Game lag is a scourge for any developer. Whether it’s an MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) game, an MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), or an FPS (First Person Shooter) lag is one of the most frustrating issues for a gamer. No one wants to lose at every game, and lag can mean the difference between a win or a loss for an online gamer. Developers should understand their gaming client frustrations to avoid adding them to content, and one way to avoid gamer dissatisfaction is to add a CDN to infrastructure to speed up performance.
Latency Should Be Low
Low latency increases perceived performance in-game. Latency is the term given to the time it takes between sending input to the game and the game’s response. Low latency is especially important in FPS games or any one-on-one battles where gamers are up against other players. PVP combat requires fast response times, and a CDN can reduce latency by serving content geographically closer to the player.
Low Ping Times
The term “ping” is a general networking term that describes the time it takes for data packets to travel to a server and back again. Each operating system has a ping command that tests the time it takes for a small packet to reach a server. Some games provide ping statistics to users, so they can see if their ping time is too high for a good gaming experience. With a CDN, servers are located closer to the player, so the round-trip distance is reduced and so is the player’s ping time.
Rubber Banding is an Effect from High Latency
Most gamers have suffered from “rubber banding.” Rubber banding happens when high latency slows down traffic from the gaming server. A player’s character in-game will lag and jump from one location to another. As the gaming server corrects the location, the player’s character moves back to the correct position. This back and forth behavior in-game is called rubber banding, and this issue makes it impossible to enjoy a game. Since a CDN is closer to the player’s location, the chance of rubber banding is reduced.
Faster Tick Rates
Players can’t control tick rates, but the faster the tick rate, the smoother the game play for the gamer. Tick rate determines how fast a server is updated including the data sent back to players updating character locations and environment variables. This factor is measured in hertz, and the very minimum a developer should aim for is a 64-tick server.
Tick time is affected by server resources but also network speed. CDNs leverage data centers and fast servers that can’t be found in most traditional hosting environments.
CDN Implementation is a Solution
Gaming developers incorporate lag compensation by tweaking and code and testing the environment before launch time. Lag compensation is built into a gaming application to reduce perceived performance issues, but a CDN can speed up any online game considerably.
A CDN caches data on edge servers across the globe, so the gamer has quick access to a low latency, fast ping, no rubber banding experience. Even better, it’s a low-cost solution to current infrastructure.