Negative First Impressions

General discussion about Defcon

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Xine
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Negative First Impressions

Postby Xine » Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:23 pm

Hey all.

I've been looking forward to playing this game all week. I've been reading up on every review I could find to glean more information about it, and I pre-ordered to ensure I'd get to play it straight away upon release.

The first disappointment came when the Steam release was an hour late. :? The forums gave an error message when I tried to load them, and the Defcon website looked unchanged, so no explanation was forthcoming. Finally, the game was released, and off I went to play it. I found it lived up to my expectations in terms of gameplay - I've played 3 games so far and enjoyed them all.

The problem is, I feel as though I've spent as much time trying to join games as I have playing the game. At first, just after release, it seemed readily possible to host or join a game successfully... however, the situation rapidly deteriorated. It was harder to join my 2nd game, and by the 3rd game, it took many attempts to find a game I could join successfully. On the few times I'd manage to join successfully, often I'd find that no slot had been reserved for me, and I was lumped in with two other spectators who found themselves in the same situation.

On other occasions, I'd join a game that wasn't full, and I'd find that I'd entered a game that had already begun as a spectator. Most times I simply had no success joining at all, and I'd have to go back into the list of games and try my luck elsewhere.

This afternoon, I've tried around 20 times to join a game - on most occasions I failed. I succeeded a few times, only to find that I essentially 'wasn't there' - I was in the game lobby, but my player name didn't appear under the list of spectators or players. On my final successful attempt, where I actually managed to join the game proper and get into the list of players, the host kicked me immediately. My patience ended there.

In essence, though I'm impressed with the game itself, I'm not at all impressed with the state of the Metaserver, and the sheer difficulty in actually getting a game going against human players. I would have thought that five months of beta testing would have sorted these issues out, and however good the game is, I just can't motivate myself to waste any more time on it until more light has been shed on the cause/solution of these problems.

(For the record, I've tried different network settings. I've played with and without port forwarding enabled on my router, with no perceivable difference in performance. Given that I had much more success hosting and joining games early on after release, before the Metaserver became completely crowded, I'm inclined to think that the problem is on their end rather than mine.)

End rant. :wink:
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Connatic
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Postby Connatic » Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:31 pm

I'd have to agree with that. Everything about this game has exceded my expectations. However the metaserve needs some tweaking. Almost 90% of the games I try to join are already full or I'm thrown into a specator spot. I found it quicker this morning to just make a game and wait for others to join than to find one. Maybe this is just from insane amounts of online traffic...which is good for Defcon in the long run :) I'm sure they'll be a patch out soon cleaning that aspect of the game up.
Pyrostasis
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Postby Pyrostasis » Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:37 pm

I believe its a combination of mass people joining, badly configured routers and such, and slow connections.

If your trying to join bubba the paranoid redneck who is on a 128k isdn line out in south texas, who has 3 firewalls a switch and a router that would hound off the police... then your going to have some issues.

Now Im not saying that everyone out there falls into this field. I know last night I hosted 5 games with 6 players and over 6 spectators, recieved 0 lag and had no drops.

I however took the extra time to make sure my router wasnt going to cause issues, and that my firewall was configured correctly... Im also on a 15m/2m line...

I have read more than a few threads of people on sub 500k lines... and expecially with lots of connections those connections can get bogged down easy.
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Michaeru
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Postby Michaeru » Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:38 pm

Oh yes, and while were at it, the people who open games just to play with the CPU should be hanged. I stumbled into around a dozen. Perhaps opening a new game could be seperated into local mode and multiplayer mode?
Pyrostasis
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Postby Pyrostasis » Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:47 pm

yeah a lan/online option would be nice (although I seem to remember in adv. options there is an option not to advertise on metaserver witch is the same thing)
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Postby Montyphy » Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:49 pm

There is indeed an AdvertiseOnline and AdvertiseOnLAN settings under the Advanced Options menu. By default, these are both enabled on creating a game.
Uplink help: Check out the Guide or FAQ.
Latest Uplink patch is v1.55.
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N0ught
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Postby N0ught » Sat Sep 30, 2006 5:27 pm

You see, Introversion underestimated the fact that over a thousand people would be wanting to play their game on the first day.

I'm sure the metaserver will be updated and running fine once the initial shock wears off. :lol:
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Postby Pervigilo » Sat Sep 30, 2006 5:47 pm

As far as I can tell, the main problem is caused by the fact that "Advertise on Internet" defaults to on with every new game. Even if you go straight to Advanced Options and disable this, the game still gets advertised in that time.

Every time I start a game just to play some CPU bots, not long after I get in to the game, I'll get 2 or 3 spectators who join and immediately leave. What probably happened is they saw the game being advertised for the short time I was disabled that very option, started to join, but by the time they connected up, I had gone ahead and started my CPU game. So they get pushed to spectator mode.

