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Hey SI Support & Community,

I hope you are all safe and well.

I know that technical issues should be submitted via the SEGA ticketing facility, however, I was told:

Quote

 

As you may know, SEGA is the publisher and Sports Interactive is the developer. SI directly moderates these forums so it is the fastest way to get information directly to the developers. At SEGA Support our main focus is on assisting with technical and activation related issues that are preventing people from playing the game. We definitely appreciate the feedback and just want to ensure that it gets to the right place as quickly as possible.

 

My friend has recently purchased FM 2021 to join our Online Save which is now 7 seasons in. The problem is that he cannot get past the "Loading Online Game..." prompt upon entering the password.

This appears to be a relatively common issue with no clear solution. Therefore, if anyone has any ideas and the time to share some potential solutions it would be much appreciated. I will briefly explain the situation and list the fixes we have attempted.

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Issue:

I host an Online Game which is now 7 seasons in with a friend through Steam; when our other friend joins he is stuck on a 'Joining Online Game...' screen which does not budge no matter how long you leave it. To be clear, he can find the server via the Join Online Game search function.

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Attempted Solutions:

• Restarted FM 2021

• Restarted Steam

• Restarted Computer (Windows)

• Turned off Windows Defender & Anti-Virus Software

• Uninstalled the Game and Reinstalled

• Checked Graphics Card Drivers were Updated

• Attempted Joining through Steam Invites

• Logged into & out of Epic Games

• Deleted Epic Games Launcher

• Deleted & Reinstalled Steam

• Checked Steam 'regions'/'download regions'

• Cleared Cache & Preferences

• Deleted Cache & Preferences Folders

• Verified Game Files via Steam

• Reset Router

• Run Steam and FM 2021 as Administrator

• Tried to get him to host, neither of us could get into his server; likewise my other friend tried both hosting and joining him - no luck

   - We each created brand-new saves respectively when attempting the above

• The friend could not join open servers either - encountered the same problem.

• Changed in-game preferences to allow 'Anyone' to join and removed a password.

• Ensured we are all fully updated with FM 2021 and on the same version.

• Tried continuing a couple of days in-game to see if it would process him in?!

• Forwarded ports in Router Settings.

• Manually assigned Google DNS (4.4.8.8/8.8.8.8)

• Disabled IPv6

• Uninstalled VPN

• Restarted Wireless Network Adapter (TP-Link)

• Tried Hotspotting from his Cellular Network

• Edited/Created registry keys potentially affecting DHCP

• Cleared the Computer's Cache's and cleaned his registry with CCleaner

• Tried inviting him from the Steam overlay/menus

• Ensured he was searching for the exact server name

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Relevant Misc. Info:

Host is running on Mac OS, the other participant who can, and always has connected with no problems is on Windows. The friend who cannot join is on Windows too.

He has a USB Network Adaptor.

The friend who cannot join never receives an error message. Just an infinite "Joining Online Game..." prompt. He only receives an error message when joining via a Steam invite - "Unable to connect to game".

The logs do not appear to show any clear issues.

We have been attempting the above solutions over the past week in suspicion that time would solve the issue (especially if the servers were a bit iffy), but it does not appear that any time will heal this.

Another relevant point is that he had no issue connecting to us on FM 2020 last year.

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He can play anything else with us without an issue. So we're pretty stumped with this one.

Any help would be much appreciated!

Thanks in advance!

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I have uploaded our Save in anticipation that I may have been asked to sooner or later. File Name: Louis Connor - Southend United; uploaded at 9:30am, 11/01/2021.

Edited by louismcleodconnor
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Update:

As I said, I am trying to keep this updated with our attempted solutions in order to help others encountering the same problem listed above.

We have conducted a range of network trace samples on what is actually happening behind the scenes when attempting to join a series of different online games. After spending multiple fun hours analysing network packets, we have arrived at two different potential solutions although they are by no means conclusive as there didn't seem to be any evident errors and we are definitely not experts in networking. There may be no errors because the client never actually fails to connect, it just seems to be in a state of network loop across two networking channels?!

