Demigod: Day 6 Status Report!

By on April 21, 2009 5:57:51 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
+1098

image Greetings!  Tons of different things to talk about today so bear with me.

Based on the logs, multiplayer is working pretty decently for most people but for others it is completely broken.  A program called Game Ranger has helped a lot of people but there’s a lot of warez users on there.

Let’s talk about the pirates

I’ve read a lot of misconceptions out there. First, no, we very much don’t like it when people pirate our stuff.  Our position has simply been that people are going to pirate a game whether it has draconian copy protection or not and the people who will buy a PC game will buy it and the people who won’t won’t. 

The first few days of Demigod being miserable on-line was largely the result of us simply not having taken into account the effect pirated copies would have on our server resources. So we had to scrounge servers and get users onto there.

Once we got legitimate users onto the servers that were isolated from the infrastructure that was being pounded on by the pirates, the connection situation improved dramatically as you know.

It’s easy and convenient to blame piracy for the launch debacle of Demigod but that would be inaccurate. Even had Demigod had some nasty copy protection on the DVD, it would still have been cracked and this problem would have come up anyway.

So contrary to what some have said, Stardock’s anti-copy protection stance is not the cause the first few days of Demigod’ connectivity. More like, our inexperience in publishing multiplayer-centric games caused us to underestimate the server infrastructure needed.

We do not intend to change our policy on copy protection. This leads us to the next part.

Understanding how Stardock supports games

Our “copy protection” is to treat our games as a service rather than a product.  Those of you who have our non-games like Object Desktop or Multiplicity know what I speak of.

That is, we keep releasing updates to our games for a long time.  Our publishing agreement with Gas Powered Games includes game updates to the game for at least a year. And after that, we still expect to release updates.

Once the multiplayer connectivity stuff is straightened out, we can start to talk about the kinds of things we can add like team based joining, how clan support should be, what kinds of items people would like to see, what kinds of additional demigods people want, and so on.

But our first priority has to be to those users who find connectivity flakey or just plain non functional. They paid $40 for a game and we have an obligation to help them before we start adding in new features and such.

Stardock’s business model is that our titles generate revenue over a long period of time rather than in the first 90 days. So we look at our journey with you being at the very beginning.

Why we love the community

Another thing that really keeps us going is just how wonderful the community is.  Obviously, it should be clear by now that we weren’t anticipating the kinds of connection challenges some people have run into. Our guys have been working with the guys at Gas Powered Games night and day on resolving them. 

I can assure you that Gas Powered Games is as interested as we are in making sure problems people run into are solve quickly.  Not in some patch a month from now but like updates in a matter of days.

But what really also has made this experience a bit amazing is just how great the community has been to us.  One user (OrleanKnight) sent our team a box of Mrs. Fields cookies.  Other users have sent us cards and pictures their kids have made of various Demigods.  How can you not love such a group of people?

Let’s face it, you guys just rock out there.

Getting the next update out

We’re going to start to try to be a bit more careful about how quickly we put out updates. The last update went out without updating the pantheon security checks to support the new version which resulted in most games not being counted. That’s the kind of thing that haste brings.

That said, as I type this, the team is working on an interim update to Demigod.  It doesn’t “Fix” connectivity issues one way or the other but does provide better error messages (and we still have work there).

For example, one “Fix” that still needs to go in is the “Failed to join game” message in custom games. What it should say is “Game is full”. But a lot of frustration people run into is in the kinds of error messages that are shown (or lack there of). 

I’m pretty sure this update tonight does start to wean experienced users off of AI players in skirmish and pantheon. At the very least, it has the support so it can become a server side change tomorrow.

Eliminating the connection issue

For those who can’t connect (you know who you are) the solution will be the UDP proxy servers. They spent a lot of time today getting them up and starting to test them to see how they work.  Unfortunately, it’s not something that can be done overnight. The team says later in the week they hope to have it ready.

But what that will do is alter Demigod from a peer-to-peer game to a quasi-client-server game that maintains the peer-to-peer performance.  If there are any IT people reading this, feel free to explain to lay people the significance of being able to do this in a couple of days without having to change the game client.  

