The Problem of Lagless Netplay


#1

Lagless netplay, or netplay to the point where its not noticeable or does not affect the game is becoming a definite possibility. We all the know benefits this can bring, but what about drawbacks? Just like consoles played a big part in killing arcades, superior netplay could well play a big part in killing offline competition as we know it.

Many people here play offline, whether there lucky enough to have an arcade that has fighting games or its at their friends house. Many of these players spend hundreds maybe thousands of dollars a year travelling to events and playing in tournaments. And tournament organisers spend even more putting on these events. Superior netplay wouldn’t change this for the current players anyway. There will still be casuals, tournaments , Evo, etc. But what could happen is the near total removal of new blood into this offline scene. No longer would a new player have to go out and find people to play. They can just go into the netplay mode on their fighting game and have access to players from all over the world, of all different skill levels.

Which leads onto the tournament circuit. From a tournament organisers pov, its much easier and cheaper to organise and run an online tournament than it is to run offline. Tournaments can be spread out over several weeks so things become alot more manageable for both players and organisers. Thousands of players could potentially enter, opening up better sponsorship possibilities. Which means bigger prize money. We could eventually be looking at $20000-$100000 for first place, with many other big prizes for lower spots. This also brings more media attention to it, maybe filming the finalists (top 8 to 32 players) in the studio so it can be shown on TV, have live audiences, interviews, etc.

The new blood that comes into fighting games will probably be far more attracted to just entering these online tournaments, which have bigger payouts, no travelling costs, probably cheaper to enter, and can all be done from the comfort of your own home. You don’t even need to leave the house to train up for the tournaments. The whole social aspect of fighting games could be pretty much totally removed for the new players, if this was to happen. And if the offline scenes are to survive then they cannot just keep recycling the same players over and over, people get older and move on.

Ohwell, atleast I’ll be able to play in tournaments in my dressing gown whilst smoking a fatty.


#2

pc games have been online since the dawn of the consumer internet. and theres still tons of offline tournaments that players travel too and are huge. and this is coming from genres that are born online, competitively. you may see a little less casual irl, but offline tourneys will still be big IMO. and many people dont have access to players period.

its hard to say what will happen, but something has to be done, and online has to happen, effectively


#3

I dunno, there are games that are centered around online communities who have gatherings. LAN parties bring together gamers for games that really have no roots in an offline scene. You have conventions, etc, so I certainly think that online can still be an avenue to offline competition.

So could it hurt the scene, but I see it as more an opportunity to get more people interested, and as the lag wanes more and more, a bigger opportunity for the general level of competition to rise. A lot of people who play online only are always going to play online only, but there is going to be a good subset of them who I have no doubt could be persuaded to go to a local gathering, since they don’t mind doing it for RTS games, FPS games, and even sometimes MMORPGs. (The last I never understood, but hey, guildies are cool to meet I suppose.)


#4

I guess online really is the wave of the future. It’s simply getting to the point where offline holds no advantage over online. In the end I think this is going to help the scene more than hurt it.


#5

I understand MMOs completely.
The best part of an MMO is when you can join up with other people in ventrilo and all of you work together to beat the dungeon or whatever. MMOs for the most part are online social chatrooms with retarded amounts of grinding to make your avatar better.

A perfect fit for gatherings and lan parties and so you can participate together, Ventrilo is one thing. Side by side is another beast completly. And when somebody gets that super gold ultra sword +10 you can give them a real high five.

That is the thing. A lot of people regardless of how well online is would still love to go out and play with other people. This is why I always say online gaming never killed the arcades. Something which people on this forum claim constantly.
People for the most part are willing to do things together. In real life offline. As long as it is convenient for them(that also depending on how hardcore they are)

When I played cs. while I mostly talked to my cs team on ventrilo. Played mostly online. It was always a thrill to meet up at a lan center and play side by side and really hang out with my teammates.

I really do not see this changing regardless of how good online play becomes. People for the most part will still want to meet and play together.


#6

huh?


#7

Except LAN centers still exist and most major tournaments for online games are offline because their’s no such thing as 100% lagless online play. Try to recover from a dizzy in GGPO and you’ll see what I mean.

Arcades are obsolete and need to change their 40 year old business model. The machines are barely profitable for the arcade owners, the distribution costs are though the roof, and the product hasn’t fundamentally improved for the consumer.

I don’t cry for the death of the arcades because I know from it’s ashes new gaming centers that are better than the arcades will come.


#8

accidentally posted in wrong thread. Sorry.

What I meant to say was, that without online play- how is new blood going to arrive anyways? From dudes getting bored on the CPU? From non-existant arcades? FRom people just playing one other person?

THe offline scene will still exist for social reasons, and money reasons. People like to gamble.


#9

There was an article posted by Sirlin a while back addressing the myth of consoles destroying arcades. It’s pretty convincing, and I suggest you guys check it out.

Large convention style tournaments like Evo will continue no matter how seamless online play gets because people like to get together socially to enjoy their hobby. I live pretty close to FFA, and even if I had 100% lag free online play at home, I’ll still continue to go to my local arcades because I enjoy being around people when I play. It’s part of the experience for me.

Oh, I guess this has already been addressed. Well, I’m agreeing with whoever said it too.


#10

hahaheheh.


#11

thread over. i whole heartedly agree with this and im pretty sure it will turn out this way with fighters.


