Author Topic: Multiplayer Do's and Don'ts.  (Read 8103 times)

Purple44

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I started a new "Multiplayer Do's and Don'ts." thread over at the Distance forum after reading the latest update on Distance( Distance close to going alpha ). Thought it be a good idea to also post my post here in Bugbear's forum so Bugbear Devs can get a refresher on how to do the online right, like what was done with Flatout 2 and GRID 1:

Multiplayer Do's and Don'ts.



In Sunday June 23 Kickstarter post by Refract Dev Jordan, Jordan talk about multiplayer a bit:


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In many ways our goal up until now has been to explore the idea of multiplayer with Nitronic Rush-style gameplay and see what it takes to make interactions between cars engaging. Modes like Tag, Stunt, and Soccer were decently fun right out of the box since they lasted much longer than a 1-3 minute race and they generally forced cars to be in closer proximity so you wouldn't feel too isolated. Race mode on the other hand has struggled to feel interesting or even competitive for a while now since the cars move so fast and are very small in a large world. It’s easy to feel like you blink and the car that was just next to you is now a million miles away. From playtesting we did of split-screen races we often saw players treat the race as a simultaneous single player experience. More often than not people would be just focused on surviving the track themselves and not really trying to edge out their competition.

Happy to hear there going to be Tag and Soccer online.  :)  But for multiplayer online to have longevity like we have seen with Flatout 2 and GRID 1 online, somethings need to be done right. If online is done wrong, like what we saw with FUEL, Blur, Flatout 3: Chaos & Destruction ( was not done by Bugbear )  and now GRID 2 ( which was done by Codemasters and blew it  :o  ), online will die an early death.

I have been racing online with real players and having a blast since 2005 with Flatout 1. We now know what work with online racing and what does not. Flatout 2 and GRID 1 ( except for the kick vote in GRID 1 ) got it right when it come to online racing.

So here my list of do's and don'ts. Refract is a small studio, so not sure if they could implement all the do's, but at least try to avoid the don'ts.

#1. Need text chat in host lobby and would be nice to have text chat while racing like we could do in GRID 1. For online to have longevity, we got be able to BS with other online players and make some new online friends!! Don't need need a fancy lobby either.  ;)

Text chat window that was done for the FOv3 mod for Flatout 1.



DON'T:

Voice over IP ( VOIP ). VOIP has not work well in practice online, especially when Devs forget to put in a mute button so you have to listen to noise like this - . Who want to hear a foul mouth player over your speakers or headset? Easier to take as text in a text chat window.

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#2. Use a host list and let online player decide who he\she want to join. Some game makers have used just matchmaking to throw player into a random host. Making it harder to join up with friends online!! Also suggest host list show full hosts to ( 12/12 ) in list so player can still see friend's host and can wait for a spot to open up.

DON'T:

Don't limit host list to just showing 20 hosts, like what happen in GRID 1. If your new host is host #21, your host did not show up in the host list in GRID 1. Need list to handle at least 50 hosts, 100 would be better and make host list scroll-able. I have seen over 50 hosts in Flatout 2 in it heyday when you could find over 500 players online on a Saturday.

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#3. There need to be a good kick vote system, so host can police his or her lobby!! Like the kick vote system that is use in Flatout 2. It the fairest way I have seen to handle players that just join a lobby to cause trouble or use trainers to cheat. Host decide who to kick, then all players in the lobby are ask to vote, if majority vote yes, player is kicked.

This another reason to have text chat in lobby so can talk about if need to kick a player.

DON'T:

With no way to kick trouble makers\hackers, can drive good players away from racing online!! Good players will look for hosts where they can have a good race.

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#4. I'm not sure if Distance racing will be just point A to point B type racing or there will be some lap racing tracks. If there is going to be lap type races, online players want to see their best lap time in results screen. If you don't get first, it nice to see if you got fastest lap time. Also it a way to see if players are seriously cheating the game if their best lap is way to fast for that track.

DON'T:

Do not do like Codemasters did for GRID 2 and drop best lap time for all players in result screen, that was in GRID 1 ( also Flatout 2 ).



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#5. Please give players enough time to finish the race. Minimum time should at least be 30 seconds, 60 seconds is better or let host set the time to finish the race ( 30, 60, 120 or 180 ).

