Login name: johnc     			In real life: John Carmack
Directory: /raid/nardo/johnc        	Shell: /bin/bash
Last login Fri Aug 16 12:36 on ttyp2 from idnewt

Here is The New Plan:

I copied off the quake codebase and set about doing some major improvements.  
The old v1.01 codebase will still be updated to fix bugs with the current 
version, but I didn't want to hold back from fixing things properly even if 
it involves some major changes.

I am focusing on the internet play aspect of the game.  While I can lay out 
a grand clean-sheet-of-paper design, I have chosen to pursue something of a
limited enough scope that I can expect to start testing it around the end 
of the month (august).  I still have my grand plans for the future, but I 
want to get some stuff going NOW.


The code I am developing right now is EXCLUSIVELY for internet play.  It 
will be rolled back into the single player game sometime along the road 
to Quake 2 (or whatever it turns out to be called), but the experimental 
QuakeWorld release will consist of seperate programs for the client and 
the server.  They will use the same data as the current registered quake, 
so the only thing that will be distributed is new executables (they will 
peacefully coexist with current quake).

There will be a single master server running here at id.  Whenever anyone 
starts up a server, it will register itself with the master server, and 
whenever a client wants to start a game, it will inquire with the master 
to find out which servers are available.

Users will have a persistant account, and all frags on the entire internet 
will be logged.  I want us to be able to give a global ranking order of 
everyone playing the game.  You should be able to say, "I am one of the 
ten best QuakeWorld players in existance", and have the record to back it 
up.  There are all sorts of other cool stats that we could mine out of 
the data: greatest frags/minute, longest uninterrupted quake game, 
cruelest to newbies, etc, etc.

For the time being, this is just my pet research project.  The new exes 
will only work with registered Quake, so I can justify it as a registration 
incentive (don't pirate!).

If it looks feasable, I would like to see internet focused gaming become 
a justifiable biz direction for us.  Its definately cool, but it is 
uncertain if people can actually make money at it.  My halfway thought 
out proposal for a biz plan is that we let anyone play the game as an 
anonymous newbie to see if they like it, but to get their name registered 
and get on the ranking list, they need to pay $10 or so.  Newbies would 
be automatically kicked from servers if a paying customer wants to get on.  
Sound reasonable?

Technical improvements.

The game physics is being reworked to make it faster and more uniform.  
Currently, a p90 dedicated server is about 50% loaded with eight players.  
The new network code causes a higher cpu load, so I am trying to at least
overbalance that, and maybe make a little headway.  A single p6-200 system 
should be able to run around ten simultanious eight player servers.  
Multiple servers running on a single machine will work a lot better with 
the master server automatically dealing with different port adresses 
behind the client's back.

A couple subtle features are actually going away.  The automatic view 
tilting on slopes and stairs is buggy in v1.01, and over a couple hundred 
millisecond latancy connection, it doesn't usually start tilting until you
are allready on a different surface, so I just ripped it out entirely.  
A few other non-crucial game behaviors are also being cut in the interest 
of making the physics easier to match on the client side.

I'm going to do a good chat mode.

Servers will have good access control lists.  If somebody manages to piss 
off the entire community, we could even ban them at the master server.

The big difference is in the net code.  While I can remember and justify 
all of my decisions about networking from DOOM through Quake, the bottom 
line is that I was working with the wrong basic assumptions for doing a 
good internet game.  My original design was targeted at <200ms connection 
latencies.  People that have a digital connection to the internet through 
a good provider get a pretty good game experience.  Unfortunately, 99% of 
the world gets on with a slip or ppp connection over a modem, often through 
a crappy overcrowded ISP.  This gives 300+ ms latencies, minimum.  Client. 
User's modem. ISP's modem. Server. ISP's modem. User's modem.  Client. 
God, that sucks.

Ok, I made a bad call.  I have a T1 to my house, so I just wasn't familliar 
with PPP life.  I'm adressing it now.

The first move was to scrap the current net code.  It was based on a 
reliable stream as its original primitive (way back in qtest), then was 
retrofited to have an unreliable sideband to make internet play feasable.  
It was a big mess, so I took it out and shot it.  The new code has the 
unreliable packet as its basic primitive, and all the complexities that 
entails is now visible to the main code instead of hidden under the net api.  
This is A Good Thing.  Goodbye phantom unconnected players, messages not
 getting through, etc.

The next move was a straightforward attack on latency.  The communications 
channel is not the only thing that contributes to a latent response, and 
there was some good ground to improve on.

