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Post by trog @ 09:09am 15/09/11 | 32 Comments
An anonymous reader writes in to let us know that IncGamers have an interesting article where they suggest Blizzard are using a new networking system in Diablo 3 that requires less communication between the client and the server and more client-side processing - meaning the impact of lag and latency in the game is much reduced:
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 doesn’t 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 doesn’t like what the client has sent it.
Such a development would be obviously great for Australians, who are presumably massively unlikely to see local servers on our shores for Diablo 3.

They've included a link to a YouTube video, purportedly from an Australia, which shows lag free fast-paced combat (but as someone that doesn't play Diablo, I have no idea what is going on, so maybe some helpful people can comment to explain):






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Latest Comments
DM
Posted 09:17am 15/9/11
If that is really taken from someone in australia then that is the single greatest thing blizzard have ever done and every game should try and use it. That's near single player response time. As if I wasn't already excited enough about Diablo 3 now you tell us this... I think I need to change my pants now.
Crakaveli
Posted 09:20am 15/9/11
This is simply awesome if true. There was atleast a second or so delay sometimes in diablo 2, it was never that responsive unless you were playing single player. You got used to it though much like with WoW.
do0b
Posted 09:29am 15/9/11
COO MANG
Eorl
Posted 09:32am 15/9/11
This is a great breakthrough for multiplayer like games, and hopefully all developers pick it up!
Cowie
Posted 09:50am 15/9/11
It sounds too good to be true..
Now go get me a beta key Ausgamers!
DM
Posted 10:16am 15/9/11
Looks like i'll be playing online rather than SP and being forever alone in this case.
Pinky
Posted 10:28am 15/9/11
The client-server model is always a massive challenge for networked games developers.

The risk of a more client-oriented model is cheating - so it's good they addressed that directly.

Also, if you missed the link to the D3 skills calculator, very interesting: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/age?r=%2Fd3%2Fen%2Fcalculator%2Fbarbarian
Morbz
Posted 10:50am 15/9/11
yay now just release it already so i can pvp!
paveway
Posted 10:59am 15/9/11
pvp? you're really looking forward to pvp?

zzzz
lateral
Posted 11:07am 15/9/11
This is a great breakthrough for multiplayer like games, and hopefully all developers pick it up!
not really, sounds like they are simply describing a UDP connection, and the technology has been in use since fps required low latency.... its why when you're shooting someone in counterstrike you aim for their head instead of compensating for lag like you would a game like QUAKE, the client calculates the head-shot and then informs the server, the server verifies that this is a reasonable head-shot and updates its information accordingly. you see the action as an instant snipe of the guys head, the rest of the server sees the guy halfway around the corner before he drops dead.

maybe a little game changing for RPG games that typically use TCP and have the server processing the information, but hardly a new way of doing networking for games.
Morbz
Posted 11:41am 15/9/11
yea looked alot of fun pave single will be coolies too but yea pvp will be fun aswell!
Jimbo
Posted 12:17pm 15/9/11
doubt thats australian. Who in australia would have a friends and fam invite?
Hogfather
Posted 12:25pm 15/9/11
doubt thats australian. Who in australia would have a friends and fam invite?

I have a friend-of-a-friend who is in it.
Python
Posted 12:26pm 15/9/11
yeah but where are the dedicated servers!?!?! BOYCOTT!

skythra
Posted 12:39pm 15/9/11
Lets say it IS better, but then that's a scale right? How much better?

Honestly one of the biggest problems with blizzard servers was their s***** forced tunnelling around america, the data simply took the longest route between the offshore cable to the server's because from what I understood, they had a deal with the owner of that cable to save on the data bandwidth costs. Hence why wow tunnels worked to some degree, because they circumvented that allowing the internet to at least get you a quicker route.

Honestly my ping to different sides of america is 200-300, but my ping to blizz servers without a VPN connection for the better half, is 400+

If they reduced that it'd be better than any netcode.
Hogfather
Posted 12:41pm 15/9/11
Hence why wow tunnels worked to some degree, because they circumvented that allowing the internet to at least get you a quicker route.

That's not how wow tunnels work. There's almost no routing benefit.

I was surprised to find this out too.
skythra
Posted 01:39pm 15/9/11
That's not how wow tunnels work. There's almost no routing benefit.

I was surprised to find this out too.

Yeah there is, most of them have bought servers in the cities where USwest or USeast servers are held, and so you miss that crazy route that it naturally takes.

unless you're using your tunnel wrong, or instead you've used worse than normal tunnels.
lateral
Posted 02:01pm 15/9/11
Lets say it IS better, but then that's a scale right? How much better?
well, considering all the game mechanics are now handled client side, and the server is just to verify and keep track of the other players and their intended action, when you click the "event" should occur immediately, weather it occurs the same for other players is where the big headache for such a system comes in. De-syncs are a b**** to troubleshoot and fix.
Tollaz0r!
Posted 02:19pm 15/9/11
In multiplayer, you will still need to receive information about what other players are doing, so there is still lag in that respect.
greazy
Posted 02:25pm 15/9/11
That's what I was thinking tollaz0r. The server still needs to send out all the incoming info to all the other players. I think there will be a difference but not lag free as claimed.
Khel
Posted 02:26pm 15/9/11
Wow tunnels make wow faster because they turn off nagle's, not so much cos of the routing
Hogfather
Posted 02:56pm 15/9/11
Wow tunnels make wow faster because they turn off nagle's, not so much cos of the routing

This, would have explained it better but I was in a bit of a rush.

