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The Future - An Open Letter from the Homecoming Team

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I hope I can donate next time before it closes but a 20min window will go by like nothing especially if I'm at work so until I can do my part, thanks to the team and thank you to the players that donated. You are all awesome as I get to continue to enjoy this great game.  It is great to here about continuing improvements too.  :D

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For future content, especially Incarnate content, what are your plans? How closely will you follow the "dev bible" or whatever it's called, how much will be Incarnate trials, and how much will be Incarnate zones and story arcs? Also, do you have plans for future Incarnate powers?

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First off, thank you all for all your hard work.  This past month has been some of the most fun I've had in years!

 

Any thing looking to be done about the epidemic of people doing DFB (Death from below)?

 

Its not much of an epidemic?  I see lots of other content in LFG on Everlasting - TFs, RP groups, radio/tip missions, etc.  Personally, I use DFB just to get past the painful parts of leveling - late teens, early twenties.  And I really should try organizing DiBs after I hit 15.


Agent Trinity   Sunbow   Starwave  Phantom Lass  Wolfhound

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Thank you all so very much for all you are doing for us!! I look forward to what is to come and it has been an incredibly fantastic time being back!  :)


HC595Tz.png

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Kind of replying to what one of the above players said - some of the TF's/SF's, especially SF's, rarely get run, any chance you could nudge those rewards a bit higher?

 

A lot of 50s try to do the 50 only content to maximize reward merits, which makes sense, and I even support changing the fathiim kind TF to 45 instead of 44 for that reason since its -so- long.

 

But some of the 10-40 ones genuinely are more of a slog because no one runs them except for a badge, but I personally would love more variety in what 50s run by buffing those TF's reward merits and making them somewhat viable in comparison to the 45+ ones in terms of time spent to reward merit efficiency.

 

Thanks for all you do!

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Glad to see you plan additional development and content on the shard. You mention programmers and artists, but do you have any plans to get writers on the team to develop the content? As a former writer on a video game and someone who loves the story of CoH, I would hope that decent writing is on the minds of the people developing new content.

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One QoL feature I always thought was missing would be that when you enable "Lock Powers in tray" could it also lock the action bar number setting please?

 

I couldn't agree more, it's one (I assume very minor) QoL issue that would make me very happy. It came back to me very quickly just how often I accidentally hit one those of little arrows and how it use to (and still does) frustrate me.

 

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I hear that PhysX has been fixed elsewhere, any word when the fix will make it hear?

 

I'm going to address this because it keeps being brought up, and it is intentionally not being "fixed" right now.

 

Reason #1: if you bump your Particle Physics to "Very High", you get the same amount of particle physics as if you had a PhysX card. This happens on the CPU, not the GPU, but for modern computers this barely registers.

 

Reason #2: the "fix" involves upgrading the PhysX libraries (the DLLs in your game folder) to a newer version. So if we do that we are no longer compatible with the libraries shipped with Issue 24 Beta. This is a problem because it breaks the original client, as well as the client of any server that doesn't implement this "fix". It's a really bad idea to mess with the DLLs as long as multiple servers are sharing a COH install.

 

A similar problem would happen if we were to enable the error reporting DLL (crashrpt.dll) in order to collect crash logs; as soon as we put that DLL in there, we start getting crash reports from every server, not just Homecoming. Bad idea.

 

The solution is the Sunrise patcher, which will keep server-specific files on their own folders. At that point we can certainly start upgrading DLLs and adding our own features. But as long as all the servers are sharing a COH install folder, messing with the DLLs is irresponsible at best, malicious at worst.

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Simply, Thank You.

 

At over 9000 I hope you and the rest of the un-snappers get to enjoy some barbecue for the holiday.

 

 

The only thing I've seen that's concerning me is the amount of people begging for custom power sets; getting to choose from any power in the game every level. That, in my opinion would make the game feel far too "private-server-ey" if you will. It would absolutely kill the feel of the game and the point of a team. However, I'm sure the idea is so ridiculous and the population of people requesting it is so small that it is not even on your radar. But it is 2019 and people tend to think they can get whatever they want from a private server.