Long Term

For us, Demigod is a long term commitment. So people who worry about this being like a typical release and move on type thing need only to look at our other games.  We will be continuing to work to ensure Demigod evolves over time.  I look forward to having official tournaments between individuals, clans, etc.  So there is definitely a lot to look forward to.

If any of you have any questions, just comment here and I’ll do my best.

Cheers!

 

Evening update

Just wanted to give you a head's up that we're not going to put out the update tonight. We have it staged but there is a concern about releasing it and then having the team go home in the event there is some unknown problem. So we're going to put this up tomorrow afternoon. Stay tuned.

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April 21, 2009 6:03:17 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Great news, I can see this gaming only getting better with time.

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April 21, 2009 6:08:03 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Does the server patch tonight, that fixes pantheon profiles not updating, fix the negative/wonky favor points issue?

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April 21, 2009 6:11:16 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Well great update Frogboy, much appreciated. Looking forward the extra messages we will get when online, and especially the proxy servers - I presume these will make the games connectivity similar to all the other RTS's out there.

Once the multiplayer connectivity stuff is straightened out, we can start to talk about the kinds of things we can add like team based joining, how clan support should be, what kinds of items people would like to see, what kinds of additional demigods people want, and so on.

Please dont forget the replay system. There is a competitive community out there you know

lol and how nice of Orlean!

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April 21, 2009 6:14:37 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Please add custom mod support in the future.

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April 21, 2009 6:19:20 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Ok, connectivity is the top issue right now.

But what about the other issues? I for one I'm still figuring things out in single player, so I haven't even tried to connect to an online game. Yet I can still see that the UI can be significantly enhanced (e.g. I cannot heal using Sedna simply because I cannot aim at anything during a battle; I don't know how many of my summons are still alive). And I know there are many suggestions on the forums. And that you guys eventually take user feedback and turn it into much welcome game changes.

 

My question is, when?

 

P.S. Not that your efforts are not appreciated or anything. But I wanted to remind you guys you're not off the hook after you fix the networking stuff

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April 21, 2009 6:22:32 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Good to hear that connectivity is still a top priority.

Using GameRanger, I can usually play a game without any problems. But there are so many pirates, at least 8:1. It's sometimes hard for me to get a game going.

Anyway, I hope the peer-to-peer network stuff that Impulse and GPG are working on gets a release this week. But it seems awfully ambitious to basically change all of the underlying infrastructure of a game in just 1 week and expect it to work. Especially if you guys plan on doing a real quasi-client-server model with region-specific servers. Setting up servers locally is one thing... getting them setup in Australia, Europe and here in Asia is a whole 'nother problem. Good luck guys! Do your best...

 

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April 21, 2009 6:25:47 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I seem to get alot more success with connecting to a game and getting it started without anyone dropping at the beginning if I 'right-click' and "Run as Administrator" (using Vista).

Am I just imagining this or could there be something to it?

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April 21, 2009 6:28:14 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

No questions just a "Thank You" for the update as these are appreciated.

 

Cheers; Snarl

 

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April 21, 2009 6:33:26 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I'm looking forward to the proxies, hopefully they'll let me connect. Do you plan to do a test with people who have connection problems now to verify that they actually solve the problem?

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April 21, 2009 6:35:00 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I'd be quite interested to hear how it is that the turnaround times for updates are so quick. Is it just that you have very good people hacking at it in non-stop crunch-time mode, or do you have particular practices or systems in place that are a particular help here?

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April 21, 2009 6:42:27 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I have to say, this is my first experience with a Stardock product, and despite the issues that have occurred along the way, I can state that you guys are one of the best gaming companies I have ever had the privelage of being a customer of.

I played WoW for about 3 years and every time there was an issue there was always the answer of "soon" or "we're working on it", without any specifics.  It was almost as if these fixes were some sort of privelaged information that we didn't deserve to know, even though we were the paying customers.

Now I'm seeing almost daily status reports, complete with estimated completion dates for fixes, as well as explanations for WHY things are happening the way they are.  All of this from a game that doesn't even have a monthly subscription fee.


