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Two step
Aperture Harmonics
K162
Posted - 2006.02.18 17:04:00 - [31]
 

Originally by: Winterblink

Don't take this the wrong way, but how come client performance tweaks are usually made by removing or allowing the removal of game "things"? And by "things" I mean messages, effects, sound, etc?

Of course I don't have inner working knowledge of the game client, server backend and all that, but this is the first MMO I've played where I've had to disable so much to get things to run even remotely smooth in combat. When I used to play DAoC I'd be involved in sieges with hundreds of other players, and I didn't have to reduce my client functionality to a bunch of stick figures waving their arms and weapons around soundlessly, with spellcasters making crude motions with their hands with no fancy graphical flourishes.

I won't deny that game suffered from lag in situations like that, or that they didn't dynamically reduce the animation complexity based on distance and number of characters on screen, but at least the core experience of hurling a fireball at someone was on the screen, not in my imagination. My girlfriend watched a fight I had recently, and her question was "why are ships just exploding?". "Because we're shooting them. Imagine, if you will, that there are lasers and railgun charges flying around at everyone."

*shrug* Just curious.



First, my qualifications for saying what I am about to say: I am a professional software engineer, I have worked in the game industry (on GFX and AI), though that was 4 or 5 years ago.

I honestly think the developers that wrote the initial version of the EVE client didn't know what they were doing. They made some major architetural decisions that have hurt EVE in the long run. Here are the big issues. Without seeing the code, some of these are guesses, but I think they are correct.

1) They seems to have locked the redraw loop to the network updates. There is no reaosn for a modern client server app to not be able to draw at 60 fps (on a compentent system) *no matter what* the network state is. The UI should be responseive even if there is tons of lag. Back in the day (before network games) people used to write games that worked like this, but most modern games have decoupled the rendering and game state updates.

2) They don't seem to be able to send partial updates. When you jump into a fleet battle you either see all the enemy ships or none of them. I suspect they are also sending too much information about the ships around you. It seems as though they send the full ship setups of enemy ships so you can correctly render their turrets and whatnot, which should properly be streamed in later, if at all.

3) Server handoffs take too long. This sounds like a minor issue, but if this was fast we wouldn't have problems with lagged out systems. There is no reason that each grid couldn't be run on a different server, as long as the grid-grid transition was fast enough. I'm not sure why this takes so long, but jumps seem like they should be much faster.

4) UI rendering is really slow. I'm not sure what exactly they are doing here, but making a modern repsonsive UI should be so hard. They seem to have created it all from scratch, which wouldn't be my first choice, but that is pretty common to game developers.

I don't mean to put down CCP's efforts on this game, they have created a wonderful world. I just wish they have a couple more good client server and UI developers. I suspect much of their troubles came from being in Icleand, which has a pretty small pool of professional game developers.

Rells
Caldari
Fusillade.
Posted - 2006.02.18 22:16:00 - [32]
 

Edited by: Rells on 18/02/2006 22:16:16
actually you might have some points there but I think the main issue seems to be that the client doesnt appear to be multithreaded. This means that it cant dynamically redistribute the load well. If the system is being served by a single server it cant federate out into multiple processors to handle the load of the battle. This is a prime problem in many game designs, the lack of multithreading.

I am not a game programmer though I have done some consulting there. However I have put togethe systems in business that make the traffic in eve look like nothing. I have been tempted to send them my resume actually; but I dont know if they are even hiring. =)

min doner
Posted - 2006.02.18 23:45:00 - [33]
 

Originally by: Rells
Edited by: Rells on 18/02/2006 22:16:16
actually you might have some points there but I think the main issue seems to be that the client doesnt appear to be multithreaded. This means that it cant dynamically redistribute the load well. If the system is being served by a single server it cant federate out into multiple processors to handle the load of the battle. This is a prime problem in many game designs, the lack of multithreading.

I am not a game programmer though I have done some consulting there. However I have put togethe systems in business that make the traffic in eve look like nothing. I have been tempted to send them my resume actually; but I dont know if they are even hiring. =)


http://www.ccpgames.com/jobs/default.asp :)

DigitalCommunist
November Corporation
Posted - 2006.02.19 00:47:00 - [34]
 

Well Ralus, you are correct. The ship class differences aren't extreme enough. However there is some of that "combat within combat" stuff going on. In a fleet fight, the support ships are typically fighting each other.

