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PlanetSide 2

PlanetSide 2 

General Discussion  » Live Forum Q&A Ryan Elam - PlanetSide 2

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31 posts found
  PS2_RElam

PlanetSide 2 Technical Director

Joined: 10/14/13
Posts: 11

 
OP  10/28/13 3:58:27 PM#1

Hello folks!

My name is Ryan Elam, and I am the Technical Director for PlanetSide 2.  

I've been coding for 35 years, and making games for most of that time.  I worked on one of the first multiplayer RPGs ever, and later on games such as EverQuest, Vanguard, FreeRealms, Clone Wars, and helped turn Planetside Next into Planetside 2.  My greatest skill is the ability to luck into an amazing team of engineers, and then watch them make improbable things happen in an impossible timeframe.

 

PlanetSide 2 is an extremely ambitious MMOFPS and an awesome challenge to work on.  Daily we are met with unique problems to solve and I go to bed most nights proud of what we've been able to accomplish, the other nights I don't go to bed. *grin*

 

I'm here today to talk about our most recent mission, Operation: Make Faster Game (OMFG).  We have known since before Planetside 2 shipped that we had some things we could do to improve the frame rate, but they were going to be a significant time sink and therefore difficult to do in a live environment.  A few months ago, we got the call from smed to put the whole team towards doing whatever it took to get performance up, and since then that's what we've been doing.  We JUST put the first phase of this onto our Public Test Server (PTS) and a vast majority of players are seeing signifant increases in FPS!

 

I will say that I'd rather not try and answer the question "How many FPS will I get with my SmartThinker PiCore CPU with a GlowForce HeatMaker 9000 GPU?"  I know, in the end, that's the most important thing, your personal performance... Unfortunately there are not only a nearly infinite number of combinations of hardware out there, but there is also many different scenarios in-game with which to measure your performance.  THAT said, this is an AMA, so don't be shy!

 

Finally, to bring this longwinded introduction to a close, my sincere and humble thanks to the MMORPG community for their hard work and for allowing me to jump on and answer you guys' questions!  

 

So, for the next hour or so, in the appropriate vernacular, "Shoot".

 

  User Deleted
10/28/13 4:09:31 PM#2

I did not have a question since I do not play PS2 but I would like to welcome you to the forums. I'm glad we are getting more developer love these days with these AMAs!

  PS2_RElam

PlanetSide 2 Technical Director

Joined: 10/14/13
Posts: 11

 
OP  10/28/13 4:13:09 PM#3
Originally posted by Foomerang

I did not have a question since I do not play PS2 but I would like to welcome you to the forums. I'm glad we are getting more developer love these days with these AMAs!

Hey credit to the MMORPG staff!  As busy as things are getting the OMFG:P1 patch to Live, when they came to me asking for my time... and they showed me the picture they had of me and the alpaca... I couldn't say no!

  jonesing22

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/01/10
Posts: 706

10/28/13 4:17:11 PM#4
I am glad for the performance increases. I do still get random crashes though. It's like my PC just ends the process and the game disappears. Anyway, my main questions are how long can we expect the O:MFG to go on for as a lot of people are getting bored with what is currently in game. Also, you know it was coming. How long before Hossin is on live servers? Any general timeframe would be fine, Thanks.
  r1tual

Novice Member

Joined: 3/29/04
Posts: 578

10/28/13 4:17:29 PM#5

Is this where we post questions?

 

I want to ask about networking.   From the start of the game it has been possible to cut off your upload temporarily and disappear from other people's clients.  You could for example be in a spawn room,  shut off your upload,  and then run to the enemy Sunderer and re-enable your upload.  You then catch back up with the server in your new location,  and to the enemies you just "appear out of thin air next to their Sunderer".  Drop a few tank mine's as soon as your incoming packets catch up with your client,  throw a grenade,  and then BOOM the enemy Sunderer is dead with no chance for the enemy to defend it.

Another example is packet re-ordering or delaying.  Or even packet filtering.  You can for example drop certain packets that allow's you to get a few seconds ahead of where other players think you are,  without making you "disappear" on their clients.  So you can for example shoot someone a few seconds before you appear on their client even though you do appear,  you have actually already shot them so you basically insta gib them.   Or they receive damage and see you shooting them at the same time as you appear to them.  

You can also go even further with it and kill players while in a desynched state while never appearing to them and they will drop dead as soon as the packets are sent back in "insta gib" fashion.  

Noone has ever been banned for doing this despite numerous reports.

 

What is the problem SOE is facing in their network - client server model that is stopping these issues from being fixed?

