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Breaking Down the Demigod Launch

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the win-some-lose-some dept.

Networking 70

In addition to the piracy troubles that plagued Demigod's launch (and partly exacerbated by them), Stardock and Gas Powered Games ran into severe networking issues that hampered their ability to accommodate players with a legitimately purchased copy of the game. Brad Wardell has now posted a frank, detailed explanation of what happened and how they dealt with it. Quoting: "Demigod's connectivity problems have basically boiled down to 1 bad design decision and 1 architectural limitation. The bad design decision was made in December of 2008 when it was decided to have the network library hand off sockets to Demigod proper. In most games, the connection between players is handled purely by one source. ... So in Demigod, on launch day, Alice would host a game. Tom would be connected to Alice by the network library and then that socket would be handed to Demigod. Then, Alice and Tom would open a new socket to listen for more players to join in. As a result, a user might end up using a half dozen ports and sockets which some routers didn't like and it just made things incredibly complex to connect people and put a lot of strain on the servers to manage all those connections.

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70 comments

First post? (0, Offtopic)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#28023325)

BitTorrent has similar issues. You'd have thought they'd realise that multiple sockets = fail for most home network equipment.

I mean Grandpa's BT HomeHub, not a high-end enthusiast router with custom Linux build.

Re:First post? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28023405)

I still haven't been able to play a multiplayer game of this yet and I bought it at launch. I try to join a game every now-and-then but it always fails because I can't fully connect to everyone or it brings up a NAT error.

In the times I do get into a game I get kicked out because I have a 200ms or so latency connection. I rarely see a game going in my country.

Re:First post? (1)

Scott Kevill (1080991) | more than 4 years ago | (#28024701)

Play it online using GameRanger and it's nearly flawless. From the Demigod Downloads page [demigodthegame.com]:

If you are having issues playing Demigod online, try downloading GameRanger. GameRanger is a free download that lets you play games and demos online with friends and opponents worldwide.

Re:First post? (3, Informative)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 4 years ago | (#28023413)

I am pretty sure the peer to peer nature of torrents, that require connections to multiple people to get good speed, makes multiple sockets mandatory.

Re:First post? (2, Informative)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#28023451)

BitTorrent has similar issues. You'd have thought they'd realise that multiple sockets = fail for most home network equipment.

What are you talking about? AFAIK my torrent client uses one port only. And as with any P2P protocol, the only issue is to allow/enable/kicktherouterinto incoming connections. And if Grandpa can't set up NAT, he's not going to be a full member of the herd, and there's nothing we can do about it.

Re:First post? (2, Informative)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#28023531)

I've done just that. Passthru of BT port to my PC, and it still shits itself with any more than about 20 peers.

I eventually manually limited BT to 10 peers total, which essentially made it pointless to use. All because my router couldn't handle the packet load.

Note that downloading ISOs using a multi-part download resuming app to saturate my downtream from one source does not cause this issue. It's P2P-specific.

Re:First post? (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#28023555)

Note that downloading ISOs using a multi-part download resuming app to saturate my downtream from one source does not cause this issue. It's P2P-specific.

Well, that's kinda the whole purpose of P2P, isn't it? Don't blame the protocol for your dodgy hardware.

Re:First post? (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 4 years ago | (#28023755)

So what IS good DSL hardware, then? I've had the problem with both privately acquired hardware and trhe standard router issued by my provider.

Re:First post? (2, Informative)

Ogun (101578) | more than 4 years ago | (#28023835)

For many years I have been using separate components instead of a single does-it-all box. Right now it consists of:
  • ADSL2+ modem
  • ASUS eeeBox with USB network adapter running debian (fast enough, quiet, low power)
  • Cisco wireless access point (replaced a WAP54G linksys)
  • Netgear gigswitch

Never had any performance related issues, even on the 24Mbps I had back in Sweden. The homebrew debian firewall can be replaced with m0n0wall, pf sense or similar if you prefer web based administration.

Re:First post? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#28024821)

Debian = not home user
Cisco Aironet 1200 (first Cisco AP I found): £60 = not home user (Router + AP + cordless phone = free on BT broadband + phone tarrifs)
Netgear Gigabit Switch = not home user

Tell me again how this helps me get BitTorrent to not crash my consumer networking gear. Please read the question.

