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Why Shooters Need Dedicated Servers

A post on BASHandSlash describes how to force Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 to select you as the host for multiplayer games. This quite plainly highlights the obvious problem with the lack of dedicated servers, and though this is not going to be news to most of the folks reading this, it bears repeating if it can help future games avoid the peer-to-peer multiplayer mistake going forward:

Hosting the game on your computer puts you at a very great advantage. You will have the lowest effective ping in the game (approximately ~20ms). It's the host's computer that decides the outcome of every battle, which means that what the host is seeing on his screen is the closest to what the registration algorithm thinks is actually happening.

A week ago I tried an experiment with Whiskey, a renowned CoD gamer from British Columbia. We set up a private match and we played a 1v1 death-match on Rust.

When I hosted (I'm in Toronto) I completely pwned. I had a K/D ratio of three. Yet...when Whiskey tried to host, the tables turned. The host was getting that split second that separates fragger and fragee in FPS. When I was hosting I'd see the enemy's head suddenly pokeout around the corner just long enough for me to blast away, whereas my opponent would see nothing.

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38 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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38. Re: Why Shooters Need Dedicated Servers Jan 12, 2010, 10:09 Verno
 
Yeah "back in the day" Rolleyes  
Avatar 51617
 
Playing: Divinity Original Sin, Destiny, Fire Emblem
Watching: Continuum, Star Trek TNG, Haunt
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37. Re: Why Shooters Need Dedicated Servers Jan 10, 2010, 00:48 Beaner
 
Remember back in the late 90's when we all use to loathe the day gaming would become super commercial. Well here we are. Consoles, watered down games, proprietary game networks, no mods, no dedicated servers. Just wonderful. Oh but those graphics are really cool.

This comment was edited on Jan 10, 2010, 00:49.
 
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36. Re: Why Shooters Need Dedicated Servers Jan 6, 2010, 23:02 Wilson
 
Let's not forget that dedicated-server games can usually keep running after the matchmaking servers are shut down, cough "recent EA maneuvers" cough.  
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35. Re: Why Shooters Need Dedicated Servers Jan 6, 2010, 13:20 Suddenly_Dead
 
That makes sense, considering games are often looping an update on their chosen framerate. Where were you before my stupid storm began?  
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34. Re: Why Shooters Need Dedicated Servers Jan 5, 2010, 23:45 1badmf
 
i've long since forgotten where i saw it, but i'm pretty sure lots of games factor in framerate when calculating ping, so even withing a loopback host you'll have latency greater than just input lag. at minimum latency must include how long it takes for one frame to replace another onscreen in terms of gamestate updates.

here's some simple math for your overeducated ass:

10fps = one screen update every .1 second = 100ms.
divide by 6 for 60 fps and localhost latency drops to ~ 16ms.

so no, 20ms for a localhost is NOT high.
 
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33. Re: Why Shooters Need Dedicated Servers Jan 5, 2010, 20:53 Sepharo
 
Suddenly_Dead wrote on Jan 5, 2010, 20:46:
I could stop talking at this point, but winners never quit.
You sunuvabitch
 
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32. Re: Why Shooters Need Dedicated Servers Jan 5, 2010, 20:46 Suddenly_Dead
 
Right. I'm genuinely confused about what you're confused about, and I'm multitasking way too much to make any sense myself. When I said that he may have meant "lowest effective latency", I was trying to be generous and take that he might have been talking about some other sort of latency, since the actual ping from his computer to his computer through his computer should be way lower than 20ms. Input latency, for instance.

I could stop talking at this point, but winners never quit.
 
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31. Re: Why Shooters Need Dedicated Servers Jan 5, 2010, 20:25 Sepharo
 
Suddenly_Dead wrote on Jan 5, 2010, 20:20:
Ping refers to the time it takes for a response to be received by the client from a packet sent to the server. What other latency are you referring to?
christ...
Sepharo wrote on Jan 5, 2010, 19:18:
"Ping" is equivalent in usage to latency when dealing with most online games.
round and round we go!

This comment was edited on Jan 5, 2010, 20:26.
 
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30. Re: Why Shooters Need Dedicated Servers Jan 5, 2010, 20:20 Suddenly_Dead
 
Sepharo wrote on Jan 5, 2010, 19:56:
Suddenly_Dead wrote on Jan 5, 2010, 19:39:
Ping normally refers to network latency, especially in games. If you're the one running the simulation, it doesn't really mean anything. I just quoted that bit because it made no sense, like much of the rest of the article.
I specifically said "latency" instead of "network latency" because that's what I meant.

Suppose you're at a LAN party and you and a friend are connected to a dedicated server also present at the LAN. When your friend has 30ms and you have 5ms who's to blame for the extra 25ms? Likely not the server, switch, or Cat5. The problem is your friend's machine.
Ping refers to the time it takes for a response to be received by the client from a packet sent to the server. What other latency are you referring to?

A 20ms ping to a server hosted on your own machine, even hosted in a separate process, is excessive and thus a very weird choice for an estimation.
 
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29. Re: Why Shooters Need Dedicated Servers Jan 5, 2010, 20:01 Ruffiana
 
I have it on good authority that Infinity Ward and Activision do not care about the PC market for CoD games as they represent about 1/8 to 1/12 of the sales they get from consoles.  
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28. Re: Why Shooters Need Dedicated Servers Jan 5, 2010, 19:56 Sepharo
 
Suddenly_Dead wrote on Jan 5, 2010, 19:39:
Ping normally refers to network latency, especially in games. If you're the one running the simulation, it doesn't really mean anything. I just quoted that bit because it made no sense, like much of the rest of the article.
I specifically said "latency" instead of "network latency" because that's what I meant.