Thank you for reversing NC's snap...

 

@Lightyears - Excelsior

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When is Homecoming going to support character to text file exports? There's no way I can possibly convince myself to play on a server where I'm a C&D away from losing all my characters again.

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When is Homecoming going to support character to text file exports? There's no way I can possibly convince myself to play on a server where I'm a C&D away from losing all my characters again.

 

That's something we've looked at and had internal discussions on. The short answer is that it's something we would like to be able to do; there are just some technical details that need to be worked out to be able to do it at scale. The brute force method (using dbquery) causes lag for other players when you use it on a server that's hosting more than a few hundred online.

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Thank you for everything you have done...are doing...and have planned for COH: Homecoming.  When I said on forums I would simply be happy to play COH again, in any form, I wasn't kidding.  Thank you from my wife and myself for giving us the opportunity to once again play around in Paragon City and the Rogue Isles.

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I too give some thought to the precarious nature of all of this, knowing something catastrophic might happen, and all of my beloved characters would cease to exist again.  I take solace in knowing that CoH will never disappear from this Earth again, now that the code is free from it's former confines.  While the thought of starting over again is a bit daunting, I'd do it in a New York minute rather than forgo playing at all.  I am enjoying immensely what we have, and if it all starts from scratch tomorrow, then so be it.  I'd love it if there were a way to back-up my characters, and from what I've heard here, it is being considered.  That's good enough for me to relax, and keep forging ahead with no worries one way, or the other.


What was no more, is REBORN!

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for better understanding,

if you create some kind of big content update (lets say a new zone with lots of quests)

would you guys share it with other projects? and if an other Project creates some kind of big content update and they share it would you use it?


back to the Zukunft

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Thank you, guys. My crew and I are with you from this day until our last day.


Playing CoX is it’s own reward

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When is Homecoming going to support character to text file exports? There's no way I can possibly convince myself to play on a server where I'm a C&D away from losing all my characters again.

 

That's something we've looked at and had internal discussions on. The short answer is that it's something we would like to be able to do; there are just some technical details that need to be worked out to be able to do it at scale. The brute force method (using dbquery) causes lag for other players when you use it on a server that's hosting more than a few hundred online.

 

Huh? Relational databases are really good at pulling small amounts of data out of a bunch of tables using indices. I can't imagine what you mean by that being a brute force method. It's literally the primary job of a RDMS. If you were feeling really iffy about it, just make a downstream replica of your db server and have the queries run there. I'm assuming you guys have one of those anyway, unless you like fun large scale outages and rollbacks because your db server fell over.

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Thank you for putting together a mission statement and talking about the future.

 

Can you say more about the DMCA notice and who it went to?

 

I'm concerned that playing on Homecoming servers puts me in the same position as the original City of Heroes -- at any moment, it could go away, and the code is not available. It sounds like your stance is to keep code and assets private indefinitely, perhaps forever.

 

What would it take for you to open up your source (at least one-way)?

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The future looks bright! Thank you guys for all you do running City of Heroes: Homecoming.

 

I want to chime in on xp rates: they're perfect. I played CoH from the first beta and levelled up a LOT of characters. Double xp and veteran xp for incarnate levels let me enjoy the game without going through the same grind. I team up plenty and love doing task forces and trials. The merit rewards and incarnate rewards will keep me doing those. But thanks to veteran levels, I don't have spend all of my time doing incarnate trials.

 

I'm loving it. Thanks again!

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I'm just glad the game is back up. Me, my mom and my son played before and have missed it since then. Met a lot of friends and have reunited with one of them since the return of CoH/CoV. Thanks for doing this. Very much appreciated!

