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Are devs aware of multiplayer discussion, moderators?


RyanX
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In all seriousness, is TFP aware of the discussions surrounding multiplayer servers (over 8 players)?  I know we get a lot of moderator involvement that generally points us towards "it's probably not going to be a thing", but do any devs actually hear about the concern?  I ask because I fear that the information might never get to them, stopped cold here in the forums and never relayed to them by the moderators or getting read by TFP themselves.  I would love to hear something from a developer regarding this.

Edited by RyanX (see edit history)
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Well they are aware of the fact that supporting MP only up to 8 players is a huge missed opportunity but they deceided to keep that way so they don´t have to sacrifice other things they want to have in the game. That´s what @Roland said in one of those threads.

 

What they really need to do is to make it more clear that the supported limit is 8 players. You need to do a specific search to get that info. Should be more visible.

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11 minutes ago, pApA^LeGBa said:

Well they are aware of the fact that supporting MP only up to 8 players is a huge missed opportunity but they deceided to keep that way so they don´t have to sacrifice other things they want to have in the game. That´s what @Roland said in one of those threads.

 

What they really need to do is to make it more clear that the supported limit is 8 players. You need to do a specific search to get that info. Should be more visible.

 

Well that's what I mean...maybe that's what @Roland says, but that's not what TFP has said.  I'm interested in hearing something directly from a developer, because afaic they have put larger multiplayer servers on their radar by putting out the features and capabilities out there in earlier alphas but have stopped addressing it.

 

I think we have a disconnect because we have moderators telling us things which may or may not have merit.

 

I mainly want to hear a developer's point of view so I can decide to either abandon this game or continue to make suggestions.  This is not the same great game I played when I bought it.  All of it's promise seems to have evaporated, and we have reached the tipping point with A20 where these servers have become unplayable.

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2 minutes ago, RyanX said:

these servers have become unplayable.

If you're playing this game thinking someday it will be a huge server PvP gankfest you're playing the wrong game. And no, Roland isn't inventing the fact that the Devs have said multiple times the supported limit for MP is 8. That's just a cold hard fact. Accept it or live with the consequences for exceeding it.

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3 minutes ago, JCrook1028 said:

If you're playing this game thinking someday it will be a huge server PvP gankfest you're playing the wrong game. And no, Roland isn't inventing the fact that the Devs have said multiple times the supported limit for MP is 8. That's just a cold hard fact. Accept it or live with the consequences for exceeding it.

 

Who said anything about PvP?  And no $%&^ the supported limit is 8. 

 

Read the post dude.  I asked if the devs were aware that they were making the servers more unplayable.

 

The people who argue against larger MP servers have evidently never played on a good one.  People building their own shops, grouping up for a communty horde night.  And what's with PvP always being thrown in, or comparisons to Rust?  I mean PvP could be fun, but that's secondary to getting servers stable.

Edited by RyanX (see edit history)
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PvP is brought up because 50 people all cooperating isn’t likely. Sure, you may have competing teams but members of those teams are going to be PvPing with other team members. As soon as you start talking about large populations it really seems likely that we aren’t talking about purely cooperative gaming anymore. 
 

But, regardless, I do respect a good question and an honest attempt to understand a lot more than I do a rant so let’s tag a few people to this thread and see if they are willing to clarify for you. 
 

Can any of you talk a bit about the net code and whether it will ever be improved so that large population servers will be able to run the game with decent performance and stability?
 

@Alloc

@faatal @madmole @Gazz @Prime @schwanz9000 @Hated

Edited by Roland (see edit history)
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We have some new engineers coming on board in January hopefully optimizations will be robust enough for you guys to enjoy larger servers again.

In the meantime, have you tried disabling the new dynamic meshes? I imagine 50 castles being erected at the same time and viewable from miles away could cause a hit in performance.

 

Can you guys describe how you play the game with 50 players? Is it pvp... or coop? Is it a large building community? What is the typical use case for servers this large? How many total players and how many are online when you start seeing FPS drops?

