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Respawn addresses netcode, servers, and why it’s not upgrading Apex’s tick rate soon in deep-dive blog post

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For a layman, words like “tick rate” and “netcode” can be hard to understand—so Respawn brought in the experts. Lead engineer Samy Duc explained a series of issues and common scenarios that happen to players in Apex Legends, their causes, and what the developers are doing to fix them in a 5,000-word blog post today.

In addition, Duc touched on a highly debated topic: The reason why Apex runs at a 20 Hz tick rate—and why upgrading it may not have as significant an impact as some fans think.

What Respawn has done and upcoming upgrades

Respawn has already pushed a series of tools that will increase its capacity to deal with issues, according to Duc, and there are more on the way. The Performance Metrics menu introduced in season six, for instance, is more than just a handy tool for players to monitor their frame rate and ping.

“Those numbers help you—and us—understand what you’re experiencing while playing,” Duc said. “In other words, we can translate what you’re feeling into actionable and technical information.”

Coupled with the performance menu, Respawn “began tracking key performance metrics for players and servers” as part of a push to provide its team with “personalized and targeted means of investigation.”

The studio has built upon that strategy in the most recent seasons with automated data gathering and analyzing one week at a time. “This approach has been paying off already,” according to Duc. “Week after week, we can confidently say if the health of our server fleet is better or worse.” But there’s still room for improvements.

Respawn has moved to real-time alerting in addition to the weekly report. This should help streamline the process and allow the devs to fix hardware problems and start investigating more quickly. The team will also add a unique Server ID (SID) that will make it even easier to spot the exact servers when players report an issue. Both changes should roll out during the next season, Legacy.

Server tick rate

Duc defined tick rate as “the number of simulations that the server runs per second.” The Apex community’s complaints about the 20 Hz tick rate have been a fairly common sight since the game was launched.

Duc explained that upgrading to 60 Hz does have a benefit. But “it isn’t massive,” according to him, and “it wouldn’t do anything for issues that are tied to plain old lag (like getting shot while in cover), ISP-level issues, or bugs (like with hit reg and slow-mo servers).”

According to Respawn’s calculations, a player with a 50-millisecond ping would experience a 75-millisecond delay (the full amount of the ping to receive the information, plus half of the delay to account for when the information gets to the server). This would result in a five-frame lag between players’ input and its actual impact on the game when running Apex at 60 FPS.

Using the same model to calculate a 60 Hz netcode yields a three-frame delay—just two frames less than running at 20 Hz. “So for triple the bandwidth and CPU costs, you can save two frames worth of latency in the best-case scenario,” Duc said.

Increasing bandwidth is also a factor for Respawn. “Keeping bandwidth costs low for games is much more critical than, say, for video streaming,” Duc said. Streams can buffer and download speeds can oscillate without much impact, but for games, “skipping even a couple 50ms intervals can start to feel bad”—and can be even worse when they stack.

Common issues

Duc touched on a series of common complaints by the community—from failed hit registration and slow-motion servers to packet loss and code:net. The developer discussed slow-motion servers and revealed that, despite a number of possible causes, “it’s sometimes linked to machines in the datacenter not performing as they should.” The upcoming improvements to detection, slated to roll out in Legacy, should help curb instances of that error.

Spiking latency can also be related to occurrences on Respawn’s end. “Usually, the problem has something to do with increased performance demands introduced by new features season after season,” he said.

To monitor those requirements, the studio produced a tool called RPROF file, which “is basically a view of what the server is doing during every frame.” It should help optimize new features that get added to the game over time and generally reduce latency in the long run, according to Duc.

Packet loss is a tricky issue, according to Duc. Sometimes, the issue may not lie on the players’ end or on the servers, but instead, in one of the nodes that connect the two. Detecting where the bumps lie requires tracing from both perspectives, a process that can be “extremely time consuming and slow to resolve.”

“Depending on our findings, we have to negotiate with different business partners all over the world,” according to Duc. Reducing bandwidth and implementing automation can potentially help curb the issue.

Getting killed behind cover is not uncommon in Apex and its occurrence has to do with lag compensation. Servers have to redistribute the information between players, and sometimes, two players will have significantly different ping. “To solve this, our servers have to constantly look at not only what’s happening for you and your opponent at that moment, but also what was happening from both your perspectives at the time both of you input your actions,” Duc said.

