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EASHL Connection Questions

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  • I've been thinking about the NHL series and I think it has some unique issues when it comes to online gaming. It's got to be the fastest sports game out there. That makes and input lag even more obvious. Slower games like Madden, FIFA or NBA 2K suffer less when you don't have a perfect connection.

    Other games like shooters can get away with things being less precise and players can be out of sync and things still work alright. You ever go around a corner and then get shot? It's because on your console you made it around the corner but on the console of the guy who's shooting you hadn't made it around the corner yet. Same thing happens with melee kills. A guy can look like he's too far away to get you but on his console he's a couple feet closer so he somehow can teleport up to you or has a super long arm to reach you with. Getting poke checked by someone two stick lengths away would be totally game breaking in NHL.

    I'd like to see it go back to being much harder to maneuver when players are going fast like it was in NHL13. You can either go fast or be maneuverable/stable, but not both at the same time. This would slow the game down but still give you the feeling of speed when there was open ice.
    PSN : GordonRamsey
    Club : Midnight Express
  • So...any word from the mysterious "online expert?" @NHLDev


  • NHLDev
    1680 posts EA NHL Developer
    edited January 2017
    hot-rivit wrote: »
    So...any word from the mysterious "online expert?" @NHLDev

    He just needs to get his account authenticated so that people don't spend two pages speculating on if he is an actual dev member or not like they did when I first posted. After that, I am sure he will jump in as soon as he can.

    I also wouldn't expect all your questions/concerns to be solved in the first day. Some of the answers may not be technical enough or specific enough for you but I would suggest working with him so that he can take those concerns to his team and continue to work with you.

    It may even be beneficial for a few of you that have some of the worst issues and also have technical expertise to work with him in the process but I will leave that up to him to decide based on how it all goes.

    In some cases, he may be able to dispel some myths which will lead to other questions and in others, it may take longer periods of time to track down what is going on. If we had the answers/solutions to everything right now, it would already be working flawlessly for everyone -- so just keep that in mind.
  • usaalltheway1
    129 posts Member
    edited January 2017
    @NHLDev

    There's so much in your post that I'm just going to break it down paragraph by paragraph:

    P1- I should imagine you have some sort of communication back and forth between the two of you. What's stopping him from making an account , him communicating that account to you , and then when he does post , he can be verified by you ?

    P2- sorry , that response is unacceptable. It's not like these lag issues barely got brought up last month. This crap has been going on for YEARS. Are you trying to tell me the feedback from this forum the past couple of years , especially last year wasn't enough info ?

    P3- again , just copy and paste what I said in paragraph 2 . If this guy or ANY of the network team need more info , then my GOD , that really shows how bleak the situation is for me in my personal opinion and I'm just not going to even bother getting next year's title.

    I somehow have deluded myself into thinking there's no possible way these servers can still blow, but really - that's probably going to be the case

    Last paragraph- I laughed out loud when I read, "it may take longer periods of time to track down what is going on." Lol. Yea, becuase two consecutive years and $120 later just on my end still hasn't been enough time .

    The only thing I will keep in mind is what a joke the network service of EA NHL has been while other competent games I own offer a much better online experience.
  • Hi everyone,

    I'm one of the online producers on NHL. I apologize for the account taking a while to get setup, but I should be able to answer some of your questions regarding online. Ben has already sent me a list of questions which we have reviewed together. I'll post those shortly and we can discuss further if you guys have more questions. I wouldn't call myself an "online expert" as my technical knowledge is limited but i have a fairly high level understanding how most of our online infrastructure works.
  • NHLDev
    1680 posts EA NHL Developer
    @NHLDev
    There's so much in your post that I'm just going to break it down paragraph by paragraph:

    Glad you broke that down. Thanks.

