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SylenThunder

Dedicated Servers or Increased Player Count on Console or Split Screen MP

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If all one system is doing is tracking the game world and it can't handle 6, 8, or 10 players then something else is wrong.

 

Maybe the maps are too big for one. The maps are way to big for 4 players. At that player count you only get friends playing and you spawn on opposite ends of the map it takes an hour or more to meet anywhere.

Edited by ReinQuest (see edit history)

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That's just it though. The game world is exactly what is eating up all the resources. Again, you guys are not understanding why a true 3D voxel game is SO much more demanding.

 

For the active region chunk that each player is in, the following things are being calculated through the CPU and RAM.

  • Every single 1m block from bedrock to the sky limit.
  • The individual material properties of each of these blocks.
  • The Structural Integrity of each block, plus adjacent attachments on all 6 sides.
  • The texture being applied to each block, and sending visible block data to the GPU.
  • Inventory data on each container block.
  • Growth timers for plants.
  • Additional timers for forges, workbenches, and other workstations.
  • Electricity and minibike information if it exists.

 

I think that covers everything.

 

Now, if you figure that the active chunk area is a 100m radius, and the height map is 256m.

Figuring the volume of the cylinder will roughly tell you how many total blocks are in focus.

V=πr2h=π·1002·256≈8.04248×106

 

So basically for every player the client is performing calculations on 8,042,478 blocks initially when the player logs in.

As you move, it's removing the blocks that fall out of range, and adding the blocks that fall into range in segments.

If we calculate a segment as 3 blocks in depth, using the circumference of 628, we get one face of the cylinder as follows.

Face = (Circumference·3·h)\2 = (628·3·256)\2 ≈ 241,152

 

So now, as you move, you are removing 241,152 from RAM, and performing calculations on the 241,152 that are being loaded.

 

Now this is optimized somewhat in the code, but you should be starting to see some of the issues.

Games like Ark are only loading flat textures, a bump map, and the data for objects and entities in visible range. They aren't loading 8 million one meter blocks. Which is why you absolutely cannot compare 7Days with other game titles. They are so completely different it is not even funny.

 

This is covered to some extent here, and it seems to be the one thing almost no one realizes, or wants to acknowledge.

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Curiosity has gotten the better of me. SylenThunder, when you are talking about height map what does that include. Is 256m the height from bedrock to upper sky limit? Is it possible to mod the heights? What I was thinking is what if the bedrock limit was -50 instead of -57 and the max upper limit of the sky was also dropped so it was only a certain height above the highest peak of the highest mountain (which you also limited yourself)? Would the loss of those bottom 7 blocks and x number of upper limit blocks make enough of a difference to the calculations the pc has to do to make the game run a little smoother? I know you would have to lose the ability to make those uber high tower bases or those deep underground bases (boo) (ok I heard that whoever did it), but would the smoother game play (if it works) make it worth it.

This is just my mind racing through these things as it is trys to get me to hurry up and get to a Christmas party so it can get liquored up so I may be spouting a bunch of horse pucks. :)

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Yes, the height map is from bedrock to the upper limit. Bedrock counts as it's 1-2 blocks thick. (Don't recall exactly, it's been a while since I punched through it.)

 

Sadly, no we cannot mod that part of it. Well not on the console for sure. At a glance on the PC, it's not possible via editing the xml data. Not sure about editing the assets. (PC xml data shows Bedrock as 3 layers though. Will have to test this later.)

 

However, your theory of reducing/limiting the heightmap could possibly reduce the load. Air doesn't require much at all in the way of calculations, so it would only really work in regards to the bedrock /water table limit. Yes, that would absolutely kill underground dwellers, but let's take a quick look at the change.

 

I want to try something easily quantifiable/comparable, so we'll try reducing the height map by 10%. Rounding, that means we need to raise bedrock 26 meters. So now bedrock is at -31, and the heightmap is reduced to 225 meters. (If you weren't already aware. 1 block is 1 meter3) The same amount of sky space is still available.

 

Running the formula we used above, that brings the loaded blocks for the initial pass to 7,068,584. Change as moving is dumping and reloading comes to 240,210. So as you are moving, that's about a thousand fewer blocks that are being processed.

