Some thoughts on people dropping during the game

By on May 21, 2009 3:45:47 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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Recently I posted a blog asking what people’s speed test rating:

http://frogboy.impulsedriven.net/article/351550/Whats_your_speedtest_rating

Lots of interesting data there.

Most people tend to only think about their download speeds and little about their upload speeds. But if you look, at that thread, a lot of people have marginal upload speeds as in well less than a single megabit.

Since I know I’m not a typical user, I talked to a friend of mine whose connection is about 2 megabits down but only .16 megabits up.  Looking at that thread, there are quite a few people who are getting less than a half megabit up.

Then I asked him to open up task manager in Vista and open up networking:

image

I had him add more columns so I could see the bytes sent per interval.  Turn out, he was already sending around 10k a second (bit torrent client in the background) plus a bunch of little tray items that occasionally tossed another 5k to 20k now and then.  That’s kilobytes btw.

Now, when you see that you have say a 0.2 megabit upload speed, that means your system tops out at 25k per second. 

Demigod, being a game that is synchronous (what you see on the screen is the same as what other people see) uses 1k per second up to over 20k per second as you add players.  And it’s not linear. I.e. it takes a lot more to handle 8 people than 6 people and a lot lot more to do 10 people than 8.

So let me ask you a question: What do you think the in-game behavior would look like if you’re playing someone who has an internet connection that can’t do more than 0.4 megabit upload in an 8 person game? Their sim speed would be fine. Depending on the way their system handles ping requests their ping might be fine or it might quickly jump to several seconds to respond.  Toss in some “security” programs that sniff every packet coming in to that too.

Now luckily, there are some things that can be done about this. 

First, there’s just plain awareness. Since I’m always in debug mode, whenever I get into a game that’s “stuttering” I ask if anyone is running any network programs. I usually end up finding out that someone has bit torrent running in the background but they have a “5 megabit” connection.

You know, 5 megabit like this:

image

Second, it’s pretty clear (to me anyway) that we’re going to have to make some tools that are accessible in game that will help identify people who are (need a new term) band-lagging out. They  might have a great ping (26ms for instance) but they can’t play with 8 people unless they turn off the other junk they have going on.

Third, we can look for ways to reduce the amount of data being sent across. I’m not privy to the network traffic but I do know that things like the friends list and chat windows in game and such do add to the mix.

Fourth, those who have seen people disconnect during the middle of the game can open up task manager (on Vista) and do what I asked my friend to do. It’s the type of thing that might help people with other games too. I suspect my friend’s Word of Warcraft experience will improve after I told him to turn off some of the junk he had loaded.

Two-Way education

One of the things I’ve learned during Demigod’s release is just how unaware some people are on how this stuff works.  You’ll get someone with a connection like what I showed above saying “Well, Left 4 Dead works fine!”.  Well, of course, you’re connecting to a dedicated server in a non-synced game.  A first person shooter is a totally different system than a strategy game.

I had one user I was talking to who was telling me how “broken” networking is in Demigod because every time he plays he lags out.  I asked him a few questions and eventually discovered that he has an Xbox 360 and is almost constantly downloading movies from Xbox Live.  When I brought that up, he said “But that’s on a different network cable.” 

I highly recommend looking at that thread though:

http://frogboy.impulsedriven.net/article/351550/Whats_your_speedtest_rating

It’s very educational.

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Fausterion
May 21, 2009 3:57:10 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Lovely post Frogboy!

One thing that might help with the impulse stuff is a way to log out of chat once you've logged in, rather than 'locking' it into the background (drives me nuts!)

 

Edit:  First, woot! 

 

Edit edit:  Wow, I thought I was better than this:  (wait, that's MB not KB... lol)

 

 

Edit edit edit:  One strange thing that poppedo ut at me is the way my download started really faast (50+) then dropped down to a lower speed fairly quickly...  anyone have any idea why that happened, and the reverse (upload initially slow, then topping out fast) happened?

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May 21, 2009 3:58:55 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I'm glad my abysmal 35k upload is suitable for Demigod. Even so, that is pretty standard for most of UK's ISPs unfortunately. Always about 1/10th or 1/20th of your download

 

edit: Any chance of Demigod having some sort of built in upload test? Then players might know if their connection is suitable before they jump into a 5v5. Or won't it be necessary after the  new update? Or would it show up in the ping. I don't know..

