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Development update - Week 11

This week's development update involves our private network in more detail.


Setting up a proper network infrastructure is more important than ever. This is because of changes that have been going on in the private scene for a while now. Now-a-days it is not the quality servers keep their players but it are the ones who have a solid network that is not easily taken down. With this post I want to explain to you in as much detail as I can about our private network. I will have to be vague and skip many things to protect the integrity of our network.


We from L2Sublimity put emphasis on quality with everything that we do because we know that through quality players find entertainment. And through your entertainment we find satisfaction. Quality is important to us but there are some problems when trying to supply the quality that we want to supply. I'll tell you all about it. We'll start with the goals of the network that we've set. I'll then tell you all about the problems so far and how we'll solve them. I'll then tell you how it works. And to end it I'll tell you how we'll capture latency results and what we will do with it. Starting with the goals of our private network:


Our goals

We've set three simple goals:

1. Must be available at all times (even when under attack).

2. Must provide the lowest latency possible.

3. Must be within our budget.


The problems

Unfortunately there are some problems. With higher standards come bigger problems. Fortunately we're able to provide a stable private network with good pings at a relatively low cost.


"GREAT! This means we've reached our goals!".


Uuhm.. yes... and no.


Yes because we've simply reached all the goals we've set. A stable network that can withstand DDOS attacks, low ping and coming with relatively low costs. No because we always strife for the best of the best. If I see that the ping between our server and Brazil is 100ms which costs us 100$ per month or another server where the ping between our server and Brazil is 90ms which costs us 250$ per month - we'll go for the 250$ server any day. We've never been money driven. Money is a thing that helps us in providing the best quality to you guys.


After calculating howmuch the quality network that we WANT to have costs - we decided that it would have to be postponed to the future when donations start coming in. It is by far the biggest pricetag we've ever had on our network. Mitigating to a new network will take us roughly an hour so when the time comes that we can move to the network we want - we'll do it with an hour of downtime outside of peak hours.


How does it work?

Before I can tell you how it works. I will have to explain the basics of the internet to you.


Communication through the internet goes through cables. When you send data over the internet - it doesnt reach the destination in one go. It goes through multiple stations called "hops". For example lets say I live in I Milan, Italy. When I send something to New York, United States, it will go through several hops:


1. Source: My home in Milan

2. My ISP

3. Switserland

4. West France

5. Somewhere in the middle of France

6. Paris, France

7. East France

8. Destination: New York, United States


This is the "route" your data takes from your home to New York.


What we do on our private network is the following: We want you to be on our private network as soon as possible. We do this by placing gateway servers all around the world. What we want is to get you on one of the gateways as soon as possible. Why? Because our gateways take the BEST route towards our server so if you live in Italy, Milan, and lets say our main servers will be in New York,  it would become like this:


1. Source: My home in Milan.

2. My ISP

3. L2Sublimity Milan Gateway

4. L2Sublimity Paris Gateway

5. Destination: L2Sublimity New York.


Using the L2Sublimity Milan gateway reduced the amount of hops from 8 to 5. On top of that, the gateways are on a high quality, high speed network. Data can travel at a much faster rate than through your regular route and your data has a much high priority. These factors play a big role in connectivity and latency and this is how we will achieve a lower ping for our players.


Now that I have explained it to you. Let me explain to you how nPlay is involved in all of this.



nPlay is one of the best things the private server scene has yet to see. nPlay is more than a simple updater or launcher. nPlay plays a huge role and acts like a hub that is served BEFORE our game clients (yes clients because the public beta client will also be hosted through it). nPlay automates and measures many things for all of us.


When you start Diamond through nPlay, nPlay measures which gateway will result in the best ping towards the server for you. This depends -mostly- on where you live, but other factors like; bad hops or bad routing certainly play a role in this calculation. After measuring the ping is then displayed in the bottom-left corner of the game's login screen.




Since nPlay detected that a direct connection is most suitable for me - it means that any of the nearby Gateways do not improve my ping and using a connection straight towards the game server is the best option for me. If you make use of a gateway, it will indicate which Gateway you're using and what your ping is. It'll look like something like this:




This makes use of the Gateway in Caracas (Venezuela). Players from Venezuela will see a ping of roughly 90 via Caracas. Because of my distance between Caracas - I am able to get 165.


nPlay displays what gateway you're making use of and indicates how well the connectivity is between a scale of 1 to 4 bars.


Through our administration system we can easily keep track on our gateways and how they perform. This is vital to ensure that we're serving proper quality:




Everything is connected and automated: deploying/removing gateways happen with a single click. The best gateway is measured automatically for you. New gateway locations can easily be added as long as we see that it actually results in an improvement of the connectivity, which is not always the case.


Something we add importance to is measuring. In the past we've always ASSUMED quality. Our new approach is to measure things as much as possible. We measure the average response times of support tickets, the fastest and longest response times. With these measurements we're able to make an objective statement about the quality we provide to the community. We use the same approach for our network. We measure the latency and make sure we store it somewhere. With this information we can draw a world map and look at what the latencies are for each country/region. With that we can make strategic decisions as to where to place gateways, where to host our main servers and measure the improvement that the gateways provide. We will definately share all this information with our community in monthly reports.




The best way to test our network is through BETA. We'll have our private network running during our BETA phase so we can get that tested aswell. Our network has to be rock solid since we all know that it is very likely that we will be attacked by people. We will focus on ensuring stability, low latency and an amazing gameplay for you guys. You guys deserve it, especially after having to wait for so long.


I will keep you guys updated every Sunday. If it gets delayed I will let you know. I am really busy lately. My final deadline for my university assignment is on the 29th of March.


Thank you for everything guys. I can't wait to get BETA going for you guys.


Take care.



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