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    by Published on 09-25-2018 17:00
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    Letter from the CEO



    Entropians,

    When I was announced as the new CEO of MindArk I stated that one of my priorities would be improved communication between MindArk and the community. As you may have noticed, there has not yet been so much communication from my side. The main reason is that I did not want to announce new ideas and plans without first engaging with the employees at MindArk. It is important that everyone within the company steer in the same direction and look towards the future with enthusiasm. In the eight months since being appointed as CEO, I have met intensively with the various MindArk departments to solicit suggestions on the best way forward, as well on refining the near and long-term vision for Entropia Universe. We now have a solid plan in place to implement that vision.

    I realized the incredible potential of Entropia Universe immediately upon creating my avatar and logging in for the first time. It has now become my job to ensure that MindArk achieves that potential. There are many things that we can improve in Entropia Universe, including the relationship and communication with the community. There are many different communication channels where we plan to be more active, including community forums, Discord, and possibly Reddit.

    2017 in Retrospect

    Before looking ahead to the future, letís review some of the things accomplished during 2017. In terms of content we are always working to expand storylines, missions and events and 2017 was no exception. Last yearís Merry Mayhem event featured the first implementation of a new event system that is more integrated into the client and accommodates new event formats.

    With Loot 2.0 we revamped the hunting loot formula in order to achieve a more flexible, balanced, and rewarding system. Those changes have led to significantly improved loot returns for the vast majority of players and an overall better loot balance. Further improvements to the loot system have been ongoing since the initial implementation of Loot 2.0.

    During the second half of the year some of our participants experienced serious lag issues. While the issue itself was not an isolated one with a single cause, a complete review of the engine was made. In addition to fixing the issue, several improvements were made to other systems which made the core server infrastructure more robust as a result. This work has been continuing throughout 2018, with the aim of performing a similar overview and optimization of the client to ensure that Entropia becomes more stable and smooth-running.

    2018 and Beyond

    For the remainder of 2018 and into the early part of 2019, MindArk will be primarily focused on improving existing Entropia Universe systems and content.

    This does not mean that no new content will be added or that no new events will be implemented, however it does mean that there will be a few selected areas that will receive the bulk of our attention. One of these focus areas will be system interaction, modernizing some of the legacy systems we have today, and upgrading others to conform to industry standards. These efforts will improve avatar interaction with the universe and feel much more engaging.

    Some of you may have noticed that we are inviting a group of participants to MindArk headquarters to help test and provide feedback for some of the upcoming improvements to the client camera system. These changes are something we believe will benefit newcomers and veterans alike.

    A similar overhaul will be performed for the various user interfaces, where the aim is to create a more visually appealing, unified and responsive experience. This will be an iterative process to ensure that we are moving in the right direction.

    Moving forward, I will share periodic Development Manifestos like this one on the Entropia Universe Buzz page to keep the community informed of MindArkís design philosophies, decision-making process, future plans, and more.

    Finally, I am planning to do an AMA (Ask Me Anything) sometime in the near future, either on the Entropia Universe subreddit or on PlanetCalypsoForum.com. More detailed info to come soon!

    Kind regards,
    Henrik Nel
    CEO, MindArk PE AB



    Originally Posted Here
    by Published on 01-12-2018 15:56
    1. Categories:
    2. Dev Notes

    Developer Notes #15



    In the latest release of Entropia Universe (15.15.7) a persistent issue related to lag and connectivity that had affected an increasing number of Entropia players was resolved.

    The Entropia community reported their experience of lag in support cases and on community forums. These reports helped our developers to pinpoint the causes of the problem within the many layers of IT-technology that constitutes the core of the Entropia Universe platform.

    What makes Entropia stand out among other MMOs are, among many other things, the highly secure Real Cash Economy and its borderless server architecture that provides a seamless and immersive virtual universe. Events such as economic transactions should be visible to all affected participants instantaneously, no matter where they are located within Entropia Universe.

    For players within visible range of each other even more information needs to be shared. This includes the smallest things such as avatar movement, clothing or armor equipped by avatars or the firing of weapons. Some events such as creature attacks will also include calculations of varying complexity within various systems.

    All game events that occur between Entropia Universe clients around the world and the Entropia Universe data centers are securely transmitted over the internet. To achieve a smooth and reliable Entropia Universe experience, all components in the client-internet connection-server chain must themselves perform smoothly and reliably.

