View Full Version : Connection Guide - (Work in Progress)

Bishop Yutani
03-10-05, 18:23
Hey all, I thought I should write a guide to help the masses figure out their lag and connection problems and hopefully correct them. There are a million and 1 ways to pinpoint the problem, if you have any additions, post them below and I'll add them to the guide with creds to you. Thanks.

So, you're having lag issues or synch problems and don't know who to blame? Follow this guide and find out where the problem lies. Please note that they are only MY observations. I put this together in case it helps anyone but they are by no means the gospel.

First off, since I often tell you what I’m experiencing, I’ll tell you about my system.
AMD 2.2 GHz processor
1 Gig Corsair XMS Pro RAM
Nvidia 6800GT Graphics
2 SATA hard drives, one with Windows XP, the other with Neocron. (amongst other things) Several gigs of free space on each.
1.5 Mbit DSL from Virginia

Check your performance
While you’re in the game, hit [ALT]+[F]. This will display a list of data at the bottom of the screen. Turn this on every time you play and keep an eye on them, especially when there are problems. Make a note of the problem and what your stats looked like when it happened. That way you can identify a trend and focus on the source.

Let’s get acquainted with these numbers.

The first number, FPS, is your Frames per Second. This is usually related to your computer hardware - things like your CPU speed, amount of RAM, and your video card. This number should be at least in the 30s at all times. If this number is lower than 30, the first thing to blame is your computer, not Neocron.

The second number, Ping, is the time, (probably in milliseconds) that it takes for a small packet of information to travel from your computer to the Neocron servers and back again. This figure is used by the internet / multiplayer community as a means to identify how slow your internet connection is. A higher ping means that the information on your screen may not be the most recent information, as the data has taken extra time to get from the Neocron server to you. That means, if you like PvP, your ping should be as low as possible, otherwise, you may be aiming at someone who has since moved from the position you’re shooting them at.

The third number, BW, is your bandwidth. The meaning of this number is kind of unknown to me, but it seems to be the amount of bandwidth the client and other internet applications are demanding from your connection. When the zone is filled with monsters and players, the number seems higher than when you’re all alone, say, in your apartment. It also seems that a lower number is better than a higher one. Mine seems to be ok whenever it’s below 300. Whenever I’ve been stuck in SYNCHRONIZING, my BW figure has been high. (Around 700 or even 1000) Other internet programs running on your computer seem to make this figure higher as well.

When this number is high, it also seems to cause lag, so I’ll be finishing all of my mission requirements and 2 minutes later I get the experience points message and the mission disappears from my log instead of instantly after I do the last required action. When this number is around 300, I don’t seem to have any lag.

The fourth set of numbers, despite the title, is the amount of ram that the Neocron client program is using – not how much is free, like the heading says. So the first number is how much ram is being used and the second is how much ram (virtual and physical) that there is available. Mine usually hovers around 300 - 400. I have 1 gigabyte of ram and another gigabyte of virtual memory, so mine says something like, 400 / 1950.

If you see the first number approaching the second number and never going down, you might be experiencing a memory leak, which is a programming error. Exit the game and start it again. That should fix the problem temporarily. I’ve seen this number spike when there are a lot of things on the screen at one time, like after killing a huge mob (10+ bodies).

If you have a small amount of memory to begin with, like 64 megs, like the minimum system requirements states, you really should look into buying some more ram. This game still has some bugs and it’s not yet at its most efficient. It will also *probably* rely more on your virtual memory, which is much slower than real ram, which will slow your game down considerably.

Internet Connection
The first cause of connection issues is with your internet connection. Do you have dialup or broadband? If you have dialup, this is your first problem. You're going to have a hard time with PvP on a dialup because a lot of people are using broadband connections now. Rumor has it that all 4 of the Neocron servers are in Germany, so expect your Ping to be very high if you’re on dialup and in the US. Verizon offers pretty decent DSL for $15 a month now for those of you in the US, check it out.

Take a bandwidth speed test and see how fast your internet connection is. This will report back a figure that should match the speed you’re paying your internet provider for. Mine reports back about 1.4 megabit, which almost matches the 1.5 megabit speed I’m supposed to be getting. http://bandwidthplace.com/speedtest/

I have very little faith in wireless internet. I have my main computer hooked into my wireless router with a CAT5 cable and a laptop in my living room using the wireless connection. I have problems constantly with my wireless connection and never any problems with my wired connection. If you’re having issues, try connecting to your wireless router with a CAT5 cable and see if that’s the cause of your problems.

Some modems connect to your computer with a USB cable. They’re designed to get older computers without a network card on the internet. Unfortunately, older computers use an earlier version of USB, which operates on a first come, first served basis. That means if you have a USB keyboard and mouse and a USB modem, they’re all competing for attention from your computer, which will not only slow your internet, but your keyboard and mouse as well. So, you might be getting fast internet into your house, but the connection between the modem and your computer is slowing it down.