At a glance, this seems to be a pretty large difference. However when you look at the overall, you're only making a difference of maybe 0.5% in the amount of processing that is required to be done as you move throughout the world. The only real boost here is going to be on the initial load time being reduced by about 12%.

 

Something else to keep in mind is that these numbers are arbitrary wholes. Calculations for Air are likely almost nothing, so the actual block calculations will vary based on the number of solid blocks being loaded. Lower elevations with fewer buildings being less costly than higher elevations. They will still count in the initial pass, but will be ignored in calculations like SI, lighting, and textures. We also haven't taken into account weather, sounds, the player, zombies, or a multitude of other things. Mainly because the biggest reason for taxing the hardware is the blocks themselves. Which is what all your other games are missing.


So we come back to the crutch. More players means more block calculations. Sure, if all the players are within a few meters of each other less has to be calculated. However, you have to plan for what is the most that can possibly happen when you are setting the limitations. You could have a console doing nothing but hosting the map data, but it's still going to be limited by the same hardware limitations. If you could completely remove the other client calculations and offset them onto the active player consoles, you're still only going to maybe be able to get your MP limit up to 5 on current console hardware.

 

Here's more numbers for thought. (Also, I'm going to ignore the 12GB the XB1X has, because we aren't making a separate build for one single platform.)

 

RAM Usage

 

  • System: 3 to 3.5GB
  • 7DTD Client: Approximately 1.5GB*
  • Each additional player: 1GB*
  • Total RAM used: 4 to 4.5GB SP, 5 to 8GB MP*
  • Total System RAM: 8GB

* This is idle. As you explore, and changes are made to SI, this number can fluctuate greatly. A SP game with a large building collapsing will completely overload the 8GB RAM.

 

Food for thought.

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I'm hoping for one more player but wishing for 1-6. Via use of a dedicated console.

 

So your telling me that when, for example, you have 5 players and 6 consoles. The host machine can't keep up with the block changes of all the players. The host machine has 2 jobs.

 

1-Tell secondary machines what's there.

2-Record what secondary machine just did.

 

Most of the time 4 of the 5 will occupy the same area because when you talk about 4 player max (current) PVP is stupid so your working together.

 

Theoretically most of it's work would be here because the one player that's running errands the host can say "I don't care". That players machine can track what they do. Then when they rejoin the others or someone goes to them, then the host requests update.

 

It would be great if the GPU can offload the CPU because it's not going to be doing much on a dedicated server.

 

I figure this is the cheaper option than getting companies like Nitrado to host rentable PS4 servers. But I think a lot of people would pay if that meant they weren't alienating one friend every time they play.

 

How different is minecraft? That game allows 8 as I recall. Crafting is different but otherwise it has same basic block system.

 

And I still think the world is too big.

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How different is minecraft? That game allows 8 as I recall. Crafting is different but otherwise it has same basic block system.

 

And I still think the world is too big.

Minecraft doesn't have any SI calculations, and the texture resolution is quite a bit lower than 7 Days. It should also be noted that it runs on a different/simpler engine, and that the height map had to be reduced to get it to function like they wanted for the consoles.

 

Additionally consider that the average map data size for Minecraft is only about 1GB, where a map for 7DTD can be closer to 30GB. Given that the Minecraft map is capable of a 50k diameter, and 7DTD only has a 10k diameter on PC, you can see where there is a huge difference is the amount of data being stored. (I forget what the console RWG map size is, but I think it's about 2.5k.)

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Textures shouldn't make a difference to a dedicated server. I'm no software engineer but a block is just an ID consisting of its spacial location and what material it is. The server doesn't render it. It just tracks what and where. It's on the maned consoles to render the block when the player is near them.

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One other thing to note is that even if all it does is add one more person or none. A dedicated host console can help with host lag. As you say the game handles large data maps.

 

If the host isn't rendering graphics. All players benefit by the world being track on a dedicated console.

 

The setup at present is like a split screen but offloading the rendering onto players 2, 3, and 4.

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ok, i've been reading up on the comments. the way i see it. why not offload all the calculations and any other strenuous tasks on a dedicated server? why not break down the game to its core units and see what can be offloaded of the game consoles processor & Ram usage and instead loaded on an offsite server.

