Hosting and Data Flow


#1

As we had a lot of discussion because of the ESL rule about who can host games (Hunters or Monster) I wanted to get some clarity about how the data is transferred between players in Evolve.

Below you can see my assumption on how the data flow works. I would like to have a TRS Developer look into this and tell me if this is correct.
The problem I see is that if the Monster hosts, all data, including the data between Hunters is being transferred through the Monsters PC, which may cause additional lags between them as opposed to having only the lag between the Hunters and the Monster.
Please keep in mind that this is assuming the Hunters are all from the same country (EU) or relatively close to each other (geographically) and the Monster is from US or otherwise far away.
Also: Shouldn’t the ESL consider that lags can also be caused by insufficient processing power of the client? I mean lets assume the Monster has a weak PC anyway and has to play on lowest graphics settings, wouldn’t hosting the game cause it to create lags because its at its limits anyway?

Thanks in advance!

Data Flow Diagram

Best regards,
MemphiZ


#2

I don’t think the type of the PC matters.When we say host first of all we don’t mean that the player will actually be the host.If i invite you so i will be the host that means we will play in a dedicated server in Europe close to my country.

As of the ESL there is nothing they can do.Either the NA ppl will be unhappy or the EU.

I think that’s the reason also teams are being unhappy.Team Hype is on xbox now for proving grounds.Team HoY is taking many weeks off for reasons like this.Our team EoU is probably out of the ESL’s for now.I don’t think this means that anyone is stopping playing Evolve,just that the current host/lag thing ain’t working.Also no offense to ESL they are trying.They are our only cup so pros for that


#3

I heard from one of the developers that the game uses dedicated servers, but may fall back to peer-to-peer in extreme situations. I’d like to learn more about the details. @MacMan, @MrStrategio, who else?

The server location seems to depend on the host’s Steam client download location. I know for sure I get hosted in US servers when I choose US - New York as my download location and go play some public games – I can tell that because my ping drops to 3 bars instead of the usual 4. I don’t know if that’s the case when I start a custom match; would like to test this later.

The game’s netcode is far more punishing for monsters than it is for hunters. Stealth pounces, melee attacks (especially heavy attacks), skills, eating and beginning/cancelling an evolve are all delayed by the ping, locking the player in place until the client receives a confirmation from the server. These are all pretty much basic actions a monster must take during the match. The only things that don’t seem to be affected by high ping are movement and traversals.

Hunters have no such locks, although some of their actions need compensation. From the player’s POV, Markov’s lightning gun lock-on, for example, needs to be compensated just like 90’s online FPS games. Caira’s grenades seem to explode a lot later under high ping. Dodging enemy projectiles requires the player to compensate both his lag and the monster’s lag. Cloaking and acceleration field depends on the players positions which needs to be predicted by the support/Caira player. There are many more cases, none of which locks the player in place, unable to perform any other actions. On the other hand, hitscan projectiles seem to have ping compensation.

This is the reason ESL gives monsters the host preference, and this is why I asked you for an US East player to host the game. Unfortunately for me, we had an agreement (in which I had no voice; my teammates decided that in my stead) and the ESL rules state that you’d have the right to host anyway. I think this rule needs to be revised to ensure the host is fair for all players, especially for the monster, as the high latency is extremely punishing for monster players who are not in NA/EU given its effects.

If custom games are hosted the same way as public games (that is, using a dedicated server based on the Steam download location), picking US - New York would technically make me an NA monster as far as hosting goes, therefore I would have the right to host despite getting 3 bars of ping.

Ping will always be an issue with international events, unless scientists figure out how to make space-time-warp-based routers for instant communcation across the world (and beyond).


Latency / no hit registration
#4

First of all i would like to dissagree with that Monster not hosting will be more punishing.Last ESL we where playing with a teleporting Goliath who’s hitbox of Leap Smash was appearing in our screens 10 meters away from us but in mid-air he was changing direction and was coming to us.

Also as long as there are teams that doesn’t want to play fair ESL rules will never have an impact.


#5

I have played as a monster in worse conditions. 1 bar of ping, streamed live in a twitch channel a while ago, can’t remember which one. As far as I could tell, the game world updated once every 5 seconds for me. Mind you, this means everything in the game world would stop for 5 solid seconds before moving (teleporting, actually) to their new(-ish) destinations.

It took me a couple of seconds to realize I didn’t have to hold E until the feeding circle was empty on the screen; I could just hold it long enough for the meat rings to be consumed in my mind and move on before this actually happened on my screen. I couldn’t use the pounce “traversal” trick because it took longer than the Goliath’s pounce under normal conditions to complete.

Fighting hunters was an exercise in patience. Throw a vortex and wait, frozen in the air, until the next world update comes. Eventually the vortex would be flinged in the direction I was currently looking, but by then the hunters already teleported behind cover and half my armor was gone. However, the vortex would still hit the hunters somehow. I realized I should rely more on actions that don’t freeze me in place for 5 seconds, and I was glad I had Banshee Mines (pre-nerf) from stage 1.