Re:First post? (1)

atamido (1020905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28028457)

See my reply here:
http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1238997&cid=28028381 [slashdot.org]

Sure you have to install an OS, but it's a pretty simple installer. Once you've set with network card is which, and an IP address, it's all web based configurations. I'd just use whatever wireless gear you happen to have, or buy something for cheap. Gigabit switches are overkill, unless you transfer large files over your local network. I bought a consumer 5 port gigabit switch from Fry's for $20, so it's not exactly the end of the world.

The most important thing is not to use a DSL modem that does NAT. You want a transparent bridge that can pass all of the packets quickly without having to do any processing power. You want the NAT translation and connection states moved to the PC/router that can easily handle it without locking up.

Re:First post? (1)

zerocool6900 (197286) | more than 4 years ago | (#28029937)

Been using BitTorrent, BitComet, Azureus, OneSwarm for at least 10 yrs now and never had this problem. I have a standard cable modem running thru a linksys modem the entire time....never had any problems and I connect to more than 500 at a time...what OS are u running and what are your system specs?

Re:First post? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#28037439)

Was xp pro 64bit, Q6600 processor, 4GB RAM, 1.5TB HDD, 8800GTX graphics.

Not tried with Win7, though.

Re:First post? (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 4 years ago | (#28033441)

I think that's a bit overboard, I've used both a Netgear and Linksys wireless router for my ADSL2+ and I've not had any issues using BT. Hell, I even use my NAS as the BT client now and it works great.

I'd say that the issues with the GGPs BT is more that he/she has a craptacular ADSL router or that its QoS is turned on but isn't configured correctly. Either way, there are solutions to the issues and they don't require building an expensive network.

Re:First post? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28037639)

There's no such thing as an ADSL modem. ADSL is digital. You don't modulate or demodulate anything.

Re:First post? (1)

atamido (1020905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28028381)

First, get a DSL modem that isn't a NAT gateway. As a general rule, embedded consumer hardware isn't very good and will lock up randomly under load. Find a DSL modem that acts as a transparent network bridge so that all it has to do is pass unmodified packets back and forth. Sorting through all those connection states with its limited CPU is going to kill it.

Next, find a small/old PC for cheap and install one of the many router distribution on it. I use pfSense because it comes with QoS so that I can drop P2P to the lowest priority so that it has little effect on the rest of the network. I've been using this for a year and I've never had it lock up or slow down under load. It also comes with little bandwidth charts that showed we typically transfer around 500GB/month.

I personally use a Dell Optiplex GX50 small form factor that a friend had sitting unused on a shelf for years. It idles at about 35W and goes up to about 50W while passing 16Mbps of prioritized traffic. It could easily handle twice that, and I could use a compact flash card instead of a harddrive to reduce the power more. Looking on ebay, I see one going for $1 right now.

Oh, and for wireless just use whatever. You could drop a wireless NIC into the router, or use an access point. I use my $150 wireless N gaming router that locked up all the time with DHCP turned off (I originally bought it to replace another high end router that was always locking up). It works fine if it just needs to act as a switch.

Re:First post? (1)

Kaboom13 (235759) | more than 4 years ago | (#28024427)

It's not the "packet load" causing your problem. I've yet to see a router that can't handle enough packets to saturate any home internet connection you are likely to get. What causes the problem is the number of TCP connections. When bittorrent connects to a peer, it establishes a TCP connection. When your router does NAT (well technically PAT) it dynamically assigns outbound connections a port number. When the computer at the other end sends information as part of that established connection it sends the data to that port number. The router has to store a table of all TCP connections, the port number they are using, and the internal address to send the traffic too. Normal web traffic might at most create a few hundred of these connections. Bittorrent can create thousands. Furthermore, peers tend to just disappear rather then end cleanly, so the entry stays there until a timeout is reached to remove it. Most consumer routers have timeouts that are around 300-420 seconds long. If your router gives you the option (most shitty consumer models don't) you can lower it, to clear out dead connections faster and improve performance. The best option is normally to upgrade your router to one that has plenty of ram and can run an open build like dd-wrt, that lets you tweak the max number of connections and the timeout.

Re:First post? (1)

Scott Kevill (1080991) | more than 4 years ago | (#28024639)

Yes, ip_conntrack_max is what I have to tweak on my router to eliminate that problem. It probably applies to many BusyBox-based routers.

I have to telnet in as root, and:

echo 5120 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/netfilter/ip_conntrack_max

It dies pretty quickly with the default value of 512.

