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DeathMatch Intro
Basic Control
Basic Tactics
Quake II Servers

Gamespy Intro
Gamespy Basics
Lag & Ping
More Gamespy

Advanced Tactics
Playing Smart
Eraser Bot

The Console

Mod Introduction
CTF Intro
CTF Strategy


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Part 2 - Lag And Ping

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 bastard
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 this level.

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.

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 Internet gaming.

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.

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