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Networking PC Games (Games) The Internet Games

OnLive Latency Tested 204

Posted by Soulskill
from the in-the-case-of-ping-v.-pong dept.
The Digital Foundry blog has done an analysis of recently launched cloud gaming service OnLive, measuring latency across several different games. Quoting: "In a best-case scenario, we counted 10 frames delay between button and response on-screen, giving a 150ms latency once the display's contribution to the measurement was removed. Unreal Tournament III worked pretty well in sustaining that response during gameplay. However, other tests were not so consistent, with DiRT 2 weighing in at 167ms-200ms while Assassin's Creed II operated at a wide range of between 150ms-216ms. ... OnLive says that the system works within 1000 miles of its datacenters on any broadband connection and recommends 5mbps or better. We gave OnLive the best possible ISP service we could find: Verizon FiOS, offering a direct fiber optic connection to the home. Latency was also reduced still further simply due to the masses of bandwidth FiOS offers compared to bog standard ADSL: in our case, 25mbps."
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OnLive Latency Tested

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  • Usage caps (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KiloByte (825081) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @07:12AM (#32837400)

    And with the bandwidth this service uses, you'll hit your ISPs "unlimited" cap in what, 6 hours? A day?

    • by RuBLed (995686)
      I for one wants OnLive to succeed. It would be almost like how MMO games "provided" us DSL back then. (at least in our country) This would provide faster broadband services although ISP's could just jack the prices up for these "premium" services instead. The latter is what I fear would probably happen.
      • by Ferzerp (83619)

        And I want a flying car and a teleporter, but that doesn't meant I would go out and buy something that didn't work because I like the concept of what they claim they want to do.

        Wishful thinking becomes dangerous to the point where you are tempted to sink money in to something that so obviously will not work.

        We would all *love* the free energy pseudoscience crazies to actually make good on their claims, that doesn't mean it is a worthwile endeavour that we should waste money on.

        • And I want a flying car and a teleporter, but that doesn't meant I would go out and buy something that didn't work because I like the concept of what they claim they want to do.

          Wishful thinking becomes dangerous to the point where you are tempted to sink money in to something that so obviously will not work.

          We would all *love* the free energy pseudoscience crazies to actually make good on their claims, that doesn't mean it is a worthwile endeavour that we should waste money on.

          And I'd like people on Slashdo

          • Re:Usage caps (Score:4, Insightful)

            by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOsPAM.gmail.com> on Thursday July 08, 2010 @03:34PM (#32843694) Journal

            I think the real point is like everything else in this world it comes down to $$$. Company A develops app that uses a LOT of bandwidth and requires that Company B do massive upgrades. Company B has already decided NOT to roll out new lines, even though they are reaching saturation by other companies like Youtube and Hulu, and instead imposes caps so they can keep their profits high. Now what are the odds that company A is gonna stay afloat? Most likely 0%.

            You do NOT bet the farm on a company that requires a symbiotic relationship with other companies if the other companies aren't gonna play along. Last I heard even Verizon is slowing down the rollout of FIOS, and most of the regional teleco/cableco companies are simply gonna jack their prices or rollout caps, such as the 36Gb a month I'm currently dealing with on cable. Now since OnLive will blow through that cap in probably less than a day, and at $1.50 a Gb for going over could easily cost more than all my other bills combined if my kids got into a frag session, what are the odds anyone in my area will keep their service? Again most likely 0%. That is why OnLive is doomed to failure, not because of any conspiracy, but simply because they didn't accept the reality of the infrastructure in their plans.

  • Latency was also reduced still further simply due to the masses of bandwidth FiOS offers compared to bog standard ADSL: in our case, 25mbps."

    Maybe you want to look for a better ADSL provider. 25mbps is not much faster than a good ADSL2+ line.

    • by _merlin (160982) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @07:19AM (#32837436) Homepage Journal

      The statement is silly because latency isn't directly related to bandwidth. Switches, bridges, repeaters, modems, routers and other such devices all add latency. If FiOS reduces the number of these in the chain, the latency will be reduced. I'm not saying it necessarily does - just that it could provide better latency without having more bandwidth because of other factors.