DON'T:

In Test Drive Unlimited 2 in an online race, you only had 10 seconds to finish race after first player crosses the finish line!!  :o

In GRID 1, we had 30 second to finish the race, which was OK until you did 5-10 lap races, then some the 12 players did not get to finish the race.  :(

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These 5 online features listed above are must haves in my book, if online going to have a long life.  :D

Here are some more online features that have been in other racing games and would be nice to have online:

1. A way for host to setup a tournament. Flatout 2 did this real well. Host could setup a tournament with up to 12 events. Host could do a mix of race, derby and stunts if host wanted to. Could set the number of laps.

2. Any car, any track. Host should be able to let players race any car on any track or limit cars to certain groups, like derby, street, race that was done in Flatout 2 or my favorite hosting option, "Same as Host" from Flatout 2.  "Same as Host" let host make all players race one car. I like this option online because without it most players will only pick the best one or 2 cars and that all they will use online. With "Same as Host" option, a wider variety of cars get race online. :)

Or do a random track, random car mode. I would like to see a host option like this. And players should be randomly put on the start grid.

3. Online players "ready up" before start of race. In GRID 1 there was a 60 second timer before race would start or if all players ready up then race would start. In Flatout 2 host decide when race start and if a player wanted to take a break, player would not ready up and host could still start the race. Player taking a break, get to keep his spot in the lobby, but his car is not put on the start line. When next race is ready to start, player taking a break can now ready up and join the next race. I prefer how "ready up" works in Flatout 2.

4. 12 players online. I think 12 players online hits the sweet spot. We been trying to get 12 players online since Flatout 1 ( we had a 12 player mod for Flatout 1 but was unstable :( ). My first 12 player online racing game was GRID 1 in 2008.  With 12 players online, the first 4 are fighting to get first place, the next 4 players are trying to catch up with the front runners and the last 4 are trying not to be last. What I like about 12 players online is usually you always have someone close by to race against. It not as much fun racing the track if your all by yourself.

Love the bumper to bumper racing we had in GRID 1. Also love the chaos racing of GRID 1 derby racing with 10-12 good players.

5. To be able to spectate a current race when join a new lobby ( GRID 1 ), spectate players still on the track after you have finish the race or wreck in a derby ( Flatout 2 ).

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Here some the don'ts that brought an early death to online racing:

FUEL: GRRR, FUEL had a lot of good tracks to race online and custom, but unfortunately when you setup a FUEL host, it only for one race, then host and all players that join host are thrown back to free roam and host has to start host all over again to race the next track and hope players rejoin his host. GRRR

FUEL - Monster truck custom track

Blur: Alright, 20 player chaos racing online!! Except after 2 months, PC version online was getting slow ( no wheel support, no text chat ). Blur did 2-10 player host list and 4-20 player host list. I wanted to race 20 player chaos races, so I start a 20 player host and after an hour of waiting I never got the 4 players need to start the race in my lobby. Three times, I got to 3 players in my lobby, but before a 4th player would join, one the other players would leave. GRRRR

After 2 months online with PC Blur, I could not do 20 player races any more.  :evil:

Flatout 3 - Chaos & Destruction:  Publisher Strategy First rush beta version of Flatout 3 ( Flatout5 ) out before Christmas to get Christmas sale and screwed over the Flatout community. Flatout 3 was not ready for prime time and online was broken on release day. GRRRRRRRRR

GRID 2: After a 5 year wait for a new GRID, Codemasters blows it by droping a lot key online features that were in GRID 1!!  :cry:

Here a post I did over at the Steam GRID forum:

http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?p=34529436#post34529436   ( reply #25 )

Here a post that lists most the things missing or wrong with GRID 2 online. I doubt Codemasters will spend a lot of time to give us back the missing features from GRID 1 in a patch. :mad:

The GRID 2 Feedback Thread



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TeamCrashEmUp - That's what I think too: The game is a mish-mash of styles from yester-year. The downhill drifts come straight out of NFS Carbon. Racing through the city dodging pickups....Really?

I guess you will have seen the feedback thread on CM forums, Purple? Even the most basic requirements have been left out in all areas. After the big buildup, people are rightly peeved.

