This update focuses mostly on behind-the-scenes work in preparation for Steam integration, but none of that is live yet! In terms of tangible features, there are some graphics improvements, bug fixes, and a few new tweaks to the UI.

New Experimental Optimization

There is a new optimization that combines humanoid avatar meshes at runtime. In theory, this can improve framerate in areas where there are a lot of humanoids, such as in Serbule town or Gazluk Keep (which is full of orc monsters, which are humanoids). However, it uses slightly more video memory in exchange. It also isn't guaranteed to be an optimization at all, it could slightly lower framerate instead. It really depends on ... well, a lot of technical stuff. Bottom line: we want you to try this out and see if it helps your framerate. If it helps a lot of people, we'll add it in permanently. If most people don't see any real change, we'll toss it out.

To enable it, add the word OptimizeMeshes to your Special Settings tab in the game's settings screen. THEN LOG OUT or switch areas. The optimization is not fully active until you load a new area. (It also isn't fully turned OFF until you load a new area, so keep that in mind if you turn it off!)

The effect should be more noticeable on low-end video cards. The game also uses a different loading process when this optimization is on, which means that loading a new area may be a bit slower or faster than before. (It can go either way depending on the computer.)
Please use the forum to tell us how it goes!

New Graphics-Quality Settings

There are now two new quality settings that require a less-powerful computer than the previous lowest setting. We've also renamed all the settings to be a little more straightforward -- the old "fastest, fast, simple, good, beautiful" naming convention was a bit confusing. We've also numbered the settings to prevent any ambiguity. The previous low-end setting was 'Fastest' and it's now called '0: Bad'. But now there are two more settings below it, "-1: Abysmal" and "-2: Retro-Terrible". You may not be able to tolerate how ugly these settings are -- the latter one is REALLY ugly because the textures are reduced to blurry abstractions, as if you were playing on a 90s video game console. But even if you don't want to use these graphics levels in the long term, they're very useful for debugging. If the game crashes in '0: Bad' but the crashes stop in '-2: Retro-Terrible', that helps us narrow down the problem.

There is also a new graphics-quality setting at the high end of the spectrum, "6: Ultra". This is not actually 100% max-spec, you can still crank some of the overrides up more, but it's a better base to build off of, and it definitely requires more computing power. Ultra also uses fancier shaders for water, which have caused trouble with some video drivers in the past, especially DirectX 9 drivers. If you have crashes in Ultra, first try overriding the water quality level to a lower setting and see if the crashes stop. (We cannot fix that shader issue on our end, so if it affects your card, your only option is to reduce the water quality to turn that shader off. But if your machine can run in Ultra then you probably have a very modern card and hopefully this won't be a problem for you.)

If you enable "auto-adjust quality settings", it will never lower your setting below 0, nor raise it above 5. So all three of the new settings require you to manually switch to them in the Settings window.

Other Graphics Fixes:
  • Disabled some Unity optimizations that may have been causing some players to experience crashes.
  • Added some small optimizations for low-end video cards
  • The "Water Quality" advanced override was not correctly saving on exit
  • The "Texture Memory Restriction" setting was actually changing the LOD Bias, so there was no way to actually set the texture memory restriction

General Changes, Fixes, and Additions:
  • Added a new keyboard binding for "Show/Hide Monster Info". This enables or disables the window you can see by pressing the "i" icon on the target portrait. (Note that you must have a monster selected for the monster info card to show.)
  • The bug-report window now has a slot to drop an item. If you're reporting a buggy item, please include it in the report! (The item will not be removed from your inventory, of course.)
  • The Item Info panel's Crafting tab now includes recipes for which the item is an optional ingredient, such as brewing components. Note that recipes that can take large categories of equipment are NOT included here, because it's too spammy and makes the entire listing useless. This means that item-crafting recipes, augmentation recipes, and faux-recipes (for skills such as hoplology) are not listed.
  • If you have a recipe to distill, decompose, or extract augments from an item, the item's right-click menu now includes links to jump to that recipe instantly
  • Added titles for each the existing behavior badges. You earn the corresponding title whenever you have the behavior badge, and you lose the title if you lose the behavior badge. Note: the titles are synched up whenever you login or switch areas, not instantaneously after you gain (or lose) a behavior badge.
  • Out-of-combat sprint boost buffs are now listed in the persona window's General Stats
  • Tokens of Norala are now listed in the persona window's pseudo-currency section
  • You can now 'hear' poetry from the poetry podium up to 40 meters away. This range is sufficient to hear the podium virtually anywhere in the Serbule inn, and some outdoor locations
  • Previously, using the "dusty journal" in the Serbule Crypt gave you a book item, and using the item showed the book text. Now when you click on the dusty journal, you get an entry in the Books and Lore window, which you can view any time without the need for an inventory item. This makes the item obsolete, and it will be gone from your inventory if you were carrying it. Click on the journal in the dungeon again to add the entry to your Books and Lore window.
  • the NPC favor meter did not update when a favor was completed (until you closed the interaction window and started a new conversation)
  • Logging out with one character and back in with another will no longer show the first character's favor levels for the second character.
  • The graphical effect shown when you use a survey map was accidentally tied to your game's framerate, so that if your framerate was low it took longer than intended to complete. It is now always a fixed short duration.
  • Guild officers can now clear the message of the day either from a guild sign or via "/guild message" (leaving a blank message now clears it.)
  • When a party member leaves an area by teleportation, their map icon no longer remains where they teleported.
  • Some distillation and augmentation recipes did not correctly limit the gear that was used in them to the appropriate level range
  • Gingerbread and candy cane food items did not show an effect icon (although their effects did work)
  • Fixed missing icons for cannibalism guilt effects
  • Icons for dye pots once again indicate the dye color
  • WindowsPlayer.exe should no longer hang when you quit the game.
  • Fixed bugs where NPC sidebar options (Talk, Smalltalk, Barter, Shop, etc.) were listed in different orders for different NPCs. Also, tweaked the ordering a bit to be more intuitive.
  • When an NPC initiated a progress-bar sequence (such as when Elmetaph teaches you Teleportation on the newbie island), the dialog window for the NPC remained visible when it should have been hidden. If you used options in that dialog while the progress-bar filled up, or just closed the dialog window, you went into an invalid state: the progress-bar would finish filling, but nothing would happen. Now, the dialog box is hidden until the progress bar is finished (or you abort it by moving), and you can't get into an invalid state. Unless there's other bugs, of course.