RO2: Post Launch Interview
By Bennett Ring | Sep 27, 2011
We find out about more fixes on the way, and get a manual!
Codemasters could learn a thing or two from Tripwire Interactive
. Since launching the highly impressive Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad
a couple of weeks ago, the company has already delivered half a dozen patches that have fixed the majority of launch issues. We sat down to chat with Alan Wilson, the VP of Tripwire, to talk about more fixes on the way, and he was even kind enough to give us a first draft of the game's new manual! Read the article for more info, as well as a link to download the new manual.
Has the team been able to relax and unwind since launch, or is it still full steam ahead to fix the issues?
Alan Wilson: Mixed bag, frankly. People are both madly trying to fix the key issues and trying to catch up on some sleep and family time. GameSpy:
Where's the bloody manual or wiki?!?
Alan Wilson: You mean this manual, attached? (Click here to download the Red Orchestra 2 manual, work in progress) Laughably, we thought people were largely no longer interested in game manuals. So here is a (draft) one. We'll finish up and add it in to the Steam package before too long.
Incoming patch spotted at 100 metres sir!
What are the top three issues that you're working to fix?
Alan Wilson: Probably (not in any order of preference/priority) any issues causing crashes, making sure the server browser works right and the Stats. Need to add in performance optimization as well. But that is four things. GameSpy:
If you could put a percentage estimate on it, how much of a performance boost do you think you'll end up with once you've optimised the crap out of RO2, for both low and high end systems?
Alan Wilson: That is impossible to answer - we seem to be getting some weird performance on some hardware, even though other people, ostensibly with identical hardware, are running the game on Ultra settings. We've done a bunch of map optimization already, which we'll be rolling out soon, for example. In terms of putting a percentage estimate to it - it could take people from where they are stuttering to 10fps in one corner of a map, to running at a steady 30-40fps in the same place. Someone who is stuttering to 30fps in the same place may suddenly run at 60fps - but it is dependent on so many factors: CPU, GPU, what resolution people are trying to run... GameSpy:
The game reports quite a high ping in large games, and sometimes lag and rubber banding is prominent – is this the result of poor server hardware, issues with the game's netcode, or both? Will you be able to improve the netcode, and will this have any impact on hit registration?
Alan Wilson: We're definitely seeing cases where servers are simply over-loaded. It isn't "poor" hardware, it is just people not understanding the load the game is putting on their servers. Watch the IGN Red Orchestra 2 Video Review
"...it is just people not understanding the load the game is putting on their servers."We usually reckon that our netcode is very good, although I just know that people will argue with that, as people always do. It is more a question of optimizing the code running on the server AND on the client. We have to sort through all the reports to figure out what is what (and we really DO need people to report all the details on the forums). This is one of the "joys" of creating games for the PC versus the consoles. On the console you have a relatively limited set of target hardware configurations. On PC, it is damn near an infinite set. Trying to see through all that to find the root cause of problems can be very hard. In general, to be able to fix a problem, we need to be able to replicate it back in the office - then we can monitor it properly, find the cause and code a fix.
Any plans to remove the Lockdown system? How about the inability to spawn on squad leaders when they're in view, which seems to basically make spawning on your SL impossible?
"We're tweaking the lockdown timings..."Alan Wilson: We're tweaking the lockdown timings, so that they'll feel more appropriate on various different player counts. But we aren't planning to remove it - it is there to prevent those REALLY tedious matches where the attackers bang their heads against a well-organized defence on the same objective for 20 minutes. As for spawning on SL, your SL should remember to duck for cover from time to time so people CAN spawn on him.
Have you pinpointed the stat problems?
Alan Wilson: We're targeting a fix on that in the next few days. GameSpy:
Are you guys happy with the sales of the game? What about the community reaction?
Alan Wilson: Happy - yes. If we had sold a million off the bat, we'd have been even happier, not that we were expecting to. Community reaction - mixed bag. There are enough people jumping up and down because of bugs to upset us, for sure. Which is why people here are still balls-to-the-wall on finding and fixing. But we'll clear those issues; we've always aimed to provide strong and long-lasting support for our games and RO2 won't be any exception to that pattern. And there are thousands of people playing the game online, so we're pleased with that. I think Red Orchestra has always provided people with gameplay that they either get hooked on for years - or is too far outside their comfort zone!
Spy Guy says:
Have you tried Red Orchestra 2 since it launched? How do you rate Tripwire's post-launch support? We'd give it an A+.