I have read the whole thread yes. ;)

Here a post that lists most the things missing or wrong with GRID 2 online. I doubt Codemasters will spend a lot of time to give us back the missing features from GRID 1 in a patch. :mad:

The GRID 2 Feedback Thread


Psylocke wrote:

Olalaa... CM really?

What did you do with this game compared to GRID ROFL.

I've been playing for 2 days, so sure, haven't seen it all, and I suppose the Single player is ok, but that's not what I'm here for.

GRID had great multiplayer, arcady, but it was really heart pumping, fast, and when the race was set up right, it was a real race!

Grid 2 is missing A LOT!

Things I see which make no sense at all:

 

Multiplayer

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- Invite friends not working for me at all, and not working for my friends either, we have to create or join a custom game to find each other. Guess that will be fixed, but really... how can this be overlooked in a first simple internal test?
Same as profile viewing of others, does nothing.

- What's up with this microphone all of a sudden rofl... really? No text chat in a PC multiplayer game?
Is it because you got so many complaints about the chat in GRID in it's initial release, as it span over the whole screen?
How difficult is it to make a chat window?
You need to fire immediately the guy who made this decision! Never in my life have I seen a PC multiplayer game without chat... you guys just set a world guinness record with that one! Bravo! That is REALLY too crazy for words! Can't emphasize that enough!

- And why are there no microphone settings in the options menu? Really!?

- Mixed classes of cars? What? I thought we were racing? GRID 1 system needed! (touring cars / muscle cars ...)

- Quick flashbacks online??? The system of GRID was perfect, you crashed, ok... you could if necessary push a button and get reset on the track, the car would stay in ghost mode long enough for others who were arriving at high speed to go through you, and it was safer for you too at that moment. Pressing Start made your car go in ghost mode and drive at a slower speed through the track, very handy for when you were looking backwards and seeing that ramming idiot coming at you at 300Km/h and then pressing start when he wanted to ram you, see ya. Quick flashbacks is simply dumb. GRID 1 system is needed back!

- What is with this Level xx and money screen after every race, it takes ages... I don't need to see stuff like that in multiplayer... multiplayer needs to be a fast and accessible thing. All types of screens like that, need to be able to be skipped if wanted!!!

- No spectating when entering a lobby where a race is going on (possibly only for custom?) ?? Really? Imagine that lobby is running an endurance race of 40 mins or something... good luck waiting without ever seeing anything close to a race.
You do realise watching others race is ALSO a joy...??? GRID 1 system was perfect!
And how difficult is it to simply show which lap the car in position 1 is in for example? That would be a MINIMUM if you can't fix the spectate!

Edit: Also if spectate while you are in a race after you wreck your car, GRID 2 will crash.

- Corner cutting punishing great idea, but it needs to put your car immediately in ghost mode otherwise others behind you ram you unintentionally. And it needs to be perfected better. Totally ridiculous at the moment.

- On first sight, the damage to the cars looks to have been worked out worse then in GRID, which is weird as I would've expected it to be better. I'm not sure yet, but seeing my Alfa Romeo's front getting trashed in pretty much the same way every time... I don't know, it' just looks simpler, maybe I'm mistaken about this one, but I doubt it.
And where is the small HUD icon showing you what piece of car is in good / medium / bad state.... ? GRID 1 system needed!

- Who on your team decided that some sound volume options can only go as low as 50%... come on... you have to admit yourself... that is stupid! Oh wait, let's program volume sliders, but for some of them, block them at 50% as lowest... or did the programmer had to go home at that moment and forgot it the day after? Noone saw it in any test version no? Didn't bother you or didn't make you think it would bother anyone no? The crowd in this game is so ridiculously loud btw... show me one real life event in the world where people make more sound then the cars!

- First 10 mins I was online, I called up that stat times of a track, and immediately saw first 3 times on that track where cheaters. Finishing the track in 4 seconds, 20 seconds and 30 seconds...
Tell me, how hard is it, to make an AI car drive the track AS FAST as possible, with decent driving and no cheating of course, and then take that extreme pro time, and deduct 5 seconds off of it just to be sure, as you never know how pro people can get. Now THAT result you have there, is the ULTIMATE possible fastest time, and everyone who sets a faster time then that, INSTABAN (or some other softer action as you see fit)! HOW DIFFICULT IS IT?!

