Sunday, May 30, 2010

The 2.0 Discussion

I’ve been following the bnet 2.0 discussion too. I think what got it started was the teamliquid article, which again referred to As can be expected the discussion quickly became an all out flamewar. That is always fun, but I don’t really feel like I want to join in.

I just saw that had a way more balanced approach in their posting on the same subject. I think that my own position is more along those lines.

I am a software developer myself. I work on an application which delivers time critical data across the globe and I think I know a little about the challenges that you face when doing that. I also think I know something about the process you go through when you design a piece of software.

First of all: It is all about tradeoffs. I’m sure that on the list of priorities for the designers of Starcraft 2, then it looks something like this:

  1. Make a cool and fun game.
  2. Make it really hard to cheat.
  3. Ensure that games are smooth and free of lag.

While 1) can be achieved in isolation the two other items carries serious tradeoffs. For instance they have decided to route all net traffic through the servers rather than having it peer-to-peer like in Starcraft 1. This makes it easier for them to inspect the traffic and prevent tampering of data, but it also increases the potential latency by a factor of – at least – two! To counter that they probably gave up on having cross continent game play.

Just to give some numbers: The latency from Denmark to Asia is on the order of 2-300 ms. If you take a country like Singapore, that has a firewall around the entire country, that can easily add another 100ms. It varies from day to day, but imagine the worst case scenario you would have a 400 ms time of a message being send from Denmark to Singapore and back. That is obviously way too much for competitive play (and seriously annoying for casual as well).

The above considerations makes it understandable that they do not have cross realm play as a high priority, but still leaves me baffled as to why they would have not chat channels. I assume they expect a ton of players, so if the “new” chat channels were just a naive Starcraft 1-like implementation you’d probably end up in chat rooms like “Wings of Liberty US-196372”. That obviously builds no community.

We, who come from smaller countries, are in a different situation. Back in the days it was rare that there were more than 100 Danes online so we fit into about 4 chatrooms. It might be 10 to 15 when Starcraft 2 comes out. That is still small enough to give a sense of community. So I really want chat rooms back.


  1. Can't you not just setup your own chat channels?

  2. Yeah I must confess i'm a bid disappointed as well.
    If they at least made it like wc3 and sc in concerns to cross realms, even if we have to download a separate client that wouldn’t bother me to much but the fact that you have to buy a game for each region and then make a account for each region is kind of bothering me.
    And with regards to chat channels I’m quite sure they only looked at the us as you said with the usa-152358 etc and in that regards it kind of makes sense, because chat wouldn’t really ad anything excepåt unnesisary spam hehe we even had that in DNK-1 who doesent remember the alt /n/n/n/n/n spam .. But the fact that Tournements and other community events really need some kind of none disruptive communication and 100 private chat boxing poping up is pretty disruptive

  3. BattleNet really should have a chat and LAN capability... they're both important parts of any game.

  4. I played a game called Tribal Trouble( with out the name abbreviated to TT) where u can download the demo for free and if u go to multiplayer u'll see chat channels even there where it is WORLD WIDE on just a few chat channels. It was made in 2001 if I remember correctly but the devs lost most funds and can barely sustain the game at all.

    Anyways, in the game there was nice mini-chat boxes so you could choose whether to have it appear or not. There was also of course the chat rooms for discussion when you are still waiting for the game to start. It was 3D and world-wide but even in TT2 they still have that same stuff. I don't understand why SCII doesn't have it.