Re:First post? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#28024859)

BusyBox?
telnet in as root?
echo 5120 /proc/sys?

Does that all mean that I can't use BitTorrent without purchasing more hardware? You can guess why home users don't seed, can't you.

Re:First post? (1)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 4 years ago | (#28025479)

Ok, we get it. You're a home user, and you want a free fix that doesn't cost anything.

Might I suggest you look up the acronym TANSTAAFL? You can get "non-consumer" equipment on ebay for cheap... just not for free. In addition, what are your measured upstream/downstream rates for your internet connection?

Re:First post? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28024863)

OT, but what would you recommend setting the timeout to?

Re:First post? (1)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 4 years ago | (#28028369)

It's usually the number of connections that kill a router when using p2p. A lot of low grade home routers can only handle 64 connections especially if you're using wifi.

Look at the number of connections allowed per torrent (uploading and downloading). Also take into account if you've altered your browser for more connections.

A multi-part dowload app has a lot less connections compared to a p2p app.

Re:First post? (1)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 4 years ago | (#28023825)

I think he's mistakenly referring to the router lockup that can be common if you allow your client to open too many connections. Some home routing equipment wont release old connections quickly enough, so a bittorrent client opening a few hundred an hour can cause them to become unresponsive.

Re:First post? (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 4 years ago | (#28023911)

It needs that one port so it can hear requests, then it coordinates with the other peer to setup a new connection, and since the port requests comes from an internal source you don't need to forward ports.

IRC.

Re:First post? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28025129)

And if Grandpa can't set up NAT, he's not going to be a full member of the herd, and there's nothing we can do about it.

You could cull him from the herd and leave him for the scavengers.

Re:First post? (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 4 years ago | (#28023831)

Shit hardware exists. You can't necessarily patch it or fix it but you can replace it.

That said, I've never paid more than about £20 for a router, even back in the dark days of early broadband. My last one was an "eTec" (rebranded Conexant-something-or-other) and the one before that was a Trust (rebranded Conexant-something-or-other). They were the cheapest routers I could find and my purchasing decision for both went:

1) Does it do 8Mb?
2) Does it have >1 Ethernet connection?

Bearing in mind that I'm extremely pedantic about every specification of anything I buy, they are *ALWAYS* my most lacklustre purchase. I've *never* had a problem with them (except once when I enabled PPP Half-bridging and couldn't turn the bugger off, requiring a firmware re-download). One of them has been running constantly for at least the last few years, the other has been switched on and off every night for even more years, and I have another (an Amigo AMX rebranded-Conexant...) that has been waiting as a "hot-spare" all that time and never been used.

The school I do network admin for also has the cheapest, crappiest ADSL router running their entire business Internet connection (with appropriate firewalling and port-forwards done to intermediate machines before the "serious" network) and they haven't had a problem with it ever.

Don't take the crap that comes with the package deals, because it probably costs BT about £5 per unit. Instead, pop down to Maplin's or any store and just buy their cheapest ADSL/Ethernet router and get on with life. If you have a router that can't handle some connections, it is *seriously* crap. Just bin it. I never spend money on anything, but for £20, it's just not worth fighting with and *everyone* I know has a router that can do just about anything you ask of it nowadays. Similarly, ADSL "modems" are a waste of space. Get a router or nothing.

I'd like to meet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28023389)

I'd like to meet this Alice and Tom; I've read so much about them, and they seem like really cool people.

Failure to build in an idiot margin (3, Insightful)

chrylis (262281) | more than 4 years ago | (#28023411)

Yes, this probably could have been handled better, but many home NAT boxes are so broken that they ought to be recalled. I'm actually a bit surprised that there's not a WRT54GL equivalent with well-behaved 2.6 wireless drivers that ships with an open-source configuration interface; it seems that it'd be cheaper than constantly reinventing the wheel.

Re:Failure to build in an idiot margin (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28023429)

maybe they didn't want to be associated with dick smoking fags. open source is a faggots dream. god damn rump roasters. i hope they all get aids and die.

Re:Failure to build in an idiot margin (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28023535)

Jobs cock is ------> that way!

Thanks for calling!

Re:Failure to build in an idiot margin (5, Funny)

jimshatt (1002452) | more than 4 years ago | (#28023573)

maybe they didn't want to be associated with dick smoking fags

Dick just likes to smoke a fag now and then, what's so wrong about that? You should see what Tom and Alice are up to sometimes...