Bravo, Frogboy.  Keep up the fantastic work!  If you guys support all of your games this well I can assure you that I'll be looking into more of your products in the future!

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April 21, 2009 6:44:38 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Telling friends to buy game when Clan Wars come out.

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April 21, 2009 6:50:58 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Thanks for the update.

Can you sticky this thread - http://forums.demigodthegame.com/347470 - You have a connection issue? Tell me!

It is probably the best way you guys will know what problems people are having and it is also the only way the community can contribute the helping solve the connectivity issue but it always ends up in the bottom of the page which it shouldn't.

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April 21, 2009 6:59:41 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

this reads kinda as it would work for most users..  i dont think it is really that way..
if it works for most users and like 18k are playing (you said before if i got that right) where are all the games then ?

if you go on custom games there are like a handful, or at least not more then 20 games open.. it would be more if it would work good for "most of the players"

 

I can connect... but i got another problem - i played almost without problems on 15/16/17/18 april ... but after 17. of april my games (rated games - quickmatcher) didnt get counted anymore..

and in my profile it says winstreak 6 and total games 2... how can that be possible? and games are still not rated - played 1 quickmatch yesterday... and the ladder seems weird still.

 

 

and whats about the other bugs ? 

- if you host a custom game and tab out into windows (alt - tab)  and tab in some time later demigod has a reproducable high risk to crash... this is not only on my system (very fast one, with very fast connection)  its on other pcs too and its reproducable.

 

- sometimes your general/assasin gets bugged and doesnt take a command or doestn use a skill by clicking on it.. you have to rightclick somewhere to move him then, and after that you can use that skill again / its works again... (several players had that.. kinda annoying if this happens in wrong moment even if its rare)

 

- ladder isnt working correctly.. it doesnt count all games ...

 

- its possible to farm favor points with KI in online matches.. so if you create a fast game and play against easy KI on 3k domination setting you get like 150 favor in like 7 mins... kinda unfair disadvantage to those who play real and play like 30 mins multiplayer to get those 150 favor points ? (and thats only if you win - otherwise quite less)

 

- a well played general with those "minion abuse" buying monks and siege archers and selling those items again etc. is kinda unstoppable at beginning..  running around with 4 - 6 minions + your private ones is quite strong and not intended i think ?
 a well played healer (healing wind, minions + yetis + heal)  or oak (hp back each hit..)  is even harder..

 

 

 

sry guys, but i think there is ALOT of work to do.. i dont think rebuilding gameranger wont fix most problems... even i gameranger there are timeouts..

and even if i can connect (got ports forwarded and a 30 MBIT connection with 1 MBIT upload here in germany.. ping 20 to google)  it sometimes takes forever if i search a quickmatch... if i wouldnt have my TV and laptop next to me i wouldnt stand waiting so long each search.. that just plain sucks, even if it works.

 

+ this game seems  to have some serious upload issues like showed before... it sometimes produces up to 35+ kilobyte/sec upload.. which is way too much for a game like this...    default 1 mbit connection with 128 kbit/sec upload cant play.. and even 2 mbit with 256 gets in trouble sometimes... > lags out, over.   and  there are ALOT of 2 mbit connections in germany..

 

 

i could continue this list for a while - like.. where is arranged team quicksearch?
whats if i want to start a "quick" match with my mate against other players ?
i always have to host.. and that takes time.. at the moment even quite alot of time.

 

 

so please dont tell me it works quite fine for the most players... i dont know a single demigod player who has zero problems, and i talked to players from germany, usa and france... even with my fast connection, forwareded ports and possibility to connect it doestn run smooth.. 

 

 

greets,

DarkMessiahDE

www.teamcyclone.de

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April 21, 2009 7:05:54 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Can't wait for the connectivity issues to be worked out(not that ive had any problems), so we can get into the fun updates.

Have a round on me. You guys deserve it.

 

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April 21, 2009 7:06:25 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting ,

Based on the logs, multiplayer is working pretty decently for most people...  

 

I'm sorry, but I find this hard to believe. Last week there was a post saying Demigod has around 18,000 legid players. If multiplayer is working for most people, where is everybody? There are never more than 20 custom games available; It also takes half a day to successfully play a skirmish or pantheon game.