 

and i agree with the point made where only map and graphical data should be rendered on the console, as for multiple player rendering in long vast distances apart, why not let the game to self optimise itself say if more ram usage is demanded etc, let the game to auto adjust rendering quality or amount of rendering. take distance terrain for example have the game reduce the view depth and field, make it smaller. say you are looking at a tall building or a wide building maybe only half of the building is showing and rest is covered with fog.

 

as for my conclusion i believe this would be the best that could be done, try and optimise the game for offloading certain rendering or calculations onto a dedicated server setup or reduce the amount the game has to render depending on the amount of players.

 

maybe do rendering in chunks? the player who is furthest away gets a blurry screen with a temp loading animation while the area they are in or going to is being rendered? (disable realtime rendering?, only render small sections of the area at a time, separated by loading animations from each area.)

 

i'm pretty sure there are a lot of tricks out there to reduce rendering load...

Edited by XxUnkn0wnxX (see edit history)

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Whatever could be done or might work... Telltale would have to initiate and fund a project to make it happen. That's how this works.

 

All the "wouldn't it be nice" in the world does not guarantee higher sales and that's what publishers are interested in.

 

It was already kind of a risky game to begin with. There was no game like it on consoles and if nothing else, you gotta give Telltale credits for having the balls to try something new - which publishers basically never do.

 

Given the hardware limitations 7DTD will never work well on consoles. It may even be cheaper to rewrite the game specifically for consoles which means much smaller maps and so on. The map/biomes on PC were designed to work well and look good - not to fit into console hardware and Microsony's rules and limitations.

(e.g. a game is not allowed to use all the HDD space it wants even if you were okay with it)

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As far as funding goes. Wasn't this a crowd fund? And even if it wasn't, why not crowd fund for the much needed console optimization.

 

That right there would at least show that people like the game enough to want to see it get better.

 

The games not going to do well if you have to keep telling the people that want to join you that there's no more room. People do want to play but turn them away enough and you got nothing in the end.

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@Gazz why did fun pimps go with Telltale games in the 1st place? why not have gone for a larger publisher which would have had larger funding & resources dedicated to 7D2D which in turn could of made this a bigger success.

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@Gazz why did fun pimps go with Telltale games in the 1st place? why not have gone for a larger publisher which would have had larger funding & resources dedicated to 7D2D which in turn could of made this a bigger success.

I believe Telltale came to the Pimps in this case.

 

IMHO, it would be a lot bigger success if Unity was better optimized/developed for the console. The console hardware just can't keep up in the state it's in right now. It's not like this wasn't a known issue before hand either, as almost every Unity port to the console previous to 7DTD has sucked.

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I believe Telltale came to the Pimps in this case.

 

IMHO, it would be a lot bigger success if Unity was better optimized/developed for the console. The console hardware just can't keep up in the state it's in right now. It's not like this wasn't a known issue before hand either, as almost every Unity port to the console previous to 7DTD has sucked.

 

 

i heard they haven't updated their engine for quite some time...

read an article that about their "Ancient Technology Is Now Badly Hurting Their Games"

 

i assume changing the games engine would be costly at this point of production?

 

as a side-note, why didn't fun pimps build their own engine? not enough resources/funding? i know physics engines take a lot of time to build.

Edited by XxUnkn0wnxX (see edit history)

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For console it hasn't really been updated. On the PC side, Unity has been getting a lot of updates. In fact, the version TFP is updating a17 for on the PC has some really serious improvements to the voxel calculations. I have high hopes that they will be able to add a large number of features, yet be able to reduce the overall requirements for them.

 

As for developing out of the box, when TFP first started this, Unity was still rather new. At that time, it was showing immense customization and for a new game engine, showed considerable promise. It still does in fact. It's way easier to use a built platform that will do what you wish, than to build another from the ground up. Cheaper too. For what they envisioned, at the time they were starting, Unity was the only real valid choice to use.

 

Yes, changing engines would be very costly. You would basically have to re-build everything from the ground up. Which is why TTG/IG stuck with Unity on the console. One thing that is very possible though, is that the changes we saw for PC Unity in 2017 will be coming to the console version this year. If so, we're going to be seeing some serious changes in the future here. I would most definitely hope that it will allow for split-screen mp, and for mp games to host up to 8 players stock.

