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Diablo III Lag-Free?

IncGamers has word from the early days of friends and family beta testing of Diablo III that players seem to be experiencing no latency at all while playing the game no matter their location, in spite of its client/server architecture. They have a couple of updates about this since first posting the story, the second of which says they feel they have: "100% confirmation that this is indeed correct! Latency no longer matters at all for combat." Here's word:

F&F sources have it that Blizzard are using a new method of client/server communication that provides a secure and tamper-proof method of using the local client to handle its own calculations, while sending the data to the server for verification. The Client doesnít require the server to respond, hence removing Latency from the equation. The exact technical information of how this works is unknown, particularly how it protects the game from tampering with the client, however it is believed that the server checks all the data that comes from the client, and if it detects tampering it disconnects the client. This eliminates the need for the client to have to wait for a response from the server, and runs as business as usual unless the server doesnít like what the client has sent it.

This is huge news, particularly for players in Australia, New Zealand and other high-latency regions that donít have localized servers. Diablo 3 combat looks very fast-paced and the slightest delay would make the game feel rather broken. As well-illustrated by this monk gameplay video.

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55. Re: This is not new Sep 15, 2011, 07:33 Rockn-Roll
Vektuz wrote on Sep 14, 2011, 23:57:
This is client side prediction and has been used in games since 1996, in Quakeworld.

I don't think so. Prediction is what causes lag...when the client receives a packet which indicates that something is in a different place from where the client thought it would be then the client changes it's seems to jerk into it's new location. When this happens a lot then we call it laggy because things keep moving around while our character seems to be standing still...or sometimes the client has reached a prediction limit and freezes.

It sounds like what they are saying is that the client data is correct...and the server changes the location of objects for that client based on what the server receives from the long as they are reasonable...this keeps the client rendering smoothly, but means each client has it's own set of server variables. Unfortunately, when latency is above like 250ms then after awhile some clients will be displaying something very different.

Where the problem will be is when there's lots of action and more than one client might be giving their player the same reward...what it sounds like is that the player with the faster connection...better ping...will get the loot while the player who played just as well as the other least from what they can tell...will get disconnected? Or, do both players get the rewards? Or will the rewards not be immediate? I think Blizzard needs to clear this up.

I don't think there is any way to avoid lag without introducing something worse. The only client for which latency is not a part of the equation is a single player client...when you add a server and another player then you either have to wait until the server tells the clients what the other player is doing or the two clients are going to be presenting a different game to each player. Something else I thought of is when players team up and the actions of one player have to be timed so that they immediately follow the actions of another player...there's no way to make this happen without a server to pass on the other player's action to the player that needs to follow up with their action. It's not even something that can be predicted.

I encountered this exact problem today while playing TF2...a medic had an uber built up...and for 3 times in a row either he died or I died before the uber worked for both of us...he sometimes saw the uber start to work then I died and I also had instances where I saw the uber start to work then he died. The problem was caused by a sniper that the server says received a fire button press before it received a fire button press from the medic. There was no way to predict it, so for the duration of the total lag amount the medic and/or myself saw the uber start to work until the server came up and slapped our hands for predicting something that didn't happen because one of us was dead.

How would the Diablo client/server process handle this? I don't know, but it sounds like the medic and myself would both get the uber while the sniper would also get credit for a kill. But, we would see something very different unfold for the other players...I suppose the sniper would see something very odd...the medic or myself would have died, but some of the other players around us would be dying without any reason. I suppose in this situation the server would disconnect myself and the medic or perhaps the sniper? I don't know.

What I can tell is that client-side prediction with server authority has been in use for a long time and a lot of players are comfortable with it...why try something that would be strange?
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