- The lobbies look consolish... omg everything is SO BIG rofl...and yet... there is no detail at all... not enough stats, not enough info... no country flags... not much at all really...

- I loved to play Collisions on in GRID, and I still love it, but thanks to the corner cutting penalty not going into ghost mode for the one doign the penalty, and the quick flashbacks, and the drifty feeling for everything, it becomes very, VERY difficult now in a very wrong way! It should be difficult, but not for those reasons!

Edit: Psylocke forgot one key online feature, there no best lap time for each player in the race results screen!!!!

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I think I could live with this new Truefeel handling online, but with GRID 2 missing so many key online features that gave GRID 1 it longevity, I think I will have pass on GRID 2. I do must my racing online and I'm thinking PC GIRD 2 online going to die off by the end of this summer. :(


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OK guys, did I miss any key online features or don'ts?

Edit: Forgot one, no upgrades for online racing. Good players want a fair race, let your driving skill and knowledge of shortcuts ( Flatout 1 & 2, Distance? ) win the race, not that you have a faster, better car than the other players. We got Codemasters to disable ebay cars online with the v1.3 patch for GRID 1 ( could still use ebay cars offline ). A good ebay car was faster and had better grip than a stock GRID 1 car. And a lot of GRID 1 players do not know about ebay cars being use online. And the ebay file could be hack.

Also upgrades in GRID 2 has made a mess of the online racing.  :cry:
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Thanks for taking the time to read through all that. All it take is 1 thing to screw up online racing, sometimes!
« Last Edit: August 30, 2017, 01:09:19 PM by Purple44 »
Flatout Joint, where the mods were.

i5 2500 i7 8700, 16GB, Nvidia 660 960 1060 6GB, Win 10 64bit, DFGT Wheel

Mopower

None upgradeable cars for multiplayer? .... Yeahhh, I don't really like that idea at all.. It takes more skill to race with faster and better cars. a 0% upgrade race is maybe more fair for people who are new or not as experienced at the game, but a 100% upgraded race is where you see true skill and can see people's maximum potential in a car... I'd rather see someone's driving style in a souped up car then their driving style in a 0% upgraded chili... Just saying

Could have misread this, but i definitely want to be able to have upgraded cars in multiplayer... Would be boring with only stock cars
  • #1

  • aerocrane

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    VOIP may not be a useful thing for all racing games, but it certainly made it easier to collaborate with other players for the freeburn challenges in Burnout Paradise. If there would be a easy option to mute specific players or disable it completely, it really could be a nice feature.

    Purple44

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    None upgradeable cars for multiplayer? .... Yeahhh, I don't really like that idea at all.. It takes more skill to race with faster and better cars. a 0% upgrade race is maybe more fair for people who are new or not as experienced at the game, but a 100% upgraded race is where you see true skill and can see people's maximum potential in a car... I'd rather see someone's driving style in a souped up car then their driving style in a 0% upgraded chili... Just saying

    Could have misread this, but i definitely want to be able to have upgraded cars in multiplayer... Would be boring with only stock cars

    If upgrades are done like in Flatout 1 and 2 where host pick if upgrades are use or not and the upgrade is apply to all cars, so the race is still fair, Then I'm fine with upgrades online.

    But ebay cars in GRID 1 made things unfair online where some players that new about the faster, better ebays cars and spent a few hours buy and selling the Lacetti to find a good one, had an advantage over the player with a stock car.

    In Grid 2 with the upgrading of the cars and no host option to make all players race with a stock car, has unbalance the racing online. :(

    I have no problem with upgrading cars in single player career mode, but upgrading online that make the racing unfair, I do not like.

    Most good players online want a fair race, where your skill win the race, not that you got a faster, better car than the other players.
    Flatout Joint, where the mods were.

    i5 2500 i7 8700, 16GB, Nvidia 660 960 1060 6GB, Win 10 64bit, DFGT Wheel

    Mopower

    None upgradeable cars for multiplayer? .... Yeahhh, I don't really like that idea at all.. It takes more skill to race with faster and better cars. a 0% upgrade race is maybe more fair for people who are new or not as experienced at the game, but a 100% upgraded race is where you see true skill and can see people's maximum potential in a car... I'd rather see someone's driving style in a souped up car then their driving style in a 0% upgraded chili... Just saying

    Could have misread this, but i definitely want to be able to have upgraded cars in multiplayer... Would be boring with only stock cars

    If upgrades are done like in Flatout 1 and 2 where host pick if upgrades are use or not and the upgrade is apply to all cars, so the race is still fair, Then I'm fine with upgrades online.

