Server Feedback: M1 24 Hours of Daytona

As promised, although longer then planned, here is my server feedback from the M1 24 hours of Daytona. 

First and foremost, I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who helped and came together to make this endurance event possible. There is a strong cohesion, which to be honest I haven’t seen enough in some sim racing leagues. So, a really fantastic job guys! 

After the whole admin incident in the middle of the race. Peter and the admin staff made the decision to restart the server and run the final 12 hours. Which allowed other drivers to re-join, who unfortunately had to DNF previously. But I would like to be clear it wasn’t a server crash. 

LMP2 Engines Expiring

There was an issue with a couple LMP2 engines expiring. Completely at random. From the server-side mechanical failures were set to ‘normal’. It’s the exact same server setting that was used for the 12 hours of Sebring and 6 hours of Interlagos. All without engine issues. Though it is a problem not being able to access the engine.ini file, this is due to the LMP2 car files being encrypted. So, it is hard to explain why the engines were expiring specifically at Daytona. Therefore, at the server restart the decision was made to turn mechanical failures offSo, teams could finish the final 12 hours. I do believe mechanical failures are a part of endurance racing and should be on. But on this occasion, it was deemed necessary. Hopefully we can get an explanation from Studio397 on what potentially caused this issue. 

Server Feedback

I know it wasn’t the smoothest of races on the server side. There were a few server lag incidents. I really do apologise for that. I know I have apologised a lot to you guys. But I want to see a resolution to the problems which occurred at Daytona. Rest assured the server lag is being investigated. I need to find out what caused these issues. One of which I am currently investigating is that potentially live racers might be causing lag spikes. However, I need to get this confirmed. It is only speculation at this time. So, I would like to turn live racers off, for a test race, and see if we have any occurring server lag spikes. I’m trying to narrow down the root cause as much as possible. Though I do not believe all lag and screen freezes are directly related to the server.

I would have loved for a test race to have been organised before Daytona. However, this was really difficult with Christmas and new year. Yes, it should have been done and yes it should have been before Christmas so I take full responsibility for that. So, for the next upcoming race I would like to do a test race as soon as possible, I’ve already spoken with Peter, so hopefully that should be announced in the upcoming days. If we could have as many of you on as possible that would be fantastic. I’d really like to stress the server to create a realistic scenario. Then if there are any issues, I can address them in due course. 

I don’t want to keeping make excuses, saying an endurance event is the most taxing on a server so you should have to accept it. Because you shouldn’t. Everyone should have a good server experience, although difficult but possible. 

Though just to clarify ‘server lag’ is when everyone on the server either experiences a freeze or when all cars warp/disappear. If it just an individual who has a screen freeze or has cars lagging then that could potentially be an issue with their PC or internet. But I noticed a screen freeze on the broadcast, where all cars disappeared but then came back after being slightly delayed. So therefore it was a confirmed server freeze. Hopefully this clears up some confusion going forward. It does seem like the server freezes are directly coming from when someone leaves or rejoins during a driver swap but I am still investigating this. 

I would like to clarify that the only applications running during any M1 Endurance event is the M1 Endurance rFactor2 server and WeatherUnderground (allows for the use of live weather). However, I did move to Windows Server 2012 recently so potentially there may be a background task running, which may cause a server lag spike. I will monitor server load during the next test race and see if that indeed is the issue. Though once again this is speculation. Live weather will be monitored in the upcoming weeks as to whether we can use it further. It was due to expire on the 31st December 2018.

AI Taking Over Cars During Driver Swap

Peter did mention to me that drivers were still having the AI take over their car during a driver swap. Peter may have potentially found a code line in the player.ini file. We will need to test driver swaps as much as possible during the next test race. Just so we can establish whether the AI still takes over the car and also how the server reacts during a driver swap. 

Server Crashing Before The Race

Before the actual endurance event the rFactor2 dedicated server was crashing. Not the actual main physical server. Anyhow, this was very concerning for me. Obviously I never want the server to crash at anytime. So as a precaution, before the endurance event, I did a fresh install of the rFactor2 dedicated server and I also reinstalled the Microsoft Visual C++ 2015 Redistributable. We will have to see whether that fixes the issue going forward.

Night Time Practice

Before the next endurance event I will look into a way where I can allow for night time driving on the server. I did look into adding ‘practice 2’ but I could not find a way where I could adjust session length and actual in game time. I will investigate more and report back in the upcoming days. Also potentially, instead of a ‘practice session’ I may try a ‘test day’ and see what the general feedback is from you guys.

Anyway, thank you very much for reading, I know I have written an awful lot. I just wanted to try and give as much information as possible. But also just to update you guys. So, I hope this gives you more understanding from the server side. Good luck for the next endurance event!