1. There is potentially an issue resolving DNS. We will be allocating a manual Primary and Secondary DNS this evening.

2. The Wireless Adapter seems to be playing a bigger part in this or there is potential interference from a VPN that is turned off but installed on the computer. The connection or attempt to connect to what we assume is the network game server appears to keep jumping between IPv6 and IPv4 channels. As far as we can tell, the network communicates via IPv4 on the successful connection where the online game loads successfully. We will try uninstalling the VPN, disabling IPv6 and giving it another whirl! Last option is moving his desktop computer to the router and plugging in the good ol' ethernet cable!

We will give these a go this evening! If these don't work we will probably rule out networking as an issue, although we look forward to receiving advice!

Edited by louismcleodconnor
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28 minutes ago, zamora8.9 said:

I'm having the same issue, tried most of the things you tried without luck, please let me know if find a fix...

This does seem to be relatively common with no fix! I'm currently trying to rule out network issues on our end. Can you confirm whether you are connected via wired or wireless? As mentioned earlier: Manually assigning DNS, disabling IPv6 and uninstalling his VPN have not solved the issue.

He is not in a position to move his computer closer to the router to connect via Ethernet until the weekend. However, the fact that my friend can discover games and that we're almost at the end of troubleshooting options for networking is making me think it could be a memory or processing issue. I'll have to brainstorm.

He does not have another device which he can download FM 2021 on and attempt to run Online Games on. I'm somewhat determined to get to the bottom of this as I love FM. It's my favourite game series by far and it is made even better playing with friends. Hopefully we can achieve this soon, @zamora8.9!

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2 hours ago, zamora8.9 said:

We both can connect to other games hosted by random people but not when one of us is hosting. I tried ethernet and wireless and two different networks, nothing worked.

This suggests that it is not a Network problem unless you and your friend have Strict NAT Types. Opening the ports to Football Manager on your routers may be a solution? I'm not an expert so please take my advice with a pinch of salt! It is strange that you can join other people but not each other; perhaps one of you has accidentally blocked the other? :lol:

I have analysed some more Network Traces tonight. My friend has a lot of re-transmitted packets; a lot of 'ACK' (acknowledge) issues suggesting high packet loss and lost data. It appears that when he attempts to join our game he is communicating with four different Amazon Web Servers at once; which I would assume are Steam Servers? On my successful trace I only communicate with one at any time. I have no idea where I would start delving deeper into this information or find an explanation as to why his machine is communicating with multiple different servers and making very little progress.

He is on Sky Broadband which has a negative reputation among my friends. I wonder if there is any correlation with anyone else? Saying this, the one friend that can connect without an issue is also with Sky - just in a different area!

This evening we're going to focus on his computer: attempt to update his Network Adaptor Drivers, let CCleaner loose to repairing his registry files and have a snoop around. We're also going to run a 'ProcMon' a.k.a Process Monitor - which I'm slightly dreading as from previous experiences with system process analysis, these things tend to be huge! With any luck it will hopefully reveal some processing errors and highlight an easy fix!

I'll update with our findings!

Edited by louismcleodconnor
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I manually updated the network adaptor driver, cleaned up the reg files with CCleaner and gave ProcMon a go. Overall, this was inconclusive and we did not solve our issue. I'm truly stumped.

Results from our Process Monitor:

• RegQuery - NAME NOT FOUND

"HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters\Interfaces\{35a08594-7f8b-11ea-8fc8-806e6f6e6963}\EnableDhcp"

This process within FM.exe cannot be executed as it cannot be found. This is a repeated error throughout the trace.

667062377_Screenshot2021-01-16at20_09_03.thumb.png.7bedefc628e4508f97af56604a3ca4c6.png

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Attempted Solution:

I attempted to create the missing key. This was successful but it did not solve our issue of not being able to join the Online Game.

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When looking into the local Firewall settings, Football Manager 2020 had pre-installed inbound and outbound rules whereas Football Manager 2021 did not. This confused me a bit, but is unlikely to be the cause of this issue as all Firewalls were turned off. Although it did make me think this is why he could play FM 2020 without issue.

I think it may be Steam's side of things. I have double checked the port forwarding for Steam is active and enabled as well as ensuring all privacy settings are clear of gameplay. Still no luck. The issue is that I cannot contact Steam support; when chasing FM issues I get sent to SEGA... who sent me here.