What they need to do is default games NOT to advertise on the Internet.
Pyrostasis
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Postby Pyrostasis » Sat Sep 30, 2006 5:48 pm

that would help.

or... an online /lan option in the game menu
Dementia
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Postby Dementia » Sat Sep 30, 2006 8:56 pm

"The first disappointment came when the Steam release was an hour late"

Actually this is not true, the game was released promptly at 6pm GMT on steam as advertised on the website. I suspect the confusion arrives as many people seem to be ignorant of the fact that 6pm GMT is 7pm in the UK currently.
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Postby Baelthazar » Sat Sep 30, 2006 9:05 pm

Call me crazy, but I am actually quite happy that Metaserver is having problems at the moment. No... I'm not some masochist, and I am not wishing online players ill. What metaserver problems mean to me is that Defcon is exactly the success that I predicted it would be. Lots of people online to play with, and surely the early pre-order rush indicates that IV has made a popular (and hopefully profitable) game. 1500 X $10 is nothing to sneeze at, and the real total had to be larger.

I'm hoping that success with Defcon will bring lots of attention, money, and good press to IV. That will enable them to create more neat, innovative, exciting, and most of all fun (and lets be honest, Defcon is one of the most fun games I have played in a long time) games.

Don't stress. The metaservers will get fixed and all the little problems ironed out. Like the launch of any A-List MMORPG (and these games have far larger staffs) it takes a little bit of patience before the birth pangs are dealt with.

I say, GOOD SHOW IV, GOOD SHOW!

Baelthazar :twisted:
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Postby Xine » Sun Oct 01, 2006 2:04 pm

Dementia wrote:"The first disappointment came when the Steam release was an hour late"

Actually this is not true, the game was released promptly at 6pm GMT on steam as advertised on the website. I suspect the confusion arrives as many people seem to be ignorant of the fact that 6pm GMT is 7pm in the UK currently.


Well Dementia, I live in the GMT timezone (outside of the UK), and there was no Defcon at 6pm, so I have to disagree with you.

Regarding my initial complaints about the Metaserver, I'm pleased to say that things seem to be running much better now - I can actually join games (or host them) without issues for the most part. Of course I'd rather that the Metaserver had been perfected during the testing phase rather than post-release when everyone is dying to play the game without interruption, but at least the problems appear to be over for the most part.
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Postby Phelanpt » Mon Oct 02, 2006 12:42 am

Xine wrote:
Dementia wrote:"The first disappointment came when the Steam release was an hour late"

Actually this is not true, the game was released promptly at 6pm GMT on steam as advertised on the website. I suspect the confusion arrives as many people seem to be ignorant of the fact that 6pm GMT is 7pm in the UK currently.


Well Dementia, I live in the GMT timezone (outside of the UK), and there was no Defcon at 6pm, so I have to disagree with you.


Portugal also is in the GMT timezone, but like many countries in Europe around this time, the time here is GMT+1, because of daylight savings time. I wasn't home at launch time, nor did I order through Steam, so I can't confirm that the game was released on time, but are you sure you're not also on daylights saving time?
Check http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/ out.
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Postby Perseus » Mon Oct 02, 2006 1:05 am

I'm sure that one reason why there are so many people starting up their own servers and end up selecting bots to play against is because... Their game doesn't show up on the list.

I've started at least 20 games, both on Saturday and Sunday evening, and no one came in every time, even though I could see that there were lots of people looking for a game to join.

So what do you do? After about 15 minutes of waiting and still no one entering your game, it's "f*ck that!" and <clickety> <clickety>, get some AI players in and "go already!"

Therefore I seriously wonder whether the new games I started were visible on the server list at all - I'm pretty sure they weren't.

What also annoys the hell outta me is the "Connection Problem (X Secs)"

I've got a very decent down/upload line, can play some of the heaviest 3D FPS out there with no problems and no lag(!), but this game... Ouch!

C'mon lads, there's lots of big-ass 3rd party multiplayer servers out there...

As for the game itself: so far it's fun fun fun, although it is of course quite ludicrous to see that an air defense system based north of Rome can down a bomber flying close to Kinshasha.

There are also some real 'fortressing'-issues: all a gamer has to do is group all silos as closely as possible in a small area while keeping them in air defense mode and just ride it out until the opposition has no more nukes.
I've already seen players doing just that and 'riding out the storm' in order to then be the last player with a full load of ICBMs left and get maximum points by nuking cities & installations of players who have no more offensive weapons left. If this is not addressed and people start 'camping' (yes yes!) massively like that, I predict that enthousiasm for the game will die quickly.

In my view this can be easily countered by adding a "no ammo!"-feature to the air defense systems, so that it takes some time for an air defense system to reload. (This is also true in real life.)

Furthermore I'd advise to put some sort of (small) economy-model into the game, allowing players to produce new nukes - based, for instance, on the number of cities they have remaining. The fewer cities (population) one has, the slower the new nukes are produced, which should also add an extra level of excitement and an incentive to stop players from suddenly going all-out with ICBMs because some air defense systems need to remain in place to defend the cities.
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Kuth
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Postby Kuth » Mon Oct 02, 2006 1:22 am

Michaeru wrote:Oh yes, and while were at it, the people who open games just to play with the CPU should be hanged. I stumbled into around a dozen. Perhaps opening a new game could be seperated into local mode and multiplayer mode?


Hey- some people need practice against AI. I know I do.

I was surprised to learn Defcon didn't have a singleplayer/skirmish function. Pure multiplayer. Makes me wonder if when my connection goes down, will I still be able to play Defcon at all?

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