  • theleafsnation
    61 posts Member
    edited January 2017
    When was the last time there was a nhl 17 server maintenance ? And why is it when it comes to playing nhl yes only the nhl games feel slow/ sluggish most of the time ? I remember playing nhl on the 360 there was time to time a server maintenance
  • When was the last time there was a nhl 17 server maintenance ? And why is it when it comes to playing nhl yes only the nhl games feel slow/ sluggish most of the time ? I remember playing nhl on the 360 there was time to time a server maintenance

    Server maintenance..... yeah, again, I think you are over simplifying.
  • Don't know how to reply to that
  • theleafsnation
    61 posts Member
    edited January 2017
    Basically what I'm trying to say is why is the online so crappy ?
  • Don't know how to reply to that
    Don't know how to reply to that

    Let's just give the guy or gal a chance to lay out some details and answer whatever questions Dev handed over.
  • Hi everyone,

    I'm one of the online producers on NHL. I apologize for the account taking a while to get setup, but I should be able to answer some of your questions regarding online. Ben has already sent me a list of questions which we have reviewed together. I'll post those shortly and we can discuss further if you guys have more questions. I wouldn't call myself an "online expert" as my technical knowledge is limited but i have a fairly high level understanding how most of our online infrastructure works.

    Hello... umh... I don't know what to call you, so umh... I guess ONL_Producer for now?

    I have a question relating to how sometimes the game plays so ultra smooth online and other times it feels like I'm dragging a heavy bag through water, while in both cases, my ping says i'm at 15ms on average (lowest pin 14ms, highest ping 16ms).

    As a goalie, how "smoothly" you can move about has a very big impact in how you play during a game, especially important games in competitive leagues. Having something that vastly affects this, while not having the tools to understand WHY this happens can very often lead to frustration.

    Is there any explanation as to why or what can cause this happens?
  • VeNOM2099 wrote: »
    Hi everyone,

    I'm one of the online producers on NHL. I apologize for the account taking a while to get setup, but I should be able to answer some of your questions regarding online. Ben has already sent me a list of questions which we have reviewed together. I'll post those shortly and we can discuss further if you guys have more questions. I wouldn't call myself an "online expert" as my technical knowledge is limited but i have a fairly high level understanding how most of our online infrastructure works.

    Hello... umh... I don't know what to call you, so umh... I guess ONL_Producer for now?

    I have a question relating to how sometimes the game plays so ultra smooth online and other times it feels like I'm dragging a heavy bag through water, while in both cases, my ping says i'm at 15ms on average (lowest pin 14ms, highest ping 16ms).

    As a goalie, how "smoothly" you can move about has a very big impact in how you play during a game, especially important games in competitive leagues. Having something that vastly affects this, while not having the tools to understand WHY this happens can very often lead to frustration.

    Is there any explanation as to why or what can cause this happens?

    Yes that's what I wanted to say thanks buddy. That's what happens to me most of the time and it's only nhl games

  • NHLDev
    1680 posts EA NHL Developer
    VeNOM2099 wrote: »
    Hi everyone,

    I'm one of the online producers on NHL. I apologize for the account taking a while to get setup, but I should be able to answer some of your questions regarding online. Ben has already sent me a list of questions which we have reviewed together. I'll post those shortly and we can discuss further if you guys have more questions. I wouldn't call myself an "online expert" as my technical knowledge is limited but i have a fairly high level understanding how most of our online infrastructure works.

    Hello... umh... I don't know what to call you, so umh... I guess ONL_Producer for now?

    I have a question relating to how sometimes the game plays so ultra smooth online and other times it feels like I'm dragging a heavy bag through water, while in both cases, my ping says i'm at 15ms on average (lowest pin 14ms, highest ping 16ms).

    As a goalie, how "smoothly" you can move about has a very big impact in how you play during a game, especially important games in competitive leagues. Having something that vastly affects this, while not having the tools to understand WHY this happens can very often lead to frustration.

    Is there any explanation as to why or what can cause this happens?

    That was very similar to one of the questions that came from Seth's original list that I was also most curious about. Not sure if there is a detailed answer on it or not but it was one of the ones requested.
  • Hi everyone,

    I'm one of the online producers on NHL. I apologize for the account taking a while to get setup, but I should be able to answer some of your questions regarding online. Ben has already sent me a list of questions which we have reviewed together. I'll post those shortly and we can discuss further if you guys have more questions. I wouldn't call myself an "online expert" as my technical knowledge is limited but i have a fairly high level understanding how most of our online infrastructure works.

    Then if you're not an "online expert" and your technical knowledge is "limited" then honestly what good are you to the many concerns here?

    EA makes a game that has several online modes. I expect them to have "online experts" on their team that should be able to identify and solve any online problems people may have playing THEIR game.