 

Another issue about networking is that the game has some bugs where it forces router or internet restarts,  no other game I have played has created problems like this.

 

  MikeB

MMORPG.com Community Manager

Joined: 5/27/09
Posts: 5451

10/28/13 4:19:36 PM#6
Yep! This is where you post questions! Post post post! :)

Michael "MikeB" Bitton
Community Manager
Twitter: @eMikeB

  goldtoof

Novice Member

Joined: 10/18/13
Posts: 338

10/28/13 4:21:20 PM#7
First, thanks for a great pvp mmo.

My questions mostly revolve around the roadmap and subscriptions.

1 when are we likely to see the new swamp continent?

2 when are we likely to see the joining of the 4 continents. Also how will this work, will it be simmilar to the bridge battles in original planetside?

3 any plans to add naval warfare? I think this was in the roadmap, but can't remember.

4 are you considering some more extras for subscribers to encourage subscriptions? Some free cosmetic items every month, or subscriber based titles or something?

5 with EQN coming up, will there be anything extra or some sort of discount for people that want to play both planetside 2 and everquest next?
  Tgiordano92

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/21/13
Posts: 104

10/28/13 4:23:48 PM#8

Not very related but, I have had this question for a while and thought I should try anyway to ask....do you think PS2 will ever introduce more face/hair options for your character? I know me and some others can't get totally connected to our players because everyone looks the same that way. I know we're in the minority. No worries if can't answer!

Thanks:)

  ZoranTheBear

Novice Member

Joined: 10/08/13
Posts: 1

We are all looking for fun in our own way.

10/28/13 4:29:17 PM#9

What sort of limitations or obstacles are you guys encountering to add sea warfare into the game?

And if it isn't planned, or isn't on the team's radar. Why is that?

Also, why do the menus and general UI load very slowly? Even on the Optimization PTS patch.

 

And thank you for your hard work. I should order a bunch of cupcakes again for the offices(If you got one during PS2 launch).

-=/I make those video things at: www.youtube.com/ZoranTheBear\=-

  PS2_RElam

PlanetSide 2 Technical Director

Joined: 10/14/13
Posts: 11

 
OP  10/28/13 4:32:54 PM#10

Originally posted by jonesing22
I am glad for the performance increases. I do still get random crashes though. It's like my PC just ends the process and the game disappears. Anyway, my main questions are how long can we expect the O:MFG to go on for as a lot of people are getting bored with what is currently in game. Also, you know it was coming. How long before Hossin is on live servers? Any general timeframe would be fine, Thanks.

We are constantly evaluating the effects of OMFG on the Public Test Server (PTS).   Our basic mission is to make the game faster, "Whatever it takes", but it's a subjective and dynamic mission.  Essentially, we want as many of our players as possible to see a significant increase in the FPS in large battles.  The answer for both OMFG and Hossin is, to everyone's benefit, when we're happy with the game experience we're going to give players.

Originally posted by r1tual

I want to ask about networking.   [clip]


We have an entire team devoted to anti-hacking, and they ban a large number of people every day.  We don't spend significant effort explaining how we catch these folks, for the same reasons that banks don't show you how their security system works.  Some of what you said is merely rumor, as our packet structure doesn't allow for some of what you said to happen.  Other parts are very easily detected and those doing it are being banned daily, sometimes within seconds of doing it.  

As far as needing to reboot your router, I can't discuss specifically what is happening in those cases, it would be a very long post indeed.  But we do have ongoing issues with overloading bandwidth and it's another set of optimizations we want to work on, and that is a likely case for a lot of folks who get "long-lasting lag".  I also owe you guys a method of visualizing how your network is currently performing, so you can "see" when things are bad, rather than just having to guess. *grin*  Lots to do!

 

 

  PS2_RElam

PlanetSide 2 Technical Director

Joined: 10/14/13
Posts: 11

 
OP  10/28/13 4:42:55 PM#11

Originally posted by goldtoof
First, thanks for a great pvp mmo.

My questions mostly revolve around the roadmap and subscriptions.

1 when are we likely to see the new swamp continent?

2 when are we likely to see the joining of the 4 continents. Also how will this work, will it be simmilar to the bridge battles in original planetside?

3 any plans to add naval warfare? I think this was in the roadmap, but can't remember.

4 are you considering some more extras for subscribers to encourage subscriptions? Some free cosmetic items every month, or subscriber based titles or something?

5 with EQN coming up, will there be anything extra or some sort of discount for people that want to play both planetside 2 and everquest next?

