Author Topic: Network speed  (Read 1900 times)

Offline Zephilinox

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Network speed
« on: July 14, 2011, 08:43:06 PM »
What exactly does it affect? and what are the cons of it? network speed can be increased/decreased with ctrl+[plus key] and ctrl+[minus key].

The reason I ask is that I play co-op with a friend who lags quite a bit, so I thought increasing it would help speed the game up, and it did for a while, then it said "waiting for players" for both of us, and we couldn't play, so we restarted AI war and retried, this time without network speed, and same problem, did I screw something up? I know we haven't desynched, because on the stats screen it shows me as just having a last turn, and same for my friend, with the exception that for him it shows [wait: 0], does that mean anything?
« Last Edit: July 14, 2011, 08:55:40 PM by Zephilinox »

Offline x4000

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Re: Network speed
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2011, 09:59:39 PM »
The network skip feature is explained here, along with other tips for improving your network experience: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,74.0.html

Quote
Network Skip allows you to increase the length of game turns by 45ms per skip.  So, when you have a network skip of +1, the turns are 245ms instead of 200ms, which means that to have no latency you need a roundtrip time of 122.5ms.  If you use a network skip of +16, the turns are 920ms, meaning your roundtrip time has to be 460ms to have no lag.  You can set network skip to whatever value gives you the best game experience, simply by using Ctrl+plus/minus while playing the game; if performance is bad at the start, then later gets better as you play, you can adjust as you go.

However, there is a downside to having longer turns (higher network skip): and that is command latency.  The time it takes for a command to be issued from when you give it is 2x the time of the the turn length (since turns are scheduled, and since the network is run simultaneous, that is unavoidable).  So, basically, you will wind up with normally it taking 400ms for the game to issue a command you give.  At +16 network skip, it would take a whopping 1.8 seconds between your issuing an order and it happening.  That can be frustrating on its own, but it is playable and if you are not a fast-clicker it matters comparably little: at least your game simulation is running at full speed, and the clock is ticking at a regular interval, etc.  It's like playing with a radio delay to mars, rather than playing in slow-mo, basically.

Let me know if you have any other questions on that, of course.  But basically, it won't cause the "Waiting for Players" message, and definitely did not screw anything up.

If you're having that specific issue and then disconnections, then that means only one thing: an interrupted connection.  That could be slow routing between the host and the client across the Internet (ie, intercontinental play, or play during peak usage hours on certain networks), or more likely it is something like an unreliable wireless connection that loses signal briefly.  My suggestion would be to try the things in that other thread and see if they help, and if they don't then let me know what you tried and what the results were, and we can see what we can figure it out. 

But usually it's something simple with what you describe: either the carrier Internet connection blinking out (happened with one of the players in my group a lot until he called up Comcast to tell them about it, then they did something to his line and fixed it), or it could be interference on the wireless signal (happens more than you might think, and when browsing the web it just looks like momentary slowness of a site rather than a problem with your actual connection, but with games it can cause a dropped connection).

Hope that helps!
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Offline Zephilinox

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Re: Network speed
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2011, 11:00:06 PM »
Thanks for the link, and the explanation of the Network Skip, the problem is probably our connection but I'll just list everything I know/did.

Neither of us use wireless
we both have good computers: i7 3.1 ghz + nvidia 560 and quad core Q6600 2.4 ghz + nvidia 460, with both of us having 4GB DDR3 RAM.
while pinging my friends hamachi IP, it returns anywhere from 700-1100 milliseconds, which I know is bad.

we were on 80 planet maze type maps, with level 6 difficulty AI.

yesterday we played for 5 hours, at 25% global speed on the lowest performance profile with low ship caps, he got around 25-100 FPS while I got 50, today we loaded up the campaign and I tried this Network Skip that I had stumbled upon while trying to find a way of maxing out the game speed to +10 and it got the global speed to 100% which was nice, then the waiting for player text showed up and we tried to...

restart AI war
restart hamachi
move 1000 ships stacked on 1 planet to various others after I had disabled him.
start a new campaign, which worked for 10-20 minutes, then the same thing started happening.
let my friend host, but I couldn't connect, the synch would stay at 0% and not progress, even after 5 minutes.
not increase the network skip or game speed at all.
restarting computers

while it says waiting for players I can still type, and he can see me typing, but when he tries to it doesn't send, I can't see it and neither can he, also after I host and he connects, our ships move a bit and resources go up, then the text shows up.