    Chill... No need to bare your teeth like that! We don't need the guy in charge of the servers to answer our question, but as long as there's someone who can direct our question to the RIGHT people and then get back to us with an answer, you'll get the results you're looking for.

    Let's try to give him a chance and keep this civil... Ha'DIbaH!
  • Hi everyone,

    I'm one of the online producers on NHL. I apologize for the account taking a while to get setup, but I should be able to answer some of your questions regarding online. Ben has already sent me a list of questions which we have reviewed together. I'll post those shortly and we can discuss further if you guys have more questions. I wouldn't call myself an "online expert" as my technical knowledge is limited but i have a fairly high level understanding how most of our online infrastructure works.

    Then if you're not an "online expert" and your technical knowledge is "limited" then honestly what good are you to the many concerns here?

    EA makes a game that has several online modes. I expect them to have "online experts" on their team that should be able to identify and solve any online problems people may have playing THEIR game.

    I really think we need to allow this person to lay out their initial readout on the questions Dev provided.

    I venture to say that much of the network side is outsourced to vendors.

    But if this person knows the architecture / infrastructure then let's hear him or her out first
  • Unfortunately not all questions can be answered at this time as we may not have enough information on the subject, so i'll do my best to answer what I can.

    QUESTION: My ping usually averages 11ms, + or - , 0 packet loss, and no huge fluctuations in ping, and yet I still have games that lag terribly. Is there a reason that while the network performance monitor looks great, my game quality is not? I've had VS games in the 30s-70s that perform better than many EASHL games at 11ms

    ANSWER: While ping response time is typically the best predictor for network performance, it is not the sole determining factor for the performance in a single game, and a good ping time does not guarantee a flawless experience. If people are experiencing good ping times and poor responsiveness there could be another underlying issues we need to track down further.



    QUESTION: As mentioned, my ping is usually low. If it's not 11ms, then it is 48 ms. I've long suspected, and have recently confirmed that means I am connected to an East Coast server. Why am I connecting to an East Coast server? (Our club is a West Coast club and we always match region).

    ANSWER: The region that is selected when creating or editing a club has no impact on matchmaking; when a group initiates matchmaking from the Dressing Room we collect the ping times from each user to each of the possible server locations and use an algorithm to determine the “best” region for the group of users. So if I have a club for which the region is set to “NA West”, but the users that I am currently matchmaking with from the Dressing Room have better connections to the “NA East” region, then for the purposes of matchmaking this club will be preferring matchups that will result in a connection to the “NA East” server. I suspect that in some cases this may be a source of confusion for users due to the disconnect between the Club Region setting and the matchmaking, as if I am located on the west coast and my club is set to the “NA West” location I may be unaware that other users that I am matchmaking with might actually have better connections to the “NA East” server, and so even though the best option for me personally would be to connect to the “NA West” server, a better option for my group as a whole might actually be to connect to “NA East”.
    If users are playing a Drop-In game or are playing Club games with the “Match Club Region” rule set to “Relaxed” then there is no guarantee that they will be connected to their “best” server. For example, if we correctly determine that the “NA West” server is the ideal location for a group of users who are matchmaking together we will attempt to match them up with another group of users for whom “NA West” is also the ideal location. If no suitable match can be found then matchmaking will eventually expand to allow them to matchup with a group for whom “NA East” is the ideal location, and in this scenario one of the groups would be forced to play on a server that is not the ideal location for their group. The only way to avoid this would be to implement a hard matchmaking rule that would prohibit users from ever matchmaking with a group that is searching in a different region, which may then make it more difficult for users to find games.
    Note that this does not apply if the user is playing an EASHL Clubs game and has selected the “Exact” option for the “Match Club Region” rule, as we will not expand the matchmaking search to include groups searching in other regions.



    QUESTION: Does the captain matter when searching for a game?Does their network affect everyone who connects in that game, or everyone on that team? Will it affect game quality or ability to find a game?

    ANSWER: The captain is irrelevant when searching for a game. All users who are participating in the matchmaking will be considered equally when evaluation the “best” region to use for that group of users, and no extra weighting is given to the captain user.



    QUESTION: Does playing home give a better connection? I think most people believe so, as lots of people back out if they are away. We've noticed better connections at home most games.

    ANSWER: The Home team would only potentially have a better connection when groups with differing “best” regions are matched together. This certainly shouldn’t be the case most of the time, as we always prefer to matchup two groups that share the same “best” region.



