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A Question About Lag Compensation In Videogames (BF3 In Particular.)

wo0x
Grafter
Posts: 313
Registered: 31-05-2013

A Question About Lag Compensation In Videogames (BF3 In Particular.)

Hi, I intend to keep this post as short and to the point as possible, but would like to apologise in advance as I expect it may still end up being rather lengthy.
I've seen a number of threads across the internet on something called 'lag compensation.' Lots of talk about what it is, how it affects players with differing connections, whether players are using it as an excuse for being bad at the games in question. I can't be described as bad at Battlefield 3 (PS3) by anyone. I'm currently ranked in the top 170 players in the world for MVP ribbons and have a healthy KDR (top 7%,) so I like to think I know when something is amiss.
I'm sure we've all experienced 'laggy' servers at some point on this game (this certainly got worse once EA carried out 'server migration' at the end of 2012,) but I am convinced that since joining John Lewis Broadband, and now Plusnet that this has become a lot worse for me. When I was on TalkTalk my ping would be 40-60ms, with John Lewis this was down to 14-16ms and now on Plusnet my ping is 11-12ms (all tests conducted via command prompt.)
I see two sides to the whole 'lag compensation' thing, one side argues that players with low latency connections are being unfairly treated to allow players with higher pings to compete. The other side says 'get good.' As I said earlier, I know I'm better than average, I also know that I found things a lot easier when I was on TalkTalk which leads me to believe in the low latency players are getting screwed theory.
There are a number of symptoms that are far more prevalent now than before. The most visually obvious symptom is when I am in vehicles - jets and choppers will skip along in a manner that anyone would classify as conventional lag, tanks struggle across the terrain in a far more bumpy manner than usual - aiming the turret is very jittery... these symptoms are not consistent, some nights are worse than others.
The thing that has become consistent is the difficulty in infantry combat. The skipping that I experience in the vehicles is not as obvious when on foot, but I am constantly getting shot around corners (this is an issue in all online games I've ever played on any connection, but it is happening more often and at far greater distances behind cover.) It's not the only issue with infantry combat, however, getting 'insta-killed' by players I have been shooting in the back, only for them to turn around and look at me and I drop dead.
The instant kills occur no matter my approach, I can be aggressive and a guy waiting behind a corner will drop me, I can be the guy waiting (not spotted on the map,) I can see the enemy approaching on the map, I can fire before he comes around the corner, but he'll kill me before I can even see him raising his gun.... It's annoying me to the point of paranoia, lol. I check out the other player's stats every time it happens. Sometimes I think the guy must be an incredible player with lightning fast reactions, only to be amazed when I see it's a guy with 3% accuracy and a heavily negative KDR (no offence to anyone reading this with similar stats.) I used to be able to instinctively know how long to hold down the trigger, how many bursts to fire, but now I find myself lifting my finger off the trigger and expecting to see a dead body, only for the guy to kill me. I need several bursts to kill people at medium range even if they aren't moving, but they kill me in what seems to be one burst even if I am running at full speed, there is zero time to react.
I feel like I'm only competing right now due to playing smart, but I really miss the adrenaline of some twitchy run-and-gun gameplay - I am losing far more 50-50 situations than I used to.
I realise I failed to keep this short and I still haven't asked a question. What I would like is some thoughts on this, whether others are experiencing the same things, and whether there are any steps available to remedy this.  In short I guess I'm asking, is lag compensation hurting players with low latency connections and is there a way to increase the ping to fix it? Or if it's not the problem, is it just that EA's servers are really, really bad?
I'm including an image file of a ThinkBroadband latency graph, the increase in average latency is whilst streaming Netflix. 6am to 4pm is when the connection isn't being used. I notice there are dropped packets, would I be right in thinking the small number of these are normal?
One last thing, I regularly check the planned updates for my exchange (WWSTAR,) the Openreach checker says 'under evaluation' for fibre, it has been saying that for months without change. SamKnows states no plans for fibre, but for 21CN WBC ''RFS date set : 28/02/2014, finally Plusnet user tools states ''WBC Rollout Status - BT have announced a ready for service date for this exchange. The estimated go live date is between 1st December 2013 and 31st December 2013.'' Do you have any idea what, if any, part of that is correct?
Ps, if you check my line and see a large number of disconnects in the past couple of weeks this is just me messing around with various settings and gateway hopping - I never lose connection otherwise.
Router stats:
3 days 9 hours 34 minutes 19 seconds
Modulation : G.Dmt
Annex Mode : Annex A/L
Line State : up
Lan Tx : 7064643
Lan Rx : 5884607
ADSL Tx : 5692515
ADSL Rx : 6624105
CRC Down : 0
CRC Up : 4
FEC Down : 0
FEC Up : 0
HEC Down : 1
HEC Up : 0
SNR Up : 11.0
SNR Down : 9.0
Line Attenuation Up : 13.5
Line Attenuation Down : 21.5
Data Rate Up : 832
Data Rate Down : 8128

Once again, sorry for the length of the post, and thanks in advance,
Wo0x.