2 of my friends also bought the game last week: One is located in Germany, the other in San Francisco, and I am living in France. All of us followed Monk's guide and forwarded ports, however we have yet to play a single game together (I know there is an issue with players from different continents). Even if my friend from Germany and I try to set up an EU only game, there is about a 90% chance the game won't start. There is always someone who gets the usual "NAT facilitator" message or Time out.

I know you guys are working hard and I keep my fingers crossed that the proxy servers will solve the problems, but there is no way the current multiplayer is smooth-sailing for most people. It's just frustrating.

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April 21, 2009 7:07:12 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

one important thing:

if it works well - why is someone with 2 wins and 2 losses played at second spot of the demigod overall player rankings ?

 

http://pantheon.demigodthegame.com/rankings/overall/

 

do you really wanna tell me it works correctly ?
if yes: someone with 4 games and 50% win is the second best demigod player worldwide in your ranking ?
if not: why are you telling us its working fine "for most players"..

 

if it would be working fine for many players  NO ONE with 4 games would be on second ladder spot..
its more like its working for NO ONE - if it would work first spots would have quite a lot of games.. but they dont have.

 

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April 21, 2009 7:07:53 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

But what really also has made this experience a bit amazing is just how great the community has been to us.  One user (OrleanKnight) sent our team a box of Mrs. Fields cookies. 

Bad idea mentioning that. Might give people ideas. You do want your programmers to be able to fit through the door don't you?

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April 21, 2009 7:09:42 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Thank you very much for the update.

I love seeing updates everyday so I know things are getting done, and rather quickly I might add.

I'm looking forward to the proxy servers because I am one of those people who cannot connect to a single Custom Game, and have problems connecting via Pantheon and Skirmish the past few days.

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April 21, 2009 7:21:46 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Thx from EU, guys!

Great community, no bad manners (3 days playing and everything's ok ).

Have Fun!

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April 21, 2009 7:22:42 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

For evidence of long term support, just look at Gal Civ 2.  Game has been out over 3 years (going on 4) and they still provide free goodies in updates and bug fixes from time to time.  And they actually announced that a decent sized update was coming soon once the Demigod release quiets down.  This is to a game that is 3 years old!

Trust me, Stardock (and GPG) will support Demigod for a long, long time with updates, bug fixes and goodies.

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April 21, 2009 7:23:03 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Thanks for the update!

It's nice to know that you're aware of the issues and are working to fix them. Other otherwise stellar publishers often clam up in similar situations, making players wonder what's going on, and it is quite refreshing to have constant communication and support from stardock.

I think Demigod is a great game, and I'm glad to see you intend to stick with it for the long haul. I think that will pay off nicely for you.

This sort of thing makes stardock one of my favorite game companies, and why I have never and will never pirate one of your titles (although I don't pirate anyway but if I did, I'd never pirate yours.). Keep up the good work!

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April 21, 2009 7:25:46 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting uing226,

quoting post
Based on the logs, multiplayer is working pretty decently for most people...  

 

I too have some questions about this.  Does this refer to games that are actually played?  I.e., once into a game there are no disconnects, etc.  Or does this refer to the entire MP experience.  If so, I feel like I must be doing something wrong then.  I  followed Monk's instructions and yet I spent 2 hours last night trying to get into a Partheon game.  Eventually I got into a Skirmish game so it works sometimes for me.  What would be the problem on my end?  I even took the router out and connected to my cable modem directly.  So frustrating.

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April 21, 2009 7:30:50 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Greatly appreciate these daily updates Frogboy.  I would also like to echo DalzK by saying that a replay system would be most appreciated!

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April 21, 2009 7:39:08 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Sweet with an update once again, one question though.

 

You mentioned in the weekend status post this:

"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. "

 

As I think my connection problems has something to do with that, I'm a little discouraged that all you mention about the connectivity issues, are the proxy servers.

Is this fix for the NAT stuff you mentioned in the weekend still in the works??

And yes, I know very little about networks

 

Thanks !

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