Demigod: A new day

By on May 4, 2009 11:24:27 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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Our story so far...

The initial release of Demigod was marred due to us not taking into account pirates trying to get validated when we set up our network infrastructure. This resulted in the multiplayer game being basically unplayable which resulted in some pretty negative first day reviews.

48 hours later, we set up an alternative network for legitimate players, released a Demigod update and most people were able to connect - but with a big catch:

Demigod also debuted with a technology internally referred to as "Super NAT". The idea was to let people be able to connect to other people without having to mess with routers or anything.  And it worked great in theory.  In the beta, we noticed that the connection servers required a lot of resources to do their thing quickly. No problem, we added more servers and added still more again for the release.  But that turned out to have been a vast under-estimation still as it wasn't a linear progression but an exponential one.

So over the past 2 weeks, we ditched what we had and started from scratch.  Late last week, because we realized that time is of the essence, the Impulse team at Stardock got assigned to the project and we began to use Impulse tech to build something new.

The new system supports Direct Connection (which is pretty traditional - port forwarding). If that fails, it will use NAT negotiation. And if that fails it'll hook up to a series of Proxy servers to handle it.

Tonight

The proxy services will not be in tonight's build because of the lateness and we don't want to put that up and then leave for the evening only to wake up in the morning, go over to Shack News or Voodoo Extreme and see a headline "Stardock's Network becomes sentient, begins world conquest!" or something. So we'll wait until Wednesday during the daylight hours to turn that part on.

We are marking this build as a BETA still since it's so late into the evening we don't want to take any chances.

Expected Results

This update isn't the end all, be all update. This week is the week of putting this pain behind us.  Tonight's update is just the first step. Without the proxy, you'll still have people who will fail on the NAT and we are sure, given the sheer quantity of changes, that there will probably be some problem in there since we've had to take out most of the licensed code and replace it with Impulse code. But based on what we're seeing it should be much better for most people.  

If you are one of the people who it doesn't work for, hang in there.  If you are part of the majority who is having no problem with Demigod, I realize that we keep focusing on connectivity versus game enhancements or improving the Pantheon and such it's just that my first priority is to make sure everyone can play the game online as well as single player.  

The team at GPG and at Stardock are already working on v1.01 which will have the kinds of new features and such our users are used to seeing in Stardock games.  But we have felt it would be in bad taste to talk about new features while there are people who couldn't play online so I hope you understand why we've not been talking about that yet.

Testing

So now we’re testing it with people on the chat channels and learning lots of things that we can now pass on to you.

Below are some suggestions for connecting faster. You don't have to do them but they will make a huge difference in how fast you connect and how widely you can connect to other people.

First if your router has an SPI “firewall” you may find you have a better experience if you turn it off. SPI firewalls provide good protection against random packets coming in but the downside is that on some consumer routers, it will prevent you from directly connecting to another player forcing the NAT servers (which are far slower) to pick up the slack.

image

 

Next: You need to make sure your router is port forwarding to ports 6100 through 6200 to whatever IP address your computer is using.  Don’t assume your machine is that IP address because there’s a good chance it’s not.

image

 

If you do these things right, you’ll be able to DIRECT-Connect with the new Impulse Reactor we’re releasing tonight. If you don’t, it will fail over to the new Impulse Reactor NAT negotiation system we’ve been working on the past 2 weeks which is a thousand times better than what we already have out  but it will slow everyone down.

If THAT fails, then it really gets painful because then you’re going to be sent over to one of the Proxy servers. These sound great in theory and they have the nice advantage of working basically 100% of the time but it will probably take us weeks to set up enough of these to make everyone happy because we have to locate them near you otherwise lag will be high.

If you're afraid of port forwarding go here: http://www.portforward.com/

ONCE IN GAME

The next thing we’ve discovered: There is a lot of software out there now that packet sniffs.  Anti-virus programs even Google Desktop.  How do you know if something is sniffing packets on your system? The game will stutter – go for a couple seconds, then pause a bit, go for a couple seconds, pause, and so on.  There’s not much we can do on our end to stop that. You can try lowering your graphics settings but odds are, someone you’re playing has something that’s sniffing through your packets and slowing things down. And it only takes one person in the game to have this to make it stutter for everyone.

BTW, in the 10 person game we were playing, *I* was the one with the firewall applet I had forgotten to turn off that was monitoring packets. So it can happen to the best of us.

The update status

So they’re putting it together now.  It’ll still be a couple hours because of all the uploading that has to do. Everyone’s very excited.

Again: If there are any IT people hanging around reading this, I’m not a network guy but I am being told by people that the fact that the entire backend for this game has been completely re-designed and re-implemented in 2 weeks is super insane.

Once this is up, our team will be talking at length at what was learned.  What I keep being told is this: What works fine for 500 people can totally fall apart for 5,000 people and that’s what we’ve run into in a nutshell for these past 2 weeks.

