Welcome to September's update. I want to go over staff changes and address a few recent topics, some of which we touched on in my last "We need to talk..." post. I've been keeping up with the comments on the thread and read all of them. I want to thank everyone who took their time to write down constructive criticism and everyone who shared words of support. I want to share my thoughts on some of the discussions that raised from the topic, and add a few of my own.
Last week, we added three new developers to the team. I'd like to welcome GiamPy, java and matical. Neither of them waited a minute to jump right into the trenches and start contributing. Good luck and I'm looking forward to see what you guys bring to the server. Together with the rest of our development team, they put together their first update 1.3.7:
- Added domelight toggling with /domelight or N (changeable in /keybinds)
- Added /sayto or /chat to speak directly to a player in local chat
- Added /local and /locallow to talk in the "real world" (off the phone)
- Added the ability to use /low to speak quietly on the phone
- Added /hood to open a vehicle's hood
- Added hearing players in the background of a phone on loadspeaker
- Added /amy as a possessive form of /ame
- Added the ability to use all Latin characters in commands and chat
- Added /knock as a way to notify people inside a property
- Added /doorbell or /bell as an alternative to /knock
- Added /forceautolow for people with the "manage company properties" permission to force using low inside a company property
- Added /autolow for players to automatically use /low anywhere
- Added the ability to hide [TABBED] indicators in /settings
- Added a keybind (default: E) to enter and exit properties (changeable in /keybinds)
- Added prison intercom for prison guards
- Added the ability for admins to ban players from equipping firearms for a desired amount of time
- Added a check so players with a combined level of less than 2 (via playing hours) cannot equip firearms
- Added damage zones so shots in the leg are less dangerous than shots in the chest
- Added /selectfurniture (/sf) to select furniture via mouse (also available in /furniture)
- Added visible tags to furniture to better understand which furniture item is which
- Added a fade-out text that displays the price of a furniture item when purchasing furniture
- Added new civilian clothing mods (clothing will be added to all clothing stores by the end of the week)
- Added new Fire Department clothing mods
- Added new Government clothing mods
- Added new Government vehicle mods
- Added new LSPD & LSSD vehicle mods
- Added new civilian vehicle mods
- Added /createscene for all players. Premium members can create 3 with no delay between, faction members with the correct permission can create 1 with no delay between, and standard players can create 1 with 12 hours between usages.
- Added taxi drivers to /onduty
- Fixed using /atm in a vehicle
- Fixed using /furniture in a vehicle
- Fixed using food - it will now also heal you by 15 hp up to your maximum health limit
- Fixed phone GPS maps showing the wrong location if inside an interior
- Fixed company cut for contract jobs being included in pay tapering
- Fixed textures inside the LSPD Metro Division station
- Fixed /door not respecting the angle it was set to in /furniture
- Fixed a bug where you could use /cad even if you did not have appropriate permissions
- Fixed wheel colours not synchronising on stream in
- Fixed XM master volume slider in /settings
- Changed health tracking system to be more responsive and reactive to gun shots and health changes
- Removed the unlimited furniture limit, furniture limits are now dictated by Premium status and how much extra furniture was purchased through the Premium tab (existing properties over this furniture limit will not have furniture removed)
I'm glad to say that by week 1, we managed to finish about half of our two week plan mentioned in my previous blog post, although we rearranged the priorities a little bit. The rest that wasn't implemented yet should come in next week's update.
We've also spent some time eliminating any bottlenecks in the development process. A lot of the activities which relied solely on me are now a shared responsibility among the Development Team. ImperiumXVII is also taking on a more leading role within the team as the Head of Game Development. This all essentially means that a lot of the steps in the development lifecycle that were dependent on me exclusively are now delegated to the rest of the team, letting them do their thing even if I'm busy with other tasks.
This all should allow us to do more work, more frequently. Our goal is to have an active release schedule, but it may take a few weeks to get there as we strengthen our processes.
Circling back to pre-launch, we talked a lot about wanting to include community in development decisions as much as possible (suggestion voting, etc). We'll be trying out a more solidified community driven approach to development starting next week (after the 10th). More info on that later.
In order to facilitate that, we created a new position within the Development Team - a Project Manager. The role of a PM will be to:
- Organize community feedback and understand the needs and wants of the community
- Be the bridge between the community and development team
- Prioritize development work based on community feedback and server vision
- Liaise with Team Leaders to understand their needs and priorities
In essence, it's a nontechnical position within the Development team to make sure our priorities are in order and in line with the community's needs, while developers' focus can be primarily on developing. This position will be filled by Dos Santos, as he's demonstrated his capabilities within the Company Team, where he accomplished substantial improvements with a continuous feedback loop with company owners. Thank you to everyone from the staff team that applied for the position.
We're still looking to onboard one or two more developers in the coming weeks, so if you didn't apply yet and are interested - now's the time.
We've had connection issues a few times since the launch of the server. Rarely, if ever, are they completely in our control. Lately we've been a frequent target of DDOS attacks which impacted our uptime and stability. This is a never ending cat and mouse game which will never be completely resolved, although I can assure you that during downtime, it's all hands on deck on finding a solution for the particular problem we're facing. I'm grateful for other server owners, and even rage dev themselves who have been instrumental in helping us reinforce our protection layers. In this case, I want to ask you for understanding when attacks do happen. We'll keep you updated on Discord in #updates if there's anything going on that would impact connections.
When I say I read every single bit of feedback under blog posts and in general discussion I'm serious. I often choose not to engage too early or at all in order to not derail the conversation or turn it into a WPM typing contest. We've aggregated a lot of your feedback and tried to identify the underlying issues of problems players face, and proposed a solution to each of them. Some of the priorities in the near future will be (in no particular order):
Adding more ways to make money, both as a legal and illegal character, and both P2P and NPC; Improve furniture UX; Make mapping easier & more appealing; Invest more time and money into marketing; Find a way to organize more events; Crack down on DM & poor reasons to kill in-game; Add more non-visual perks to drugs; Allow being in even more player-owned companies at once;
This is an oversimplified, curated sample of some of the proposed solutions to some of the main concerns raised by both the staff, and the community. We'll address each point more in depth as it gets addressed and we have something to show for it. Together with the development changes, I'm very confident we're on the right track.
Make sure to follow our Discord, namely #git and #snippets to stay close to the source with information re. new updates. Check #updates for announcements re. server status.
Congratulations to our promoted and returning staff members...
accursed — Amine
Kotwica — Bizarre
Returning Junior Admin
To put an end to the post, thank you once again for all your feedback and support on our last blog post. It means a lot to the team to see the community so passionate. You're why we do it, and who we do it for.