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"Lobby" is HORRIBLE!

 
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"Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/24/2014 12:13:06 AM   
Ozymandias2

 

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A friend and I have been playing weekly games of Close Combat since 1999.

Sadly, the introduction of the "Lobby" system with "Panthers" has essentially ruined this.

3 out of the last 4 attempts to play H2H have utterly failed due to YOUR wretched Lobby/server system!
(We are BOTH IT pros and KNOW the problem is neither with our machines nor Internet connectivity.)

Specifics: EVERY step of interaction with the Lobby system is agonizing:
1. Connecting to the lobby either crawls or freezes.
2. Data transfer IF lobby connection occurs the game likewise either crawls or freezes at the command screen.
3. IF a H2H connection is established, the connection is often faulty (e.g., one of us can strat move while the other cannot.)
4. IF gameplay is possible, the game often freezes at the end of battles or strat moves, or in the middle of a battle.

As another "curiosity," neither of us EVER sees anyone else in the lobby.

So: any recommendations or are you simply going to throw H2H players to the proverbial wolves??

< Message edited by Ozymandias2 -- 2/24/2014 1:14:32 AM >


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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/24/2014 12:26:17 AM   
mooxe


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One person will reply to this thread stating they had no problems at all, nullifying your post.

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/24/2014 12:43:38 AM   
Ozymandias2

 

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Thank you mooxe, although I don't see PiTF mentioned in the games supported list ... ?

BTW, I am very aware of your longstanding support and guidance for the CC community, and would very much like to take this opportunity to thank you for all you've done.


My Best Regards,

"Oz"

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/24/2014 3:09:41 AM   
rmdesantis


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I echo Ozy's point. I've had this problem for as long as the lobby has been in existence. It's a miserable experience to try to play multiplayer. Yes, the old point-to-point system had its challenges, but in over a decade of play we never, ever, ever, ever had the problems we have now. Ozy laid out the points quite clearly.

From my perspective, CC PITF is no longer a multiplayer experience.

Mike

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/24/2014 5:02:22 AM   
Tejszd

 

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The old multiplayer in game direct H2H connection option should never have been removed.

No problem trying something new if you thought it would be better but the old should have always remained an option as it was done and working....

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/24/2014 2:04:52 PM   
Ozymandias2

 

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Absolutely agreed.

I can only imagine it was implemented as a license-management system, and surely there are better ways, and less expensive (in terms of development, testing - "What testing?" a skeptic might ask - and ongoing maintenance.


Best,

Oz

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/24/2014 4:43:46 PM   
Steve McClaire

 

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Hi Ozymandias2,

Sorry to hear that the lobby system is not working for you.

What you're describing sounds like lost data and the games getting out of sync (I.e. one person's game is waiting for data the other has sent, but was never received).

Can you tell me a bit about your system? What version of Windows are you using? What sort of internet connection do you have? Anti-virus / security / firewall software?

Do you and your opponent both have the 1.01 update? http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3288748

When you says 'Connecting to the lobby either crawls or freezes', do you mean logging in to the lobby itself, or connecting to your opponent once you're in the lobby?

Have you tried establishing a direct connection with your opponent? You can do this by having the host open port 1944 for incoming connections. If you do this the lobby server is out of the picture once you and your opponent connect to each other on the lobby screen. The game is then functioning basically the same as it has in past versions.

Thanks,

Steve

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/24/2014 8:43:52 PM   
TIK


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quote:

ORIGINAL: mooxe

One person will reply to this thread stating they had no problems at all, nullifying your post.


Hello!

Actually, as a "fan" of the lobby system, I just want to point out that it isn't perfect and does have problems. Besides the issue of using it to find players, and the one stated by the OP, I've identified two main problems with it -

1. Sometimes, there's lag. This could easily be fixed by showing player ping, and I've already suggested this.

2. Sometimes, connection gets aborted or games freeze. This is usually due to in-game bugs that SHOULD have been identified during multiplayer play-testing, and would have occurred if we'd had direct ip anyway so it's not a lobby system specific problem. (I'll talk about some of these bugs below.)

Otherwise, I like the lobby system.

@Ozymandias, I've had many games using the lobby system and most of them play without too much trouble. I see players at the times I go on, and several I know frequent it more often than me. The issue you seem to have it actually connecting to the system itself. Once you get there, it'll be fine.



[Bugs I mentioned before]

The only reason I'm mentioning these now is because I brought them up to make the point above. They might appear in GWTC too though. I have video footage of them too.

The first is rare, but still annoying. When a tank is damaged so its main gun is destroyed, and I order it to target an open-topped vehicle which it could damage/destroy with its machine gun, it will freeze the game. I'm confident this is a bug.

The second I'm less sure about. It is caused by using an airstrike. Yep, it seems that sometimes an airstrike will cause me or my opponent's game to freeze/crash. I'm not sure why and there's no specific reason (such as only occuring by hitting a tank or a building etc), but it makes me reluctant to use them. When I pinpoint the problem, I'll let you know.