Re:Failure to build in an idiot margin (1)

bFusion (1433853) | more than 4 years ago | (#28024795)

Why don't I ever have mod points when I need them. Got a good laugh out of that :)

Re:Failure to build in an idiot margin (1)

Scott Kevill (1080991) | more than 4 years ago | (#28024757)

That's true, and UPnP support is a joke, with users often having more luck with it disabled.

However, UPnP is a hideously over-engineered and over-complicated standard, so it's not surprising that few routers implement it correctly.

NAT-PMP is sheer simplicity and elegance in comparison, as you would expect from Stuart Cheshire.

Re:Failure to build in an idiot margin (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#28025623)

I don't seem to be able to get uPnP firewalling to work with anything. I've even tried two different versions of WRT54G (1.1 and 5) running DD-WRT (23sp1 and 24, IIRC.) Right now I have... yes, the v1.1 running DD-WRT V24 VOIP. Everything except uPnP is working fine so far...

wow (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 4 years ago | (#28023415)

Who would have thought that routers might not allow for large numbers of listening sockets on its client machines?
You know, my real feeling is why is this on Slashdot, when these devs apparently didn't consider these obvious questions.  Do they even have a QA department?

Re:wow (1)

SSCGWLB (956147) | more than 4 years ago | (#28024629)

They probably did (I sure hope so). However I would bet:

1) Their QA people where co-located with the servers
2) (and/or) Connecting via decent networking hardware.

Naturally, this worked fine.

Somebody should have thought: "Humm, people are going to be running this at home, using random ancient routers/hubs, connecting through a crappy ISP, maybe we should make sure it will work then."

That is where they failed, not testing the software like it was going to be used.

Re:wow (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#28024723)

Do they even have a QA department?

Probably but the department was using the same router as the Development team. Also the problem happens over time with QA vs. Development they both start to think similarity about solving problems and testing them.

Re:wow (2, Informative)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 4 years ago | (#28025113)

Who would have thought that routers might not allow for large numbers of listening sockets on its client machines?

I wouldn't have. I've dealt with pretty good equipment my whole life because I love computers and am willing to buy nice equipment. The people who don't love computers and don't buy that equipment don't tend to use it like I do anyway, so I've never encountered this in my informal tech support either.

these devs apparently didn't consider these obvious questions. Do they even have a QA department?

That's quite a leap there. What you consider an obvious question after reading the summary doesn't seem so obvious in a vacuum when you have the entire rest of the game to consider as well. It's nearly impossible to consider everything you need to consider while programming because there are so many variables involved. QA can't catch everything because QA's not going to try the game in as many ways as home users will. QA catches the most obvious and glaring bugs, but they can't catch everything that 1m+ users will.

The bottom line is that, while programming their game, they had a bug. In this case, the bug was right smack dab in the middle of the most important part of their game. They should have never let the bug get into production (just like no bug should ever get into production), but to say that it was obvious is going a little far.

No Stress Testing?? (4, Insightful)

WeekendKruzr (562383) | more than 4 years ago | (#28023473)

How did they not perform any simulations or trial runs with players connecting out over the internet in order to stress test this? If they did, how could their testing not notice that routers in general don't like large numbers of listening sockets on it's clients? This is a serious amateur mistake.

Re:No Stress Testing?? (1)

sp1nny (1350037) | more than 4 years ago | (#28023681)

Indeed. And the game is still unfixed, 5 weeks after release. I also get the feeling that this particular article downplays the problems (only 1 design mistake and 1 architectural problem?) that the product continues to face.

Re:No Stress Testing?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28023709)

FIVE WHOLE WEEKS?!?!

Re:No Stress Testing?? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28023713)

How did they not perform any simulations or trial runs with players connecting out over the internet in order to stress test this? If they did, how could their testing not notice that routers in general don't like large numbers of listening sockets on it's clients? This is a serious amateur mistake.

One has to put it in perspective. One "amateur" mistake can easily be one "damn it, this shit isn't working but my balding, out of touch manager is insisting on creating unrealistic timetables for our application" mistake.

Re:No Stress Testing?? (4, Informative)

Tridus (79566) | more than 4 years ago | (#28023727)

They did, it was the beta test. The trouble is that not everybody was impacted, and the beta group was not a great cross-section of the entire playerbase. Until they got this fixed, I for example couldn't play, at all. A friend of mine in the US with a similar setup wasn't having problems, except when trying to play me. Now I can, and it's pretty fun.

