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New LaunchPad - coming soon!

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New LaunchPad - coming soon!

Postby John Adams » Fri Jun 05, 2015 9:41 am

Just to let everyone know, we're finalizing some development and testing on the new LaunchPad 2.0 product that will be used to play on VGOEmulator "Hub" Servers. Below are some details of the upcoming release.

LaunchPad2.jpg


Why a new LaunchPad?
The easy answer is we wanted a prettier launcher skinned to Vanguard appearances. But it goes deeper than that. We had a few issues to solve:

  1. Multiple Servers for a Single Account
  2. Public/Private access restrictions
  3. Building a more secure back-end for web services and LoginServer
  4. Offering more detail to the player about which servers are available (ie, making it prettier)
Detail to follow.

What was the Multiple Servers issue again?
When SOE merged all servers into one final server, they changed the inner workings of the VGClient.exe to only communicate with that single server. In our case, that would be New Telon. If a player creates a character on New Telon, and then creates a second character on a 2nd VGOEmu server, the player would get "Waiting on data from..." issues trying to select different characters. The reason behind this was discovered (by Xinux) that the Client receives a packet of Characters from our LoginServer, and overwrites the World that the character actually lives on. So the player on Apocalypse is being requested from New Telon, and New Telon does not know who that character is, and thus, Waiting on Data...

This issue we called the Multiple Server issue, and we solved it by writing a new LaunchPad where the player selects their target Server in the Launcher itself (like EQEmu's launcher), then LoginServer only displays characters related to THAT server, not all servers. As a side effect, every player account can have 12 characters per server, since the max is 12 and we're now only displaying characters-per-server. Players are also still able to have multiple accounts, so as you can see the character population can be enormous.


What is a Private server?
First, a "Public" server is a server like New Telon - it is available to any player, 24x7x365. There are no restrictions to access the server. A "Private" server is something we have been asked to support for some time, and now we can.

A "Private" server is one that only specific accounts can access. An example of this would be our Development server - where we build content and test new features. We do not want players inconvenienced by a constantly crashing or rebooting server, so we will simply prevent them from selecting that server to create characters on.

Another example of a "Private" server is someone who wants to experience VGOEmulator, but does not want to offer their server to the general public. This could be a personal development server, or a family server, or LAN party server, etc.

When players encounter a Private server, they simply cannot select it to launch from the LaunchPad, and must pick another. Optionally, at the Server Administrators behest, a player can request access to a Private server and the admin can then grant them access via their Account Management->My Servers page. More on this later.


Our back-end is insecure? What?
No, not really. But we're not using https for our communications between launcher and the web services. Looking into inexpensive ways to at least encrypt our data streams.


How did you make LaunchPad 2.0 prettier than VGClientLauncher 1.0?
A picture says a thousand words, I suppose --

First, the launcher has been redesigned from the ground up, skinning it similar to the original VG LaunchPad. The difference here of course is no advertisements, and a Server Picker with Server Details screen. When you select a server, it's information is displayed to the right.
LaunchPad2.jpg


The Account Selector is similar to SOE's, fed from the data you put into the Account Management page here at VGOEmulator.net. When you "Log in to a New Account", you are telling LaunchPad about the account you have previously created on our website so it can authenticate you.
Accounts.jpg


This is how a Private server will appear, if you do not have access to it.
PrivateNo.jpg


And this is how a Private Server will appear when you do have access.
PrivateYes.jpg



How will LaunchPad 2.0 be released, and when?
When LaunchPad 2.0 is released, and we cut over the service on the back-end, all players of New Telon and our other public servers will be required to use the new LaunchPad -- the old one will no longer function. Hopefully everyone sees this message and doesn't panic that VGOEmulator is not here anymore. We're here until we're done, far as I am concerned.

A download link will be provided upon official release, which is likely a few weeks away still. As I said, we're wrapping up some testing. Anyone interested in volunteering to test that isn't already, reply here and we'll hook you up.

The launcher will be Installed into the users Windows as any other Windows application, including an Uninstall option in Control Panel. The user data is stored in AppData\Local\VGOEmulator.net, in the lp_Options.xml file. The launcher will auto-update itself when the user launches it. This is why the user files are stored where they are (so we don't lose them).


Anyone interested in beta testing the new launcher, let me or Xinux know and we'll get you the setup.exe file.
Meanwhile, look for this in the coming weeks.
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Re: New LaunchPad - coming soon!

Postby Ily » Fri Jun 05, 2015 11:39 am

Nice work guys / gals!
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Re: New LaunchPad - coming soon!

Postby Apaelias » Fri Jun 05, 2015 11:55 am

Looks good!
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Re: New LaunchPad - coming soon!

Postby Koralith » Sat Jun 06, 2015 4:17 am

Well done! And very pretty too.
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Re: New LaunchPad - coming soon!

Postby Kilsin » Sat Jun 06, 2015 5:45 am

Looking good mate!
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Re: New LaunchPad - coming soon!

Postby Moldew » Sat Jun 06, 2015 10:09 am

New launcher is fantastic!
Haiku is easy -
But sometimes it makes no sense.
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Re: New LaunchPad - coming soon!

Postby Jakkal » Sat Jun 06, 2015 10:18 am

It really looks great :)
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Re: New LaunchPad - coming soon!

Postby shargash » Sat Jun 06, 2015 12:27 pm

I'm not familiar with the appref-ms style of launching an application. Is there a way to associate an icon with the launchpad shortcut? All it has now is a generic app icon.
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Re: New LaunchPad - coming soon!

Postby John Adams » Sat Jun 06, 2015 12:48 pm

I believe you can right-click, Properties and browse to your VG folder and pick the icon for the VG Launcher or binary. There may be a way to associate it in the manifest, but I haven't had time for niceties. If you figure it out, let me know.
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Re: New LaunchPad - coming soon!

Postby shargash » Sat Jun 06, 2015 8:15 pm

I don't see where you can do it by right clicking. Normal shortcuts have a "change icon" button, but this one doesn't. Obviously, this is just cosmetic, but I was hoping someone knew how to do it. I may do some digging online if I feel motivated enough. :)
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