Gameplay Capture of XDefiant’s Next Test Will be Allowed, Says Ubisoft
Ubisoft has announced that players will be able to stream and upload gameplay of the next XDefiant playtests when they are available. Taking to Reddit, Executive Producer Mark Rubin said that the next round of tests will have “No NDA, Streaming/Capture allowed, World Wide, Exclusive Rewards, and soon [referring to when the tests will be]”.
In addition to the news, Ubisoft also answered some of the biggest questions that surfaced following the last playtests.
Q. At the start of the test there was an issue where players were unable to connect immediately. What happened there and how did it impact the test?
A. It was quite a “fun start” to the Session, for the servers not to be working there for the few minutes. The team was able to quickly identify and resolve the issue, which is what got people going into matches after the initial delay. However, once it was fixed the servers were flooded with players wanting to be matched. The flooding caused the server to try and make matches as fast as it could. This effect caused some residual issues on matches for the first day, where matches were hosted on servers that came up first and not necessarily what was best for geolocation.
For our next test, the issue should be resolved, and we learned a lot from the experience overall that will us improve deployment in the future.
– Erik, Online Technical Director
Q. We also know that the hit registration is immensely important when it comes to competitive first-person shooters. One of our public known issues is about the desync issues and how it impacts hit registration. What does the future look like for this topic?
A. We know “hit registration”, “lag”, and “dying behind cover” have been very important topics during Insider Sessions for our players. Competitive shooters live by the second- where low latency and synchronization are important to a great experience.
In Insider Sessions so far, including the Cross-Play Session, we’ve been using an incomplete version of our net code to help test and get feedback from players. While these tests were underway, we’ve been actively working on an improved system that is now almost ready for the public.
Latency & Hit Registration
Our upcoming improved system has some key changes:
We made several changes to reduce internal latency. This will reduce peeker’s advantage.
We also made changes to improve the accuracy of the server and replica simulation. This will improve hit registration and fairness.
These two changes, reduced internal latency and increased synchronization, will make hit registration better and vastly alleviate the feeling of dying behind walls or cover.
*Keep in mind also that some latency during the Insider Sessions Cross-play was due to the server issues we had at the start of the test which cause strong lag. As mentioned in its question, this also has been resolved.
We’re also improving how our Netcode handles information:
Our new system will be running at 60hz tick rate
Improved handling of information at a sub-tick level
Processing player actions in time order within the server frame
When it comes to tick rate, we are already tracking when a player shoots and jumps at sub-tick level. Due to this extra timing information your shot can end up in an earlier server frame than it would have in a traditional frame-based system. In our next update we plan to further improve this by processing player shots in time order within the server frames to refine who won the draw.
The work is complete from a development perspective and is now undergoing reliability testing and refinement. We have not seen major issues with it, but we want to take time and make sure we get this right. Due to this, it won’t be in the next test you get to play as we finish its QA (Quality Assurance) pass. However, the release of the new version will be ready soon after. Thank you for everyone’s patience on this. The quality of experience we can provide is our priority on XDefiant, and so, networking is something we’ll always make continual improvements on.
– Brendan, Principal Gameplay Engineer
Q. We saw some technical crashes on Xbox that we communicated about on Twitter. We were unable to resolve it during the test, but what is the current progress of this issue?
A. We were really bummed that we couldn’t get the Xbox issues corrected during the ISC. It turned out to be a somewhat silly but tricky issue to track down.
We had a crash before the test went live, but it seemed it wasn’t happening on DevKits (development version of consoles). It was only happening on Retail kits (normal versions of a console) that had played an earlier version of the build. So, if those players made new accounts then they wouldn’t get the crash.
We thought that crash was fine to worry about later because no one who would be playing in the ISC would have ever played a previous build. Well, it turns out that what we thought was the problem wasn’t actually the problem even though testing reinforced that theory.
The actual issue was that it had to do with the number of friends you had in your friend list. Specifically, with downloading all the player icons from Xbox Live. The reason we weren’t getting this crash on DevKits (which would have told us exactly what the issue was) was that our devkits didn’t have enough friends on them to cause the crash. For the next test we will have a band-aid fix that just stops the game from downloading the player icons, but we will have that actually fixed once the game goes live.
– Mark, Executive Producer
Q. One issue we saw reported during the ISC was that cross-platform party invites was not working during ISC. What improvements can we hope for in the next test?
A. We really wanted players to have the ability to party up together no matter their platform of choice for the last Insider Session, and not having this feature which is so critical to a game like XDefiant was a real blow for us. When the cause was being originally investigated during the session it was estimated that it was likely how it was configured in the backend that was preventing the connections from happening. An ‘easy’ fix we thought but as a team we decided it was just too risky to try and fix while the game was live for everyone.
That decision really paid off in the end. That fix that we thought would be easy ended up being pretty complicated to fix and took quite a many teams to work on to resolve. For the next test ahead, even though there might be some cases of notification inconsistencies, you should be able to create parties across platforms, and we hope you do!
– CeeCee, Live Operation Associate Director
Q. Another large topic was how the controller experience felt and how aim assist impacted it. What is the team’s thoughts on both controller settings and aim assist coming out of the Cross-Play Insider Session
A. We received a ton of great feedback regarding controller gameplay. A top priority for us is making sure that entire experience is seamless across all platforms. Our focus is being on par with what you’d expect from any other AAA FPS. We want our default settings to feel completely natural to first time users, but also have the needed settings to allow for complete customization so any player could narrow in on their specific preferences. We’ve recently made some improvements and it will remain a top priority as we get closer to launch.
As for aim assist, this will always be a divisive topic. Where we do intend to have preferred input-based matchmaking, we still want this experience to feel fair for all players, on all platforms. We want to avoid making aim assist too strong, but we are actively trying to find that sweet spot. We’ve made some adjustments to address some of the feedback and bugs from IS Crossplay and we won’t stop there. We reviewed feedback very closely around this topic and will do so again during the next test so please keep it coming!
– Pat, Systems Designer
Q. Our community loves talking about the different factions, and it may come as no surprise, that the community thought Libertad was a dominant force during the ISC. How do we feel about Libertad during the test, and what do we see coming down the road for the faction?
A. During ISC a lot of players provided feedback on the Libertad faction being too strong. It was also confirmed by the data we gathered in that same session. As a result, we implemented changes on the two features we think were causing this balance issue.
Fixing the passive healing trait During the Insider Session Cross-play, the passive healing trait was not working as intended and overall was giving an extra boost to the faction. We are currently addressing the issues with it, and in the next test players can expect an updated version.
Nerfing Biovida Boost (most used Libertad ability) as described below.
Instant health boost to 120 health (for you and teammates in range)
Constant healing over time
10 seconds duration
Instant health boost to 120 health (for you and teammates in range)
No healing over time
4 seconds duration
Those changes should make it more of a smoother and balanced experience across the factions.
Faction balancing will be an ongoing effort for our team.
We’ll always pay attention to player feedback and combine it with data in order to maintain the best balance possible on existing factions and adapt while introducing new factions in the future.