In a perfect environment, the instant you provided any input (pressed a 
key, moved a mouse, etc) you would have feedback on the screen (or speaker) 
from the action.

In the real world, even single player games have latency.

A typical game loop goes something like:  Read user input.  Simulate the 
world.  Render a new graphics scene.  Repeat.

If the game is running 15 frames a second, that is 66 ms each frame.  The 
user input will arive at a random point in the frame, so it will be an 
average of 33 ms before the input is even looked at.  The input is then 
read, and 66 more ms pass before the result is actually displayed to the 
user, for a total of nearly 100 ms of latency, right on your desktop. 
(you can even count another 8 ms or so for raster refresh if you want to 
get picky).

The best way to adress that latency is to just make the game run faster if 
possible.  If the screen was sized down so that the game ran 25 fps, the 
latency would be down to 60ms.  There are a few other things that can be 
done to shave a bit more off, like short circuiting some late braeking 
information (like view angles) directly into the refresh stage, bypassing 
the simulation stage. 

The bearing that this all has on net play, aside from setting an upper 
limit on performance, is that the current Quake servers have a similar 
frame cycle.  They had to, to provide -listen server support.  Even when 
you run a dedicated server, the model is still: fetch all input, process 
the world, send updates out to all clients.  The default server framerate 
is 20 fps (50 ms).  You can change this by adjusting the sys_ticrate cvar, 
but there are problems either way.  If you ask for more fps from the server, 
you may get less latency, but you would almost certainly overcommit the 
bandwidth of a dialup link, resulting in all sorts of unwanted buffering 
in the routers and huge multi thousand ms latency times as things unclog 
(if they ever do).

The proper way to address this is by changing the server model from a 
game style loop to a fileserver/database style loop.

Instead of expecting everyone's messages to be dealt with at once, I now 
deal with each packet as it comes in.  That player alone is moved forward 
in time, and a custom response is sent out in very short order.  The rest 
of the objects in the world are spread out between the incoming packets.  
There are a lot of issues that that brings up.  Time is no longer advancing 
uniformly for all objects in the world, which can cause a lot of problems.

It works, though!  The average time from a packet ariving at the system to 
the time a response is sent back is down to under 4ms, as opposed to over 
50 with the old dedicated servers. 

Another side benefit is that the server never blindly sends packets out 
into the void, they must be specifically asked for (note that this is 
NOT a strict request/reply, because the client is streaming request 
without waiting for the replies).

I am going to be adding bandwidth estimation to help out modem links.  
If quake knows that a link is clogged up, it can choose not to send 
anything else, which is far, far better than letting the network buffer 
everything up or randomly drop packets.  A dialup line can just say 
"never send more than 2000 bytes a second in datagrams", and while the 
update rate may drop in an overcommited situation, the latency will 
never pile up like it can with the current version of quake.

The biggest difference is the addition of client side movement simulation.

I am now allowing the client to guess at the results of the users movement 
until the authoritative response from the server comes through.  This is a 
biiiig architectural change.  The client now needs to know about solidity 
of objects, friction, gravity, etc.  I am sad to see the elegent 
client-as-terminal setup go away, but I am practical above idealistic.

The server is still the final word, so the client is allways repredicting 
it's movement based off of the last known good message from the server.  

There are still a lot of things I need to work out, but the basic results 
are as hoped for:  even playing over a 200+ ms latency link, the player 
movement feels exactly like you are playing a single player game (under 
the right circumstances -- you can also get it to act rather weird at 
the moment).

The latency isn't gone, though.  The client doesn't simulate other objects 
in the world, so you apear to run a lot closer to doors before they open, 
and most noticably, projectiles from your weapons seem to come out from 
where you were, instead of where you are, if you are strafing sideways 
while you shoot.

An interesting issue to watch when this gets out is that you won't be 
able to tell how long the latency to the server is based on your movement, 
but you will need to lead your opponents differently when shooting at them.

In a clean sheet of paper redesign, I would try to correct more of the 
discrepencies, but I think I am going to have a big enough improvement 
coming out of my current work to make a lot of people very happy.


aug 8:

Romero is now gone from id.

There will be no more grandiose statements about our future projects.

I can tell you what I am thinking, and what I am trying to acomplish, 
but all I promise is my best effort.

John Carmack


aug 10:

QuakeWorld structural addendum:

After hearing many arguments against the single master server, ranging 
from coherent and well reasoned to paranoid whining, I now agree that 
the single global master server isn't sufficient.

