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Heartbreaking afternoon

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Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  Father General on Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:46 am

I must say, today was a heart-breaker after eagerly anticipating the playing of Father General's Opportunity. However, having been with the game since the day of its release, I must also say I'm not surprised. I have personally put in as much as two hours or more worth of time trying to get multiplayer games up and running. On occasion, I have been the problem, and sometimes other players end up being the culprits. And sometimes, we have had issues with things just not working like they're supposed to. None of this is news.

I'd like to see the scenario retried, but before that, we should see that we all have the correct mods and they are installed. I propose that as part of every briefing, commanders include the list of mods required. If practical, I suggest they also attempt starting a game with each player on their side, to more quickly isolate those with troubled connections or issues. For example, today I arrived unprepared and made everyone wait while I installed a mod I should have had already.

This is not intended to be a criticism of anyone here. You guys are awesome to a man. Rather, I'm suggesting a procedure that could help speed things along a bit. I know you guys across the pond are often playing after dark, and I am sure you want to see your pillow at some point before dawn.

Also, I might suggest the possibility of depositing scenario files somewhere where they can be accessed by a second person in the event of need. Not sure how to manage that, but it's just another idea.

Anyway, those are my suggestions.

See you all for Father General's Opportunity, Day 2, Take 2!

-N-
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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  Mr. Digby on Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:05 am

Sometimes it is the simple number of players - connect to each one in a 1-on-1 test and all will be fine. Get all 10 to try to connect and some internet connections just can't handle it - on that day. Try again another day and all will be fine.

We already know that the courier system adds a large load to the game. Add in all those early war CSA flag graphics (over 100Mb of textures) and you are adding extra strain to what seems to be an already heavy load.

Its just the mysteries of the internet, but seeing how many multi-lpayer games out there are extremely robust, I am still doubtful that NSDs code and system are robust enough or efficient enough (in terms of code, lobby set-up, etc).

We should probably design MP games with a maximum of 8 players.

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"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  Martin on Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:00 am

Mr. Digby wrote:We should probably design MP games with a maximum of 8 players.
I'm torn here. Because you may be right.

OTOH I've got a scenario game ready to go, with maps, oobs, briefings for several players, which has been tested SP a dozen times, and seems to give a fun & different game each time. But it needs 9 or 10 players and uses a flags mod, so I'm reluctant to settle for a limit of 8 unless we really have to. I've just been waiting for us to complete the FG scenario(s) before advertising it. And now I'm not sure whether it will fly.

OTOH Stefan's last scenario ran fine with 10, and also used a flag mod. But we could have just been lucky that day. As you say the internet is unpredictable.

It does seem to me that for the larger scenarios, we should absolutely ensure the host has the best possible connection. We are lucky that we have a number of hosts with good broadband (John, Baldwin, Kevin etc). If no-one has any objections, perhaps we should establish who has the best speed in terms of upload, download, ping etc?

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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  FlashmanKBE on Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:18 am

Mr. Digby wrote:We should probably design MP games with a maximum of 8 players.

I'm inclined to disagree strongly here. I know I'm the new guy, but I don't believe this is the problem. Every evening over at GCM they play several games with around 14 players, and problems are extremely rare, and are in fact always a player dropping because of their own connection.

I think the size of the flag mod should be investigated - to me it seems not an essential part of the game, and perhaps this sort of thing should be discouraged. Moreover, I believe the players that were dropping ended up trying to run the scenario individually and having problems. So that indicates individual problems, which should be resolvable.

But limiting games to 8 players because we can't get our act together seems completely defeatist. We want *more* players, not fewer!
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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  Mr. Digby on Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:16 pm

FlashmanKBE wrote:
Mr. Digby wrote:We should probably design MP games with a maximum of 8 players.

I'm inclined to disagree strongly here. I know I'm the new guy, but I don't believe this is the problem. Every evening over at GCM they play several games with around 14 players.
They don't use couriers. That one elements changes the game completely. We struggled literally for months to stop the MP couriers games from crashing. Every single time they would crash while the GCM games ran fine. Even now when the bug was found and fixed, we do still get a random crash an hour or more into some games.

I'm concerned that in recent days the two players who have crashed out are Martin and Cleburne. I can only assume the internet connection to these two was the weakest.

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  FlashmanKBE on Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:25 pm

Mr. Digby wrote:
FlashmanKBE wrote:
Mr. Digby wrote:We should probably design MP games with a maximum of 8 players.

I'm inclined to disagree strongly here. I know I'm the new guy, but I don't believe this is the problem. Every evening over at GCM they play several games with around 14 players.

They don't use couriers. That one elements changes the game completely. We struggled literally for months to stop the MP couriers games from crashing. Every single time they would crash while the GCM games ran fine. Even now when the bug was found and fixed, we do still get a random crash an hour or more into some games.

I'm concerned that in recent days the two players who have crashed out are Martin and Cleburne. I can only assume the internet connection to these two was the weakest.

