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Method of updating/patching FFXIVFollow

#1 Jan 26 2010 at 4:57 PM Rating: Decent
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One thing that annoyed me to no end, was how long it took to log into FFXI every time a new update was rolled out.

I know someone mentioned using Steam, which I'm not familiar with, but I doubt SE would use anything other than their own proprietary system.

I've thought of an easy solution, they just need to let people download the update via a torrent file (make use of p2p downloading) up to about a week before the update is actually applied. Then when cutover from the old to the new version begins, if you already have the update downloaded, it just has to verify/validate the update, install it, and let you log in.
#2 Jan 26 2010 at 5:03 PM Rating: Decent
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Cyiode wrote:
One thing that annoyed me to no end, was how long it took to log into FFXI every time a new update was rolled out.

I know someone mentioned using Steam, which I'm not familiar with, but I doubt SE would use anything other than their own proprietary system.

I've thought of an easy solution, they just need to let people download the update via a torrent file (make use of p2p downloading) up to about a week before the update is actually applied. Then when cutover from the old to the new version begins, if you already have the update downloaded, it just has to verify/validate the update, install it, and let you log in.


But what if SE releases code early that is easily compromised. There are a lot of downsides to going with this method.

At the very least SE does need to change it up because updates were a pain...I think something that would speed up downloads is allowing more than one file at a time.
#3 Jan 26 2010 at 5:20 PM Rating: Good
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I doubt they'll use torrenting officially. I wouldn't look forward to people whining about being hacked because they didn't bother to check the hashes, anyway.

If they just streamline and optimize their update process, for PCs at least, that would be satisfactory. Getting rid of POL was already a step in the right direction. The WoW updating was typically pretty painless and fast, I'm going to assume they'll be trying something similar.
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#4 Jan 26 2010 at 5:32 PM Rating: Good
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burtonsnow wrote:

But what if SE releases code early that is easily compromised. There are a lot of downsides to going with this method.


Couldn't they just let you download an encrypted update, where the encryption key isn't release/used until the official roll out day comes around?

Kirbster wrote:
I doubt they'll use torrenting officially. I wouldn't look forward to people whining about being hacked because they didn't bother to check the hashes, anyway.


You're probably right about them not officially using torrents, but they could implement their own similar system integrated into their own client, so that at least the update can be downloaded early and possibly using P2P.

If people only download it through SE's client, then you don't have to worry about the being hacked issue as much.

Edited, Jan 26th 2010 3:32pm by Cyiode
#5 Jan 26 2010 at 5:40 PM Rating: Decent
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In WoW, I never used the official download. I always got it from mirrors.

I'm not sure how the update would work in FFXIV but hopefully they have an advanced diff system like what Chrome uses, forgot the name, but they need to get away from the those big file sizes by re-downloading entire files just because of one line of code change. Unlike browsers, MMOs receive regular updates / patches that can really benefit from such a system.

The second part is the connections. I think the only way around the slow download speed is P2P or just have a ton of servers out there.

I would think that a proprietary system is not bad if done right.
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#6 Jan 26 2010 at 5:47 PM Rating: Decent
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Cyiode wrote:
burtonsnow wrote:

But what if SE releases code early that is easily compromised. There are a lot of downsides to going with this method.


Couldn't they just let you download an encrypted update, where the encryption key isn't release/used until the official roll out day comes around?


Yes that would make it more difficult, but in my opinion the XIV community will be very technically savvy, regardless of what they do someone will open the files one way or another (whether for data mining or actual exploit hacking).

Like someone else mentioned, as long as we don't have to download a 10MB file because 1 line of the file changed we should be good on updates.
#7 Jan 26 2010 at 6:42 PM Rating: Decent
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I agree that for most updates, if SE just updates the parts of the file that change rather than downloading the entire file, it should make the updates much smaller.

When entire new areas are added, they are put in an expansion, so there shouldn't be any need to transfer huge amounts of textures/graphics.

