[MUD-Dev] Gearing up against GEAR

Sean K sean at hoth.ffwd.cx
Tue Jul 24 13:22:25 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

On Tue, Jul 24, 2001 at 01:40:24AM -0700, Justin Rogers wrote:
> [Compliments of Sean Kelly]

>> For spellcasting, there might be a slight advantage is using
>> GEAR.  As while spells take a fixed amount of time on the server,
>> they are one-off events.  So in times of high lag it might pay to
>> push through a couple spellcasting packets all at once.

> Sean, you couldn't be any more wrong when making these terribly
> incorrect comments.

Now that's a little harsh :)

> AC pushes a lot of processing down on the client because it is
> worthwhile to do so and takes load off of the servers.

I'd say this is debatable.  If you can't trust the clients, how do
you gain by offloading processing onto them?

> Something AC already has plenty of.  Built into the client are
> animation timers.  Once an animation is up you may again cast a
> spell or perform a combat action.

So you're saying that they don't enforce action timing on the
servers but instead rely completely on the client-side animations as
a timing mechanism? This sounds like a poor design decision.

> Gear users are able to cast multiple spells in the same time
> frame.  Up to 6 spells in the time it normally takes to cast one,
> however they only appear to do one animation to the rest of the
> individuals standing around, and the server doesn't stop them from
> performing the action.

> I can further back this up by saying that we've overcome many of
> the fixes the devs have put into the game (god-mode, jump casting,
> jump healing), by hex-editing these timings out of the code-base.
> Again, the server doesn't check, they expect the client to.

Well, I've already said my part about this then :p It may reduce the
amount of server processing, but it's a poor tradeoff IMO.  Nothing
should be given client-side control that can give one player an
unfair advantage over another.  I'd rule this as a regrettable
design flaw.

>> I agree.  All I can see GEAR doing for AC is screwing up the
>> framerate on the client side and flooding the server with extra
>> packets on the server side.

> Nope, it doesn't hurt the server that bad actually.  Some people
> complain of lag when a Gear user is in the vicinity.  But for the
> most part it just increases the abilities of the user who is using
> Gear.  Its been the same for other games that user client side
> timings (ala Half-Life after the net-code).  Maybe you should read
> up a bit on the subjects your talking about before filling this
> list with a load of incorrect information.

I was basing my statements on the assumption that AC was designed in
a way that makes sense. I'm a career programmer and I do a lot of
network programming, so it's not exactly like I'm completely talking
out my ass.  Perhaps you should be a bit more politic in your
criticisms.  There's no reason to get nasty.

> BTW - They are going to fix the Gear problem on the server side.
> They can detect users who are sending a percentage of packets to
> the server that is higher than should be allowed.  By doing this
> they can force the zone to take action and ban the accounts.  The
> avid AC players are guessing they'll institute this new feature
> right around the next patch, but not necessarily in the patch.

I suppose that over the course of a few minutes this should be
detectable.  Though it would have to be carefully tuned to not flag
people who were merely victoims of lag bubbles.  Still, it still
seems like a band-aid for a poor design decision.  With any luck,
AC2 won't have a similar problem.

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