[My thoughts/Rant]

I've only played 50+ battles in Panthers, and the first issue I identified really early on. The second is something I've concluded after ~25 games, and the lack of player ping was obvious right from the start. How the player ping and the first bug didn't get noticed I don't know, but makes me wonder if there was a lack of play testers, or if they had time to test thoroughly.

Then you have the balance issues, such as the MG42s and lack of AT for infantry platoons etc. Again, these were identified really early on. How was this not seen by the play testers?!? My conclusion is either the wrong people were chosen, there wasn't enough (if any?), or they didn't have enough time.

< Message edited by TIK -- 2/24/2014 10:05:25 PM >


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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/24/2014 9:34:54 PM   
mooxe


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If they implemented the lobby for licensing issues maybe they could make it so no two identical serial numbers can play each other and preserve the original connection methods? That's essentially what its doing now, but also taking away the freedom to connect other ways.

Gameranger has been extremely convenient, it used the existing programming to connect most Close Combat games. You can set it up to see ALL hosted Close Combat games. These days it takes awhile to find an opponent. Having PITF open for hours waiting for an opponent is not reasonable. Having Gameranger open and running in the task bar, telling you if someone joined or hosted a game while your surfing the net is very reasonable! This is how it was with the Zone, GameSpy, BattleHQ and Hamachi. Some people are even using Gameranger to advertise PITF games, so they can meet someone in the PITF lobby.

Its a shame theres so few of us left playing multiplayer. And out of that group only a few here to speak up. Its impossible to know what the majority wants, but its very easy to see whats reasonable and in the best interests of online play.

Gameranger screenshot from January 6, 2014.




< Message edited by mooxe -- 2/24/2014 10:35:45 PM >


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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/24/2014 10:27:35 PM   
Ozymandias2

 

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... "Player ping?" I haven't actually used, or known of the specific use for, a ping function since the 1980s.

Insofar as everything just being roses & daffodils, kindly re-read my post.

Steve McClaire has very kindly been in contact both here and via email, and I think we're both arriving at their being a specific synchronization issue involved, although what & if remains to be seen.

Am trying Steve's open port suggesting shortly.


Cheers,
Oz

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/25/2014 12:31:01 AM   
Ozymandias2

 

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OK - used Steve's open port suggestion on the host side. We encountered a number of bizarre Lobby-related error messages:

"Unknown Error/Command" and "Lobby Error" (no details) while trying to enter the Lobby, followed by a prompt for the game's activation code.

Longest wait (twice) was 3.5 mins (1)to get into the Lobby and (2) between end of first battle and force pool choices for second. Typical wait between transitions of every sort: ~2 mins.

In short, by-passing the Lobby in this fashion has made the game playable again.

Conclusion: as NO other changes were made, the Lobby system experienced serious data synchronization problems - for at least 4 weeks.

- But, in the end, they all lived happily ever after ... (?)

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/25/2014 7:25:49 PM   
Steve McClaire

 

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Ozymandias2,

Glad things have improved with the direct connection. I assume the errors you mention happened when you first tried to connect to the lobby itself (going into the multi-player screen)?

Are you playing a large campaign game? Or on a slow connection? 2-3 minutes is still a fairly long time to exchange data between screens.

Steve

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/25/2014 10:01:15 PM   
Ozymandias2

 

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Hi Steve,

Indeed, all lags involved the Lobby.

And yes we're playing the Grand Campaign game.

As I mentioned, we're both WiFi to fiber optic networks. ATM - admittedly a very random sampling - with 6 IE tabs open as well as Outlook and some of the usual "backrground" suspects, I'm transferring data at 7 Mbps.

Cheers,

Oz

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/26/2014 6:37:27 AM   
Stwa


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Careful guys, mooxe is a GameRanger salesman ... err ... salesperson.

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/26/2014 3:54:04 PM   
Ozymandias2

 

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mooxe has also been at the forefront of supporting CC through his websites, efforts, thoughts, suggestions, mod hosting, advice and analysis for as long as I can remember - and I've been a CC devotee since 1999.

If mooxe is involved in any CC-related effort - and, trust me, I do not proffer online trust readily to people I've not met personally - given how much he has given the CC community, I'm more than willing to roll the proverbial dice with him.


Best,

Oz

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/26/2014 7:24:05 PM   
PipFromSlitherine

 

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I have rebooted the lobby at our end just in case there was some problem there. Please let me know if you see any improvements in performance.

Cheers

Pip


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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/27/2014 12:07:43 AM   
Ozymandias2

 

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Thank you kindly

Our next H2H is planned for Sunday; I'll post either if problems occur or we've rescheduled, otherwise it's safe to assume that lack of a post means everything's OK.


Cheers,
Oz

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/28/2014 7:38:21 AM   
Stwa


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Well,

I am putting my money on the lobby re-boot. When it works, then we will all feel bad for fussin like this.

BTW, I missed the PitF sale special. So now, do I have to wait another year?

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/28/2014 6:03:09 PM   
Ozymandias2

 

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Of course, suit yourself.