I followed this throughout the process (because I couldn't play), and a number of times they thought they fixed it but the solution didn't work once they scaled it up to lots of players. If you read the full TFA, the issue was actually something buried pretty deep in the networking library they licensed, it wasn't handling large amounts of traffic. (They had to fly in the lead developer of said library to figure that out, though.)

Stardock are not that experienced when it comes to multiplayer games, so this was something of a mess. They probably should have known better. They didn't. That's just how it goes. They're pretty honest about it, at least.

Re:No Stress Testing?? (0, Flamebait)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#28023979)

"That's just how it goes" is the excuse made by every slipshod hand-waver who believes that there's never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it twice.

First: Demigod is peer to peer? Whoa, 1992 just called, they want their design paradigm back. Peer to peer is inherently unstable, unreliable and uncontrollable. Nobody (else) uses it for an "AAA" PC title, for those reasons. It's not an inspired choice, it's an insane one, by a company that thought they could palm off responsibility (and cost) on to their players rather than doing their own hosting.

Second: this whinging about the "network library", and needing to fly the developer in to fix it is simply pathetic. Raknet is an absolute joy to use, is well documented and comes with loads of examples and the source code. The issue is that they assumed that a network library designed in the last decade would deal with their retarded prehistoric requirements, and they didn't bother to check that or test it until way too late in the day. I'd love to hear the story from the Raknet side...

Some mistakes are understandable, but screwing the network architecture on a predominantly multiplayer game takes willful ignorance. The cost to them in bad publicity and lost sales is far, far higher than if they'd paid a competent engineer to do a decent design. It's always cheaper to do it right than to do it twice.

Re:No Stress Testing?? (1)

Scott Kevill (1080991) | more than 4 years ago | (#28024571)

First: Demigod is peer to peer? Whoa, 1992 just called, they want their design paradigm back. Peer to peer is inherently unstable, unreliable and uncontrollable. Nobody (else) uses it for an "AAA" PC title, for those reasons. It's not an inspired choice, it's an insane one, by a company that thought they could palm off responsibility (and cost) on to their players rather than doing their own hosting.

Actually, nearly every RTS game uses peer-to-peer networking, and it's a perfectly reasonable choice when done correctly. Topology was not the problem here, as is demonstrated by the fact that the game plays online just fine through GameRanger.

Second: this whinging about the "network library", and needing to fly the developer in to fix it is simply pathetic. Raknet is an absolute joy to use, is well documented and comes with loads of examples and the source code. The issue is that they assumed that a network library designed in the last decade would deal with their retarded prehistoric requirements, and they didn't bother to check that or test it until way too late in the day. I'd love to hear the story from the Raknet side...

From what's been said, RakNet was only used for their Impulse matchmaking infrastructure, not the in-game networking. RakNet claims to offer peer-to-peer support, but has very limited support for dealing with NAT routers, making it useless for real-world situations. See above regarding topology choice.

Some mistakes are understandable, but screwing the network architecture on a predominantly multiplayer game takes willful ignorance. The cost to them in bad publicity and lost sales is far, far higher than if they'd paid a competent engineer to do a decent design. It's always cheaper to do it right than to do it twice.

They freely admit their ignorance in retrospect. It was simply a case of not knowing what they didn't know.

Re:No Stress Testing?? (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 4 years ago | (#28025249)

Well, Demigod was made by Gas Powered Games. Some of the other games (Supreme Commander) use the same model. Last I checked, that wasn't made in 1992.

As was mentioned too, Gameranger solved a lot of the problems. The game actually worked if you could get into a game, but the lobby/connection stuff was a real mess. They've been pretty open that they screwed it up.

Some of your comments are silly though. "by a company that thought they could palm off responsibility (and cost) on to their players rather than doing their own hosting. "

Warcraft 3 doesn't have Battle.net actually hosting games either. It's pretty common in RTS games (even AAA ones) to have this stuff done some other way, either by P2P or by having the game host act as the server. That's why you see people who can join games but not host them.

Re:No Stress Testing?? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#28094019)

And Demigod has a full, rich solo player campaign, right?

Typical fanboi response: decry an apple for being sour, and they'll praise it because it's like an orange.