Known bugs

Tonight's build does have an annoying bug in that it says Sim speed is 0 for you so you can't tell how well you're running. We've informed GPG and it'll get fixed in an upcoming update.

Favor points should acrue without a problem with tonight's build as well.  

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May 4, 2009 11:28:03 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Glad to hear the issues may finally be resolved.

Nice work

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May 4, 2009 11:28:52 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Good to know, it was alot of fun helping you test in a large 5v5 game.

-btw- what items did you use on oak, you were near invincible? I KILLED FROGBOY

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May 4, 2009 11:32:23 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

You guys are doing amazing work. 

 

 

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May 4, 2009 11:34:29 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

SD tbh

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May 4, 2009 11:38:15 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Great news!

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May 4, 2009 11:50:22 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

mmmm 5v5's I am practically frothing over the thought of it .

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May 4, 2009 11:53:42 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

This is excellent news, and while I'm not a full on IT guy, I know what a pain getting a simple LAN party working can be, so the fact you've done this much in this time frame is very impressive.  I'm looking forward to getting to play!  Even if it ends up having to be proxy servers (I have done all the firewall/port forwarding stuff, but you never know), playing is better than not.  Watch out for the rapid tower spawning Rook, it's probably me

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May 4, 2009 11:54:37 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Message me sometime and let me test ur skills Sd Staff, Ive only played and won vs [SD]Leo

 

Great to hear the patch is going as planned!!

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May 4, 2009 11:54:45 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Stupid question perhaps, but I often have a friend over and we'll both MP from here. I assume the port-range forwarding specific ranges (30 for my IP, 30 for his) using 'ImpulseReactorOptions' will still work?

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May 4, 2009 11:56:01 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

This is certainly great news, but I ran a test on my computer at Shields Up! with the SPI Firewall turned off versus on (I also have Norton Internet Security 2009 installed on this PC with firewall enabled), and the result was considerably worse after turning off the SPI Firewall in the router.  

Any comments on the loss of security by turning this off versus leaving it on?  Is the risk worth the benefit to one game?  Just looking for others input, because I have no knowledge to base a decision on.  With SPI firewall on, Shields Up! shows stealth on all ports, with it off, most ports were shown as Closed, a few were stealth and port 53 (DNS I think) was opened.  The test indicated I failed.

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May 4, 2009 11:56:25 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Awesome! Looking forward to knocking off work and downloading this update to test. I'll tripple check all of my settings to make sure I've got everything as needed and try from there.

If this works, I'm taking Friday off of work.

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May 5, 2009 12:08:32 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Awesome!  Looking forward to trying things out tomorrow. 

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May 5, 2009 12:09:33 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Execellent... you guys absolutely amaze me. The best company to grace Earth for damn sure. Thank you so much for the hard work, it is an example to all developers, companies, publishers, and so forth what a company in the right hands is capable of.

Can't wait to play some Demigod again now that everything is gliding a long smoother.

Thank you!

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May 5, 2009 12:20:58 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Trying to get into IRC to help with testing but I can't connect to irc.stardock.com for some reason.  I am fine with other servers such as gamesurge.net but not with stardock.  Any ideas? Help?

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May 5, 2009 12:22:01 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I might have missed it, but is there going to be a way to tell, in-game, what connection method you're using?  I've got a router with more options than I care to mention and an internet security suite that hides most of it's options.  I really don't want to have to guess as to whether or not all my setting changes are actually working.

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May 5, 2009 12:22:16 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting sheared,
This is certainly great news, but I ran a test on my computer at Shields Up! with the SPI Firewall turned off versus on (I also have Norton Internet Security 2009 installed on this PC with firewall enabled), and the result was considerably worse after turning off the SPI Firewall in the router.  

Any comments on the loss of security by turning this off versus leaving it on?  Is the risk worth the benefit to one game?  Just looking for others input, because I have no knowledge to base a decision on.  With SPI firewall on, Shields Up! shows stealth on all ports, with it off, most ports were shown as Closed, a few were stealth and port 53 (DNS I think) was opened.  The test indicated I failed.

I'm also interested in this answer.

 

Wow.. member numbers are displayed huh?

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May 5, 2009 12:33:07 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Sweet!! I get to bomb my finals thanks to you!!!

(like I did with my midterms when Entrenchment came out)

(JK)

-Phal

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May 5, 2009 12:36:50 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting GreySpire,
I might have missed it, but is there going to be a way to tell, in-game, what connection method you're using?  I've got a router with more options than I care to mention and an internet security suite that hides most of it's options.  I really don't want to have to guess as to whether or not all my setting changes are actually working.

Our plan is to make sure users know whether they got a direct connect, a NAT traversal connect or a proxy connect but that won't be in tonight's build.

