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Technical Update - April


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#1 Matthew Craig

    Technical Director

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 11:40 AM

Well April is just flying by and as Paul mentioned we’ve been making good progress on Hit Registration issues so without further ado let’s get into the progress that has been made.

Hit Registration

As many of you are aware we began the work to make Projectile Effects server side authoritative some time ago and the initial version was playable recently on our Public Test Servers while we performed a large data migration. This change ensures there is much greater consistency between what you the client see when shooting and what is reported by the server.

This change doesn’t technically alter anything regarding the accuracy of the simulation; however, perceptually it feels much more accurate as there are no longer any false positives. In addition once this change was made it uncovered some oddness in the weapon tracing whereby occasionally weapon traces were returning inconsistent results. We’ve been working very hard to track this issue down and maintain the Server Side Effects for the April 15th patch and the good news is that we were successful (thanks Albert and Neema). So as of April 15th we are excited to see how these changes behave on production. We are anticipating not only a much improved player experience from a perception standpoint but also improved accuracy in the hit registration.

In addition to this we found a further issue where the explosion code in CryEngine was limiting the number of explosions processed on a given frame and then deferring explosions to subsequent frames to effectively load balance the work for the server; however, this results in potential inaccuracies in the hit registration as when the explosion is processed on the subsequent frame the Mech will have moved some amount (relative to its current speed) meaning the damage will be applied incorrectly. We believe this would result in situations like a fast moving Mech running towards you and taking a face full of SRMs would potentially have the damage translated to the rear of his Mech or take much reduced damage. As Paul notes in his update this has made balancing SRMs very problematic.

Sadly we found this issue too late for the current patch cycle as we wanted to carefully confirm the server side performance implications of removing the explosion throttling. We’ve confirmed there is no negative impact on the server side performance as of this writing so we will have this change in and tested for the April 29th patch.

So in conclusion we are hoping that hit registration will be much improved come Tuesday and even better on the 29th

Stability

We’re continuing to work hard to isolate and resolve any stability issues in the game, a number of fixes are in the April 15th patch that should address the most major issues. That said those of you that have been experiencing Pure Function Call errors will have to wait a little bit longer, the investigation for that issue so far shows that the error occurs when clearing up a corrupted audio asset on level shutdown, we don’t have any solid repro on that case yet though and haven’t been able to isolate what map/audio may be causing the issue we will continue to work to try and isolate and address that case but most major crashes should hopefully be much improved by this patch.

As always if you are still having issues after this patch please drop by the Patch Feedback thread and/or log a support ticket and let us know with as much detail as you can provide.

Performance

We’ve also been working hard to increase performance across the board for all users, there are a number of optimizations in the April 15th patch that should help to bring performance up and again we look forward to your feedback. As promised in the video blogs I’ve been looking into SLI performance and a quick note on overall performance. I often hear users stating that the game isn’t maxing out their GPU, there are two elements to this, firstly the game remains CPU bound for the most part, secondly you as a player have the ability to control GPU load to some extent. If your GPU is under-utilized you can increase the resolution you play the game, increase the settings for Shaders/Post Processing (we do our best to expose as many of these settings as possible in the Options Screen) or turn on additional AA techniques. The converse applies if you think your CPU is stronger than your GPU.

The reason I mention this is that MWO isn’t generally GPU bound for most users though there are exceptions, the most notable are situations such as running triple monitor or running 3D as just mentioned above these configurations require much higher resolution or dual rendering, pushing the GPU much harder.

For the majority of players that are CPU bound the good news is the April 15th patch contains improvements and if you are running Nvidia hardware they are about to release a new driver that significantly reduces CPU overhead as well. For those of you that want to push the GPU further as we bring in better support for 3D and/or triple monitor this will give you something meaningful to apply SLI to.

3D

3D pretty much works at this time the only thing holding it back despite one or two minor bugs is that the targeting reticule and targeting boxes do not respect 3D depth making it very fatiguing on the eyes to play this way currently, this is being addressed before we release 3D. It’s also worth noting that this same issue impacts VR (hint hint) so addressing it also unblocks in game VR.

Visuals

A couple of items users have been requesting options to toggle for some time are getting added currently and should be available by April 29th namely Film Grain and Cockpit Glass. It was also recently brought to our attention that some major objects are fading out too aggressively in low detail settings we are investigating this and will keep you updated.

A final note there is also a change in the April 15th patch to ensure that the user.cfg settings apply last so that they don’t get overridden by system settings, this should ensure that anything exposed is now more reliably tweak able via user.cfg for those of you that like to tweak. Oh and the target designation bug is fixed in the April 15th patch.

In Summary we continue to work to ensure your systems remain nominal, your engines run smoothly, your targets remain accurate, your missiles remain on target and that you can get your head in the game like never before.

Please leave your feedback about this update in the Official Feedback Thread. Thank you!

See you on the Battlefield





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