Thats not the only stopping factor. HP and damage is a big one too. Stuff dies really fast. Consentuality is probably the main one - people simply don't engage what they know 100% they will lose against.

The overall changes needed to have awesomely long fleet fights are not hard to do by any level of coding. You could do it all in one patch, because its just tweaking what we already have now. Problem is its hard to accept for a lot of people.

Maya Rkell
Third Grade Ergonomics
Posted - 2006.02.19 01:24:00 - [35]
 

Rells,

I think you need to talk to Goonfleet.
(No, not sarcasm)

Nomen Nescio
Posted - 2006.02.19 04:42:00 - [36]
 

Originally by: DigitalCommunist

The overall changes needed to have awesomely long fleet fights are not hard to do by any level of coding. You could do it all in one patch, because its just tweaking what we already have now. Problem is its hard to accept for a lot of people.


Well, DC, I have neither 1/50th of your eve experience or game knowledge, but I think you are missing the forest behind the trees.

I think numbers we have no are practicaly finest possible balance which can be done by numbers inside the current combat system. You practicaly can't change a thing or the combat will be broken beyond believe.

I think the foundation system holds it all back, and the main points would be:


  • If you want any 1 on 1 be possible, you can't buff tanking and lower damage over some point (we are pretty close now). Because after this point 1 ship wont be able to break another ship of the same class - so 1 on 1 dies.

  • However, no matter how close you are to that fine point, or moreover even if you cross this point and lower damage and boost tanking in a fleet IT WONT MAKE A DIFFERENCE, because unfortunatly in eve combat system there is MAJOR flaw - focused fire

  • By focused fire i mean an ability of any number of ships to fire and deal full damage on any target in range no matter what. Such that no matter how big the tank is and how low the damage is you will always have N number of ships you need to provide firepower to break that tank extremely fast

  • Second MAJOR contributor to the problem is that there is no any reason whatsoever to spread fire. Such that not only you can, but also you SHOULD focus fire on one ship so you can take him out of battle as fast as possible. From tactical point of view any ship with 100% hp as effective as 1%hp "almoust egg". But once you blow it up you suddenly gain advantage of enemy loosing a combat unit altogether.

  • But, if lets say for a second, any ship which takes any fire would recieve a penalty to damage output, it would tactical OPTION to spread fire to suppress all enemy ships vs focusing fire on one. (in fact if you look at naval warfare around WW1 battleships had effective gun range much bigger then distance between ships in combat order, yet in fleet engagements it was alsmoust a rule to press each enemy with matching fire and only then try to focus rest of the firepower on primary target. When enemy ship didnt recieve any fire it could maintain both course and speed and gunners would not be distracted with sheels and hits, so they could dramaticaly increase their accuracy.)

  • In eve fleet combat both movement and morale are not a factor, even overall HP is not a factor. But just adding a system which will reduce your damage output if you take fire would dramaticaly change fleet combat in a way that focused fire would have real alternative.

  • Once however focused fire is "spreaded" you dont huge tanking to have longer battles. You can have have pretty damn good gunbattle 1 vs 2 bs at long range right now, but you can't possible enjoy beeing "primary"



Or let's say, if you are still with me, very "simple" game feature of eve is amazing ability to keep and move your fleet in tight pack without any penalty. On a first glance is not a problem at all, but i beg to differ. Then you have 50 ships in a 5km radius and enemy at 70km everybody can fire on one target. Again, major contibutor of focused fire.

Lets say we just take this and see how it can affect our problem:

  • Say, somehow the game would discourage tight group and promote lose formation

  • Once if is spreaded enough you all 50 ships have different range to the same target.

  • Moreover, enemy also spreads around, so each of you pilots will have some ships in range and some beyond. Now you can't have focused fire, again - engagement with the current stats becomes not 1 takes volley from 50. But 2 vs 3 firefights.


Nomen Nescio
Posted - 2006.02.19 04:43:00 - [37]
 

Edited by: Nomen Nescio on 19/02/2006 05:21:18
Again, if you just have that picture in your head you 50 vs 50 with the same ships and stas becomes "epic long battle" instead of gankage lottery of "you are primary now".

How to spread ships? Well, you tell me, anything you like. How about a rule of "more then 2 ships in 5 km sphere reduce dps of both in half". It's in fact even more interesting then you think about 1 on 1, up close damage of ships us huge, however if you get really close you both will lose half of it, so tanking will have a break. Yet short range dps / half is still more then long range dps / 2.

