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DEVBLOG: THE FUTURE OF DU - Part 2: Under the Hood - Feedback thread


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Cookies and coffee to the left...... Discuss today's Devblog below! 

Space Mom always said "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" So to NQ: Keep the communications coming.  I am loving them. To the players, I have nothing to say. 

Given what this game want to achieve, imho, the only viable solution would be cloud gaming. This game is made for cloud gaming. Trying to sync a 'client' in each player PCs is just a technical ni

Great Read, I am hopeful if the performance of the game can be improved then more content can be added, I dont want new content that is unplayable due to the server issues. We have waited a long time for new content worth playing, a little while longer while making the rest of the game better is a small price to pay. Lets hope tomorrows update fills us with joy and excitement of things to come.

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Unfortunately, this is just stating the obvious.  On the other hand, at least they are stating it, instead of trying to mask it in distractions.

 

For instance, Manufacturing batches were clearly a change introduced to reduce operating cost, not as a player benefit.   Most of us had no problem with the concept, but like many things, it was done without much thought.  e.g.  Nobody had issues with things that happened very rapidly, like making screws, being batched up into more reasonable periods of time; however applying that across the board resulted in some items taking days, and huge amounts of resources, to complete a batch.   The savings for doing so on the longer term items was quite small, yet the impact to players making those items was huge.

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while I appreciate the need to reduce server running costs a major reason for the loss of subscriptions is the lack of content updates, and the uncertainty of the permanence of the game at this time. 0.23 was an update that tried to implement hard scaling to industry to slow down progression and try to force in game economics that the game simply does not have the features to support while 0.24 failed to bring anything to the game except some 4k dirt and a wallet system, and even that was bugged at launch while it was working fine on the PTS for whatever reason.

Reducing running costs is only sustainable if you either have enough money to run the game without subscriptions till launch or you continue to introduce content to keep the subscribers in game and provide some surety to those of us paying the subs that there is still a commitment from those involved to build the game as it was proposed and that  we will still be maintaining our progress when the client goes live.

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What I am reading here is nothing we did not already know about or what was raised by the player base going back as far as Alpha.

 

That NQ made massive miscalculation in what he game would require on their end was been abundantly clear but at the same time, reading words that seem to indicate NQ is taking ownership of this is encouraging. I have always been of the opinion though that it is far more "sellable" to charge $10/month with a proper back end than $7/mo with an unstable one.

 

What is not clear but what I feel I read between the lines here is that there wil be a drive to push more towards the client, possibly even going as far as (partially) implementing P2P level distributed server tech. Also my concern is that NQ will further reduce backend interaction on their end by reducing update frequency between clients and servers and possibly further increasing batch sizes in crafting, especially from nano pack which has so far been left untouched.

 

As with part one.. we'll see how this pans out but my fear is the bottom line is that NQ will throttle and limit what can be done in game to match the back end traffic to their budget.

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Game isnt fun, and has been hemorrhaging players since 0.23  this devblog is them saying they got no more money. But they have no content to bring in new people.  Everything they implement doesn't work on first iteration.  Look at the threads talking about the new /unstuck and fetch not working.  

 

Look at the facts, you have a skeleton crew trying to make a massive mmo, that doesnt have any money, and a huge portion of the player base has already moved on. This game is niche to begin with. The writing is on the wall. Bankruptcy. 

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38 minutes ago, blazemonger said:

What I am reading here is nothing we did not already know about or what was raised by the player base going back as far as Alpha.

 

That NQ made massive miscalculation in what he game would require on their end was been abundantly clear but at the same time, reading words that seem to indicate NQ is taking ownership of this is encouraging. I have always been of the opinion though that it is far more "sellable" to charge $10/month with a proper back end than $7/mo with an unstable one.

 

What is not clear but what I feel I read between the lines here is that there wil be a drive to push more towards the client, possibly even going as far as (partially) implementing P2P level distributed server tech. Also my concern is that NQ will further reduce backend interaction on their end by reducing update frequency between clients and servers and possibly further increasing batch sizes in crafting, especially from nano pack which has so far been left untouched.

 

As with part one.. we'll see how this pans out but my fear is the bottom line is that NQ will throttle and limit what can be done in game to match the back end traffic to their budget.

 

Has any game maker tried a node/distributed tec? like come to think about it you could have players host servers of "map volxel service" to distribute and offload data off NQ....and NQ pays in ingame currency for the service....humm going to reserch this a bit....good feedback!

