GameSpy closing down

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GameSpy closing down

Postby UnrealGGecko » Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:28 pm

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/2147 ... ra+News%29

:cry: The end of GameSpy is near, and along with it online play for many games. UT, unfortunatly, is one of them, due to the master server being one of many things GS owned.

EDIT: I posted this in to the off-topic section just because it affects a lot of games, not just UT. Sorry if it's in the wrong section.
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Re: GameSpy closing down

Postby papercoffee » Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:12 pm

oh my gosh!

But It was foreseeable :(
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Re: GameSpy closing down

Postby Darkelarious » Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:01 pm

Psssst! Want to have a new master server?

Early February, I wrote a beta version for a new type of master server. This type of master server keeps a database of all IPs that have been known to host an UT server, and provides you a list of all servers that were found online in the past hour or so. It also shows all online servers on my website, 333networks.com.

So far, only a handful of people are using the 333networks master server with success, almost 60 servers do an uplink to it. The server is still running in "beta 1" version, which means that the server may be unstable or unreliable. Soon we work our way to "beta 2", which is more structured and efficient. None of these versions have been tested by the full audience, so we do not know how this master server responds to 800 servers and 400 players using it.

We honestly do our stinking best to get this master server to work for the masses. Currently, we only support Unreal Tournament games, but we are rushing other game support into action with the hope to prevent those games from going down with the master server. We realize how abstract all of this is for people, so we also took it upon ourselves to write documentation about the master server and its functions. The following links may explain more about how everything works.

Master Server documentation (unfinished)
Instructions on adding the 333networks master server (needs an update)
Source code for the master server operated by 333networks (open-source, but pretty cryptic)

Recommended reading:

IpServer information

Not everything is done. Most of what you see around here is a work in progress. All of this is done in spare time and late hours. We hope to be ready for May 31st!


Cross-posted from http://333networks.com

It still needs a lot of work. If I want to get support for other games working, I may need some help too. It is a recreational project, not to be compared with the services and support offered by GameSpy. With this project, I hope that your hope of playing UT does not die with GameSpy's services.
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Re: GameSpy closing down

Postby maximdymok » Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:15 pm

So does that mean without putting in another master server IP in some text file we won't be able to see any servers when GameSpy shuts down? Because that would be bad.. very bad..
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Re: GameSpy closing down

Postby ShaiHulud » Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:35 am

It's quite difficult to come to terms with the implications of this. What are the possibilities of creating a small mod that could be installed to any participating server which would update the UnrealTournament.ini file of any visitor to add the 333networks replacement master server?

Edit--------------- by papercoffee

Seeking clarification from Flak over at the Epic Games forums. Skillz and Dr. Flay have both posted in this thread, but I'd really like to hear something official:

http://forums.epicgames.com/threads/984 ... luding-UT3

Please avoid double posts next time
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Re: GameSpy closing down

Postby TheDane » Sat Apr 05, 2014 12:39 pm

To have a script to auto-change the masterlist in client unrealtournament.ini file is a greyzone, not an option I would aprove of. Imagine the fuzz to have servers changing it depending on what masterserver they think should be valid?

Anyway, though I'm not on gatherallinfopossibleaboutallpersonsintheworldandsellittothehighestbidder(facebook), I found this info using Google, posted back in 2012, this is a clear warning to what now has happened: https://www.facebook.com/gamespytech


There have been a number of reports regarding the recent discontinuation of service to several online multiplayer games previously supported by GameSpy Technologies. We recognize that fans of games where the publisher has elected to discontinue GameSpy Technologies support are frustrated. However, reports that GameSpy Technologies “shutdown servers without warning” are simply inaccurate.

GameSpy Technologies – a separate entity from GameSpy.com – is a service provider to game publishers. Each publisher contracting with GameSpy Technologies elects at its sole discretion whether or not to maintain support for its titles.

