Like death and taxes, lag is a fact of life when you're playing games over the Internet.
You may have already noticed lag when playing your first games of deathmatch. For example,
perhaps when you pressed the fire button it took a second or two for the gun to actually
fire. Or in a crowded firefight things started to get jerky and slow. These are all
examples of lag.
Of course the big question on everyone's mind is "how
do you eliminate or decrease lag?" The answer, unfortunately, is complicated and
never the same for each players. However there are some general tips we can cover.
Check Your Internet Connection
Do you have a poor quality phone line, or noise over your phone line? This could be
affecting your connection to your ISP, and therefore the quality of your connection to a
Quake 2 server.
What's your modem speed?
Remember that you need at least a 28.8 to play Quake 2 over the Internet. The faster your
modem the better. With the new 56k ITU standard, 56k access should be expanded greatly
(although 56k is already available in most major cities).
How's Your ISP Quality?
We said before that on-line services like AOL and Compuserve don't cut it for playing
Quake 2 over the Internet. That doesn't mean just because you have a real ISP account
you're going to get superior service. If you frequently get dropped from your ISP or have
so-so connection speeds it may be time to look for a new one.
How's your PC speed?
Although your PC's performance (with the exception of the modem) doesn't directly affect
your connection rate, it can pose problems in deathmatch games. For instance my PC is a
P166 with 16 megs of ram and a Voodoo Graphics accelerator (Monster 3D). When I play Quake
2 I get occasional pauses in the gameplay (I need more ram!). This doesn't cause many
problems when I play the computer - because when I pause the computer pauses. However
during multiplayer games this is not the case. Just because I have the occasional glitch
that doesn't mean everyone else did. Making sure that Quake 2 is optimized for your system
can translate into better deathmatch scores.
You can think of ping as nothing more than a gauge of your lag. When we use Gamespy we're
always looking for the server with the lowest ping. The lower the ping the better the
speed. Here's the rundown on what different ping values mean:
Ping What It Means
|99 - 0
||If you've got zero you're most likely on the actual server
|199 - 100
||You have a pretty darn smooth connection, you lucky
|299 - 200
||Still pretty smooth, but you will get the occasional lag
|399 - 300
||More lag, but still very playable (average for 28.8 users
is 350 - 250)
|400 - and up
||Ugh, slower than Clinton thinks, avoid any pings above
It's very easy to find the ping of a Quake 2 server with
Gamespy, but how do you do it when you're in the actual game? Easy, just press F1
anytime in a Quake 2 multiplayer game and a screen with the lists of every player on the
server and their pings will be shown.
SPEED ISSUES AND QUAKE 2
The ability to play 3D shooters over the Internet revolutionized the industry almost as
much as 3D games themselves (some would say even more). Of course since we really are at
the birth of this medium we have to expect a few bumps. Primarily those bumps are lag.
Currently lag is a fact of life in Internet games. There's
no real way to get around it for the average modem based 28.8 user. Just wait patiently
for the day when super fast cable modems (actually it could be a number of standards like
satellite and ADSL) become the norm and we can all laugh at those "old days" of
Don't let me give you the impression that playing Quake 2
over a plain old modem is going to be impossibly slow. If it wasn't playable people
wouldn't be doing it. Just remember that it isn't perfect and you shouldn't cry when you
get fragged because of lag.
Now let's continue on and get in-depth with Gamespy! Click
the "Next" link below to continue.