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Red Alert 3 Connectivity Guide

By kustodian - 8th February 2009 - 14:52 PM

Games that are using SAGE engine have always had a lot of connectivity problems. Unfortunately, it seems the newer the engine, the bigger the problems. I'm happy to say that Red Alert 3 is an exception to this rule, because it needs fewer ports to work normally online than it's predecessors (C&C3 and KW). If you are behind the router and have connectivity problems, this guide is for you.

What's the problem?


Red Alert 3 uses P2P protocol (Peer-2-Peer) to establish a connection between two players. For this protocol to work you have to configure your firewall/router. This guide will show you how to setup your ADSL router, for Red Alert 3 to work with as little connection problems as possible. When you are behind a router (like an ADSL router), you are not connected to internet directly, you are connected through a router. This means that the router is connected to the internet directly. The problem is when someone wants to connect with your computer; his computer can only see your router and not your computer.

This is how it looks like:
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In this picture, when someone tries to connect with your computer, they will see it on the internet with an IP address 59.x.x.x, but your computer has an IP address 192.x.x.x, so no one can connect with you.

Solution


For others to be able to connect with your computer, you have to configure your router to forward connection request from internet to your computer. This is called port forwarding, because programs connect to each other, on a specific IP address on specific port. You can configure your router to forwarding everything from internet to your computer, but this is a security risk. It's better just to forward only needed ports.

An ADSL router, by default, gives your computer an IP address automatically. This is bad; because it can give you a different IP every time and the router has to forward ports to a specific IP address.


Configuration

Static IP

The first thing you have to do is find out what is your current IP and manually enter it in the connection settings. You can do this by opening:

XP - Control Panel->Network Connections
Vista - Control Panel->Network and Internet->Network and Sharing Center

On the left part of the window, click on Manage Network Connections, double-click on a Local Area Connection you are using and:

XP - Click the Support tab, and then click on Details button
Vista - Click on the Details button, you will get something like this:
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Save your IP Address, Subnet Mask, Default Gateway and DNS Server somewhere (for example, in a text file).

Close the details windows and:

XP - Go to General tab and click Properties
Vista - Click Properties

Next double-click on:

XP - Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)
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Vista - Internet Protocol version 4 (TCP/IP)
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You will get this dialog:
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Type the IP address you saved in a previous step, but change the last number (I would suggest a number greater than 20). Fields Subnet mask, Default Gateway and DNS Server just copy from the file you saved, and press OK. Now your computer will always have the same IP address, so you can configure the router to forward ports to your computers IP address.


Router Configuration



Router's IP address is the Default Gateway IP Address, in this example it's 192.168.1.1.
Because every router has a different configuration interface, you will have to go here and select your router's name from the list, and then select Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 from the game list. For my router, the configuration page looks like this:
IPB ImageClick to Enlarge


This means that port TCP 3783 will be forwarded from the router to the port TCP 3783 on IP 192.168.1.50, which is your computer, and so on for other ports.

On PortForward.com you will get a step-by-step guide what ports to forward and how to forward them, but don't forward all ports from the guide. Forward only these ports:

TCP 3783 (Voice Chat Port)
TCP 4321 (Mangler Servers)
TCP 28900 (Master Server List Request)
TCP 29900 (GP Connection Manager)
TCP 29901 (GP Search Manager)
UDP 6500 (Query Port)
UDP 6515 (Dplay UDP)
UDP 13139 (Custom UDP Pings)
UDP 27900 (Master Server UDP Heartbeat)


Configuring RA3


When you finish configuring the router open Red Alert 3 and go to the Network tab in Settings and select your IP address from the list and press Confirm.
IPB ImageClick to Enlarge

You are ready to start playing online.

Troubleshooting


If you are still having connection problems and you have a software firewall, the first thing you should check if Red Alert 3 is allowed to access the internet. Also, it should be allowed to receive incoming connections (some firewalls call this act as server). The second thing that you should check is if a port number is present in the Port Number option in the Red Alert 3 settings dialog. This option is broken and it should never be used. If you entered a port number into this field (before reading this guide), that port number can't be removed in the game, because if you delete that port and press Confirm, when you open the settings dialog again, that same port will be there. You can remove it by closing Red Alert 3 and opening Options.ini from folder:

XP - C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Red Alert 3\Profiles\profilename
Vista - C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Red Alert 3\Profiles\profilename
and delete this line from it:

FirewallPortOverride = xxxxx

Save the file

If your firewall is correctly configured and you're not using the Port Number option, you should try these suggestions one at the time:
  • Enable the Send Delay option in Red Alert 3 settings dialog on the Network tab.
  • If Send Delay doesn't help, check if your router supports Port Triggering, if it does, disable all those port forwarding rules you made, and make rules for Port Triggering, with the same ports mentioned in this guide.
  • If none of the above works, there is one last resort you can try, it's called DMZ (demilitarized zone). Every router in it's configuration dialogs has this option. To configure it, you just have to input your computer's IP address. What does DMZ do? When you put an IP address in DMZ, all traffic, on all ports, will be forwarded from the router to your computer. This isn't very secure, but you shouldn't have any connection problems.