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Input Devices PlayStation (Games) Sony Games

Lag Analysis For the PlayStation Move 71

Posted by Soulskill
from the swing-and-a-miss dept.
The $64,000 question about Sony's upcoming motion control system, the PlayStation Move, is how responsive it will be compared to traditional console controllers and its counterparts from Nintendo and Microsoft. Eurogamer slowed down videos of Sony's tech demo software to establish a rough baseline latency that developers will have to work with. Quoting: "While exact latency measurements aren't possible in these conditions, a ballpark idea of the level of response isn't a problem at all. The methodology is remarkably straightforward. Keep your hand as steady as possible, then make fast motions with the controller. Count the frames between your hand moving, and the motion being carried out on-screen. Equally illuminating is to stop your movement suddenly, then count the frames necessary for your on-screen counterpart to catch up. While not 100 per cent accurate, repeat the process enough times and the frame difference becomes fairly evident. Bearing all of that in mind, and recognizing that we don't know how much latency the display itself is adding, I'd say that a ballpark figure of around 133ms of controller lag (give or take a frame) seems reasonable, certainly not the ultra-fast crispness of response we see from games like Burnout Paradise or Modern Warfare, but fine for most of the applications you would want from such a controller."
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Lag Analysis For the PlayStation Move

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  • Since I suppose that 133ms + delay from your screen is quite noticeable. Too bad if you're sword fighting with a friend, 133 ms can make the difference between living or having your head roll on the floor!
    • by ZosX (517789)

      Not only that, but compounded with network lag which can easily add 50-100ms on top of that. So now you are two frames behind. At 60fps that is fast, but to the twitch fps gamers, it would probably certainly be noticeable.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by grumbel (592662)

      Since I suppose that 133ms + delay from your screen is quite noticeable.

      The 133ms include the delay from the display, so its not that bad.

      Too bad if you're sword fighting with a friend, 133 ms can make the difference between living or having your head roll on the floor!

      When both are using Move, both have to deal with the lag, so there is no difference.

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        There is no difference if you are both reacting to something external, but if you are reacting to your opponents actions, then yes it most definitely will be a difference because your reaction is delayed from when you can perceive the signal.

      • by Anpheus (908711)

        The display should only account for 16-30ms (30 to 60fps) of delay. They're recording 133ms or four frames at 30fps of delay, or eight frames at 60fps.

    • by jduhls (1666325)

      you're sword fighting with a friend...having your head roll on the floor!

      Sheesh. Some friends YOU have!

    • not really any higher than the latency in the average internet connection. I would think there should be plenty of ways to compensate. such as intentional attack queuing with timestamps and if your friend is using a similar controller there should be little issue as you will both have similar latency.
  • Yay 133ms (Score:5, Funny)

    by Xest (935314) on Friday March 19, 2010 @04:02AM (#31533926)

    It'll be like playing Quake on dialup again, oh the nostalgia!

    • by Jedi Alec (258881)

      Agreed, 133ms is when you start to swear a bit when it happens bouncing a signal to an online server a few countries away and back. Not from the controller to a tv and then back to the eyeballs.

      • Re:Yay 133ms (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bluesatin (1350681) on Friday March 19, 2010 @04:26AM (#31534010)

        Don't forget that games have inbuilt lag compensation, so it doesn't feel like 133ms to the person playing; your gun makes the firing noise and animation straight after you click, regardless of your ping.

        Input lag is by far worse than network lag for games.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Rogerborg (306625)

          So we're clear, we're talking about input lag here.

          "lag compensation" isn't what you're describing, by the way. That's just lag hiding. Lag compensation would be having the server wind the world state back (approximately) to where it was when the client performed an action, in order to determine the result. Do you know of any games that do that?

          • Re:Yay 133ms (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Jaqenn (996058) on Friday March 19, 2010 @07:36AM (#31534932)
            I thought that the half life engine (and presumably it's decendants) did something like this. About 10 years ago they updated the engine, and a bunch of people playing counter strike started complaining that they were being shot based on a laggy opponent's client's view of where they were, not where they actually were.

            Someone posted a humor article describing how JFK was actually around a corner at the moment his assassin fired, but I couldn't find the link.
          • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            "lag compensation" isn't what you're describing, by the way. That's just lag hiding. Lag compensation would be having the server wind the world state back (approximately) to where it was when the client performed an action, in order to determine the result.

            Do you know of any games that do that?

            Every popular FPS made in the last 8 years. Adjusting target lead by latency is an ancient memory. Tribes2 even did it, back in 2001.