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1 hour ago, madmole said:

We have some new engineers coming on board in January hopefully optimizations will be robust enough for you guys to enjoy larger servers again.

In the meantime, have you tried disabling the new dynamic meshes? I imagine 50 castles being erected at the same time and viewable from miles away could cause a hit in performance.

 

Can you guys describe how you play the game with 50 players? Is it pvp... or coop? Is it a large building community? What is the typical use case for servers this large? How many total players and how many are online when you start seeing FPS drops?

 

First of all, it's awesome that you are asking these questions!

 

It's all types of servers.  There are all sorts of ways people set their servers up, both PvE and PvP.  The best way to see is to check out the servers yourself to see what people are doing, but there aren't nearly as many now because of server performance and difficulty in running the servers, which goes back to previous alphas.  Dynamic mesh does cause a hit for sure, but the issues go back a ways.  As far as how many players for an FPS drop?  That largely depends on the quality of the server, but at one point, 40-50 was no problem.  This has deteriorated over time and required the server mods to restart their servers on an increasingly shorter schedule to clean up the junk that a server creates.  A server owner could address this better than I could.  As of right now, it doesn't matter how many are on the server....lag, falling through the world, stuttering etc. are prevalent at any population.

 

Simply playing vanilla is my preferred way, players set up bases throughout the map, sometimes they set up communities and community horde bases, set up shops.  Players will build restaurants, etc. and fill them with player vending machines and players travel from all around to buy stuff from each other.  Players team up to run larger quests, it's endless really.  Some servers will bring in custom POI's like prisons for cheaters or rulebreakers, malls for players to set up shop in.

 

Others have set aside land for donors who help with operating costs to build on (a lot of these also do cheaty teleport mods which ruins the server).

 

It's like any other multiplayer game where you meet new people, make new friends.  It makes the world seem more alive when you see someone in the distance on their motorcycle.  There comes a point where it gets to be too much, though.  I think 50 is too many (not all do), even on a large map, but 40 isn't too bad.  And remember that just means that there are that many concurrently online.  Many others come and go throughout the day.

 

As far as PvP goes, terrain glitches make it unplayable because you can see other's bases through the ground and even shoot through the ground.  You could even fly a gyrocopter under the ground.  The weapons, armor, damage mechanics, etc. aren't set up for it at all and would need a complete rework.  As it stands now, server hosts used to be able to mod this stuff out (and still can to a degree) but it's a LOT of work.  It used to be my preferred way to play but I don't bother with it any more because of all the exploiting and cheating that it's succeptible to.  I had a group of 8 or so I played with in a group on some of the servers but it's just not worth it anymore.   Cheaters gonna cheat.

 

But in all seriousness, when PvP works, it's damn good.  It's like a Mad Max experience.  Better be quiet while looting that POI so someone doesn't come in the back door and steal all your stuff.

 

Thanks for listening!

Edited by RyanX (see edit history)
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There are servers supporting 50-100 players by bypassing the gateway through steam emulation, running calculations more efficiently before the game gets to do it and balance net package load more efficiently in the sense of only sharing what’s needed. However, it’s obfuscated Chinese code and the steam auth bypass is serious concern. At least for me.

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6 hours ago, madmole said:

We have some new engineers coming on board in January hopefully optimizations will be robust enough for you guys to enjoy larger servers again.

In the meantime, have you tried disabling the new dynamic meshes? I imagine 50 castles being erected at the same time and viewable from miles away could cause a hit in performance.

 

Can you guys describe how you play the game with 50 players? Is it pvp... or coop? Is it a large building community? What is the typical use case for servers this large? How many total players and how many are online when you start seeing FPS drops?

I SINCERELY appreciate you mentioning this and asking.
 

My personal experience is with PVP servers, less so much PVE, but I have a good Idea of what they try to accomplish too.

I'll put this all in two sections, one on what players look for in larger servers, and another for the issues they are facing.