It's coming up to this threads one week anniversary. If any moderators were able to comment or point me in the right direction that would be great - we're currently considering a full format of his machine but it would be a shame to waste even more time if it does not fix the issue!

Edited by louismcleodconnor
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Hi @louismcleodconnor

Very sorry its taken a while to reply to this post. Thank you very much for all the information you have sent and the save. I will forward this thread to members of the team who will look into this for you. You have pretty much gone above and beyond trying to sort the issue out your end so we will do our best at our end to sort the issue out for you. As soon as we have more information we will post it here for you. 

Thanks 

 

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Just now, John Kendall-Torry said:

Hi @louismcleodconnor

Very sorry its taken a while to reply to this post. Thank you very much for all the information you have sent and the save. I will forward this thread to members of the team who will look into this for you. You have pretty much gone above and beyond trying to sort the issue out your end so we will do our best at our end to sort the issue out for you. As soon as we have more information we will post it here for you. 

Thanks 

 

Many thanks @John Kendall-Torry. I'll keep an eye out for a reply from the relevant team. Have a great evening and stay safe!

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Hi @louismcleodconnor

We are still looking into this issue but when we have any news we will post it here. Could the 2nd client that has never been in the lobby try this again, after a minute of seeing joining online game message press esc, then try again? Its a long shot but this cross my mind today when looking into this issue as we had something similar before and this worked as an off chance. 

Thanks 

 

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On 26/01/2021 at 17:23, John Kendall-Torry said:

Hi @louismcleodconnor

We are still looking into this issue but when we have any news we will post it here. Could the 2nd client that has never been in the lobby try this again, after a minute of seeing joining online game message press esc, then try again? Its a long shot but this cross my mind today when looking into this issue as we had something similar before and this worked as an off chance. 

Thanks 

 

Hey @John Kendall-Torry,

Sorry it has taken me a while to get back to you. No luck with that I am afraid - likewise the new Network Adapter and a borrowed WiFi Extender yielded no results. We're going to set up a fresh Virtual Machine and give it a go, but it's obviously not ideal! There must be a really, really tiny troublesome preference, setting or application affecting this. My bets are it's on Steam's side... the client perhaps - but I cannot find a fix for the life of me.

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13 hours ago, louismcleodconnor said:

Hey @John Kendall-Torry,

Sorry it has taken me a while to get back to you. No luck with that I am afraid - likewise the new Network Adapter and a borrowed WiFi Extender yielded no results. We're going to set up a fresh Virtual Machine and give it a go, but it's obviously not ideal! There must be a really, really tiny troublesome preference, setting or application affecting this. My bets are it's on Steam's side... the client perhaps - but I cannot find a fix for the life of me.

Having the exact same issue here.

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On 02/02/2021 at 23:38, RIGBON3 said:

Having the exact same issue here.

Hey @RIGBON3,

Sorry to hear you're struggling like we are! Just to help Support out, can you confirm whether you are playing on Windows or Mac and through either Steam or Epic Games? In your experience, has this this issue suddenly appeared? (i.e. were you playing fine with friends until recently or is this what you have encountered on your first online play attempt). Lastly, have you owned any previous versions of FM and encountered any problems with matchmaking in the past?

@John Kendall-Torry, when looking at local Firewall permissions on the device encountering errors - rules for FM 2021 had not been automatically generated, whereas this was the case in previous versions of the game and also for my friend who can connect. Having turned off Firewalls completely to no avail this is unlikely to be causing the problem - but may lead to finding the causal bug in online matchmaking? I know it's a really tricky one but our save has come to almost a complete halt since this hurdle has appeared :(

I still stand by a Steam fault, but you will know a lot more than me!

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i have had the same experience with my friend his old laptop broke, he has just today got a new one and setup properly and were experiencing the same issuses we can join each others games no error's or anything wrong. the 'joining online game just stays' hope this can e fixed asap.

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8 hours ago, louismcleodconnor said:

Hey @RIGBON3,

Sorry to hear you're struggling like we are! Just to help Support out, can you confirm whether you are playing on Windows or Mac and through either Steam or Epic Games? In your experience, has this this issue suddenly appeared? (i.e. were you playing fine with friends until recently or is this what you have encountered on your first online play attempt). Lastly, have you owned any previous versions of FM and encountered any problems with matchmaking in the past?

