Author Topic: The New Parallax Online?  (Read 7786 times)

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Offline BlackDove

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The New Parallax Online?
Hamachi

This program's name or link were tossed around before on HLP, but I never saw anyone connect it with Freespace's Multiplayer, which is in dire need of a go-between (read: lobby) since PXO died.

The program basically makes your computer think that it's on a LAN connection with everyone that's populating the same room.

I use it to play Company of Heroes with my friends, because we can't choose the "Internet" option in the game, for reasons that are so obvious you really don't know anything about internet and games if you can't see them.

Now, Hamachi seems to mask (or convert or whatever-the-hell) your IP, and provide a "safe trusted zone", but you can also turn off the "trusting" components of it, because I wouldn't trust any of you with a pencil, ever, and if you're smart, you're just like me. The real deal here is that it will group people and give them a chat function, but it will also illuminate them in a way that a LAN network does, which would hopefully make Freespace games visible to and for people who are populating the same channel.

So essentially, you run Hamachi, join a Freespace "Network" with people in it (A network that is officially sponsored here and isn't managed by some dick), then you launch Freespace, choose the "LAN" (or IPX or whatever) option in the Multiplayer Options and see what games are going on the LAN.

At any rate, that's how Company of Heroes works, and I assume any other game would work in the exact same manner, it's just that I can't test it, because I don't care.

However if you care, then this potentially solves all the issues of PXO missing outright. If it doesn't work directly as I described it, then maybe some tweaks can be made somewhere (I don't know, I'm not a technically disposed person), be it to Freespaces MP config files or the Hamachi itself and then it would work.

Food for thought if anything. Just thought I'd throw it out there.

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: The New Parallax Online?
Using Hamachi doesn't allow you to track stats like FS2NetD does however.

Still it's an acceptable solution for retail.
Karajorma's Freespace FAQ. It's almost like asking me yourself.

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Offline BlackDove

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Re: The New Parallax Online?
Yeah I guess stats didn't really cross my mind when I wrote that, because I despise stats, since they don't mean anything, and are actually deceiving.

Good point though. Maybe there would be some way to work around it?

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: The New Parallax Online?
Not really. If we found a way to allow something else to deal with stats it would make it pretty easy to cheat.

To be honest I think FS2NetD is the way to go. I've never tried using it and Hamachi at the same time. In theory if your PC can see a VPN connection to the IP address it wants to get to it should use that in preference.
Karajorma's Freespace FAQ. It's almost like asking me yourself.

[ Diaspora ] - [ Seeds Of Rebellion ] - [ Mind Games ]

 

Offline Turey

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Re: The New Parallax Online?
The IRC code for Multi is still in the code, someone just needs to get it working.
Creator of the FreeSpace Open Installer.
"Calm. The ****. Down." -Taristin
why would an SCP error be considered as news? :wtf: *smacks Cobra*It's a feature.

 

Offline taylor

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Re: The New Parallax Online?
Ok, this has been brought up numerous times in the past week, so I'm going to go ahead and drop a bomb on everyone...  The original PXO lobby will return with 3.6.10.

Yes, we have the original code (have it had for a while).  Yes, it's been ported to all three platforms and rewritten to work in the current engine.  Yes, it's retail compatible.  Yes, it's part of the new FS2NetD that was supposed to be in 3.6.9 but got pushed back to 3.6.10 due to lack of testing.

So, everyone can calm down and not worry so much about work-arounds.  The new code will start showing up in test builds (both stable and unstable ones) later this month. :)

 

Offline BlackDove

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Re: The New Parallax Online?
Finally. The reason I posted this was because there was no news from you or the Descent guy, and it's not like it can't be understood that you'd put it as low-priority considering the other stuff that you have to do for SCP.

Anyway good job, and thanks for the update.

 

Offline taylor

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Re: The New Parallax Online?
Well, I was keeping it a secret since there is more than just code involved.  It requires both extensive client and server side changes (it's not a standard IRC server for instance), and it was also a part of the new FS2NetD code which is vastly improved, but not tested nearly enough.  The server side changes are complicated since all new security measures are needed, and we have to run two FS2NetD servers at the same time in order to support the current FS2NetD version while testing the new one.  Running two, incompatible, FS2NetD sever daemons in parallel is difficult since it was never written to do that.  The old server has to be upgraded to handle the new networking restrictions and configuration options, as well as security changes.  The new server has to be modified from it's final state for testing so that it will properly use different configuration and logging locations.

