Drakan:OOTF multiplayer matches

Discuss Drakan: Order of the Flame with fellow players and post any technical problems here where an 'unofficial' support team will try and help you. Gameplay help questions can go here too.

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Drakan:OOTF multiplayer matches

Postby Mechanist » Sun May 06, 2018 3:17 pm

Thanks to the dedication and unrelenting perseverance of the remaining Drakan fanbase, we've managed to succeed where others have failed numerous times before: after many years of nonexistence, Drakan multiplayer is happening again - on a more-or-less weekly basis. :mrgreen:

Note that we're using Discord for coordinating the dates & times of our multiplayer events, as well as for in-game voice chat (optional).
While using it isn't required to join our servers, we strongly recommend it; if only to have access to the most up-to-date information about the planned matches. :D

Please use this link to join our Discord channel.

Alternatively, for users who don't want (or are unable) to use Discord for any reason, there's also the event calendar in our Steam group, which can be (and is) used for planning multiplayer matches ahead of time. Feel free to use the group chat there, as well.

Last but not least, Drakan also provides its own simple in-game text chat functionality. You can set the key to activate the chat prompt in the control settings; it's called "Network Chat".

Click here for information regarding our multiplayer servers, as well as the technical requirements for a successful connection.

Please be advised that usually at least one of us is recording the multiplayer gameplay footage, and eventually uploading it to YouTube; this also includes our voice communication.

We would like to ask all participants to abide by the following code of conduct:
  • Text chat users: while typing, land and sit still (in air levels - preferably in an out-of-the way spot, to avoid stray projectiles) or approach and face a wall (as Rynn).
  • All other players: please don't attack these users who are busy typing (as above), or otherwise standing obviously inactive still at their spawn point.
  • If you want to take a short break, then do the same as for when typing; since quitting and rejoining the server would reset your score!
  • Keep any profanities to a reasonable minimum, please - we are neither sailors, nor car mechanics. Well, I'm a former car mechanic, but let's not talk about that. :roll:
  • If, for whatever reason, you object to having (at least some of) your gameplay displayed in public, then please refrain from participating.
Also, since we have some duel levels on our servers, here's a summary of the duelling etiquette:
  • Please don't FFA (free-for-all) in the Duel maps. The game doesn't enforce that in any way, due to engine limitations - but the other players will usually step in.
  • Exception to the above: the Dragons Den air duel map is a hybrid Duel/FFA map, and can be used for both - even at the same time, due to its unique design. Still, the non-duelling players should all agree on whether to spectate the duel, or play FFA in the meanwhile instead.
  • For ground duels, the fight doesn't begin until both participants agree. This is signalled by blocking with your weapon; the fight officially starts when both players cease to block.
Last edited by Mechanist on Tue May 29, 2018 5:14 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Drakan:OOTF 2018 multiplayer match

Postby Arokhs Twin » Sun May 06, 2018 6:08 pm

Ill post this on the steam group and see if we can get more interest. I've also set up a discord server Teekus_Games with a Drakan channel that could be used. It's free and preferable to Teamspeak although the windows app does not work on my PC so I'll have to use the web client. There's also the Arokh's Lair steam group chat as well but we will all have to be logged in to steam and be group members. If we agree on Discord I'll post the invite link.

July time on a weekend sounds good to me. I have to possibly go into hospital for surgery at some point (waiting for further tests before they can verify what my condition is) so I should have plenty of time although it will depend on how I feel.

I haven't played the game in nearly a decade so I would probably (almost certainly) suck at it until I get used to it. I used to prefer air levels but I think it would be best to go for a mix to please everyone. Sticking to the stock levels and a handful of the best player made levels would be the best thing to do at first. Some multiplayer levels are pretty good and are as good as or even surpass the quality of the levels made by Surreal.

My suggestions of player made maps would be:-

Air - Tropic, Oasis
Ground - Katana War, Amazons

Didn't care much for QoD maps or King of the Hill so no suggestions for these game modes.

I could host as I have a 40/20Mb/s download / upload fibre connection but I think others should be standby hosts in case of problems. Direct connection via in game browser or at a pinch Hamachi if there's not much interest.
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Re: Drakan:OOTF 2018 multiplayer match

Postby Mechanist » Sun May 06, 2018 7:00 pm

Ill post this on the steam group and see if we can get more interest. I've also set up a discord server Teekus_Games with a Drakan channel that could be used.
That's nice, thanks.

Haven't used Discord yet though, so I'll give it a try shortly to see if it works for me.
Is it safe to assume that it will work fine if it launches at all, or do the possible issues run deeper than that?

There's also the Arokh's Lair steam group chat as well but we will all have to be logged in to steam and be group members.
Eh, I take a rather dim view of Steam in general. Would rather avoid using it, if possible.