    But ebay cars in GRID 1 made things unfair online where some players that new about the faster, better ebays cars and spent a few hours buy and selling the Lacetti to find a good one, had an advantage over the player with a stock car.

    In Grid 2 with the upgrading of the cars and no host option to make all players race with a stock car, has unbalance the racing online. :(

    I have no problem with upgrading cars in single player career mode, but upgrading online that make the racing unfair, I do not like.

    Most good players online want a fair race, where your skill win the race, not that you got a faster, better car than the other players.
    Ah, I see what you are saying now, my bad. Well, I would rather see everyone have to drive vehicles they own only, or have to pick stock vehicles if they don't own them in single player lol. Because techinically, everyone should be able to get the same cars through single player to play with in multiplayer.

    At the same time, FOUC was known to reset my single player profile... so their single player would have to be saved in an online server so that we wouldn't lose our info, otherwise it would really suck to use this system
  • #4

  • Mopower

    About the time to finish the race thing... Lol, I know some people like to just whip shitties if they're the last one in the race, cuz why not? lol

    (Guilty)

    Anywho, making it 180 seconds could cause people to get bored and tab out/leave
  • #5

  • Purple44

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    About the time to finish the race thing... Lol, I know some people like to just whip shitties if they're the last one in the race, cuz why not? lol

    (Guilty)

    Anywho, making it 180 seconds could cause people to get bored and tab out/leave


    Edit: Me Bad, 180 seconds work out to 3 mins, ya that might be a little to long to wait for some players to finish. I need to work on my math conversions!


    Ya it depends on the race, it track is short, then not need as much time to finish. In GRID 1, we were doing a weekly tournament and each race was set to enough laps to make race last about 30 minutes. Would of been nice to have 2 1/2 mins to finish the race instead of 30 seconds. After 30 minutes straight of racing, ya sure feel it in your arms.

    If did a 4 lap race on Hazard Hollow, might need 180 seconds to finish. ;)




    With our community mod with Flatout 2, we went with 90 seconds to finish the race.
    « Last Edit: June 30, 2013, 09:43:18 AM by Purple44 »
    Flatout Joint, where the mods were.

    i5 2500 i7 8700, 16GB, Nvidia 660 960 1060 6GB, Win 10 64bit, DFGT Wheel

    LUNITIC_WILL

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    why not set the end race timer like in forza
    "one shall stand, one shall fall" Optimus Prime 1984-present

    Purple44

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    • Posts: 8491
    I just got reminded by Zeb that I would do a post about Gas Guzzlers Extreme online features:

    Loading Screen Tips

    I like the loading screen in Gas Guzzler Extreme. It show a pic of track or arena and show track layout. Also down in bottom left-hand corner, you see a racing tip.



    It been a long while since I have seen online done well, like what was done in Flatout 2 and GRID 1, but the Gamepires Devs have done a very good job with the online part of GGE.  I would have to say GGE online features over all, are better than what was done in Flatout 2 and GRID 1.  :D :D :D :D

    I think it be worth Bugbear time to checkout Gas Guzzler Extreme to see the many online features Gamepires Devs did. I think sometime this week I should sit down and do a post about GGE online features with some pics.

    So here some DOs from GGE:

    1. Show a pic of track or arena and show track layout. Like pic above.

    2. Show PING to host. Like Bugbear doing now with NCG LAN mode. :)





    3. When player is typing a text message, have an indicator next to player's name showing player is typing a message. I like this as a host. I hate it in Flatout 2, someone may be in the middle of typing a message and as host I start race before player finish the message .  With indicator, I can hold off starting the race until player has posted message. One tip to avoid host starting race before you done with a message, don't ready up.



