The "0 seconds remaining" Bug

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

If you've found your way here, then you've probably been reading the discussions of this bug on the Myst Online:Uru Live Technical Discussion Forum or else someone has suggested that you may be suffering from the bug and has pointed you here. The forum is a valuable source of information, but it can be difficult to find the bits of information that are important, so this FAQ tries to pull the most relevant and technically accurate information together in one place.

Note: This issue seems to have been largely cured by a software update released on 5 April 2007. However, be aware that you may still get occasional problems due to local internet issues.

General discussion of the bug, its effects and possible cures are best posted on the public forum. If you wish to point out corrections or additions to this FAQ then please PM me (Mac_Fife) through the forum.

FAQ last updated: 6 Apr 2007

Table of Contents
  1. What is the "0 seconds remaining" bug?
  2. Does it affect everyone?
  3. My game is taking a long time to update - Is it the bug?
  4. What is happening when the bug occurs?
  5. Why do I have to download files every time I play?
  6. What causes the bug?
  7. What does the bug do?
  8. How fast does my internet connection need to be?
  9. I've got fast broadband - Why am I getting this bug?
  10. Does where I live matter?
  11. Does the ISP I use make any difference?
  12. Are Cyan/Gametap doing anything about this?
  13. Should I ticket the bug?
  14. Is there anything I can try myself?
  15. How do I check my download speed?
  16. What is a Wireshark Log?
  17. Does the bug affect downloading of new Ages too?
  18. Are there other ways can I optimise my PC for Uru Live?
  19. I've got an nVidia nForce network adapter - How do fix this "Checksum Offload" thing?

What is the "0 seconds remaining" bug?

During the startup of Myst Online:Uru Live an "Updating" screen appears showing a progress bar and an indication of the time remaining for an activity to complete (see example below). The progress bar fills slowly (sometimes very slowly) with long periods of complete inactivity. After a time, which may be fifteen minutes or more, the progress bar will fill up and the indicator will show "Approximately 0 seconds remaining", but nothing happens. Eventually the user has to quit from the game and restart, but the same thing happens over and over.

Updating screenshot
The "bug screen"
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Does it affect everyone?

No. A very few people are affected so badly that they are completely unable to play the game, but it can happen to almost anyone on an occasional basis. Sometime it may suddenly start happening and affect a player for a number of days and then disappear again.

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My game is taking a long time to update - Is it the bug?

Occasionally, Cyan release updates to the software that runs on your PC (the Uru Live "client") and these are automatically downloaded when you next start the game. These updates can be very big and may take a while to download, but that's normal, especially if your broadband connection is slower than 1Mbps. It is not the bug if you're looking a window like the following:

Client Update Screen
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What is happening when the bug occurs?

Each time you start Uru Live, a number of encrypted files must be downloaded from the server - you'll sometimes see people referring to these as "the Python files". Most of these are quite small, but there is one big file that is nearly 6MB. The bug is triggered when you have trouble downloading this file.

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Why do I have to download files every time I play?

The files that you download during that first black "Updating" screen control a number of aspects of the game, such as the way puzzles work. To prevent these files being "hacked" to change game behaviour, etc., you must download a fresh copy each time you play. This also allows Cyan to modify certain features without having to update the client software.

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What causes the bug?

In simple terms, it happens because of slow internet download speeds. What often seems confusing is that it can affect people who believe they have a relatively high speed broadband service. See I've got fast broadband - Why am I getting this bug? for more information.

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What does the bug do?

During the downloading of the Python files, the server allows around 120 seconds for the download to complete. If it takes longer than that, then the download is stopped and a pause of 300 seconds is applied during which time nothing happens. After this "back-off" period the download is re-started.
We believe this stop-and-delay may be deliberate, with the assumption that a slow dowload is the result of a busy internet connection, so waiting a while before re-trying hopes that a faster download will be available when the download resumes. Unfortunately, the download doesn't resume from where it left off, but instead resets back to the beginning, so if the connection speed doesn't improve, then the user will be left in an "infinite loop". Graphically, your downloading activity may look a little like this:

Download with "Bug"

This is made worse by the misleading way the progress bar works: Although the download resets after the 5-minute pause, the progress bar doesn't, so what you see is the bar creeping across for two minutes, then five minutes of inactivity, then two minutes of the bar creeping further across, etc. Eventually, (and this can take over an hour in the worst cases) the bar fills up and the text at the bottom of the screen shows "Approximately 0 seconds remaining". It is this text that gives rise to the name given to the bug.

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How fast does my internet connection need to be?

The large file that causes the problem is nearly 5.5MBytes or roughly 44Mbits. To download this within 120 seconds means that you need to sustain close to 370kbps (kilobits per second) throughout the download. Typically this means that a 384kbps service is the absolute minimum that will work. In practice, 512kbps is the minimum download speed we'd recommend (upload speed is largely irrelevant though).

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I've got fast broadband - Why am I getting this bug?

There are a number of possible reasons: Location can have an effect, as can policies implemented by your ISP. There may be local conditions, such as contention at your local telephone exchange (if you're on DSL) or simply someone in your home sharing your internet connection.

