Network Smoothing?


Up until now I’ve had network smoothing on, and I don’t know if it has any impact but my reversals NEVER come out. Anyway, I turned it off. Suddenly my reversals came out but it seemed like there was lag in the match. What exactly does network smoothing do, and should I have it on?? Thanks.


It buffers a few frames to make high ping matches more playable. Or so the theory says. Best bet is to turn it off and search by ping. Anything less than 150ms is good. For really good, I would shoot for 120ms or less.


Not sure exactly how it works, but it introduces a few frames of input lag (Low = 1, Medium = 2, High = 3) in order to smooth out the appearance of the game/sprites. As Mr x64 said, it kind of buffers it. Spectator mode works in a similar way, because watching it is not frame critical, it means the spectator mode and lag behind a few frames (I’d guess 5) in order to know for certain what is going to happen in a match and give you a nice steady replay. Often you can play someone laggy (for example UK vs Mexico) and it will jump all over the screen, but then you can spectate a UK vs Mexico match and it will look fine (even though the amount of lag is the same. You can tell when it’s really laggy if the spectator mode lags and freezes up…

Network smoothing is kind of a trade off. With no network smoothing you get the best response times (no input lag) and theoretically the most current game (not being buffered), but at the expense of glitching and rollback for high pings. With network smoothing, it gives you some input lag (eg a delay between the button press and the move coming out), but a more consistent view of the match meaning you can play higher pings before the latency becomes noticeable.

Through trial and error, I’ve found around 64ms to be the highest I can play before rollback becomes an issue, or the scenery starts to judder left to right. I also find that with high pings that you tend to lose the startup frames of moves. For example on a 100ms connection, that is roughly 6 frames, and while I haven’t tested it, it seems like those 6 frames don’t get shown and the next thing you know a fireball appears a few character lengths in front of the thrower.

It may be psychological, but I’m convinced I hit reversals more reliably without network smoothing. I remember one time I was playing like shit, couldn’t reverse for the life of me. I went and checked the network smoothing out of curiosity and it was set on medium (I think I must have been playing some guys from the US/Japan previously). I turned it off and it was instantly more responsive and I was hitting reversals more often.

The only downside to network smoothing is the fact that not everyone uses it, so a match that will appear laggy for you without network smoothing, may look fine to your opponent who is using network smoothing. Many times I have lost matches due to missing startup (Eg Boxer’s low rush punch when I wait for it and counter it clean), had a little bitch about it and it made me look like a bad loser since they thought it was fine.

No network smoothing all the way, but please try to keep the pings under 64ms. This is what I feel is personally acceptable, but some people may be more or less sensitive to lag than me. At a push I can play connections with 100ms and no smoothing, but the scenery starts to glitch left and right and it’s really distracting.


I usually don’t start to see that until around 150ms. Then again, who knows how accurate the ping meter is in HDR.


I find network smoothing at 0 or 1 is best, 0 is super crisp, but I find the lag too distracting sometimes and bump it up to 1 and can still reversal (most of the time).


Keep network smoothing off and if the rollbacks are too distracting, then don’t play w/ that person. I would much rather have the lag be visible on screen with frame skipping than have it “hidden” in my input by a varying/undetectable amount. Once you introduce variable input lag into the game, its nearly impossible to tell when you missed a reversal/combo/tick throw due to timing or due to lag.

Take wakeup reversals as an example. In almost all cases the knockdown/wakeup animations are far far longer than any latency will ever be. Meaning that even if you are missing frames, you miss at most the first 6-12 frames of a knockdown animation. After that though, what you see on screen is “really happening right now” and you can time your reversal inputs with 100% confidence. With network smoothing what you see on the screen “happened X frames ago depending on how bad latency is right now”. So you see every frame of the knockdown/wakeup, but you are seeing it X frames after it actually happened. So to time your reversal you have to do it X frames earlier than you would w/ no lag.

Fast projectiles are equally grim in both cases. Either you miss the first X frames of a startup animation or you have X frames less to input a counter. Say it takes 100 frames for honda’s headbutt to hit your character. Say latency is 6 frames. Either you miss the first 6 frames of Honda’s headbutt, leaving you with 94 frames to input a counter. Or (with network smoothing) you see every frame of hondas headbutt, but you have to input your counter by frame 94. Because your inputs are delayed 6 frames, inputting at frame 94 wont come out till frame 100 when he hits you.

I cannot think of a real game scenario where network smoothing helps you. It may make things look smoother but you are paying for it w/ input lag which is far worse. I hope that makes sense. The other thing to stress is that network smoothing only affects YOU and has no effect on your opponent. Your inputs get sent to him at the same time and its up to his network smoothing setting as to whether he will see your inputs on the frame they arrive, of if they will be buffered X frames w/ network smoothing.


SCIV and I think SF4 are good examples for why input delay is just a stupid idea for fighting games. You won’t see choppiness unless its continent to continent. However, you can no longer rely on reflexes since even if you react perfectly, input delay guarantees that your input comes later, possibly late enough for your intended response to fail.

It depends, yeah smoothing is great aesthetically since you “see” a smooth running game. However, what you “see” isn’t actually happening at that exact frame.

Also, if the lag is high enough, or they are lagging you on purpose, then you’ll see the rollbacks and teleporting and at that point, I’d suggest stretching your legs and getting some food or something.


I find my reversals and moves come out fine up until a ping of 100


me personally, i could never tell the difference when playing on high smoothing or medium smoothing unless playing the japs(muteki and jodim)there is alot more frame skipping in medium but if i set it to high i believe it effects there game too as jodim and mr jangara have told me so. But i usually set my setting to high but sometimes change it back to medium for general purposes. take care