@John Kendall-Torry, when looking at local Firewall permissions on the device encountering errors - rules for FM 2021 had not been automatically generated, whereas this was the case in previous versions of the game and also for my friend who can connect. Having turned off Firewalls completely to no avail this is unlikely to be causing the problem - but may lead to finding the causal bug in online matchmaking? I know it's a really tricky one but our save has come to almost a complete halt since this hurdle has appeared :(

I still stand by a Steam fault, but you will know a lot more than me!

Both on windows and both through Steam. We played online in FM20 and ever since he bought FM21 we haven't been able to play online.

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Hi @louismcleodconnor

Thanks for the feedback, we tried your save again recently having the host on mac and the client on windows with then another client on windows trying to join the game. The third client was able to join. We tested this using the live build as well. We would recommend that you contact epic to see if its an issue on their end. Even though you are on steam it is best to contact them as due to the please read article at the top of this forum section. Please let us know if they are able to fix the issue for this. We are very sorry we have not been able to sort this issue out on our end.

Thanks 

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50 minutes ago, John Kendall-Torry said:

Hi @louismcleodconnor

Thanks for the feedback, we tried your save again recently having the host on mac and the client on windows with then another client on windows trying to join the game. The third client was able to join. We tested this using the live build as well. We would recommend that you contact epic to see if its an issue on their end. Even though you are on steam it is best to contact them as due to the please read article at the top of this forum section. Please let us know if they are able to fix the issue for this. We are very sorry we have not been able to sort this issue out on our end.

Thanks 

Thanks for giving this issue the run-around, @John Kendall-Torry.

I'll give them a contact over the weekend - hopefully they can sort the issue out and don't send me round in circles ;)

Have a great weekend! I will update here as soon as I find out more.

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On 05/02/2021 at 18:20, louismcleodconnor said:

Thanks for giving this issue the run-around, @John Kendall-Torry.

I'll give them a contact over the weekend - hopefully they can sort the issue out and don't send me round in circles ;)

Have a great weekend! I will update here as soon as I find out more.

Anything on this?

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I have an update for you all! Prepare for disappointment.

Epic Games will not provide help as we are playing Football Manager 2021 through Steam and not them. They suggested contacting you guys again, @John Kendall-Torry. I don't know if you have any contacts? If they're at fault and are unwilling to provide support this renders the game permanently unplayable and is unacceptable.

The network trace did reveal the client attempted to connect to an Epic Games server; we also returned to the thread pinned at the top of this section regarding Epic Games servers/settings and we could not find the following setting:

Quote

You can always check this on epic by going to https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/ signing into your account, on your account name click account then connections  to make sure you have allowed this. 

I remember going through all of these at the very start of our hunt for a fix - this was the one that I couldn't find + didn't think mattered at the time as we were not engaging with Epic Games - only with Steam.

Edited by louismcleodconnor
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Is there anything new on this? My friend also recently bought the game purely to play it with friends online and is having the same issue - we exhausted all options that OP exhausted just incase and we can't think of anything. We even bought another FM on another steam account just to fully exhaust all options. Clearly there's some deeper background issue affecting only some people or these people have something in common that is preventing network game access.

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3 hours ago, Ryanon said:

Is there anything new on this? My friend also recently bought the game purely to play it with friends online and is having the same issue - we exhausted all options that OP exhausted just incase and we can't think of anything. We even bought another FM on another steam account just to fully exhaust all options. Clearly there's some deeper background issue affecting only some people or these people have something in common that is preventing network game access.

Steam Support sends you to SEGA and/or Sports Interactive. SEGA sends you to Sports Interactive and Epic Games won't play ball on offering support for Steam users, whilst likewise, sending you back here or to Steam.

I appreciate @John Kendall-Torry giving the issue a run-around on their end, but it's only affecting a large, yet small number of users. To replicate the issue would be very hard without having the exact same set-up as one of the said users. You're exactly right about the deeper background issue or something the users all have in common but it's sadly like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

My conclusion was that the issue sat with Steam or Epic Games - it is a weird one. Network traces highlighted no real issue except the client attempted to connect to four different servers at once as opposed to a successful instance; only connecting to one. The issue itself is also rather strange, no error messages and the game doesn't implode and crash due to a processing or local error - just an infinite "Joining Online Game..." screen. I don't know how important the missing registry key identified earlier in the thread was, but I replaced it to no avail.