            • by KDR_11k (778916)

              However unpopular FPSes like Section 8 and Global Agenda (notably both involving jetpacks and thus highly mobile targets at times) don't for some reason.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Grieviant (1598761) *

          That's not lag compensation, it's simply doing some of the game actions immediately on the client side without any host side validation. Without it, basic actions like moving, firing, jumping, etc would all have to be lead, and the amount of lead would vary from game to game depending on your latency to the host (extremely frustrating).

          However, these things are only happening immediately on your screen, not the host's console. So although you might see your bullets connecting with the target's face, it n

          • The claim that "input lag is by far worse than network lag" is absurd unless you're talking about a game with client side hit detection (e.g. Shadowrun), but most console games use host side detection (Halo, Gears of War, Call of Duty, etc).

            The amount of disconnection you feel with input lag is by far worse than network lag, having your mouse take 100ms to turn your view would be unplayable for me; yet I will happily play with 100ms of network lag.

            • I would agree if the scenario you speak off was relevant. Respectable developers just don't release games with crippling input lag, which is why I can't see them using the motion driven controller for an FPS until they get the lag down. I'm not so sure 100ms is crippling for most FPS (you can probably play a tactical shooter or medium-paced shooter such as Halo), but it probably would be for twitch shooters like Quake.

              My objection was to your phrasing - you made it sound like input lag was the primary fa

      • by Xest (935314)

        It's when your red dot sight on Quakeworld TF is always a couple of centimetres behind where you're actually pointing on screen.

        It's where you have to aim where you think the other player will be in 133ms and can tell yourself you're an awesome player for one shotting him because he was on ISDN and only had 60ms ping and should've easily got you first.

        But then you get broadband, and realise it is actually more fun being able to just simply aim and shoot, as much as there was a feeling of victory to be had f

        • by TheLink (130905)
          I used to play quakeworld team fortress (custom and normal) with 700ms ping or even higher.

          Definitely a disadvantage, but with games like teamfortress, being able to kill the enemy isn't so important.

          Getting the flag from one point to another could be way more important, and the flag moves about the same whether you have 10ms ping or 1000ms ping ;).

          And with custom team fortress, coming up with a suitable setup can help a lot to mitigate lag :).
          • by aj50 (789101)

            Team fortress had pretty good lag compensation as I remember (to the point where people who were not lagging would complain that they died after they had got into cover).

    • But the improvement to Resident Evil 5 will be immense. I guess it depends how you use it.
    • by nsrbrake (233425)

      Yeah, or like playing WoW on a Canadian ISP using DPI... I'm lookin at you Rogers. -.-

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday March 19, 2010 @05:20AM (#31534228)

    Wii-style controllers are for fun. Not for accuracy. Not for performance. Not for precision. They are meant to be a fun tool to play a game. It is by far the most inaccurate way to put input into your machine. It's like typing on a "virtual keyboard" on a touchscreen, or a projected one. Yes, it's insanely cool to use a keyboard projected onto your desk instead of an ordinary one. But you neither get the tactile feedback, touch-typing is pretty much impossible and so on. You will not write as fast on any projected/displayed keyboard as you do on a standard keyboard.

    The same applies to these motion controllers. Yes, they're a freaky cool toy. They sure offer a new aspect of "fun" to games. Especially in company when you can watch others gyrate, bounce and stretch (funny or sexy, depending on gender, body type and personal preference). But be honest: Ever tried to play DDR on a keyboard instead of the dance mat? Dunno about you, but I'm HEAPS better using a keyboard.

    In short, if you want performance and precision, stay with the old style controllers. Motion controllers are cool if the way is your goal, i.e. when playing the game is where the fun is at. If reaching the goal is paramount, i.e. beating some boss or making the next achivement, they are rather unsuitable.

    • by suisui (1134031)
      Those fun games were done and sold by Nintendo already. I'd like to see a functional tool that can become useful in a wide variety of yet unforeseen situations, but that would require an input lag and accuracy similar to the tried and tested 'old-style' controllers. And that's why the Sony and MS motion controllers are doomed to fail as expensive but clunky and uncomfortable prototype models.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Aphoxema (1088507) *

      Wii-style controllers are for fun. Not for accuracy. Not for performance. Not for precision.

      Is that by necessity or is that just the way it's been so far? Is it impossible to improve on or change the expectations of?

      • there are certain aspects to motion controllers and cameras that are hard to overcome. They are not impossible to overcome, but hard.

        Input lag is a twofold issue. the wiimote simply doesn't have a very fast connection. 100 frames a second. Information just doesn't get to the system as fast as a button press on a 360 controller.

