I was wondering if we could get some kind of update on the culling issues in wvw right now. What kind of progress has been made? Will we be getting a fix for it soon? Right now I’m fighting an invisible zerg in our EB keep and this is getting rather pointless seeing that I can’t see anyone but our own players.
Thank you, Grit, for posting that link. It points to a post in which I describe the culling issue in some detail and discuss a few of the issues involved with changing culling. An even more in depth explanation of what culling is can be found here https://forum-en.guildwars2.com/forum/pvp/wuvwuv/The-real-problem-here-is-invisible-enemies-Give-their-algorithms-time-to-match-servers-properly/page/4#post356817 (be sure to read both that post and the next – my description exceeded the post size limit).
As you know we’ve been working on this problem for a while but what I think we haven’t ever said before is that our goal is to remove culling completely from WvW. In order to remove culling completely we have to address three issues:
1) Bandwidth out of our servers/datacenter (traffic would increase without culling)
2) Bandwidth in to each client (traffic to each client would also increase without culling)
3) Client performance issues related to rendering (potentially) all the players on a map at once. (Note that we base our performance requirements in this case on min-spec clients. We don’t want to stop anybody being able to play the game after all.)
Until all three of those issues have been dealt with we can’t turn culling off because doing so would cause something to break or perform poorly.
Ok, now let’s talk about what progress we’ve made!
Issue #1 was the easiest to deal with because we can basically just throw money at the problem. When we first started down the road toward removing culling from WvW I took a bunch of bandwidth measurements and then went to the executives and said, essentially, “Hey, if we disable culling our network traffic will increase by X%. Are we ok with that?”. The answer I got was a clear and unambiguous “yes!” So issue #1 isn’t a problem after all.
Issue #2 is a little harder. We need to ensure that folks with a min-spec network connection won’t be overwhelmed by the data we send them and we obviously can’t just buy a better connection for all of our players. So we put our heads together and came up with a plan to reduce the bandwidth required for WvW (and Gw2 in general) as much as possible. Those changes are in testing now and will be rolled out as soon as we’re convinced that they’re solid. Assuming we’re able to get everything working the way we’d like (and I’m fairly confident that we will) then this will address issue #2.
So that leaves us with issue #3: client performance. Some time ago the WvW team acquired an engine programmer who is focused 100% on this issue (and he is being assisted by another engine programmer who isn’t officially on the WvW team). They’re working on some really fantastic optimizations and engine modifications which we hope will allow even min-spec clients to render all the players on a WvW map. We’ll be talking in more detail about the specific changes they’re making when things get just a little more nailed down, but I can say right now that I’m very impressed with the work they’ve done already.
So that’s where we are. Engine programmers are working their magic even now and we’re testing the networking changes that will be required. I believe that our goal of removing culling from WvW is achievable and I’m looking forward to the day that I can announce to you all that we’ve pulled it off!