These factors all have the effect of reducing the actual download speed you can achieve below the specification of the service your ISP sells you: You may be able to download from your ISP at near to the full 1500kbps (or whatever), but it's pretty much guaranteed that a server 3,000 miles away will give you a much slower download. And it probably wont be the server's fault: Rather, it'll be due to limitations in the data paths along the way.

Generally speaking, the Uru Live servers are more than fast enough to handle the workload that we users can throw at them, so if you suddenly find you're getting this bug, and previously got into the game OK, then start looking for local problems first.

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Does where I live matter?

It is not a clear-cut issue, but the further you are from the servers, then the more likely you are to experience the problem. It is certainly true that many of the people suffering from this bug are located in Australia and New Zealand largely, it would seem, as a result of the relatively poor internet cable connections between those countries and North America.
But having said that, there are people in the US and Europe who have had this bug more or less constantly too, while some users in Australia have never had a problem.

A very specific example I can give is that some campus networks offer very fast internet free to students, but in order to prevent this privilege being abused, they impose severe restrictions on the types of traffic they will allow. Since Uru Live uses a non-standard port to communicate with the server, you may well find it very slow or totally blocked.

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Does the ISP I use make any difference?

It may do, and it may also matter which "plan" you're on with your ISP. There are policies that an ISP may implement which could affect whether or not you see the bug:

Sometimes it's worth checking with your ISP - they may be able to help if you can explain your problem to them - It's worked for a few people.

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Are Cyan/Gametap doing anything about this?

The problem has been ticketed by several people now, and the Support replies suggest that they are aware of the problem and will try to resolve it. However this bug has been known for a very long time without any action being taken, so we'll just have to wait and see.

I have, on occasion, suggested that the "bug" may in fact be a deliberate feature, the purpose being to deny access to the game to those users whose low internet speeds might lead to problems with gameplay. Hopefully, I'll be proven wrong!

UPDATE: Cyan released an update to the client on 5 April 2007 which appears to have cured the problem, at least for some users.

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Should I ticket the bug?

If you suffer from the bug more or less constantly, then I'd suggest that you go to the Uru Live Support site and log a bug report. Cyan already know about the bug, but each report adds to the metrics, and the more reports there are, the more chance there is of getting it fixed.

On the other hand, if it's just suddently started happening, then take a look at Is there anything I can try myself? first - If that gets you nowhere, then ticket it.

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Is there anything I can try myself?

Yes, but how much success you will have is questionable. If your connection speed is marginal, or you sometimes get in OK or if the problem suddenly appeared then the following things may help:

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How do I check my download speed?

In principle, this seems quite straightforward, but the practice is a little trickier. Most online speedtest will check your performance with a typical web browser style download. Unfortunately, this doesn't replicate what happens with an Uru Live download, so isn't necessarily representative.

That said, we've tended to use www.speedtest.net to get results for comparison: If you live outside the USA then I suggest you pick the Atlanta server (see the example below). If you're inside the USA then you can just about use any server that isn't your recommended "home" server (the point here is to find what speeds you typically get over a longish distance). Why Atlanta? Because we believe that's where the Uru Live servers are located (although Salt Lake City is another possibility).

Selecting the Atlanta server

But the only accurate measure is to check against real usage of Uru Live. To do this we take Wireshark logs, which also allows checking for all manner of internet connection related problems.

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What is a Wireshark Log?

Wireshark is a program that can create a log of the information that is sent to or from your PC (known as "packet capture"). This data can be analysed to look for unexpected errors, etc., that might point to a networking problem. I've written some notes on how to get a Wireshark log of the bug, but you'll probably need to get help analysing it.

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Does the bug affect downloading of new Ages too?

No. In fact, if you find, for example, that you need to stop everyone else in the house using the internet to be able to get Uru Live started, you can probably lift the restriction as soon as you get to your Avatar selection screen.

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Are there other ways can I optimise my PC for Uru Live?

There are few things you can do which might help to speed your PC up: They're unlikely to cure the "bug", but may make your general experience a bit better.

  1. Make sure that you have your Page File (Virtual Memory) set to at least 1.5 times the physical RAM in your PC, i.e for 1GB RAM (1024MB) set the Page file to 1536MB. This is basic set-up stuff for XP, but often you'll forget to adjust this if you add more RAM.
  2. Defragment your hard disk. The more use you make of your PC the more disorganised the files become, and this causes a general slow down.
  3. Try not to have unnecessary tasks running in the background. MSN Mesenger can be a pain, and lots of applications install little "helpers" in the system tray (the area at the right hand end of your taskbar)that don't really do anything useful but eat up little bits of memory and processor time. Quicktime, RealPlayer, etc. all do this, but I tend to get rid of all these. I would't recommend stopping anything associated with your anti-virus software or firewall though!

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I've got an nVidia nForce network adapter - How do fix this "Checksum Offload" thing?

We know that the network interface integrated onto the nVidia nForce motherboards (and possibly some others) has a "Checksum Offload" feature that, if enabled, causes problems with Uru Live. To disable this feature, carry out the following steps:

You may need to re-boot your PC for the change to take effect.

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