 

For PVE i believe people use these to work with greater populations for horde and non-horde base building, possibly even city building. Essentially taking the base game's ideas and bumping up the scale much more, and feeling as a part of a community rather than a smaller group of friends. Meet new people, show your creativity to whoever passes by, etc. These servers tend to be modded to add more difficulty or custom zombies and such. I do not know what the performance looks like on your average PVE server, but I often see them with nearly 50-60 players sometimes in the server browser which is surprising.

 

For PVP, it is an entirely different animal. Probably the strongest, most unique and fun aspect of 7 Days to Die is base building. The amount of freedom this game allows in that regard is almost infinite, but on PVE servers and games this is usually used towards either aesthetic or horde defense purposes. As the store page of the game mentions; "Work together cooperatively to build settlements or work against each other raiding other player’s bases". Raiding/Defending a base against players is sublime and no other game gives the same experience. AI, as great and as far as it has come, can still be outsmarted pretty easily by players if they know enough about what they're doing. Players on the other hand can be a massive, unpredictable spectrum that always keeps you thinking and on your feet. But why is such a large server needed for these experiences?

 

Small scale, let's say, 8 player PVP is more consensual than anything. It roots out a lot if not all of the danger, mystery, and the will to rise to the top of the food chain. On larger servers, you have a mix of solo, duo and larger team players who often have no acquaintance with each-other... and therefore compete with each other to get ahead naturally. You have no idea how your rivals could operate, you have no idea where they could be, you have no idea what kind of gear they have. These kinds of scenarios bump up the survival aspect one-hundred fold, and make you feel like your in a dangerous wasteland more than any other way the game is played.

 

The game's strongest aspect, base building, challenges every bit of your creativity as you continuously evolve your designs to fend off any players who may be trying to either get your loot or wipe you off the map. Bases become purely utilitarian, and it becomes a skill of making a functional base instead of a formal one like in PVE. It's not just the strongest who survive, but the most clever, as opposed to other games where brute force solves everything.

 

Finally, the gunplay. While it can seem shoddy at times, and the base game's values are extremely imbalanced as they are tuned for fighting zombies, these are easy things to fix with mods and nearly every large pvp server has been doing it for years. Now more than ever, you have a pretty wide array of weapons to choose from to fit your play-style, and you're constantly adjusting mods and adapting with time to get more skillful in fights. When balanced, the game becomes a great mix of offense and defense, where players can take roles of fighters, builders or both... there is always a niche to fill.

 

Honestly PVP can really just be summed up as the more competitive side of the game by far, and bigger populations are needed to keep it truly competitive.

 

Now, for the problems these servers face.

I'd say first and foremost is the Net Code. It doesn't take many players on a server before strange things start to happen, one of the biggest being other players appearing as if they were "teleporting" when they are moving normally. They would be running in place for a moment, then teleport 30m ahead in the direction they faced. If they jumped, they would often look like they were flying despite not. This also leads to showing players in places they aren't actually in. An example would be a player spotting another outside of a building, while on the other screen, they're already inside the building. While i can see it being manageable in PVE, its horrendous for PVP. Many players accuse others of hacking simply cause of this alone.

 

The reason why the netcode behaves this way is likely due to how much information is fed to every client, but giKoN said it best: "Block Changes are sent out to every player on the server such that the world is up to date for all clients playing. So if player A places a block at +4000 +4000, player B at -4000 -4000 will know. One of the parts where I wanted some change, as the netcode is also so poorly done because there's a lot of redundant and a lot of unneeded information exchanged between all players". When you have upwards of 30 or so people all playing, the entire gamespace and the information in it is being shared and updated to all 30 clients whether they are in render distance of things happening or not. This was not always the case, as we were able to get a somewhat steady 50 players on a server up till early A19.

 

There is a couple modders that have made a way to bypass the base game's netcode, and uses a server kit that allows even up to 80 players on a server without major performance drops... but its sketchy, if not illegal, as it reroutes client data through an insecure network.