    QUESTION: Does playing home/away affect game experience in VS? I've had nights where every game of VS I played was away, and it was terrible, until I get home and it's like playing offline. Then I have nights where home games are terrible, and I finally play an away game, and it's buttery smooth. Is this all coincidence?

    ANSWER: Whether the user is home or away in VS/HUT should have no impact on gameplay due to the p2p topology of the connection. From game to game there could be a variance of latency since your connection is directly to your opponent. In a small percentage of cases where restrictive NAT settings would have normally blocked a connection between 2 users, we have the ability to move the 2 users to a dedicated game server and depending on the region of both users the game could be hosted on the NA East or NA West servers.



    QUESTION: Playing in a game with a bad connection, even East Coast with an ok feeling connection has lots of issues. Is there anything we can do to change the below issues?
    a. Pucks harder to pickup
    b. Pucks always go back to the other team when dislodged
    c. hits/pokes don't work
    d. AI plays much worse than nomral
    e. Goalies, even humans, give up weaker goals than usual.

    ANSWER: The gameplay, physics, and AI behaves no differently for either team when lagging compared to a game without lag. Added latency and input delay will naturally cause user actions and input to be delayed which in itself will hinder the user’s performance on the controller.



    QUESTION: Does one player having a bad connection, or being from another region affect everyone, some of the players, just one team, or just the player with a bad connection?

    ANSWER: A user with a poor connection in an EASHL game should not impact the connection of other users in the session, regardless of whether they are on his team or the opposing team. The server will broadcast inputs to all users at a fixed interval, so the rate at which I send and receive inputs to and from the server is determined only by my connection with the server, not by the connections of other users in the session. However, a user with a poor connection will potentially be unable to play the game up to their full potential due to the delay in sending and receiving inputs, so that user lagging may affect our team chemistry or going offsides for example.



    QUESTION: I'd like to know at a very basic level how they have implemented lag compensation in EASHL and VS.
    a. Is there lag compensation in VS/EASHL (I'm assuming the answer is yes)?
    b. What is the maximum added latency on a good connection to compensate for those with bad connections?
    c. Are the lag compensation values reevaluated on a regular basis in a game, and how often (roughly), if so?

    ANSWER: I don’t believe that our title utilizes any functionality that would fall under the banner of “lag compensation”. In EASHL games, the game server will broadcast inputs to all users at a fixed interval, so if one person is lagging, only they will experience the delay. For Online Versus games, the connection is peer to peer, so any lag you experience your opponent is also experiencing.
  • BoboFloggins
    2170 posts Member
    edited January 2017
    Unfortunately not all questions can be answered at this time as we may not have enough information on the subject, so i'll do my best to answer what I can.

    QUESTION: My ping usually averages 11ms, + or - , 0 packet loss, and no huge fluctuations in ping, and yet I still have games that lag terribly. Is there a reason that while the network performance monitor looks great, my game quality is not? I've had VS games in the 30s-70s that perform better than many EASHL games at 11ms

    ANSWER: While ping response time is typically the best predictor for network performance, it is not the sole determining factor for the performance in a single game, and a good ping time does not guarantee a flawless experience. If people are experiencing good ping times and poor responsiveness there could be another underlying issues we need to track down further.



    QUESTION: As mentioned, my ping is usually low. If it's not 11ms, then it is 48 ms. I've long suspected, and have recently confirmed that means I am connected to an East Coast server. Why am I connecting to an East Coast server? (Our club is a West Coast club and we always match region).

