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C&C: Generals and Router/Firewall Issues Posted February 16, 2003 EST 8:56AM by Agitator!!


I am getting really frustrated with Westwood. They have made some very enjoyable Command & Conquer games over the years. The biggest (and reoccurring) complaint against those games have been their netcode. In Tiberian Sun and Red Alert 2, players would get random disconnects while playing online. They released multiple patches that attempted to address the issues, but never were able to completely eliminate the problems. With C&C: Renegade, they made a FPS that had great potential, but the netcode was so bad, that people just gave up on it.

Another complaint against Westwood was the archaic use of the IPX protocal for LAN games. We have spent many hours trying to get all the machines at a LAN party to "see" the other machines. Trying to get IPX installed and working properly was brutal. While most other developers long ago moved to TCP for LAN connections, Westwood was holding on to IPX. Well guess what folks, these problems exist in their latest installment, C&C: Generals, and may even be worse than before.

Many people cannot connect to multiplayer games...either Online or Network. A sample of people with problems can be seen in this thread on Blues News. I happen to be one of the people that can't connect Online. I use a Netgear Cable/DSL Router, the popular RT314. However, you will find this in the Readme for Generals.
    If you are running a firewall (particularly a NETGEAR solution) and are unable to connect to other players while in the Command & Conquer Generals multiplayer lobby, check the Send Delay box under the Network Options portion of the game's Options menu. If you are still experiencing connection problems, you may want to place your firewall in DMZ mode. (WARNING: Doing so will open your firewall ports to everyone, and this should only be done as a last resort). If you do not know how to configure your firewall settings, consult your firewall documentation or contact your Internet service provider.
They then go on to address how to change your firewall settings.
    The game will need to talk to external servers that use the following port numbers. These ports need to be open in your firewall in order to play on Generals Online:

    TCP ports:
    80, 6667, 28910, 29900, 29920

    UDP ports:
    4321, 27900

    If your firewall does not allow outgoing packets to open ports to incoming traffic, or you experience problems connecting to other players, you will have to specify which port you want Command & Conquer Generals to use for communicating with other players. To do this, perform the following steps.

    Go to your “My Documents” directory, and go to the “Command and Conquer Generals Data” directory. Right click on the options.ini file and choose "Edit."

    Look for the "FirewallPortOverride" entry. If you don’t see this entry, add it as a new line. Then assign the port you want to use to the port override entry. After making this change, this entry should look like:

    FirewallPortOverride = XXXX

    Where XXXX is the port number you have chosen. You will need to open the chosen port in your firewall for communication with players external to your firewall or NAT device. If you use the port override feature, the port you have chosen can not be masqueraded by a NAT device.
Huh? What other game makes you go through such hoops to play Online? I tried the steps listed above and it didn't work for me. One of the problems is that on older routers, you cannot open UDP ports, only TCP ports (Netgear said that their newer RP-614 routers had that ability). In the end, you could be left with a setup that can't communicate with their servers. From the Blues thread, you can see that even people who have gone DMZ can't connect. How many games require you to buy a new router to be able to play them Online?

Unfortunately, Online problems are only one issue as apparently there are also problems with Network (LAN) connections. According to the Readme, it says "Network (2-8 players): TCP/IP compliant network". However, it appears that some people are trying to use the older IPX protocal. I haven't tried this myself because you need two sets of discs. You can't use Disc 1 on one machine and Disc 2 on the other machine like you could in Red Alert 2.

I have done all that I can right now with Netgear's tech support. Unfortunately, Westwood does not have weekend phone support. I don't know if these kinds of problems helped push EA to close the Westwood office, but I'm sure it didn't help. As I find out more, I'll pass it on.

BTW Westwood released two patches for Generals. The second one, 1.02, was pulled shortly after it was posted only to come back later in the day. Looks a bit fishy to me.




Name: Fusca
E-mail: fusca14@hotmail.com
Date: July 28, 2003 EDT 9:22PM
Comment: Hi... Is there a LAN server (like a WarCraft 3 Battle Lan) to play Generals (behind a NAT) using Direct Connect over the Internet?



Name: jimmay
E-mail: sorry@noemail.net
Date: June 6, 2003 EDT 10:04PM
Comment: I just ran a packet sniffer while attempting to host a game and it is immediately apparent why you cant do LAN games over NAT: the game uses broadcast packets, which no router will ever forward. (i.e. UDP packets addressed to 255.255.255.255 on port 8086) ...if machines are pyhsically on a LAN together it will work, but not over any NAT router. it might work over certain VPN solutions, but not likely as far as i can tell. i hope they can come up with something a little better, this is crap.