he connects to me with direct connect using my hamachi IP.

also after a few restarts of AI war he started getting unhandled errors, and a few times the status showed him as being at 98-99% synch, but he was in-game with no synch screen.

forced him to upload his error file for the unhandled stuff, here it is: http://www.multiupload.com/QWSLK3VKRV

we reloaded our first save game, and tested for quite a while, it seems that when he gives an order to his ships is when it happens, If I give orders to my ships, or he gives me control of his ships and I move them then everything is fine, but he can't really play the game that way, this is the savegame http://www.multiupload.com/IWZ7IWG111




« Last Edit: July 15, 2011, 02:12:15 AM by Zephilinox »

Offline x4000

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Re: Network speed
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2011, 06:43:35 AM »
A few thoughts:

1. The unhanded errors thing is some sort of bug, but it seems to be based on a transition that was lost in the middle. The actual error is based on a planet that is only half there. So this supports the dropped network connection idea.

2. That ping isn't just bad, it would make many games unplayable. Are you getting a yellow connection dot in hamachi? Sounds like you are being routed trough their servers as an intermediary. I suggest trying to get a direct ip connection going if at all possible; most likely hamachi is either your problem or is exacerbating your problem.

3. I would also strongly advise against upping the game speed on a connection like that; the game speed increase lineay increases the network load like it does the processor load. On a regular connection then you can get up to maybe +3 or +4 pretty well. On a very latent or unreliable connection, it can lead to enough network traffic that the connection times out, which may be what started happening to you.

Usually hamachi is a great tool, but when it can't make a green (direct) connection and has to do a yellow (brokered through it's servers) connection, things get ugly fast. And even if your connection is green, with a ping latency like that you should cut out all the intermediaries possible; the hamachi layer adds packet size and slowness due to it's VPN headers and encryption. Most connections that are broadband can bear that and still play ai war with no problem; but a ping like that is about 6x what it should be to play lag free, so any extra load is something you want to cut.

Hope that helps!
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Offline Zephilinox

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Re: Network speed
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2011, 06:52:24 AM »
A few thoughts:

1. The unhanded errors thing is some sort of bug, but it seems to be based on a transition that was lost in the middle. The actual error is based on a planet that is only half there. So this supports the dropped network connection idea.

2. That ping isn't just bad, it would make many games unplayable. Are you getting a yellow connection dot in hamachi? Sounds like you are being routed trough their servers as an intermediary. I suggest trying to get a direct ip connection going if at all possible; most likely hamachi is either your problem or is exacerbating your problem.

3. I would also strongly advise against upping the game speed on a connection like that; the game speed increase lineay increases the network load like it does the processor load. On a regular connection then you can get up to maybe +3 or +4 pretty well. On a very latent or unreliable connection, it can lead to enough network traffic that the connection times out, which may be what started happening to you.

Usually hamachi is a great tool, but when it can't make a green (direct) connection and has to do a yellow (brokered through it's servers) connection, things get ugly fast. And even if your connection is green, with a ping latency like that you should cut out all the intermediaries possible; the hamachi layer adds packet size and slowness due to it's VPN headers and encryption. Most connections that are broadband can bear that and still play ai war with no problem; but a ping like that is about 6x what it should be to play lag free, so any extra load is something you want to cut.

Hope that helps!


Hamachi is green, and we are connecting directly, at one point we even disabled encryption, hoping it would do something, and yeah without network skip it is, essentially, unplayable, at 25% global game speed every 4 seconds in real life is 1 second in the game, but it's not so bad when you play with someone you enjoy playing with, as I said I've tried playing games without increases game speed or network skip, but same result, even in 2 new campaigns.

I would play direct without hamachi, but I can't seem to connect to my internal IP to forward the port's, I know how to and I've done it in the past for other games but when I try and connect to the router interface it just doesn't load, tested on chrome and firefox with same result.

My friend is asking if there are any specific Unity software that he may need to download, on the off-chance.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2011, 06:55:03 AM by Zephilinox »

Offline x4000

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Re: Network speed
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2011, 08:04:21 AM »
Hmm, not sure what else to really say, then, regarding hamachi -- that's where the network skip feature will come in handy.  There's no other software related to unity -- no external downloads -- that would be relevant.

