Starting & during the game

Playing a game on multiplayer: starting & during the game

I will not discuss how to play a game here, only things you have to pay attention to in general.

When you join a game, always read the title, it will  give you some information about the game. Next thing, say hi, and have a look at the start options and additional options, this will give you a quick look on what game it is, art game, short pt game, long pt game, millions, 1000, capture, no capture etc…

Ask the rules. A host that doesn’t state rules either plays without. Obviously, or has something other in mind. Or perhaps he doesn’t speak your language.

Inside the game shell, on the bottom it will give the names of the participants to the game. After every name it gives a rank (if any) and a number and in some case % lost. The number refers to the ping. Now what is ping? It’s the time in milliseconds it takes to synchronize data between 2 computers. The lower, the faster it synchronizes and the faster the game will be run. The higher the ping the slower the game will be. An average ping on Cossacks would be somewhere between 50-150. Any lower is excellent. If higher and especially when a lot of players the more risk for lag.

The ping may depend on many factors ( “butterflies”).

         First of all the internet connection speed of both players. The slowest connection speed will determine the speed of both players. ( “bottleneck”)

         Secondly, the distance two players are from each other (“e.g.Asia & Europe”)

         Thirdly, the computer performances such as processor (“hart of the pc”), available RAM memory to work aswell as the videocard , again the slowest computer will determine the speed of both players

         The amount of players in the game. If you play 1vs1, the server only has to wait for 2 signals. If you play a game with more players, this increases exponentially. If you play with 6 players, the server has to wait for over 30 different signals. (6*5)

         The condition of the GS server. It happens on some days that the server is unavaible or has clearly issues with itself.


In some case’s you will see a % lost behind a player’s name at the bottom of the screen. This can be caused by many things. It means for some reason along the synchronization of the computers a certain % of data is lost. This is obviously not very constructive towards the game.

I tend to ask people if they have other software running, such as download programs, msn, music player or any other software that uses RAM up and have it shut down . It’s clear that the less available capacity the computer has to work with, the slower the game will get as time progresses, since there will be more units, and more data to be send.

When you feel comfortable about the players and everyone has chosen a color and nation ( you cannot use brown as color, since its reserved for mutiny units-)ask all players to choose team or you can play ffa. If for some reason a player is unable to start, he should press control+ start to enforce a start. After loading up the host can start the game.

In certain case when playing on (x4) big maps or when people have a slow internet connection, a screen will pop-up at the start of the game showing which people are still loading. It is so important that you do not talk during this screen. For some sadistic reason when that screen is on , and you hit enter , you either get thrown out of the game or a get a defeat. Just have a little bit of patience. If it takes to long (like more then 2 minutes,) then it’s the server who is not responding. In this case you better restart.

Untill 9’59 seconds a game is not rated yet. It shows a ? above the minimap along the time. This indicates that its not rated yet. After 10 minutes, the ? disappears and the game is rated. So if you play 0 pt and win before 10 minutes are passed, you should wait or you will not get any points out of it.

During the game, often after a while, for no apparent reason the pause screen is there again at the top of the screen. Again its so important that  you do not talk during this screen. First of all, you cant do anything about it, so its no use talking. But secondly and more important, if you talk you get either thrown out of the game or you get a defeat as soon as you hit enter. To avoid this you should use caps-lock when you want to talk. But even that isn’t 100% proof. Just have patience, its most likely someone who is actually looking at the menu, but it could aswell be an rupture in the internet connection. So if you send any data at that moment(such as text) the servers thinks you are trying to fool it and accounts for this as a defeat. In case of a rupture in the connection, either the player that caused it will be thrown out of the game and the players will be able to continue or the pause screen will stay for a long while( 5 minutes) in that case , your game is over.

Another issue is the synchronization failure. This could be caused by many reasons again, but generally a bad internet connection or unstable connection. Suddenly in the midst of a game the color of the  player above the mini map starts flashing, and you get a continuous message of a warning synchronization failure . As of this point the game is unrated, but you will still be able to play. Synchro failures can also be caused by someone having a somewhat 'different' version then yours ( read:cheats).