Save Multiwinia

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MrBunsy
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Postby MrBunsy » Sat Oct 11, 2008 9:59 pm

happymrlocust wrote:I'm still a little weirded out that my first game of MW was against MrBunsy...


Hehe, I played a lot of games the first few days after it came out :)
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Postby Apreche » Sat Oct 11, 2008 10:24 pm

I'm going to be honest here. Multiwinia is a fun game. I enjoyed the single player for quite a few days. However, the real game is in the multi-player. The game is called Multiwinia after all. However, the multi-player is also the primary reason that Multiwinia has completely failed among my friends.

The problem is that the multi-player just doesn't work. We're all computer scientists and networking professionals. We tried forwarding our ports. We tried using different ports. We tried everything. It just doesn't work. If I try to play against my roommate, on the same LAN, we just get connecting 1, 2, 3. I tried to play against my friend who lives on the other side of town who has the same ISP, we get insane amounts of lag. I remember back in the days when we played Defcon we had similar problems with connecting 1, 2, 3.

I don't know anyone at Introversion, and I don't want to insult anyone there. But whoever wrote the network code for your games should be fired. There are thousands of video games out there that have working multiplayer. There are tiny freeware games that people make in one weekend that have online and LAN multiplayer that works better than Multiwinia and Defcon. There are open source games that have all the basic features of multiplayer that Multiwinia lacks. LAN play without an Internet connection, passworded protected games, dedicated servers, chat lobbies. You could have just taken the code from an open source game and used it. Instead, you made a multiplayer game with multiplayer that is just as bad as Nintendo's friend code system.

If the network code worked, me and all my friends, and listeners of my podcast, would be playing the game right now. Instead, because we pride ourselves on honesty, we're sadly going to have to give the game a negative review. And that is the catch-22 you face. Because nobody is playing, nobody is buying. Nobody wants to pay for a game that only has 3 or 4 games going on at once. They want to play a game with a huge community. You missed the chance to build that community when the game launched because the network code didn't work, and it still doesn't work as of today.
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Postby MrBunsy » Sat Oct 11, 2008 11:50 pm

Hmm, I was quite impressed with whatever they used for getting past NAT - I can host and join behind a firewall I don't control (more than most PTP games).

It does require a huge amount of bandwidth though, which kinda sucks.
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Postby ynbniar » Sat Oct 11, 2008 11:57 pm

That is an honest post Apreche, with many valid points. I hope you reconsider your decision to give up on MW...I'm not sure I can name any PC games released fully featured and bug free.

I'm neither a coder or a networking pro and can't comment on the networking code used in MW - apart from anything else I haven't seen it.

I am an engineer though and often use empirical techniques to solve problems. Had I not replaced my router I too would not be playing MW...I did and I am. My old router let me connect to 1% of games my new router lets me connect to 99% of games. I couldn't host on my old router, on my new router I can host easily.

What does this tell me? ...well it tells me that the network code works but that it depends on hardware. Kind of like every PC game out there no-I mean Crysis is a bit jerky on my PC...is that because the engine doesn't work?

I know this doesn't solve your issue but it is my experience.
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Postby bert_the_turtle » Sun Oct 12, 2008 12:46 am

I can't comment on the actual network code because I haven't seen it, but I know enough about what it does to confidently say that it is about as robust as network code can get. LAN games, for example, are managed via broadcast packets. The client browsing for games listens on UDP port 5009, and the servers with open games broadcast the game info to that port. There is precisely one drawback: you can't have multiple instances of Multiwinia on one PC catching a LAN game, because only one of them can actually open port 5009. Broadcasting to alternative ports as well would solve this. There are only two ways this method can fail otherwise: 1. port 5009 gets blocked by a firewall thingy, 2. you are trying to play games with a single authentication key, in which case the game gets ignored. Internet games are more complicated, but if it is at all possible to open a direct connection between the two PCs, the NAT piercing will establish it (at least, that was the case for DEFCON; in Multiwinia, unidentified implementation errors may still exist.) There just are some cases where it can't work: if the routers of both players assign public ports for every connection randomly, you simply have no chance. Other games rely on full blown servers and avoid these problems. Now, there could of course be better diagnostics. There could be a partner of the metaserver that tests whether hosts are reachable and at least informs them (via the metaserver itself, of course) of the problems. Anyway, I'm sure that if you ask in the troubleshooting forums and give some details, someone will be able to help you get things to work.

As for the bandwidth usage, yes, it is too high. Way too high. Qualifies as a bug if you ask me.

But that's off topic here :) /me advertised for MW a bit on the Armagetron forums.
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Postby E rac » Sun Oct 12, 2008 12:55 am

I advertised on "hooked on spore" forums and the official C&C forums
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Postby Pinky » Sun Oct 12, 2008 12:58 am

I wouldn't consider the Bandwidth use a bug. Unlike most strategy games, Multiwinia has to constantly send data about all the individual MWs AI, and there's generally at least a thousand of the things on the field at any one time. That's on top of everything else.
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Postby Shwart!! » Sun Oct 12, 2008 1:03 am

Except that it is simulating everything individually by client.
Little is transferred besides the initial gamestate and player input.

Shwart!!
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Postby JossiRossi » Sun Oct 12, 2008 2:28 am

Been a huge fan of IV's work for a long time. I added to the blogocoverage I suppose. No one reads my stuff but who knows?

