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back to article Titanfall, shoot-'em-up gamers, cloudy contracts and cattle

A "servers are cattle, not pets", DevOps-style approach is the only feasible way for a small number of people to run modern cloud-scale data centres. Small teams running large server farms are necessary to grind down costs so as to keep up with the Amazon-fearing race to the bottom. But even when cloud computing works exactly as …

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FAIL

Well thats that then

I saw some ads for this while installing nvidia drivers the other day. When I looked it up online I saw that it was from EA and said 'meh'.

This article seals the deal as far as I'm concerned.

On the bright side I just got Bioshock Infinite for less than $10, so all is sweet

Next!

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SLA

The problem is not that they are measured by SLAs, it's that the SLAs have not been defined correctly to meet the users requirements.

Rather than have an SLA that says 90% must have a ping lower than 40ms, it should say 100% must have a....

SLAs have to be set by customers to define their requirements. Not by vendors to control their expenses.

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Re: SLA

The problem is not that they are measured by SLAs, it's that the SLAs have not been defined correctly to meet the users requirements.

Who are "the users" of the SLA? The business itself and the layer of managers who's incentive structure is based on getting the right numbers for their performance reviews. These being all smart, goal-oriented people, will quickly learn the reward structure - consequently, more or less *whatever* SLA one comes up with, will be thoroughly gamed and soon lead to dysfunction*!

The fall-back is: Trust, honesty, good intentions, decentralization, group identity and intrinsic motivation.

But, one cannot do power-points and KPI's with that!

*) "Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations"

by Robert D. Austin

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Meh

Meh

Which is just one of the reasons why I very very rarely play a purely online multiplayer game like this one, especially one that is meant to be fast paced action.

The only MMORPG I play on occassion is World Of Warcraft (as it will play on my ok spec PC).

Titanfall and Forza were just not good enough reasons to get an Xbox One, although depending on how Destiny looks, that may have me upgrade...

.

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Thoughts

1) Cattle vs pets. Part of my job is to manage four local not-very-big servers (140 queries/second&server, about 100 connected users/server at any given instant). It's not a big part of my work, but they do receive some TLC and are clearly pets. Another office runs the same databases & websites, but there the IT department decided to unload the servers to Google. Those servers are very much cattle.

My coddled pet servers are a factor 10 -- 20 faster than the industrial cattle servers on any given query, despite running the same site and database, and despite my sites receiving more traffic. So score one for coddled pets.

2) Lag vs FPS gamers. It's true that if you have really sucky ping (>200 or so) then you're at a disadvantage, HOWEVER: the reason people get pwnt in fps's is almost never because of the ping, If you have 100 ping and your opponent 50, you're highly unlikely to be losing because of your ping. You're losing because you're simply not as good as the opposition.

It's just really hard for many people to admit that they're average (or worse) in a game of skill. Much easier, then, to blame ping, or that you're not playing on a 120 Hz monitor, or that the opposition are no-life aspies who play 24/7, or that you've got a cordless mouse. Or that all the opponents cheat.

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Unhappy

Re: Thoughts

Re: FPS/Lag - you are right. small differences in ping really don't make a difference to how you play, but it is a lot easier to blame that than your own experience or skill.

i used to play a lot of CS. sometimes you would get picked off by someone with what felt like a crazy shot (I don't have a problem loosing, but some hits were just beyond logic). Even when my first instinct in those cases was to think that they were hacking, spectating on that player for a while usually led me to concede that actually they were a really good player. its hard to accept, but important.

by the way, am i the only one who finds that games now are often a lot less social than they used to be? I used to play CS on a series of friendly clan servers that felt more like spending an evening in the pub with friends than playing a game - even though i only ever spoke to them in the context of the game. Compare that to the experience of playing CoD on Xbox live...

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MJI
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Re: Thoughts

The only multiplayers I have got into were populated by people I could chat to decent players playing for a long time. Very little abuse, trolls tended to get picked on, see below.

One TPS had various character skins, often the females were chosen due to nicer bums to look at, but some sexist players blocked you in corners and taunted (so you grenade suicided), those idiots got hounded off, just to say grenade team kills are usefull.

I also remember uploading game play glitches to the dev team, and for fun I patrolled one glitch and killed the glitcher EVERYTIME they went for it.

A FPS I played a lot also had glitchers but they were shootable, put yourself somewhere safe and pick them off as they tried to climb off the map.