A number of our publisher partners elected to allow their contracts for GameSpy Technologies’ services to lapse by not continuing to pay for these services. In some cases this lapsing ranges back as much as four years. GameSpy Technologies has continued to provide months, and in some cases years, of service support for free. However we cannot be expected to provide a service free of charge to publishers who choose not to renew their service agreements and in some cases remain delinquent in delivering payment for past services.

In each case reported in the press where there was a discontinuation of GameSpy Technologies’ services, the applicable publisher was well aware that they had not made the required payments under their agreements with GameSpy Technologies.

For the sake of clarity - the situation is identical to fans attributing fault to the hosting company of a popular website for ceasing hosting services, when the website owner refuses to pay its hosting bill.

While we would hope and expect our publisher partners to message their user communities on changes in status of their games, often this is not done. The result is user confusion and frustration.

It is regrettable that these publishers chose not to inform their users of the impending discontinuation of support. We understand the frustration of fans that until now weren’t clear on why their game has lost some of its functionality, but hope that this clarifies the situation.

Thank you.


So... blame Epic for not renewing their account for UT.
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Re: GameSpy closing down

Postby Darkelarious » Sat Apr 05, 2014 1:33 pm

ShaiHulud wrote:It's quite difficult to come to terms with the implications of this. What are the possibilities of creating a small mod that could be installed to any participating server which would update the UnrealTournament.ini file of any visitor to add the 333networks replacement master server?

I'm with TheDane on this one. It should be your own choice whether to use a third party custom server. My best guess is that we should educate people as good as possible. I am writing a tutorial/documentation on master servers (link in my previous post). When it is finished, I guess we should make a web version of it in multiple languages, lowering the threshold for everybody to do this on their own.

maximdymok wrote:So does that mean without putting in another master server IP in some text file we won't be able to see any servers when GameSpy shuts down? Because that would be bad.. very bad..

For servers it is only 1 line of text to pick the 333networks master server, for clients it is 1 line of text and 1 or 2 entities that change from "True" to "False".

Perhaps a mod that pops up a window and says/asks: "GameSpy going down, do you want to add the 333networks master server?". That way you have the liberty to say "no". To push that a little further, perhaps that mod could later be configured to add more than 1 master server to the client's configuration, for when others also decide to start a new master server.
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Re: GameSpy closing down

Postby Feralidragon » Sat Apr 05, 2014 3:24 pm

Well, from Flak's post at Epic Games it seems they only intend to give a new master server to UT3, and clients will need to setup it themselves (a bit like we have to do with 333networks for UT), unless Epic releases a quick patch for UT3 (and for Steam as well) which updates the configuration.
Both UT and UT2004 will probably simply go down when it comes to master servers, and although UT has the 333networks as the only real alternative on the table, most will just turn the game on, see no servers whatsoever and play something else, so regardless this is the nail in the coffin for many games, including UT itself. And I say UT2004 as well since the UT2004 master servers were neglected way more often than the UT ones (killing most of the UT2004 player base a couple years ago).

Personally, some years ago I was going to build my own system when it comes to server listings (nothing using this whole gamepsy/queries stuff mambo jambo, there are much better and standardized ways to obtain lists of servers and anything else these days), and which wouldn't have this problem, but mostly due to lack of time I didn't and probably nowadays is too late to do so anyway (I will do something similar though, but it's not for UT itself).

Even nowadays it blows my mind how all most of these games have no way from the original publisher to self-update these lists for cases like this. History has proven that you cannot rely on third party services for this sort of thing, and should only be treated as a branch of the system and not the trunk itself, otherwise this happens.
If Epic doesn't give a viable alternative to UT, I hope they will at least make the game freeware and let us handle it from there on, since we can give it a much better support on everything around it than them nowadays.
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Re: GameSpy closing down