Apex has a built-in tradeoff that mitigates the advantage that low-ping players have on a skirmish. “The upside is that you can play Apex Legends and play relatively well even if you have higher than average latency,” according to Duc. “We believe we should reduce “nonsense” at every opportunity, but when we have to deal with less-than-ideal experiences, we want to do so in a way that’s equal and fair to all players.”

Lastly, Duc touched on the infamous code:net issue and its variants. The occurrence “is a generic error message that the game displays whenever your game timed out from the server,” according to Duc, and can be caused by problems on either end of the connection.

“In fact, we’ve found that some of the most serious code:net bugs (and related bugs like code:leaf, etc.) might have more to do with Respawn’s services supporting the game that may need to be investigated,” the developer said.

Although Respawn has preemptively implemented measures to mitigate the error, if you’re experiencing code:net issues, contacting EA Help is a good way to let Respawn know about the occurrence and to have it fixed. “We’ve had some success in recent weeks of addressing some of these, but we know we have more to do,” Duc said. “Report issues to us and we’ll do our best to resolve them ASAP.”

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Source: https://dotesports.com/apex-legends/news/respawn-addresses-netcode-servers-not-upgrading-apex-tick-rate-soon

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Resident Evil 2: The Board Game Discounted 32%

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Resident Evil 2: the board game is a co-operative survival horror game for 1-4 players set in the Resident Evil universe.

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Source: https://dotesports.com/deal/news/resident-evil-2-the-board-game-discounted-32

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New Cyberdark Trap Card, more reprints announced for Cyber Style Yu-Gi-Oh! OCG Structure Deck

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The Cyber Style Structure Deck is releasing in just over a week in the Yu-Gi-Oh! OCG, and Konami has revealed additional reprints and another new card that will be included inside. 

The new card is a Cyberdark Continuous Trap called Cyberdark Invasion, which has two useful effects. 

Image via Konami

Once per turn you can target one Cyberdark Effect Monster you control and equip one Dragon or Machine monster from either Graveyard to it as an Equip Spell. Not only does that open up your ability to access your opponent’s graveyard, but it also gives your Cyberdark Monster an additional 1,000 attack points. 

The second effect allows you to send one Equip Card you control that is equipped to a Machine monster to the graveyard and then destroy one card your opponent controls. This is not a targeting effect and each effect of Cyberdark Invasion can only be used once per turn. 

Additionally, the next wave of reprints that will be included in the Structure Deck have been announced. 

Some, like Cyber Emergency and Cyber Repair Plant, are key in Cyber-themed decks, but others like Future Fusion are a little dated and will be replaced by more meta-relevant options once players get the Structure Deck. Here are all of those confirmed reprints. 

  • Cyber Repair Plant
  • Cyber Emergency
  • Cyberdark Inferno
  • Future Fusion
  • Cybernetic Revolution
  • Power Wall
  • Chimeratech Overdragon
  • Cyberdarkness Dragon

The Cyber Style Structure Deck releases for the OCG on May 15.

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Source: https://dotesports.com/yu-gi-oh/news/new-cyberdark-trap-card-more-reprints-announced-for-cyber-style-yu-gi-oh-ocg-structure-deck

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TSM streamer Mayumi shares ‘disturbing’ texts from doorman who obtained her private info via apartment registry

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TSM content creator and popular Twitch streamer Mayumi said she received a series of “disturbing” texts from a doorman at her apartment complex after he obtained her number through the building’s registry and continued to contact her after she asked him to delete her number.

In a post to Twitter earlier today, the streamer shared screenshots of text exchanges between her and the doorman, who initially approached her under the guise of simply welcoming her to the building. He later disclosed that he had obtained her contact information because she “seemed nice and charismatic” and wanted to get to know her. She then asked him to delete his number, but he would later continue to text her.

After receiving the initial texts, Mayumi tweeted a screenshot of the texts that included the doorman’s first name and photo, informing her followers of the situation. She continued to received messages from the doorman, who revealed he followed her streams and had seen her post on Twitter. She later erased the post after he asked her to but said the situation led her to feel unsafe.

