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Demigod November Q & A

By on November 2, 2009 3:57:12 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
+1478

Big thinks to Pacov for putting this together.

 

Q: Demigod has been out 6 months. What would you say are it’s biggest strengths at this point?

A: The game mechanics are extremely good.  I would say it is the strategy game to beat when it comes to setting up a weekend LAN game with friends. Any other game I’d want to play would take hours of explaining the ins and outs to friends to get them to be remotely competitive.  In Demigod, you can get people together quickly who can play the game.

At the same time, the game still allows for a huge difference between skilled players and new players. The big thing for me though is that someone can play Demigod with only a few minutes to practice.

Q: What are its weakest areas? What areas are you most disappointed?

A: I’m a glass is half empty kind of guy. So I tend to always be the dark cloud on this kind of thing.  For me, the most annoying thing is playing online. It’s an age old problem though that is really brought out in Demigod because it’s so multiplayer centric.

Specifically, you get online and into a game only to realize someone has Bit torrent running in the background making the game lag for everyone because the game has to be in sync.

Then you have the people who blame P2P for that problem. No, it has nothing to do with that. It has to do with the game needing to be in sync. If the units were all projectile based (like TA/SupCom/Starcraft) you wouldn’t necessarily need to be in perfect sync. But in a melee centric game, you do or else you get into all kinds of other trouble. 

Lesson I’ve learned is that every strategy game in the future that has MP needs to have not just ping but a quickly throughput rating so that people who have stuff running in the background can be ejected. Sorry, just something that drives me crazy about playing online with random strangers.

Q: What is happening with balance suggestions?"

A: I send them over to Mike Marr at GPG to evaluate. They are implementing some of them. 

My list of things includes:

1. Queen of Thorns needs to be made more powerful.

2. Some of the items need to be made better (I’ve sent the threads over to Gas Powered Games to look at).

3. There need to be more game options for dealing with the AI (that’s in our internal build so hooray!).

Q: Why do pantheon players get experience when playing against AI.

A: The whole pantheon experience is something that is a challenge because on the one hand, you want people to only play against people but on the other hand, you don’t want people to have to wait 10 minutes for a game to start and there are times when there aren’t that many people playing online on pantheon.  We don’t really have a good solution here.

Q: What is the top priority at the moment?

A: Getting the new Demigods integrated with the v1.19 code-base so we can begin testing.

Q: When will the 2 new Demigods be released?

A: I am hoping that the beta for them will start this week. It’s a matter of integrating them into people’s accounts seamlessly so that we can potentially sell demigods in the future if we eventually wanted to migrate the game to a LoL or HoN style model for certain markets.

Q: What sorts of minion UI enhancements do you see happening?

A: I know I’d like to be able to bind minions to hot keys (so I can move my monks independently for instance).  I would have to talk to GPG to find out how hard that would be to implement at this stage.

Q: You’ve mentioned that Demigod wasn’t designed to be a hard-core competitive game. Why was that decision made?

A: It was a technical decision more than anything.  For instance, as a former PGL player I can tell you right now that if Demigod wanted to be a serious online competitive game it would need to have its LUA scripts secured some that griefers and cheaters couldn’t potentially hack it in real-time.  To me, that’s a fundamental requirement.

The other issue is that the game would need to have had a much bigger budget in order to make both the single player and online more expansive.   For instance, last night I played a game where I quit because it was so laggy.  If this were a competitive game, I would have been compelled (and aggravated) to play through a laggy game.

Without tools to penalize or control people who make playing online a horrible experience, the entire system is open to abuse.

Q: Is Voice Chat coming to Demigod?

A: Not directly. It would come via Impulse: Ready to Play and the built in overlay and that’s not going to happen until next Spring so it’ll be awhile.

Q: Will Torch Bearer get a fire on move animation so it can fire and move in fire mode?

A: That would have to be answered by GPG.

Q: How can the community become more involved in future updates?

A: Modding.  Demigod itself is largely programmed via mods. v1.2 has a mod manager that will let people install their own mods.  I would like to see it so that future updates bundle in third-party mods.

Then, if you don’t like our values for items or whatever then you guys can just pick a mod that you guys agree on. 

Q: The ladder system penalizes people who play because people who never play start with 1000 points.

A: This is indeed a problem.  For Epoch 3 I think we’re going to have to revisit the entire ranking system further because as someone who wins most of the time but has an experience rating of 300, I’m (understandably I think) annoyed that my rating is lower than someone who has never played.

Q: Will the dodge cap be removed?

A: I hope so. I’m going to lobby that it either be removed or raised dramatically given how fun that ability is.