      • by KiloByte (825081) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @08:20AM (#32837994)

        Let's assume you have a hop where distance/c = 10ms and packet's length/bandwidth = 10ms. This means, the head of a packet arrives in 10ms, the tail in 20. No routers or bridges save for the most unaware repeaters will handle the packet until it arrives completely. Only then they will examine it and start sending it forward.

        Thus, the final latency will be:
        a) distance/c, plus
        b) time spent in queues, plus
        c) time needed for the bodies of packets to arrive.

        To reduce a), you need to be closer to your destination. To reduce b), you need an ISP who oversells less. To reduce c), you need bandwidth on all hops.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ljw1004 (764174)

        Latency is DIRECTLY related to bandwidth (in the sense bandwidth is determined by latency). That's how TCP's rate control algorithm works. It has a "window" of outstanding packets that it's sent and for which it's awaiting a response. It won't send more until it's had a response from the earlier ones. Therefore, latency and window-size together determine bandwidth. And window-size is fixed...

        Of course it's possible that rate-throttling happens along the way for other reasons (i.e. giving lower bandwidth tha

      • by nabsltd (1313397)

        The statement is silly because latency isn't directly related to bandwidth. Switches, bridges, repeaters, modems, routers and other such devices all add latency. If FiOS reduces the number of these in the chain, the latency will be reduced.

        Verizon is one of the few Tier 1 networks [wikipedia.org] from which end users can buy direct ISP service. FiOS runs on the "business" network, as far as I can tell.

        After the my router, and the Verizon router for my subnet, there are at most two hops inside Verizon for any traceroute (including to onlive.com). So, the fact that Verizon is so directly connected to all other networks does reduce latency as much as possible.

    • by ledow (319597) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @07:36AM (#32837576) Homepage

      In the UK there aren't many options at all. Eurogamer.net is UK-based, hence the mention of BT.

      My company don't want the expense of using leased line and other specialist stuff, just an ordinary thing that can work like a home package over an ordinary phone line. The FASTEST damn thing we can have is a single or multiple ADSL2 lines. We have basically unlimited funds for such things and often specify overkill-measures (i.e. 3 or 4 ADSL2 lines from seperate suppliers rather than 1 leased line). We get 20Mbps sync and a little less real-world speed. We are approximately 10 metres from the exchange. We are in an affluent and well-populated area of London.

      In terms of what the average home user can have, only Virgin media fibre really beats the other offerings but that's highly variable and although you are told "up to 50MBps", the infrastructure isn't there to give you that as usable bandwidth.

      To be honest, I'm impressed they managed to get what they did considering the state of UK broadband. Of course, you can pay stupid money and get serious pipes put in but that's hardly a "real world" scenario for the average home user. It's not unimaginable, though, that a true gamer might have the best a home user can be offered - which in the UK is a 25/50Mbps fibre service.

      • We get 20Mbps sync and a little less real-world speed.

        So, like I said, your ADSL line is a little bit slower than his "masses of bandwidth" FiOS line at 25mbps.

      • In the UK there aren't many options at all. Eurogamer.net is UK-based, hence the mention of BT.

        Get a lot of Verizon FiOS installations in the UK?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ledow (319597)

          Nope. But some, obviously:

          http://www.verizonbusiness.com/uk/products/internet/fios/ [verizonbusiness.com]

          Were you trying to suggest that Verizon only do business in the US?

          • Well, yes, I was.

            Didn't know they were selling that in the UK.

            • by Doug Neal (195160)

              It won't be anything like residential FiOS connections in the US. It's the same kind of fibre leased line service you can get from any telco if you're a business in a city, based on SDH or metro ethernet, with a price tag to match. We're still some way off residential FTTH in the UK. Some areas have it but it's still very rare and very early days.

        • The tests Eurogamer did were in the US, over Verizon FiOS (to give "OnLive the best possible ISP service we could find"). OnLive's not yet available in the UK.

          It still sucked.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by neokushan (932374)

        I'd just like to add that I'm a Virgin Media customer with the 50meg connection he speaks of and I quite regularly max the hell out of it, at peak times. 6MB/s downloads are no problem.
        However, he's right in that some areas have massive congestion problems and will suffer from issues, but unlike DSL, it wont have anything to do with how far away you are, if you're in a Virgin supplied area, you can get the 50meg.

