Elite Dangerous Odyssey links server woes to Fleet Carriers, promises to improve performance and map out an update plan

    
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Frontier Developments’ CEO David Braben has once more taken to the forums of Elite: Dangerous to address the community regarding the ongoing problems with the Odyssey expansion.

Braben first opened up with an explanation on what was causing the game’s servers to fail at the beginning of Odyssey’s arrival, pointing to the way Fleet Carriers operate as a source of the problems: Fleet Carriers exist in both Odyssey and Horizons servers, and when they jumped and brought other players in tow, it caused “significant amounts of data” to transfer between servers unnecessarily. As readers will note, Fleet Carriers have since been fixed and Braben notes that server disconnects are “greatly reduced” in spite of record concurrency numbers.

As for the matter of performance, Braben explains that the team is working on the problem but also notes that this is a far larger challenge to tackle and so “may take a little longer to resolve.” Incidentally, performance problems on high-end machines are possibly CPU-related, but Braben promises that the devs will get to the bottom of it all with the help of the community.

Further communication on how FDev will attack Odyssey’s problems will come by way of a roadmap set to arrive on June 4th, which will include some details on specific improvements. In the meantime, Braben once more apologized for the expansion’s issues, asked for patience from the community, and tried to offer some perspective on what Elite is attempting with Odyssey. “This is not a static arena shooter where all the players join at the start, but where players are continually joining, leaving, travelling between servers alone and in groups, and so many other things,” Braben writes. “It is a real shame this incredible achievement is somewhat overshadowed by the issues we have been seeing.”

source: official forums, thanks to Stuart for the tip!
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neonspark

well, well, well. David Braben talked about on foot fps and ship interiors back in 2012 as being in the plans…and it has been 9 years in development and this half baked, full priced alpha expansion is all he’s got to show for. Let me just say that he makes Chris Roberts look good in comparison. At least the latter has the common decency to call his half baked game an alpha. Meanwhile, Frontier has yet to fix the massive problems with the base game: shallow gameplay, endless pointless grind, repetitive game loops, 2015 graphics, planetary tech that looks like copy and paste from a last decade simulator. Say nothing of the fact engineers completely broke any sense of balance…and to top the cake, networking that is based on p2p tech making it a horrible mess of desync and instancing. Their multi-crew is the industry’s standard for “gone horribly wrong” and remains in an utter broken state with no roadmap or vision of when, or if it will ever be fixed. They just ignored it like it didn’t exist…much like most of their gameplay loops that are plagued by problems of earnings balance, diversity of gameplay, and lack of depth.

Elite problems are well known and the fanbase has been vocal with frontier. yet they ignore every attempt from players to engage and instead plow ahead following whatever “the other” games are doing in an attempt to drive player adoption which is the only metric they care about. Their FPS tech demo, being their latest attempt to “widen the net” and they did not really stop to think how, or if they should do this while everything else is in such sorry, neglected, dysfunctional state.

Elite isn’t a a half baked disaster because of the Odyssey tech demo fps expansion. Elite has been a mess for years and failed to deliver less than its rivals while promising the moon after taking just as long.

At this point Frontier should put the game in maintenance mode. Fix whatever they can, and either move to Elite 2 with a completely new game engine and focus, or re-focus this dumpster fire of a game into something that isn’t trying to be Star Citizen-No Man’s Sky-Infinity Battlescape-X4 all in one game. They cannot match either not even half way let alone match all at once.

Let’s hope that all this fallout will cause the much needed leadership re-org and put David Braben in line and have him fix this mess of a game. There is a reason it remains a niche title: miles wide. Inches deep.

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Greaterdivinity

Yeah, but did it save their quarterly report for the quarter ending on May 31? I guess we’ll find out next week! But oh joy, a roadmap to fix an expansion that the development team was probably begging for more time on and is pissed they have to fix in live conditions now.

Because it sure seems like Braben and management forced this game out of the door way too early to make the quarterly report, so it’d be a shame if it doesn’t give them a win with investors and just ended up pissing off their fanbase and being a big PR black eye.