Q: Is it possible for German users to update the game with a different text found in http://nokthra.impulsedriven.net/article/347922/A_new_german_translation_for_Demigod_hits_the_ground

A: I wish but Atari has made it clear that we are not to do something like that.  Believe it or not, Atari, not Stardock is the worldwide retail publisher for Demigod except for North America.  If you bought the game in a box outside North America and you’re posting here, please keep that in mind.

Q: So when will Demigod v1.2 come out?

A: Quick answer: When it’s done.  Longer answer – we are still pursuing the strategy of releasing updates for it in pieces rather than one huge update. 

Q: But originally you said you’d release v1.2 in September. It’s November! What’s the deal?!

A: Our estimates were made back during the time when we had planned on having public betas of features. But there has been such an outcry of “splitting the community” that we had to eliminate the public beta process which in turn has greatly increased the internal QA resources required which, naturally, increases the time to release. As a result, the release had to be broken into bite-sized chunks that could pass through QA one piece at a time.

It draws things out but on the other hand it keeps the MP community as one cohesive entity.  It’s a trade-off that we think most users prefer.

Q: How can I tell what problems GPG knows about?

A: Sorian has a thread that discusses just that:

http://forums.demigodthegame.com/364824

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November 3, 2009 1:03:08 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Charvel1,

Hopefully any other MP game from you guys can just be server/client based, and then dont have to worry about port-forwarding/connection issues/high bandwidth requirements/stuff running in the background .
Are you holding onto some hope that Stardock would develop a First-Person Shooter game? That would be interesting. RTS multiplayer games are pretty much subject to p2p networking; not client/server. That aside, GPG developed the game.

 

So thats why starcraft and wc3 use p2p as well?  Oh wait, they don't, thats right.

 

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November 3, 2009 2:03:57 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

They do use p2p, but not in the same way the Moho engine does.

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November 3, 2009 5:50:57 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Spooky__,
They do use p2p, but not in the same way the Moho engine does.

 

So why use the "moho" engine if its performance is not as strong as a system developed a decade ago?

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November 3, 2009 6:48:22 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Thanks for the update, Frogboy but I wish you'd addressed the Pantheon Light/Dark issue.  It's by far the topic I'm most interested in at the moment...

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November 3, 2009 7:44:38 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting playgroundlegend,
So why use the "moho" engine if its performance is not as strong as a system developed a decade ago?
Err, if GPG didn't use their engine for Demigod, they would have to rebuild one from scratch, which would take longer and thus cost more... and if that decision would have been really made, GPG would be already out of business, or Demigod would be at least a crap game .

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November 3, 2009 8:06:05 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting ,

Q: Will Torch Bearer get a fire on move animation so it can fire and move in fire mode?

A: That would have to be answered by GPG.


Sigh.... Sorian????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

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November 3, 2009 8:54:47 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Q: What sorts of minion UI enhancements do you see happening?

A: I know I’d like to be able to bind minions to hot keys (so I can move my monks independently for instance). I would have to talk to GPG to find out how hard that would be to implement at this stage.

*Cough* Frogboy *Cough*

 

-all rebindable-

 

Select Soldiers - 8
Select Archers - 9
Select Priests - G
Select Special - F
Select All Minions - M
Select All and Demigod - N
Regroup - O

I think the original question was pointing more towards things like Minion Count, Damage, HP, etc..  It would be nice to know if you summoned both your monks and one just got stuck in the citadel, for example

Q: But originally you said you’d release v1.2 in September. It’s November! What’s the deal?!

A: Our estimates were made back during the time when we had planned on having public betas of features. But there has been such an outcry of “splitting the community” that we had to eliminate the public beta process which in turn has greatly increased the internal QA resources required which, naturally, increases the time to release. As a result, the release had to be broken into bite-sized chunks that could pass through QA one piece at a time.

It draws things out but on the other hand it keeps the MP community as one cohesive entity. It’s a trade-off that we think most users prefer.

Wasn't there something about how the "toxic DG community" didn't deserve public betas?

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November 4, 2009 9:31:44 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Ke - you can't select 1 monk and bind him.

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November 4, 2009 9:43:49 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
Ke - you can't select 1 monk and bind him.

Oh I see what you are saying - yes, that would be very cool.  It would be interesting if you could just "gift" a minion or set of minions (max 2) to an ally - at this point I'm doing alot of micro from across the map to keep UB's monk from committing suicide all the time

Thanks for writing all this up and keeping tabs on it

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November 4, 2009 9:50:10 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Spooky__,

Quoting playgroundlegend, reply 28So why use the "moho" engine if its performance is not as strong as a system developed a decade ago?Err, if GPG didn't use their engine for Demigod, they would have to rebuild one from scratch, which would take longer and thus cost more... and if that decision would have been really made, GPG would be already out of business, or Demigod would be at least a crap game .

wrong. if they would have made this decisision it would have cost more but they would not have many customers leaving the game and would have gain 1000x new customers buying and joining a relieable working game.

if you do something bad it mostly costs you in the end more than the increased costs for doing it right.

