Why is it acceptable for fighting games to have mediocre netcode?


#1

I don’t get it. It’s a genre that thrives entirely on multiplayer, and to this day, we haven’t seen a single release with netcode that will allow for cross country or even cross coast play at an acceptable level of input delay/frame skipping. HDR is probably the closest thing we’ve gotten in terms of a commercial release, but with the rest, you’re stuck playing people on the same coast. Arcades are dying and/or dead in most regions, so a lot of us depend heavily on online for most of our competitive play.

SSF4 and Blazblue, though better than most of the competition, still have at least 2 frames of delay with most 5 bar connections unless you’re in the exact same city/province/state. Most good players will tell you that anything over 1 frame of delay is completely unsuitable for serious play. It’s not like better solutions don’t exist either. A good step forward would probably be to stop trying to code for delay and code for frameskip, prediction and rollbacking the way GGPO does, but nobody’s even tried to do that so far besides Backbone, and Sirlin practically had to beg them to even get that done.

You’d never get away with having iffy netcode on a serious FPS or RTS game, so why is it OK for fighting games? Nobody ever calls the developers on this in game reviews either. Hell, a lot of reviews gloss over the online like it’s just a side feature.

Why isn’t there more of a focus on improving the base netcode for a heavily multi-player oriented genre like fighters? All this hype about new characters, new moves, new whatever is kind of stunted by the fact that I can’t even play my friends on the west coast, Europe and Japan.


#2

Fighting games are made in Japan. They can use the shittiest netcode and they won’t notice any lag.

If you don’t get it, Japan internet is just so good.


#3

It isn’t. Garbage netcode is why people didn’t pick up KOF XII, and I personally believe Tekken 6 would have a much bigger following right now if it didn’t have garbage netcode. I would hope people have learned from this and will have better code in their games.


#4

Partially what the above says, the routing quality isn’t as good as he says, but space is a huge advantage there, the netcode is pretty advantageous for that type of setting.


#5

Okay, Crappy Netcode isn’t the reason people didn’t pick up KoF XII. It would be a reason, if the game were any good…or finished…people have to stop using that game as an example since it’s just terrible all around.


#6

I’d argue that perhaps Japan doesn’t have to dick around with optimizing for shit internet and can make the game work better online than it ever will otherwise (who needs rollback when you’re synced?), rather than sheer laziness and incompetence, but eh.

Have you seen how consistently, and unnecessarily bad netcode is for 99% of all online games? Developers just don’t know.


#7

Gears of War has a pretty garbage connection as well, and tbh its much worse in that game than SF4. At least in SF4, the host of the match can’t unplug their router before a round starts and kill your whole team (then plug their router in right before the connection times out) so that the second you spawn your brains get blown away and you lose the match you were one round from winning. In that game you either can’t play while the host and his buddies that live in the same city run around with a pristine connection destroying your team that can’t even shoot, or you are the host and everyone sends you hate mail (even if you won legit) because “its easier to win when you are host”. Which, tbh, is true, but scrubs started using it as a copout for every loss they had.

Albeit, its a third person shooter but they both beg the same question, and I hear you on that. SSF4 hasn’t been TOO terrible but most good players will tell you that playing online for the majority of your competitive play is useless anyway. Sometimes its not so much the lag that makes it unviable (it is a factor) but its also just the tradition of going to an arcade and seeing your opponent in the flesh. No arcades in your area? Most serious players tell you “boo hoo too bad”, get some friends and play local or bust.

Obviously that’s not always easy, but thats how it is.


#8

Why would I not use KOF XII as an example? I didn’t even bother reading any reviews of the game and didn’t bother buying it. Why? Because it has garbage netcode.


#9

If you didn’t buy every game with garbage netcode…well, you’d never buy a game ever again.


#10

Some people in the US don’t seem to understand that it’s not only game netcode that’s holding us back…


#11

Most games have garabage netcode. You just tend to notice it when playing a fighting game where 1 frame can be what wins the match. Best bet is to play with people in person. Thats where japs set themself apart from westerners and such. They will leave the house to play sf/bb/t6/whatever with other people, people in the west dont even like leaving the couch. Arcades may be dead here but peoples living rooms sure arent. whatever I never make any sense anyhow.

You that same Kyokuji that gave me the beatdown in A3 on ggpo?


#12

As far as fighting games go, I decided after SFIV that it is mandatory. Any fighting game released in the future with bad netcode is not getting bought by me.


#13

To quote an old annoying dbz flash video “As a matter of fact…it isn’t.”


#14

Good for you. Now you’ll never have to buy another fighting game. That money can go to good causes like charity.


#15

Nominate for article, this guy knows the truth. SF4 and SSF4 sold because it had Street Fighter in the title, even with it’s shit netcode.


#16

Obviously not, but you don’t think it’s major contributor? Yes, western internet generally sucks balls, but GGPO has demonstrated that you can make it work on our existing connections.

The problem right now is that if you live in, say, New York and you want to play someone in SoCal or Florida, you’re out of luck. If you want to play people from Vancouver, and you live in Toronto, you’re out of luck. Yes, you can drive out to tournaments and gatherings, but it’s not the same as having daily access for long sets and casual play. You can’t just depend on regionals for improving your play.

You need consistent access to good competition. Why do you think Japan has such a large pool of good players? ‘Cause there’s great comp’ readily available almost everywhere at any time. Hell, even having ready access to the Japanese and players of all regions on GGPO has improved mine and a lot of other people’s games immensely. Next to personal motivation, player access is everything when it comes to improving your skills.

I’m lucky in that I live on the far east coast, so I have ready access to people from Empire (or former Empire guys now) and Chinatown Fair, but I’ve got a lot of friends in the European SF scene that I can’t really play, and that’s frustrating.

I’m well aware that Japan’s internet is like 60x better than our’s and their geography is much smaller, but if you’re trying to push fighting games as a global phenomenon, then you need to step your netcode up for other regions.

If arcades are dead, then online needs to seriously step its shit up to be a suitable replacement.


#17

And if they hadn’t, we wouldn’t need to worry about shit netcode in Fighting Games, as they’d be dead…at least 2D and 2.5D Fighting Games…


#18

Why do you guys get the impression I think SFIV’s code is bad? I think both BlazBlue and SFIV’s code are fine. I specifically mentioned two games for a reason.


#19

All games lag. FPS: you never heard of people bitching online about hit detection? You know how much people **** around with their net settings in CS:S because of hit detection? Most FPS net code the gun fires instantly, but the projectile… That’s different. The projectile, or hit detection is heavily affected by latency.

You ever played a RTS online? there’s loads of lag. Units have latency when it comes to reponding to your clicks etc.

The problem with fighting games is that unlike other genres, every frame is of major importance. Because of reversal windows/links combos and all the other stuff which have frame requirements. So that is why lag affects them more than other genres. It’s not because the netcode is medicore (- kof XII).


#20

But the netcode is mediocre. If you’ve spent any significant length of time on GGPO on a game other than 3rd Strike, you’d know that you can get smooth play at up to almost 200ms with ZERO frames of delay provided your computer/connection is decent. GGPO came and showed us that there’s a better way to do netcode than what all the companies are doing now.

I do regular set play with Japanese and European players in a variety of games on GGPO. You could never even dream of doing that in SF4 or Blazblue. Besides, if exact frames are so important, then isn’t that more of an incentive to improve the netcode?

I’m sorry, but they’re not. You can only manage a 5 bar connection with people on the same coast and the quality of 4 bar connections varies way too wildly. Anything over 2 frames of delay doesn’t even resemble the same game anymore. It becomes far more a game of guessing after that, and certain options are just completely not viable at higher delays.