While Couriers may add a bit of extra load, the problem was happening as the game started, so no Couriers were being sent, so this cannot possibly be the cause. Also, as you point out, it's the same two players. Assuming they have the correct versions of everything, activated, and in the right order on the Mods page - has the scenario file for the characters they were attempting to play as been checked?

I believe someone was trying to get them to connect to the scenario individually, and failing - this is the best way to work out what the problem is, and discovering why only these 2 players were experiencing difficulty.
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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  Martin on Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:34 pm

Mr. Digby wrote:I'm concerned that in recent days the two players who have crashed out are Martin and Cleburne. I can only assume the internet connection to these two was the weakest.
That could be part of it.

I know Cleburne is thinking of upgrading his connection. I have recently done so, and am supposedly on 60 meg with Virgin. In reality it's much less than that, as I am currently using a wireless connection to the poossibly misnamed Virgin 'Superhub'. Although I expected that I would not get the full 60 meg, I have been surprised at the extreme variability, and how low my speeds can occasionally be. They average about 15 meg, but on rare occasions can go as high as 35 meg, and as low as 1 meg! Is that normal?

We do get the full 60 meg to the router, if we hook-up a laptop by cable.

Hays has suggested that I use a powerline adapter, and my eldest is putting me under pressure to simply use the Virgin Superhub as a modem, and get a better router. I may yet have to go one of these routes.

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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  Cleburne on Mon Sep 10, 2012 1:56 pm

I would have to agree that out of the current group that gathers,
i think my connection might well be the weakest.
Having said that, i do at times get up to 8 MB and at others as little as 4.
I have also partaken in MP battles with 22 players and each time that record has been reached at GCM i was in the battle.
Agreed the couriers add alot of weight to the battle, but i am on the fence as to wether or not the connections here are the problem.
We've had great speeds and FPS over the last week in 4 player battles that i've been in and i haven't noticed anything more than slight lagg in any over 6 or 7 that we have tried.
I am more inclined to look towards the flags mod for the issue myself.However if its agreed that connection speed is at fault here i would be first to agree that in that event i am the likely culprit.
I intend to upgrade to a much better ISP in the near future but at present my wife has locked us into the current deal and i must await the developments of trying to cancel that plan and seek a move to possibly a 60MB ISP.
It was a shame that we couldn't get the scenario to run last night again, however
we have had these troubles in the past both with GCM and HITS so like Neal pointed out it is not anything new here...we just need a better template to deal with and overcome any issues that arise.
This makes perfect sense to me.
I will partake in whichever requirements are needed as we find out more. Very Happy
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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  Mr. Digby on Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:57 pm

The flags mod was used fine in the first FG scenario which lasted around 1h 15m before a player dropped, so the mod should be okay.

I can only think its the scenario, combined with the flags mod, combined with someone's connection!

What we should have done yesterday was go back and try the first scenario (with the Rebs tired and having only 2h time limit). If that one works we should use that but alter ONLy 2 things:

1) Make Rebs not tired
2) Make time limit 150mins

Then try that. It does seem like something in the new scenario is breaking somewhere.


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"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  FlashmanKBE on Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:13 pm

A sensible sounding approach Mr Digby.
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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  Uncle Billy on Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:16 pm

I agree with Digby, it is probably a combination of the two. Although the flags do add a certain splendor to the game, they do add a significant overhead to the computers. Baldwin's computer would have been most affected since his was actually running the game. We had one extra player yesterday and that may have been one too many. I suggest we not use the combined flags mod. After our failed attempt, we played a sandbox game with Cleburne in the mix and had no problems at all. Of course that was with fewer players and no flags mod, but internet connections weren't an issue.

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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  Father General on Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:26 pm

It is very clear to me now, this problem...

This is a test of Providence, to ferret out the unfaithful. Only those of pure heart may play. I suggest you clear your internet history, repent of your sinful ways, and come to the Church of the Father General who will shew unto thee salvation which comes under the Confederate Cause.

Either that or yeah, we need to simplify things a bit and possibly cap the players per scenario.

Scenario designers ought to build with these caps in mind.

Getting everyone on the same page is best. We should have a sticky that is constantly updated. In the sticky, in the very top post, which can (should be edited) we should spell out the same settings (i.e. full screen not windowed) for each player to conform as well as links to important mods. Each scenario briefing will tell players to which mods to enable.

As scenarios are designed, we will take care to suggest what units can best be managed by AI or the commander versus which slots need human players. And we cap the humans at 8 (8-9?).

Finally, we need to a point man dialogue with NSD to share our experience with them, so they can identify issues and patch them up.

