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Dirty Server List Tricks

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In the last month or two all my players have been fleeing my server for a cheep sorry blatant inferior knock off attempt to clone my server by a little tribe of total douchebag upstart modders.

I'm not going to get into how incredibly lame it is to try and carbon copy clone another modder's server in every way you can figure out, in an attempt to rip and knock off creative ideas they originated, I think that's self evident to any self respecting old school modder. I'm not talking just one mod here and there, that's fine, I don't have a lock on ideas. No, I'm talking about the entire server, copy every mod on my server as well as the look and feel. Yeah, very low class, very bad taste. Do your own thing, you know. Use your imagination, the sky is the limit.

But... it perplexed me... as to why the noobie players were playing on these garbage knock off servers instead of mine, when mine was a hundred times more polished and better in every possible way (and that's not just my ego talking, these clone servers are the equivalent of shoddily made imitation handbags from the backwoods of China compared to my brand name handbag).

Anyway, I just figured out (or rather noticed) why.

Somehow they've screwed around with something in the code so that their server always returns a latency of zero (0) to the players server browser list, no matter how far their server is away from the player. This automatically puts their server into the initial and much shorter QUICK PICK list of close servers to the player with a green light by it (as opposed to a yellow or a red latency light), and also at the top of the ADVANCED list if sorted by latency. They run several copies of their server, so they take up half the quick pick list with their fake green latency lights and push every other server off of it.

Of all the shitty little sorry tricks, and I've dealt with quite a few already in my time.

1. Obviously the first question, how is this done? I'm guessing through the GS4 protocol (gamespy)

2. And the second question being... do I want to stoop to this level to remain competitve? If everyone follows suit, you have a neutering of some of the usefulness of the server list, when everyone's latency says zero instead of a value useful to a player. An erosion of the commons, if you will. Obviously these douche bags could care less about such things, as their quite intent on polluting the server lists with the best they can make at attempts of clones of my server (which are not very good, their mods only superficially appear like mine with a total lack of polish or thought or playtesting behind them).

3. Third question maybe would be, I wonder if whatever variable their screwing around with will actually affect player game play adversely. It doesn't seem to.

I myself lean rather heavily against this kind of thing, and advise anyone else against it who thinks of doing this, for reason 2 above. Your degrading the functionality of the game, and polluting the browser list with non-original crude clones.

Edited by cobrachoppergirl
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Uh if people really think there's a server where they can have 0 ping, then they must be extremely naive :P

Anyway shouldn't someone at least notice that it's not really a 0 ping server and that the ping there could probably be worse than on your server?

Looking at your sig, maybe they changed the mod a bit, like setting spawn times very low etc. I know in Project Reality tons of new players got lured to modded servers where they had unlimited jets and kits and barely anyone played the proper mod until they introduced a server license which forbid modding (unless the server is pw'd)

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I found this information on the 'net:

Your computer is not pinging every server when it makes the list. Its the
list server (at EA) that makes the ping. That's the ping between EA and the
server, which can be an indication of lag, but maybe it doesnt apply to you.
(Especially if you are not in North America).

When you click on it to select it, wait a bit and your computer will ping
(and usually pull a player list and map and so on). THAT ping is pretty
close to what your actual ping will be.

So select it first, to find out what YOUR ping is.

The zero ping servers probably have a firewall with IMCP packets turned off,
so no ping is possible. Zero indicates "server, but no ping". 2500 ping
indicates some sort of reboot event. And 9999 indicates some sort of other
problem with the server.

As an experiment I blocked all pings to the server, and this seems to not have an effect. Once an IPSec block is enabled, pings are blocked, but the master server list is still getting some pseudo ping value. So this may be only one piece of the puzzle.

Zero Ping Server and other Server Issues
Many players have noticed a large number of servers that are listed as having zero ping. This is most likely appearing because the server is not passing vital information to GameSpy's Master Servers, and this in turn can occur when vital ports are blocked by a firewall. Since these servers have been causing some initial issues with our Internet Browser parsing, we will begin to delist servers that are not passing this information to the Master Server. In the meantime, to ensure that your server remains listed for all users by GameSpy, please make sure that the following ports are open on your firewall and ensure that you have no manually changed any of the demo server's settings that are not exposed in normal config files.

Server Ports
UDP 27900
UDP/TCP 29900
TCP 80
TCP 4711
UDP 27901
UDP 1500-4999
UDP/TCP 1024-1124
UDP 29900
UDP/TCP 27900
UDP 16567
UDP 55123-55125

It may be that they are selectivly blocking one of these ports, or misconfigured during their server setup and haven't opened one up yet that is required.

Edited by cobrachoppergirl
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