#12

sorta off topic, but i remember reading somewhere that theres somethin like 1 Gbps residental connection speeds in korean/japan? confirm or deny.


#13

A CPSII Super Turbo board has a constant 4-5 frames of delay from the moment you hit the button to the time the game move occurs.

If you play ST on GGPO, and between you and your opponent, you have a shared 4-5 frames of constant delay (or lag), then that’s pretty damn close to playing ST without lag over the internet. Because the emulator eliminates the 4-5 frames of delay from the CPSII hardware you can compensate the 4-5 frames of delay on GGPO and have the same delay present.

Of course you can’t control lag spikes, CPU freeze or slowdown, or other factors. But GGPO comes pretty damn close to perfect online play. At least for Super Turbo.

Now, with ST, you have a built in 4-5 frames of delay on the arcade board. But what about Virtua Fighter 5? Street Fighter IV? Blazblue? Those games have 1 frame or less delay on the arcade cabinets from the time you press a button until the action occurs on screen.

So the second you take those games online…you are adding in extra delay. Meaning the smaller the latency of the game recognizing the inputs offline is, the less chance the game will be able to be played latency free over the internet.

For this reason I don’t see any of the newer games ever being possible to be played online with perfect controls until internet technology becomes much better.


Secondly, offline tournaments are major spectator events. WCG, EVO, SBO, and the like.

And lastly…online gives too much room for cheating.


#14

Why the shit are you bumping a 2 year old topic?


#15

Damn, this is a serious necro, but I didn’t notice until I researched some stuff for the past hour to reply so I’m going to do that anyways.

I’m assuming you got your 4 frames lag from NKI’s Arcade vs. CCC2 thread. Seems like an unresolved issue really came out of that whole thread though.

First off NKI used a supergun to record that video. Arcade hardware outputs video in a different format then can be displayed on normal TVs (at least American TVs) so a supergun is basically just a power supply a Jamma harness and a video converter, it’s very likely the video converter added a small amount of lag.

Second NKI started at 1 on the frame the button was pressed, in reality this is frame 0. The way video games work is that there is a game loop. Basically the game takes input from the controller, then it does whatever calculations need to be done (and everything is a calculation game sprites included since all programs are 1’s and 0’s at the core), then it outputs the video/audio. Very basic description but the point is say you are on animation frame X of a fighting game and you press a button and at that exact moment a screenshot is taken. The screenshot would be of the end of the previous loop iteration and the input would not be put through the loop and processed until the next loop. So if the game animated the move on the very next frame the game would have 0 frames of input delay.

Third, people who claimed to have tested SSF2T on emulators say there is actually 1 frame of delay. Frame 0 is the end of the game loop where the button was press, the game loop has already checked for input and output the video which (unless you have video lag) you are seeing as you press the button, frame 1 is the first loop where the game input is processed by the game loop (barring controller lag issues) if a game had zero frames of input lag and the move animated on the first frame it would be shown here, frame 2 (where I assume ST has processed the input) would correspond to one frame of lag. This would make a lot of sense if you add one frame of lag for the SuperNova video converter to convert the output video from the arcade hardware into TV friendly format (which would actually be a really awesome conversion rate for video seeing as one frame is about 17ms and most LCDs have worse output lag but that’s another discussion.

Anyways point? Oh yeah, well I have given this lots of thought. Basically I program as a hobby so I’ve recently been thinking a lot about the best way to design a fighting game from the ground up with the goal being smooth online play. If you build the game with online in mind you can take various steps, not built in input delay so much, but maybe not animating moves or having hitting frames for the first 4 frames. 4 frames at approx 17ms a frame is cerca 66ms. So really if you had a game where moves didn’t have relevant frames 1-4 (which btw is around 1/15th of a second and you would never notice unless you had a prior frame of reference for example if an arcade version had been released with moves that animated and were relevant on frames 1-4). Then basically from there you can timestamp the inputs and since you have no input lag but frame 5-6 is the first relevant frame when the input arrives from Game 1 to Game 2, say Game 2 is on loop 4003 and it gets a packet that say that on loop # 4000 Game 1 the player input the fireball motion, now Game 2 can just ignore the irrelevant frames and go straight the the current frame of the move. Then you can further smooth it by allowing the game an acceptable amount of frames it can shave off a move before it rolls back. Anyways enough of this, no one will ever read this I just have been thinking about it a lot and needed to vent my brain. There’s a lot more to it but w/e.

Yes, America is wayyy behind on average highspeed connection speeds. Most of that has to do with cable companies concentrating on reducing blackout zones (areas where highspeed is not available) instead of increasing overall speeds. Of course when you consider the differences between Japan/Korea and America in terms of population density and overall area it makes sense that it would be this way. I get around 500-700Mbps on an average day so I can’t complain.


#16

After that comes the sex bots. Once we have them, the world will be full screwed.


#17

not really, geeks will just be happier.


#18

Have about making even offline in future games have like a 2-3 frame delay or something… Wouldn’t that make it much easier for online to be “offline perfect”?


#19

my bad, i totally didn’t notice. honest mistake. i forgot how i found thread must of got linked to it or somethin. you should be able to tell by my question i wasnt tryna start shit. shit happens…


#20

Wouldn’t that just make the online play have a 4-6 frame delay?

edit; as said before, no matter how good online play becomes, people will still play in person because the games are just way more fun to play socially. etc.