It's either that for Sunday Service with the Father General... You decide. LOL

-N-
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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  Blaugrana on Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:45 pm

Bagsy not be the contact person with NSD, going on Reb Bugler's recent post:

"Lately I have been on a tear against one faction of the MP community for messing up certain aspects of the game by making demands, creating bad PR, and forcing us, the SOW team, to comply with said demands"

Shocked
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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  FlashmanKBE on Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:49 pm

For the love of God, no player caps! Preposterous!
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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  Blaugrana on Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:57 pm

Are there any other trade-offs that would improve resilience? eg, graphics quality, uniforms etc.

I'm using Game Booster. I hope this speeds up my game on my PC. Would more people using the same be a good thing?

I'm hoping to get fibre-optic broadband one day. Should I instead be looking at a desktop PC instead of a laptop?

There are so many variables and I don't know the relative weight of each factor.
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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  Mr. Digby on Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:21 pm

We have nothing to go to NSD over. They would just say its the internet connections.

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"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  Baldwin1 on Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:31 pm

We played with just as many flags the week before so it's neither the combined flags or the scenario. By process of elimination it is likely someones connection or a mod that needs re-installing. Even in our Sandbox game I crashed out with 5 min or so to go so you never know, it was just a strange day. Plus once the two mentioned players had left the game the clock started running at normal speed. I am working with Cleburne to find if it crashes after a re-install.

Maybe we all restart our computers before any big game. I am against a player cap, unless we see gametimes slowing to half that of real time speed, which is not the case atm. As an original player when the game first came out the MP has always been very difficult as far as crashes and disconnects sometimes taking 2hrs like Neal stated to get a game started. When there is a straight CTD there is no way to find the source of the problem from the game logs.
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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  Uncle Billy on Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:05 pm

Blaugrana wrote:
I'm hoping to get fibre-optic broadband one day. Should I instead be looking at a desktop PC instead of a laptop?
If playing SOW is a priority, absolutely. A dedicated graphics card and quad core cpu will make an enormous difference for you.

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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  Martin on Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:04 pm

I'm sure that's worthwhile. Yet Cleburne (and I) played the first iteration of the Father General's scenario last week without any problem, flags and all.

I've been on to Virgin re my broadband, and there may be light at the end of the tunnel. They have diagnosed a fault with my connection which a technician is due to come and fix tomorrow.

Apparently it's a power issue with our downstream. It should be somewhere in the middle of the range -6 to +10, and it's actually +12. I don't really understand it, but they seemed quite certain it was the problem. That may mean something to some of you. Here's hoping anyway..........

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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  Father General on Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:25 pm

Whatever happens, I think a sticky with the settings, links and so on is a good way to ensure up-to date conformity before we start. There are a lot of things we can't control, but I know I wasted about 5 minutes or more of everyone's game time getting MY act together. If we can save 5 minutes, then hey, that's 5 minutes less wait to kill Unionists.

I'm looking forward to the retry.

-N-
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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  Martin on Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:28 pm

Father General wrote:Whatever happens, I think a sticky with the settings, links and so on is a good way to ensure up-to date conformity before we start.
Yes indeed. We are trying to arrange that.

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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  Martin on Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:13 pm

Martin wrote:It does seem to me that for the larger scenarios, we should absolutely ensure the host has the best possible connection. We are lucky that we have a number of hosts with good broadband (John, Baldwin, Kevin etc). If no-one has any objections, perhaps we should establish who has the best speed in terms of upload, download, ping etc?
I posted this suggestion a few days ago but no-one has responded. Do people thnk this is good idea? If not, why not?

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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  Mr. Digby on Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:38 pm

I'm not sure its important, Martin. We are very limited to who can host and its usually John, Kevin or Baldwin and that's our limited choice.

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"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  Blaugrana on Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:40 pm

Martin wrote:
Martin wrote:It does seem to me that for the larger scenarios, we should absolutely ensure the host has the best possible connection. We are lucky that we have a number of hosts with good broadband (John, Baldwin, Kevin etc). If no-one has any objections, perhaps we should establish who has the best speed in terms of upload, download, ping etc?
I posted this suggestion a few days ago but no-one has responded. Do people thnk this is good idea? If not, why not?

Martin
I think it's a good idea, but I know nothing about this arcane and complex matter. It can't hurt to know who's is fastest Smile

Are you not now one of our fastest potential hosts, Martin?
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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

Post  Martin on Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:02 pm

Mr. Digby wrote:I'm not sure its important, Martin. We are very limited to who can host and its usually John, Kevin or Baldwin and that's our limited choice.
I don't *think* that's right Diggers, though I must admit I'm not certain. What's in my mind is a post from someone at NSD in the early days - it may even have been Norb. It said something along the lines that "the host for a MP game should be absolutely the person with the fastest connection". Cannot vouch for the exact wording but I do remember the use of the word absolutely.

If the statement is correct, for larger scenarios we should always aim to go with the fastest available on the day. Indeed it may make sense to schedule events with that in mind. Even if we are limited to John, Kevin or Baldwin, then it would be useful to know in which which priority to use them. We are lucky to have all of them in the group in any case, and I'm sure they will all continue to host for us.

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Re: Heartbreaking afternoon

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