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May 21, 2009 4:02:21 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

http://www.speedtest.net/result/478720991.png

[URL=http://www.speedtest.net][/URL]

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May 21, 2009 4:07:55 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

“But that’s on a different network cable.”
Customer Service. The customer is not always right.

 

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May 21, 2009 4:10:23 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Educating people on turning their downloads off during online gaming,.. could we get a fix for favor instead?

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May 21, 2009 4:11:09 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Yeah, In early beta we had some serious discussion about how much upload demigod really required, it was easier back then when we had access to the Bandwidth command to actually see how much the game was using.

Here's my speedtest btw, Sweden ftw.

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May 21, 2009 4:12:22 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

[/URL]

I had a few things running in the background while testing, but here is mine. My upload speed is just enough to play 5vs5 Demigod just fine.

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May 21, 2009 4:14:10 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Sevenix,
Yeah, In early beta we had some serious discussion about how much upload demigod really required, it was easier back then when we had access to the Bandwidth command to actually see how much the game was using.

Here's my speedtest btw, Sweden ftw.

I'm moving to Sweden.

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May 21, 2009 4:16:56 PM from Stardock.net (Stardock Games) Stardock.net (Stardock Games)

When the user is maxing out their upload bandwidth, the excess data gets queued at the network edge (i.e. their router). After the max size of that queue is full, the router will start to drop packets like mad. Since most residential users are going to have asymmetric and many half duplex connections, when the upload queue is full, it will start to hurt downloads in the same fashion.

So, whatever protocol you guys are using should be able to notice the lack of ACKs or whatever notification mechanism is in use. It should be apparent in the missing sequence ids, etc. Then you can alert the user or take whatever action is necessary to keep the game moving along.

It's possible to mitigate most of these issues using traffic shaping on the local router for uploads... although that's probably out of scope for most end users.

 

 

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May 21, 2009 4:17:18 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Protocept00,

Quoting Sevenix, reply 6Yeah, In early beta we had some serious discussion about how much upload demigod really required, it was easier back then when we had access to the Bandwidth command to actually see how much the game was using.

Here's my speedtest btw, Sweden ftw.


I'm moving to Sweden.

I'm coming with you. lol Makes our connection looks like.. well..crap. lol

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May 21, 2009 4:17:30 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Why is demigod so bandwidth hungry? Seeing as the only thing that should be sent are state changes initiated by each player (e.g. player has moved demigod to this location), everything else - non player minions moving, towers firing is part of the sync'd simulation and not sent. I can see P2P can make the bandwidth increase exponentially as you say, but i'm not seeing where the kilobytes of data is coming from. Why is demigod so different than other RTS's in this regard.

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May 21, 2009 4:19:05 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Sevenix,
Yeah, In early beta we had some serious discussion about how much upload demigod really required, it was easier back then when we had access to the Bandwidth command to actually see how much the game was using.

Here's my speedtest btw, Sweden ftw.


 

Wow.... Sweden ftw in that case . I'm moving for the internet.

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May 21, 2009 4:19:37 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

what would be a possible action, other than kicking the player that lags due to less upload bandwidth? Most user (me too) can't get more upload speeds

 

[URL=http://www.speedtest.net][/URL]

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May 21, 2009 4:20:09 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Ron Lugge,
Lovely post Frogboy!

One thing that might help with the impulse stuff is a way to log out of chat once you've logged in, rather than 'locking' it into the background (drives me nuts!)

 

Edit:  First, woot! 

Agree on that point completely.  I noticed that it doesn't disconnect even if you close the chat window and that was my thought exactly.  Granted, IRC shouldn't use up THAT much bandwidth but I still don't see how it's necessary that it continue to be connected in the background once the user has told it to to close.

-dolynick

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May 21, 2009 4:32:55 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

My ADSL2+ 'up to' 24 meg.

 

 

Is this good enough to do '/localproxy' when combined with a core i7 CPU?

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May 21, 2009 4:53:29 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

 

Sweden ftw.  

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May 21, 2009 4:56:03 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting ,

Demigod, being a game that is synchronous (what you see on the screen is the same as what other people see) uses 1k per second up to over 20k per second as you add players.  And it’s not linear. I.e. it takes a lot more to handle 8 people than 6 people and a lot lot more to do 10 people than 8.

