Well I hope you guys aren’t getting sick of these status reports. As I type this the build from last night is going up. Here’s what’s new:
- Added check in Pantheon and Skirmish games to detect if host has cancelled or all the other human players quit, and pops up a message if this happens so that you can cancel instead of being stuck. GPG is working on the other side of this fix to make it so that you won't have to cancel and the remaining human players can continue to the game.
- Tweaked NAT punchthrough settings to try and make success more likely
- Put in a proper error message for the case when the player quits rather than generic “Disconnected from NAT”
- Put in a proper error message for the case when someone who started a pantheon game quits before others get in (should largely take care of the staring at the connecting thing forever).
- Added additional check in the connection code to make sure that both players have connection data for each other before handing off the connection data to Demigod, which may prevent unidirectional
- Fixed the connection dialog to refresh the players connecting more aggressively.
- Optimized Friends list code for people with no friends
- Messages for Disconnected from NAT facilitator now contain more useful information (disconnected because game was cancelled, game has already started, etc)
- Reduced delay before allowing people in the lobby, which may cause more people to get in the lobby without being connected to all players.
- Fixed an incompatibility between Direct3D and the Overlay which would cause players to crash, particularly on alt-esc.
- Ground work for UDP Proxy, you should notice connections being faster and better if you’re in Europe.
This update should hit Impulse later tonight. As you can tell by the change log, this is really an interim update. We have a much more significant update in testing but we didn’t want to wait until that build was ready to get a new build out there that improves things.
A preview of what’s next:
I can’t promise that we’ll have another update tomorrow. There’s a lot of coordination that has to take place between GPG and Stardock and we’re 3 hours apart time-zone wise. But let me give you a head’s up on things we’re pretty close on:
- Taking care of the timing problem where player says they’re connected to everyone but they don’t get into the game. It’s a timing issue that’s hard to replicate but it doesn’t happen for us under normal circumstances. But it is probably the #1 issue for those who don’t have NAT issues. This really shows up in pantheon and skirmish games in particular (a player has left the game – right at the start).
- Custom Game player queuing. You set up a game, someone joins, another person joins but they have a yellow ping. That’s because they didn’t know about the other player. This is something that if we had another few hours would have been in tonight’s update.
- Experienced players not getting AI players in skirmish/pantheon. This has been a lot trickier to do than it might seem because we really are trying to keep expert players from just reaping havoc on relatively inexperienced players. The consensus seems that people would rather have the touch players against them than AI so we’re going to broaden things.
So those are the 3 things we are hoping to deliver tomorrow. You may have noticed there aren’t a lot of “bug fixes” here. That’s been the most challenging thing here. Like I say in the video below, launching Demigod has been practically like launching an ISP for us in terms of infrastructure. What once seemed like a simple matter of tossing up a NAT negotiator that puts people into games has really become a lot more than that. Our fault of course, we couldn’t leave good enough alone and had to have the Pantheon and the smart Skirmish mode and such but I think in the long run it’ll be worth it.
In defense of Peer to Peer
One thing I really want to stress here is that there is nothing inherently wrong with peer-to-peer. Supreme Commander is peer-to-peer and it works fine. The difference, of course, is how they were released. Digital distribution is a godsend in most ways but having people from around the world playing together immediately has created a lot of the challenges that we must overcome. That’s an over simplification here I just don’t want to see people bashing Gas Powered Games for choosing to make Demigod P2P. They’ve had great success with it in the past and Demigod will soon be up to speed as well.
My point is, GPG has a lot of experience in this area with a proven game (Supreme Commander) that demonstrates that this works. They know their stuff.