What's in Development Part 2
(44 votes, average 4.52 out of 5)
Written by KFS1   
Thursday, 28 April 2011 10:29

KFS1 goes into more detail about the things he's been working on that will make great improvements in game play and future development. First things first, though, he would like to clarify that rather than the "New permanent Map Mission host fixing Mr.P", it "Takes Mr.P out back, puts a round in him, steals his uniform to use as bedding on cold nights".

  • World Update packer on host is now single-pass rather than multiple-pass:
    • Fixes stuck firing bug
    • Eliminates a number of potential state bug causes
    • Increases cell host efficiency by 10-15%
  • Eliminated a number of bugs in the World Update packer which artificially increased the size of updates (reducing the overall update rate for players and increasing the number of updates we can send per packet without significant additional work)
  • New system now working on dev cluster with other players visible, mobile and, most importantly, very smooth

Host:

  • All new vehicle/infantry updates system:
    • Provides for much smoother positional updates, especially for infantry
    • Prioritizes important updates and update elements
    • Increases frequency of updates per player/vehicle you can see
    • Improved recovery from packet loss/lag
    • Reduces bandwidth per visible player, then uses it right up again to increase your update rate
  • Rewritten client<->host connection handling:
    • Removes roadblocks to numerous future dev plan
    • First stage in dynamic mission system development
    • First stage in scoring redo
    • Enables real-time map updates while spawned beyond your normal vis list (no-more having to click to see updates)
    • Allows for better client feedback of network issues
    • Eliminates several long standing client<->server networking problems
  • Known Issues:
    • Mission Results are no-longer pending:(
    • New update system does not implement the "stuck firing" feature of previous versions :(
    • Popular feature where the game would save you from staying online too long by releasing you back to the real world ("CTHL") is no-longer functioning at 100% efficiency. Playnet is not responsible for any increase in game play duration you may suffer as a result =/

All new vehicle/infantry updates system:

This is the first stage in an under-the-hood rework of some core segments of our game systems. We took a hammer and chisel to the game code and completely removed the old system for tracking where each player is and who they should be able to see from there. Then we built a replacement based on the area chat code. The resulting changes allow us to crunch out more updates, more efficiently. That makes for a much better game play experience. While we were in there, we also invested a bunch more CPU cycles into fine-tuning what actually flies out to you over the interwebs. There's still a lot of room for future improvements here, but this iteration should present a marked improvement.

Connection Handling:

  • Previously in Battleground Europe:
    • the client and server communicated over a really, really low-level code interface, that made coder's heads spin when they were forced to so much as look at it
    • spawning was actually done by logging out from the lobby server (we call it the map/mission host or MMhost) and logging back in to a 3d world server (which we call the cell hosts)
    • all the client could do with it's gone-again-here-again connections was shrug and tell you Connection To Host Lost
    • Mission Results Pending...

The spawning thing really messed with all kinds of dev plans we've had over the years for reasons of authority. The MMhost - the one you weren't talking to when you were spawned - was the point of authority for all kinds of things: scoring, missions, etc. To achieve the new updates system, we really needed to remove some of the workload from the cell hosts, so this was a great time to tackle this issue too. Mission Results Pending was the result of any one of a number of possible issues with the underlying technical processes of (quietly) re-logging you to the map/mission host.

What we really needed was to keep you logged in to the map/mission host the whole time and simply /add/ a connection to the cell host as needed. When you're working with 10-year old code, it's rarely that easy though. So, we made use of the hammer and chisel again and seriously straightened things out.

The first two tangible features of this work are:

  • you'll get map updates regardless of where you are: no-more having to click on distant towns to see if they still have an AO or EWS;
  • MrP isn't "fixed" as much as completely removed from the game

This otherwise dull sounding set of changes get us quite fired up because of the things they were roadblocking any development on: scoring, dynamic mission targets and origins, etc, etc.

 

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Comments (16)
1 Thursday, 28 April 2011 11:04
Jimato
Great to see this work being done. I've been playing this game since 2001 and look forward to playing it for another 40 years.

Thanks for keeping us updated on the game's development.
2 Thursday, 28 April 2011 11:12
Doc
fugging A w00t!
3 Thursday, 28 April 2011 12:10
mwhitman
Nice update, written as only KFS1 can.

Good stuff.
4 Thursday, 28 April 2011 13:36
Chris586
So i'll ask again, is this going to remove lag that results in death delays? Like when you shoot at an EI and then 2 seconds later he dies? It needs to go away!
5 Thursday, 28 April 2011 14:12
Indo420
"Increases cell host efficiency by 10-15%"

Que radical 8:23 guitar solo by slash while in desert in front of abandoned church
6 Thursday, 28 April 2011 15:56
FxmKorp
This is great it will surely lay a good foundation for bigger & future updates.
Just add a real keyboarding system for flying and make Axis Soldier hold his smg on the grip that I will sub for one year :)
7 Thursday, 28 April 2011 18:12
Merc88
Thanks for the update...any plans for any new stuff...actual new guns or trucks or tanks or planes or stuff?

Merc88.87.86
8 Thursday, 28 April 2011 21:20
SON of MAC
Awesome...
9 Friday, 29 April 2011 06:29
hchris
I love to read the development reports by KFS1 :)
Sounds AMAZING!! Most impoortant for me are:
◦First stage in dynamic mission system development
◦First stage in scoring redo
10 Friday, 29 April 2011 08:27
klaus
Nice to hear the Rats are really getting under the hood on some of this old code-type stuff. I'm sure it will have a significant impact.

Still not sure who this Mr.P is or whether or not he's a World Update Packer
Administrator's reply:
Friday, 29 April 2011 08:58
MOTORMOUTH
Mission Results Pending
11 Friday, 29 April 2011 09:10
Smythes
Here's to strong foundations!

Thanks for the update RATS.
12 Sunday, 01 May 2011 06:52
styopa
OUTSTANDING improvements. I get the "shudder" you go through dragging through old code (that you didn't even write?)...yikes, lots of work there.

Also, from the previous update: "Complete rework of the update system"
Huzzah!
13 Sunday, 01 May 2011 07:55
Sydney
YES!!! Step one towards dynamic missions!
That's the best news in the last 2 years!
14 Monday, 02 May 2011 09:31
Fxmkorp
I'm still waiting for What's in Development Part 3 :)
Any incoming Rat chat make it alittle more Europe Friendly too
15 Tuesday, 03 May 2011 10:21
cedric
screens of the new battle tabs please ?
16 Sunday, 15 May 2011 09:37
Zheriz
In layman's terms, the Host was c-kblocking the Cell. ...for 10 years, lol. KFS1's enthusiasm is obvious.