Let's talk about bandwidth

Discussion in 'Planetary Annihilation General Discussion' started by bytestream, November 30, 2013.

  1. bytestream

    bytestream Active Member

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    I knew upfront that PA would be heavier on my internet connection, but I didn't know how heavy. I thought since I could play any other none peer-to-peer game without even getting close to the limitation of my connection I should be able to play at least regular PA matches. Nothing fancy like 40 players or even more than 10, but up to 8 across multiple planets should work. I sadly haven't had to play many games yet (life sucks sometimes) but in those 1v1 or 3 player ffa games the traffic went "through the roof". It is still okay but it also showed me that I will never be able to play 8 player games.

    My issue is that I didn't know that upfront. Don't get me wrong, I'm not ranting here, the game is fun and with a server set up we could probably play it via LAN. However, the fact that PA is way heavier on your internet connection than regular games, more than 15 times as heavy after just 30 minutes, is something that should be mentioned in the system requirements, and currently it doesn't even say that an internet connection is required at all.

    In my book Uber should release some charts that show how much bandwidth is needed per player and minute played. There are many people out there like me that are from regions that don't really have high speed internet. And I'm not just talking 3rd world countries here. I'm e.g. from Bavaria, a rather countryish federal state in Germany, where your connection is pretty bad if you don't live in a city. It's stable and good for pretty much every game, but longer PA games are just too much for it. And I think people should know that before they buy the game and it should hear it from the devs, they shouldn't have to find it out by searching the forums.

    Or, maybe I make a lot of noise for nothing here and Uber is currently working on drastically reducing the traffic?
  2. KNight

    KNight Post Master General

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    You assume the current bandwidth usage is indicative of the 'release' bandwidth usage.

    Uber has said time and again that they still have optimizations to do yet. The thing is that the amount of bandwidth is not a constant, it's completely dynamic and based on a huge range other dynamic and static elements. Also given that not all the optimizations they can still do even if they COULD provide some kind of chart, it'd be outdated very quick.

    It's unfortunate that you are having issues but to be frank, you should have realized that that was a risk given that the game/engine is being created completely from scratch.

    Mike
  3. popededi

    popededi Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    Just give you a bit of hope:

    I bought PA about 3-4 weeks ago. When I got started, I could barely play a 1v1 AI game at all. Not just that but even the lobby was slow, and an actual game took ages to load.

    They have improved so much on the server side since, that now I only have issues if I let an AI run uncontrolled on a planet, building thousands of units and such, and even then, only slight lag.

    I'm sure, that by the time the release rolls around, there will be several more optimisations implemented, so if I was you, I'd just wait and see.

    Also, the online requirement for the beta period is clearly stated on the steam early access page. Not sure about the uber website though.
  4. Dementiurge

    Dementiurge Post Master General

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    Wasn't the target for bandwidth at a 1Mbps minimum? I can't say I'm surprised, for a game that doesn't really have a unit limit and isn't constrained to 2D. The unit count can just explode into the thousands.

    Actually, on a complete side note, I'm stumped at why other non-RTS games need as much bandwidth as they do. Most such games barely have any more active entities than games from more than a decade ago, back when 56k was the standard, and yet the netcode is actually worse. Looking at you, Call of Battlefield. The fiber goes down, down, down, but the pings get higher....
  5. bytestream

    bytestream Active Member

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    It says "Early Access online connectivity is required to play" but that's all. They really should state that it requires high speed or broadband internet connection to even play against bots.

    I really hope not, 1Mbps for a regular game would just be insane. If you play a 10-20 player it would be reasonable, but for regular 1-8 player matches 100kBps (which is still way more than any other RTS game needs) should be the maximum.

    If it really is 1Mps this would mean a lot of people wouldn't be able to play it. Take Germany as an example, there was a study in 2012 that showed that we only have a ~30% coverage for >=1Mps internet. It's an emberassment for a high tech nation as we are, but normal people just can't do anything about it. You can't upgrade your internet if the infrastructure just isn't there.
  6. Waywocket

    Waywocket New Member

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    Hard to say what the final requirements will be at this stage, but there are a couple of points here I'd like to respond to directly.

    First, 1Mbps is 128kBps, so already pretty close to your target.

    Second, your 30% coverage for >=1Mbps is a very long way out - Germany has some of the best internet coverage in the world, with 95% of households having access to at least 1Mbps as of 2011, and 61% having access to at least 30Mbps as of 2012.
    I can't post a link, but Google for "Germany leads Europe in superfast broadband" and take a look at the first hit - this page includes some numbers from when it was written in 2012, and a link to a Europe-wide study from 2011.

    What's your connection speed at the moment? It might be worth having a few examples so people know roughly what connections can sustain a certain number of players/units at the current stage of development.
    drz1 likes this.
  7. bobucles

    bobucles Post Master General

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    The game has some pretty lofty goals. It only makes sense that the weakest link is going to be the country's infrastructure, which in some "first worlds" has remained stagnant for years. So go complain to your congressmen that you're paying some of the highest internet rates in the world and getting subpar service.

    All Uber can do on their end is optimize the game. Every ounce of optimization that Uber can squeeze out of an internet connection will ultimately provide a better online experience.
  8. bytestream

    bytestream Active Member

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    Not if it is the minimum requirement. It's fine for 10 player games, but currently even a 1v1 game reaches that level.

    That's cos our government still defines everything that is faster than 384 kilobits per second as "super fast". Also, in Januray only 0.44 percent of all German broadband Internet users were connected via fibregalss. For the rest of us it is wireless which means the quality is not that stable, especially if you don't live in the cities.
    You also have to know that e.g. 16Mbps means "up to" and not "at least". We have many regions where you can consider yourself lucky if you have a 16Mbps contract but only get 8Mbps.

    My whole region (8 villages) is capped at ~230kbs down and ~20kbs up, which kinda sucks pretty bad. What makes things even worse is that our government's official data says that we have access to 16Mbps.



    Again, I'm not complaining here, I just would like to know what to expect when the game is released.
  9. popededi

    popededi Well-Known Member

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    Wow, that's nasty. Do you have some sort of LTE or at lest HSDPA coverage? You might be better off with that. Although those are usual datacapped:(
  10. cola_colin

    cola_colin Planetary Moderator

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    PA has indeed a rather high download compared to other games. However the upload is near 0. At least in FA most people had issues because their upload was maxed, not their download. Pretty much all people have far less upload than download after all. So I'd wager compared to PA more people will be able to play, even though more traffic is generated. The direction of the traffic is important after all.

    If you want more info about what is actually going through your network read this post:
    http://forrestthewoods.com/the-tech-of-planetary-annihilation-chronocam/

    Remark 19 is kind of interessting:
    Less than 1 mbit download and no important upload. Pretty damn good actually compared to FA.
    If you have less than 1 mbit at your home I would assume that most games dont work out very well, or am I mistaken?
    brianpurkiss likes this.
  11. bytestream

    bytestream Active Member

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    Actually all none peer-to-peer games work perfectly fine, most of them don't require more than maybe 20kbps download and 5kbps upload. (You start tracking that stuff if you have to deal with such a bad internet connection).

    And thx for he link, if they cap it at mbit for "much, much, much larger games" than everything should be perfectly fine.
  12. cola_colin

    cola_colin Planetary Moderator

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    Hmm, maybe I have played too many p2p games. 20kbs sounds extremely low for a game.

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