Have you gone through these steps?

Quote
Dealing with a network bottleneck
Sometimes even nice cable connections can exhibit lower-than-ideal performance during peak usage hours, or due to temporary issues with the ISP.  It happens, same as do random routing issues on the Internet itself.  We've had a lot of problems with Comcast in the MA area in particular, but even that has been quite playable with 4 players (if it disconnects you due to a spotty outage on your ISP, just reconnnect when you get back online).  Here are things to check:

1. Make sure that the host is on the best connection.  If you don't know who has the best connection, you can run a speed test:  http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/.  Whoever has the highest upload rating should probably be the host.

2. If you are hosting your own Teamspeak or Skype call (or whatever else), have someone other than the game host be the host of the voice server (whoever has the second-best upload speed).  The voice server can suck down a fair bit of bandwidth itself.

3. Make sure that no one else on your local network (and certainly not on your local machine) is running any big uploads or downloads.  These can really send your performance through the floor.

4. If your wireless connection is unreliable at your house (as many tend to be), try playing on a wired connection instead.  Often the slight fluctuations and temporary stoppages of a wireless connection can wreak havoc on a multiplayer game.

Additionally, regarding drivers and router firmware, etc, there's a lot of good info here that might be of help: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,8771.0.html

Of course, if you're not able to log into your router then that's a problem in general, since you can't update it, adjust QoS settings, or anything of that sort.  You might try looking around for a setup disc for it, as oftentimes routers come with one that lets you configure it via a locally-run program direct wired connection instead of logging in through the web interface.  Or at least that would have instructions on the actual web address to use, etc.  Usually it's the gateway ip address off of your ipconfig results, and then it just pops up asking for a username/password in your browser.

In general you guys might want to try doing speed tests and to see if one of you is having a really low speed for some reason.  If so, and it's below what you're supposed to be having, that's a good thing to contact your ISP about.
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Offline Zephilinox

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Re: Network speed
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2011, 06:07:44 PM »
Hmm, not sure what else to really say, then, regarding hamachi -- that's where the network skip feature will come in handy.  There's no other software related to unity -- no external downloads -- that would be relevant.

Have you gone through these steps?

Quote
Dealing with a network bottleneck
Sometimes even nice cable connections can exhibit lower-than-ideal performance during peak usage hours, or due to temporary issues with the ISP.  It happens, same as do random routing issues on the Internet itself.  We've had a lot of problems with Comcast in the MA area in particular, but even that has been quite playable with 4 players (if it disconnects you due to a spotty outage on your ISP, just reconnnect when you get back online).  Here are things to check:

1. Make sure that the host is on the best connection.  If you don't know who has the best connection, you can run a speed test:  http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/.  Whoever has the highest upload rating should probably be the host.

2. If you are hosting your own Teamspeak or Skype call (or whatever else), have someone other than the game host be the host of the voice server (whoever has the second-best upload speed).  The voice server can suck down a fair bit of bandwidth itself.

3. Make sure that no one else on your local network (and certainly not on your local machine) is running any big uploads or downloads.  These can really send your performance through the floor.

4. If your wireless connection is unreliable at your house (as many tend to be), try playing on a wired connection instead.  Often the slight fluctuations and temporary stoppages of a wireless connection can wreak havoc on a multiplayer game.

Additionally, regarding drivers and router firmware, etc, there's a lot of good info here that might be of help: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,8771.0.html

Of course, if you're not able to log into your router then that's a problem in general, since you can't update it, adjust QoS settings, or anything of that sort.  You might try looking around for a setup disc for it, as oftentimes routers come with one that lets you configure it via a locally-run program direct wired connection instead of logging in through the web interface.  Or at least that would have instructions on the actual web address to use, etc.  Usually it's the gateway ip address off of your ipconfig results, and then it just pops up asking for a username/password in your browser.

In general you guys might want to try doing speed tests and to see if one of you is having a really low speed for some reason.  If so, and it's below what you're supposed to be having, that's a good thing to contact your ISP about.

Yeah, the problem is my friend's connection, we got someone else to host and as soon as he joined the same thing happened, so he's going to talk to his ISP, thanks for the help.

Offline x4000

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Re: Network speed
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2011, 06:36:41 PM »
Great!  Glad I could help isolate it, at least. :)
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