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Re: Thoughts

re: cheating. Cheating IS common (I quit playing America's Army because there were just too many people using various hacks) but most times it's skill (or luck). As for the people who do cheat, they tend to tell you to chill about it, because "it's just a game" -- but of course the reason they cheat is because they, too, find it hard to admit they're average or worse at a game of skill.

re: social. It's not something I've thought much about, I don't use voice-comms unless playing with real-life friends, so I'm probably missing out.

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Trollface

Re: Thoughts

So, short version -

A ping of less 100ms doesn't make much of a difference simply due to the fact that most humans take longer to react (fully, rather than simply "notice there is something to react to) than that. Even if you could see bullets coming at you, it wouldn't help you dodge them.

(And you can't anyway; I can move my hands faster than you can see and so can any street magician).

Therefore, Trevor sucks at Titanfall but he can always blame it on Microsoft (via Azure) to maintain the ongoing theme of this site. Everyone happy?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thoughts

... so I'm probably missing out.

Yesss - It is always good to hear someone totally lose it in apoplectic rage over something, especially when one caused it.

I stopped playing WoW because Blizzard slowly, but thoroughly, cleansed the game of all opportunities for spoiling, griefing, ganking, creep pulling e.t.c. Now, playing WoW, it's just like work.

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Re: Thoughts

It largely depends upon the game engine and how it's lag compensation works. In very simple games like the original counterstrike (and, to a lesser extent, source), then someone with a 10ms ping vs someone with a 90ms ping will have *vastly* better game play and the ephemeral "reg" - when you have your crosshairs over someones face and press fire, does the game register a hit or say "sorry, try again".

In games like this, ping is crucial.

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Gold badge

Re: Thoughts

"Trevor sucks at Titanfall"

I've never played Titanfall, but yes, I'll admit to sucking out loud on this one. My reflexes in other FPSes are bad enough for me to be among the crappy "cannon fodder" players in any FPS.

Josh, however, is a professional gamer who cut his teeth on Quake. He can hit you with a rocket/rail combo whilst spinning multiple 360s and bouncing around the map enough to make me puke with nausea. The man is a bloody *god* when it comes to this stuff. He isn't the best of the best, but he's good enough to be set apart from the rest.

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Devil

Re: Thoughts

Really over the long run these games are just of interest for developing excellent bot programs that cannot be distinguished from real player.

IF one has the time.

Consider this "cloud-based testing" of the game.

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Just be thankful, they could have gone the way of CoD and had P2P. What monkey thought that was a good idea?

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MJI
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Limited sales

OK Lets look at our consoles, mix of Nintendo, Sega, & Sony, none of them can play it, next.

PC.Go to the main stores where I get games, not there. Not even on Steam.

A fail for me.

I will be getting Destiny though, but on a better console than Frood42 was considering

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Happy

Re: Limited sales

An upvote for just making me smile.

I have found very little to no reason to upgrade to an Xbox One.

In fact I has seen very little compelling reason to upgrade to either a PS4 or an Xbox One.

My Xbox 360 does me just fine for a casual bit of violent fun at the weekend.

I think these consoles just took too long to get to the market, and when they did get here, it was all a bit meh and shrug of shoulders as the release games were a bit average.

.

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MJI
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Re: Limited sales

We have a PS4 and a small number of games.

Well I am patiently waiting for Tomb Raider, Infamous Second Son, to drop in price, until then I have DLC for The Last Of Us and Bioshock Infinite to keep me entertained.

Like a lot of fans I found Killzone ShadowFall multiplayer to be not as much fun as the older KZ2 and KZ3 multiplayers. Infact I still play 3s multiplayer despite having SF

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Anonymous Coward

I strongly disagree.

One can expect the TitanFall's Azure servers to improve if necessary, that's all. I may well be wrong but I highly doubt most of latency problems come from Azure. If it's like most games I know the problem is generally between a gamers ISP and the game publisher's communication partner. Because there are so few at scale, it may be difficult for the publisher to pressure the communication partner to improve.

I highly doubt many gamers could afford and would afford a 'pet treatment'.

And it's the same in general. Or do you expect hand crafted Swiss watches to cost the same as robot manufactured watches from China.

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Gold badge

Latency is a mostly factor of distance. Some latency can be dealt with by refining the server's config, but mostly it's just down to "the speed of light says no."