I guess the updates being on order of 100MB was completely unnecessary on SE's part in FFXI, hopefully they will fix this for FFXIV.
#8 Jan 26 2010 at 8:13 PM Rating: Decent
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Kirbster wrote:
I doubt they'll use torrenting officially. I wouldn't look forward to people whining about being hacked because they didn't bother to check the hashes, anyway.

If they just streamline and optimize their update process, for PCs at least, that would be satisfactory. Getting rid of POL was already a step in the right direction. The WoW updating was typically pretty painless and fast, I'm going to assume they'll be trying something similar.


I'm near positive WoW uses a torrent client to download updates. I could be wrong.
#9 Jan 26 2010 at 8:29 PM Rating: Good
valid wrote:
Kirbster wrote:
I doubt they'll use torrenting officially. I wouldn't look forward to people whining about being hacked because they didn't bother to check the hashes, anyway.

If they just streamline and optimize their update process, for PCs at least, that would be satisfactory. Getting rid of POL was already a step in the right direction. The WoW updating was typically pretty painless and fast, I'm going to assume they'll be trying something similar.


I'm near positive WoW uses a torrent client to download updates. I could be wrong.


I'm pretty sure you're right. They also release segments of major content patches before the patch goes live. Those segments usually include things that Blizzard knows won't be changing (ie. graphics/sound files) so that on patch day, most people only have to download a very small amount of data and they're squared away.
#10 Jan 26 2010 at 8:56 PM Rating: Decent
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AureliusSir the Irrelevant wrote:
valid wrote:
Kirbster wrote:
I doubt they'll use torrenting officially. I wouldn't look forward to people whining about being hacked because they didn't bother to check the hashes, anyway.

If they just streamline and optimize their update process, for PCs at least, that would be satisfactory. Getting rid of POL was already a step in the right direction. The WoW updating was typically pretty painless and fast, I'm going to assume they'll be trying something similar.


I'm near positive WoW uses a torrent client to download updates. I could be wrong.


I'm pretty sure you're right. They also release segments of major content patches before the patch goes live. Those segments usually include things that Blizzard knows won't be changing (ie. graphics/sound files) so that on patch day, most people only have to download a very small amount of data and they're squared away.


Ah. Didn't know about that. That is a good idea.
#11 Jan 27 2010 at 1:09 AM Rating: Good
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AureliusSir the Irrelevant wrote:
valid wrote:
Kirbster wrote:
I doubt they'll use torrenting officially. I wouldn't look forward to people whining about being hacked because they didn't bother to check the hashes, anyway.

If they just streamline and optimize their update process, for PCs at least, that would be satisfactory. Getting rid of POL was already a step in the right direction. The WoW updating was typically pretty painless and fast, I'm going to assume they'll be trying something similar.


I'm near positive WoW uses a torrent client to download updates. I could be wrong.


I'm pretty sure you're right. They also release segments of major content patches before the patch goes live. Those segments usually include things that Blizzard knows won't be changing (ie. graphics/sound files) so that on patch day, most people only have to download a very small amount of data and they're squared away.



They're not using torrents in the way that the OP was proposing, as in, giving people torrent files and having them use their own client of choice.

The blizzard updater is essentially just a BitTorrent/HTTP client with a single torrent file inside. It's a good and fast way to go about things.
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#12 Jan 30 2010 at 12:09 PM Rating: Decent
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A torrent type system is good for most users if done right. They simply seed a dozen or so upload servers and when the bulk of the population comes online to update their servers will get slammed, but after a very short window the players themselves become the upload clients passing the data along. The system can be pretty dang secure, too, as each client can be setup to download a hash directly from the SE servers and automatically hash-check the end product to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks before it is applied (which I'm pretty sure is how the Blizzard system works).

The downside to this approach is that some ISPs actively block or down-prioritize bittorrent streams making this ineffective for some players (Comcast, some university ISPs, etc). If they go a route like this I would hope they still offer a direct download option, though to prevent abuse and overuse you could cap it at a low yet reasonable speed to prevent people from using it if they don't need to.