I haven't played the game in nearly a decade so I would probably (almost certainly) suck at it until I get used to it.
Ha! I could very well say the same thing.
I mean, not counting a few hours of fooling around over the last few weeks, as well as going over the entire Ruined Village with a fine-toothed comb.

Didn't care much for QoD maps or King of the Hill so no suggestions for these game modes.
QoD? Is that another name for MotD, or am I missing something obvious?

I could host as I have a 40/20Mb/s download / upload fibre connection but I think others should be standby hosts in case of problems.
Ah, that's much better rated than mine. Can't remember what it says on the contract, but I normally get around ~6Mb download and ~1Mb upload speed IIRC.

Should we use a dedicated server for this?
I presume that this would require another machine for the dedicated server? I do have another spare computer I can use, but it's quite ancient - around 1.5GHz single core, maybe 1GB or so RAM, and some antediluvian AGP (!) graphics card (no, it's not that old system I had been referring to recently).

Direct connection via in game browser or at a pinch Hamachi if there's not much interest.
Ah, but will a direct connection work with NAT?
I've never tried connecting to a multiplayer game through NAT, but it's already caused me various connectivity problems in the past.

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Re: Drakan:OOTF 2018 multiplayer match

Postby Arokhs Twin » Sun May 06, 2018 7:15 pm

Looks like discord it is then. The web based client works fine.

QoD is the same as Master of the Dragon. Seem as all characters are Rynn's it is often known as QoD and also it appears as such in the dedicated server level list files.

As for a dedicated server this is best. I don't have a spare machine except for a laptop but there again the dedicated server does not use graphics so it should be OK. I'll have to test it. Your 1 Mb/s upload should be fine for the game as it was originally designed when most players had 56K modems.

As for NAT affecting a direct connection, it should be fine with a modern router that supports uPnP otherwise manual port forwarding may be required. We will have to run a test prior to the event; we can always fall back on Hamachi or similar but they tend to have limited amount of connections for free accounts.
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Re: Drakan:OOTF 2018 multiplayer match

Postby Mechanist » Sun May 06, 2018 7:52 pm

As for NAT affecting a direct connection, it should be fine with a modern router that supports uPnP otherwise manual port forwarding may be required. We will have to run a test prior to the event; we can always fall back on Hamachi or similar but they tend to have limited amount of connections for free accounts.
And therein lies the root of the problem: the NAT in question belongs to, and is administered by, my ISP. I have absolutely zero control over it.
I remember randomly probing a whole bunch of ports for accepting incoming connections, a year or two ago, to troubleshoot the issues I was having at that time - and only a few of the most commonly used ports appeared to be functioning correctly, if at all.

PS: AT, I think you should point the Steam group users to UCyborg's repack. Doesn't get easier or simpler than that.
As recent experience has demonstrated, not all players have the requisite technical knowledge to correctly swap a whole bunch of files. A simple plug-and-play solution seems to be the best approach here - especially since we know it's pretty much guaranteed to work.

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Re: Drakan:OOTF 2018 multiplayer match

Postby Arokhs Twin » Sun May 06, 2018 10:04 pm

I mentioned the AIO patch, I know some of them are aware of it already but I'll put something on there to make it more obvious.

As for your ISP managing the NAT that's inconvenient for playing games online. If that were here I'd be looking for another provider.
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Re: Drakan:OOTF 2018 multiplayer match

Postby Mechanist » Mon May 07, 2018 4:31 am

As for your ISP managing the NAT that's inconvenient for playing games online. If that were here I'd be looking for another provider.
And there's the second major problem, since there's isn't much (if any) choice in this matter.
My current ISP has a de facto near-monopoly in this area. Very few ISPs would bother installing the required infrastructure for only a small percentage of potential users. Either that, or there would be a significant installation cost tacked on. They only care about quantity, not quality.

Then there's also the matter of price. Internet access in Poland has historically been relatively expensive since day one (actually, ludicrously expensive as recently as 2 decades ago!); this trend has been changing for the better in the recent years, especially in terms of the cheapest option available - but there's still a noticeably worse performance/price ratio than in the western Europe, for example.

Finally, AFAIK, all the cost-competitive ISPs in my area use some forms of NAT, due to the limited IPv4 address space, and the inadequate public address pools they are assigned as a result.
There's only one that I know of which assigns every single user a real, public address; but their service is crap, and the pricing isn't much better.
IPv6 was created specifically to obviate the need for such bandaids in the first place - but at this rate it looks like it's gonna be at least a few years before that can make a real difference throughout.

