As probably we all know, once Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition is patched, all existing replays are rendered unwatchable (they will go out of sync sooner or later in the game if you try).
There has been up until now workaround-solutions to this problem. One of them has been to use a beta code allowing the user to launch the game on previous live build, but that doesn’t work anymore this week as the beta code is not accepted by Steam anymore. There are third party software which downloads old game versions from the Steam depot, but those are not working anymore this week either. This has resulted in that several sets of at least one tournament I’m involved in will have to go uncasted which is most unfortunate and regrettable.
It has been an issue since the release of the game. To me it’s the greatest nail in the eye with my Age experience at the moment. But I am wondering if I should be hopeful at all that a fix will ever arrive for it? It isn’t even mentioned in ongoing investigation and known issues lists, neither by the developers nor by the user.
We’ve seen that the developers are willing to acknowledge issues and at last solve them, for instance regarding spec chat. But is recorded game breaking patches one of those issues?
Give them some time. They came up with half baked eki system change, now half baked AltF4 fix. Over the next 2 years they will try to properly implement these changes. Then they will decide on when to start fixing the rec situation.
Recorded games don’t save the game state for each tick, but the commands for each tick.
So if the behaviour of the commands on the units change by patch, old recordings go out of sync.
You couldn’t watch AoK records with AoC either.
TLDR: Current format relies on game code/rules to create relatively small recording files. Completely new format would be larger but long-lasting.
Yes, the issue is quite complicated. Consider how massive it is to save the exact position, state, and order of 200 units x 8 players each game tick. Presently, as @UnfamousScout points out, the files are simplified by using the rules and code (such as pathing) of the current game rather than explicating storing each frame of action in the recording.
A complete change in file format would be required to retain enough information when the game itself changes. Besides the map layout, it would need various types of structures such as these:
Initial state (spearman generated at location x,y with the following attack/armor/health)
Change in state (spearman has moved to location x,y; health has declined to x; or unit dies; or unit attacks etc)
Unit/building stats change (the following unit ids now have the following attack/armor/health)
Obviously you would need to record that same information for each building (construction state, health), each bullet/arrow/cannonball, each gaia, and each resource change (add 4 food to villager, subtract 4 food from farm tile id x).
Additionally, each user click and camera move needs to be recorded. Along with chat. These are reasonably small/rare compared to the frame states.
In the end, you would have a reliable format regardless of the game displaying it. The file size might easily change a hundredfold (from 1-2 megabytes to 100-200 megabytes). But, modern computers can handle that.
If only it was the only issue with recorded games.
If I play a recorded game with the fastest speed I can guarantee it has 50% of crashing the game in the imperial age (when it gets crowded), unless played from GAIA point of view.
However even from GAIA’s pow the frames drop to something I’d call a slideshow (7-8) with fastest speed after every player is pop capped (team games 4v4).
Ah nice argument - because there is literally Openage - which is a fanmade Game engine for RTS games like AoE upped for modern standards - that project started years ago but still better than 1999 Engine
Besides - Who again forced them to use that old engine in the first place? With their budget they could have made a new engine from scratch if they wanted
They clearly have the ability to create beta codes to access previous live builds. I understand they don’t want to publish it to the whole playerbase so people can easily downgrade at will but maybe they should create some kind of exclusive contract bound club of people who can downgrade for casting purposes or whatnot sort of like Age Insiders but currently there’s nothing and the way people get it is through some random person on Discord after it has spread from person to person to person from unknown origin.
I can give you two concrete reasons. I’m sorry if these are only relevant to my experience and you can’t relate.
Because two tournament sets were played the days before the “good” update but now those tournament sets will go uncasted because the “good” update has rendered them unwatchable. I promised to cast them and scheduled time of my day for it but because of the “good” update that was all for nothing.
Because I have been preparing recs for content over the past weeks and now when those recs are corrupted by the “good” update, the time I spent on them has been wasted and I need to find new recs for the certain situations I’m looking for.