I'm keeping my money on the known solution that works.

Besides, unless you're lacking an opponent for H2H and are trying to find one, precisely what value does the Lobby add to the gameplay experience?

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/28/2014 9:24:25 PM   
Stwa


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Well, please don't think that I am messin with you.

But, the logic in your last post has me puzzled. Consider the following facts.

There are a lot more people on the planet that are NOT playing PitF than those that are.

There are a lot more PitF players that are NOT using multiplayer than those that are.

So perhaps by your own reckoning, precisely what value does PitF Multiplayer gaming (lobby or otherwise) add to the gameplay experience.



< Message edited by Stwa -- 2/28/2014 10:29:51 PM >

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/28/2014 10:26:12 PM   
Ozymandias2

 

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Entirely consumerist. I purchased a product in a series I've enjoyed playing H2H for 15 years; H2H is advertised as a feature; surely you can fill in the rest ... ?

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/28/2014 10:32:46 PM   
PipFromSlitherine

 

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I'm not sure what you mean. While the ingame lobby isn't as fully featured as we might have wanted it to be, once it hands off the connection will automatically be direct connection if the ports are set up correctly. So you can still play h2h. Just not via a 3rd party lobby system.

Cheers

Pip


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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/28/2014 10:50:41 PM   
Ozymandias2

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: PipFromSlitherine

I'm not sure what you mean. While the ingame lobby isn't as fully featured as we might have wanted it to be, once it hands off the connection will automatically be direct connection if the ports are set up correctly. So you can still play h2h. Just not via a 3rd party lobby system.

Cheers

Pip



Precisely ... ? The host opening the requisite port solved all gameplay problems, which IMHO is all that really matters. I'm not interested in a 3rd party connection system; just in being able to enjoy the game

Cheers,
Oz

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 2/28/2014 11:43:26 PM   
Hetser

 

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Error message when trying to enter the lobby, for the last week at least.

Also, I cannot see the lobby postings for players seeking opponents, also about a week.

I have a chairman of a compsci department who might help, how would we proceed?

Cheers!




Attachment (1)

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 3/1/2014 2:15:30 PM   
Stwa


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Ozymandias2
Entirely consumerist. I purchased a product in a series I've enjoyed playing H2H for 15 years; H2H is advertised as a feature; surely you can fill in the rest ... ?


Not really. I too have been playing since 1999. And I gave up H2H ions ago for a variety of reasons all of them apart from the connection method.

So, I am hoping (for your sake) that something works, and you can go on with your weekly games.

But I wouldn't be shocked to find out that there are other advertised features that may need some work as well. Features that all users could benefit from, not just a tiny percentage of H2H users.

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 3/5/2014 2:56:36 AM   
RD_Knights_X

 

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Hetzer,

I haven't seen that PanzerBiltz box top design in an age! Wow, that brings back memories...administering H2H play/moves using snail mail (between players in the US and Europe no less. Thank god CC came along!!

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 3/17/2014 8:55:42 PM   
Ozymandias2

 

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I feel as though I'm beating the proverbial dead horse here.

After following PipFromSlitherine's advice about opening ports & whatnot, all seemed well for a very short time.

Now my H2H pal & I are torn between keeping up our weekly game or (figuratively) slitting our throats.

Of course, the "simple" process of logging into the Lobby system remains - for whatever reason(s) - a nightmare. Fine and worth enduring, but we are back to experience - in supposed P2P mode - incredibly long wait times for data synchronization. And both of our machines are reasonably fast performing all other Internet functions.

Much worse, we play the Grand Campaign with each battle timed for 15 minutes. Due to freezes, we are lucky if we get in two (2) fifteen minute battles during the 1-1/2 hour time slot we set aside for what used to be fun.

The only possibly significant difference is that he's running Windows 8.1 whereas I am running Windows 7. So: are we really, truly running P2P or is some thread of code still winding its serpentine way through the Lobby?

Anybody else in the same boat?

Any ideas how to address this? PLEASE, especially as it's evident that the Lobby isn't going away anytime soon.


Thanks As Ever,
Oz

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 3/18/2014 6:22:23 AM   
Steve McClaire

 

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If it says "Direct Connection" on the multi-player screen above the scenario settings, you are connected directly to your opponent. If it says "Lobby Connection" you are going through the lobby.

Had things been working well for the last two weeks (Your post of Feb. 28 seems to say things are fine at that time using the direct connection)?

Steve

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 3/18/2014 4:20:26 PM   
Ozymandias2

 

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Indeed, matters improved for a week or so and then nose-dived. I'm utterly perplexed. Ports and firewall are open, overall Internet performance fine, but the synch and freeze problems are back - Gremlins?

Would posting a saved game help?

< Message edited by Ozymandias2 -- 3/18/2014 5:22:09 PM >

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RE: "Lobby" is HORRIBLE! - 3/18/2014 7:25:31 PM   
PipFromSlitherine

 

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Can you say definitively whether the "Direct Connection" message is showing or not. Thanks!

Cheers

Pip


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