Name: Eddy
E-mail: garritye001@hawaii.rr.com
Date: May 15, 2003 EDT 5:08AM
Comment: i have a d-link 604 i need to know how to set it up to host internet games for ghost recon if anyone can help me with the setting it would be great
thank and aloha



Name: Icepick
E-mail: jade0071@hotmail.com
Date: May 14, 2003 EDT 3:23PM
Comment: I have C&C generals and I have a linksys router <which is new> and has the lates firmware installed .. I work on networks and computer for a living so I know how to set these things up . I have bf1942 and MOHAA and a lot of other games that I play online fine, but C&C genarals I can not get it to work on the direct connect option in the game. I have done the ports in the readme and the DMZ and edit the file in the readme and still no go. If I plug the router and plug directly into the cable it works ????? what other ports are there to open?



Name: Revoked
E-mail: revoked42@hotmail.com
Date: February 19, 2003 EST 11:10AM
Comment: Just had a LAN this last Sunday/Monday and we had 2,4,5,6,8 person games going and after 4 players (all processors >= P4 1800 RAM >= 512) the game started having the little 'jitters' of LAG. At 8 the game was a LOT slower. The regular 'LAG' isn't there it's just the jitteryness everyone gets. BTW I have no problem with my BEFSR41 v2 (of course it's a rather robust router for a $150 peice of residential equipment).



Name: Sith_Lord
E-mail: sith.lord@gamesoc.org
Date: February 19, 2003 EST 8:52AM
Comment: I havent had any experience with generals personally, but i run various community server for the Edinburgh University residential network. Based on the problems people have discussed with me as to why they cant play this game, i would say that it uses the IPX protocol, rather than TCP/IP. Each of our buldings is defined as a seperate subnet, buildings cannot connect to each other to play. Since for all tcp/ip / udp packets, the buildings can talk to each other, i would guess this indicates IPX, since this is a non-routable protocol. Also one thing to bear in mind are versions, the cracked version that has been floating around for a few weeks is not the same version as the retail release.

There are some serious flaws in the mind of whoever designed the net code. IPX is *not* a modern standard anymore, but there are a lot more problems than just that.

And for the record, i had problems with BF1942, until i realised how processor intensive the server was, and moved it to a dedicated system, and then had nowhere near the same problems.



Name: kami
E-mail: none@set.com
Date: February 19, 2003 EST 7:19AM
Comment: CnC Generals netcode is a complete disaster. I have several issues with it (lag, slowest comp cripples games, no gamespeed settings).

Look at Warcraft 3. With its client side prediction netcode, the game plays brilliantly smooth online. This proves it can be done.

I hope that EA brings the netcode up to par, because right now this is the main thing that's spoiling the online experience of Generals (for me). I have broadband (5 mbit cable) and a fast computer (P4 2.6, 9700 PRO) but i can't play a near decent game online.

Shame on you, EA.



Name: RazorSkin
E-mail: rgarbaba@sbcglobal.net
Date: February 19, 2003 EST 1:57AM
Comment: I really hate EA. You know they are messing up C&C. I fact everything they have touched. Anyone here buy SimCity 4? The game is only half done. When you click on half the features it takes you to EAGame's offical sorry message. It is idiotic. You don't sell a game and then forget to mention that little tid bit of info on the box.

I have a Linksys router. I can only play Quick Matches. With custom I can get no farther then the lobby then I get the "unable to connect to other players message". I can't get it to work. I have tried the DMZ shit and it don't work.



Name: Agi
E-mail: agi@d-silence.com
Date: February 18, 2003 EST 10:33PM
Comment: Well, I still can't connect to a "Quick Match" game :-/ I can get in the lobby now, but no farther than that.

One thing weird I noticed. I could get into the lobby after I deleted the options.ini file. However, if after doing that, I clicked on "Refresh NAT" in the Options menu, I wouldn't be able to connect again.

As for being way off topic, I agree with you Occupant. I got tired of crashing planes using the keyboard in BF1942 so I got a new joystick. Unfortunately, BF1942 just won't see it. It works fine in Control Panel, but BF can't see it :-/



Name: Silent
E-mail: N/A
Date: February 18, 2003 EST 9:46PM
Comment: Well, personally I have never had any trouble with any game created by Westwood. Unfortunately, as I understand it, it is not Westwood who created this game and the two before it but EA Pacific (I had slight problems with RA2, by Pacific, with connecting to their online service.). Both are under the parent company Electronic Arts, who was also responsible for the rocky release of BF1942 as I understand it. EA also has its greedy little hands dipped into MMORPGs, and does a poor job on those too...Erm, in my opinion at least. Westwood is there in name, but not in spirit. Anyway, I'm holding off on Generals until a patch that fixes these problems is released. Good luck to all of you, I wish I could help.
Also, did someone dare say that Star Craft is a good game? Just like WCIII, I bet. Ack, I am off topic again.