      • My company don't want the expense of using leased line and other specialist stuff <snip> We have basically unlimited funds for such things and often specify overkill-measures

        I don't follow.

        • by ledow (319597)

          Yeah, me neither. :-)

          But we end up with lots of mass-supported stuff like ADSL broadband and then perform juggling acts between them with our own equipment. They find them more reliable and easier to deal with than specialist hardware that only one company can play with. Hell, most companies that offer us "faster business" packages basically run two/three phones line and do ADSL2 over them, so it's just the same thing but more "independent". And when something goes wrong, it's easier to threaten to walk

    • ADSL maximum is 8mbit over copper and 12mbit over ISDN.
      ADSL2+ is 24mbit maximum

      So, 25mbps is not standard ADSL, *it does not even exist.* Moreover, reaching ADSL2+ maximum theoretical speed (24mbit) is extremely unlikely. Most of us have a speed between 1mbit and 20mbit in most cases (depending on line quality, modulation type, line distance to central, etc).

      Disclaimer: that's sync speed (IP bandwidth is therefore LOWER)

      • Like I said, 25mbps is not much faster than a good ADSL+ line.

        25mbps is not much faster than 20mbps. It's only around twice as fast as 12mbps.

        (What do you mean by ADSL over ISDN?)

        • ISDN is some digital phone line, its very wide spread in some countries such as Germany. (Integrated Services Digital Network)

          The ITU G.992.1 Annex B ADSL standard specify the ADSL modulation that works over ISDN. It's quite "recent", from 2005.

          By poster I meant story poster ;) I realized later its also from TFA anyway. I just meant to bring more precision/information to what you wrote basically.

  • Is this bad or livable? From what I recall of first person shooters a 150-200ms lag isn't bad, but your review just gives the raw numbers and never says if the games were still playable or not.
    • by mykos (1627575)
      That is just your input lag. Normally, you experience very little input lag (less than 5 ms) on your own computer. Then you have to add your network response time on top of that. You're looking at 1/3rd to 1/2 second before you actually respond ingame. Say goodbye to all multiplayer that isn't turn-based.
    • by f3rret (1776822) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @07:23AM (#32837478)

      150-200 ms latency in a modern FPS is nearly unforgivable. I played TF2 a lot for a while and if I ever had more than 40-70 ms latency the hit detection would start to suffer and you'd get shot through walls or just not hit.

      I expect a system like OnLive might work better with strategy games and other types of games that are not nearly as fast paced as most modern shooters are.

      • Actually TF2 isn't bad compared to other games. Source has lag compensation that actually tries to adjust the game temporally based on a player's lag... in short, it figures out where everyone was from that player's POV at the moment they shot and uses that to figure out if the player hit with his shot, etc. I've played online games where even 70-100ms ping is unplayable (I'm looking at you, D.I.P.R.I.P.) but TF2 can remain smooth at 150, and playable at 200-300ms (though the lag becomes noticeable then a

        • by alexhard (778254)

          I think you're overstating the difference the lag compensation of tf2 makes. It kinda makes the 70-100ms interval playable, but anything above that is still very noticeable and extremely frustrating unless you're playing a camping engie.

      • The latency from where the game is running to the multiplayer game server will be very low. So you won't get bugs that are normally attributed to that sort of thing. As far as the games concerned you'll have a terrific ping to nearby game servers.

        The input and display lag isn't even knowable by the game for the remote desktop trickery they are doing. Instead you get a game running perfectly smoothly on the datacenters computer with your inputs being completely out of sync with the display.

      • by KovaaK (1347019)

        Keep in mind that there's a difference between input latency (which this story is talking about) and multiplayer network latency that you are talking about. In the case of multiplayer games, there is generally enough code on the client-side to predict what your screen will look like so that it feels snappy to you. Regarding getting hit through walls, that happens because the server doesn't think that you are behind the corner yet, so you are still a viable target to your opponent. The original quake didn

        • Basically, a good LCD HDTV can add 40-80ms of input lag, and hardcore gamers such as myself complain about that (justifiably so). OnLive adds this same kind of latency. If it really is 150-200ms before multiplayer network latency, it is indeed useless for playing multiplayer games online.

          I wouldn't be at all surprised if OnLive started putting servers for multiplayer games right in their datacenters, giving you very little network lag to compensate for the input lag.