 

The next issue might be the client and server relationship. I'm not hugely experienced with networking, but my best explanation would be that the game is extremely client-side biased and gives very little if any power to servers. This causes a lot of security holes where hackers do not need much to be able to run creative or debug mode on a public server. There are many mods that help fight this as a last line of defense, but you can still execute many console commands in the main menu, then join a server that has them disabled, and they will still work. A lighter example would be completely disabling fog through the console to give yourself a massive advantage in PVP. However, debug mode and creative mode threaten all servers no matter the mode intended.

 

Finally, while I don't consider this as pressing of an issue, is "Xray". It's the practice of being able to clip your camera into the terrain such that you can see and shoot through it. It's something that's been in the game since the start, and there's countless ways on how to do it. Ride a bike into a 1x2 hole and move your camera around. Stand on a hatch in a 1x2 tunnel and open it, and it forces your head into the ground above. Many modders have been able to combat this using things like blackscreen (turns your screen black when your head is detected inside terrain blocks), but it continues to be a broken leg we can only use a bandaid on. Xray allows players to find hidden bases, shoot at other players and zombies through the terrain, and even fire rockets. Something simple as obscuring vision when underground might go a long way, like perhaps dense fog that appears when surrounded by terrain blocks.

 

I'm sure I can elaborate forever, but I believe these are the biggest thorns in the side of big servers currently. All the smaller things can be handled by modders.

 

Once again, thank you so much for taking time out of the day to read this.

Edited by Howlune
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1 hour ago, Howlune said:

Finally, while I don't consider this as pressing of an issue, is "Xray". It's the practice of being able to clip your camera into the terrain such that you can see and shoot through it. It's something that's been in the game since the start, and there's countless ways on how to do it. Ride a bike into a 1x2 hole and move your camera around. Stand on a hatch in a 1x2 tunnel and open it, and it forces your head into the ground above. Many modders have been able to combat this using things like blackscreen (turns your screen black when your head is detected inside terrain blocks), but it continues to be a broken leg we can only use a bandaid on. Xray allows players to find hidden bases, shoot at other players and zombies through the terrain, and even fire rockets. Something simple as obscuring vision when underground might go a long way, like perhaps dense fog that appears when surrounded by terrain blocks.

 

Honestly, the only reason as to why my xray- bot is just a bandaid to a broken leg is the netcode itself. If the code were implemented on the client, the issue, or at least the damage done by the issue would be fixed. There's no need to fix the clipping by itself, if you can force black screen or heavy fog (such as underwater fog) once the head is detected inside terrain or an invalid block.

 

Allocs had access to my code so technically they should be aware of how this could be battled quite easily. Now it's a bandaid, as it relys on the netcode to fire, I can only make it run on a server which relys on the player transmitting its position, then calculating where the head is and if its clipped or not. Thus, we get things like ping and invalid positions from rubber banding which make it fire from false positives or with delay. For vehicles, the server can't detect where the actual distant view of the client player is, thus, the vehicles can't be fixed from the server side. I initially wanted to cause fog, but due to the fact that players can turn off fog and i cant trigger fog locally on one player only i went with forcing the client to run a black screen effect command.

 

But if the pimps were to implement the solution on the client, that would seriously not be a bandaid. 

And if the netcode was better, even the server side controlled xray detection would be a medkit instead. 

 

 

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On 12/24/2021 at 6:02 PM, RyanX said:

 

 

But in all seriousness, when PvP works, it's damn good.  It's like a Mad Max experience.  Better be quiet while looting that POI so someone doesn't come in the back door and steal all your stuff.

Damn i hate idea to change 7dtd into mad max

 

But btw i think 1-4 player on 1 map is the most optimal number of player in this game

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1 hour ago, Matt115 said:

Damn i hate idea to change 7dtd into mad max

 

But btw i think 1-4 player on 1 map is the most optimal number of player in this game

We are giving our examples of situations we find most enjoyable about this game, we are not saying the game has to be a certain way. Were just asking for better support of how we enjoy it at no detriment to the rest of the player base. If anything, improvements to things like the netcode benefit everyone.