Name: LinkSysMan
E-mail: m@m.com
Date: February 18, 2003 EST 5:43PM
Comment: Yeah same problem as Junak here. I can't play LAN games any more since 1.2 patch. It sucks. Both patches they released so far were buggy as hell. 1.0 worked fine, the only problem with it at all for me was a little lobby lag on Generals Online.



Name: Paradigm
E-mail: N/A
Date: February 18, 2003 EST 3:45PM
Comment: "Wasn't EA Pacific that developed the excellent BF 1942?"

No, that was DICE. The same folks who made Codename: Eagle. EA is the publisher.



Name: Occupant
E-mail: N/A
Date: February 18, 2003 EST 3:13PM
Comment: Its a fun game, when it works, Ive been looking at buying a joystick so I can fly the airplanes more effectivly. (then drop bombs on everyone!!!) Useing the default controlls to fly just cause you to die at the end of the runway, I think I flew a record 45 seconds before splashing down.



Name: Rocker
E-mail: N/A
Date: February 18, 2003 EST 7:51AM
Comment: I should have been more specific, BF1942 AFTER the patches. yes, the netcode sucked when it was first released. even so, at least you could still connect to multiplayer games.



Name: Brother Dysk
E-mail: shrk9876@hotmail.com
Date: February 18, 2003 EST 7:25AM
Comment: I'd just like to point out that the netcode in Battlefield 1942 was downright horrid. A friend and I tried to play it over a 10mbit LAN, with just two computers, crossover cable, and it lagged horrendously. We're talking a >50 ping, here, and lag worthy of a ping of 400+. It was unplayable. Every other game we tried worked fine, from DOOM to UT2k3.



Name: ZTLateralus
E-mail: gamatone@yahoo.com
Date: February 18, 2003 EST 12:23AM
Comment: I had the same problem with my DSL when trying to connect online. It always came up could not connect to Generals online server, That is when I realised I had 2 different IP addresses. One was Client (Me) and the other was Server (My IP Provider) What I did was switch the IP's to my Servers IP and after that I have had no problems getting online. My suggestion is if you have problems getting are connecting online, chack and make sure your not on the Client IP since your system will be looking at it's own IP and the online server is not on your Hard drive but the Internet.



Name: Tikan
E-mail: tikan@the-click.ca
Date: February 17, 2003 EST 7:01PM
Comment: Ok, so westwood does not exist anymore in name. Who gives a sh*t, its the same people makeing the game, tied to a different name. Either way, the networking blows. Deal with it, of course you could just play a real game like Starcraft.



Name: Agi
E-mail: agi@d-silence.com
Date: February 17, 2003 EST 5:15PM
Comment: Well, I finally got through to EA's tech support. All it took to connect Online, was to delete the "options.ini" file located in the "My Documents" folder! Generals will create a new one the next time you try to connect. I can now at least get to the Lobbies. However, I could not get any servers to show up using "Quick Match" :-( Still, it's progress...



Name: fenixrisingxl
E-mail: fenixrisingxl@hotmail.com
Date: February 17, 2003 EST 2:42PM
Comment: Wish I could get VPN to work. Every time I try to set it up with my friend, it asks us for a domain, which neither one of us have. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that DHCP must be enabled, according to our ISP.



Name: Maelstorm
E-mail: N/A
Date: February 17, 2003 EST 1:42PM
Comment: my prob is simple .. i've opened the ports (using winroute pro wich is running on my game machine to make my machine also the router) and i can connect and chat but when i try to connect to play no go... if i turn off winroute pro .. wham i'm in like flinn .. so .. WTF!! i've opened the tcp/udp ports.. wake up ea/westwood whatever and fix the damn game!



Name: Agi
E-mail: agi@d-silence.com
Date: February 17, 2003 EST 12:59PM
Comment: Thanks for clearing that up, woof. BTW check this out

http://www.avault.com/news/displaynews.asp?story=2172003-111221

It's details about the upcoming 1.3 patch. It includes plans to "Fix the remaining connectivity issues with firewalls and routers" Wahoo!!