Are you sharing your internet connection with anyone else? Some people like to have one wireless router for their entire building or steal the wireless connection next door. This means that you’re all competing for all of the bandwidth – it’s not sliced into even pieces for each of you. Get your own connection.

Resource Hogs
Multiplayer games need all the internet bandwidth and system resources they can get. That means that any other programs on your computer that are running in the background and using the internet connection are keeping Neocron from working as fast as it can. Before you start the game, turn off all instant messenger programs, file-sharing programs – anything that hogs the internet and doesn’t need to be running. I subscribe to Yahoo Music and when it’s OFF but still sitting in my system tray, it adds 200 extra to my BW.
Virus scanners can also be major resource hogs. Some of them have an option for “on-access scanning” which means that every file a program uses is first scanned before it is allowed to be used. This slows the game down to a crawl and uses up quite a bit of memory too. I won’t tell you to turn it off, because it’s your data that’s being protected, but I can tell you that it’s NOT running on my computer…

Graphics Options
If you’re getting low FPS, you should turn down the detail settings in-game. As a rule, know that the more detailed or higher quality the graphics, the more trouble your computer is going to have rendering them on the screen. So turning down graphics settings will make the game look less realistic, but speed up the frame rate.

Push F11 to open the options window. Try the options out both ways if you like. Again, these are just my opinions.

Use D3D T&L – Turning this on will use DirectX texturing and lighting. This figure is unclear to me – usually I see “hardware” or “software” T&L, which changes the processor of the T&L from your graphics card to your CPU respectively. I believe in this case you should keep it on for much better graphics, and only turn it off if you’re having issues with DirectX.

Sky Detail – As far as I know, only effects how good the sky graphics look. Turn it off for the fastest performance, but the least detailed sky.

Force Fog Distance – Turning this ON will cause a fog to obscure objects in the distance so your computer doesn’t have to work hard to render them. This doesn’t look as good, but will increase your FPS especially in the outzone.

Enable Object Blend – I have no idea… Anyone?

Fog Distance – This slider, in conjunction with the Force Fog Distance, will determine how far something must be to be covered with fog. Sliding it to the left will decrease the amount of distance you see before the fog, but increase your FPS

Object Blend Distance – Since I don’t know what Enable Object Blend is, I’d have a hard time describing this one. My guess is the further left you put the bar, the better the performance. Anyone know?

Object Detail – Turn this slider to the left to decrease the detail of object on your screen, but increasing your FPS.

Vegetation Detail – Turn this slider to the left to eliminate almost all vegetation. Turn it all the way up and it looks rather grassy 

Max Dynamic Lights – Turn this to the left to decrease the amount of dynamic lights, like headlights and lampposts. This will increase your FPS.

NOTE: If you like having all the detail up and only get low FPS while you’re in the outzone, just turn Vegetation all the way down. It’s a minor loss.

Hit apply when you’re finished editing any of these settings. You may have to restart the game in order for changes to take effect.

You can also turn down the graphics card settings through windows. These will affect all games and applications, but some will have a large impact on your FPS. Go to Display Properties via the Control Panel. Click on the Settings tab and then the Advanced button. Turn off things like Anti-aliasing and turn quality settings down. You’ll have to follow your instruction manual or look specifics up on the internet.

Since different internet applications communicate on different ports, people decided a good way to lock out bad programs would be block the port it communicates on. That way places like your high school could allow web traffic on port 80, but ban file sharing on port 6881 or Doom multiplayer games on port 666. The program managing the blocking of internet traffic is called a “firewall”. In your case, your firewall might be blocking a port Neocron uses by default.

What you want to do is identify what (if any) firewalls are in use. My setup has a “hardware firewall” inside my wireless router. I also run Windows XP Service Pack 2 which has a “software firewall”. You will need to open up the following ports on all of your firewalls to play Neocron. Look for “Port Forwarding” options.

TCP/IP: 7000, 8020, 8040, 12000, 13000
UDP: 6000, 6001, 5000 – 5016

If your community internet is blocking ports, you may be able to tell Neocron to use a specific port that is already opened. World Wide Web uses port 80. Try adding the line LOCALPORT = 80 in your Neocron.ini file and see if that works. Otherwise, you’ll need to talk to your provider and beg 

Every firewall controls ports and programs differently, so you may have to use google to find out how to use yours. The simplest way (and the way I did it) was to create an “exception” for the program. That means, the firewall ignores Neocron and allows it to do whatever it wants. I’m not sure if you can do that in Service Pack 1, but use the following links to find out more.

Windows XP Service Pack 1
Note: This is how to turn the entire firewall OFF. You shouldn’t do this unless you’re just trying to test things out because it will leave your vulnerable.
Control panel>Network Connections>Double-click on TCP/IP>Advanced tab>Uncheck “Protect my computer and network by limiting or preventing access to this computer from the Internet”.

Windows XP Service Pack 2

Windows 95, 98, ME

That’s all I have for now. Good Luck!