They were wondering why I would take so long to act and react. Why I would throw a vortex and just stand still. I still don’t know how I managed to win that game. I recall them having a Lazarus in the team, a couple of level 30s and we were playing in Aviary. Other than that, they should’ve taken that game easily.

You can try it yourself. Switch your Steam download region to Australia (or wherever is far away to you) and play a few public games as hunter and monster, then come back here and tell us how that went. I’m sure you’ll have a miserable experience as hunter, but not even close to what you’ll see as a monster.


#6

Thanks for your feedback guys. Still I would like the diagram to be confirmed or corrected by a TRS developer. Because if it is like that it means due to the Hunter-to-Hunter-Data going through the host there is additional lag which could be avoided by letting the hunters host. It could even be better for the monster because having one source of lag out of the way might reduce the other.


#7

Tagging @MacMan again for awareness/clarification.

Having one the hunters or the monster host doesn’t matter as long as the overall latency is as low as possible for everyone, preferably for the monster due to the effects I mentioned above. Of course it’s impossible to have good pings for everyone when the players are spread out all over the world, but the best case scenario is to have the game hosted somewhere in between them, with a slight preference for the monster player to mitigate the lockdowns.

From what I could gather from scattered dev posts in these forums, the game uses dedicated servers and players communicate directly with these, never between themselves. It’s kinda like your diagrams but instead of being hosted by one of the player’s PCs it’s actually hosted by an external machine probably under control of TRS and all communication goes through that. Again, I need confirmation on this because I also heard they use peer-to-peer under some circumstances, which would be bad for everyone.


#8

If its a dedicated server close to the “Party Leader” and the rest of the diagram is correct it must reduce at least the lag between hunters if one of them is the “Party Leader”, if not lag in general because of what I mentioned in my last post (less lag means less lag for all). @MacMan it would be great if you could confirm or correct this.


#9

No i am not saying which one is worst.I’m just saying that it is equally painfull.

Here is an example: (Note this is ESL) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkuyDwB5QC0

My support probably have died without his game knowing already?One thing is for sure.He was shielded with low hp and in the next 2 seconds he dies with nothing else touching him


#10

How often does that happen? Once, maybe twice in a whole tournament. It can be a pain in the *ss when it happens, I absolutely agree with you on that. Another bad thing you have to deal with is monster attacks connecting from a distance.

Still better than having to wait for every. single. meaningful. action. you. perform. Especially pounce, which seems to take twice as long to execute even with 3 bars. You can barely feel the lag as hunter, but it is right in your face as the monster, ready to bite you in the next engagement, be it with hunters or wildlife.


#11

Actually it happened in every game when the host was from US West it was the same.As you said you can’t “feel” the lag but it is there.You just don’t understand it.Skills hitting you when they wheren’t supposed to.Teleports.Things like the video.It is more noticeable when playing monster.But it is the exact same for hunter-side,it is just less noticable.


#12

But still there shouldn’t be an extra lag just in between Hunters…
If that can be avoided just by letting the Hunters host. Let the Hunters host.


#13

I think the best we can do right now is for a middle ground host.But ofc there are people with bad internet(Like our monster)Who literally can’t play unless we EU host.And then there are people who just doesn’t care and are like…Rules say we host so we host we don’t care about your lag.So…


#14

I couldn’t agree more with you. In fact, I suggested a rule change on my first post in this topic regarding that:

I’m not trying to downplay the issues with lag on the hunter side. I know they’re very frustrating – I’ve played as a hunter with 2 bars of ping a lot in the past. The point I’m trying to get across is that the monsters’ overall effectiveness in combat is visibly affected by lag because nearly every basic action they take has a forced delay. Hunters do not have to deal with that; instead, they have to deal with the issues you pointed out and even more, but none of them affect their overall effectiveness as badly as the monster’s.

The only real solution for this is for the devs to mitigate the side effects of lag, especially on the monster. If they made it so that I can attack and use my skills just as fast as if I had zero ping, I’d happily play with 2 bars knowing that my effectiveness is going to be about the same as with no lag.

What if two of the hunters and the monster are from US and the remaining two hunters are from EU? Or what if two of the hunters are having internet issues? Under your model and those circumstances, there’s no way to get rid of the “extra lag” between the hunters. I know this is probably not the case in a tournament, but it could happen. Anyway, I still don’t think the game is hosted by the players, but we have yet to hear from the devs.


#15

Do you have more videos of that issue happening? My QA senses are tingling :smile:

Just want to check if there’s something in common with the occurrences and how frequently that actually happens.


#16

Not sure.Summoning @b1nge .He is the one keeping vods ussualy


#17

I recorded all of ESL. But that shieldbot thing was just… a big wtf. So I cut that out and uploaded it separately. There are probably alot of ‘wonky’ Leap Smashes in the rest of those matches that we played, but I can’t be bothered going through all the footage at this moment :frowning:


#18

Still no word from any developer? This is disappointing…