Demigod: Weekend status

By on April 17, 2009 11:11:14 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Draginol

Join Date 03/2001
+102

Well, what a dramatic week it’s been. The teams at Stardock and GPG have been burning the midnight oil this week.

As those of you who have the game can already see, the server issues are gone. We’ve recreated a duplicate of the server infrastructure we had but dedicated to users who have the most recent version of the game and a valid CD key (serial #).

Based on the logs, we are seeing lots of games being played on-line now.  Yay. Average game has approximately 4.7 humans in it which is a good sign.

Some clarifications

I’ve seen a lot of news articles this week and a lot of confusion about what occurred this week. The issue isn’t terribly complicated.

Ars Technica had a good article that describes what happened.  But still, a lot of people seem to think warez users are able to play multiplayer games. No, they can’t.  Even the retail box has a serial # in it that users have to use and be validated to play online.  What brought down servers was a lot more benign than that.  It was the HTTPS requests to inform users if there was a new version along with checking the community features for info (friends lists, chat channels, etc.) and things like that.  Things like that are pretty piddly. It’s only when you get a ton of users doing that at the same time that it becomes a problem as we saw.

But here’s the thing: While piracy is annoying, you can’t blame piracy for this problem. Let’s face it, there’s plenty of data out there about how many pirated games are being played. We should have looked at that.  We assumed since Sins of a Solar Empire and Galactic Civilizations, both of which sold extremely well and got great reviews, that the # of pirated copies of Demigod in use would probably be in the same ballpark, maybe twice as much.  But had we looked at what other publishers have said, we would have known that it’s not unusual for there to be hundreds of thousands of warez copies in use. And if we had, we could have simply had the retail version not have any HTTP calls in it and instead just had an update button on the main menu to check for updates and voila, problem solved.

The second misconception is the argument that because Demigod’s retail version is heavily pirated that it costs massive sales. But that, again, puts the blame on the wrong parties.  If you want to talk about the horrible multiplayer experience on launch day, well, that’s our fault because of what I said above.  If you want to say that the horrible day 1 multiplayer experience resulted in negative game reviews which will seriously damage the game’s sales then I say again, that’s our fault too because of what I said above OR we could have just sent out the review copies on release day (Tuesday) and reviewers wouldn’t have had it until Thursday by which point the problem had largely been resolved and the review scores would have been fine. But in either case, it’s still our fault.

So now what?

Now that the servers are working fine we’re moving away from the “#$R@#@# Demigod sux!” posts and into the regular new game release issues.

So what issues are we seeing and working on? Here are a few at the top of our lists:

1. Players getting disconnected during games.  Demigod’s lag tolerance is fairly low resulting in disconnects if a player lags out a bit. This is fairly easy to fix.  You get a player in Australia playing a user in Europe and there will be times when there’s a hicup in their connection and POW, disconnect and it’s extremely frustrating.  I played all day today and it happened to me.  This is a very high priority.

2. NAT negotiation. For users outside the United States in particular using DSL, this is a problem. This is a case where player A can’t see player B and thus they can’t play together.  This is something we will be aggressively looking at next week. If we hadn’t had the server overload, we likely would have this addressed already.

3. Pantheon games.  Right now, the system is excessively biased for new players – it wants to include AI players as cannon fodder.  While this is fine and dandy for new players, once you know what you’re doing, having AI players in the game is incredibly annoying.  So next week we’re going to change it so that if you have played a few games, it will wean the player off of AI players until you only play humans online. Same for Skirmish.

4. Favor Points and such. There’s some annoying stuff happening with favor points which is related to the ranking system in Demigod as well. First off, we plan to reset the rankings at some point when we enter Epoch 1 (we are in Epoch 0 presently game-wise, I’ll explain Epochs later but in short, every so often we’re going to reset the rankings, save the results as an epoch and go from there).  In Epoch 1, custom games won’t count anymore as there’s too many ways to game it.

5. Misc. Bugs.  There was a crush bug in the game that we’ve fixed internally but it got to be too late in the evening to package it up and get it released tonight.  We have internally fixed the annoying issue of “A ppplayer has left the game” at the start of skirmish and pantheon games. Basically, when you get a new game going, there’s some data that has to be exchanged between players at the start.  But the threshold of time you’re given to do this before it decides you’re too slow is set too low so we’re changing this to be more tolerant. In our tests with players we found on the chat channel who were having problems, it took care of it. 

So that’s what we have in store for next week. After that, we can look at the typical balance requests, cheese stuff, and whatever else crops up.

Now, while the reviews are likely to have a pretty serious impact on sales, it does not affect our plans to continue to release updates and enhancements to the game nor does it affect our plans to release additional free Demigods.

For most of you, have fun this weekend!  For those of you who are having a problem with something, hang in there. We’ve got your back!

 

Draginol is my home account in case people are confused.

Brad "Frogboy" Wardell

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April 18, 2009 12:14:58 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

bump

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April 18, 2009 12:19:17 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Explains just about everything, thanks very much for the details.  Now get some sleep, for God's sake!  We need you fresh next week. 

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April 18, 2009 12:23:09 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Yeah, it's awesome that you're making notable progress. Good luck on fixes in the coming week.

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April 18, 2009 12:26:19 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Thanks.

