CIG debated cutting critical foundational features from 3.0 but didn't to ensure they could deliver all of the 3.x series on a quarterly basis in 2018
Now that most of the uncertainty, R&D and challenges associated with integrating new tech are out of the way the 3.x iterations will be more predictable
Switching to date based from feature based is going to dramatically change everything next year: no more holding back a version for a couple of features
3.0 was always going to be an anomaly and letting a critical piece of infrastructure slip might have prevented the release of an entire branch. Challenges: dynamic pricing and interdiction were being worked on right up to the end (and even into the holidays)
3.0 integrated a lot of new technology, new technology that hadn't been finalised, and performance could only be assessed once it was all glued together
3.1 primary focus is performance: identifying/addressing the biggest problems in terms of server & client frame rates
Single biggest feature in 3.0 is the procedural planetary tech: it dramatically changes the entire game
Now turning their attention to mining in a ‘significant fashion’ as they are targeting 3.2 for the initial iteration
CIG were able to make changes during the holidays without a patch because those issues were controlled via the backend services
Probability volumes are areas of space in which events can happen to the player based upon inputs from the economy (i.e. flying through a probability volume that includes a pirate haven will likely lead to a pirate encounter).
Probability volumes hook up to the economy to provide a dynamic experience.
Probability volumes act as optimization as they allow for many different types of encounters without having the explicitly hard code them.
The backend simulations are planned to be hooked up towards the end of this year.
The team did a lot of work on the back-end for publishing 3.0, and it was a huge come together between the publishing side, the QA side, the network side, everyone.
The Delta Patcher helped hugely
The team also have the ability to issue hotfixes without kicking all players off the servers; they can issue a hotfix, and then ‘spin down’ servers gradually, only resetting them when there are 0 remaining players.
This allowed the team to do many hotfixes, even during the Christmas break, all without ever kicking all players out.