Suppose you're at a LAN party and you and a friend are connected to a dedicated server also present at the LAN. When your friend has 30ms and you have 5ms who's to blame for the extra 25ms? Likely not the server, switch, or Cat5. The problem is your friend's machine.
 
Avatar 17249
 
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27. Re: Why Shooters Need Dedicated Servers Jan 5, 2010, 19:39 Suddenly_Dead
 
Sepharo wrote on Jan 5, 2010, 19:18:
Suddenly_Dead wrote on Jan 5, 2010, 16:41:
Hosting the game on your computer puts you at a very great advantage. You will have the lowest effective ping in the game (approximately ~20ms).

That makes no sense at all. Maybe "lowest effective latency" was what he meant? 20ms still sounds high, though.
"Ping" is equivalent in usage to latency when dealing with most online games.

And 20ms is high? What's a guy gotta do to be considered an LPB nowadays?
Ping normally refers to network latency, especially in games. If you're the one running the simulation, it doesn't really mean anything. I just quoted that bit because it made no sense, like much of the rest of the article.

This comment was edited on Jan 5, 2010, 19:39.
 
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26. Re: Why Shooters Need Dedicated Servers Jan 5, 2010, 19:30 Surf
 
One more reason (if this hasn't already been mentioned) to have dedicated servers is to avoid this whole shit. I mean, if they had dedicated servers that the customer could run, in addition to their own match making services, no one would be complaining here at all. They could simply say "We are no longer going to track or have official stats, so it is up to you to do that etc...."

Going back to old games like Tribes or Quake you can still host your own server and apparently people still do. That is really cool, and costs nothing to the creator of the game. The die hards will just keep playing and everyone is happy!


How does Battlefield 2 do it? Don't they have both or is the initial match making done through their service? I seem to recall it has an option to direct connect by IP but what if that initial online server connection were gone, would BF2 be unable to do any online play?
 
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25. Re: Why Shooters Need Dedicated Servers Jan 5, 2010, 19:18 Sepharo
 
Suddenly_Dead wrote on Jan 5, 2010, 16:41:
Hosting the game on your computer puts you at a very great advantage. You will have the lowest effective ping in the game (approximately ~20ms).

That makes no sense at all. Maybe "lowest effective latency" was what he meant? 20ms still sounds high, though.
"Ping" is equivalent in usage to latency when dealing with most online games.

And 20ms is high? What's a guy gotta do to be considered an LPB nowadays?
 
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24. Re: Why Shooters need Dedicated Servers Jan 5, 2010, 19:00 Starang
 
How is this news, people knew this back in 1997. Listen servers are fucking terrible, always have and always will be. That people think it's ok does not surprise me at all, they also think it's ok to play a fps with a gamepad, aim assist, no mods and buying mickey mouse money to purchase maps.

So far I don't give a shit because there are no games on the PC affected by this retardation that I was interested in and if all new fps games on the pc takes the same listen server matchmaking route well then I guess I will continue playing the old ones that IMO offer a superior experience and I will spend my money on something else.
 
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23. Re: Why Shooters Need Dedicated Servers Jan 5, 2010, 18:32 Donkey_Punch
 
Don't worry, if the trend continues that EA started you only have 1 year to play the game before the servers are taken down anyways.  
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22. Re: why is this even being discussed? Jan 5, 2010, 18:27 Jackplug
 
I never bought the game so I dont care, I knew what the problems were and knew all this would happen. So if you bought the game and your complaining now about something you knew about all along, you must be pretty damn stupid.

This comment was edited on Jan 5, 2010, 18:29.
 
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21. why is this even being discussed? Jan 5, 2010, 17:50 Bard
 
Dedicated servers are needed to create a stable and fair environment.

It was utter stupidity that led to MW2 not having a dedicated server for PC.

It had to be a decision made by some completely clueless idiot.. probably someone in Marketing that wanted it released for XMAS 2009.

 
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20. Re: Why Shooters Need Dedicated Servers Jan 5, 2010, 17:22 shinchan0s
 
The only shooter I've played on the PC that didn't have dedicated servers was Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear. The lag was unbearable. It's too bad since it was 1000x times the game CoD:MW2 is.  
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19. Re: Why Shooters Need Dedicated Servers Jan 5, 2010, 16:41 Suddenly_Dead
 
Hosting the game on your computer puts you at a very great advantage. You will have the lowest effective ping in the game (approximately ~20ms).

That makes no sense at all. Maybe "lowest effective latency" was what he meant? 20ms still sounds high, though.

This appears to be a blatant disregard for the ISP's ToS, and may even constitute consumer fraud.

You know, a lot of game genres do this. Console games do this. IW repeatedly made it clear that COD:MW2 would do this. They never promised otherwise, and your ISP's TOS is not their fault. How is this fraud on their part?

For example, I game with a player in New York who has a quad-core and a FIOS (fibre-optic) package...he hosts every game. Imagine his bandwidth numbers.

Okay, let's. How about we say that he hosts every game. Hosting takes 200-300 kilobits per second, according to the article. Let's say he hosts 5 hours every night for 30 days (~1 month). How much bandwidth has he used?

250 (kilobits per second) * 5 hours * 30 = 16.0932541 gigabytes

On FIOS? 16 gigabytes is nowhere near enough to get Verizon's attention.
 
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38 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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