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Cannot handle?

 

How in the world does a title such as Ark have that capability but 7DTD cannot?

 

Your using the same Engine O_O... It it just lack of optimization? What is blocking this from happening? Even the ability to have a small server would be nice.. Doesn't have to be 100 players. Its just insane that a game As polished as Ark is visually is capable. I said visually we all know the ridiculous glitches.. But the system supports it perfectly.

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How in the world does a title such as Ark have that capability but 7DTD cannot?

 

Your using the same Engine O_O... It it just lack of optimization? What is blocking this from happening? Even the ability to have a small server would be nice.. Doesn't have to be 100 players. Its just insane that a game As polished as Ark is visually is capable. I said visually we all know the ridiculous glitches.. But the system supports it perfectly.

1. They are completely different engines. Arc runs on Unreal Engine 4. 7 Days to Die runs on Unity.

 

2. Ark isn't a 3D Voxel game. The differences are covered in great detail here, and here.

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just to point out, i think unreal engine would of been the smarter choice, i have seen it used in a lot of popular games and and i have played many games that has used this engine since i was kid.

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just to point out, i think unreal engine would of been the smarter choice, i have seen it used in a lot of popular games and and i have played many games that has used this engine since i was kid.

But there's the rub. U4 isn't designed for a fully destructible voxel terrain. You would have to create a plugin for it. In the end, you're going to have an engine piggybacked onto an engine that is doing exactly what Unity is doing right now for the same or worse resource use.

 

And again, a lot (as in 99.8%) of games before this are not true 3D voxel games. All of them have considerably less hardware and computing requirements because they are not actual 3D. I again refer you to the links in #2 of my above post.

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i feel like this has been answered somewhere but i cannot find it, why isn't Split-screen online MP implemented yet on console? i just don't see the limitation if its possible on local play...

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Smallest map for more players?

 

Could it be that they had a "map" for the multiplayer that was smaller in terrain, as depth and height of blocks and to be able to keep some more people on the server?I am totally unaware if this is a possible option, but it is a little doubt that intrigues me, in the same way I understand that the game is not a multiplayer approach, it is only a question that I would like to clarify, greetings.

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Smallest map for more players?

 

Could it be that they had a "map" for the multiplayer that was smaller in terrain, as depth and height of blocks and to be able to keep some more people on the server?I am totally unaware if this is a possible option, butit is a little doubt that intrigues me, in the same way I understand that the game is not a multiplayer approach, it is only a question that I would like to clarify, greetings.

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1. The console hardware really cannot handle it. (It's barely capable of what the game requires right now.)

Pc servers run on the server hardware, take a look at ark on console vs ark on nitrado, and I don't mean engines, i mean stability.

 

2. Setting up hosted servers are expensive. The dev's aren't big companies with loads of money to blow on starting up a server.

I am not 100% sure on this but don't the companies profit from selling their server space and they already set up the required hardware? Or did TFP want to strictly own the servers and profit off them?

 

3. There are not currently known plans to expand the game to allow more players in a session.

Why exactly, what is holding it back?

 

4. Split-screen MP is also likely to be a pipedream. (Again, it's the hardware limitations here preventing it.)

This is fine, nobody should be playing split screen these days.

 

5. Your next-gen PS4 Pro or XB1-X does nothing to help the game support more players.

That's why we want dedicated servers, no one wants to host a server on our console.

 

 

Again, why are we not having the option or nitrado or other hosted dedicated servers?

Edited by Labrat309 (see edit history)

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Xbox Hosted server By Pc

 

Not read through all forums as there is far too many, but i noticed today that ark allow you to host a pc Dedicated Server, that Xbox is also able to join. this probably has been brought up but again I have not read all forums. it would maybe take the pressure off the devs in the long run. and allow pc/xbox players to play together.

 

Ark is an "Xbox Play Anywhere" title. maybe get 7 days on that list which would help it with cross play options in the game for pc and xbox to be able to play. would could also result in pc Dedicated server for xbox.

 

not sure where this would leave PS4 players, but one step at the time I guess.

 

No idea if posted in right place.

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