If you haven't yet heard, FSO multi has suffered from a lack of experienced network coders and from a lack of interest. However, multi is still available and playable, even though it's not perfect. So let me answer some quick questions and then get into some of the major issues still holding us back.What is the easiest way to play *right now*?
If you trust who you're playing with:
1. Share your IPs and add them to the multi section of the options screen.
2. The host should forward their ports, just in case, otherwise other players may not be able to see their game.
3. Kill Shivans.Do I need a pilot just for multi, like in retail?
No. With the new pilot code, single and multi pilots are merged. You just need to switch modes. How do I get to multiplayer in FSO?
You need to switch to multiplayer mode in the pilot selection or barracks screen. The toggle is on the top right of the pilot list.
Once you are in the mainhall, in multiplayer mode, just select the ready room, like you are about to continue a campaign, and you should see the game selection screen.What's actually wrong with multi?
Non-server players (clients) are not able to score hits reliably, even when hit effects appear. This comes with the multiplayer territory, but is more pronounced in FSO. Keeping your ping below 100, when possible, makes the issue less noticeable, so the host should likely be the person with the highest internet upload speed
.How can I optimize my multi experience??
Are PXO and Squadwar going to come back?
- Make sure you set the update rate to LAN in the multi settings screen, regardless of your connection speed. FS caps the bandwidth it uses based on these settings, but they were designed for connections from 1999. LAN has the least restrictive limits.
- Be aware of the lock button on the far right of the load out screen that allows you to pick your own ship and load out.
- Be aware that collision detection can be inaccurate, even for ship-ship collisions. One recent test, I died because, while flying 1-3 meters above a Moloch, I was detected by the server as running into it.
- Make the AI the bombers. The odd collision detection makes being a bomber even worse than normal, so let the AI do the hard work for you.
- Remember that missiles may have lost their lock on your machine, but can still be tracking you on the server. Be more cautious as a multi client than normal.
- Again, make sure the host is the player with the highest internet upload speed. This will ensure that object update packets get to you the quickest and you have the smoothest experience.
Taylor is currently implementing a version of PXO. The FSO side is, last I heard, nearly finished. I believe I have heard whispers of Squadwar eventually coming with that, but that is probably further down the line.Is anyone actively working on the actual guts of FSO multi?
Yes, but since we're not professional net coders, we don't fully know what we're doing. The next section will better describe what we have done, next steps, and our ultimate goals.What we've done:
1. We've verified that the networking fundamentals of the engine are sound.
2. We've fixed numerous bugs.
3. We've looked at options for improving ship interpolation. (where the engine guesses ships are on the server)What is on the horizon:
1. Assessing how the actual bandwidth is being used during normal play and then perhaps making changes based on those results.
2. Figuring out if the engine should be limiting communication between the server and client at all anymore.
3. Improving hit detection.
4. Improving interpolation perhaps via a new interpolation algorithm.
5. Finish nuPXO and perhaps Squadwar.
6. Increase the number of multiplayer sexps available.What's the endgame?
Multiplayer that is: Fun. Enjoyable. Reliable. Easy. What can I do to help?
Play regularly and host servers!
Report bugs. If you aren't respawning correctly or you are having trouble connecting, open a github issue.
Test the new PXO system once it is finished.This post will be updated and improved as time goes on.