Re:No Stress Testing?? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#28026351)

Peer to peer is practically mandatory for an RTS because there's a large number of entities in play at any time and requiring the server to relay all the computations for them would mean huge amounts of data have to be sent. This isn't an FPS where you have one character per player and maybe a small number of projectiles that behave in easily predictable ways.

Re:No Stress Testing?? (1)

ifrag (984323) | more than 4 years ago | (#28024191)

They did, it was the beta test.

Wrong. I was in the Beta test and the matchmaking/network system never really worked then either. I almost always had a full game of Bots. I think there might have been an actual player in maybe one or two games. Since the actual release won't force-populate a game with bots, now there's a lot of very empty games. I have not seen a game go beyond 2v2 yet. The Beta effectively did NOTHING to stress test player load since it was stuffing all the games with AI.

Now perhaps if you could get custom games to work, there might have been a few matches against actual players. However the Beta test group was so small, it was unlikely to ever fill more than a few games here and there. The concept of stress testing was not even remotely approached in what they called the Beta.

Re:No Stress Testing?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28031929)

And I'm sure you took the 10 seconds necessary to report your issues to them before you uninstalled it and ignored it like every other "beta tester" (read: I want to play a game for free) out there.

Re:No Stress Testing?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28026365)

Stardock are not that experienced when it comes to multiplayer games[...]

Strange, considering how many Stardock [wikipedia.org] games are multiplayer.

  • Demigod - multiplayer
  • Elemental: War of Magic - not released yet, multiplayer
  • Galactic Civilizations - single player
  • Galactic Civilizations II (Dark Avatar, Twilight of the Arnor, Endless Universe) - single player
  • Sins of a Solar Empire - multiplayer
  • Society - not released yet, MMO
  • The Corporate Machine - multiplayer
  • The Political Machine - multiplayer
  • The Political Machine 2008 - multiplayer

But maybe you meant Gas Powered Games [wikipedia.org] (who developed Demigod):

  • Dungeon Siege - single/multi
  • Dungeon Siege II - single/multi
  • Supreme Commander - single/multi
  • Space Siege - single/multi
  • Demigod - multi
  • Supreme Commander 2 - not released yet, multi
  • Dungeon Siege III - not released yet, single/multi

Re:No Stress Testing?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28023939)

they were running a fairly large beta for a decent amount of time, my guess is it just never come up. on a side note people are realy milking the pirate side of things in this event and it really had nothing to do with the. this launch problem was caused by the early releaes dibocle and to a much greater extent the inherent flaw in p2p network gaming, which Ill admit its a pretty badass idea once they finaly get it working correctly.

This is why I wish we could start using IPv6 (2, Insightful)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#28025061)

I know, beating a dead horse here. . .

The idea of P2P connections between members of a multiplayer game seems like pretty much a no-brainer, but because of NAT, it's a total P.I.T.A. Everyone likes to say, "We don't need IPv6, just use NAT". But, NAT makes lots of things more complicated (like needing to setup port-forwarding to accept in-bound connections, or using a third-party server that isn't behind a NAT that everyone makes an outbound connection to). Plus, port forwarding sucks because only one computer per network can have any given port forwarded to it (that is, you *CAN* forward different ports to different computers, say have port 5000 forwarded to 192.168.1.10, and have port 5001 forwarded to 192.168.1.11, but you can't forward port 5000 to both computers - but if they each had their own unique, public IP, they can both receive traffic on the same port).

I long for an IPv6 world where NAT is basically a thing of the past (and for those who say NAT is good for security, there's no reason you can't still have firewalls built into routers).

Re:This is why I wish we could start using IPv6 (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#28026553)

The idea of P2P connections between members of a multiplayer game seems like pretty much a no-brainer, but because of NAT, it's a total P.I.T.A. Everyone likes to say, "We don't need IPv6, just use NAT". But, NAT makes lots of things more complicated (like needing to setup port-forwarding to accept in-bound connections, or using a third-party server that isn't behind a NAT that everyone makes an outbound connection to). Plus, port forwarding sucks because only one computer per network can have any given port forwarded to it (that is, you *CAN* forward different ports to different computers, say have port 5000 forwarded to 192.168.1.10, and have port 5001 forwarded to 192.168.1.11, but you can't forward port 5000 to both computers - but if they each had their own unique, public IP, they can both receive traffic on the same port).

I long for an IPv6 world where NAT is basically a thing of the past (and for those who say NAT is good for security, there's no reason you can't still have firewalls built into routers).