Trust me, you're welcome.  MMO developers like to work in Hard Mode.  =)  

1) Soon.  We really want you to get it, but it's not ready yet.

2) We're still working out specifics, stay tuned.  Lots of exciting changes in the next six months!

3) Most of us love the idea of expanding our warfare into new dimensions.  We just have to work out the logistics and priorities.  Sea is not permanently off the table.

4) We eat, breath, and sleep PS2.  We never stop considering. =)

5) I can't speak to specific discounts, but we've had cross-promotions in the past. I'm personally very excited for what EQN is going to add to the game space!

Originally posted by Tgiordano92

Not very related but, I have had this question for a while and thought I should try anyway to ask....do you think PS2 will ever introduce more face/hair options for your character? I know me and some others can't get totally connected to our players because everyone looks the same that way. I know we're in the minority. No worries if can't answer!

Thanks:)

T-Ray would love to have more customization options!  It comes down to resources.  We've put so much into the game and every time a new customization exists, it has to be loaded for everyone who can see you.  For now, the priority is on things that can be seen for a further distance, like camos and decals and customized armor and helmets and etc. etc.  So art would love to add more, I'm just stingy.  Still, these games last decades, so very little is off the table permanently.

TL;DR Yes, we will likely someday introduce more options in the future.  =)

Originally posted by ZoranTheBear

What sort of limitations or obstacles are you guys encountering to add sea warfare into the game?

And if it isn't planned, or isn't on the team's radar. Why is that?

Also, why do the menus and general UI load very slowly? Even on the Optimization PTS patch.

 

And thank you for your hard work. I should order a bunch of cupcakes again for the offices(If you got one during PS2 launch).

Our main limitation to doing sea warfare is time.  Imagine there is a list about 400 miles long of things to do, and only enough time to do ten miles per year.  We have to prioritize!

We have some UI optimizations in the works to help with UI loading time, but they're also a significant update to get done.  Stay tuned!

  Rattus

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/03/04
Posts: 30

10/28/13 4:57:05 PM#12

Hi Ryan,

Have you guys/gals given any thought to creating a mentoring program for new players? I know much was added since I first set foot on Auraxis, (VR Training etc.), but I wonder if a mentoring program would help both new players and vets who might like a change of pace?

 

Thanks.

  CaptainAndrew

Novice Member

Joined: 10/28/13
Posts: 1

10/28/13 5:00:02 PM#13

How many more O:MFG phases do you expect?

Roughly how long will these phases take to finish?

What kind of fps increases do you expect from them if you compare them to phase 1(just to give me a rough idea)?

What CPUs will they affect the most?

What kind of changes besides the continent revamps will there be in the next phases and what performance problems will they address?

Are any new vehicles (preferably aircraft) coming out in the near future?

Thanks for answering our questions and good luck with the optimization!

 

  ItZMuRdA

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/17/12
Posts: 4

10/28/13 5:02:08 PM#14

Hey Ryan,

Thanks for taking the time to do this!

My main question is regarding server performance and how, if at all, optimization efforts are being made in that regard.

I'm really looking forward to all the optimization, but as someone who gets acceptable FPS (usually 60~ on average) already, my largest frustrations lie in server performance when too many players are in one place. This is most often the case on Indar, especially during alerts, and you'll see a range of symptoms from Medkits not working properly to all forms of healing/repairing/cloaking/jump jets/special abilities acting wonky and not being consumed or regenerated properly, finally to hit registration suffering because of it.

As a competitive/serious player, this is unfortunately unacceptable and I'm left to try to find fights on Esamir/Amerish that often don't even exist. It is especially frustrating because it is not something we as the end user can remedy by purchasing better hardware for ourselves. Will the efforts being made by "OMFG" alleviate the issues I mentioned in the above paragraph as well? If not, are there efforts being made in this regard?

Thanks so much for everything you guys do at SOE, and for listening to your community so well. Keep up the great work.
 

  sandman529

Novice Member

Joined: 10/28/13
Posts: 1

10/28/13 5:03:47 PM#15
Hi i wanted to know if you guys are considering adding mantle support for amd users since nvidia guys have physix and will it be easyer since the ps4 uses it to?
  PS2_RElam

PlanetSide 2 Technical Director

Joined: 10/14/13
Posts: 11

 
OP  10/28/13 5:21:34 PM#16

Originally posted by Rattus

Hi Ryan,

Have you guys/gals given any thought to creating a mentoring program for new players? I know much was added since I first set foot on Auraxis, (VR Training etc.), but I wonder if a mentoring program would help both new players and vets who might like a change of pace?

