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Intelligence Bulletin Vol 2 * No 19

intelligencebulletingvol02no19 Server Stress Test

This week we held a server stress test, where we wanted to see how many players the servers could handle at the same time before crashing. And the test was very successful in the sense that the severs did crash. Unfortunately this already happened when we had around 650 users logged in at the same time.

We have now gathered a huge amount of data from the test and we know what went wrong, but we still haven’t identified all of the reasons why. We’re working hard on fixing the issues and will get the servers back up as soon as possible.

We would also like to extend our gratitude to all who logged in and helped us at the test!

We know that it was the first time many of you tried to log in and it may not have been the most fun experience in the world not to be able to play when you have waited a while for a beta-key. But quite soon the servers will be up again, and hopefully we have fixed the bugs causing the servers to crash, so you can log in and play again.

7000 new Beta-keys

We also sent 7000 new Beta-keys this week. So if you have signed up before (and including) the 29th of May you should have received a key – if not, please contact sjupport. But don’t contact support if you know that you signed up after the 29th of May! ;)

Screenshot Competition

Last week we kicked off a screenshot competition on facebook, where you can win exclusive Heroes & Generals gear (T-shirt, USB-ke, etc) but we extended it this week because of too few entries. Now we have (in writing moment) 12 entries and more are welcome. The competition ends Tuesday the 5th of June at 10.00 CEST. So go on and post your entry (as soon as the servers comes up, so you can grab some shots of course) and remember to “Like” your favorite entries to vote!

Propaganda this Week



Violent Gamer

Shooter-Szene (DE)

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Congratulations – You crashed our servers!

The server stress-test today was successful! Our servers crashed and we’ve closed down access to the game.

We’ve now sent the servers to the infirmary and we’re analyzing the data collected from the test.
We expect the servers to be up again within the next 24 hours.

And a big roaring “THANK YOU!” goes out to all who participated in the test!

See you back on the Battlefields soon!
– The Reto-Moto Team -

7000 Beta-keys + Reminder-mail

7000 Beta-keys has just been sent by email, and we’ve also sent a “reminder-mail” to those who hasn’t activated their key during the Alpha-phase.

And remember to join our Server Stress Test Today at 18.00 UTC!

It can take up to a few hours for a mail to find it’s way, so remember to check again later today and also check your junk/spam folder.

See you on the Battlefield!

New Server Stress Test Today at 18.00 UTC

If you don’t have time for playing, but still are near a computer at 18.00 UTC – please just log in.

The primary goal for this test is to see how many players can be logged in at the same time, so a simple log in really helps us a lot !

How many player can we squeeze in on the servers at the same time?

We have a new server stress test Today (Thursday the 31st of May), where we test how many users can be logged in at the same time. Access to the servers is closed until the test starts, but the servers will remain open after… well, unless you succeed in crashing the servers. ;)

If you try to log in before the test starts you will see a count-down to when the servers opens and if you can’t log in today due to the stress test, then please try again tomorrow.

The servers opens today at:

Thursday the 31st of May 11:00 am 2:00 pm 20:00 18:00

PDT = Pacific Daylight Time (US westcoast summertime)
EDT = Eastern Daylight Time (US eastcoast summertime)
CEST = Central European Summer Time (Central europe summertime)
UTC = Coordinated Universal Time (Server time) / GMT = Greenwich Mean Time

A change in the dark – shadows revisited

We’ve been running with Cascaded Shadow Maps (CSM) for quite some time now, with a user adjustable cascade count ranging from 1 to 3 cascades. The last cascade (number 4) has been a one time calculated shadow map for the entire scene, to avoid shadows missing in the distance. The last has been an important addition to standard CSM as we have airplanes in the game, and the landscape just looks flat if we omit it. Initially we talked about precalculated shadows/lighting, but we wanted a more dynamic solution to allow weather changes, and didn’t want to increase the download size of the game.

Even though CSM solves a lot of issues with the quality when covering a large area, they have some really heavy performance requirements. Especially when running with 3 cascades, the number of objects visited and revisited during drawing can become very high. In certain scenarios the CPU time for setting up the objects to be rendered would climb up to 16-20 ms on high-end machines, effectively dropping the framerate from 60 fps to 30 fps.

So I started looking around for alternatives to the CSM and fell across an article written in GPU Pro 2 by Pavlo Turchyn about the game Age of Conan. They were fighting the same issues as I was, but had solved the problem by switching to Adaptive Shadow Maps instead.

adativeshadowmaptiles A debug view of the Adaptive Shadow Map Tiles. The red lines shows the active tiles, and the white lines shows the current camera frustum as seen from the light.