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November 4, 2009 10:24:21 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting CelMare,
if you do something bad it mostly costs you in the end more than the increased costs for doing it right.
Sure, but sometimes the financial situation doesn't allow that.

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November 4, 2009 10:42:07 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

if you do something bad it mostly costs you in the end more than the increased costs for doing it right.

And, hindsight is 20/20.

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November 4, 2009 11:04:32 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

So thats why starcraft and wc3 use p2p as well? Oh wait, they don't, thats right.

Battle.net started out as pure p2p just like most other RTS games. And it was a mess to begin with. Then, later, they threw servers into the mix so it's sort of a hybrid p2p/server/client system as far as I can tell. Now, I guess Stardock or GPG could have gone to Blizzard and said 'Hey, you've had this system in place for 10 years. It's doing pretty good. Mind if we borrow it for our game?' Would Blizzard have said 'Yes, go ahead, and it's free of charge.' Would Stardock or GPG really even want to do that? Would Demigod even run in the same way that sc and wc3 do on that system? Unlikely is my guess.

Now, take pretty much ANY other RTS game and see what kind of system they have in place. It's p2p.

The only exception I can think of at the moment is World in Conflict. That's because WiC is an RTS where you don't wait to fill up slots before everyone jumps in at the same time. You, as an individual, jump into the game, as it's in progress. Just like a first-person shooter like Team Fortress 2.

Any other RTS you have to fill up slots of human and AI players and they have to all be in sync. Meaning no one is running a different mod on their end that could cause game imbalance or cheating. And then, once the slots are filled, the game is launched.

Can RTS's run in a server/client based configuration? Yes. Why have nearly all RTS's steered away from server/client? My guess is cost but I don't know. I thought I saw Frogboy mention early in the Elemental journals that because of the Demigod fiasco that Elemental may be client/server but don't quote me on that.

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November 4, 2009 3:42:25 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Charvel1,

Can RTS's run in a server/client based configuration? Yes. Why have nearly all RTS's steered away from server/client? My guess is cost but I don't know. I thought I saw Frogboy mention early in the Elemental journals that because of the Demigod fiasco that Elemental may be client/server but don't quote me on that.

 

I think he said Elemental would be client/server in an interview at PAX? Someone posted a link recently.

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November 4, 2009 7:45:33 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting DarthKilmor,
I think he said Elemental would be client/server in an interview at PAX? Someone posted a link recently.
Could be. Stardock already has a powerful server infrastructure and it would make sense to utilize this for dedicated servers for games too.

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November 4, 2009 8:45:43 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

 

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November 5, 2009 9:14:27 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Charvel1,
Can RTS's run in a server/client based configuration? Yes. Why have nearly all RTS's steered away from server/client? My guess is cost but I don't know.
The problem is more tricky than only costs. It can not be said if p2p or client/server is "better". This depend on the circumstances. Client server has its advantage when the players have low bandwith. In this case all players only need a connection to the server and therefore can save bandwidth. The drawback is that the ping gets higher as all data from one player to the other has to go to the server first instead of going the direct path. An other advantage of the client/server system is that there is one system that holds the game in sync. The server is the master and controls the clients. This make it easier to hold everything in sync, handle the drop out of one player and to prevent cheats. On the other hand p2p will have lower pings if every player has enough bandwith. If p2p is implemented well and all players have a good bandwith it is superior to client/server. If everyone would have a 1 GBit connection to the internet there would be no issues with p2p.

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November 5, 2009 9:42:02 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Der_Donnervogel,

If everyone would have a 1 GBit connection to the internet there would be no issues with p2p.

although i like p2p as network structure this claim is not true. especially not in the case of demigod. the lags you see will in most cases never be due to low bandwidth! in fact i cuold several times verify that during lagging games all palyers had a broadband connection with more than enough capacity to get the quite small traffic of demigod though. btw. it is FAR LESS than 1Gbit. not even close!

beside the (by me) claimed implementation problems there are also some other natural reasons for such problems: two player aren't usually really connected directly. there are allways some hops between them. and when the connection crosses countrys or even continents somewhere in between can be a problem, a server that routs your packets not in an optimal way, possibly prioritizing something else.

up to now i didn'z met any player in demigod not having enough bandwidth for the generated traffic. traffic wise you can download some isos while you play but your router maybe having problems with prioritizing thus some of you get higher pings in such a case.

as an example i can download what ever i want while i play demigod and no one would ever feel the difference (allready tested btw ).