    When an unexpected and intermittent behavior such as lag begins to occur, developers need to examine when and where it started and then work to isolate the possible causes of the problem. In a complex environment such as Entropia Universe there are many layers of software that can be involved. Further, a number of services provided by 3rd parties such as Internet Service Providers can also be part of the experienced problem.

    As both our datacenter engineers and developers worked through the layers of the infrastructure and software that could be contributing to the lag problem of the past few months, a number of issues were addressed in patches during the final months of 2017. We also measured the effect of those patches and received valuable feedback from community polls and support channels.

    After weeks of hard work the developers found that changes to certain underlying parts of the server software dramatically decreased the incidence and severity of lag experiences. Extensive testing of the new software was performed over Christmas and New Years, and on January 5, 2018 a patch was ready for release.

    The developers wants to express their gratitude to all players who reported valuable information about their experience of the lag situation. While all at MindArk are dedicated to continually improving the Entropia Universe experience in the years to come the feedback from the people behind the avatars that essentially are the Entropia community are simply priceless.

    If you still encounter lag-related issues please review the System Requirements and make sure that your computer and internet equipment have the latest updates. A router restart can also sometimes help with problems on your local network.

    The Entropia Universe support team are always available at https://account.entropiauniverse.com...t-faq/contact/ if you need any further assistance or want to report an issue.


    Originally Posted Here
    by Published on 06-08-2017 20:24     Number of Views: 6737 
    1. Categories:
    2. Dev Notes,
    3. General

    Developer Notes #11 - Loot 2.0

    Later this month, MindArk will be releasing a special Loot 2.0 Version Update that will overhaul the way in which hunting loot is calculated and distributed. Many of the features and systems added over the past few years have gradually led to this update, which will significantly improve overall loot returns for the vast majority (upwards of 98%) of participants.

    The information in this Developer Notes article is intended to inform participants of the upcoming changes and to gather initial impressions and feedback to help ensure a smooth implementation of this exciting update. Please bear in mind that the changes described below are still being finalized and tested, so some specific details may be changed upon release, while other changes may require additional refinement or testing and therefore may not appear in the initial Loot 2.0 release, but instead in subsequent patches or Version Updates.

    Loot Changes
    • Loot calculations will be optimized and improved to better factor in the various costs associated with hunting activity, including: healing, ammo consumption, buffs, tool and armor deterioration, attachments, and more.
    • A special hunting bonus pool will be implemented that will distribute funds from various sources, including skill misses, PVP, marketing and special events, which will improve overall loot returns for all participants.
    • A new Economy rating parameter will be introduced, on a scale of 1-100, that indicates the efficiency of a tool and which influences loot calculations. This change from the once dominant damage/pec model will provide the design team with more freedom to release exciting and interesting items with a wider range of damage output and special effects. For example, our team will have the ability to create powerful new items that provide access to challenging and exciting content without dramatically increasing cost to play. Existing items will be assigned Economy values that reflect their relative efficiency to one another and to the entire array of items in the universe.
    • Avatar skills will play a role in loot calculations and this role will be expanded in future Version Updates. Imagine new professions that offer hunting specialization opportunities and a way to incrementally increase net loot returns for dedicated and active hunters.
    • MindArk has been monitoring the community discussions concerning so-called 'loot waves' and will implement changes in the Loot 2.0 and subsequent Version Updates that will address this issue by improving the distribution of resources and items, with the goal of ensuring that loot opportunities are more interesting, dynamic and fair for all participants
    • Ammunition will be removed from hunting loot. This change has been requested by many participants over the years and will assist participants in more accurately tracking their results.
    • Loot value calculations and the composition of the items in loot will be affected by properly matching avatar skills and gear to the creature being hunted, rewarding efficient kills with more interesting loot. For optimal loot, it will be important to avoid inefficiencies such as low damage output compared to creature health, excessive time and cost to kill, overkill damage, unmaxed weapons and other factors. This system is intended to reward game knowledge, which has traditionally been an important and unique aspect of success in Entropia Universe, and to provide opportunities for participants to improve their loot returns via experimentation, optimization and specialization.