Azure can't solve that, no matter how many buzzwords are applied.

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Unhappy

well put Trevor

I agree with you but your suggestion for an alternative approach won't fly. It is so counter cultural, sadly. It is the same with outsourcing arguments. If one likes where they work and have some sense of company identification, it is a good bet that the servers will be in far better shape, funds permitting, than the SL measured merely adequate units from outsourcery suppliers. Probably cheaper too for big corporates that are well managed.

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Anonymous Coward

Local servers.

Nobody ever complained about Steam's Valve laggy servers, because they DON'T HOST any games in the first place. They allowed any schmuck to host their own servers, pet clan servers included, and publish their address inside the service, so you can find them.

So, when you are invited into a clan match, you know your lag is your fault. And, when searching games outside a clan match, you know the search algorithm will give you the list filtered by criteria, being one of them the lag. Given Steam works in over 130 countries, the search will always give you the geographically close, privately owned, open servers with the best lag possible (most of them are ad-ridden, there is no free meal after all).

So yes, Steam may even have public servers, but you only get to connect to them when no other server is closer to you. Now, Microsoft is shooting her own foot trying to host a large number of simultaneous games played by Xbox owners across the globe and won't let anyone host their own games, using her service just for matchmaking.

Sony released the beta, free download version of Ace Combat Infinity for PS3 a while ago. Except the games were all hosted exclusively on Namco Bandai's servers or whatever. Upon closing the servers, the game just stopped working, presumably to return by the end of this year as a finished product (the game was fantastic by the way). This sort of dick move is the intention of Microsoft, perhaps... they can pull the plug and hose their players if things go wrong.

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Silver badge

"He will be able to quite literally dodge bullets and you won't see his bullets coming. In the modern FPS world when two gamers of more or less equal skill meet, the gamer with the lowest ping wins." -- Until you play Battlefield 4, where the person with the highest ping wins!

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Control

"We want the option to be in control, even if we never exercise it."

But that is the last thing in the world that MS want you to have. The cluster fuck of a PR exercise on the 6 month run up to the launch of their new console proves that they want to own everything and allow you the privilege only of "licensing" your £50 piece of software. If it weren't for the media shitstorm that followed their announcements then you'd be stuck unable to re-sell validly purchased software.

I'm not aware that the user is able to sign up to an SLA when playing online as MS only goal is get as many players ringfenced onto their solution as possible.

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Facepalm

"Low-ping bastards" have always been a small but horribly exaggerated problem since the early days of DOOM & Quake. It's bogus.

Watch someone like AH_BrownMan playing CoD and it's just unreal how he can flip up the scope and get an instant headshot before I can even notice his target. You can see then it's not low-ping but just 100% amazing skill.

Anyway, since I don't play multi-player, I find multi-player-only games like Titanfall to be complete disappointments.and that's even before I noticed it was an EA product with Sony DRM.

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Anonymous Coward

'it's not low-ping but just 100% amazing skill'

Technique is definitely a big factor. I was being creamed by my nephew during Christmas bloodfests. After a while he got bored and showed me what he was doing. He was already squeezing the right trigger long before I stuck my head out to see if anyone was there. If no target appeared he'd release and if one did he'd keep squeezing and get the kill as a shot from the hip. So he was anticipating the kill, not waiting for this grandpa to see the enemy with his own two eyes and then going for the scope!

That said, there not a whole lot of technique employed by some gamers. There's the guy who jumps in the air 3 times when he's being shot at and still kills you with a sniper steady shot. I think games should compensate for this. If you're moving the aiming accuracy should plummet! Same goes for firing off into the distance at some vague window that's a spawn point. Wind-speed should definitely apply and drift your aim off.

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I remember the day...

Servers were loved, (yes, I shared a gamer server once) playing gaming like CS, Quake, UT, BF1942. Lag was your problem but you could easy choose your server, finding one with everyone between 10 - 40ms. Now days I occasionally play on a friends xbox, and even though it refuses to tell you what your lag is (just connection strength which appears to mean nothing), I can tell its bad. Little signs like people lurching and bouncing around the map, punching opponents who then hit you before running through you and dying. Yet I am informed this is normal. Hence, I haven't bought my own xbox and won't pay for internet a second time from M$ just to get their substandard service/servers. I really hope this isn't the future. My guess is rather than tighten SLAs they are just waiting for the internet to get faster, possibly reaching FTL speeds.

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