Vanguard’s positive face

So far I’ve tried 5 different classes – Blood mage, Rogue, Monk, Bard and Paladin. Each has played very differently – re-employing the basic game mechanics in subtle different ways. It’s very cool.

Our choice of Kojan as a starting continent was perhaps not the best, because its the least polished and least finished – but credit it with the fact that it’s also been a lot of fun. I think it makes the austere, feudal Japanese/Chinese setting more believable.

I updated my nVidia drivers to the latest version and relaxed the overclocking of my system and the game has become stable, and I can run at extreme quality settings which really does render a beautiful game world.


Last week’s announcement that we are working with a PRC company to release WWIIOL/Battleground Europe in China has met with some odd reactions from within our community. For those of you taking the “omg, I quit” route, I thought it might help to realize that you won’t be playing the Chinese version and the Chinese players won’t be playing your version on your servers.

Oh, you’ll benefit from some of the things we need to develop to release over there, like a tutorial system, but you won’t be on the receiving end of things like the play time limiter (although we may let you use the alarm clock part of it).

Again, to clarify: the Chinese release will include its own, entirely separate, game servers and client. Battleground Europe (China) and Battleground Europe (Global) will not be playing in the same game instance.

The other C++

I’m tinkering with a new spin on our auth/launcher application, wanting to make it a little more user friendly. I’d already done a quick mockup with the old Playgate source code, and decided it would be a neat project to dabble my toes in the Windows pool again.

Vanguard night 4

Once you start to get a handle on the bugs, there’s a glimmer of gold itching to be free. Early on, Granik and I formed a “brotherhood”. It’s not a guild, its not a group; members send their experience to the ‘hood and it is then shared out amongst all members. The result for us has been that we’ve remained in levelling lock step despite going off and doing our own things or playing different hours. We level within a kill or two of each other.

The quest line in Kojan dries up suddenly and harshly. Only Thestra and Qalia were available during beta so they are polished and nice and well rounded. Kojan is more of a Vanguard pro/conniseurs zone, IMHO. But it also has some of the more exquisite architecture and scenery.

View from the Asylum

Vanguard night 3

Granik and I are, somehow, still playing Vanguard. We were fairly close to ditching it with the stupid Ra’Jin roof jumping till we stumbled on some ways to game it and having put a good 3-4 hours into attempting to do it properly we just wanted it over.

The trick with frame rate seems to be to select the “Best Performance” item from the drop down, exit the game completely, log back in, select “Highest Quality”, disable Hardware Occlusion (which doesn’t work right, after a while everything starts to flicker in/out) and HDR (which doesn’t work right), then relog again. Give it upto a minute after you enter the game to finish loading stuff up and normalize its memory usage.

If you have a quad core, bring up task manager and after the launchpad starts the game and the splash-window is up, set affinity to just 2 CPUs and you get much better performance.

Lastly, you may need to turn normal mapping down to 0%. It runs fine with 100% normal mapping for me until it doesn’t, and once it doesn’t… relogging, rebooting, nothing will give me good FPS till I remove normal mapping.

The game itself…

Cool quests need implementing with care

In gaming, “cool” ideas are constrained by your ability and commitment to following through. If you’re going to dream up the coolest ever quest idea and then do a half-assed job of it, you might as well sh*t between two slices of bread and call it a sandwich.

To this end, I present you the “Jin” quest line in Vanguard.

I can’t recommend Vanguard to anyone, but its not quite as bloody-awful as I remember from beta. It’s not Taxi to Victory terrible, just not far off. I’d work on it – and consider it a step up.


Oops, let me turn off HDR and Bloom


Strangled review

So I played Horizons (editor: he means Vanguard) for a while last night.





Catchy music.


TOE resupply is based on a batch system. When a vehicle resupply is scheduled for “7 hours from now” the time is converted into a batch number. If two riflemen or two tigers are scheduled for delivery within a few seconds of each other, they are grouped onto the same “docket”.

A docket specifies “1 rifleman was requested to replace the one bobn spawned” or “5 new riflemen for initial supply” etc, and a batch is the list of dockets scheduled for a particular delivery window.

Each docket is assigned a number, which is based on the resupply time when the request was made. Nominally, resupply time is 7 hours, but this can go up depending on RDP delays. If there is a 10% RDP penalty, your resupply time is 7.7 hours.

The time between dockets – the docket rate – is nominally 15 seconds. So requests for vehicles in 150-164 seconds would be placed on batch number 10.

The twist is that rate at which the batch processor pulls tickets off the queue can be variable. It can pull batches off the queue faster or slower. For example, if we implemented “slower resupply further from your DivHQ” the resupply times would remain the same, but by waiting 20 seconds between batches instead of 15, the equipment would arrive more slowly.

This two pronged approach will mean that the population-based supply adjustments – which will affect the rate at which the batch processor takes tickets off the queue – will not undo RDP bombing affects. The two compliment each other.

The result is a more even distribution and scaling of effect between increases and decreases in player population, the epic raids of peak play won’t be total annhilation to the low-peak population and the low-peak heroic raids won’t be a fart in a thunderstorm to the guys logging in after them.

“This production note bores me”

I hope the coders on Vanguard are more awake than their producers (emphasis mine), from their Update 4 production notes:

We Have Helms!
Visible helmets are making their long awaited debut, and thanks to the hard work of our amazing art team, you’ll have dozens of different models available. From the (actual names of helms will go here along with photos) – there’s a variety of helmets that will compliment almost any armor set. “

So, confession: today I decided to buy Vanguard Saga of Heroes from Direct2Drive – if this box can’t play it, nothing can.

HTML needs a “clickonce” attribute

I know you can do it with Javascript or style sheets and stuff. But it’s really a fundamental. HTML <button> and <submit> objects need a ‘clickonce’ attribute which disables the button as soon as the user clicks on it so that websites can real easily make it so that you can’t submit forms multiple times under heavy load/slow connecvity issues. If nothing else, it would provide a final catch for all the ways in which you’re supposed to be able to do it and butt-covering for those cases where a dev fails to make disabling the button the very first order of business.

Time to dig up my W3C contacts, I think.