Or make splash damage from any fire, affecting all ships in area, such that you have to spread or everyone will take damage...

"And he says complete bull, because splash damage was in and was removed, because we can't tackle..."

And you are right, but in a sense that tackling is broken and messes the combat big time:


  • You have to gank if you have superiority or any advantage, because enemy will flee instantly

  • Can a bs engage a bs at 50 km range one on one and see weaker pilot to stay? No. If not, everyone groups.

  • Can a solo pilot hope to stay and take out one of enemy in a group? No, because once you see that enemy is stronger you HAVE to run before they scramble.

  • Once you get scrambled and enemy stronger you chances are.... nill.

  • Result: if only you can have more men - gang, or avoid fight, or fit full rack of stabs.



The point is that tacklign system PROMOTES as much as possible immidiate retreat and discorages risk, if you dont get out at the start most likely you wont get out at all.
How about starting from scratch:

  • All ships can natively scramble one enemy of the size at the range of long range guns

  • This scrambling has instant full effect once applied, but will last some time only. If enemy fit stabs they will reduce the % of the effecttime

  • After the scrambling cycle ends you have to wait some time to apply it again. Med slot mods will reduce that gap (another mod the range). During that gap enemy can warp out freely.

  • This effect is not comulative such that once scrambling cycle is over no other ship can scramble the same target untill the "gap" timer is off. Meaning you can't scramble any ship forever with 100 on 1

  • Now sit back and think. You engage ANY enemy on ANY ship, you feel his is running - boom scramble, he has to tank and fight, but for limited time. Should you wait with scramble or can you take him out? You want him to stay longer - you have med mods, he wants to leave early, he has reduces tank with stabs on low. 10 gankers are on you? Tank you bs and you will have chance to get out. You were "working" on rats, evil pvp jumped on you, you ship is ALWAYS ready for pvp with native ability to stop one bad mf from messing with you.



And you say, "bs will rule stoping any smaller ships and wasting it". Well, my strong belive that NO weapon should have ANY effect on any smaller craft. At the same time all numbers should be multiplied to make classes of ships much different. Yes you can't hit a ceptor with bs guns, but if you have 70k shield you can wait for scramble gap np. No nos, no drone no missle from bs should be able to do ANY damage on ceptor. Only then we will have mixed fleets there you have to have small crafts coverign your bs. Bs would have huge hp and tanks and deal huge damage to other bs. Cruisers however could avoid any bs fire and kill them, but they can'y kill frigs. Frigs can avoid all fire from any bigger ship, but breakign even cruser tank would be hard for 5 on 1, and you wont be able to kill a bs with frigs at all.

But I'm talking rubbish now, its another game...

But the point was, numbers alone wont solve a thing in eve, unless you look why system creates gameplay we have.


DigitalCommunist
November Corporation
Posted - 2006.02.19 05:29:00 - [38]
 

Edited by: DigitalCommunist on 19/02/2006 05:40:31
Originally by: Nomen Nescio
Originally by: DigitalCommunist

The overall changes needed to have awesomely long fleet fights are not hard to do by any level of coding. You could do it all in one patch, because its just tweaking what we already have now. Problem is its hard to accept for a lot of people.


Well, DC, I have neither 1/50th of your eve experience or game knowledge, but I think you are missing the forest behind the trees.

I think numbers we have no are practicaly finest possible balance which can be done by numbers inside the current combat system. You practicaly can't change a thing or the combat will be broken beyond believe.



Before you continue writing more, this is where I say you are dead wrong. Half of the solutions you proposed can be solved with alteration of existing numbers. The problem is you would label combat as being broken, and a lot of others would too. You bring up 1v1, which kind of leads me to think you misunderstood the kind of difference tweaking numbers can do. Its not about HP, because fights were sufficiently long even before HP was boosted. That was just a temporary hack solution. Boosting the tanks is not what I had in mind either, although some new skills and modules couldn't hurt.

I was basically talking about the ability of large weapons to hurt small ships. Signature radius, tracking, missiles, drones. These things already exist, and are designed to give different ships different roles. Read what Ralus stated, and I'll only agree. The reason why battles don't last long is because every ship in the battle is pumping out hundreds of damage per second, and there ain't much in the game to withstand that. Focus fire only exists because the majority of fleet battles are centered around the battleship, take those out and whatever remains isn't going to stand a chance. Why does it have to be that way?