Get ready for a surprise, then. You'll encounter NATv6.

Every computer having a public IP is dead. Even with IPv6 making it possible for everyone and their dog to have a million IPs. I expect the IPv6 world to be similar to the IPv4 one. Sure you can get a range of IPv6 addresses, but you'll get one that'll be routable to your broadband connection - the rest being dropped. If you want more, you'll do what everyone does these days and buy another IPv6 address (there are NAT routers that do allow multiple IPs and many-to-many IP mapping). (I can have up to 5 IPv4 IPs on my cable connection, and we're given 2 by default, if I'm willing to pay the $5/10 a month for it.)

ISPs will nickel and dime you the same way in IPv6 as they nickel and dime you today in IPv4.

And most home users will probably just buy a cheap firewall (NATv6 or otherwise) and we'd still have the same issues.

The explosion of NAT does have an upside for it's prepared everyone for the world of firewalls. If you go back 10-12 years or so and saw what it took to get multiplayer working, it usually involved opening 10+ TCP and UDP ports on your firewall (usually entire ranges) just to join a game. Hosting may require way more. Nowadays we get gaming protocols that are way more friendly to firewalls where to use them requires 1 port, maybe 2, and usually only if you want to host. Sure the easiest way is to stick your PC in the DMZ, but in modern times, you don't really have to. Especially with all the crap that'll infect Windows at the drop of a hat because some idiot game programmer though it wise to disable Windows Firewall while you're playing the game.

Re:This is why I wish we could start using IPv6 (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#28026705)

"You'll encounter NATv6."

"ISPs will nickel and dime you the same way in IPv6 as they nickel and dime you today in IPv4."

Yes, I know NATv6 exists. Yes, I suppose some ISP's will try to keep charging for IP addresses, but the thing is, the market will change. Right now, every ISP charges for additional addresses because they MUST - they have to pay money for IP addresses, and they have a very limited supply. There is artificial scarcity.

In a market where there is no artificial scarcity, I guarantee that (at least in free-market countries), some ISPs will route all your IP addresses for you instead of dropping packets to other IPs in the same subnet (with IPv6, every end-user is *supposed* to get a subnet address from their ISP, not a host address). Because the market doesn't force ISPs to charge for routable public addresses with IPv6, the market forces should tend to favor the ISPs that give them for free. So, for example, if, say, my local Telco doesn't want to give me what I want with my DSL, maybe I go with someone like Speakeasy or Earthlink for DSL, or a local independent ISP.

Re:No Stress Testing?? (1)

delt0r (999393) | more than 4 years ago | (#28023961)

Because when you test, you have good equipment rather than crappy home DSL modem rubbish. Really some of these routers are so bad I can't see how they work at all. Basically if its not tcp web browsing and perhaps a DNS UDP packet, they don't work at all.

Why multiple ports? (1)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 4 years ago | (#28023775)

Why listening on multiple ports?
Listening on a single port works just fine. All Bittorrent applications I ever used only required one port to be forwarded.

Ha (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 4 years ago | (#28023905)

1) It's not worth keeping logs, certainly not for diagnosis, if they aren't synch'ed between servers when you're doing anything which relies on >1 server. If you have a client which will only ever choose ONE server and do all it's actions through that server, you can use the logs unsynch'd. Otherwise, they MUST be synch'ed. It's not hard to work this out.
2) Timesyncing costs *nothing* in practical terms. It doesn't even have to be to the Internet/UTC, so long as they are all synch'ed to each other.
3) Not spotting a *30-60 second* lag in a server response is pretty hideous for people who wrote the code. You don't have to have written the network library to spot this.
4) Using this as an excuse to put off demos, etc. is baloney. The people RUNNING the server and investigating the code behind the running servers should not be the same people as those who are creating new content, features, demos, etc. If they are, either it should be a strict seperation of time or you're understaffed.
5) Plus, DEMO COMES FIRST. I have no reason to try games any more unless they come with a nice demo. Steam is a god-send here... if you don't have a demo of a game on it, I won't bother to download several Gigabytes, waste my diskspace/bandwidth to play it because I *know* I can't get a refund if it's shit. I spent AGES looking for a demo of the second Tom Clancy Las Vegas thing and gave up in the end. Don't want it at all now, but I was going to buy it if the demo had been even half-decent.