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Re: Drakan:OOTF 2018 multiplayer match

Postby yangez93 » Mon May 07, 2018 10:09 am

Very nice initiative :) When it'll be possible I can also record some matches :)

1. I'm of course eager to play. I always wanted to play Drakan with someone. So I'm in :)

2. I have different working time. For example 10 AM to 9 PM (even Saturdays and Sundays). When it'll be exact date it may happen that I cannot join because of my work :( It's best to play regularly, this will help avoid potential complications. And we will be sure that everyone will play at least 1 match :)

3. I think VPN can be nice idea. We should try. And of course before organizing matches, we should make some test matches.

5. We should try every map and game mode. This is the best idea to making this exciting multiplayer match :) And better for you Let's play. Maybe we can make some special maps in Level Editor to this event? :)

6. Balanced teams :)

7.The best software that include push-to-talk. In Skype is little bit complicated to make this feature, I prefer Mumble or Teamspeak, and these softwares are designed to multiplayer matches.

9. When every player will have edited Drakan files that will make this little bit complicated, because of "Diffrent version" and can cause multiple bugs, when I tried with my brother I had to delete Drakan and reinstall without patch. I think everyone should have the same version AiO Patch.
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Re: Drakan:OOTF 2018 multiplayer match

Postby Arokhs Twin » Mon May 07, 2018 11:32 am

Alrighty, I'll set up a test server next weekend and see how it works with a direct connection. As for Discord, the invite link to my server is https://discord.gg/YbNzV8 - this will expire after 24 hours. I don't always have my headphones plugged in so I may not answer if anyone tries talking to me. Just give me a heads up or send text chat. The app also works on smartphones as well.

Suggestions anyone for a VPN? (Hamachi has proved to work OK although limited to 5 connections)

As for ISP's in Poland, the UK wasn't much better up until a few years ago. We were well behind compared to other EU countries especially the Nordic countries. BT (British Telecom) has the monopoly over the infrastructure but it was crap using copper cable which in some places were nearly 100 years old. Crackly phone lines, could hear other people's conversations etc. That was until they got competition from cable companies and they began to loose out and now they have had to get their arse in gear and upgrade the ancient infrastructure.

Fibre broadband is being rolled out across the country; I was lucky and got this about 2 years ago albeit not much faster than standard ADSL but it's improved a lot now. Now the infrastructure which was government owned has been sold off to a private company who is doing a much better job.
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Re: Drakan:OOTF 2018 multiplayer match

Postby Mechanist » Mon May 07, 2018 4:27 pm

Ironically, for me it's the opposite case with Discord: the web app fails to connect, but the desktop app works perfectly fine!

Alrighty, I'll set up a test server next weekend and see how it works with a direct connection.
I'll try that on on my end, as well.
I can easily connect to my own server via LAN, to make sure that this ancient hardware is still up to the task. But I have no easy way of connecting to my server via the Internet.

It's best to play regularly, this will help avoid potential complications. And we will be sure that everyone will play at least 1 match :)
Ahh, let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet...
This is something that, to the best of my understanding, has never happened for years; so personally I'd go ahead and call it a very good day if we can get more than 4 people involved.
Of course if there'd be continuing interest in the MP after that, it'd be good. :)

7.The best software that include push-to-talk.
Well, Discord appears to support that just fine.

I think everyone should have the same version AiO Patch.
Which is why I think it'd be best (and safest) for all participants to be using UCyborg's repack - it works well, is up-to-date, doesn't require installing (only unpacking), and is essentially ready-to-play as it is.

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Re: Drakan:OOTF 2018 multiplayer match

Postby Arokhs Twin » Sat May 12, 2018 2:14 pm

OK all, me and Mechanist have been testing a server with me as the host and it worked well with a direct connection. I've let the steam group members know. Here's what I put:-

OK so we have a couple of dates which are 17th of June & the 8th of July 2018. I have been experimenting with hosting a server and have been able to play online with other players.

Here is what you will need:-

The latest AIO patch or gold repack enhanced (recommended) which is discussed at length with download links on Arokh's Lair forums here https://arokhslair.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3765

This must be installed or the game will either not work or even if it does you will get an error saying your files do not match the server. I will try and host a dedicated server on IP 212.169.37.181 so you will need to add this to your server list by selecting join game and entering the IP above.

The server will be running from time to time before these dates as I experiment with different settings. With the AIO patch Hamachi etc should not be required but can fall back on this if we have problems. Feel free to try and connect to my server (if running) and post here if it works out or not. This will give us some ideas on how to fix them if possible.


Update: three of us played for around 2 hours with no crashes or any other issues. We can confirm that multiplayer is stable on Windows 10 systems as long as patches are applied. Either the repack or AIO patch. I will make the repack available on this site in case people have difficulty downloading it from the shared Google Drive. This is https://www.arokhslair.net/downloads/Dr ... nhanced.7z
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Re: Drakan:OOTF 2018 multiplayer match

Postby Mechanist » Sun May 13, 2018 9:57 am

All right, I've updated the OP with the recent stuff.