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First, thank you so much! I've always been a fan of MMOs, and this is the best MMO experience I've had in years--even better than CoX under NCSoft. I wish I could donate already to show my appreciation, and also to support future development and additional shards, but I guess I'll have to try and catch the donation period next month. I hope you can become a non-profit soon, in the expectation that our community can pay more than is needed, leading to an even brighter future.

 

Additionally, I'm hoping you nerf bio armor and buff sentinels (let them tank or do more damage), but those are minor issues in the face of the improvements you've made to the CoX experience via their addition. (My sentinel is my only 50 so far, and my 40 bio tank is lovely to play.)

 

 

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I have one more question, in regards to the client-side crashes that occur; given that CoH is 32-bit, is it possible that the game runs into an out of memory event from hitting the 32-bit memory cap? Is the executable Large Address Aware, and if not, could the crashes be alleviated, or even eliminated, by making it so?

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Huh? Relational databases are really good at pulling small amounts of data out of a bunch of tables using indices. I can't imagine what you mean by that being a brute force method. It's literally the primary job of a RDMS. If you were feeling really iffy about it, just make a downstream replica of your db server and have the queries run there. I'm assuming you guys have one of those anyway, unless you like fun large scale outages and rollbacks because your db server fell over.

 

I did say it was the short version. Based on reading the COH discord I'm not convinced that giving more detail won't still be twisted to fit whatever narrative, but in case people are interested I'll go ahead and elaborate.

 

dbquery is the "brute force" method because it's the most direct method and the one that works now to produce the character in the text container format. But dbquery doesn't touch SQL directly; so indices and such don't matter. Instead it opens a connection to the dbserver just like a map starting up would do and asks for it from there.

 

In testing we found that dbquery also can cause the dbserver to hiccup when it's run for some as yet unknown reason. That's really bad, since every map in a shard depends on dbserver being responsive not only to load/save characters but also to relay chat, mission updates, teams, moving between zones, etc. The dbservers are already struggling to handle more than 2,000 players online due to some design issues unrelated to the backend database, and a hiccup at the wrong time is catastrophic for a lot of people.

 

So that leaves either writing a tool to extract the data from SQL directly and format it the same way, or coming up with some other method. For security reasons the web tier shouldn't be allowed to touch the game database directly, and an extra replica for that would incur more license costs - at least until the pgsql conversion is done.

 

There are also logistical issues that we've discussed the best way to handle. The website is the most obvious route. However, it's based on old forum software and at the risk of spoiling something that shouldn't be public yet, there are plans to replace it with something more modern for account management and other functions. It doesn't make a lot of sense to write something for the current site that will just have to be rewritten in a month or two. Web access may not be the best way to go for other reasons as well. On such an alt-heavy game, it could become quite burdensome to manually download your characters whenever you want to make a backup copy.

 

One other approach we're considering (and the one I'm personally advocating for) is to modify the protocol so that the game client receives a complete copy of the character on logout and automatically saves it in a backup folder. This would be opt-in to avoid privacy issues if you're playing on somebody else's computer, but once enabled would allow players the peace of mind of knowing they always have a current backup. This also shifts the burden of producing the character dump to the mapserver, which already has a full copy anyway so there is zero additional load on the dbserver.

 

Finally there is talk of adding a cryptographic signature so that the character export can be verified as authentic. This would be useful both in a worst-case-scenario recovery contingency, as well as for server operators who want to allow automated imports of verified characters. This would be coupled with adding a character UUID to prevent duplication.

 

Right now the server team's development priorities are focused almost entirely on stability. There is an extensive rewrite of parts of dbserver ongoing to address its design issues preventing smooth scaling above 2000 players per shard. There is also a plan for a potential PostgreSQL migration; as its design meshes well with the update-heavy workload and it could reduce licensing costs in the long term. The powers and frontend/UI people are working on different things in their areas of expertise of course.

 

TL;DR: Character exports are something we think is a good idea, and something we're planning to look at once we're comfortable with the stability of the servers. But we're not going to slap something together and throw thousands of players at it without being confident it will work - we'll do it right.