The IRC server is based on a standard IRC server, but customized to handle the lobby.  The problem here was that the original code base was too old to work properly on newer versions of Linux.  Moving to a more current version of the IRC server code worked ok, but presented other problems.  The newer code had been through a code rewrite and reorganization, and that makes diff'ing the code to find changes pretty much impossible.  Another issue was that the :v: customized IRC server had upwards of two dozen extra patches on it, and then :v:'s on changes on top of that.  Figuring out what was what in the original code took weeks to do on it's own.  Getting the required changes into the new code base, which is different, and fixing the new code base with the required security measures, was a tremendous amount of work.

Also remeber that some of the mods have their own interface art.  With the lobby back they have to go and do all of the interface artwork for those screens too.  I was trying to give everyone enough time to get the art done before it was actually required to be there.  And I didn't want the community to be all over me waiting for it, or be all over the mod makers to hurry up with the artwork.

So, a lot went into getting this to happen, and it's still not running yet (publicly anyway). :)

 

Offline Mongoose

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Re: The New Parallax Online?
Even though I'm somewhat apprehensive about the answer, I'll ask anyway...will this new implementation of PXO be compatible with Descent 3, as well?  While we do have a community-made TCP/IP server tracker that works quite well, and while I don't even know if there's anyone out there anymore who will stumble across the game and be stymied by an apparent lack of multiplayer servers (unfortunately, D3 doesn't have the benefit of a SCP-esque project, even though both of the previous games do), it would be nice to have the old in-game interface back up and running again, for convenience's sake.

At any rate, this is great news.  I've never gotten around to playing either FS game in multiplayer, and having the lobby system back would mean that I most likely would be able to give it a shot. :)

 

Offline BlackDove

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Re: The New Parallax Online?
I was under the impression you were given PXO in its entirety (as bugged as it was) and didn't have to mangle it with FS2NetD. Although I'll admit I have no idea how any of this works past the obvious, I don't quite understand what FS2NetD is doing together with it there. When we got the code, we experimented with it first (that's before you got your hands on it) and the pretty much main problem we were having was recognizing the user and validating them to join the IRC channel which would be the "lobby". Was there no way to just eliminate the NetD and architecture the PXO code to be exactly the same as it was before?

Not to misunderstand me, I don't quite give a **** how it works as long as it works, but wasn't this extra work as opposed to just debugging the old PXO and spooling it up back again?

 

Offline taylor

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Re: The New Parallax Online?
Even though I'm somewhat apprehensive about the answer, I'll ask anyway...will this new implementation of PXO be compatible with Descent 3, as well?
It's the original PXO code, so yeah, it should still work with D3.  It has been modified to fit in with FSO, to work on all three operating systems, and the PXO hooks have been replaced with FS2NetD hooks.  Not much of that will matter for an existing game which already has working PXO lobby code in it though. :)

I was under the impression you were given PXO in its entirety (as bugged as it was) and didn't have to mangle it with FS2NetD. Although I'll admit I have no idea how any of this works past the obvious, I don't quite understand what FS2NetD is doing together with it there. When we got the code, we experimented with it first (that's before you got your hands on it) and the pretty much main problem we were having was recognizing the user and validating them to join the IRC channel which would be the "lobby". Was there no way to just eliminate the NetD and architecture the PXO code to be exactly the same as it was before?

Not to misunderstand me, I don't quite give a **** how it works as long as it works, but wasn't this extra work as opposed to just debugging the old PXO and spooling it up back again?
The problem with PXO wasn't so much the client side code but the server side code.  Remember that we have to support 3 different operating systems, which are various architectures: little-endian, big-endian, 32-bit & 64-bit.  All of the PXO network code has to be modified to deal with this on both the client and server sides.  But the problem is the server side, it has to be completely rewritten, pretty much from scratch.  Plus, all of the PXO code has to be modified to work with dynamic limits, any of our current/future networking and compatibility changes, and work with mods.