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The database has been the ultimate achilleas heal of the game, and its good to see that its finally a target for some (hopefully) quality attention! But... DU in general has generally followed a great path of NOT concentrating on performance passes until large chunks of content additions are complete. Most companies epically fail with their development process of... add content, add content , add content, performance pass... It leads to all of those performance passes being complete wastes of time. People that cry about performance in an Alpha or even Beta game are simply ignorant to logical work flow, just like dev studios catering to them are destine to fail in the long run

Long story short... keep up the good work! Just communicate better with those supporting you!

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Gloves off, knives out....

 

The 'vision' you speak of... can we get something explaining precisely what the vision is? I don't want to be an activist on the issue. But a player driven economy and a few vague points is not a vision... it is a blur. I would like to see, myself, what the endgame goal is as far as this vision is concerned. 

I am happy to see something to the effect of NQ stating some behind the scenes information. Information that is relevant as to why things are the way the way they are. I would assume that the optimization will take place before the upgrade in hardware would hit the table as an option. But it is pleasant that information is being put forth. Something that should be the norm... clear concise communication without vagueness or generalizations to make it sound any better than it is. This is as close to that as I have seen in a long time.

On this 'vision'... I should have drowned numerous times now. Starved to death a few thousand times over. Been pancaked, burnt to a crisp, asphyxiated, decapitated, rag-dolled, poisoned, crushed, electrocuted... Are any of these part of the 'vision'? I mean, I am aware that they can make a meat substitute out of sewage... but the realism is... we don't have any of that survival element so far. I want to see some skill based killing based on something other than computational or statistical RNG. 

On the issue with performance... derelicts which are not abandoned and littering the landscape, the airspace, the lakes and oceans, and space itself... it needs addressed. Not talked about, not a balance of aesthetics and performance, but addressed. I do not find it aesthetically pleasing to walk around a District Hub or a Marketplace in game seeing ships smoking from damage, seeing ships belly-up, nose-up, arse-up, or in any other sense than what they should be. This includes sitting on top of one another. We, as players, cannot fix this. 

There should be some attention shown to these AGG towers stretching into the sky as well. Indestructible... razor thin frames capable of withstanding an impact from the Deathstar at lightspeed it seems. 

I digress... I am happy that the truth is being put forth on the technical end. I want to know what this 'vision' is precisely. I would like to see some realism added to the game itself. And, I want to see an information flow that is honest, reliable, and responsive. On player suggestions, there have been a a large number of suggestions. They may be more tailored to the 'vision' if we knew precisely what that was....

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I am aware that you have to level the game in terms of income and expenses, but you should not calculate the costs as less than they actually are or will be. Wages will steadily rise, as will various expenses. Means you should always build up a buffer in between to bridge certain periods of time.
As far as the player base is concerned, Dual Universe is a very special game, one must not forget that it does not offer the "normal content" that many players are used to from other games and would therefore keep them busy as long-term content. (Dungeons, Raids, Arena, Quests, Achievement System, Pets and Mounts, etc.) Means you have to or should be careful with assuming how many players will really have a lasting interest in the end. 
I've been playing for a few months now and I have a lot of fun building something up. What is less fun are the hour-long ore tours through tunnel systems, only to be able to continue building. Likewise, I have NO interest in PvP content myself and would be immediately out of the game if this were to become mandatory.
Still, I miss other ways to be able to build more. But what would the game offer me in 1-2-3 years, if I had built everything possible? At some point the construct limitations limit me. Then there is only mining, mining, ..... you won't get me into PvP, the real world already has enough wars, I don't need them as game content and will therefore always stay in the safe zone.

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17 minutes ago, Juvenius Drakonius said:

Has any game maker tried a node/distributed tec? like come to think about it you could have players host servers of "map volxel service" to distribute and offload data off NQ....and NQ pays in ingame currency for the service....humm going to reserch this a bit....good feedback!

 

There is no denying that the server tech NQ is using is not common at best and unique to them in the context of a persistent world for a MMO.

 

While it has been clear to many of us that the provisioning that the needs was always underestimated and undervalued by NQ from pretty much the start, that NQ tries to now spin this as if it was new to them from the start of Beta is really admitting they truly have no idea about the amount of work they bit of and it was way more than they could chew. NQ started of with the pitch that their tech could support millions of players, they wisely toned that down but still mentioned massive numbers, yet the peak concurrent logins in the week(s) after "beta" start was never more than little under 4K logins. We know this as we had access to an open API which told us this which NQ promptly closed as the number were already coming down.

 

This also ties into the financial struggles that led to NQ opening up "beta" and ending closed development. JC literally said several times that they needed the revenue to be able to progress and proceed. Problem is/was that this brought in more players than they accounted for and so the spiral started of needing to put in more budget into operating cost while doing that required more subs to start rolling in, which would cause more players and hence higher requirements for the server provisioning which would then lead to an increase in needed budget for operating cost and back to the top ..