      • Indeed, I remember playing Quake 2 on dialup with 150-200 ping... This feels like the service has been built with the assurance that the associated technologies that it's going to be relying on will have caught up by then. This type of gaming service might just about be viable in 3-4 years, but only to the city dwellers. I can't see it ever working properly out in the rural areas where carriers just don't see enough return against upgrades due to sparse populations.

    • by Xest (935314)

      Put it this way, 150 - 200ms is worse than I used to get playing Quake 1 on a 33.6kbps dialup modem.

      I used to achieve around 120 - 140 on dialup to UK servers. ISDN was around 60 - 80ms, ADSL around 20 - 40ms.

      So in other words it sounds terrible in this day and age. Almost certainly bad enough to make games like Guitar Hero or other games that need rapid responses completely unplayable on this kind of service if they ever tried to offer it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Krneki (1192201)
      It is bad, because we are talking about input lag, not response lag. And while it might be OK for Joe the console player, but it is unacceptable for competitive PC players, who tweak every single input device in order to lover lag.
      • by Bakkster (1529253)

        And while it might be OK for Joe the console player, but it is unacceptable for competitive PC players, who tweak every single input device in order to lover lag.

        Isn't this service intended for 'Joe the console player', and not for competitive PC gamers? In other words, it's an entirely reasonable trade-off.

        I think the issue here is all the 'hardcore' gamers who worry about this kind of stuff were never the target market, because they're 'hardcore' enough to put tons of money into their own rig. The recreational player just wants the cheapest method that's acceptable, and that's what the service is aimed for. Of course, it's mostly the hardcore gamer who posts o

    • Personally I think the lag is unacceptable unless approved by Korean Starcraft Players.
    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Input lag of 150-200 ms is simply not playable. Remember that a laggy server hide the latency through interpolation and let's you have a short latency for your input.

      200 ms is the kind of reaction time you can have at 5 fps. Of course their image goes at 30 or 60 fps, but if you want to see what a lag of 200 ms represent, witness how difficult it is to play at 5 fps.
  • Getting that sort of latency within "1000 miles of its datacenters" is quite impressive.
    • by Hatta (162192)

      1000 miles is nothing when you're traveling at an appreciable fraction of the speed of light. What matters more is the number of routers, switches, etc. etc. between endpoints.

  • Works Just Fine (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zediker (885207) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @07:22AM (#32837468)
    As an early adopter (read: 1-year free trial ;) the service works fine (6Mb cable conneciton). For twich games you will notice a little sluggishness, but overall, its not difficult to adjust. Essentially, all the games play like a good latency online game. The only thing i'm not sure I like at the moment is the some of the minor artifacting you'll see due to the video compression. Again, this only really comes into play if you stop and look for it, during action you'll not notice it too much as you'll be busy paying attention to other things ;). Though right now, I cant say for sure how this service will perform in the future, as you apply for entrance into the service currently. Once anyone can join whenever they want, its hard to say how quickly OnLive will adjust to increased congestion.
    • by Krahar (1655029)

      The only thing i'm not sure I like at the moment is the some of the minor artifacting you'll see due to the video compression.

      What would be cool is if they could track your eyes using a webcam and increase the quality at the part of the screen you are looking at. Won't help if your eyes are twitching all over the place, but if there is anything you want to see in full quality, just look at it during the latency of those 230 or so milliseconds and the artifacts will disappear where you are looking.

    • And it will only get better: with increasing number of cloud-gamers, ISPs will start deploying OnLive servers on sites close to customers, decreasing latency dramatically. Another point that might improve in time is HW latency (modem / ISP routers, ...) which might be improved now that it is important for some BFUs and finally, OnLive might end up being property of Google, therefore spread much faster to remote locations near potential customers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gnieboer (1272482)

      Also an early adopter, and I've found it varies widely by game. DiRT 2 was unplayable with that lag.

      Some of the games worked fine, and IMHO the best thing it's got going for it is the ability to instantly play 30 minute demos of any game they've got, no need to install/uninstall more stuff on the home machine just to see if a game is worth it.