 

I noticed if you shift+tab and add firend while in game, you drop out from the game so everyone is replaced by ai for you, and you replaced by ai for others.  Plus some bugs that've been around for a while related to gameplay.

 

/edit: actually this dropping is from when the game freezess people time out..  Adding a friend makes afreeze.

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April 18, 2009 12:33:30 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Well everyone makes mistakes and it's obvious you learned from your mistakes. Yes there are people who can't wait a couple of weeks to fix some bugs and stuff like that but then again what game has ever shipped perfect.

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April 18, 2009 12:53:28 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

AWESOME post Frogboy, it''s nice to read a post from the dev that gives opinions on the game reviews and updates on specific issues, what i mean is, its a lot better than some posts by devs in other games where all we get is a "we are aware of xx issues"

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April 18, 2009 12:55:18 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Is there a shot at getting some of the big sites like Gamespot at IGN to update their reviews in a few weeks once things are chugging along?  I know Gamespot has done that from time to time.

 

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April 18, 2009 12:55:42 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Thanks Brad.

Hang in there.  I hope Demigod does well for Stardock.  It's a great game.

 

  Oh, and don't let the pirates off the hook so easily.   In the end they are thieves plain and simple.  No need to excuse their actions and the impact they had on launch day.

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April 18, 2009 12:58:10 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Haven't purchased Demigod yet due to my PayPal balance is still processing, but constantly keeping an eye out on the forums. Looks like you guys really worked hard, and the results are showing. Good work, and get some sleep!

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April 18, 2009 1:01:21 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

GL HF

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April 18, 2009 1:06:58 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Wow. you guys are the only company that actually TAKES responsability for it's issues.

 

Very refreshing. No wonder your customers are so loyal.

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April 18, 2009 1:16:06 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I second the positive press... thanks for the update. This game is really good!

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April 18, 2009 1:18:15 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting stratobot,
Wow. you guys are the only company that actually TAKES responsability for it's issues.

 

Very refreshing. No wonder your customers are so loyal.

 

This is what makes me a fan, and what makes me so frustrated about the current situation and how SD/GPG have been slammed in the reviews.  I can't imagine how much more agravating it must be for all the devs.

Gamers who come in from the outside are rightfully skeptical and pessimistic when they're told it will all be fixed and improved.  We've all been there before more times than we'd like to admit only to be sorely dissapointed.  I only wish they understood why there is actually good cause to trust the devs this time around.

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April 18, 2009 1:18:10 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

These blog posts which you and Frogboy have been posting are what made me buy the game.  Knowing that Demigod is backed up by a dedicated publisher makes me able to completely dismiss the sub-par review scores since I know that over time the game will improve.  Keep up the great works guys, and take a break this weekend!  You've earned it!

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April 18, 2009 1:22:03 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting techubus,

This is what makes me a fan, and what makes me so frustrated about the current situation and how SD/GPG have been slammed in the reviews.  I can't imagine how much more agravating it must be for all the devs.

 

I am glad they are like that to and it is good to see them actually post, but I disagree.  This game is still missing a lot more than the broken online play (most reviewers are still idiots though).

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April 18, 2009 1:25:57 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

#4 (stuck on negative favor points) and the "A player has left the game" issue at the start of pantheon games (leaving me against bots every time) are my two biggest issues right now, although I'm experiencing them all, so I'm very happy that relief is on the way. 

 

Thanks for the communication.

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April 18, 2009 1:28:08 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Thanks a lot for the update, glad to hear straight from the team. I'm looking forward to pushing past all this repair stuff and getting on with additional content, but I can wait for the group to get a well deserved rest first,  heh.

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April 18, 2009 1:29:01 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Two issues i'd like to see some resolve on as well pweez.

 

1. Deep freeze and Mass charm both giving you cooldowns on skills you weren't even using.

 

2. Demi-gods getting stuck, I've noticed it alot with everyone but regulus and QoT. (but i've only played her once.)

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April 18, 2009 1:29:32 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

It is a shame reviewers hit you guys so hard over connectivity issues, whereas games like Dawn of War 2 got away with their joke of a matchmaking system that takes 20+ minutes to put two teams of three together, and still hasn't been fixed to this day.  This is a fun game, I hope it does well.

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April 18, 2009 2:27:52 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Thansk for the post.  I was getting more and more annoyed by these issues and no communication.  This is why I always buy Stardock games!  Yay! 

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April 18, 2009 2:42:10 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Hey if you wanna bring the dev crew over to my place in Troy, BBQ's on me!

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April 18, 2009 2:52:43 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I have so much respect for you guys. It also pains me to see the reviews that this game has been getting. I remember those same sites waiting weeks to review Socom for the ps3 because of the server problems and you guys are getting knocked for problems that were fixed in 2 days.

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April 18, 2009 2:56:43 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Still can't get into multiplayer games. Check my stats, got the game two days ago and was able to get into one online match .

 

First time Impulse/Stardock user, not too satisfied so far. The community seems to put you guys on a high pedastool, lets see what can come out of it.

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April 18, 2009 3:01:02 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

The servers died about an hour ago.

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April 18, 2009 3:28:08 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Although players can connect to MP games they are still almost unplayable.  4 FPS because of network lag is just as bad as not playing at all.  Any plans to rework the way games are netwroked so that they are playable like WC3 games?

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