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I have one more question, in regards to the client-side crashes that occur; given that CoH is 32-bit, is it possible that the game runs into an out of memory event from hitting the 32-bit memory cap? Is the executable Large Address Aware, and if not, could the crashes be alleviated, or even eliminated, by making it so?

 

It's something that can happen, yes. The client is already Large Address Aware and was for several years while the game was live, so it can use up to the full 4GB on 64-bit systems.

 

Base editing is the quickest way to run out of address space. There are definitely some memory leaks in the editor somewhere that haven't been isolated.

 

A 64-bit client would be nice, but IMO is a long way off. There is a ton of dodgy pointer aliasing that would need to be inspected and potentially fixed.

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GM_Jimmy as I have been called a fool by members of this 'community' for disagreeing about the AE nerf and that xp itself didn't actually need to be nerfed by members of this community whose only beliefs is 'farming bad', please elaborate on this

 

(Another aside before I continue: The AE nerf was originally to reduce the strain on the server as many AE farm maps used mechanics which were incredibly server-intensive,

 

As I have tried to tell people, the only server intensive thing in a AE farm is ambush farms and that is due to how the map/spawn points/spawns are loaded. But all I ever get told is that I'm stupid and all farming bad. So which is it, am I wrong or are ambush farms the only bad thing?

I'm with you on this. People are just rude to the ones that support AE and level with it. They rather force their play style on everyone else " sounds like real politics in the world". First, it was to give the servers a break from being overloaded and I agree it needed to be done but we where told it was just a temp thing until it calmed down. Now It's we are going to force you to level our way because you level to fast. Funny thing is people are still power leveling outside of the AE. I did it last night lvl 10 to 40's faster then it would of took me to solo do it. I joined a level 50 brute and He ran me through an end game TF. and what wasn't posted here is the GM saying it causes grief to other players that can't find a group because everyone will be in AE missions, which is funny. If you are really trying to find a group you won't have trouble finding one. LFG chat is proof of that

 

LFG is proof you can find a DFB team.

 

Powerlevelling doesn’t bother me but, I couldn’t pass up the quip.

 

Sorry, this is BS.  Sure you can get DFB teams in the LFG chat, you can also get all the TFs, DIB, Trials, Tip missions, etc.  Today I ran a Yin, a Posi, a Numina, and 2 trials through LFG chat.  Yesterday I ran some DFBs, trials, an ITF, and some Hero tip missions via LFG chat.

 

I cannot even believe people are complaining about using LFG chat to form DFB teams.  A month ago you couldn't play at all and now people are complaining about people using LFG chat to get DFB teams and using DFB to level fast.  Here is a clue: the LFG chat is to look for teams.  People running DFB are looking for teams.

 

DFB was designed by the real developers as a trial to quickly level lowbies.  Paragon Wiki states "Death from Below (DfB) is a "sewer trial" introduced in Issue 21 available to both Heroes and Villains, but not Praetorians. This trial can be run at any level and provides exceptional rewards, including experience point bonuses and Single Origin Enhancements, making it an excellent and popular tool for players looking to level new characters quickly."

 

While I can understand the AE nerf due to the server issues caused by the way the AE missions were created, I have not heard anything stating DFB replicates those issues and doubt that it would since this is official content.

 

There is quite a bit of DFB going on right now because people are trying out various ATs and power combinations to see what they want to main or to recreate their old characters.  I don't see the issue with it and would not like to see official content nerfed due to a small number of complaints.  My take is that in a month or two the DFB craze will have died down significantly.  the only negative impact I see is that you have to scroll through LFG chat to find content you want to do.  Guess what?  That is a good thing because it means a lot of people are playing and teaming. 

 

To the Homecoming Team: Thanks you for bringing this game back to life.  I am sure you have received numerous thanks, but it can't be said enough.  You guys have truly brought us back home.

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