      I also got kicked out several times due to "network issues" one night that was very frustrating (despite being on a reliably 16mbps connection->gigabit LAN). I th

  • Head - Desk... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @07:23AM (#32837476) Journal

    Latency was also reduced still further simply due to the masses of bandwidth FiOS offers compared to bog standard ADSL: in our case, 25mbps.

    Damn it, kids, Latency and bandwidth are not the same thing and anybody who makes that mistake should be forced to use a "1Gb/s" connection via fedex.

    Yes, in the case of something like OnLive, which is basically streaming mouse/keyboard events one way and video the other, things will look substantially worse if frame N hasn't finished downloading by the time frame N+1 is ready for transfer(and then either has to be dropped, or delays frame N+1 even more than your connection's latency would); but having a fat pipe does not "reduce your latency". It is correct to say that 25mb/s FIOS is probably about the most generous test that is also remotely realistic for more than a tiny number of their potential customers; but the bandwidth thereof does not "reduce latency"...

    • Re:Head - Desk... (Score:5, Informative)

      by JustinRLynn (831164) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @07:28AM (#32837516)
      Yep, you're absolutely right in that bandwidth and latency aren't the same. However, when used by TCP in latency sensitive environments, common asymmetric connections can quickly saturate their available upstream bandwidth. This means that they're not able to ACK incoming packets, effectively increasing their link latency and reducing its throughput. So, in reality, total throughput is a combination of link latency and the ability to quickly respond to the protocol stream to keep the bits flowing. This is why QoS for TCP is so important on heavily utilised asymmetric connections.
    • by Krahar (1655029)
      Bandwidth can reduce latency all other things being equal. If you need to send a packet of 5kb then the latency of that packet will be lots of things that are independent of the bandwidth, but it also does include the time it takes to transfer the data in the packet itself over the wire, and higher bandwidth reduces that time. Not that it is going to be a lot of time for a 5 kb packet, but there can indeed be an impact of bandwidth to latency.
      • by Krahar (1655029)
        Actually I'm guessing that video frames are a lot larger than 5kb. If they are e.g. 1 mb then the time to transfer may even be more than the latency of the connection itself, depending on your bandwidth. So the latency as measured by the time from pressing a key and the man on your screen doing something is most certainly impacted by bandwidth in many cases. This effect is not limited to when the game can't finish sending a frame before the next one is ready, because even when that doesn't happen you still
    • Latency was also reduced still further simply due to the masses of bandwidth FiOS offers compared to bog standard ADSL: in our case, 25mbps.

      Damn it, kids, Latency and bandwidth are not the same thing and anybody who makes that mistake should be forced to use a "1Gb/s" connection via fedex.

      Its not just the kids. I had the corporate IT department tell me they would fix their latency issues by compressing the link, and if that didn't work they would put another compressor in series with the original one.

    • Re:Head - Desk... (Score:4, Informative)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday July 08, 2010 @08:42AM (#32838160) Homepage Journal

      Damn it, kids, Latency and bandwidth are not the same thing and anybody who makes that mistake should be forced to use a "1Gb/s" connection via fedex.

      A highly saturated connection will, in practice, have higher latency. Therefore, bandwidth and latency are related. HTH, HAND.

    • Latency = transmit time + time to transverse the wire.

      Throughput ("having a fat pipe") does affect the first factor. Of course, if the second factor is multiple orders of magnitude larger than the first (like with your Fedex example), reducing the first will be irrelevant, but that's always true with any optimization.

      But that's not the usual case in a normal internet connection, and improving the first factor can and does improve the latency visibly.

    • Latency was also reduced still further simply due to the masses of bandwidth FiOS offers compared to bog standard ADSL: in our case, 25mbps.

      Damn it, kids, Latency and bandwidth are not the same thing and anybody who makes that mistake should be forced to use a "1Gb/s" connection via fedex.

      If that's the stance you take, one might suggest you be forced to use a 150bps connection with a 1us latency. No, latency and bandwidth aren't directly related, but one who believes that the other is completely irreleva

    • Of course they're not the same.

      That said, when your link is transmitting at full speed and you try to throw another packet down the pipe, you get queueing delays and/or packet drops resulting in delays.

      Those delays add up to effective latency.

      Sure, one device may still be exactly 24ms from another device on the wire, but if there's no room for that extra data, you have to wait longer for it to get there.