In short, ASM works by dividing the world seen from the light source into tiles, as compared to CSM where it’s the camera frustum that is divided. Each tile is then given an index into a tile map and a shadow map for that tile is calculated and stored in this tile map. For those familar with virtual texturing/mega textures etc.. the algorithm is very much the same. To avoid rendering many small tiles in the distance, the tiles are combined into progressively larger tiles in a quad tree hierachy using the distance from the camera as a guide to the depth of the quad tree. This quad tree is evaluated each frame, and if a new tile has entered the visible range or if the quad tree detail level has changed somewhere, the new tiles are calculated. Typically a single tile every several frames has to be recalculated, giving a huge performance burst compared to CSM.

ASM has one short coming. It doesn’t do dynamic shadows from vehicles or characters. To overcome this problem I maintain a separate shadow map for dynamic objects and combine the ASM with the dynamic during drawing.

The next major release of the game (internally called Avery) will contain the new shadow map system.

Screenshot Competition Extended

Come on! This can’t be true… Only three entries in the Screenshot Competition on facebook? We need to do better than this, so we’ve extended the competition one more week. :-D

So go on and grab a screenshot, post in on facebook as a comment to the ‘EXCLUSIVE HEROES & GENERALS SWAG FOR THE MOST “LIKED” SCREENSHOT‘  post and “Like” your favourites to vote. Voting ends the 5th of June at 10.00 CEST.

swag Post a great screenshot on our facebook page and win swag

And as a reminder – The winner will receive:

  • Heroes & Generals T-shirt
  • Heroes & Generals Stickers
  • 8 GB Heroes & Generals USB stick
  • Unique Heroes & Generals ‘community card’

To take screenshots in the Action game, press ‘F9′ while in the game. This will save the image in the “screenshots” folder in the installation folder (‘%temp%\HNG\live\screenshots’). ‎’F9′ currently saves the image as a ‘.tga’ image – you probably need to convert this to ‘.jpg’ in order to upload it somewhere.

Intelligence Bulletin Vol 2 * No 18

intelligencebulletingvol02no18 This week we proudly announced that we went into Closed Beta and that we’re encouraging gamers to sign up for a Beta-key.

But what does “Closed Beta” really mean for us, for you and for Heroes & Generals? Here is how we interpret “Beta”:

Well first of all “Beta” really is just a name… Well, it’s actually a letter… Wikipedia says: Beta (pronounced UK: /ˈbiːtə/, US: /ˈbeɪtə/) (uppercase Β, lowercase β; Greek: Βήτα Bḗta) is the second letter of the Greek alphabet.”.

But Wikipedia also says “In computing the term ‘beta’ is used as (usually) the last pre-release in the Software release life cycle.”

To us, “Beta” is simply a milestone and a statement that we’ve made a solid platform where we can continue to expand the game on and that we’re ready to invite more players.

Please don’t compare a Battlefield or a Call of Duty beta with ours – those games are “boxed” titles and their betas really aren’t beta’s in the first place. It’s release candidates and much more meant as marketing tools. Instead look at Minecraft, World of Tanks, Firefall, Tribes Ascend and all the other recent online games. They all went “beta” at a similar stage in the development, and the games were (and still are) further developed throughout the beta and after launch.

We’re not making a boxed and fixed product, where we lock down the development in the beta stage, and then never again touch the game. No, this is a living and breathing process, where we’ll continue to develop the game, tweak gameplay, graphics and sound – and add new features and content, no matter what we call it; alpha, pre-beta, closed beta, open beta, launch, v1.0, v2.0, etc…

What we have implemented in the current build is only a fraction of all the ideas we currently have in our design manual but releasing the game to a (hopefully) larger audience will help us prioritize the development of the features.

So the basic Wikipedia definition “Beta is the second letter in the Greek alphabet” kind of fits our interpretation – Closed Beta is simply just the next chapter in the never-ending story of developing Heroes & Generals.

Propaganda this Week

Heroes & Generals Beta Videolog 1

Heroes & Generals – Beta Videolog 1 showing gameplay and a preview of our upcoming iOS and Android app – Heroes & Generals: Mobile Command

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Server Load Test Sunday at 18.00 UTC

We need your help for a HUGE Load Test of our servers Sunday the 27th of May at 18.00 UTC.

7 Yanks in a Willys How many players can the server handle?

So if you have received a key for Heroes & Generals, please log in and play Heroes & Generals on Sunday at 18.00 UTC:

The goal for the Load Test is simply to see how many simultaneous logins our server can handle and we hope that as many as possible will log in Sunday the 27th of May at 18.00 UTC and play the game.

Load Test sessions

We have a Load Test Sunday the 27th of May and the timeslot for the play session is:

Sunday the 27th of May 11:00 am 2:00 pm 20:00 18:00

PDT = Pacific Daylight Time (US westcoast summertime)
EDT = Eastern Daylight Time (US eastcoast summertime)
CEST = Central European Summer Time (Central europe summertime)
UTC = Coordinated Universal Time (Server time) / GMT = Greenwich Mean Time

We hope that you’ll join the Load Test and help us make Heroes & Generals the game you want to play!

See you on the battlefield!
The Heroes & Generals Team

What are you waiting for soldier? We need heroes on the battlefield and generals to lead them!