 

Thanks.

I think community is a huge part of what makes games like PS2 last for years and years.  A big part of that is helping new players learn how to do more than stop bullets with their face.  We definitely intend to make it easier and more rewarding to mentor new players in the game.  I don't want to steal Higby's thunder, so just keep looking at the Roadmap and expect some words on that subject in the next week or so.

Originally posted by CaptainAndrew

How many more O:MFG phases do you expect?

Roughly how long will these phases take to finish?

What kind of fps increases do you expect from them if you compare them to phase 1(just to give me a rough idea)?

What CPUs will they affect the most?

What kind of changes besides the continent revamps will there be in the next phases and what performance problems will they address?

Are any new vehicles (preferably aircraft) coming out in the near future?

Thanks for answering our questions and good luck with the optimization!

 

While we didn't sit down in black robes around a table made of goat horns and say "There Shalt Be Eleven Phases of the OMFG!" in a booming James Earl Jones voice, I'd venture to guess that we will have one more phase after this one to cover some other major things we just simply didn't want you to have to wait for, and then we will likely have one more after that to cover any clean up.  After the third phase, there may be more just depending on what percentage of our users are getting a better game experience.  

We already have some coders working on Phase 2 while others finish up Phase 1, and I expect it to take no less than another month.  A lot of the work comes from introducing changes, then measuring the results of those changes, then figuring out the next change... so it is often as much R&D as it is actual code writing.  This makes it difficult to determine exactly how long it will take to get done.

Phase 1 will definitely effect 4 or more core systems.  This is simply because we wanted to hit the largest percentage of our player base quickly, and a large percentage of our players have quad-core or greater.  Phase 2 will help out those same people, but will introduce some more benefits for those with only two cores as well.  After that, we'll see.

We originally expected Phase 1 and Phase 2 to give a roughly 20-30% improvement in frame rate, each.  The coders, artists, and designers have worked so hard on Phase 1 that we're seeing a nearly 40% improvement, on average.  That may mean that Phase 2 is only 20%, we'll have to see as we get closer.

As far as what problems we're addressing in Phase 2, one of the top issues is visibility -- this is the code which actually determines what you see on your client in any given rendered frame.  Right now in some circumstances it takes roughly 33% of your frame time.  Now we can't optimize that down to 0%, but we can get it much better.

Now with new vehicles, I tell you we all love new vehicles!  They're just really, really hard to make and tune.  Trying to make something like the harasser feel fun and useful, it's possibly one of our toughest challenges.  I know they are always coming up with new ideas and badly wish to get more vehicles in the game, but I don't believe that there is anything coming in the near future.

And finally, you are very welcome.

 

 

 

  PS2_RElam

PlanetSide 2 Technical Director

Joined: 10/14/13
Posts: 11

 
OP  10/28/13 5:29:45 PM#17

Originally posted by ItZMuRdA

Hey Ryan,

Thanks for taking the time to do this!

My main question is regarding server performance and how, if at all, optimization efforts are being made in that regard.

I'm really looking forward to all the optimization, but as someone who gets acceptable FPS (usually 60~ on average) already, my largest frustrations lie in server performance when too many players are in one place. This is most often the case on Indar, especially during alerts, and you'll see a range of symptoms from Medkits not working properly to all forms of healing/repairing/cloaking/jump jets/special abilities acting wonky and not being consumed or regenerated properly, finally to hit registration suffering because of it.

As a competitive/serious player, this is unfortunately unacceptable and I'm left to try to find fights on Esamir/Amerish that often don't even exist. It is especially frustrating because it is not something we as the end user can remedy by purchasing better hardware for ourselves. Will the efforts being made by "OMFG" alleviate the issues I mentioned in the above paragraph as well? If not, are there efforts being made in this regard?

Thanks so much for everything you guys do at SOE, and for listening to your community so well. Keep up the great work.
 

We constantly work on server optimizations.  PlanetSide 2 is far and away more optimized on the server than any MMO I've worked on to date, but as you well know we really ask a lot of it!  Sometimes we have the servers getting kicked in the jimmy by an Alert, like you said, or a player event, and we monitor all the traffic that goes on during one of those, then we try and adjust the code to fix the issues that we find.  One of the things that we need to give YOU is the ability to actually see if it is that we're pushing too much data for your internet connection, or the server itself is backed up, or someone stepped on the internet pipe.  We just don't have that information readily available to you yet.  It's coming, though.