      Latency doesn't just mean actual wire latency of a specific packet. It has a nice English definition tha

    • Yes, latency and bandwidth are different concepts. But depending on the message sent, bandwidth can effect latency.

      Latency is the time it takes for the message to start coming through. But you don't get the end of the message until a time later which is determined by message size divided by bandwidth. And you can't act upon the tail end of the message until you've received it.

      So in the case of OnLive you're talking about a frame of video. They can't draw an entire frame until they've receive the entire fram

  • I've played WOW with that kind of latency at times, and while it's not ideal, it's definitely playable without becoming frustrated. It may not work well for some games, especially for people who are serious about PVP, but it seems like a reasonable service. Considering the technology they're using, I'd say they're doing pretty well. As a mac user, I'd give it serious consideration.
    • How many people on this thread are going to confuse network latency with input latency... hint: you have no experience that prepares you to understand these numbers.. just play the god damn game and quit the service if you don't enjoy it.

      That's why they're handing out 12 month trials.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SharpFang (651121)

        yeah... that's an essential problem.

        Network latency: You aim, almost immediately crosshair covers enemy head, you shoot, with bad lag the server will inform you you have missed, the enemy was not there.

        Input latency: You aim. It takes 150ms for the crosshair to start following your aim. You finally get to aim at the enemy's head and click. The enemy moves, you move to follow, but since your reaction is delayed by 150ms it's now that your shot (and miss) and you will start following the enemy in 150ms.

        ARGH.

        • Anoying yes, unplayable no.

          When I started playing fps's online, UT classic mostly, 150ms latency was pretty much the norm. Anything lower was considered a extremely good connection.

          Most players just compensated for the lag by aiming slightly off.
          Predict / anticipate the direction your opponent is going and adjust you aim according to that direction and the latency. Problem fixed.

  • Stupid (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597)

    You had a good business model. A lot of people would be happy to play games that can be played with lag without noticing (I spent hours on Puzzler World, Max and the Magic Marker, Crayon Physics, World of Goo, Age of Booty, all sorts of games that aren't that affected by lag). You could easily have had a Wii-like console in every home that delivered as powerful a game as necessary, against as many players as necessary while needing no fancy installation, discs, etc. and most importantly NEVER needing an u

    • by Velex (120469)

      I don't think you understand how capitalism works. It's the engineers who are trying to make this happen who are the incompetent dumbshits, and so stupid and uneducated compared to these CEOs. The CEOs are geniuses who are only hampered by how illiterate their engineers are.

  • Latency was also reduced still further simply due to the masses of bandwidth FiOS offers compared to bog standard ADSL: in our case, 25mbps.

    No, it wasn't (at least not significantly). The difference in latency between a 1 mbps link (ADSL upstream) and a 25 mbps link (which is due to serialization delay) is about 12 ms for large (1500 byte) packets. Since the vast majority of packets sent in this sort of application would be small ones (having only to convey simple info like "button 1 pressed"), it would act

    • by SpazmodeusG (1334705) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @07:49AM (#32837682)

      Remember they don't just send the inputs there. They have to get the display back again.
      If each frame is 100Kilobytes and they need 30fps to look smooth that's approaching the limit of 25Megabits/s (=3.125Megabytes/s).

      • by msauve (701917)
        It doesn't work the way you think it works.

        From Onlive's site [onlive.com]: "OnLive recommends a wired 5 Mbps connection to the Internet..." They haven't released any technical info on their proprietary video compressor, so it's not clear where your numbers come from.

        In any case, even if the full difference in serialization delay is considered (~12 ms), that is minor in comparison to the measurements.
      • by msauve (701917)
        I'll just add that the video is on the downstream channel, where the difference between ADSL and FiOS is 12:25 mbps. That's a difference of about 0.5 ms in latency for large packets. I was talking about the upstream channel, where game inputs would be sent. These are the small packets, so still under 1 ms.
    • by Krahar (1655029)
      They also have to send you back frames of video.
      • by msauve (701917)
        Your point being? ADSL provides on the order of 12 mbps downstream bandwidth, so the difference in serialization delay is less than 1 ms, even for large packets.
        • by Krahar (1655029)
          To display a frame you have to wait for that frame to have been transferred to you. We have to know the size of a frame to know the impact, but I'm guessing it's non-trivial. In your comment you seemed to only be accounting for the communication of key presses from the client to the server. I'm pointing out the much larger amount of information flowing the other way, and the transfer of this information was included in their latency measurements.
    • by KiloByte (825081)

      12ms -- for every single hop. Sure, the routers upstream have a better link than you so it will be less than 12 for those hops, but you still suffer a separate delay for every routers on the way.

