Author Topic: The Internet Sucks: Or, What I Learned Coding X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter  (Read 709 times)

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Offline Goober5000

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The Internet Sucks: Or, What I Learned Coding X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter
The Internet Sucks: Or, What I Learned Coding X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter

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Editor's note: This paper was originally published in the 1999 Game Developer's Conference proceedings.

When we started the X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter project, our goal was to create the first multi-player space combat simulator to be playable over the Internet. There were several major problems that we had to be overcome to accomplish this goal, not the least of which was the Internet itself. I will review the problems we faced, the approach we took, and the results we achieved. I hope the lessons I learned will prove to be valuable to those who read this paper.

This article is a good introduction to some of the problems, challenges, and solutions encountered in the development of multiplayer capability for X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, a game that is very similar to FreeSpace 2 and was released around the same time.  Based on my limited understanding of the multiplayer engine, Volition made a lot of the same decisions that LucasArts did.

 
Re: The Internet Sucks: Or, What I Learned Coding X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter
Interesting read, I've got a soft spot for "let's make this do something it was absolutely not designed for" stories :P.

IIRC one of my network lesson from a few years back was "don't be fooled by today's bandwidth : don't use TCP unless you absolutely have to, or unless  you're on LAN", so I'm guessing the internet hasn't changed all that much.

 

Offline Goober5000

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Re: The Internet Sucks: Or, What I Learned Coding X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter
I think there would be a lot fewer dropped packets these days, but who knows.

I don't remember where I read it, but I recall hearing that XvT actually plays pretty well these days.  Considering how little bandwidth it uses, the speed of today's connections is supposedly enough to overcome the problems of dropped packets and re-synching players.

 

Offline JGZinv

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Re: The Internet Sucks: Or, What I Learned Coding X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter
I can see how some of the same concerns affected Tachyon players as well, as we knew early on the prediction code was bad.

You would think however, that using a VPN Tunnel (UDP through TCP) like Kali.net, Tunngle, Evolve, or others over the years, would result in "better" performance over network, when
typically it just combines the problems of both.
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