20151206

published 06 Dec 2015

I may have somehow gone a week without updates, but I did manage to stream at least once! A lot has happened so let’s get straight into it.

  • NVIDIA performance issues are basically resolved! I couldn’t be happier to announce this. The culprit turned out to be the way we render sliders, and the fix (albeit a temporary one) was just a matter of limiting the updating of slider track textures to be less often. The amusing part is that the issue here only occurred for users which had hardware that was rendering simply too fast, and as such did not affect lower-end users.
  • We’re working on a more permanent solution which involves a lot more underlying changes to the way sliders are rendered. This is already partially implemented on cutting-edge, so feel free to help us out by testing the performance difference between beta and cutting-edge builds over the next week!
  • I’m looking for NVIDIA optimus users (people with dual-GPU laptops) to test further. Still not sure if we’ve resolved all problems with this hardware combination, so if you are still being affected on cutting-edge by bad performance when using the dedicated GPU, get on slack and ping me.
  • OWC 2015 is rapidly coming to an end. As we approach the finals, we are also reaching the cut-off for the ability to purchase a profile banner to support your favourite (remaining) team. Remember, if you have the banner of the winner, it will display for some time beyond the end of the tournament with a special winner design!
  • We’ve begun rolling out osu! client email verification requirements in a hope of making the game (and your account) more secure. Starting from the highest ranked players and gradually increasing the users covered by this protection over the coming weeks. Keep in mind if you are always playing from the PC, you may never see this come into effect as we know you are the true account owner already :).
  • I’ve been spending some time debugging an issue with outgoing email delays to google apps domains. If your osu! email address is a google apps one and you are experiencing delays, please let me know in the comments. This tends to happen at certain times in the day and usually resolves itself within 30-60 minutes.
  • We’ve learnt that some osu! nono keyboards have a fault LED in one of the keys. If you purchased one recently and your right-hand key LED backlight is consistently dimmer than the left, please get in touch with the store staff (reply to your order confirmation email) and we will send you a replacement LED you can drop in place.
  • I plan to try and stream at least once a week going forward, so keep a watch on my twitch channel if that interests you!

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20151126

published 26 Nov 2015

Mid-week update ahoy! Gonna stay brief since I’m absolutely worn out from multi-tasking.

I’ve been mostly focusing on improving the general account security offered from our end. It is clear that we weren’t doing enough to ensure users protect their own accounts, so I increased the minimum password requirements and am taking many furhter measures to reduce the possibility of accounts being reposessed by bad entities. Not quite ready to give full details, but I will when I can!

The hardest problem is finding a balance between convenience and security. While I now have everything in place to require two-factor verification across the board, I’m still working out fine details to ensure it is only presented when of upmost necessity. A fine line, but I’m getting to the point where I have a bit of confidence in my strategy.

Along the way, we found out just how many people used fake email addresses or didn’t keep their osu! account up-to-date, so no longer have access to their registered address. While we initially handled these queries manually, it became clear by the point we received over 1,000 support tickets in 24 hours that this was not a viable solution.

Therefore I’ve been working on a semi-automated email recovery system, which should (in most cases) give us enough information to ensure only the actual account holder will be able to take full control over the account.

As always, I strive to have everyone’s best interest at heart and want to continue to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for people to connect, relax and recover from the daily grind.

I hope to finish work on account security modifications this week so I can once again focus my development time on things that matter… like getting osu!next out by the end of this year (I’m sure you’re all aware how unlikely that is now >_<).

A few things to note:

  • Next batch on tablets is on its way to our storage. We SHOULD be able to send a few our before Christmas icks into action, but our store staff will be taking the holiday off. If you are looking to order something from the store for Christmas, I’d aim to do so in the first week of December at the latest.
  • osu! USB sticks are in! I’ve been running some tests on them and need to modify some parts of osu! to get perfect performance when running from the USB memory itself, but it’s looking promising. 80MB/s write, 200+MB/s read consistent. They feel amazing, too. Look for them on the store in limited quantity either December or January depending on how things go.
  • World cup exclusive merch is looking amazing. I really want to share this with you guys, but I’m going to do my best not to give anything away until OWC comes to an end!
  • Someone returned to osu! and bancho has yet to fall over. Probably means they haven’t played yet. Interesting times, though :).
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20151119

published 19 Nov 2015

I really suck at context switching (aka multitasking). Been handling way too much at once recently, so don’t mind if I skip some daily blog posts!