Postby TheDane » Sat Apr 05, 2014 6:37 pm

well, I didn't resurrect just to let it go Down the drain at the first sight of trouble. The master server is going Down and Epic isn't doing anything about it - this is solidly stated. We can all say thank you for the music and move on - eventualy forget all about ut99, or ..... we can prove once and for all that the remaining devided community can unite in times of trouble and try to lift the task at hand? I can't code what it takes - Darkelarious seems to be able, and is as the only one currently having an alternative master server available. I think it's time to ask Darkelarious what we can do to assist him to get this to work? I have the website unrealtournament.info and I'd like to put that availbale as a "mirror" site to all WHO has a master server script running. You see, Feralidragon is right, if a player launches the game and can't find a single online server - click > deleted! ... so Darkelarious has a master server, but problem remain if he has to turn his server offline for maintainance or it becomes offline for other reasons - therefore Darkelarious is more than welcome to have a mirror running from my website as it should be a completely different host and chances for them both to be Down at the same time would be slim.

From here on - I'm currently Building a new server setup mod, I will follow the situation about this master server issue, and I'll be sure to include into my mod an option for the client to update his unrealtournament.ini settings to include a new master server as Darkelarious suggested as solution. This might push my project a bit ahead - it's currently only in early beta stages, but it seems that there might be reasons for a quick release? Also, if someone would make a plugin for nexgen that prompts the client to update? I am realy not fond of nexgen myself lol, so I won't do that plugin myself, but many servers rely on this - and if someone beats me to it with a nexgen plugin I will temporarely install it to do my part to make the clients aware of the situation.
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Re: GameSpy closing down

Postby maximdymok » Sat Apr 05, 2014 6:42 pm

Why can't Epic just start hosting the utmaster server again? I assume it was hosted by them, right? If Darkelarious hosts his own master server, I can't imagine Epic not being able to.
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Re: GameSpy closing down

Postby TheDane » Sat Apr 05, 2014 6:44 pm

maximdymok wrote:Why can't Epic just start hosting the utmaster server again? I assume it was hosted by them, right? If Darkelarious hosts his own master server, I can't imagine Epic not being able to.


Epic is in it for the $$$$, they gain zero $ by doing so, but they "Waste" bandwidth on their server doing so. Best shot with Epic it so convince them to release the master server scripts - like that would ever happen.
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Re: GameSpy closing down

Postby Feralidragon » Sat Apr 05, 2014 9:12 pm

Well, not everything is lost. Like I mentioned in my post, if Epic does not provide a solid alternative to UT, Steam and etc will be selling a game which one of the advertising strengths is the online gameplay. Without master servers, there isn't the advertised online gameplay for the end user other than LAN (the 333networks master server doesn't count, since it needs to get configured to and none of the corporations would even dare to officially support or advice on a user master server).

So I wonder if Epic can simply make UT a freeware game once the master server drops for good. There would be tons of advantages with this: the fact that even we could provide a link to the full game, and a patch as well to configure to another master server, and the fact that it may gather more players than it has currently by doing so.
I will probably post in that topic at the Epic forum to get some clarification on the UT master server part, and the freeware part.
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Re: GameSpy closing down

Postby DLD-RABBIT » Sat Apr 05, 2014 9:16 pm

Darkelarious has a partial solution to this problem already in place, so let us all try to help him, also we need a few people to host a UT game server information page.
Like (I.P.), Server name, gametype group, DM, MH, CTF, etc. this will allow us to use the open location function, not the greatest way of doing this, but at least it could work. :tu:

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Re: GameSpy closing down

Postby maximdymok » Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:37 am

Hmm, you know how there is that "News" tab in the server browser? As far as I understand, Epic can change the message it says.. They changed it a few years back to "Thank you for playing Unreal Tournament", no? So what if they put in big red letters that GameSpy is shutting down and players need to download a patch, and provide a link? I'm sure that would get most players to do it, since it's the first thing that pops up when you open the server browser.
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Re: GameSpy closing down

Postby ShaiHulud » Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:01 am

I had the same thought maximdymok, I think that would be another idea worth exploring - that would mean getting EPIC on board of course. Since the message hasn't changed for a while, I did wonder whether it is still a live URL, or if UT is just serving up a cached copy. Perhaps someone could take a peak in Wireshark when UT first starts up
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