Two forces square off, one consisting entirely of battleships, one of cruisers. Equal numbers. The larger the numbers involved, the less likely it is for the cruisers to win even when the battleships aren't kitted to face anything but other battleships.. or supposedly thats what Large guns are designed for. In reality they are pretty damn effective at melting cruisers if you have them positioned at various angles to your target.

Remove that ability and people will whine, people will even say its broken. But it will be the best fix to combat since the tracking system was implemented.

Edit: Regarding your comment about tackling promoting ganking. It does not, ganking exists because the damage in the game is not proportional to the tanking power of ships. It also exists because everyone where everyone else is. If I jump to your system, are you going to sit around in a belt npc hunting? Probably not, since you wouldn't stand a chance. If you're travelling with stabs, will I try to camp a gate with a single disruptor hoping to catch you? Probably not, since I wouldn't stand a chance. I bring a fleet to your doorstep, are you going to fight knowing I have a far superior force? No, you're going to want more numbers. More numbers equals more damage, equals less reason for small forces trying to engage.

Believe me, I'd be fine engaging a superior force if I knew half their ships couldn't hit me, and the other half couldn't break me. As it stands, a battleship is a likely contributor to anybody's death mail regardless of ship size, and interceptors doing 150+ dps is a bit much imho.

Gierling
Gallente
The Scope
Posted - 2006.02.19 05:47:00 - [39]
 

Has anyone thought that the amount of calculations going on before were nowhere near the level seen today?

The tracking calculation, EW calculation and Missille calculation, propogated across every turret fired, jammer used and missile fired.

Even if its only 1% more complex then the previous calculation (Which these are not, those three in particular require more operations by a factor of 3 then what they replaced). propogated across the entire battle it adds up and fast.

Nomen Nescio
Posted - 2006.02.19 06:29:00 - [40]
 

Edited by: Nomen Nescio on 19/02/2006 06:40:31
Originally by: DigitalCommunist

Before you continue writing more, this is where I say you are dead wrong.

You can't possible solve these problems with numbers.

Tracking is sophisticated, but it doesnt work.

  • With range bs can have any movement of target is still negligable. I see trackign system as a failure, because sniper bs can damge huge damage on frig.

  • I see all focused fire problem beyond any possible number tweaks, because with no line of sight or any other system which will prevent ability to focus 50 men fire on 1 , no number can save you.

  • At the same time you cant lower the dps on guns, because then 1 on 1 wont break a tank of similar ship.

  • I think no numbers can solve tackling situation then bs can't possible engage another bs at 60km range and enforce the fight one on one.

  • I think no numbers can tweak bs with large noses and dronebays covering their asses against any frigs.



I honesly think that eve combat system needs re-design with new core features, not another round of number movement in old tables.

As for the people, you do anything - whine will arise. You come and build eve from nothing - people will instantly whine that "it is not ultima online". You can't possibly evolve without whine.



PS

Yet Im looking forward, ok DC, lets say you can do whatever you want with any numbers but all the current logic stays the same. What would you do? Anything you want, the crowd will lynch someone else. What would be the numbers for perfect eve combat?

DigitalCommunist
November Corporation
Posted - 2006.02.19 07:16:00 - [41]
 

Well you say the problems can't be solved with numbers, I say they can. In the end its a matter of opinion, and niether one of us has the power to prove it.

In the immortal words of some guy on IRC who thinks I should die a painful death "he has no argument, but he has.. bulletpoints!". Isn't it far more logical to fix the current system than write it off as a complete failure and try something totally different? I don't see anything redeeming about the stuff you mentioned, or any reason why its not bound to failure any more than the system we do have.

Anyways, make me producer for one expansion and I can guarantee half the balance issues with combat today will be resolved - but people will whine. Hard. But once they go digi, they never go back. I'd list exactly what I'd do, but I've done that in other threads, so tbh.. I don't feel like derailing this nice thread of why epic fleet battles don't exist.

Gierling
Gallente
The Scope
Posted - 2006.02.19 07:48:00 - [42]
 

If numbers can't solve it then it can't be solved... Unless we want to move Eve to all analog, in which case the servers would be under a lot of strain and Digital communist would have to quit.

IMHO problems exist in the pure exponential scale in costs and capabilities in terms of ships. A tweaked linear scale would have kept the low and high ends from getting out of touch but would essentially be an entirely different game.


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