    4. Give host or the players lots of options to setup things to their liking. :)

    Flatout Joint, where the mods were.

    i5 2500 i7 8700, 16GB, Nvidia 660 960 1060 6GB, Win 10 64bit, DFGT Wheel

    Lari Fari

    • Posts: 1747
    How about setting the length of end race timer dependent on the length of race. For example 10 secs per lap. But that still wouldn't fix the short track/long track problem.

    So how about 10 % of winners final time? (Or other percentage, that makes sense after testing and isn't a random number I just made up... ) ;)
    Gaming Since 1989

    Keras

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    Great post, agree with pretty much everything (didn`t read the last bit though, too much text :p).
    Since Bugbear made Flatout 2 which is the showcase for how to do online right in a racing game I`m not worried at all. I don`t think they forgot how to do it ^^

    And on a side note: Grid 2 now does show the fastest lap online. They probably patched it in later, I just got it on the last sale so I don`t know how it was in the beginning.

    Purple44

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    • Posts: 8491
    Great post, agree with pretty much everything (didn`t read the last bit though, too much text :p).
    Since Bugbear made Flatout 2 which is the showcase for how to do online right in a racing game I`m not worried at all. I don`t think they forgot how to do it ^^

    And on a side note: Grid 2 now does show the fastest lap online. They probably patched it in later, I just got it on the last sale so I don`t know how it was in the beginning.

    Ya it got patch in after players complain loudly about. But did not get text chat for GRID 2 and still waiting for text chat for GRID Autosport.  >:(
    Flatout Joint, where the mods were.

    i5 2500 i7 8700, 16GB, Nvidia 660 960 1060 6GB, Win 10 64bit, DFGT Wheel

    Marocco2

    • Posts: 159
    I would like suggest another feature to multiplayer.

    -WAN servers: Compare to LAN (LOCAL Area Network), you can only race with other player on a router without use bridges like LAN Bridger. The LAN host must be always online and join to the race; also the LAN host must have a good PC, a good ping (-50ms is the best) and a good upload speed (200-300kbps is enough).

    If bugbear adds support to WAN (WIDE Area Network) servers, you can join lobby with players of other countries, the host don't have to join the race (a dedicated server NCG version is preferable) and (my wish) until 24 players with NO LAG AT ALL. Servers must have over 3Mbps upload speed and a Intel Xeon with 8GB of RAM if you want more players.

    I hope Bugbear developers listen to me.

    Thanks :) (Good work BugBear!!!)

    Purple44

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    • Posts: 8491
    I would like suggest another feature to multiplayer.

    -WAN servers: Compare to LAN (LOCAL Area Network), you can only race with other player on a router without use bridges like LAN Bridger. The LAN host must be always online and join to the race; also the LAN host must have a good PC, a good ping (-50ms is the best) and a good upload speed (200-300kbps is enough).

    If bugbear adds support to WAN (WIDE Area Network) servers, you can join lobby with players of other countries, the host don't have to join the race (a dedicated server NCG version is preferable) and (my wish) until 24 players with NO LAG AT ALL. Servers must have over 3Mbps upload speed and a Intel Xeon with 8GB of RAM if you want more players.

    I hope Bugbear developers listen to me.

    Thanks :) (Good work BugBear!!!)

    Online Multiplayer has been plan for before we even knew LAN mode was going to be in NCG for sure. From a Bugbear Dev in October 25, 2013:

    Got Multiplayer?

    In today’s blog update we’re going to talk a bit about multiplayer. It’s proven to be a very popular topic in our community, which is not surprising given that pretty much nothing beats giving your peers a proper beating in an old-fashioned, no holds barred derby match. We love that, and so do you! Needless to say, we’re going to pay a lot of attention to the multiplayer component of the game to make sure it’s something that everyone can get in and enjoy.

    ....................

    Furthermore, we don’t yet know where the lobby server is going to be in the end. Steam would be an attractive option as it’s a robust, tried and tested system. But then again, that would obviously mean having Steam mandatory.

    Tapio Vierros, programmer

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    We will not be using LAN mode to take NCG online when final version get release. We should later this year get to test out online multiplayer. It coming.  ;)

    Flatout Joint, where the mods were.

    i5 2500 i7 8700, 16GB, Nvidia 660 960 1060 6GB, Win 10 64bit, DFGT Wheel

    Marocco2

    • Posts: 159
    OK, thanks :)