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On 12/24/2021 at 10:01 AM, madmole said:

We have some new engineers coming on board in January hopefully optimizations will be robust enough for you guys to enjoy larger servers again.

In the meantime, have you tried disabling the new dynamic meshes? I imagine 50 castles being erected at the same time and viewable from miles away could cause a hit in performance.

 

Can you guys describe how you play the game with 50 players? Is it pvp... or coop? Is it a large building community? What is the typical use case for servers this large? How many total players and how many are online when you start seeing FPS drops?

hopefully some optimization for lower end pcs that allows us to load all the maps instead of just navezgane :)

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On 12/24/2021 at 4:37 PM, Roland said:

PvP is brought up because 50 people all cooperating isn’t likely. Sure, you may have competing teams but members of those teams are going to be PvPing with other team members. As soon as you start talking about large populations it really seems likely that we aren’t talking about purely cooperative gaming anymore. 

Just chiming in to say:

I actually have the opposite experience. I like PvP.
But every time I look for popular servers, they are PvE cooperative servers. With huge horde bases, teleport commands, open traders or even whole trading cities (which are pretty much useless ever since gunport removal :D)

 

PvE on large scales are EXTREMELY popular and I would even say more popular than PvP servers. I don't have data to back that up, but I actually have trouble finding decent PvP servers... 

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23 hours ago, Howlune said:

We are giving our examples of situations we find most enjoyable about this game, we are not saying the game has to be a certain way. Were just asking for better support of how we enjoy it at no detriment to the rest of the player base. If anything, improvements to things like the netcode benefit everyone.

Yes and no. Well i understand your situation but my point is:  don't give them ideas connected somehow with mad max rly. I don't know if you saw new armors concept arts but it looks too much like mad max + junk guns drones etc. So this more looks mad max that days gone. Devs hear more voices that like new setting but i think a lot of people would prefer too keep more "depressing and sad" setting. So i'm trying to do something to focusing on good darker games like fear days gone  to avoid 7dtd became fallout or mad max reskin with zombies

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19 hours ago, Howlune said:

People like big servers. This was tonight, probably more friday night. It's not something that should be slept on.

 

 

Just think how many more would be up and running if they ran well?  I know many people who would come back and play (or host more servers) if they were optimized, and I think many of you do ,too.

Edited by RyanX (see edit history)
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On 12/30/2021 at 6:44 PM, Howlune said:

People like big servers. This was tonight, probably more friday night. It's not something that should be slept on.

bigserversthursday.JPG

So are these customers getting any attention for the next build?  Maybe you should disable max players above 8 to make it clear.  Or perhaps offer a refund to everyone in this list.

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34 minutes ago, Rhaikh said:

So are these customers getting any attention for the next build?  Maybe you should disable max players above 8 to make it clear.  Or perhaps offer a refund to everyone in this list.

 

I´d rather get my money back from the hosting services that let you rent servers for more than 8 people. There is no offical servers for 7 days.

 

And it´s not a secret that this is only for up to 8 people, you can find that info easily. If you don´t inform yourself before renting a server that´s your own fault tbh.

Edited by pApA^LeGBa (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, Rhaikh said:

So are these customers getting any attention for the next build?  Maybe you should disable max players above 8 to make it clear.  Or perhaps offer a refund to everyone in this list.

 

That depends. Did you read madmoles post above about new engineers coming on board? That's as good an answer as you're likely to get.

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On 1/9/2022 at 1:32 PM, Rhaikh said:

So are these customers getting any attention for the next build?  Maybe you should disable max players above 8 to make it clear.  Or perhaps offer a refund to everyone in this list.

Are you talking to TFP or server hosting businesses.  Maybe they need to disable modding too since it is also not optimized yet.

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