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GTAV Error Code 80029564 And Digital Download Problems

"The hamsters fell off their wheels, that's why the server(s) is/are down." - Anonymous Gamer

Yes, GTAV is all you're seeing in your news feeds these days. It's on your Facebook. It's popped up in all your Google+ communities. Twitter has been coughing out a lung from all the voice usage. Hell, even GameSkinny is no exception.

But it hasn't been all candy, cars, and strippers to the despair of fans worldwide. GTAV has had to deal with a number of issues, and not all of them are really that unfamiliar.

Sony Error Code 80029564 Woes

First appearing on Sept 19, this error code left plenty of gamers high and dry. Instead of being able to download the sale record-breaking game of the year, they get to violently make gestures at their TV screen.  Sony responded to fans and customers with the following:

"For those of you experiencing error code 80029564 when downloading or installing GTA V please accept our apologies.

This is been worked on as a high priority and we hope to have it resolved this afternoon. Please delete any GTA content you have already downloaded and then re-download after 4pm today. This should resolve the 80029564 error.

I will let you know if there are any changes to this progress and keep you all informed."

Let's just hope they don't start rioting at your local liquor store instead, while they wait for the error to be fixed. This forum post is now, ohhhhh, just a mere 3,000 or so in--though the above is on only page 14. 

Further comments from Sony include:

"The error code 80029564 which appears while attempting to download a game patch is an indicator that there has been a connection issue to the server during the download attempt.

Some Virgin Media consumers were experiencing this issue, however this was subsequently identified and fixed by Virgin prior to Christmas ’12. So if the issue is still persisting there are other reasons this may be the case.

This may be down to load on the server at that point in time, in which case you can wait and attempt to download the file when the servers are less busy.

There may be a high level of traffic caused by other internet users, so again you may want to attempt the download at a different time.

If you continue to get the issue you can try resetting the modem and router for a number of minutes, and then restart them. Once this is done try re-establishing a connection between the router and your PlayStation 3 from the beginning."

Comments in response to that are mixed. Some say that Virgin haven't fully resolved the issue, and others claimed that this fixed their problem. Without specific information from users, it's hard to say for sure.

"Having the same issue absolutely ridiculous not only do we pay a substantial amount more than if we had bought the actual physical copy we don't get any extras and to top it off the game doesn't even work, who else thinks we need compensating ?" -PS3 User Comment

Still, this second post is dated in January. For a game as important as GTAV, you'd think Sony would have a backup plan set in place for users that still were experiencing this issue. Directly after the PlayStation Technical Help person posted the above, the next user comment stated specifically how this didn't fix everyone's problems. Obviously, around 7 months later, they still haven't figured out the fix to this issue. On the second to last page for GTAV's current problem with the error, people are still posting seeing it even as late as today, September 20th.

It seems poor planning in my opinion. You'll only loose customers frustrated from not being able to play a very anticipated title, and some from additionally having to put up with an error they knew was already known to Sony.

Feeling A Sense Deja Vu?

This isn't the first problem we've seen in 2013 for downloading issues on major game releases. Games like SimCity and FFXIV: A Realm Reborn both failed to meet the high demands that ended up KO-ing their servers on launch. It's a sad, sad day for gamers everywhere if this is the upcoming future for what we should expect. With next-gen consoles seeming to put heavy emphasis on digital downloading, will consumers be sitting on the sidelines accepting these circumstances?

"16:00pm so thats guaranteed? As it takes 8+ hours. On 4th Download. 54Gb download not happy. If dosent work after waiting til 4. I probably introduce my ps3 to a hammer." - Particularly Violent PS3 User Comment

What if we were Sony, and not the consumer?

Ah, but let's bottle up all our fleeting emotional distress for a moment. So often people, myself included, can easily get wrapped up in their own shit. I know I have moments during the early release of FFXIV: A Realm Reborn that I am not proud of. When you want something, sometimes it's hard to remain objective.

You know the saying, "Walk a mile in someone else's shoes." ? Looking at things from only one point-of-view gives you just that: a narrow view. I can't imagine all the things it takes logistically to make a game happen, from pre-production to after.

Let's Talk About Servers!

Thanks to Loic Claveau at Wildstar, a guy who has not only 19 years experience in the gaming industry but also in aerospace (working on space shuttles always gets you mad props in my book), we can outline a few facets about how MMO severs actually work. And no, they are not run by hamsters (I know, my Skinny was misleading, tsk tsk).

Daemon: In multitasking computer operating systems, a daemon (pron.: /ˈdeɪmən/ or /ˈdiːmən/) is a computer program that runs as a background process, rather than being under the direct control of an interactive user. (Stolen from Loic, who stole this definition from Wikipedia.)

Loic explains how their server architect runs around 11 daemons, some of which could be one per region, some dozens, or some even hundreds. When you first connect it is through an "Auth Daemon" which is pretty easy to understand. It munches on some hamster hay after giving you the stink eye and decides that, yea, you may be who you say you are.

After this business is done, the daemon fetches security permission which brings up a list of allowable realms. A realm per Loic is:

"A collection of WildStar servers that collectively represent a full planet of the game.  Each realm effectively represents its own planet, even though all of the realms are effectively identical.  Some realms will have special rules that apply only to them, like PVP.  In other MMO’s this is sometimes called “Server” or “Shard” or a wide variety of other names that all means the same thing."

So once you are settled in your realm, a "User Daemon" takes over. It's kind of like your Peter Pan shadow. It's unique to each realm, and it keeps track of everything that makes your character, well, your character. It's also the guy responsible for you during your character creation process.

So once you are connected to your character, a "World Daemon" is also introduced into the scene. If a User Daemon is character based (i.e. inventory, stats, quests), a World Daemon is environment based. Pretty see-through there, don't you think? It takes care of all the interactions your character has with the place it is. Combat, creatures, AI--pretty much everything that is outside the realm of character.

Sometimes, the two talk to each other. When something that happens with the World Daemon affect your character, it lets the User Daemon know.

As a parting summary that pertains in particular to handling server loads, Loic says:

"That is pretty much the fundamentals of how the game works.  All in all we have 11 daemons currently.  I’m not going to go into detail about each of them, but they all have specialized tasks, one of the daemons only job is to figure out what machine each of the other daemons runs on based on CPU and memory load.  And that’s really important, because of the way we have broken up our daemons, it should allow us to add more hardware to handle additional load whenever we need it.  If we want more players on a realm, we can add more server machines to run more World Daemons."

So what does this all mean?

Besides making me feel incredibly less smart compared to a lot of other people out there, it means that hamsters do not run servers or MMOs. Just from a technical stand point alone, not even looking at any other step that goes into making a game happen, I have to say I want to blush a little. If Square Enix only knew what I had said about them...

There takes a lot of planning and skill involved in making an online game or download work successfully. Let's also not forget that although I'm sure there are a lot of dedicated enthusiastic gamers that work in the gaming industry, first and foremost their job is to make money. No one is going to purposely drastically over budget expenses unless they want to get fired. Servers cost money. As Loic pointed out, companies might always have the ability to add more servers, but until the need arrives they most likely will wait.

What is your take on how games like GTAV, FFXIV: A Realm Reborn, and SimCity were handled?

Published Sep. 21st 2013

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