The key to keeping the system from being offensive would be to keep all previously downloaded patches as active seeds when the client is active once they are downloaded and then capping upload to a low speed (5 Kb/s or something) so that continuous upload costs won't hamper gameplay to the point where the players would try to prevent it through firewalls, yet it would be fast enough when combined with the rest of the playerbase to guarantee a high download speed for those people that need to patch their clients after the fact.
#13 Jan 30 2010 at 6:57 PM Rating: Decent
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Quote:

I guess the updates being on order of 100MB was completely unnecessary on SE's part in FFXI, hopefully they will fix this for FFXIV.


Your looking at this from the complete wrong side. These patches will be even larger. Detailed textures take more space to store and transfer. The problem isn't even with the size of the updates. The problem is the server locations and method they use for patching. On the lowest end cable and dsl connections you should be able to get 100MB downloaded in under 5 minutes.

During a non peak time to update (say directly between two patches) the time to download and patch 300mb still takes an insane amount of time. A lot of it is because for each file you download it starts a session, downloads the file, and ends the session. The build and tear-down of those sessions kills the transfer rates, on top of that they never were able to push the bandwidth needed across the ocean. That giant undersea pipe maybe large but the bandwidth is limited and heavily monitored for QoS. When we start taking up large chunks of that all at once we ALL get throttled back.

If they don't want to use a torrent based system they can do two things to make it much easier on all of us. 1) package the update into an installer and create some localized mirros (FFS partner up with akamai already)

Edited, Jan 30th 2010 6:59pm by windexy

Edited, Jan 30th 2010 7:01pm by windexy
#14 Jan 30 2010 at 9:20 PM Rating: Default
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windexy wrote:
Quote:

I guess the updates being on order of 100MB was completely unnecessary on SE's part in FFXI, hopefully they will fix this for FFXIV.


Your looking at this from the complete wrong side. These patches will be even larger. Detailed textures take more space to store and transfer. The problem isn't even with the size of the updates. The problem is the server locations and method they use for patching. On the lowest end cable and dsl connections you should be able to get 100MB downloaded in under 5 minutes.


I'm just thinking that new textures will be fairly rare in regular updates, new areas and monsters would be reserved mostly for expansion packs in which case you would get a new dvd with the large textures on it. The reason I suspect that FFXI's updates were so large was partially due to the fact that they would re-download an entire file even if only something small has changed in the file.

Thanks for all the inputs and discussion on this topic. So to summarizing what's been said:

1) Make updates smaller by not needing to transfer entire files when only a small part of the file has changed.
2) Make use of a peer-to-peer bittorrent like system. Restrict users upload bandwidth so that it does not affect gameplay.
3) Still have official servers with direct download.
4) Have localized mirrors with direct download.
5) Allow an encrypted version of the update to be downloaded early, and it will be unencrypted on the day the update is applied. It would be awesome if the update could be seamlessly downloaded in the background and applied while you are playing FFXIV. Then when the update cutover happens, it would be just like flipping a switch and now you're playing with the updated version. (wishful thinking)

I'm hoping SE does at least some of the things listed above.
#15 Jan 31 2010 at 2:22 AM Rating: Decent
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how about some file compression as well as not having retarded file sizes. FFXI has atleast 500 files which are only 48 bytes, but take up 4kb of disk space because of the way hard drives work, thats 100x as much space as they should need. Really most or all these .dat files should be combined into one file and updates should be done using a diff as someone suggested earlier, I bet this would cut 1GB off the needed disk space.
#16 Oct 05 2010 at 11:05 AM Rating: Decent
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LetThemEatCake wrote:
The downside to this approach is that some ISPs actively block or down-prioritize bittorrent streams making this ineffective for some players (Comcast, some university ISPs, etc). If they go a route like this I would hope they still offer a direct download option, though to prevent abuse and overuse you could cap it at a low yet reasonable speed to prevent people from using it if they don't need to.


Does anyone know if they are using only torrent? Or is there a direct download backup option that kicks in? I was planning on providing my buddy pass to my younger brother who is still in University, but his school blocks all P2P traffic. Is he just out of luck as far as official or semi-official sources go? (ZAM would have been a fine alternative).


Edited, Oct 5th 2010 1:06pm by NayliaMR
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