Last week we saw some more reviews of Demigod. G4’s Xplay gave us 4 out of 5. Gamervision gave us a 9.5 out of 10, GameZone gave us an 8.7 ouf of 10 and a number of other positive reviews that I don’t have handy also came out.
Despite that, the custom game experience of Demigod has remained an exercise in frustration. The skirmish games seem to be working better but largely because it’s picking 2 on 2 games with only occasionally 3 on 3 games.
So why is this so hard to nail down? And what is being done to solve it?
Some people are blaming Peer to Peer as the source of the pain. But most RTS’s use some form of P2P. What makes Demigod different?
The biggest difference is the form in which Demigod takes its P2P. In a game like Warcraft 3, the players route their traffic through the host. Hence, some people can join Warcraft games but can’t host them. Now you know why.
Supreme Commander is the same P2P model as Demigod and it works pretty well. The difference, however, is that most SupCom games are duels (1 vs. 1) and when they’re teams they’re 2 on 2. This tends to hide the complexity of the system. By contrast, in Demigod, people expect to do 4 on 4 games or 5 on 5 games and it’s a significant challenge to connect them all reliably.
On Friday, the team implemented a new system to try to make setting up the connections more orderly. After 3 days of working on it internally with great results, it was released and promptly blew up requiring us to replace it with an alternative update we had “just in case”.
I read a lot of the comments on the forums and I can say we share the frustration others have. Developer Gas Powered Games is working hard on their end and we are working hard on our end to resolve the issues.
Start the next pantheon tournament and continue to tweak how it works to satisfy the largest % of players.
Found and fixed the cause of negative favor points. Favor points should now work though we need another client update to store purchased favor items.
We got a new build of Demigod from Gas Powered Games that aims to address:
· Eradicates once and for all the problem where one person disconnecting or lagging would cause the peer-to-peer networking to unravel, collapse, and spawn multiple games. This is cross-functional for all matchmaking setups (LAN, Skirmish, Pantheon, Custom).
· Introduces a cumulative tolerance timer of 30 seconds for each player, which gives shaky connections better opportunities to stay connected, and eventually culls serious problem connections.
· Reintroduces an informational UI for players that lets them know who is having a connection problem, and what their cumulative timer is up to. It is important to note that this UI is NOT Interactive, merely informative. It is also a bit ugly, but compared to not giving players information, this is the much lesser evil. If need be we can revisit later for UI improvements as that is much lower priority than the information it presents.
Meanwhile, Stardock worked with the developer of the network library it uses (Raknet) to find a way to make connecting players not be flakey. The bad news is that it increasingly looks like problems are resulting from timing issues in the complex system of handing off sockets between Raknet to Impulse/Demigod.
UDP Proxy server code implemented internally with testing expected to begin on Thursday.
In the forums
We are also going to start some pinned topics on things we to expand the game with (for free) as the connectivity mess gets sorted out.
Topics will be:
- New Demigod #1
- New Demigod #2
- How do you want Clans to work
- Group Joins