“After all, anyone who knew where he worked would know where I live, and he had my private number that could have been easily leaked (though the number itself is a minor issue because I can change it, but that guy knows where I live),” Mayumi wrote. “Especially now, that a nearby apartment was robbed, I don’t feel safe living somewhere I can be so easily found.”

Mayumi said she also contacted the landlord and informed her of the situation. She initially asked to cancel her contract out of fear the doorman would retaliate by leaking her private information. The landlord later assured her the doorman had been fired and would “[never] set foot in the building again.”

The situation is the latest in a long line of similar incidents involving female Twitch streamers. In January, prolific Twitch streamer and 100 Thieves co-owner Valkyrae said she was forced to switch her Twitter profile to private after a stalker made “hundreds of accounts for months” to harass her.

Related: 100 Thieves streamer BrookeAB reveals she has been “targeted by a handful of online stalkers and abusers”

In the same month, another popular Twitch streamer JadeyAnh received a phone call from a stalker during a broadcast. He had spoofed her father’s phone number and threatened to kill him if she didn’t expose her body on stream.

“While streaming my ‘Dad’ called me,” JadeyAnh wrote. “When I picked up, a guy demanded that I must show my boobs on stream. He said if I refuse, he will slit my dad’s throat who, according to him, was lying tied up on the floor. He kept calling me horrible things and even dropped my address in order to terrify me even more.”

One of JadeyAnh’s moderators informed the streamer they had contacted her uncle, who confirmed her father to be safe. She was then able to hang up the phone and contact the police before later reaffirming her followers of her and her father’s safety.

Mayumi began her professional League of Legends career with INTZ in August 2019 as a substitute support at age 17 and remained with the Brazilian team until May 2020. She joined TSM in January as a streamer and content creator to help better represent the Brazilian League community.

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Source: https://dotesports.com/streaming/news/tsm-streamer-mayumi-shares-disturbing-texts-from-doorman-who-obtained-her-private-info-via-apartment-registry

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The 10 best Dota 2 wallpapers

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It’s hard to pinpoint how it happens exactly, but Dota 2 has a way of becoming engrained in players’ lives, even if they stop playing. Most Dota 2 enthusiasts who believe they’re done for good often find themselves watching streams and reading patch notes regularly to get their Dota 2 fix.

Changing your phone or PC’s wallpaper to anything Dota 2 related can help you remember all the epic games you’ve played and encourage you to come back to the game. Valve releases countless in-game item sets, and almost all of them come pre-bundled with loading screens. While loading screens in other games are usually filled with tips that most players are already familiar with, Dota 2 takes it up a notch by showcasing the amazing artwork of Workshop artists.

These loading screens are the perfect wallpapers due to the sheer amount of work and love that go into their creation. You can snag these wallpapers in the Community Market or download them via the Dota 2 Fandom/Gamepedia.

Here are the best Dota 2 wallpapers you can use to decorate your essentials.

Shadows of the Wuxia – Image via Valve

The temple couldn’t protect itself, and that’s why the Templar Assassin is here. Regardless of the meta, there will always be a Templar Assassin player in the queue just because she’s one of the most rewarding heroes to play in Dota 2. The mysterious voice lines, pink color scheme, and mystical vibe empower whoever is playing her. This wallpaper captures the mystique of the Templar Assassin.

Shadows of the Wuxia changes the hero’s overall appearance due to the relatively large hat, but this shot of the Templar in front of a cherry blossom tree is magical. It exemplifies how refined Dota 2 is in terms of all the artwork and the in-game atmosphere.

Three Heroes – Image via Valve

Not all wallpapers have to be serious. While the general art style surrounding Dota 2 is what makes the game unique, the world would be a lot duller without alternative takes.

The Three Heroes loading screen features Axe, Juggernaut, and Crystal Maiden. This wallpaper’s chibi vibe doesn’t take away anything from the heroes’ core characteristics. The fact that all three of these heroes synergize well with each other may help you remember some of the sickest ganks you pulled off with your teammates.

It’s hard to dismiss Axe’s cranky face in this wallpaper. Considering both Juggernaut and Axe work great as duos when paired up with Crystal Maiden, it looks like there could be some jealousy going on here. It’s just one fan’s imagination taking off, though.