Also, some good news - I think I've figured out what caused at least some of the audio recording quality problems which I have encountered yesterday.
It turns out that the controls in Equalizer APO are kinda "sticky", and sometimes they simply fail to register when operated for the first time after a restart. There's an easy fix for that, though: just make sure to always cycle each control on/off once before changing its state "for real", and it seems to work properly then.
I have updated my recording checklist accordingly, to account for that issue.

Now for some less great news: while I have managed to successfully salvage almost all of the video data (~50 mins) from that recording corrupted by the BSOD, the audio is totally messed up for some reason - only the first few minutes have survived at all, and with heavy corruption to boot. Recover_mp4 can't seem to handle this, nor any of the other utilities I've tried. It seems to be caused by the AAC audio track missing its footer, which apparently should contain some crucial metadata.

However, I also have about 5+20 minutes of intact footage from when I have twice enabled (and then disabled) recording earlier on.
But the audio is still a bit screwy in those: serious clipping is evident at some points (especially with close-up explosion sounds), and sometimes it just cuts out completely for a second or two, seemingly at random.
Needless to say, none of that was actually happening while playing; it's obviously a recording issue of some sort.
I think it might be caused by the Equalizer APO having a priority of less than "Realtime" assigned; I'll check that next.

So I'll be doing some longer (>15 mins) test recordings in singleplayer mode, in the upcoming days, to weed out these problems ASAP.
Also, I might try the recording feature in MSI Afterburner instead of ReLive, and see if that works any better overall.

For now, I'll "edit" the surviving footage together, and upload it to YT in a couple of days - despite the severe audio quality issues, and the inherently disjoint nature of these videos. I'll post a link to it when I'm done.
Later on, when we will have some better quality recordings, I can always remove this. I mean, technically, it was just a server test... and because of that, I wasn't properly prepared for recording.

EDIT: apparently my ISP can set up port forwarding on their NAT at no extra charge. I'll inquire into that possibility, since it would allow me to run a dedicated server via a direct connection.

Update: three of us played for around 2 hours with no crashes or any other issues.
Well, I did suffer a random graphics driver BSOD near the very end. First time I got that particular error on this machine, too.
It could've been because I wedged myself in a narrow corner of the level geometry, though - likely making the game try to render some invalid out-of-bounds data, which then crashed the graphics driver.
I think we also had 1 or 2 weird CTDs near the start, as well.
It's a nearly 20 year old game, and we're running it on far newer and more powerful hardware, so it's not unreasonable that a random crash can sometimes happen.

Either the repack or AIO patch.
Personally I'd recommend the repack, extracted to an empty folder if possible - because there have been some changes to file and directory names in the most recent AiO patch version: so merely applying the newest AiO patch (or extracting the repack) on top of an older version of itself will mess things up, and create a bunch of duplicate entries in the level list!

Just to reiterate: it's absolutely critical that everyone uses the exact same version as the game server is running - otherwise they won't be able to connect at all! (on attempting to connect, it returns an error about the game data files not being the same)

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Re: Drakan:OOTF 2018 multiplayer match

Postby Arokhs Twin » Sun May 13, 2018 11:33 am

Right then for the discord link please PM me or Mechanist so you can join the group voice chat. I don't want to give it out publicly at this time; this will be done nearer the time.
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Re: Drakan:OOTF 2018 multiplayer match

Postby Mechanist » Sun May 13, 2018 7:22 pm

All right, some more good news: :D
  • We've tested AT's dedicated server today - and that worked fine, too.
  • Also tested the Discord voice chat, and my own mike. So far, so good. I think I'll tweak the EQ on my mike a bit more, though - it's OK, but not quite good at this point yet.
  • I've mostly resolved the audio recording quality issues; now I only need to implement some quality-of-life improvements for my own convenience.
  • It turned out that GoldWave is not a suitable audio recording application for this purpose, as it massively hogs the CPU :!:, causing huge lag and stuttering. I'll be experimenting with other programs soon.
I even have a fully serviceable recording to show for our efforts. :mrgreen:
1080p @ 60fps with HD quality; about 40 minutes of it.

The only major snag is that my own voice didn't get recorded - since GoldWave was making the game unplayable, so I had to stop it; I'll add subtitles to the video to make up for that.
Also, there's another minor problem with it - for the same reason as above, the voice chat couldn't be recorded separately from the game audio.

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Re: Drakan:OOTF 2018 multiplayer match

Postby UCyborg » Sun May 13, 2018 10:59 pm

I will try and host a dedicated server on IP 212.169.37.181 so you will need to add this to your server list by selecting join game and entering the IP above.

There was no need to add it. It was successfully registered with master server and the game could get its IP by itself.
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