During the R&D phase, there will still be only the single server, but 
after all the kinks get worked out, I will allow a small number of 
sites to run private master servers.  This will not be a general 
release, but only to properly licensed third parties.  That will still 
allow me to collect my 100% coverage data, and it will prevent a 
single network/computer/software failure from preventing all QuakeWorld

QuakeWorld technical addendum:

I am reining in the client side prediction to a fairly minimal amount.
It has too many negative effects in different circumstances.  The problem
of running away from or in front of your missiles was so bad that I 
considered simulating the missiles on the client side, but that is the 
second step on a slippery slope.  If just the missiles were simulated, 
then a missile would fire through an enemy until the server informed 
you it exploded on them.  Then you consider simulating interactions, 
but then you have to guess at other player inputs (which is hopeless)...

Lesson learned: Simulating 300 ms on the client side in a Quake style 
game is just out of the question.  It probably works fine for flight sim 
or driving sims, but not in out twitch reaction games.

I am currently using client side simulation to smooth out the beat 
frequency interactions between server packet arrival and client frame 
times.  In the shipping version of Quake, some latency was introduced 
on purpose to keep the displayed frame simulation time between the last 
two packets from the server so that the variability in arrival time 
could be smoothed out.  In QuakeWorld, I am always starting with the 
most current packet, and using simulation to smooth out the variability.
This <100ms of client side motion seems to be very manageable, and cuts 
out some real latency as well as doing the gueswork.

It looks like I am going to split the QuakeWorld client into multiple 
threads to reduce the avg 1/2 frame latency between input and packet 
sending.  This is also a step towards building a multi-threaded Quake 
renderer, which will let multi-cpu NT machines render twice as fast.
Lets hope the windows thread scheduler is decent...

I have been cutting down the message sizes a bit here and there as 
well.  On a modem link, every couple bytes I save translates into a 
millisecond of latency saved.  I cut an average of 17 bytes from the 
server to client and 8 from the client to server today.


Aug 12:

Apogee's Prey team (and Duke's Levelord) leave 3drealms to work 
with Quake technology as Hipnotic Interactive.



Aug 13:

I am considering increasing the default sv_friction value for 
QuakeWorld from 4 to 6 or 8.

It might take a little getting used to, but I think it gives more 
precise control for wide area network play.

If anyone wants to run some experiments with different friction 
levels on a current Quake server, I would be interested in hearing 
some feedback.


Aug 17:

The remote server console commands are fully implemented for 

To allow remote administration, the server must set the "password" 
cvar.  By default, remote administration is turned off.

On a client, if you set the "password" cvar to the same value, 
you can issue "rcon" commands to the remote server :

rcon   ...

You can go to different levels, shut the server down, change 
cvars, ban people, etc.  The output from the command is redirected 
over the net and will be echoed on the remote console.

You can also execute commands without even connecting to the 
server (if it was full) by setting the "rconadr" cvar to the full 
internet address (including port) of the system you want to administer.

2:00 in the morning:

My testarossa snapped another input shaft (the third time).  
damn dman damn.
>1000 HP is bad for your drivetrain.


Aug 18:


QuakeWorld supports two types of filtering: IP packet filtering 
and user id filtering.  Userid filtering is the most convenient way 
to keep a specific person off of a server, but because anyone can 
create as many accounts as they want, a malicious user could just 
keep logging back in with a new account.  If their ip address is 
banned, they won't be able to log on with any account from that 
computer.  Unfortunately, most dialup accounts give a different ip 
address for each connection, so you may be forced to ban an entire 
subnet to keep a specific person off.

You can add or remove addresses from the filter list with:


The ip address is specified in dot format, and any unspecified 
digits will match any value, so you can specify an entire class 
C network with "addip 192.246.40".

Removeip will only remove an address specified exactly the same way. 
You cannot addip a subnet, then removeip a single host.

Prints the current list of filters.

Dumps "addip " commands to iplist.cfg so it can be execed at 
a later date.  The filter lists are not saved and restored by 
default, because I beleive it would cause too much confusion.

filterban <0 or 1>

If 1 (the default), then ip addresses matching the current list 
will be prohibited from entering the game.  This is the default 

If 0, then only addresses matching the list will be allowed.  This 
lets you easily set up a private game, or a game that only allows 
players from your local network.


Aug 22:

The rendition 3d accelerated version of Quake looks very good.

The image quality is significantly better than software - dithered,
bilinear interpolated textures, and subpixel, subtexel polygon 

It is faster than software even at 320*200, and at 512*384 it is 
almost twice as fast.

We do take a bit of a hit when we have to generate a lot of 16 bit 
surfaces, so occasionally the framerate gets a bit uneven, but 
overall it is a very solid improvement.