I've started an awful agonizing task of going through reviewing sites and tracking the games review coverage (I'll likely not deal in previews or interviews at the moment although that's a VERY big part of it. There's only so much I can do before I want to beat myself up. I'll try to split up the number of indy games reviewed too, but for now it's games overall. Gonna take me a while, if I finish it up and find anything interesting I'll post it up. Otherwise he's my little addition to getting word out. http://thanksforplaying.net/showthread.php?p=559

[Edit]
I graphed out Gamespot's overall review numbers (took me too much work to get the raw data down so I'll just dump this here for now). The data shows a consistent up and down trend for really a whole decade. There's the odd spike in reviews. There's a normal increase in reviews before Christmas and a decrease afterward in Quarters 1 and 2. This very likely due to developers just not releasing anything.

Here's the full chart: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v202/JossiRossi/Gamespotchart.png
WARNING: I labeled my X axis incorrectly. It labels from Jan 1996 to Dec 2007. So it's ever so slightly askew. I'll fix that at some point when I have my data in a nice spreadsheet and can make better graphs.

Now to explain a few things.
1. There is a large selection of reviews set at May 1, 1996 likely a low end "no date" setting. I did not include these reviews in the numbers.
2. Aug 25, 2005 has almost 60 listed reviews. Most of which seemed to be indy "casual" games. Almost all of popcaps games were listed this day. Also interestingly enough so was Darwinia.
3. Nov 1, 2005 was also a big day with 19 titles reiewed. Again many "casual" games.

Almost shockingly 2008 so far has had the lowest number of reviews of any year. Here's the rundown so far.
January: 1
February: 6
March: 7
April: 9
May: 8
June: 11
July: 8
August: 10
September: 12

Compare this to the same months in 2007.
January: 11
February: 15
March: 22
April: 13
May: 12
June: 17
July: 11
August: 10
September: 13

In 2008 there has been 72 reviews. In the same span in 2007 there was 124 reviews. So a 52 review decrease. This could have many many factors not just desire to review. The economic situation, the so called "decline of pc gaming" (which I highly doubt), or just a dry season. However, it feels that while major producers of video games might be hit by the economic situation that the indy developers out there while they might be hit by it would react differently, with more agility. I feel that lately there's been no lack of smaller game companies releasing games, gamespot just wasn't going out of their way to review those games. Maybe it's a "they aren't worth reviewing" mentality? For some companies maybe this is true. Fortunately Gamespot is one of those who did a Multiwinia review, but there does seem to be a downward trend.
Last edited by JossiRossi on Sun Oct 12, 2008 7:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby multimania » Sun Oct 12, 2008 7:24 am

We're up to six metacritic reviews now. Yay!
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Postby RabidZombie » Sun Oct 12, 2008 12:04 pm

Apreche wrote:The problem is that the multi-player just doesn't work. We're all computer scientists and networking professionals. We tried forwarding our ports. We tried using different ports. We tried everything. It just doesn't work. If I try to play against my roommate, on the same LAN, we just get connecting 1, 2, 3. I tried to play against my friend who lives on the other side of town who has the same ISP, we get insane amounts of lag. I remember back in the days when we played Defcon we had similar problems with connecting 1, 2, 3.

If the network code worked, me and all my friends, and listeners of my podcast, would be playing the game right now. Instead, because we pride ourselves on honesty, we're sadly going to have to give the game a negative review. And that is the catch-22 you face. Because nobody is playing, nobody is buying. Nobody wants to pay for a game that only has 3 or 4 games going on at once. They want to play a game with a huge community. You missed the chance to build that community when the game launched because the network code didn't work, and it still doesn't work as of today.


That a shame, but I hate to say it. I can play and host perfectly well and I'm NOT a computer scientist or networking professional. Just because you specialize in these areas doesn't mean what ever you tried is correct. Have you ever considered that you might be to blame? With knowledge comes a certain amount of stubbornness. I know, because I'm very stubborn. :P

Which brings me to my second point. You can't give a negative review to a game you haven't played. Sure, you can't play it, but that, in my opinion, is not a good reason to give a game a negative review. ESPECIALLY an indie game, who don't have the resources to test to every possible set up. A much better solution would have to have ask for help on these forums, and not 1/5 star the game on a knee-jerk reaction. Hey, perhaps if there is a bug, you might have even gotten it fixed.

I would have had sympathy for your difficulties, but the malicious act of spreading that the game doesn't work when it does are unforgivable.

Of course, since you're never going to return, this post is entirely pointless.
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Postby Greeba » Sun Oct 12, 2008 1:36 pm

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Postby Greeba » Sun Oct 12, 2008 2:12 pm

MrBunsy wrote:
happymrlocust wrote:I'm still a little weirded out that my first game of MW was against MrBunsy...


Hehe, I played a lot of games the first few days after it came out :)

Hey, if it's Multiwinian vs Multiwinian, why not Bunny vs Bunny? 8)
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Postby Jotti » Sun Oct 12, 2008 2:52 pm

Apreche wrote:because we pride ourselves on honesty

It seems to me that you pride yourself with "knowing it all better" even more.
While you may have a valid point with the whole LAN games thing -I would not know-, blaming "bad networking code" for your problems seems a tad over the top, especially considering I for one have been able to play and host games just fine after inputting the insane amount of 2 additional rules in my Linux NAT box's iptables, even more so because you claim to be a "networking professional".

You could have just taken the code from an open source game and used it.

I hope you realise that by taking code from an open source game and incorporating it into your own, you are very likely required to publish (parts of) your game under that same open source license? As much as I like the idea(l)s behind open source software, I do not think this would be a viable option here.

I am sorry you are having trouble playing the game. Really. But having trouble is one thing. Drawing all kinds of premature conclusions is quite another.

Oh and, wishing someone to be fired can be insulting, whether you precede that statement with a "this is not an insult" disclaimer or not.
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Postby Greeba » Sun Oct 12, 2008 2:58 pm

Hear hear. I've had a lot more network trouble with the likes of the last couple of C&C games than I have with Defcon or Multiwinia, and that's on several different home networks.
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