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    PlanetQuake | Features | Rants N' Raves | Ping Equalization
   

Ping Equalization
This week's Rants N' Raves feature is about equalizing the ping.
  — by Pappy-R

Nothing like a game of Quake in the internet of Molasses

It's another fun filled week of Rants and Raves, where the public gets to spout off, but so do we.

This week's letter is on that four letter word of only three letters...lag. We've talked about it, tried to fix it, and a growing number of gamers are finally doing something about it with the widespread use of broadband access. Unfortunately, SQUID_squidly, this weeks "ranter" lives with lag, and would like to share his thoughts on the subject.

"Let's Have It Fair" by SQUID_squidilly.

Ok Folks, I consider myself to be a semi-skilled Q3 player, as in I can basically match anyone's game play and tactics as long as we are on equal grounds as far as the connection is regarded. I play a lot of Q3 and Elite Forces on a LAN, and when doing so 98% of the time emerge as the victor. Now when I go On-Line to play the end score is very different. We all know what this is like; you fire your gun, the sounds blazes away with immense intensity whilst it makes you believe you are emitting hundreds of rounds from your gun, only to notice that not a damn thing has hit the opponent or the wall where he was a millisecond ago.

It's at this point you see your own intestines spread up the wall, as the time it took to pull the trigger, your would be victim has ran 50 meters, jump half a dozen times, selected their rocket launcher got in a strategic position behind you and well, blown your bowels from the back up the wall in front you.

All this in a millisecond ????

Not so, as what seemed like a millisecond on your own PC was in fact about 3 seconds on your opponents, whilst they were bouncing around and deciding which weapon they should open your body with you just stood there asking for it.

This is all the doing of LAG, or in simple terms, "SLOW CONNECTION".

99% of my online experience always puts me with the slowest ping than any one else I have ever come across.

Ok, I only have a 56K dial up, but that's not my fault, where I live this is the only connection available. Now if I were to live 50 miles further in land, I could have ADSL or DUAL ISDN or CABLE, or anything!

So because I live by the sea, I die by the sea. :)

What I am Ranting about is, It's about time servers had some clever scripting that could ping the players at set intervals and then adjust their handicap accordingly.

Would this not even everything up, as those with super fast T-30 connections would be just as effective as a 56K dial up.

This could be done in a variety of ways, maybe off-setting their aiming by a set amount, and of course this would change several times throughout a game. This would mimic for them what is really happening with a 56K dial up user.

And before nay of you start saying that it would spoil a good game between T-30 users, NOT SO !, as the scripting would know you all had the same connection and would not intervene in your fun.

Take MPlayer for example: everyone starts off with the RED SKULL, after about 4 games I have a RED FIST. The most annoying part is it's not My Fault. I do the same good moves I use on the LAN games, except the lag makes them useless On-Line.

So I just turn it off and have a bad day :)

I have WON some On-Line games, but these are rare as finding a good UK server where my LAG is equal to others is very hard.

I usually have a ping of 180 - 150 on a UK server, where as opponents have a low of 15 and a high of 35.

I know were only talking milliseconds, but when the LAG is there constantly, and after a few jerky moments, they have taken the advantage and fragged me a few times. Now imagine about 8 other players all taking the same advantage, and its soon clear why I don't fare well On-Line.

Next year though ADSL should be available to us here on the coast, so it should help a little going up from 56K to 500K.

Any way, I really do think that some scripting should play a part in the BIG servers, to even the players up. Then the Number one player really would be a Number one player and not simply a Number one Pinger.

  —Phil - SQUID_squidilly

This guy's got some beef to share, now let's see what the PQ staff, a known group of sympathetic souls, has to say to SQUID_squidly. We'll start off this time hearing from Love2Play. Let'er rip L2P.

I disagree. I don't think leveling ping will do anything but keep top players top the same way they are now. I started playing Quake 2 online on a 56k modem with a 350 ping. What I learned was to anticipate my own lag. (Besides then being motivated to become the Queen of Quake Tweaks) I was able to anticipate my shots and the lag time. Now not to say total freezing up isn't an issue, but with a lower ping, I just had to play differently. I now have dsl and against others on dsl I am their equal. I have no real challenge other than run around and shoot. Actually, I run out of ammo too fast now. ;-) And honestly, I pay to have better ping. Why should someone on a free ISP have the same ping? That is like saying we should all have to drive Geo Metro cars. I happen to think that if you've got it (and pay a lot of money for it), flaunt it. And I don't drive a Geo!

If you learn to play on a LAN or on a low ping, you do not learn what it is to adjust to your environment. You just speed around shooting like crazy. Then when presented with lag IMO you become a whiner. "Oh, I was sooooo laggy!" I have been absolutely 0wNeD by people with a 600 ping because that is all they have ever played on and have developed their skill around it. They can't be stopped. Give them a level playing field of ping, and they will go from good to awesome. Same result - You Lose!

  —Chris "Love2Play" Henderson

Well I can attest to the fact that Love2Play does indeed not drive a Geo. I mean who are we kidding, her computer is faster than one of those. Now let's hear from the "mouth of the south" and writer of many an editorial here at PQ, Lee'Mon. Open up for us Lee.

I'm going to play devil's advocate on this one. You don't have a digital connection? Tough. To paraphrase, no one ever promised you the Rose Bowl.

John Carmack and the rest of id Software bent over backwards to keep Quake3 playable on a 56k modem. That's PLAYABLE, not WINABLE. The same box that says Q3A is playable on a 28.8 modem says it's playable on a 266MHz Pentium II with a 4MB video card. It may be technically possible, but anyone expecting a decent game is out of their friggin' mind.

I've run Quake on everything from my current GeForce2 rig with a T1 connection to a computer below minimum requirements with a 33.6k modem. I've had everything from a 0 ping to a 1200 ping with outrageous lag. My skills relative to my competition haven't changed greatly, but depending on my computer and connection, I've gone from first to last to completely lagged out. But at any point, did I blame other people for my computer and connection? Did I ever ask others to "tone it down" so I could have a fair chance? No!

In virtually every competitive sport or game, there is a certain amount of equipment required. Those that perform the best overall typically have the best equipment. That's not to say that there's plenty of great players with substandard equipment, or crappy players with fantastic equipment, but the people you see in the lead have the combination of the skills and the equipment. After all, why use substandard equipment that worsens your game?

Frankly, I'm tired of seeing all of these attempts to bend over backwards to give HPB players a "competitive edge" against LPB players. Overall, it seems to penalize the LPB players to the point where they're worse off than HPBs. Why should we do this? If I bring my Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight to a sports car race, should I expect to do well, even though my driving skills are excellent? Would it be fair to demand that everyone drive in first gear, so I could have a "competitive" chance to pit my true driving skills against their true driving skills on equal hardware?

True, I might stand a better chance of winning, but EVERYONE ELSE WOULD HAVE LESS FUN than if I had let them take advantage of all they have. After all, that's the reason for racing sports cars (and playing Q3A), isn't it? Just as I should race with other "tanks" if I expect to have a good race, HPBs should compete on HPB-only servers if they wish to do well. There is nothing I, id Software, PlanetQuake, or the server admin can do about your hardware situation. Let everyone else have a good time, and please, learn that there's more to Quake than just winning.

  —Lee'Mon

Next up, Pappy makes the rounds to more of the PQ Staff...


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