newsletter, copied verbatim:
Our skilled coders and artists have done engine upgrades many times before, and we usually take a moment and tell all of you what the advantages on the new version are going to be.  And once again, we’re going to provide the top-level summary, but moving from 4.18 to 4.21 means that we have integrated over 400 improvements into the game code, many of which are visible to our dev team but are not visible to our players.  Some of the most important upgrades that you’ve be able to see or hear us discussing and reacting to are the following:

  •     Dynamic Resolution supports linking resolution to FPS for console games made in UE. We are not building a console game, and we already have a custom version of this feature coded and working in SoH, but having DR as an engine feature helps us optimize.
  •     Advances to the Niagara FX system in terms of realism. It’s possible that we may use both Niagara and PopcornFX in our FX, depending upon the situation, so this gives us options, including with powerset creation.
  •     We can pull the art and FX assets that Epic gave to the community from their game, Paragon, and re-use or re-create them in our MMORPG. While the costumes from Paragon are not directly useable in Ship of Heroes, they do give us advanced 3D concept art to work with, and also some really cool hair models (that we still need to extract and optimize for our purposes).
  •     The Replication Graph feature allows a significant reduction in server work for the kind of instanced missions that will be our bread and butter. We still need to code this capability specifically to our game, as it does not deliver results “out of the box.”  This is a tool specifically designed for high-volume multiplayer games.  Thank you, Epic!
  •     The introduction of the Proxy LOD system in version 4.19 is an extension of their Hierarchical LOD system, the system we use to help reduce draw calls and improve LOD performance over long range. This will be an especially welcome improvement during some of our Beta events later this year.
  •     In Epic’s 4.21 version of their Unreal Engine, they added a feature to detect and mitigate DDOS attacks. While we will need some time to figure out how to integrate it with SoH, we believe that this may ultimately improve both the security and performance of the game during a potential DDOS attack. Of course, we hope we don’t ever need such a thing, but historically DDOS attacks have taken down MMOs before and we would prefer to avoid the experience.
  •     Finally, Epic has given us a year’s worth of bug fixes, LOD enhancements, animation improvements, Sequencer upgrades, and debugging tools that our dev team is looking forward to adding to SoH.

Over 10000 accounts registered on the SoH forum!

Another milestone reached, over ten thousand registered accounts on the Ship of Heroes forum in two years. As Consultant said on his thread, that's pretty good for a team of mostly volunteer developers making a new MMO...