Is that a massive job?  Not really.  It's a big job for sure, but the main point is that it's very low on the priority scale.  We already have FS2NetD, so other than just bug-fixing that no one is really out anything to the point that all of the original PXO code needs to be completed anytime soon.  It would have been far more work to get all of the original PXO code working than it would have been to just get parts of it working with FS2NetD.

Now, the FS2NetD upgrade does do one very important thing, it centralizes the code so that it will be far easier to rip out later.  Obviously, in order to reintroduce PXO all of the FS2NetD stuff has to go, so I started that process by making FS2NetD rather simple to remove when I do make the major code push for PXO.  Having all of the lobby code intregrated already will also simplify things, since that part will have not only been integrated with the game already, but already be working cross-platform.  All I'll have to do is remove the FS2NetD hooks in that code and replace them with the original PXO hooks.  A very simple process.

So FS2NetD has a ton of fixes now, from connection issue fixes, to basic code fixes, to working on the Mac, to simply being friendlier.  Some of the changes are actually based on the original PXO code setup.  It's now better setup to keep everyone happy until the rest of the original PXO code can be rewritten and integrated back into the game. :)

 

Offline BlackDove

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Re: The New Parallax Online?
Yeah that makes sense. Thanks for taking the time to explain.

 
Re: The New Parallax Online?
Pardon my noobish ways, but was PXO tied in at all with Squadwars? If so, any chance of that coming back? That would ROCK!  :nod:

 

Offline BlackDove

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Re: The New Parallax Online?
PXO was the multiplayer platform, and Squad Wars were tied into PXO, not the other way around.

Regarding Squad Wars, FS was really sort of an MMO 0.5 of sorts.

The Squad War code did come with PXO, and taylor has it, but I doubt that'd be possible to either restore, or worth the hassle.

 

Offline taylor

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Re: The New Parallax Online?
SquadWars will make a comeback, but I'm not exactly sure in what form.  It should at least be compatible with what it used to be in the retail releases.  It wouldn't be much of an issue to bring it back as is, I've been through all of the code and have a good plan-of-attack to get it all back up to speed.  But I don't really think that, "as it was", is quite good enough in this day and age.  At least some expansion will likely be warranted, given how much we know about that sort of thing now, and having different expectations of how it should work.

It won't be until after I get done with the rest of the PXO code that this actually becomes an issue though.  At that point I think that a few of us devs, and some members of the multi community, will get together and work out exactly what changes to make.  The new code might be based on the old stuff, or be completely new and merely compatible (or not) with the retail releases.

 
Re: The New Parallax Online?
forget Squadwar, we already have a replacement for it, its called Teamwars. (which is also in freelancer aswell)

The new site for it will be up shortly, but the old teamwars site is no longer the official site.

 

Offline BlackDove

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Re: The New Parallax Online?
Nobody gives a damn about teamwars.

Anyway taylor, good stuff. I know Killjoy got Squad Wars up and running on PHP, so it is surely serviceable, it's just the "how high on priority list".

It'd be nice if it was active, but as you said, PXO and all the proprietary nonsense regarding multiplayer itself should be done first before and if ever you choose to make SW operational again.

 
Re: The New Parallax Online?
I dont get why you guys are bringing back something long dead when there already is a working replacement there. Its pointless....

www.teamwars.org

 
Re: The New Parallax Online?
[Poinless plug for product]I dont get why you guys are bringing back something long dead when there already is a working replacement there. Its pointless....

www.teamwars.org[/plug]

Fixed that for you >.<
If the people want cake, let them eat cake >.>

 

Offline taylor

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Re: The New Parallax Online?
I don't really have a care either way in the matter.  All I know is that SquadWars is integrated with the PXO code, so I have to deal with it one way or the other.  It will just be much easier and considerably faster to get it working again than it would be to rip it out and get the PXO code working without it.

If no one wants it after I'm done porting everything then we can rip it out, or just replace it, at that point.  But doing that before the PXO code is done will do little more than slow down the reintroduction of PXO.