    Also in the Loot 2.0 Version Update will be a range of improvements to various other systems with a eye toward lowering costs and increasing enjoyment for all Entropians. An example of such are the following planned changes to armor:

    Armor Changes
    • Armor now decays significantly less per point of damage absorbed.
    • Armor no longer has a minimum decay based on total protection, it will now always decay proportionally to the amount of damage absorbed.
    • Armor can now absorb all incoming damage down to a minimum of 0.1 point of damage taken, instead of the previous 1.0 points of damage.
    • Armor and armor platings now decay independently based on the amount of damage they each actually absorb, rather than both decaying as if absorbing the full amount of received damage.
    • Armor decay is now linear per point of damage absorbed, rather than increasing in cost per damage absorbed.
    • A profession level requirement will be introduced for non-(L) armors. Meeting the required level results in the armor offering full protection at all condition values. If the profession requirement is not met, armor works as before, with protection decreasing relative to condition.


    Our design and development teams have been working very hard on these important changes for many months now, and MindArk looks forward to incorporating valuable feedback from our wonderful and passionate community leading up to the release of Loot 2.0!

    Discussion Thread

    Originally Posted Here
    by Published on 05-23-2017 14:45     Number of Views: 6394 
    1. Categories:
    2. Support,
    3. Dev Notes

    In light of the recent malware and ransomware attacks, including WannaCry, MindArk has performed a comprehensive review of its security policies and procedures.

    In order to ensure an appropriate level of account security for our customers, MindArk has decided to discontinue support for Windows XP and older operating systems starting in Q4 of 2017.

    We urge any Entropia Universe participants still using Windows XP or older versions of Windows to upgrade their operating systems within the next several months. MindArk will provide information and support once the upgrade deadline approaches later this year.

    Account security is MindArkís highest priority; we appreciate your understanding and cooperation in helping to keep Entropia Universe safe and secure for all participants.

    We also encourage all participants to secure their Entropia Universe accounts with the Entropia Pocket two-factor security system.

    Klas Moreau
    CEO MindArk

    Originally Posted Here

    Forum Thread
    by Published on 01-16-2015 13:31
    1. Categories:
    2. Dev Notes,
    3. General



    Some time ago Elias posted his introductions on Calypso forum. I suspect it was then that I decided to contact him for an interview, although I'm not entirely certain of this.

    I contacted Elias because I thought music is often an overlooked aspect of game development and not discussed as often as other aspects e.g. game graphics. I am very interested in knowing your thoughts on this and if I made a good choice.

    Elias has been a pleasure to work with. I sent him a rather random and disordered list of questions. No complaints-he just sent a professional reply back. When I contacted Elias again later to ask for some pictures, and he did one better. Not only did he send in some pics, but also some more detailed responses. Going beyond the call of duty is always appreciated.


    Tell us a little about yourself, where you were born etc.
    I was born and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden where I still live and work. I became interested in music at the age of nine years old when I started to practice the piano. Apart from music, programming has always been an interest as well, and thus Iím quite happy to be able to do both at MindArk now, especially since I have higher education in both software engineering and music.

    How long have you been working in the music business?
    I have been doing studio work from time to time for about fifteen years now. Usually I get hired by bands that need some keyboard work, arrangements etc. Prior to working as a musician at Mindark, I composed music for a couple of other games for PC/Xbox360 and iOS. I also play keyboards in a symphonic metal band called Dragonland. So far weíve released five albums and toured countries like England and Japan.

    When did you realise music was your calling?
    When I was about nineteen years old I discovered the music of Rachmaninov and started practicing his C# prelude feverishly. Before that I had been playing with different bands, both keyboard and drums, but it was from this point that I really started to practice methodically and started to learn more advanced music theory.

    Is there anything special that inspires you to write your music?
    Rain and gloomy weather in general, which makes Gothenburg an ideal place to work.

    What do you think about writing music for games?
    I love it - running around the beautiful environments of for example the Calypso Thule area and just letting the inspiration flow is a great experience.

    Have you worked in any other role apart from a musician?
    Indeed, at Mindark I am employed as both software engineer and musician.

    Tell us a little about Sweden
    Sweden is a quite large country geographically in relation to its small population. For being so few, we have a great music export and an excellent games industry.

