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Lag: Effective Solutions To The Most Common Obstacle In Cloud Gaming
Have you ever been tooling around a virtual world, poised to strike an unwitting victim, when all of a sudden a delay in the game occurs that causes you to lose the kill? If so, you can count yourself as one of the untold millions that have experienced the bane of online gaming: lag.
Lag, also known as latency, is usually defined as the time that passes between the commands you input with your controller, keyboard or mouse and the reaction by the remote server used to run the game. Lag is usually caused by the fact that virtually no game files exist on the client, or individual player, side of things. As a result, any updates, such as movement or shooting, need to be relayed back and forth across the network.
So now that we know what lag is, how do we avoid it? Fortunately, there are several potential options to cut lag as much as possible, or virtually do away with it altogether.
Lag is not only caused by the sending and receiving of game updates between the client and server. Another cause is the user’s display being unable to process update requests fast enough. This makes the issue solely a client-side problem and not one that involves bandwidth concerns.
OLED, which stands for organic light emitting diode, brings a reduction in latency by up to fifty percent. A prime example, the Oculus Rift, will use OLED technology to substantially reduce the lag from turning your head or changing the display angle. Not only will this help your performance in the game, it will also preclude you from getting sick from latency and motion blur.
One seminar in specific at his year’s GDC (Game Developer’s Conference) dealt exclusively with the issue of lag in cloud gaming. Entitled RapidFire: The Easy Route To Low Latency Cloud Gaming Solutions, this seminar presented AMD’s answers to lag, such as optimal network bandwidth and the simplification of different hardware controls.
AMD is not the only computing giant that has the potential answer to latency issues in cloud gaming. Dubbed nVidia Grid, this platform claims to reduce latency by converting game frames into an H.264 movie before they are sent. The process has been further streamlined by eliminating many of the steps needed to create and deliver these frames to individual game clients.
There are tons of different things you can try on your end if you continue to experience lag. These suggestions deal solely with the effectiveness of your device and bandwidth. Suggestions range from the obvious, such as closing bandwidth-intensive programs, to more involved solutions like tweaking the individual graphics settings of your game.
As the hardware used by both cloud-gaming providers and players evolves more and more in power over the years, expect the issue of lag to one day fall into obscurity. Faster servers, more optimized game code and more powerful client-side devices will all join together to put this obstacle to bed.
Do you have a solution for lag not presented here? Let us know in the Comments section below!
(Image Source: http://www.oculusvr.com)