Hi there and thank you so much for checking in!
In this status report we will mainly talk about changes to internal workflows, our current and upcoming work, plans for the upcoming weeks and months as well as the processes within the last months and why we are working on changes to them.
Last months & current tasks
In the last months the main focus was on planning the new UI and camera parts as well as gathering data on several reported crashes and issues. There is still work to do on the new UI, but we are certain that we can start bringing parts of the new UI to experimental soon.
We are currently working on getting the new stable update production ready. This involves a lot of testing of the new camera, the new grab system and all fixes and improvements requested by users that are added for this update.
In addition, we are actively working on stabilizing the new upload network. The issue was located and is currently being resolved.
Once it is resolved we will unlock all upload regions. From then on, users will have increased upload speeds across all regions.
From next week on, publication of avatars will be fully automated which means that the majority of avatars will be published in seconds.
We will run small background checks to ensure we can filter out avatars with solely malicious intent, in which cases, the uploads will be sent to the moderation team for manual review.
To further streamline the publication of worlds and increase publication speeds, we have streamlined the publication tools and made them available to all moderation team members. From next week, we expect world publication requests to be finished faster than ever before.
Future updates & transparency
Status reports & dev updates
In the past we were trying to get developer updates or general status reports out weekly or every two weeks. Since there were many occasions of backend work being rather dominant, we were unable to stick to those plans. We want to inform the community about changes and upcoming events properly and have discussed this topic internally constantly.
We came to the conclusion that a monthly status report on the 1st of a month is the best option since there will always be something to talk about.
From next month on, a status report will be posted on the 1st of every month.
Within the last year, we have noticed that many changes do not reach the majority of the user base even if announced early. To combat this we are hereby announcing a future plan of a so called "Demo day" where we will demonstrate and show new features in a dedicated world within the game. On the demo day, the developers will be present during a dedicated time frame to make sure users can ask related questions and get feedback out directly. Those instances will be limited in size, first come first serve.
Even in case someone is unable to directly attend the demo day, the worlds will demonstrate and explain new features visually. They are there to show users what is possible and motivate creators to dive into the features to create stunning content. Instance creation will be available for these worlds, so even if you can not join an active event instance with developers in there, you are free to explore with friends or by yourself.
Groups & Event System
If you are a community leader or interested in hosting events in ChilloutVR, we want to hear from you.
We want to work with a few communities and groups during the upcoming weeks to get the groups and events system ready for the general public.
If you are interested, please send us an email at email@example.com and we will reach out as soon as we can.
We ask for understanding that the group system is not completely production ready yet, and as such can not be released for everyone. Our goal is to release it within the next weeks after testing with several community leads and gathering opinions where applicable.
The in-game calls feature was announced a longer while back and while still planned, we currently deem the UI/UX rework as well as providing features like in-game search to be more important. This means that we will deliver the calls feature as promised, but likely at a later date we can not estimate yet.
Game updates & update frequency
One of the most requested changes is the UI overhaul. The upcoming stable update brings many fixes, along with a new grab system and a all-new camera.
This will form the second part of the user experience update and will release within the next weeks.
With the upcoming experimental updates within the next 6-8 weeks, more and more parts of the main UI will be updated to the new look and feel. We strongly encourage everyone to have a look and give feedback where possible. We aim to have the new UI out entirely by the middle of the year, but due to its dependency on several other tasks, this can vary slightly.
Searching for avatars, worlds, and users ingame was requested frequently. This feature will be coming to experimental shortly after the upcoming stable update was published.
Due to the extensive amount of testing needed, updates take a while, and there is no chance to change that.
Since the creator program is being closed (explained below), we will rely on experimental more heavily again.
With experimental, we had several issues in the past:
- The bug report quantity and quality were not sufficient.
- Content creators making videos / streams of issues in experimental without making clear that it was made on experimental branch.
To combat those, experimental will be branded with an experimental branding to visually show that the version currently played is not a final release build. In addition, we will assign badges to the accounts of those, that actively help with testing and report issues. This way, we want to ensure that people take testing and bug reporting more seriously while on experimental branch.
In general the goal is to have an experimental update out weekly where applicable, if there is something that needs testing.
If there are simple fixes, smaller more frequent updates are possible.
For the new general update cycle, we aim for one stable update per month, unless a critical bug / issue needs to be addressed, which would then take priority and get an additional update.
Regarding the community programs, we have several things to say.
We are hereby announcing the closure of the Creator Program which will be disbanded on on March 5th, 2022.
Initially planned as a way to connect the most reputable creators and have them work together to create better content and as a way for the ABI development team to get access to feedback faster and in better detail, it was quickly used as a topic for heated discussions. We do not want the community to grief those with different opinions and have made the decisions to permanently close the creator program. It will be removed without replacement.
We still strongly encourage you to work with fellow creators to create stunning content for everyone (including yourself!) to enjoy.
The partner program will be restructured and only be available to companies and influencers we work with in a contractual relationship. Applications for the partner program will no longer be possible.
Community Guide program
We are not sure about the future of the community guide program at this point in time. We will include some questions in the anonymous survey in the upcoming weeks. That way the community can decide where the guide program will be going.
The verification program will remain as is, since we think it is important to allow well known influencers to prove their identity.
We will announce once applications are possible, but at this point in time, we consider it a lower priority due to the more important tasks mentioned above.
Final lines & social links
Find us on social media with the links below:
Support Alpha Blend Interactive
Like every company, we need financial support to be able to push updates and improve our product. We are greatful for every bit of support we get.
If you want to support us you can do so here:
We are more than thankful for your support!
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Use the link above to join our discord server and get in touch with our wonderful community, get help with creation related topics and find people to play with.