      • by msauve (701917)

        12ms -- for every single hop. Sure, the routers upstream have a better link than you so it will be less than 12 for those hops, but you still suffer a separate delay for every routers on the way.

        No, it's not "12ms -- for every single hop." That just shows you don't understand how packet switched networks operate. Did you even try to think this through?

        The comparison is between ADSL and FiOS. Those are "last mile" technologies. There's no reason to assume that the routers upstream would have any performance

        • by KiloByte (825081)

          No, it's not "12ms -- for every single hop." That just shows you don't understand how packet switched networks operate. Did you even try to think this through?

          And how exactly a packet switched network would introduce a hop? For that, you would have to inspect the packet, decide where to route it to, and decrease TTL.

          The comparison is between ADSL and FiOS. Those are "last mile" technologies. There's no reason to assume that the routers upstream would have any performance differences

          I don't expect a difference between ADSL and FiOS of the same bandwidth -- but it's not an insane assumption to guess that the ISP which sells 25 times as big pipes to every customer will also have bigger bandwidth on its upstream routers. The last mile accounts just for a single hop which, while indeed tends to have a significant effect on latency,

  • by Tei (520358) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @07:56AM (#32837760) Journal

    Wen you see "I am connected to a server, and I have 200 ping with this server", that is not input latency. You can have 10ms input latency with a server that give you 200 ping. Things are computed clientside. So this will be much less playable than your average 200ms server.

    • by nmg196 (184961)

      > You can have 10ms input latency with a server that give you 200 ping.

      I presume you meant those numbers the other way round? There is no way to get a lower input latency than the physical one the connection is running over, but it's easily possible the other way round.

      • by Tei (520358)

        No, I exactly mean what is written.

        You input is taken into account locally, so the screen can be updated after 10ms, heres your input latency.
        But this change is "fictional", since the information is on the internet, traveling to the server, so the server don't know (yet) that you have rotated the camera/jumped/stuff.

  • Lag with any "mouse" cursor is horrible, so all strategy or table games that need a cursor will be painfull to play with this.

    • Anyone who has experience working with remote desktop applications knows how awful remote mouse response can be. Just imagine playing Starcraft through PCanywhere.
  • by Krahar (1655029) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @08:09AM (#32837880)
    This number of 150 ms latency may be true but it very likely does not mean at all what you think it means - it is not to be compared to the network latency that multiplayer games often report. The latency you normally see in a game is just the network latency - the amount of time it takes for a small packet to go from your computer to the server. The 150 ms latency includes the time it takes for a packet to go to the server, for the game to process that packet, and then send a frame of video back to you. So the server has registered your action long before the 150 ms are up. Also, normal lag does not include the time it takes for the game to process your command, which can be even more lengthy than your network latency, but that time is included in the 150 ms. Unless you are aware of these things, then the 150 ms number is completely meaningless to you and if you compare it to the latency number from some game you've played before then you are doing it wrong.

    What they should have done to get a meaningful comparison is to do the exact camera setup thing they did, but also do it for a game running locally and then over the net. Only then can you meaningfully compare the numbers and know that you got it right.
  • 200ms input lag is huge. Really huge. The sort of amount that makes you feel like your computer is about to die. Bear in mind this isn't network lag, this is the amount of time it takes to react to your mouse moving, to change your direction with mouselook, etc.

    Supposedly it might get better the bigger connection you have. However, if you have a 5-10M connection as they recommend, it's simpler and probably quicker to download the whole game off Steam, or a torrent or whatever.

    The only way I can see this

  • by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @11:10AM (#32840282)

    OnLive seems to be a DRM pusher's wet dream:

    1) You can't play without constant internet connection.
    2) Can't trasnfer saved data to an offline version of the game.
    3) You are renting the game and thus you own no physical copy of the game which you can resell or lend to others to use.

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