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Ok_Chip261

That quarterly report is probably less of a concern to Braben than the £80m that unhappy investors have wiped off Frontier’s company value following Odyssey launch. His mealy mouthed non-apology isn’t written for the customers he’s ripped off. Obviously very few ED players are going to fall for it. It’s written to con his investors into thinking customers will mistake it for a promises to fix the game and hold back on refunding Odyssey until his financial period closes…. which coincidentally is almost exactly the day the two-week Steam refund window closes.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

I kind of wish people were less tolerant of this kind of thing. It would stop this kind of nonsense dead if people would *actually* refund their pre-orders instead of “toughing it out” or whatever it is they think they’re doing. Part of the reason companies keep trying this nonsense is because they keep *getting away with it.*

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styopa

Fleet Carriers were, as I understand, a kludge. Because of the capabilities that they wanted to implement in them (repair, shops, etc) they couldn’t just be “ships” but had to be “stations”. Well, stations don’t move, so again, my limited understanding FCs may look like ships but the game treats them as stations thus with the (deprecated, or only for a short time) moving-only-on-server-tick silliness – essentially they either manually or patchwise moved the FC/stations around.

Not surprising that this bit them in the ass. Feels very, very Rube Goldberg.

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neonspark

Their engine is too potato to have things with entities inside move freely and maneuver like normal ships would. We see these shortcuts always taken by frontier: Their tech is wonky with fade to black transitions, jerky transitions from super cruise into a location, and then a jerk transition to glyde mode. All engine trickery to get around the fact that they didn’t build it on a foundation that would deliver what they are promising.

Rialto
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Rialto

Can anyone shed some light on why the hell they didn’t delay the release of Odyssey? I’d seen people say for weeks, maybe months before launch that it wasn’t ready to come out so soon and they seemed to essentially be jumping straight from alpha testing to launch, and sure enough that seems to be exactly what happened, but why? I haven’t seen a major release like this pushed out when the playerbase almost unanimously says it’s not ready yet in a long time.

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Vanquesse V

Not a single person employed by Frontier could have had any doubt that Odyssey wasn’t ready.
Several very common game breaking and/or progression breaking bugs and some of the worst performance degradation I’ve ever seen in a retail game.
On top of that on-foot combat balance is really uneven and some progression steps are incredibly overtuned.
Support is getting swamped and today I talked to someone who has been unable to play 4 days running still waiting for a ticket response.
Last week support wait times was 2 days, now it’s listed as 7.

It suck, because when the expansion works it’s incredibly fun.

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styopa

Fdev insisted after the public tests that what the public was seeing was a version forked from development months before, released to test some specific stuff.

Of course, logically, that doesn’t make a lot of sense – the ongoing development vs forked would suggest (as long as they were working on SYSTEMS, which they clearly were in the meanwhile, and not just adding textures/artwork/fluff in those months) that the two codes would diverge pretty significantly.

Up to you to assign whether that was a deliberate, informed choice or incompetence.

Considering the pretty HUGE issues, to say nothing of the very bait-and-switch flavor of the many previews, alleged-gameplay-videos, etc for me it’s hard to sustain ‘benefit of the doubt’ status for the devs.

Was Frontier in some financial straits that required “getting it out the door”? Braben IS the management, so it’s disingenuous (as I saw in another thread) to play the ‘it’s not the devs, it’s that greedy management!’ class-warfare card.

They were already implementing major features:
– atmospheric landing
– walking in stations and on planets
That’s a BIG UPDATE already.

…not sure why they had to stretch so hard and try to implement FPS gameplay that isn’t a doddle to program in the first place (look at the graveyard of fps-clones that litter the wayside over the last 20 years!), and then implement it in Elite where you have a clutch of critical variables that other shooters don’t even slightly have to consider:
– gravity
– atmospheric composition, density, transparency, flammability (!), corrosiveness
– scale issues (it’s not ground breaking but it’s a HARD problem to solve resolving the TECHNICAL differences of representing the scales of FPS shooters and flying vehicle combat, to say nothing of balance issues for same.)

Seems like a major stretch goal all on its own that it was foolish to try to shoehorn in – everything suffered for it.

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Ok_Chip261

Fdev insisted after the public tests that what the public was seeing was a version forked from development months before, released to test some specific stuff.

Remember they said that only *after* the alpha started and testers begun expressing extreme alarm at its major problems.

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styopa

Good point. I’d assumed it was an honest point but you are correct.
I’m…I’m astonished at my lack of cynicism.

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Ok_Chip261

Can anyone shed some light on why the hell they didn’t delay the release of Odyssey?

They had to release it before May 31st to legally claim the pre-order sales revenue in this fiscal year, and to stand any chance of meeting the sky-high sales target advertised to investors in their March stock sales brochure. That target was an incredible 365,000 copies and £10.5m.

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neonspark

Because Frontier doesn’t get its funding from fans. The days of kickstart when fans controlled the cashflow are long gone. They answer to wallstreet now.