20 REPLIES
JamesM
Grafter
Posts: 1,103
Registered: 24-06-2009

Re: A Question About Lag Compensation In Videogames (BF3 In Particular.)

Quote
I used to be able to instinctively know how long to hold down the trigger, how many bursts to fire, but now I find myself lifting my finger off the trigger and expecting to see a dead body, only for the guy to kill me. I need several bursts to kill people at medium range even if they aren't moving, but they kill me in what seems to be one burst even if I am running at full speed, there is zero time to react.

Spot on mate, I notice this when there are 2 or 3 players in a squad in front of me. I shoot the first one with a couple of short bursts which normally kills them, then move onto the second, for another couple of short bursts, and by this time the third has seem me, but I can usually drop him too, but a lot of the times this backfires where I think I have killed the first and second (I scope in as soon as I see a enemy so vision is limited) and swtch to the third, but the first one kills me as they are all still standing and I haven't killed any of them.
Quote
I feel like I'm only competing right now due to playing smart, but I really miss the adrenaline of some twitchy run-and-gun gameplay - I am losing far more 50-50 situations than I used to.

I have been experiencing the same for months, I thought it was my connection, but the timimg matches with what you are saying about the EA server migration. Nothing worse than hitting a sniper at close range with my M249, only for him to shoot his sniper rifle, then switch to his pistol and kill me all while under constant fire from me.
As for vehicles, they are 50/50, some times I can kill anything when in a LAV, other times I hit nothing, in tanks I can shoot heli's and sometimes Jets out of the sky, other times I cant hit a tank 4 feet in front of me.
Then there is the split second delay, where a enemy comes round a corner, you both see each other and fire, yet when I fire nothing happens for a split second, and in that time I am dead.
My ping at PN was 11-12 same as yours, but I had a BT engineer out who messed about and dropped my sync by around 20% and doubled my ping.
Edit
I am a PC gamer.
Edit 2
I just checked ping bbc.co.uk and my Ping has dropped back to 13  Smiley
Moderator
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Re: A Question About Lag Compensation In Videogames (BF3 In Particular.)

I've seen on here before comments about good connections being penalised.
I've also read about people who are hosting a game running an upload to give themselves an advantage.
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Plusnet Staff
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Re: A Question About Lag Compensation In Videogames (BF3 In Particular.)

Hi Wo0x,
I don't play many games online so can't really give much of a personal experience of lag compensation (and with my highly interleaved 3.6Mbps line it probably doesn't happen anyway) but I have heard a lot of others talking about it and speaking to people with FTTP with ping <10ms and FTTC or good ADSL2 lines with latency <15ms they do seem to say that lag compensation makes the game worse than if they had a base 30-40ms ping.
We've even had a couple of customers with really good lines ask us to switch interleaving on just to increase the latency. Interleaving is a form of error correction which is normally used on longer or poorer lines to improve the performance but the way the error correction works means that it increases the latency. It's easy to switch on and off so we can switch it on for you, let you see if it makes any difference and if not switch it back off again.
On the exchange, I've just checked and it's down to get ADSL2+ between 1st December and 28th February but no date for fibre yet. We've been upgrading everyone that can get ADSL2+ in bulk over the last few years so once your exchange gets upgraded you'd be included in that bulk upgrade.
wo0x
Grafter
Posts: 313
Registered: 31-05-2013

Re: A Question About Lag Compensation In Videogames (BF3 In Particular.)

Quote from: JamesM

Then there is the split second delay, where a enemy comes round a corner, you both see each other and fire, yet when I fire nothing happens for a split second, and in that time I am dead.

This is painful, it feels like your gun jams, but you die before their gun points at you. No doubt you experience 'front knife' kills too, where you have turned to shoot a pursuer and they jump right through your bullets, lol.
Quote from: Strat

I've also read about people who are hosting a game running an upload to give themselves an advantage.

I did actually try this once, but with my limited upload bandwidth I kept losing connection to EA.
Quote from: dave

We've even had a couple of customers with really good lines ask us to switch interleaving on just to increase the latency. Interleaving is a form of error correction which is normally used on longer or poorer lines to improve the performance but the way the error correction works means that it increases the latency. It's easy to switch on and off so we can switch it on for you, let you see if it makes any difference and if not switch it back off again.

