July 19, 2012
Frag the Lag
Some Behind-The-Scenes Info About What Yorumi is Working On.
First, let's define the 2 kinds of lag.
1) Frame Rate Lag: This is what MOST Aqw players call lag, but it isn't actually lag at all. It's low frame rate. Technically it feels like you're lagging behind so you call it that, and since you do, we do. This is caused by a few factors...
- Flash does NOT use your graphics card or chip to process for 2D stuff such as AQW and just about everything else out there. It ONLY uses your CPU to process graphics.
- Animations. Anything that moves takes more processing power, this is why your frame-rate might drop when you're fighting, especially using an animated weapon.
- Gradients and Alphas. I'm lumping thee together because they are both essentially color effects. Gradients are smooth color transitions. Alpha refers to how see-through an object is.
In short, if you are fighting with all of your friends, using flashy powers, animated weapons, pets, and armors with a bunch of gradients and alphas on them on a computer with a fairly weak or out dated processor on high quality while running several CPU intensive programs in the background... you probably won't enjoy it much since you'll be playing a slideshow rather than a video game.
2) Sever Lag: This is REAL lag. It's caused by poor communication between your computer and AQW server. It causes a LOT of issues like delay in chat, delay in opening shops or buying stuff, delay in deleting items, delay in movement, disconnections, and the mother of all issues, the super-lag that hits when the servers restart.
It also has a lot of causes such as how fast our servers are (which are the best we can afford), how fast YOUR internet is, your connection health, physical distance from the server (if our servers are in Florida and you're playing from the moon... it will cause you some lag) , how many people are playing on a server and how the game itself deals with the constant stream of data being pulled off it and thrown onto it.
This server restart lag is especially bad on Friday when our traffic is highest and everyone is trying to get back online and play the new release as fast as they can. It's like being in a crowd outside a stadium with a load of people. You are all wearing everything you own all at once and you are all trying to push through the same double doors to get inside. people get stuck and the more people trying to crowd through the more it slows things down.
This Week and next Yorumi is working to completely re-write a lot of how the game loads to fix as many of these issues as possible. There might be some HILARIOUS bugs that pop up, and it will take Yorumi a while to get everything rewritten (it's a very large project) but here's what to expect once it's all done...
THINGS THAT WILL PROBABLY IMPROVE:
- Log-in lag should be significantly reduced. You might be a flame for all of 2 seconds, depending.
- Shop Lag should be significantly reduced. Shops should open right up and you should have no issues buying or selling items just as fast as you like.
- Monster drops will not suddenly hit you in a massive stack, like the game has been saving them up for you.
- Chat lag should be significantly reduced
- Movement lag should be significantly reduced which might be of interest to you PvPers.
- Battles should run significantly more smoothly.
- The changes will give us increased ability to fight botters.
THINGS THAT MIGHT IMPROVE:
- Monsters MIGHT stop spawning at different rates on different servers.
- The Being-Stuck-As-A-Flame issue caused by Flash's most recent update MIGHT become a lot less frequent.
- Disconnections MIGHT become significantly less frequent.
THINGS THAT WON'T CHANGE:
- The changes will NOT allow us to increase your inventory space.
- The changes will NOT make trade possible.
- The changes will NOT make name changes possible.
- The changes will NOT effect your frame rate in any way. If you suffer from Frame Rate Lag then you will still need a stronger CPU to see any improvement.
My favorite part of the changes is the fact that Server Restart lag should (if all goes according to plan) be a thing of the past. You will still be trying to cram through a single set of double doors with fifteen to twenty thousand other people, BUT instead of weearing everything that you own, everything you own will already be inside waiting for you, which will speed things up QUITE a bit.
Some people are wondering over twitter why the entire AQW team isn't helping Yorumi with these changes. That's because only he has the skills to make these changes. Dage is an artist, Alina is a writer, I don't even know WHAT I do here but it's not high-level engine and server changes. Asking J6 or Aranx to make these changes is like asking your television to fry you an egg.
The Mods aren't even on the development team. They don't do any coding. They don't do any art or animations or writing or database work. The Moderators don't create any part of the game... they MODERATE it. Their ONLY job is to help moderate the game and keep it safe and fun for you...so, while very useful and helpful in-game, no programming help there.
The rest of the team is doing what we always do. We are working as hard as we can on getting a fun release together for you to play either this Friday or sometime in the future.
Why aren't other programmers helping Yorumi with the changes, you ask? Actually, some of them are. Captain Rhubarb, Rolith and EpicDuel's Titan have all pitched in ideas to help fix these issues, but they can only a help little since they are all skilled coders BUT don't really know their way around the AQW engine and database like Yorumi does.
It's like walking around your house with your eyes closed. You can probably do that without breaking your nose. But it's a little different when you go over to a friend's house. Your friend still has a kitchen, some chairs, a bathroom or two... but the layout is totally different. You'd have to move much more slowly and you'd STILL hit your shins on stuff and trip over their cat.
So Yorumi is plunging head-long into the AQW engine and making sweeping changes that will almost certainly make the game a LOT better for all of us. Good Luck, Yorumi. You're really earning that lightsaber now.