 

Not sure I understand the numbers here.  Are you saying 20k per second is the max bandwidth required to run Demigod?  Or are you saying it goes upto 20k per player in a 10 player game or something...please clarify.  As in give some figures of how much bandwidth the game is eating up at each of the game sizes...1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4 and 5v5.  Then players can at least learn their level.

Although I don't think it's acceptable in the long run to say that anyone with an upload bandwidth of less than 0.5 Mbits should not even attempt a 5v5.  Online 10 player games is a selling point for Demigod, and the only system requirement relating to this on the website that I can see is a 'broadband connection', knowing that many broadband connections have terrible upload speeds.  If it's impossible for a lot of players to play 4v4 or 5v5 because of this, maybe the code can be optimised?

I used to play a lot of Myth I & II on bungie.net years ago.  Back then I had a 512/256k ADSL connection, and was able to host games of up to 12 players on this, 14 at a pinch but you did notice some problems.  Someone 0.5mbit upload could host 16 players no problems.  This was with bungie hosting the lobby, but players hosting the games themselves.  Only difference to Demigod seems to be that everone just connected to the host, and his connection had to handle everything.  I know graphics have moved on over the years but that has no impact on packets sent over the internet to other gamers, what's the difference?

I've now got just over 1 Mbit upload bandwidth so I'm hoping I have no problems with a 5v5, but it's going to be a massive problem as long as one person can lag the whole game for everyone else.

Turning off Bittorrent while you're gaming is just common sense, unless you have a monster Swedish upload

Thank you for keeping up these daily journal updates though, I think it's great for the game in the long run that you keep the community informed of what's happening.

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May 21, 2009 4:59:51 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I have 0.50 mb/s how much is needed for a 5v5?

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May 21, 2009 5:07:22 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

You know,

This post is great, educational while being informative! this coupled with some of the other posts explaining the differnce between sim speed and ping were great reminders for me (i haven't played online PC games since starcraft... I play single player on the PC and multi on Xbox360.  That is, until Demigod) 

I saw this the other day, and I thought that this must be what Stardocks offices are like

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May 21, 2009 5:10:31 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Although I do not live in Sweden, the internet connections here in the Netherlands are not all that bad either.

I assume this is sufficient upload speed to use the '/localproxy' switch, although I do wonder what the lower limits are.

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May 21, 2009 5:11:28 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

A few things:

1. Speedtest.net and other speed tests are not always reliable. A lot of providers, especially cable 'net providers, will "burst" high throughput for a short time. Your various speed test sites will show more bandwidth than you can get for a sustained period.  It's good to bear this in mind. This usually, but not always, affects download speed rather than upload speed.

2. The L4D thing made me think... I wonder why a game like that can be asyncronous and client/server while a strategy game, conventional wisdom says, can't. I mean, that game is hosting 4 players (more in some game modes), requires split-second reactions and very slim delay between players, and has to keep literally hundreds of zombies in sync.

Conventional wisdom says a game like TF2 is only syncing up 16 players, or 24, or something, but that's it. A strategy game has a whole mess of computer-controlled "creeps" and stuff to keep in sync. (why it makes sense to push more data from EVERY player instead of just the server is a mystery to me, but that's the commonly listed reason) But Left 4 Dead has that problem to deal with as well.

Also, there are RTS games on consoles...I wonder if those are P2P or client/server? Most Xbox Live games, for instance, pick one player to host the game in client/server fashion. And what's worse, it's not even a dedicated server. It's the Xbox that is also playing the game for one player.

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May 21, 2009 5:14:34 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

 

Comcast in Michigan isn't ocmpletely terrible either -.-

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May 21, 2009 5:16:27 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

All people from sweden with high end PCs are now demanded to be '/localproxy' lol. Due to your vast internet superiority.

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May 21, 2009 5:34:07 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

lol yea too many people have no clue about a pc. Alot think gee let me turn it on and thats it. No if you have 75 things running in the background and you have a low to mid end pc it will run baddly on some games.I have list some where where it shows me what to keep on in taskmanager and to turn everythen else off.

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May 21, 2009 5:35:28 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Ok, I'm on DSL, too. Does this mean upload is a new system requirement? How much up do I need?

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