Posted in News
by Ron on Aug 14, 2021 16:08 PM
Banner for Closed Alpha Phase Two

Welcome back! Discover our goals for Phase Two and how this test will be the "same, but different".

Phase Two Goals

We ask that testers remain focused to the goals outlined here. Aspects other than these goals are considered "untouched" and will be addressed in future phases. Some of our changes may cause side-effects in other areas of the game that we will need to address separately. Focusing on the phase goals will help us stay on track and progress through each phase more quickly.

We also ask that testers remain focused on Bellato to help keep the community centralized. Feel free to test other races as you wish, but take note that we have not focused on them yet and their play experience is not defined beyond the drop changes.

The goals of Phase Two are as follows:

  • Verify our updated launcher is ready for mass public use.
  • Verify leveling curve and difficulty.
  • Continue to extend the updated drop rate model implemented in Phase One.
  • Document any new issues that arise which didn't exist in Phase One.
  • Reimplement RF-Dev Core and examine impact.

Test Schedule

Phase Two will start on August 20th at 8:00 PM GMT. Phase Two will continue for at least two to three weeks.

Game Keys

If you made it into Phase One, you will be able to play immediately on our start date. Your accounts still exist and your password is unchanged. Our website will become fully functional again sometime next week prior to the start date.

New game keys will be handed out starting Monday, August 23rd. The first few keys will be dropped at an unannounced time. We will pre-announce two other drops for a total of three drops.

So... What's Different?

While the goals are "the same", there is one big difference we haven't talked about yet... Phase Two will be running the 4.15 Age of Patron files.

Over the last couple weeks we have ported everything we implemented on 2232 over into AoP. Our GameCP and Launcher have been updated for this new version and all of our changes previously made are already available in the game.

We made the decision to switch to AoP mostly in regards to player onboarding. The quest guidance system is great for players unware of typical monster locations and helps significantly with guiding new players through the quest chain. In addition, this also helps us implement custom quest content without players feeling lost or being required to reference external resources to understand how to progress.

AoP comes out of the box with some other nice features, such as tab target and increased currency cap. However it also comes with some features that are not as ideal, such as better potions in HQ and intentionally weaker monsters in certain areas in an attempt to make it easier to "solo". Some of these changes are not inline with our classic model and they will be adjusted over time.

It is also worth noting that AoP may introduce its own set of bugs. While we may not be able to address everything during Phase Two, we will be paying close attention to any differences or changes in bug behavior players are reporting to us.

At the end of this phase, we will make a decision on continuing with AoP or reverting to 2232. Our software will continue to support both versions regardless of the decision we make for PlayRF.

RF-Dev Core

Core is our in-house protection software. This is comparable to other "zone guards" you see today.

On day one we will be running AoP without Core attached the same as we did during Phase One. This will allow us to test native AoP and examine any issues with the base files and game data. Once we feel we have learned enough about AoP, we will implement Core and then re-examine its affect on the game.

Core works by overriding game functions with our own logic. This allows us to rewrite functions to patch bugs, address exploits, and adjust for other issues within the base game logic. This is a very low level method to patching applications that you do not have the source code for.

This type of software is complex, and this method of patching applications is very prone to causing unforeseen issues. Running the "clean" AoP files will allow us and players to understand the state of the base game. Once we implement Core, any differences it causes will be very apparent. This will help us troubleshoot and update Core at a much faster pace rather than starting with it on day one and not being sure if an issue is related to the files or if it is related to our own code.

An announcement will be made once Core is implemented so players are aware to watch for any potential differences.

RF-Dev Launcher

We have made a few notable improvements to our launcher.

Update System

Our launcher will now support streamlined file updates. The update process is triggered after logging in. You will see an upgrade progress bar and label similar to most other games with update systems.

This update system is fully integrated with our GameCP and is designed in a very simplistic manner. To deploy updates for players, all we need to do is drop the updated client files into a folder which reproduces the client structure. Our Launcher and GameCP then work together on the rest to perform CRC checks of the files, determine which files need to be updated, then the launcher downloads only those files.

The end result is a seamless update process that does not require generation of any patch meta data or additional files to instruct the updater how to work. You simply drop in the latest files you want to deploy and our software takes care of the rest automagically. This also allows us to update only the files that changed, preventing causing excessively large patch downloads as more updates are deployed.

This was very important to us so we could step away from the archaic method of providing new patches or full client downloads. Testers will need to download one more new client because of the switch to AoP, but after that, your clients will stay updated seamlessly and in a highly efficient manner.

"Remember Me"

You asked and we answered... Our launcher now features a "Remember Me" system!

When logging in, check the "Remember Me" box to have your session saved on your local system. The next time you start your launcher, you will be taken straight to the Launcher Dashboard without having to enter any of your account information. The launcher will then perform update checks and you will be allowed to start the game right after.

Your session is not permanent and does expire after a few days if you do not login. Logging in with an existing valid session refreshes and extends your session.

We are open to feedback about how this system works as a whole as far as end user expectation of how long the session should be remembered, if we need to add a warning dialog to the Remember Me function for public computer usage such as at internet cafes, or any other feedback players may have.

Keybind Adjustment

Another feature that was largely requested was adjustment of key binds. We did plan this feature initially but left it out of Phase One for time savings.

Our launcher now supports fully adjustable key binds. To adjust your binds, select the new Key Binds option in Settings, click the bind you want to adjust, then press your desired key combination. Your binds will save after closing the window.

Take note that this feature is considered experimental. Save a copy of your existing keybind file before adjusting your binds.

Bug Fixes

Alongside the feature updates, various bugs have been addressed. These include elimination of the "ding" sounds when tabbing on the login form fields, an intermittent issue with parsing of the R3Engine settings for our Settings window, some rendering bugs, and a few other improvements not worth a direct mention here.

See you in-game!

We left out a few details, but that covers everything you need to know for now. We look forward to seeing you back in Phase Two!

Be sure to join us on Discord to get involved with the community and to interact directly with our team.