Lag...it's bad news.


So what exactly is lag and how does it affect the gaming experience you ask?

Quite simply, it is a slowdown in action. Take Soldier of Fortune for example. Soldier of Fortune is a first-person shooter where the object is to take out your enemy. As discussed in class, information is chopped up into packets and sent over the network. The packets take different routes to arrive at their destination so some packets may arrive before others. When these packets are interrupted or lost, the server must resend them. So while the game is running at a normal, real-time rate for some, users with packet loss must wait for the resent server packets to arrive before it can process the information.

Client to server packet loss in the middle of action makes the client appear jumpy to other players who do not have packet loss. So the shots that are fired appear later. Conversely, when there is server to client packet loss, other players appear jumpy to the user. Shots appear after a delay on the user's screen. This is what slows gameplay and causes the Matrix-like effect: the ability to dodge bullets and explosions with no problem.

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Copyright Tyson Hoyman 2000


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