Re:Ha (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 4 years ago | (#28023947)

"Using this as an excuse to put off demos, etc. is baloney."

Not really. What kind of moron publisher would put out a demo when connectivity isn't working properly? Do you really want people trying the demo and going "hey, it doesn't work!"?

Re:Ha (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 4 years ago | (#28024135)

Replace "demo" with "game". Now see how stupid the problem is regardless of that.

The demo could EASILY have been their test-bed for the system while they were still building it. If the demo fails, not a big problem. If the game fails... ARGH.

This is what BETA's are for (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#28024715)

"The public beta could EASILY have been their test-bed for the system while they were still building it."

There, I fixed it for you.

Re:This is what BETA's are for (1)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 4 years ago | (#28025345)

There was a "semi-public" beta(anyone who preordered). TBH it had network and matchmaking issues throughout the beta(I was in it). I don't doubt that piracy exacerbated this by an order of magnitude, but the matchmaking was never "good" for Demigod at any point at any point I played it.

Re:This is what BETA's are for (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#28025563)

Semi-public beta's don't give your servers the THRASHING that a true fully public beta will. If you want to really test out and prove your infrastructure and networking code, you need to put it through the crucible of a real public beta. Though, it sounds like, from your post, the GPG/Stardock people should have probably been aware that something wasn't right with the networking even during their semi-public beta.

I'd probably do a limited beta first, then later on, when I had resolved most of the issues discovered in the limited beta, open it up for at least a week to the public, to see what happens.

Re:Ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28025005)

It is a problem because nowadays many people make their purchasing decisions based on the demo. That's what it's for, after all. It also means you have to have the networking infrastructure in place to handle potentially more users than you expect to buy the game before you're even ready to ship it. Which might not have been a bad idea, except that these things cost money. Management will then rightly say "so we're paying a lot of money for people to find out the demo sucks and not buy it?"

Re:Ha (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 4 years ago | (#28025309)

No. If a demo goes wrong, it's a big problem. People take that to mean the game is broken too, and move on.

Age of Conan's disaster of a demo (though they called it an open beta, it was really a demo) turned a lot of sales into non sales VERY quickly with its sheer amount of suck. Marketing is going to look at that and very quickly realize that putting out a demo before your day 1 "gotta have it right away" have made their impulse purchases isn't a very good idea.

Of course, then this whole networking shit hit the fan, and it got pushed back more. I'd expect to see it pretty soon now, though. (The Sins of a Solar Empire demo was out a couple of weeks after the game, IIRC.)

Re:Ha (1)

zerocool6900 (197286) | more than 4 years ago | (#28030121)

Yeah I agree to a certain extent. Speaking as an owner and avid player of Vegas 2 it is worth the money and highly enjoyable if you have friends and want to play Terrorist hunt or Versus.

I have the same issues with these companies not putting out a descent demo anymore. I usually wait til someone puts a torrent up and then I try it...if I like it I go buy it, if not then it gets deleted...what I had to do with Vegas 2 and with NFS Undercover.

Most games have this problem to a certian extent. (1)

YojimboJango (978350) | more than 4 years ago | (#28024909)

This problem is just more apparent in some games.

Any valve game with a server browser crashed my stock AT&T Speedstream modem. When I complained to AT&T they stated that it was actually a known issue, and they were willing to sell me a 'high performance' modem for 90 bucks. I went to the local Best Buy and bought a $30 Motorola modem and never had the problem again.

(The AT&T rep seemed convinced that I was really just a heavy torrenter.)

Game is not worth this attention (1)

chriskovo (1011723) | more than 4 years ago | (#28026185)

Its not worth the attention, hell it doesnt even feel like a full game. The charcters are so not balanced, if im a giant walking castle i should be able to take a hell of alot of damage, not die in under a min. of combat. Also never mind that there were like fewer then 10 maps for it, granted they looked cool but still. Add that to the fact that their was no story to it and this game is just a flop. We bought it, we got suckered, move on...

GameRanger saved the day (1)

VonGuard (39260) | more than 4 years ago | (#28028773)

Two things: There was little stress testing because GPG has a byzantine Internet policy, and forbids its workers from using anything but the Web at work. No holes were poked for them to test online.

Second, Scott Kevill's GameRanger quickly pulled the slack in for Demigod, and supported the game online just two days after launch. As I write this, there are around 100 people playing Demigod on GameRanger right now.

http://www.gameranger.com/ [gameranger.com]

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