New “new” forum design!

No only has the new forum been revamped (yet again) to be more usable and legible than ever before, we have now introduced topic covers! Give your threads a whole new level of personality with large cover images.

Reply easier than ever with the new snapping editor!

Also experience a wider-than-ever view of the osu! website. We now have flexible width for all you people out there with 21:9 monitors!

Account security improvements

Some updates on account security:

  • I am confident that osu! has not been compromised.
  • All users which were targeted so far have used the same password for 3+ years.
  • Many used a very simple password, or shared the password across other services.
  • All users compromised have had at least one other account compromised in the past.

Nonetheless, I am still taking further action:

  • I’ve expanded the list of common passwords, and am forcefully resetting passwords of users which have these.
  • We are on high alert and ready to help users out which are experiencing troubles.
  • We’ve made procedures for users which have invalid email addresses so they can recover their account successfully.
  • Working on adding two-factor support (email for now) to the osu! client. Should surface very soon.

We have a lot of accounts to forcefully reset due to weak passwords, and due to limited support staff, will be staggering the “rollout” of these resets over the coming weeks.

Performance updates

Been working hard on improving performance even further. We’ve got some good leads and a lot of new experimentation to do going forward. I pushed a new stable release today which is basically the most performant osu! has been ever. I am getting record frame-rates thanks to some memory allocation optimisations I added today.

A few things that are coming:

  • We need to address nvidia optimus users. I have tried to reach out to nvidia for a driver-level fix, but it’s obvious they are not interested. We have some ideas on how to fix this using angle (but need exclusive fullscreen support first).
  • Many users have reported 100% stutter reduction with the debug option to force glFlush operations. Because it has been so successful, I will be adding it as a permanent options. Look out for this on a stable release this or next week.
  • Some users reporting stuttering are only getting it when running at unlimited frame limiters. We may artifically limit FPS or automatically enable explicit glFlush for such users in the future.

Merchandise

  • Running low on tablets, but more are on their way.
  • osu!keyboards are selling at a constant rate. Still working on getting OS X support back for them.
  • Working on some amazing unique merch made exclusively for OWC winners. I guarantee this stuff will be better than any cash prize.
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20151117

published 17 Nov 2015

Skip a day, what’s new?

Recent account compromises

It has come to my attention that over the last few days a lot of osu! livestreamers have been hacked. The common link seems to be that they all had active xsplit accounts (which was hacked in 2013, leaking all passwords). This means that the said users were using the same password across twitch, twitter, osu! and more. First and foremost, if you are doing something like this, LEAVE RIGHT NOW AND CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS. Get a password manager and set one password per service!

Even though I am confident that osu! was not involved in the leaking of any details, I am making sure further such attempts will not result in osu! accounts being compromised. Starting yesterday I began rolling out email verification for certain account actions. Going forward, we will also be adding email verification to the game client, but this will require a touch more implementation. Expect it in the near future.


Further optimisations

I’m still not giving up on resolving the issues people are having with the new stable releases. There’s still plenty of avenues to explore in an effort to get osu! running smoothly on all systems. That said, we have made significant progress and the number of people complaining has dropped to the point I’m struggling to find people to test with. A good sign indeed.

Was linked an interesting article in the comments of a previous blog. Definitely worth a read if you want to know what we’re facing. Some may ask “then why opengl?” but I still believe it is the correct path forward for maximum compatibility. Just give us a bit more time to work things out!

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20151114

published 13 Nov 2015

And so ends another week. Yesterday’s performance gains were so good that I had to push out a new stable release. While we most definitely haven’t solved 100% of frame stuttering, I feel like we are gradually gaining and understanding of how this is happening and should be able to eliminate it completely in the near future. Let’s just say at the end of the day it may have nothing to do with OpenGL itself (but rather the implmentation of SwapBuffer on different manufacturers’ drivers).

How are you guys finding the latest update?

Today I also finished the last stage of the build propagation graph: it now shows individual stable builds rather than clumping them all together. The graph will now be a lot smoother to look at, and will show the gradual switching of users from one version to another, rather than a sudden drop each time there’s a new release.

OWC Round Of 16 happening this Sunday, so we’ve been busy preparing and stabilising the streaming setup. It looks like we’ve been able to find the cause of the problems last weekend, so things should be a lot nicer to watch this time :).

I’ll likely be merging some more osu!web changes in this weekend (specifically affecting the forum design) so keep a watch over there too!

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