Name: Tim Revis
E-mail: snapbox@hotmail.com
Date: February 17, 2003 EST 12:52PM
Comment: Check this out..BATTLE.LAN 0.5
No problems playing C&C Generals or any other network games
leave it running in the background...virtually everygame i`ve tried has worked
from FIFA2003> WARCRAFT 3> MOTO GP> COSSACKS> AGE OF MYTHOLOGY> GHOST RECON
never let me down.............
http://www.playground.ru/cheats/751/



Name: woof
E-mail: woof@sellmydvds.com
Date: February 17, 2003 EST 12:20PM
Comment: Westwood (which will soon no longer exist even in name) is an EA "brand" now. Generals, RA2, etc were made by EA Pacific, a studio set up in California.
Westwood did make Earth and Beyond, and even those poor people are mostly being layed off or moved to California as EA consolidates EA Pacific, Westwood, and their Irvine studios into a new location in Southern California.
Battlefield 1942 was developed by a Swedish company, DI. Westwood is dead. Long live Westwood. Blame EA for network, etc. Tech support (such as network problems, etc) lies with the publisher...
http://www.gamespy.com/previews/november02/ccgenerals/
From EA Press Release:"Generals is the next game in the 17-million-selling Command & Conquer franchise. It's being created by EA Pacific, the developers of the wildly popular Command & Conquer Red Alert™ 2 and Command & Conquer Yuri's Revenge™."



Name: Agi
E-mail: agi@d-silence.com
Date: February 17, 2003 EST 9:54AM
Comment: UNCLE, UNCLE! I surrender! Can I remove the knife from my back now? ;-)

Apparently there is some disagreement on who developed Generals. Let's put that aside and as InfiniteReality stated, let's focus on the problem instead. Many people cannot connect to "Online" multiplayer games because of their routers while others have no problem at all. If you don't have a problem, congrats! Have a ball playing online, I'm envious :-) However, for those of us having problems, we need to come up with a viable solution to that problem. I will look into the work around I saw on Voodoo Extreme

http://www.crappyhosting.com/submerged/generalstutorial.htm

I'm not sure I want to do that just yet however.

Finally, to clear up a point of confusion. I said that people were claiming to not be able to get connected via a LAN using IPX, but that the readme says TCP. I haven't checked it out myself yet, but will later on today.



Name: InfiniteReality
E-mail: not@today
Date: February 17, 2003 EST 6:41AM
Comment: woof, where did you get your misinformation? my RA2 disc says clearly Westwood Studios on it? So does the Renegade disc. Only Generals does not say that. And as Rocker pointed out, the Westwood Studios website features Generals on it.

I think people may be missing the point of this article. Bottom line, if you are running a firewall/router, you MAY have problems. From Generals own readme file, Netgear owners may be especially affected. I think that is the main point.



Name: Rocker
E-mail: N/A
Date: February 17, 2003 EST 6:24AM
Comment: Time to clear up some misinformation. This game was originally developed by Westwood. Hell, if you go to www.westwood.com , you will see Generals splashed on the frontpage. EA Pacific took over development of the game when EA decided to close the Westwood office.

It also doesn't appear to be a troll. I like it when people point out flaws in a game BEFORE I spend my money. I will wait to see if they solve these problems before I spend my hard-earned cash.

Wasn't EA Pacific that developed the excellent BF 1942? I don't see any of this lame networking scheme in that game. Only the Westwood guys were married to it.



Name: woof
E-mail: woof@sellmydvds.com
Date: February 17, 2003 EST 5:19AM
Comment: If you're going to rant, at least get your facts straight. Westwood did not make Red Alert 2. Or the expansion. Or Generals. All three titles were made by EA Pacific. This post seems more like a troll than anything else. Then again, the poster is named Agitator...<shrug>



Name: xx
E-mail: xx@b.c
Date: February 17, 2003 EST 2:31AM
Comment: vpn rules!



Name: Merc248
E-mail: merc248@hotmail.com
Date: February 17, 2003 EST 1:58AM
Comment: err... just to let you know, it was EA pacific that made this game, not westwood :p



Name: Merc248
E-mail: merc248@hotmail.com
Date: February 17, 2003 EST 1:58AM
Comment: err... just to let you know, it was EA pacific that made this game, not westwood :p



Name: GlowingBurrito
E-mail: glowingburrito@hotmail.com
Date: February 16, 2003 EST 11:27PM
Comment: I've got a Dlink DI-604 router and the game works fine online, hosting and joining. All it took was just opening the ports the game uses.



Name: Junak
E-mail: junak1@hotmail.com
Date: February 16, 2003 EST 11:04PM
Comment: I have the same problem....a brand new MS mnn-100 router...opened all the ports, etc...even try the DMZ. Still nothing. Funny thing is that before the 2nd patch me and a buddy hooked up fine...after the 2nd patch I jumped in the same boat with all of you. Thank You EA and Westwood!!


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