Star Citizen Got Me Blacklisted From Our Office Internet

Image: Star Citizen

Part of the fun of my job is that I legitimately have a business case for installing games on my PC. And on Friday, that's what I wanted to do: I wanted to play Star Citizen.

But not long after opening the launcher and waiting for the game to patch, everything ground to a halt. Then the internet dropped out. But it wasn't just a one-time thing -- I'd been blacklisted from the company network.

Our IT department is used to me downloading large files before. That's pretty standard for video games. A 20GB day one patch here, 60GB of downloads there.

But we've got a nice fat fibre connection. Our office can handle that sort of stuff OK. So when Star Citizen wanted to download about 25GB in the middle of the day, I thought, sure. That's nothing in the grand scheme of things. No-one will notice.

Problem is, people did notice. The whole office in fact -- because not longer after the crowdfunded gargantuan space epic began patching, the internet for the whole office went down.

Apparently, my single machine went from using largely nothing to choking out all of the bandwidth for Allure Media within seconds. It's a company that operates several sites viewed by millions of Australians every month. Having reliable internet is Kind Of Important.

So IT took the only reasonable course of action: they literally blacklisted my machine from the internet.

Image: Kotaku

While they were in the middle of a phone conversation trying to work out what the hell was happening, someone from IT walked over. "Alex," they said tentatively, "what's going on?"

The Star Citizen patcher is a peer-to-peer client, which isn't anything new. World of Warcraft has been doing it for ages, and plenty of other games use the same technology as well to make life easier for their servers.

But Star Citizen wasn't happy just downloading from a handful of ports. According to the friendly but slightly perplexed bloke from IT who walked over, the Star Citizen launcher began aggressively opening so many ports that it more or less caused the firewall to shit itself.

Here's a more technically accurate explanation:

"Star Citizen was seen downloading a series of part files via Port 80 from multiple hosts (#.webseed.robertsspaceindustries.com - # being numbers ranging from 0 to 999) similar to P2P (Torrents) or Usenet," our support staff told me via email. "It then established as many simultaneous connections as possible and saturated the internet allocation."

"The simultaneous connections continued to increase which drained the anti-malware protection filtering on Port 80 on the firewall, this in-turned impacted the performance of the firewall and traffic shaping began to queue up. I believe Star Citizen just continued to seek as many connections as possible until the max bandwidth was reached (basically an octopus was trying to put as many tentacles into peanut butter jars as possible)."

After having a quick chuckle at the whole instance, IT happily lifted the blacklist -- but they continued to monitor Star Citizen for the rest of the day. And to make sure nothing went too awry, they limited my bandwidth to a measly 1.2MB a second -- you know, the kind of performance you get from an ordinary ADSL2+ connection.

Needless to say, I didn't get to play Star Citizen that day. But at least the rest of the office were able to get back to work. Which is probably more important.


Comments

    I've actually experienced similar, to the point where I self limited the bandwidth in the patcher / launcher.

    Wait, you get 1.2mb on an ADSL2 connection?! I would love to get even half that speed on mine!

      Do you mean average speed or max though? We can get 1-2mb on ours but just about the only thing that does is Steam. Average speed would only be around 500k though.

        so you only getting 5 Mbp/s out of a 24Mbp/s connections, it very due to how far awy you are and how meny people are connect ed to the same node/server.

        I get max 200kb/s on a good day over ADSL 2 in the center of a large suburb in one of our capital cities. No NBN scheduled at all for the next 3 years.

        Good times. (sarcasm)

    It would help if SC didn't have 25GB patches...

      They've been working on that - the Cryengine has some amazing features and great visuals but it has given CIG a number of headaches as well.

      This is also why they started doing smaller alpha groups before it went live - lower the data transfer to people who were actually going to test.

        I thought they where trying to fix this about 2 years ago?

          2 Years ago they'd only just released Arena Commander module and Erin Roberts started up Foundry 42 in the UK to be responsible for making the single player SQ42 game. Also they still had massive changes happening on the engine namely changing it to a 64bit floating point instead of 32bit. That went a lot faster when they ended up hiring some ex-Crytek guys.

          It's always been something they wanted to fix but seems like they needed the engine to be finished before attempting to fix that part otherwise it'd just lead to more problems later.

    I wish I had a 1.2MB connection with my ADSL2. I only get around 300kB/s. Maybe 350 on a good day

      My download speed used to be 250-350kb on a good day. It was that way for years and I just learned to live with it. Replacing modems didn't work. Then one of the nice people at internode suggested I replace that little phone splitter box. My speeds jumped to 1.8mb downloads immediately. That little beige demon must have been busted the moment I took the cellophane off.

        i have a direct connection into the copper as it terminated into the house. 200kb/s on a good day. No nbn scheduled for the next 3 years.

    I want to try SC again, but my internet is soooo bad at home I'm hesistant to even bother

    Last edited 29/08/16 3:12 pm

      Just wait for 3.0 which should (with luck) be out by the end of the year... Right now it is still only combat in relatively small portion of a star system. 3.0 will at least bring one complete star system and some other professions.

        I'm hanging for Squadron 42 to be honest. I think that'll probably be what gets me into keeping SC on my PC's hard drive. Hopefully with NBN being rolled out within the next year near me I'll have a somewhat decent connection too

    Sounds like your IT company should have put a host session limit on your firewall.

    Your IT dept doesn't have a quota speed allocation based on departments?
    I mean they should also look at auto-detection of port hogging etc as well, it's like they never expect malware to make it through firewalls.

    I managed to get a segmentation fault years ago in Java (I know wierd eh?) and crashed a system used for high-end physics/mathematical calculations (banks used to hire it for processing of data). Of course as soon as my little program killed the system it shut down that part of it's network, killed the process and rebooted it automatically in about 1 minute. This is in the 90's too. :D

    The CIG Launcher has a bandwidth limit setting which is handy for retaining a functioning network while downloading the latest patch. I usually limit mine to 1.6MB/s which leaves around 400KB/s overhead on my ADSL2 line.

    I had a warning email once for using a lot of bandwidth at uni / downloading steam games.

    A contact in student IT support said don't worry about it, no further action gets taken on those warning emails ever.

    I had a similar thing happen to me at a company back in the early 2000's. We bought an unlimited 10mb fiber connection which was a few thousand a month and we figured we would test it with bit torrent. After doing nearly 3TB of "Linux ISO's" we got a call from amnet asking if we could perhaps not download so much as it was impacting other users.

    It turns out unlimited isn't always unlimited.

    This is a known issue, unfortunately. The solution is to edit the _torrentsettings file to limit the number of simultaneous connections the patcher can create.

    Never go Hyperspace™ unprepared.

    I Believe I saw an option that you can switch off to disable P2P behavior.
    Everytime I need to patch up the game my IDS is stating a strange behavior from my network.

    Give a try to it, so you can get a better bandswitch :)

    Usually I don't do that but I would like to link a thread on the Star Citizen forum I made a while ago. It contains two fixes I figured out after fighting with Star Citizen's launcher for over a year, because it was killing my internet connection every time I started downloading an update.

    https://forums.robertsspaceindustries.com/discussion/309416/star-citizen-launcher-kills-whole-internet-connection-your-router-i-have-found-a-possible-solution/p1

    lol
    yeah it wrecks my connection also, i turn of P2P and still get a decent download speed via direct-download. I don't know if it's Telstra or my modem or my Router but P2P really wrecks my internet speed, even for hours after I stop it.

    cool IT department that can't QoS or limit vlan/host bandwidth. Easy fix.

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