And thank you for your questions.  We are always trying to improve our communications with our community.  Without community, I'd only have Higby to talk to!

 

Originally posted by sandman529
Hi i wanted to know if you guys are considering adding mantle support for amd users since nvidia guys have physix and will it be easyer since the ps4 uses it to?

Too early to say at this stage sandman529.  Most of our physics work is in software.  Only specific particle effects take advantage of nVidia hardware.  So there is nothing that would prevent us from running just as well on any equivalent AMD processor.  That said, we never stop looking at things to improve.

 

 

  ItZMuRdA

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/17/12
Posts: 4

10/28/13 5:40:21 PM#18
Originally posted by PS2_RElam

Originally posted by ItZMuRdA

Hey Ryan,

Thanks for taking the time to do this!

My main question is regarding server performance and how, if at all, optimization efforts are being made in that regard.

I'm really looking forward to all the optimization, but as someone who gets acceptable FPS (usually 60~ on average) already, my largest frustrations lie in server performance when too many players are in one place. This is most often the case on Indar, especially during alerts, and you'll see a range of symptoms from Medkits not working properly to all forms of healing/repairing/cloaking/jump jets/special abilities acting wonky and not being consumed or regenerated properly, finally to hit registration suffering because of it.

As a competitive/serious player, this is unfortunately unacceptable and I'm left to try to find fights on Esamir/Amerish that often don't even exist. It is especially frustrating because it is not something we as the end user can remedy by purchasing better hardware for ourselves. Will the efforts being made by "OMFG" alleviate the issues I mentioned in the above paragraph as well? If not, are there efforts being made in this regard?

Thanks so much for everything you guys do at SOE, and for listening to your community so well. Keep up the great work.
 

We constantly work on server optimizations.  PlanetSide 2 is far and away more optimized on the server than any MMO I've worked on to date, but as you well know we really ask a lot of it!  Sometimes we have the servers getting kicked in the jimmy by an Alert, like you said, or a player event, and we monitor all the traffic that goes on during one of those, then we try and adjust the code to fix the issues that we find.  One of the things that we need to give YOU is the ability to actually see if it is that we're pushing too much data for your internet connection, or the server itself is backed up, or someone stepped on the internet pipe.  We just don't have that information readily available to you yet.  It's coming, though.

And thank you for your questions.  We are always trying to improve our communications with our community.  Without community, I'd only have Higby to talk to!

I appreciate your reply! I assume you're over time here so I don't expect a follow up, and that's ok. Just wanted to say that I'm glad to hear it, though I am also referring to a very specific point where medkits start breaking and it seems like it crosses over a certain threshold. I was hoping to hear that, even though server performance is always being optimized, we may hope to see the dreaded medkit bug (and other associated issues) get fixed with one of these coming optimization phases. :)

Thanks again.

 

 

  mmoguy43

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/31/09
Posts: 2326

10/28/13 5:45:20 PM#19
Hello Ryan!

What is the target goal for optimization? Is it a % fps increase, or keeping the fps in a more stable range? I have heard people with powerful rigs running on High have dips to 30 fps. I know optization will be an on going process, but at what point to you feel satisfied you have done all you can?

In truely massive battles of many hundreds of players in a concentrated spot, the player draw distance is reduced for performance reasons, correct? Will this distance be increased after all these optizations? I like my epicly massive battles.

Has Player Studio had any impact on performance? Do you anticipate with the flow of a lot of new player made content the game will still run smoothly?

What major improvements will PS2 receive once you have squeezed all you can out of the "Make Faster Game" phase? New vehicles? Empire home planets?
Other INCREDIBLYAWESOME things that will start the performance balancing act over again?

Sorry if any of these are repeats. Thanks for taking time to answer these!

Let's build the ultimate MMO 1 feature at a time
http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/398555/page/1

"blocked nariusseldon since forever"

  PS2_RElam

PlanetSide 2 Technical Director

Joined: 10/14/13
Posts: 11

 
OP  10/28/13 5:54:14 PM#20

 Just wanted to say that I'm glad to hear it, though I am also referring to a very specific point where medkits start breaking and it seems like it crosses over a certain threshold. I was hoping to hear that, even though server performance is always being optimized, we may hope to see the dreaded medkit bug (and other associated issues) get fixed with one of these coming optimization phases. :

OMFG will not likely fix "the medkit bug", but we will be working on it over time.  We actually fixed a major server performance issue as recently as GU15.  Server optimizations are ongoing, but as you guessed most of those resources are on client optimizations for OMFG at the moment.

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