There might be some SLIGHT routing benefit if you're on a s*** ISP, but its all about Nagles. You can really see this with the twin lag meter in the recent patch, your chat server connection without tunnelling isn't much worse than with, but your game data one changes dramatically.

You can get almost the same benefit by running a SOCKS server on your local network and routing through that, because SOCKS disables Nagles.
most of them have bought servers in the cities where USwest or USeast servers are held, and so you miss that crazy route that it naturally takes.

This is cos US data is cheap, and because routing from USWest to a USWest server via USEast would be dumb.
Jayman
Posted 02:52pm 15/9/11
That video really didn't show much. I doubt you'd notice much difference watching someone play with no lag and someone with 500ms, especially playing a caster. You'd feel it cause you know when you click and how long it takes to happen. But just watching... not so much.
Visser
Posted 12:12am 16/9/11
I'm really hopeful for this, but I'm going to hold off on getting TOO excited until we have some kind of real information. This is the kind of implementation that can easily have the poorest worst case performance, by a significant margin. As someone said, desyncs are a b****.

Since the server is verifying, there HAS to be a way to "undo" a client's packet. Possibly they just DC the whole user and rollback to before the error was found. But if not I really don't want to be the guy who has to do a solid implimentation.

We obviously also have to get info about the other players and loot - so these elements will hit us with the standard "haha aussies" penalty. There is *NO* way they'll let loot generation be client side. Assuming a 200 ping, we still have a 400ms (+reaction time) round trip time to see and then pick up loot (server sends packet, you react, you send packet) vs an american with say, 20ms RTT. (10 to see it, reaction and then 10 to send).

I'm also pretty scared of what could happen if they start trying to client side predict the other players. The edges around this will be much rougher than anything that could be realistically done for the 'current' player.

All in all, glad they're trying to do something, because netcode has been getting worse and worse over the years. But I'm going to wait until someone with actual judgement and the ability to pick subtle details gives it a thorough analysis. (A random guy in F+F who may or may not believe 30 FPS is the most you can notice is not such a person.)
skythra
Posted 03:31am 16/9/11
Anyway people here are saying that we're going to get ping benefits?

From what I read, this isn't speeding up transactions, instead it's just lessening the amount. In otherwords the bandwidth will be lowered (cheaper).

Is it going to be faster because there will be less packets in some kind of queue? I thought they already had been running something like UDP over TCP style implementation which reduced those kinds of things.

Overall, from the limited reading it sounds like people on dial-up or mobile connections should be able to play because there shouldn't be a large need for data bandwidth as it's been minimised.
Khel
Posted 03:51am 16/9/11
It just sounds like client side prediction to me, except where the client has a lot more authority than usual to make decisions without having to wait for a reply from the server. Could be something totally wacky and new though, have to wait and see I guess.

Assuming a 200 ping, we still have a 400ms (+reaction time) round trip time to see and then pick up loot (server sends packet, you react, you send packet) vs an american with say, 20ms RTT. (10 to see it, reaction and then 10 to send).


Shouldn't be a big problem though, cos if I remember correctly loot is personalised now? So like, it doesn't just spew everything out and its a mad grab for loot, only you can see your loot and nobody else can steal it. I think.
Thundercracker
Posted 07:01am 16/9/11
cos if I remember correctly loot is personalised now


Yup. Also, your own magic find only affects your drops so it has a few more implications as well.
Visser
Posted 10:38am 16/9/11
Awesome. I was kinda hoping they had done that but hadn't actually heard.

In related news, my friend (melb fringes) is apparently in F+F and he says it runs pretty well. He usually whinges about frames/lag/etc worse than I do, so sounds like D3 is going to turn out solid in that department.
Thundercracker
Posted 11:37am 16/9/11
Also, auction house is now available for testing in the beta.
ravn0s
Posted 12:33pm 16/9/11
The Diablo Scrolls - Oceanic Diablo 3 News and Information


better watch out. bethesda might sue you for having scrolls in your site name.
icewyrm
Posted 01:01pm 16/9/11
You can disable nagle's algorith with a registry key. I noticed minimal network game performance difference with it switched on or off. Real time network applications should disable it anyway, for what it's worth.

On the other hand, using a proxy tunnel usually eliminated a particularly bad hop in the route my game packets were taking to reach the destination server. In most cases it was an oversubscribed link between one of the peering ISPs in between me and the datacentre my game server was hosted from that was eliminated, and which reduced both my latency and packet loss.

For some games I was able to eliminate packet loss by using my work VPN for the same reason, although it did add about 35 latency on top of the usual trip time.

The thing with those peering links is that they are often not directly related (at least, from an organisational perspective) to your own ISP, so it can be hard to find a support path to get the link fixed.
Hogfather
Posted 01:08pm 17/9/11
Icewyrm - the regvkey thing doesn't work.
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