Old school Dota Loading Screen – Image via Valve

Each competitive title is destined to attract more players over the years, and Dota 2 is no exception. New players feed the Dota 2 flame to burn brighter, but decades of legacy player dedication initially fueled its flame. 

It’s never a bad thing to get a blast from the past, and the original loading screen of Dota is a great way to experience the old days. The original loading screen is filled with the entire cast of patches 6.69 and 6.69c. Even if you never played Dota before you started playing Dota 2, you can challenge yourself to guess the past versions of your favorite heroes.

Start with Riki in the middle, Tiny in the top right corner, and enjoy the game’s rich history.

Let’s Race – Image via Valve

Another chibi-ish entry that’s adored by many Dota 2 fans is the Let’s Race loading screen. It’s also one of the more expensive loading screens in the game, but you can’t put a price on art.

This cute wallpaper features a total of four carries, three supports, and a single semi-support. While almost all the hero combinations work exceptionally well with each other, Tidehunter and Kunkka steal the show. 

Kunkka and Tidehunter are mortal enemies, and both use every opportunity to take each other down. It looks like Tidehunter’s hate for Kunkka triumphs over his desire to win the race in this case since he’s opening his mouth to take a bite out of Kunkka.

It’s hard to say who’d win this race, but Earthshaker and Juggernaut can secure first place with a well-placed fissure. Crystal Maiden and Tusk can certainly give them a run for their money, though.

Fall 2016 Battle Pass Loading Screen III – Image via Valve –

Have you ever stared at a mythical structure and felt goosebumps? That’s what’s happening to Anti-Mage in this wallpaper. 

You may know him as the guy who hates magic, but he has his reasons. Magic brought the end of his monastery, and he’s out to avenge it. While there aren’t any lore pieces attached to this loading screen, we’d like to imagine Anti-Mage standing in front of his fallen monastery, or at least the dream of when it stood proud.

Quake and Fissure – Image via Valve

Every Dota 2 character has a certain style that makes them special. Earthshaker is one of the most charismatic characters in the game, thanks to his deep voice. This wallpaper captures Earthshaker’s stoic side and reminds players of all he went through. He was once an immortal being that was one with the world. It took one gigantic earthquake to wake him up from his slumber, and now he walks on the earth that he was one with for centuries.

Duskie – Image via Valve

No matter how serious a game can be in terms of lore, there’s always room for cuteness. Unlike the more serious vibe Dota 2 characters have going on, most couriers look like they’d like to have nothing to do with the eternal fight between the ancients.

Duskies have a place in Crystal Maiden’s lore as they’re from Icewrack, but they’re also used as couriers. These good boys are one of the best candidates to fetch your items from the base, and your heart will break whenever you accidentally feed them to enemies.

Eternal Seasons – Image via Valve

Characteristically speaking, each Dota 2 hero has something that they’re obsessed with, and you can probably tell what Nature’s Prophet’s deal is.

Guardian of the Eternal Seasons features Nature’s Prophet posing in front of some charming cherry blossoms, and even his creeps appear as cherry blossom saplings. The wallpaper’s color scheme has a soothing effect, but it can also irritate you if you’ve lost one too many games to backdooring Nature’s Prophet players.

Radiant Ancient – Image via Valve

Sometimes you may need to remember what you’re fighting for, and in Dota 2, it’ll be your ancient. Losing the ancient means you were bested, and taking a good look at your ancient may motivate you to work harder next time to allow it to blossom in the end.

This wallpaper features a breathtaking shot of the Radiant base with the ancient and one defending tower. Even if you’re a Dire player by heart, it’s hard not to fall in love with this kind of harmony.

The Monument – Image via Valve

Every Dota 2 player dreams about going to the International. While only a handful of fans make it there as players, millions are blessed with witnessing the most epic plays of each year from the comfort of their home or the stadiums.

No matter how long ago it was, it’s still impossible to forget the epic grand final series that Alliance and Natus Vincere had in 2013. It also gave birth to one of the best International-themed wallpapers.

Using this wallpaper can be enough to motivate yourself to become better in Dota 2 or anything you set your mind to. The Monument is a great token that makes you remember all the obstacles you’ll have gone through to take down the enemy ancient and the teammates who fought by your side. 

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Source: https://dotesports.com/dota-2/news/the-10-best-dota-2-wallpapers

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