    Whats your favourite film? what do you like about it?
    If I have to name an all-time favorite I think that would have to be Gladiator, and especially the powerful and emotional score that Hans Zimmer created for it.

    Name some of your fav pop music? what do you like about it?
    Some popular groups that I like are Muse, Solar Fields, Mitch Murder, Crystal Castles, Daft Punk, Soilwork, Electric Youth and Finntroll. I also listen a lot to classical music; composers like Beethoven, Domenico Scarlatti, Brahms and Rachmaninov. Film/Game music as well of course Ė everything by Hans Zimmer, Brian Tyler, Steve Jablonsky and Jesper Kyd. In general, Iím attracted to interesting/emotional chord progressions and strong melodies, usually regardless of genre.

    Which band do you particularly like and why?
    My favorite band will always be Bal-Sagoth, a symphonic black-metal band from England. What I love about them is the extremely keyboard driven and forceful music with melodies and harmonies like no other (certain melodies from the Planet Suite by Gustav Holst would be the closest as well as some parts of the scores that Basil Poledouris wrote for the Conan movies).

    Whats your fav book? what do you like about it?
    This is a hard one, but if Iíd have to choose Iíd probably choose one of the novel collections that I have by H. P. Lovecraft. The sense of creeping horror that he manages to give his readers is astounding.


    What attracted you to work for MindArk?
    MindArk has been one of the foremost game companies in Gothenburg for quite some time now and when the opportunity came I applied for a job immediately since I always wanted to work in the game development business.

    What do you like about your role at MindArk?
    That I have the privilege to work with both code and music since I always thought that would be an ideal situation for me.


    What equipment do you use to create your masterpieces at MindArk?
    I use Cubase with plugins such as East West libraries, Symphobia, Zebra2 and Omnisphere. Wavelab for mastering. As master keyboard I use my good old Korg N5EX.

    What advice would you give our budding musicians reading this article?
    Study some fundamental music theory, itíll always come in handy when inspiration is lacking.

    Which music software would you recommend for beginner music hobbyists?
    I started out with sequencing using Cakewalk which at that time was a user-friendly and simple sequencer. Nowadays I donít know, but if there are some stripped down and cheaper versions of Cubase they might be worth checking out.

    Is the music all your work?
    So far, Iíve done music for various dungeons, the title screen, Calypso start room and Thule. When it comes to Calypso Iíve done all the music for the quite recently revamped Cape Corinth server. For the remaining servers, most music was done by a previously employed musician named Lars Falk.

    Is it under your sole control? or do you work as part of a team?
    Yes, the only musician working here is me.

    Do you commission external musicians to create new tracks?
    No, not at MindArk and Calypso, the other planet partners might have done that though.

    Any news on some upcoming music tracks?
    Currently, work is being done on various Calypso background ambient tracks, as well as more action oriented tracks (for hunting, using vehicles etc). I designed a system for handling the dynamic alteration of music for different in-game situations a while back. So far, the system has been utilized for Cape Corinth (as well as some dungeons). A long term project is to make use of this system across the entirety of Calypso.

    How important is music to a game?
    For me, game music is of uttermost importance in order to enhance player immersion. If done properly it can really make you feel part of the game.

    How important is music from a global community perspective? taking into account the internet and it's impact on global communities...
    We use Soundcloud to make people more aware of the music. Hopefully some people hear it before knowing what Entropia Universe is, enjoy it, and give the game a shot. Furthermore, given the sheer scale of the game, new musical content might easily be missed, so to be sure to hear new tunes itís a good idea to check out the Soundcloud page. It can be accessed at: soundcloud.com/entropiauniverse

    The name Elias features in all three main religions and refers to a name adopted by a prophet. Does this give you any special powers from time to time? prophetic visions about EU or in general life perhaps?
    Of course! I hereby predict that Entropia Universe will be greatly improved and enhanced over the course of the next few years, both content-wise and from a player experience point of view. We have a great team now of experienced people and weíre working hard to make Entropia Universe an even greater game. Also, expect some nice new music flowing through your headphones in the near future.



    Sadly it is here we must end this interview, and thank Elias for taking the time to entertain our curiosities. Although I am tempted to ask Elias exactly what these "greatly improved and enhanced" aspects will be, I leave that to you, our enquiringly savvy readers.

    Discussion Thread
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