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November 5, 2009 10:40:54 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

My average bandwidth is 400kbps and I can play online...

Oh wait that might be why I lag sometimes...

That and its a wireless connection...

...

 

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November 5, 2009 10:52:08 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

being a wireless connection could be the reason but not that it is only 400kbps. the badnwidth is still far more than needed.

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November 6, 2009 5:11:23 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
Q: But originally you said you’d release v1.2 in September August. It’s November! What’s the deal?!

A: Our estimates were made back during the time when we had planned on having public betas of features. But there has been such an outcry of “splitting the community” that we had to eliminate the public beta process which in turn has greatly increased the internal QA resources required which, naturally, increases the time to release. As a result, the release had to be broken into bite-sized chunks that could pass through QA one piece at a time.

It draws things out but on the other hand it keeps the MP community as one cohesive entity.  It’s a trade-off that we think most users prefer.

 

GPG is so GPG

Fixed.

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November 6, 2009 9:42:33 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting aalex12,

Frogboy Q: But originally you said you’d release v1.2 in September August. It’s November! What’s the deal?!
A: Our estimates were made back during the time when we had planned on having public betas of features. But there has been such an outcry of “splitting the community” that we had to eliminate the public beta process which in turn has greatly increased the internal QA resources required which, naturally, increases the time to release. As a result, the release had to be broken into bite-sized chunks that could pass through QA one piece at a time.

It draws things out but on the other hand it keeps the MP community as one cohesive entity.  It’s a trade-off that we think most users prefer.

 

GPG is so GPG

Fixed.

yeh, everything does seem to get delayed here....

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November 6, 2009 10:01:01 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting CelMare,
up to now i didn'z met any player in demigod not having enough bandwidth for the generated traffic. traffic wise you can download some isos while you play but your router maybe having problems with prioritizing thus some of you get higher pings in such a case.

as an example i can download what ever i want while i play demigod and no one would ever feel the difference (allready tested btw ).
I must admit I have not made that much tests, so probably you are right. Demigod even made trouble for me in LAN play over a 1 GBit network with lags once (there I found out much later one player had the sound-bug that caused the lag) and together with the many connection problems I lost interest in online play. So I only played with friends in LAN where there were no issues with lag no matter the number of players (always 10, as all empty slots were filled with AI) or the size of the map or how long the game was (as all of us are casual gamers our games were long, sometimes up to level 20). So I assumed bandwith will be the problem (and here especial the upload bandwidth, as it is enough when only one player lacks the bandwidth sometimes to create ping spikes).

The reason for this is that I implemented more than 10 years ago the network code for a game myself (a freeware game I made togehter with a friend). I also had troubles with bandwidth in situations with high traffic which led to packet loss and therefore lags. In that time things were even worse as high bandwidth was a 56kbit modem. So I used at that time a client/server solution but nevertheless some efford was necessary to save bandwidth to get the things running smootly. So I assumed that GPG/Stardock made a quick'n'dirty hack to get things running and therefore eat up much bandwidth.

 

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November 6, 2009 10:37:50 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Well, as you seem to have some programming experience with such things yourself let me tell you something:

in case of p2p network as base for a game it is wise to not only send your messages to all others but to also resend ther eceived ones again to all others. so basically one would receive each message twice with an delay of one communication edge.

so if one package gets lost from player a you just a short time after receive it from the other n-2 players that got it from player a directly. in that whay you keep the p2p structure but have it more robust for packet loss. it is better than to detect the loss and resend afterwards.

ofcourse it increases the bandwidth but the bandwidth usage is still far below what any user today has. and additionally there are triks to heavaly reduce the bandwidth. its just one of many tricks to use.

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November 6, 2009 11:40:55 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting CelMare,
...as an example i can download what ever i want while i play demigod and no one would ever feel the difference (already tested btw ).

You are forgetting that residential broadband services are typically asymetrical.  That is, you get higher download bandwith than upload bandwidth.  For example, a service provider in my area offers the following download/upload speeds...

  • Lite - 768Kbps/128Kbps
  • Basic - 7Mbps/384Kbps
  • Standard - 10Mbps/1Mbps
  • Turbo with Power Boost - 15Mbps/1Mbps

So it's your upload bandwidth that is the typically the constraint.  In the client/server model, you are only sending data to one destination (the server), whereas in the peer-to-peer model you are sending data to n destinations (each peer).  When it comes to real-time data, the peer-to-peer model is just a poor choice outside of a LAN environment.

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