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May 5, 2009 12:38:35 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

 Our plan is to make sure users know whether they got a direct connect, a NAT traversal connect or a proxy connect but that won't be in tonight's build.

And what about the ImpulseReactorOptions.exe?

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May 5, 2009 12:40:30 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting ccarlton,



Quoting sheared,
reply 10
This is certainly great news, but I ran a test on my computer at Shields Up! with the SPI Firewall turned off versus on (I also have Norton Internet Security 2009 installed on this PC with firewall enabled), and the result was considerably worse after turning off the SPI Firewall in the router.  

Any comments on the loss of security by turning this off versus leaving it on?  Is the risk worth the benefit to one game?  Just looking for others input, because I have no knowledge to base a decision on.  With SPI firewall on, Shields Up! shows stealth on all ports, with it off, most ports were shown as Closed, a few were stealth and port 53 (DNS I think) was opened.  The test indicated I failed.



I'm also interested in this answer.

 

me too!!

And also: do we still need to forward port 6073 from Monk's guide? 

And also: Are the port ranges configurable so that if I have 2 machines behind my router I can give each a different range so both can play DG at the same time?

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May 5, 2009 12:46:04 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting ccarlton,



Quoting sheared,
reply 10
This is certainly great news, but I ran a test on my computer at Shields Up! with the SPI Firewall turned off versus on (I also have Norton Internet Security 2009 installed on this PC with firewall enabled), and the result was considerably worse after turning off the SPI Firewall in the router.  

Any comments on the loss of security by turning this off versus leaving it on?  Is the risk worth the benefit to one game?  Just looking for others input, because I have no knowledge to base a decision on.  With SPI firewall on, Shields Up! shows stealth on all ports, with it off, most ports were shown as Closed, a few were stealth and port 53 (DNS I think) was opened.  The test indicated I failed.



I'm also interested in this answer.

 ok.. time to buy Demigod. especially with a 50% off coupon available for a second copy... (that is available for impulse purchases right?)

I've done a little research, enough that I'm going to be logging into my Firewall, setting the settings described above, play the game, then reset the settings back to secure.

Not the best steps to constantly be doing, but after some thought, not that unexpected. if I'm stealthed with all this security, how do I expect other people to play multiplayer games with me? It's not that strange to have to do some extra steps to have the other players able to see, and connect to me.

The point is that It is probably a decent idea to set these settings back to their settings after your finished. 

 

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May 5, 2009 12:46:25 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Thanks for the hard work. Been running demigod pretty good since the day i got it. Tried the port forwarding thing but my router options don't look exactly the same as pictured above (Ie mine doesn't ask from 6100 To 6200 it just gives me one slot) but i enable multicast which was not enabled before. So maybe things will get better. Went to the website for the program Frogboy appears to be using and go figure my router is not compatible. D-link DIR-615 lol. Thanks again for all the hard work Stardock is putting into this (and GPG)

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May 5, 2009 12:59:37 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting dyingsole,
Thanks for the hard work. Been running demigod pretty good since the day i got it. Tried the port forwarding thing but my router options don't look exactly the same as pictured above (Ie mine doesn't ask from 6100 To 6200 it just gives me one slot) but i enable multicast which was not enabled before. So maybe things will get better. Went to the website for the program Frogboy appears to be using and go figure my router is not compatible. D-link DIR-615 lol. Thanks again for all the hard work Stardock is putting into this (and GPG)

There is "single port forwarding" and "port range forwarding".  Single port forwarding lets you type in a single port.  Port range lets you type in a range.  Look around some more on your router options and you might find the port range forwarding.  Unless the router is really old it probably is there.  If it is not and you are patient, you can type in all 100 ports 1 port at a time   Try looking for applications or gaming mode or other such names to find the port range forwarding.

As for multicast - make sure you are *not* filtering multicast.  Most routers, checking the box means to enable filtering and so you would want to *not check* the box.  Read your option very carefully to make sure you get it the right way.

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May 5, 2009 1:20:33 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting bman654,
Are the port ranges configurable so that if I have 2 machines behind my router I can give each a different range so both can play DG at the same time?

I would also like to know the answer to this question. A friend and I have been playing Demigod online from beind a single external IP and we have had lots of problems with connecting into the lobby and seeing 0s (not connected problem) having to leave and join the lobby several times before a connection actually gets created... Sometimes I was unable to connect to people he could connect to and vis versa and yet we were on the same connection!

Right now using ImpulseReactorOptions.exe, I have forwarded 6100-6150 to my computer and 6151-6200 to his computer.

Should I be doing anything differently moving forward to accommodate us both on the same connection?

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May 5, 2009 1:24:41 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

do you know if there is a multicast option on the dlink DGL-4500

i didnt see it in the firewall section, so should i assume thats off

i dont have connection issues I THINK as i see "connected to" alot when games are starting under my name, but wanna make sure its as smooth as possible

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