Monday, December 17, 2007

What We Have So Far

Thank you for looking into our streamlined collection of information pertaining to our work on getting an actual fix for the online play of Atari's Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 on the Wii. So far, our work has been tracked on Atari's official forums, and that thread is still alive and well, but we wanted to have a place for collecting our research and arguments without excess posts mixed in with our updates (you can view that thread here). In this post, I'm going to try and pull our existing research into a cohesive whole. The next post will detail where we stand, and the third post will show explain what it is we hope to see if Atari wants our continued support as consumers.

Please feel free to comment as you see fit, but keep it intelligent. Also, please show your support for our cause by writing Atari and Nintendo with requests for a true fix; writing game media giants like IGN and Gamespot for publicity would be helpful, too.


What we know:
After making multiple contacts with Nintendo, Nintendo states that they know why the lag is happening, and they state that they have given Atari the information needed to fix it (see note 1 for a more detailed explanation).
Upon asking Atari about the fix prescribed by Nintendo, Atari informs consumers that it is a connection issue, and that consumers need to buy a wired network adapter to make the game playable (see note 2).
Most consumers doubt the practicality of Atari's solution, but many try it anyway; most consumers find little-to-no improvement, but a small number of consumers claim to have increased performance (see note 3).
Further contact with Nintendo regarding Atari's solution results in Nintendo representatives denying that Atari's solution is what Nintendo advised (see note 4).

What we think is true:
Atari's implementation of the networking portion of the game code is fundamentally flawed. Nintendo found the flaw and informed Atari of a way to fix it. Atari, not wanting to spend the money to have its developers create and disperse the code fix, declares that the fault rests on the shoulders of the consumer and that an added peripheral is necessary to make the game playable. In effect, we think that Atari is wanting to save money even if that means having a fundamentally broken product on shelves.

Why we think this is true:
First of all, it seems more than a little odd that Nintendo would tell Atari to tell its customers that the fault is in a bad connection, requiring a new piece of hardware to make things work, instead of simply telling the customers directly. Secondly, other games (which would seem to have higher connection demands) such as Medal of Honor: Heroes 2 (which handles 32 players on a single server) have very minimal, if at all existent, lag. Next, first hand experience with a wired network adapter, has shown little-to-no improvement in connection speed with the help of objective third-party tests. Finally, Nintendo itself has stated that the fix it advised is not to buy a wired adapter. Therefore, we have strong reason to believe that there actually are (viably fixable) flaws in the code that Atari simply doesn't want to fix.

1. Direct quote from an email response from Nintendo to Teknoman:

Hello, I’m sorry to hear about the issues you’re having playing Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 online. Our role in online play is matching players up. Once the match, race, or fight starts, you’re connected directly in a peer-to-peer format and no longer connected to Nintendo servers.

From the reports we have received, we have determined that this is an in-game peer-to-peer latency issue and not something that occurs through Nintendo’s servers. We have provided Atari information on how they can address this issue and recommend contacting them.
To get their contact information, go to the following web address and click on Atari: of America Inc.R.M. Rickets Nintendo's home page: Power Line (Automated Product Info): (425) 885-7529

2. Direct quote from a response from Atari to myself and others:
Thank you for contacting Atari Support. Atari would like to sincerely apologize for any multiplayer lag issues you may be experiencing within Dragon Ball Z®: Budokai Tenkaichi 3.

If you are experiencing multiplayer lag, this may be due to Wifi wireless internet connections or poor signal from the your ISP. To resolve this issue, please ensure both players involved in multiplayer gameplay use a hard wired connection – this should solve current lag issues.

Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this might have caused you from enjoying Dragon Ball Z®: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 and thank you for your continued support.

Thank You,
Atari Support

3. Of the people on Atari's community forums that attempted to use a wired adapter (myself included), only one member claims to have gotten an improved connection. My objective speed tests (through the website showed speeds with the wired adapter to be roughly the same as the wireless connection of the Wii hardware. After optimizing my wireless connection, I was able to get an upload speed of ~340kbps to various locations throughout the country; my download speed was around 2mbps. With the wired adapter, my speeds were nearly identical with the same tests. Attempts to play the game online showed no improvement. On the same wired connection, and the same speed tests, my Windows XP PC (fairly low stats) was able to get close to 8mbps downloads and 700kbps uploads.

4. In phone conversations with Nintendo representatives, Teknoman has the following information to share:
I just got a call from Bryce, a Wi-Fi tech at Nintendo of America, about the Budokai Tenkachi 3 online issues, and he said they are actually working with Atari to fix the problem. They say it does have something to do with the game itself, as in its netcode, not their servers. So now they are both working on a sure fire fix to alleviate the problems. He even went so far as to mention the IGN review.
Got through to another wi-fi tech, and he said that if it was as simple as just using wired connections instead or having a better connection in general, then Nintendo would've just simply replied with that in the email instead of telling us that they provided Atari with information on how to fix the problem.

However, he also said that he really didnt have any information on what exactly Nintendo provided Atari with, but he could assure me it certainly wasn't [the use of a wired connection].


abrar said...

so do people have to buy a new disc when the problem is fixed ( i hope the problems being fixed) or will they provide the consumers with a new
disc, or will it be updated through wii connect24??? please answer

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