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My favorite game to play this entire generation has been APB: Reloaded. Yeah, I know the RTW version sucked but it was still fun. And yeah, the G1 version launched really rocky...but it's still fun. Well, the small team at Reloaded Productions have made some huge breakthroughs that will fix the game's second biggest most complained about flaw: lag.
Just to humor you, the first most complained about flaw is matchmaking, but this could be fixed if the second most complained about flaw is fixed. I'll explain it in a bit.
You see, Reloaded Productions updated the APB: Reloaded blog to talk optimization. They don't just say vague pointless stuff like “Uh, better shaders, better FPS incoming. Stay tuned”. Heck no.
This post is a gamer's dream post come true for a number of reasons, but mainly because it transparently tells you exactly why the game runs the way it does, why the player-count per district can't be increased (yet) and what the roadblocks are. It's not all about what the hampers are that prevent some players from truly enjoying the game, the blog also talks about progress, solutions and how the team plans to fix these things.
The blog states...
Given that turning off the game and entering an optimization-only cycle is not possible, we instead attempt the next best thing; we optimize while running full speed. It's a little bit like changing the oil in your car while travelling at 65 MPH down the highway. What could possibly go wrong?
How immediate? Well, I don't want to get into the technicalities of it, but first of all APB: Reloaded is running on what I like to call the trash-version of the Unreal Engine -- it was the version of UE3 that was still getting the kinks worked out of it that caused such a headache to game designers, such as the team at Silicon Knights dealing with the troubled Too Human dev cycle.
Unfortunately, Realtime Worlds started building APB: Reloaded using a poorly optimized and less versatile version of the Unreal Engine. Worse yet, the UE3 didn't get perfected until around the time of Gears of War 3, this means that the Reloaded Productions team still has a lot of work cut out for them to work around some of the shortcomings of the engine to accomplish a task no other developer has done with an open-world MMO action game.
The upside is that the resourceful folk working on the game have long term goals for APB: Reloaded and spending time optimizing the game will enable for better framerates for both server-side performance (for less client-to-server lag, and this means you won't die as easily even though you clearly ran behind a wall while being shot at) and client-side performance (so there's fewer instances of rubberbanding, smoother frames during explosions and heavy firefights as well as less jerky lag during driving).
Coming full circle to the comments about matchmaking...if G1 can better improve performance and framerate it opens the door for having more players in a district, thus better and more balanced match-ups because the greater pool of players, the more matchmaking possibilities.
I'm truly excited for the update and it's something APB fans have been waiting for since the game's debut on Steam. You can read up more about the subject and get a thorough breakdown of the technical process of optimizing an MMO on the APB Reloaded blog.