        Input lag is more than just how fast an accelerometer reading gets to the system. Games that require complicated gestures simply can't determine if you have done the gesture, unti

    • Wii-style controllers are for fun. Not for accuracy. Not for performance. Not for precision. They are meant to be a fun tool to play a game...

      Pardon my ignorance, but I thought that games were suppose to be fun, or maybe I'm just not a hardcore gamer.

    • Wii-style controllers are for fun. Not for accuracy. Not for performance. Not for precision.

      "Fun" and "control" aren't mutually-exclusive. Accuracy and precision are characteristics of a specific control sensor, not a mode of control. You hold thumbsticks in such high esteem, but the joysticks of yore required frequent recalibration, and had issues with max ranges and zero deadzones. As the technology matures (e.g. WiiPlus), so will the precision.

      Motion controllers are not very good for binary input; that's what buttons are for, and that's why the Wii has gotten so much flak for "waggle" games. Co

      • by KDR_11k (778916)

        More importantly sometimes precision is not desired. Look at all the crazy abstractions golf and bowling games came up with before the Wii in order to simulate the difficulty of getting an accurate shot done. We see nonsensical results when games try to pass a difficult action (like certain sword moves) off as trivial and just demand gesture activation under the assumption that you can do that at any time. I think to make full use of motion controls we have to ditch many of our current gaming conventions be

    • by MobyDisk (75490)

      Why is it that fun is the antithesis of accuracy and precision? Accuracy and precision are requirements for fun.

      It would be no fun to play Monopoly if I rolled a 6 but the game moved me 5 spaces.
      A shooting game would be frustrating if I shot the target but it says I miss.
      A fighting game is no fun if I make a really good move in the nick of time, but my character loses anyway.

  • I guess we can compare these results to when the product is actually released for more than piddling around.

  • Having gone through a series of monitors with different input lags and tested my own tolerance, I can't deal with a total of more than 50 ms input lag + rendering before I'm bothered and 75 ms before I lose my mind and spend my time on slashdot instead.

  • Some games may well be taking the average of several samples to dampen out jitter caused by the system or just the person's hand's trembling. That's going to make the onscreen response smoother but it will introduce latency.

    Also, just because the camera is pointing at the user doesn't mean it's capturing their movements at 60fps. I imagine the sample rate is tunable depending on the kind of game being played. Some games may only "sync" with the ball every 10th of a second, others more, others less and som

    • I guess all these things are tweakable and it's up to games to make the right trade off between accuracy and responsiveness depending on what kind of game they are.

      You *guess* they're tweakable. Okay, let's go with that premise.

      Name a game where you'd be willing to have an input lag of a half-second for perfect accuracy. Pretty much any game-type you can name would be better played with either a controller or a mouse.

      Now, name a game where you'd trade accuracy for instant responsiveness. Again, any game that requires instant responsiveness is going to also require accuracy to a high degree, and would be better served with either a controller or a mouse.

      For the real ga

      • by DrXym (126579)
        Name a game where you'd be willing to have an input lag of a half-second for perfect accuracy. Pretty much any game-type you can name would be better played with either a controller or a mouse.

        First off the latency wasn't half a second, it was estimated at 133ms even with unknown factors such as the latency of the TV, game settings and unoptimized code to consider. Second, plenty of casual or sedate games would benefit from motion sensing that tried to smooth out spikes caused by wobbly hands or whatever.

  • I spent $700 on an IPS panel monitor a few years ago and am an avid gamer. Anantech, after constant complaints about input lag from many readers, began testing it in their monitor reviews. My monitor scored around a 50ms input lag.

    That 50ms forced me to buy another monitor. My clicks lost accuracy in RTS games, my aim was off in FPS games, and I could see the delay when watching movies (lip movement didn't match voices). I bought a TN panel monitor of the same size and have them next to each other now,

    • by AdamHaun (43173)

      I gave up on LCDs altogether after discovering that the decent ones all have either bad input lag, horrible black levels, terrible image quality at non-native resolutions, or all of the above. I'm using a 9-year old CRT because I can't find a monitor that doesn't make me want to throw it at a wall.

      Input lag is a serious problem that often goes unrecognized. I played a collection of old Sega games using a wireless controller on a friend's PS3 hooked up to a large LCD TV and I couldn't believe it. Sonic the H

      • by KDR_11k (778916)

        When running at full speed, my reaction time + input lag was greater than the amount of time it took a spike or robot to cross the screen and hit me

        For me that's true even with zero lag.

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