What an exciting day! I've spent literally the last 40 or so hours playing Demigod on-line or working with people on the Demigod in game chat to show them how to debug some issue or other with either their PC, their router, or some flaw in Demigod.
For those of you having trouble getting multiplayer games going, I apologize.
You know, funny thing about running a game developer/publisher. You look at every game that launches with some multiplayer connectivity problem or some server overload problem or whatever and think "Good grief, didn't they see this coming!?" Well, it turns out apparently that no, no matter how well prepared you think you are, there are always going to be issues.
While I can say that there are, even as I type, many hundreds of people playing online together, mostly in Skirmish and Pantheon games, there are many hundreds of others having trouble connecting to people in custom games or having skirmish or pantheon doing something odd due to the server overload.
We are working to address it and what I mean by that is that we intend to release another update this week to deal with as much of what we've found as possible.
It's too early to tell whether Demigod is going to match the success Sins of a Solar Empire has enjoyed. But we're pretty happy with early sales even if we're not totally satisfied with the game's network performance (which is not developed by GPG but by Stardock so don't blame GPG).
With the first official day of the game's availability almost over, I'd like to give you a status report on 4 critical issues we're working on addressing:
#1 Custom Games. The lobby and the NAT connection are seperate which, in hindsight, wasn't an ideal design decision. It's something that can be addressed but it'll take some days to do it. Basically, the connection system needs to be more like a lobby where the host can eject users who have problematic setups, slow ping times, etc. In any other game, if you create a game and you see a user who's got a slow ping, you'd eject them probably. But here, they have to first connect to everyone else. And that assumes their router isn't set up like fort knox whicha lot of users clearly have.
#2 You're connected but not in the game. This appears to be a genuine bug on our part. We're looking to address this and with any luck we'll be able to provide an updated build today or tomorrow. This is a very frustrating problem for users.
#3 The Pantheon / Skirmish games create uneven teams and such. This is mostly due to a lack of data for the system to work off of. When it was developed, it had a ton of beta tester win loss data to create balanced teams. Plus, from a "fun" point of view it was designed to try to get a skilled player versus 2 or 3 unski-er less experienced players as we found that pretty fun during the beta but the problem is, with everyone starting out with the same rating, it ends up with some bad results. This situation will iron itself out in the next couple of days on its own but now you know why it's happening.
#4 Server Load. We can't complete this list without talking about the overall server load Demigod's Pantheon and community features are using. A lot of this is simply volume but part of this is just finding areas where certain calls were being made too often. This will take a bit of time to address but I expect by the end of the week it'll be pretty responsive if not sooner.
As some of you know, we're all over the forums and on the chat channels hanging out.
So how can we make any of this up to you? Well, we've decided one way is to expand on something that our partners at Ironclad (developers of Sins of a Solar Empire) really got going when Sins came out and that is put a lot of "Stardockians" online to play multiplayer games with people later this week.
These Stardockians will be on to help show people how to play the game, give them tips and provide just a good online experience. For people who found themselves trying to get a game going today and couldn't due to server overloads or network connectivity, you'll be able to get a good game going with us.
Thanks for your patience. We'll keep you up to date!
Brad "Frogboy" Wardell
President / CEO of Stardock
p.s. I'm on the chat channels if anyone needs me. Though I do plan to get some sleep in the next few hours once we have made some progress on an updated DLL for improving network connectivity.