If you could switch interleaving on for me to try that would be great, Dave. I'll see how it goes and let you know. Thanks for the info on the exchange.
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 12,169
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Re: A Question About Lag Compensation In Videogames (BF3 In Particular.)

Adam's placing the order for you now, should be switched on in the morning, you may have to reboot the router for the change to take effect. Let us know how you get on, like I say we can switch it back off in 1 working day if it makes no difference or makes it worse.
JamesM
Grafter
Posts: 1,103
Registered: 24-06-2009

Re: A Question About Lag Compensation In Videogames (BF3 In Particular.)

Quote from: Wo0x

This is painful, it feels like your gun jams, but you die before their gun points at you. No doubt you experience 'front knife' kills too, where you have turned to shoot a pursuer and they jump right through your bullets, lol.

lol, yes, I have to take my headset off and mute my mic when my mate is the one that dodges my bullets, jumps up in the air and knives me. Firstly because I don't want to hear him laughing for the next 2 hours, and secondly, so I can swear my head off.  Grin
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Re: A Question About Lag Compensation In Videogames (BF3 In Particular.)

Gaming in hot weather is also a problem.
I have the windows open giving the neighbours the dubious benefit of some of my choice Anglo Saxon Embarrassed
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Razer
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Posts: 1,375
Registered: 17-11-2012

Re: A Question About Lag Compensation In Videogames (BF3 In Particular.)

Hm, yes, me too - especially where lag/cheat is concerned.
wo0x
Grafter
Posts: 313
Registered: 31-05-2013

Re: A Question About Lag Compensation In Videogames (BF3 In Particular.)

Hi, ping has increased to 30-32ms from 11-12ms, I wasn't expecting this to make much of a difference, but early signs are encouraging. I seem to be winning more 50/50 encounters and I have had time to react when being shot in the back rather than dying instantly. This may just be coincidence or placebo, but I'm happy for interleaving to be left on for now.
I have noticed that my downstream sync has dropped to 7616 from 8128 and my IP profile has dropped from 7.15 to 6.5Mbps, was this to be expected from interleaving being switched on or is it a result of me messing around with settings and rebooting too often?
On a side note, I was recently refunded £13.99 because I was incorrectly charged for line rental despite having paid for 12 months in advance, the line rental charge was £14.50 so I was just wondering why the refund was 51p short. I realise this is off-topic, but I don't want to make a fuss (ie, make another thread) about such a small amount... the only reason I mention it is that my next bill is showing another £14.50 charge and I would like to avoid the annoyance of having to chase up a refund every month.
Thanks in advance,
Wo0x.
Moderator
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Re: A Question About Lag Compensation In Videogames (BF3 In Particular.)

Quote from: Wo0x
I have noticed that my downstream sync has dropped to 7616 from 8128 and my IP profile has dropped from 7.15 to 6.5Mbps, was this to be expected from interleaving being switched on or is it a result of me messing around with settings and rebooting too often?

Those numbers are standard on a good interleaved line.
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wo0x
Grafter
Posts: 313
Registered: 31-05-2013

Re: A Question About Lag Compensation In Videogames (BF3 In Particular.)

Quote from: Strat

Those numbers are standard on a good interleaved line.

Thanks  Smiley
wo0x
Grafter
Posts: 313
Registered: 31-05-2013

Re: A Question About Lag Compensation In Videogames (BF3 In Particular.)

Quote from: Wo0x
Hi, ping has increased to 30-32ms from 11-12ms, I wasn't expecting this to make much of a difference, but early signs are encouraging. I seem to be winning more 50/50 encounters and I have had time to react when being shot in the back rather than dying instantly. This may just be coincidence or placebo

I think it was placebo and/or coincidence. Same issues as before interleaving.
Quote from: dave
we can switch it back off in 1 working day if it makes no difference or makes it worse.

As I no longer believe it's making a difference can I have interleaving switched off again please?
Plusnet Help Team
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Re: A Question About Lag Compensation In Videogames (BF3 In Particular.)

Quote
As I no longer believe it's making a difference can I have interleaving switched off again please?

I know you'll have seen my reply, just thought I'd drop a quick reply for transparency Smiley
http://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,116954.msg1011267.html#msg1011267
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team
wo0x
Grafter
Posts: 313
Registered: 31-05-2013

Re: A Question About Lag Compensation In Videogames (BF3 In Particular.)

Quote from: _Adam_Walker_
Quote
As I no longer believe it's making a difference can I have interleaving switched off again please?

I know you'll have seen my reply, just thought I'd drop a quick reply for transparency Smiley
http://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,116954.msg1011267.html#msg1011267

Thanks, it was switched off just after I had died on a killstreak, good timing, lol.