Playing FM2020 via Online Network Games was fine for my friend, FM2021 just doesn't want to know. I think he may have given up at this point sadly, but I will see if he is up for a fresh install of Windows and one last hurrah until an accepted fix is available.

Edited by louismcleodconnor
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7 hours ago, John Kendall-Torry said:

Hi @louismcleodconnor

Have you tried this again since the update from last night. A new update, 21.3, went out last night and was wondering if this managed to get your friend online? We are still waiting to hear back from epic regarding the issue.

Thanks 

Hey @John Kendall-Torry,

No luck with the new update. However, the player who has always been able to connect without any issues did encounter the same loading screen issue tonight. This was solved via restarting FM and the Steam Client.

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My friend also attempted it post-update, but no change. @louismcleodconnorDoes anyone who can connect to your game encounter any glitches when the person with the issue tries to connect? In my instance, I, as the host, get no issues, but the other player with me always has to restart the game as it seems to freeze upon the player with the issue trying to connect. 

 

We also tried FM Touch, same result.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Ryanon said:

My friend also attempted it post-update, but no change. @louismcleodconnorDoes anyone who can connect to your game encounter any glitches when the person with the issue tries to connect? In my instance, I, as the host, get no issues, but the other player with me always has to restart the game as it seems to freeze upon the player with the issue trying to connect. 

 

We also tried FM Touch, same result.

 

 

Yeah, now you mention it - the other player encountered a general freeze/lag etc. Leading to a restart of the game.

Host should always be fine; within reason, as we play a local version of the save - it is simply mounted for online network play, you could call it host privileges ;)

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35 minutes ago, louismcleodconnor said:

Yeah, now you mention it - the other player encountered a general freeze/lag etc. Leading to a restart of the game.

Host should always be fine; within reason, as we play a local version of the save - it is simply mounted for online network play, you could call it host privileges ;)

Glad that that also happens - might help with the review of the issue, we can hope 🥺

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Hi all

We just got some feedback back from epic and they have asked if you have tried this.

"Can we recommend the users check their system clocks and make sure they are set correctly? There's a known p2p connection issue if the system time is significantly off (multiple hours wrong)"
 
So what they are asking here is to make sure the time zone is set correctly on all the machines being used. Please let us know if this has worked at all?
 
Thanks 
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2 minutes ago, John Kendall-Torry said:

Hi all

We just got some feedback back from epic and they have asked if you have tried this.

"Can we recommend the users check their system clocks and make sure they are set correctly? There's a known p2p connection issue if the system time is significantly off (multiple hours wrong)"
 
So what they are asking here is to make sure the time zone is set correctly on all the machines being used. Please let us know if this has worked at all?
 
Thanks 

This worked actually didn't realize my friends time zone was off and now we are on the same he can join

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55 minutes ago, John Kendall-Torry said:

Hi all

We just got some feedback back from epic and they have asked if you have tried this.

"Can we recommend the users check their system clocks and make sure they are set correctly? There's a known p2p connection issue if the system time is significantly off (multiple hours wrong)"
 
So what they are asking here is to make sure the time zone is set correctly on all the machines being used. Please let us know if this has worked at all?
 
Thanks 

We will check later and update accordingly!

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1 minute ago, John Kendall-Torry said:

Hi @RIGBON3

That is excellent news! Glad its now working for your friend. Hopefully this fixes it for everyone.

Thanks 

Thanks for all the help!

Edited by RIGBON3
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I haven't been able to attempt this fix yet - had a busy evening! I'm crossing my fingers, toes and everything else you can imagine. @Ryanon- it turns out you were possibly right regarding the issue all users have in common!

Looking forward to giving this a go tomorrow evening. I will of course update :)

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I am over the moon to announce that changing the timezone fixed it for us. Such a small setting causing such a game destroying error! I'm glad that we finally got to the bottom of this error and found a solution.

Thanks a lot, @John Kendall-Torry! It may be worth adding this solution to your stickied thread at the top of the section :)

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