 

If NQ did not correctly budget and foresee this happening then that says a lot about their ability to understand what the are/were doing beyond having a vision of grand things happening. And having your visionary also being the business lead in that regard generally will not end well even with the best of intentions.

 

So yes, I am really happy to see JC removed from that position and hopefully be able to be what he is, the one to provide the vision for the game. More proficient people can then both drive the business side, finances and manage the project itself to the extend the vision meets the technical and financial possibilities. And that is a lot of words for what I really think is a positive change for the company.

 


So what's next?

 

Well, we may find out in part 3 of this saga but I think it will be a bit premature to expect a new roadmap. Maybe a broad outline.
 

I still hope for a period of several months where NQ will restructure their core tech, rework the server and backend as well as find the balance between what they want to achieve and what's possible. I also think it is now inevitable that the planned release for end of the year is off the table which actually will be good. And yes, I see all this lead to the one thing many do not want to go but wil be impossible to go around.. a full wipe.

 


To go full speculation mode, here's my prediction:

  • 3-6 months for NQ to regroup, restructure and get the core (server) tech reworked
  • 2-3 months to get the existing game code fixed and balanced as far as it can be
  • 6-12 months to bring in the remaining core game play features, being the mission system, player market, revamp on PVP, TW (with AVA, ACV and CVA), planet tech update (with partial wipe), pets, character optimization and all the remaining KS promises from the (stretch) goals

 

By this time we're deep in the second half of 2022 at least and an actual beta can start with all core game loops implemented. This is where we wil see a full wipe and the arrival of the cash shop. A release would then be possible 2nd half 2023

 

And yes, if the above were to happen I'd be perfectly fine with it

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17 minutes ago, Kurock said:

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all"

 

There is nothing wrong with being critical but I agree that that should come with a constructive angle. And while I agree to that I also know that I am guilty of not always following that in each comment or post but at the same time I believe it's there often enough for others to understand it is there. Not meaning to imply you were referencing me here, just trying to make a point.. ;)

 

I also believe that expecting or driving people to only speak up when they have positive/nice things to say, means you try to create the illusion that it's all good when it's really not while you are well aware of this. (again, it's a marketing/PR ploy)

 

So, as the "resident critic", needless to say I do wholeheartedly disagree with this. I see nothing wrong with holding NQ accountable for their mistakes, especially when they show no signs of willingness to take ownership of these on their own. There is some good things in these blogposts but it's mostly between the lines. Overall it's just a marketing and PR exercise and anyone with even the slightest understanding of that will see this. The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding in this regard.

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With another game entering early access soon that has similar tech but seems more polished what is needed is more content.  Sadly what you have now is performance updates placing more on the client and potentially open more issues.  For example pvp takes place in a tile and thus needs everyone 'connected' to the server amazingly well or misses all over the place.  The server cannot handle big fights either.

 

In addition you can literally sort at lot of data issues out by REMOVING old constructs or players not logged in for awhile say 60 days.  Pack it into a pack and they can access it at a later date.  Problem solved and one used by many other games.

 

DU sadly is hemorrhaging members due to lack of content.  Where is pvp 2.0 ? Where is PVE.

 

Honvik 

 

Premier of the Empire 

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1 minute ago, Honvik said:

With another game entering early access soon that has similar tech but seems more polished what is needed is more content. 

 

I think the status of the game that shall not be mentioned (assuming it's sb) as far as being polished and stable is at best overrated, that game is nothing like DU or the tech behind it in any way, starting with scale.

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Given what this game want to achieve, imho, the only viable solution would be cloud gaming. This game is made for cloud gaming.

Trying to sync a 'client' in each player PCs is just a technical nightmare:

  • there are cache/sync issues
  • load time / zoning time
  • LUA script sharing and performance
  • latency 
  • physics issues (remember alt-f4 to stop ship and how it's badly solved)
  • requiring an anti-cheat system on each PC which leads to more issues
  • but more importantly: In the mid & long terms it will prevent adding some major attractive features to the game because of its client/server nature and technical limitation.

On the other hand, cloud gaming could solve all theses issues and reduce a lot the operating costs.

Teaming with Stadia or Luna which also have the big cloud infrastructures for the servers is just a no brain win-win.

With total control on the clients and the physics engine which could be unique and server side.: just imagine what could be possible.

DU is the 'killer app' cloud gaming desperately needs and cloud gaming is the only long term viable technical solution for a game like DU.

I just don't understand why NQ isn't going this route, even more that they're already giving tons of cash to Amazon AWS.

 

(disclaimer: I've programmed networking code for games and dealing with client/server issues in the last 20+ years so it's not just a 'feeling').

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