    ANSWER: The region that is selected when creating or editing a club has no impact on matchmaking; when a group initiates matchmaking from the Dressing Room we collect the ping times from each user to each of the possible server locations and use an algorithm to determine the “best” region for the group of users. So if I have a club for which the region is set to “NA West”, but the users that I am currently matchmaking with from the Dressing Room have better connections to the “NA East” region, then for the purposes of matchmaking this club will be preferring matchups that will result in a connection to the “NA East” server. I suspect that in some cases this may be a source of confusion for users due to the disconnect between the Club Region setting and the matchmaking, as if I am located on the west coast and my club is set to the “NA West” location I may be unaware that other users that I am matchmaking with might actually have better connections to the “NA East” server, and so even though the best option for me personally would be to connect to the “NA West” server, a better option for my group as a whole might actually be to connect to “NA East”.
    If users are playing a Drop-In game or are playing Club games with the “Match Club Region” rule set to “Relaxed” then there is no guarantee that they will be connected to their “best” server. For example, if we correctly determine that the “NA West” server is the ideal location for a group of users who are matchmaking together we will attempt to match them up with another group of users for whom “NA West” is also the ideal location. If no suitable match can be found then matchmaking will eventually expand to allow them to matchup with a group for whom “NA East” is the ideal location, and in this scenario one of the groups would be forced to play on a server that is not the ideal location for their group. The only way to avoid this would be to implement a hard matchmaking rule that would prohibit users from ever matchmaking with a group that is searching in a different region, which may then make it more difficult for users to find games.
    Note that this does not apply if the user is playing an EASHL Clubs game and has selected the “Exact” option for the “Match Club Region” rule, as we will not expand the matchmaking search to include groups searching in other regions.



    QUESTION: Does the captain matter when searching for a game?Does their network affect everyone who connects in that game, or everyone on that team? Will it affect game quality or ability to find a game?

    ANSWER: The captain is irrelevant when searching for a game. All users who are participating in the matchmaking will be considered equally when evaluation the “best” region to use for that group of users, and no extra weighting is given to the captain user.



    QUESTION: Does playing home give a better connection? I think most people believe so, as lots of people back out if they are away. We've noticed better connections at home most games.

    ANSWER: The Home team would only potentially have a better connection when groups with differing “best” regions are matched together. This certainly shouldn’t be the case most of the time, as we always prefer to matchup two groups that share the same “best” region.



    QUESTION: Does playing home/away affect game experience in VS? I've had nights where every game of VS I played was away, and it was terrible, until I get home and it's like playing offline. Then I have nights where home games are terrible, and I finally play an away game, and it's buttery smooth. Is this all coincidence?

    ANSWER: Whether the user is home or away in VS/HUT should have no impact on gameplay due to the p2p topology of the connection. From game to game there could be a variance of latency since your connection is directly to your opponent. In a small percentage of cases where restrictive NAT settings would have normally blocked a connection between 2 users, we have the ability to move the 2 users to a dedicated game server and depending on the region of both users the game could be hosted on the NA East or NA West servers.



    QUESTION: Playing in a game with a bad connection, even East Coast with an ok feeling connection has lots of issues. Is there anything we can do to change the below issues?
    a. Pucks harder to pickup
    b. Pucks always go back to the other team when dislodged
    c. hits/pokes don't work
    d. AI plays much worse than nomral
    e. Goalies, even humans, give up weaker goals than usual.

    ANSWER: The gameplay, physics, and AI behaves no differently for either team when lagging compared to a game without lag. Added latency and input delay will naturally cause user actions and input to be delayed which in itself will hinder the user’s performance on the controller.



    QUESTION: Does one player having a bad connection, or being from another region affect everyone, some of the players, just one team, or just the player with a bad connection?

    ANSWER: A user with a poor connection in an EASHL game should not impact the connection of other users in the session, regardless of whether they are on his team or the opposing team. The server will broadcast inputs to all users at a fixed interval, so the rate at which I send and receive inputs to and from the server is determined only by my connection with the server, not by the connections of other users in the session. However, a user with a poor connection will potentially be unable to play the game up to their full potential due to the delay in sending and receiving inputs, so that user lagging may affect our team chemistry or going offsides for example.



    QUESTION: I'd like to know at a very basic level how they have implemented lag compensation in EASHL and VS.
    a. Is there lag compensation in VS/EASHL (I'm assuming the answer is yes)?
    b. What is the maximum added latency on a good connection to compensate for those with bad connections?
    c. Are the lag compensation values reevaluated on a regular basis in a game, and how often (roughly), if so?

    ANSWER: I don’t believe that our title utilizes any functionality that would fall under the banner of “lag compensation”. In EASHL games, the game server will broadcast inputs to all users at a fixed interval, so if one person is lagging, only they will experience the delay. For Online Versus games, the connection is peer to peer, so any lag you experience your opponent is also experiencing.

    So this fixed interval does not vary at all....

    When you say "lagging" are you talking the constant input delay or stuttering / spikes.
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