Ya Done Good. Now Do Better.

So the battle of 6V had another subplot.  Would the system hold up?  The answer is an absolute and completely unqualified “sorta” and I really mean that.  First I want to talk a bit about pre-Tidi EvE.  Before TiDi battles were crazy.  Things worked well up to a point, then as they got worse things cascaded, and generally if your alliance got two full fleets into a system first the battle was over.  Period.  The other side wouldn’t even be able to load grid.  There were some hardware changes that basically modified the numbers needed to swamp a system, but not what actually happened to the system once it got swapped.

TiDi changed things.  By slowing the whole process for everyone by a roughly equal amount the misery gets spread.  People jumping in get a chance to load grid as the server doesn’t overload as badly.  In theory at least.  This creates a very elastic band-aid for the problem.  The basic causes are still there, eventually the system can’t handle the load, now it stretches time out to give itself time to deal with the inputs.  As long as the load isn’t exceeded the battle progresses.  Slowly.

6V exceeded the load.  TiDi hit 10% in a system that was as fully reinforced as CCP could make it.  Then things got weird.  Old Skool weird.  Modules not activating.  Targets not locking despite showing as locked.  Not being able to swap ammo types/scripts.  Basically all of a sudden it was like TiDi didn’t exist.  All we’d done was move a decimal point to where things broke down.  There were reports of people having issues entering the system.  Even at a crawl the game wasn’t working right.

So this is it.  At 6V the line was reached on what we can expect as far as battle size.  The old problems showed back up and over the next year I expect we will meet them more and more often.

So first I want to make the problem worse.  Let’s double the number of squads in a wing, and wings in a fleet.  That will increase fleets to over 1000 members.  This will make forming fleets easier.  It will even make it easier for alliances that can’t get 1000 members as they don’t need to find a guy with FC five to get past 200.  Now nearly any schlub can do it.  This will get big coalition battles happening more often, which is frankly good for EvE.

Second, CCP needs to seriously look at tearing down their infrastructure and starting over.  CCP needs to spend resources to acquire servers and develop the software to run on them to allow themselves to sit 10,000 men in a system and not rely on TiDi to paper over the holes.  Yes I know that’s a tall order.  It might even require developing completely new hardware.  I also know that if CCP wants EvE to be more than a 500k-750k person game it needs to happen.

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About Corelin

An Eve playing Fool who occasionally writes about the shenanigans he and his minions get up to.

Posted on July 30, 2013, in CCP Hijinx, Things I think I think. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. And it must also be cost-effective for the 95% of the time when large fleet battles aren’t happening. And also not break anything else upon release.

  2. Kethry Avenger

    Well I’m sure if you know of a place they can buy the better hardware, or can write the code to fix their performance bottlenecks they would be happy to talk to you. This has to be the 3rd or 4th blog or post I’ve read with someone complaining about 4000K players basically in the same instance mostly working.

    As far as I can tell they have the best hardware, and the technical software challenge has their best man on the problem for a year already. I’m just not sure what all the complaining is about.

    • People weren’t able to enter the system, people weren’t in control of their ships, People don’t play a game because it’s kinda sorta working. They play it because it works. CCP needs to stop this cycle of ignoring the problem until it becomes critical. Whatever politics drive it, 4000+ man battles are going to become more frequent. CCP can’t be forever chasing the players when it comes to the ability of the game to handle what’s going on. They need to get out in front.

      • Kethry Avenger

        Well just for the sake of argument…

        I think 4000+ people were playing a game that was kinda sorta working.

        At some point if the hardware and software can’t keep up, these coalitions and large alliances are going to have to do something weird, like attack two objectives at the same time…

        I think CCP has been out in front for a couple years. Only now the players have reached the new limit and the technical challenge to fix the next bottleneck is harder than previous ones. There was a about a year and a half where every 6 months they had a performance improvement out.

        Like I said in the first post, I haven’t heard that there is any new breakthru hardware for CCP to buy. Since the code for running a node is single threaded to the best of my knowledge and all the chip manufactures have stopped the Ghz race and replaced it with the power effeciency race I don’t know that better hardware actually exsists.

        Which leaves software. Again as far as I know CCP Veritas has been working on the Brain in the Box project for over a year. The other solution would be to rewrite all of eve to somehow make use of multi core/threads, but I believe that is even a harder technical challenge.

        Now I wasn’t in that fight and have not even logged in recently, but I was at flight of a thousand rifters, where due to crimewatch slowing stuff down many of the same problems came up. Its not fun, no one is saying that. But I still think complaining about CCP not fixing it fast enough when they are clearly trying seems, I don’t know whiney.

        And I don’t want this to come off as an attack on you, my apologies if it appears that way. One I like arguing, Two I love space ships, Three I enjoy reading your blog.

  3. Well, the problem is: It isn’t simply a matter of throwing more resources (hardware or programmer time) at it. Some problems are simply hard to solve. There is a reason you don’t hear about other games with 4000 players in a battle. Or why a battle with 400 people in WoW is considered one of its largest battles: CCP already pushed very hard at the limits. It’s unrealistic to expect that CCP can match in resources at whatever rate the user population / battle sizes grow.

    The better solution would be to limit such battles at the point they are still running stable (and raising that limit as hardware and software progress allows). The tricky question is how such a limit can be fair to both sides. A good mechanic would be one which stimulates huge battles to be split up into more than one system.

  4. This interview with CCP Veritas about the fight sheds some light on the topic: http://themittani.com/features/behind-scenes-6vdt-ccp-veritas

  5. The server code is fundamentally broken; it’s unfixably single threaded and won’t use more than a single core.

    So basically there’s no hardware they can get that will fix their problem. Nor is there any likely upcoming hardware solution to it either. They need to rewrite.

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