Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Games Entertainment

The Modem Lives On 260

Ant writes: "There's an interesting editorial currently running on 3dactionplanet which I agree with. Game developers and companies need to think about us people who can't get broadband connections! Yes, I am a part of the analog modemers. I can't play Q3A, HL, games, etc. very nicely due to my 28800 connections (even with 56K). No cable and DSL services here. Other options are just too expensive or won't work (i.e. satellite for online gaming?)"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Modem Lives On

Comments Filter:
  • I think part of the problem may be the ISPs. I have 56K and my ISP is seemingly very overloaded with users and of course all of our bandwidth suffers. If I connect early in the morning (3 am) then I can get some decent pings. But trying to play during peak hours is horrible.

    I think the ISPs need to increase their backbone or route traffice more effiently. I'm sure there are some really great ISPs out there, but I sure don't have one.

    - KioNeo
  • Modems served their purpose, but the gaming industry needs to do its part to encourage even wider availibility of broadband.

    As long as people don't feel that they need a broadband connection, there will be areas serviced only by dialup. There is no practical reason that the entire country can't have cheap broadband - the providers just need a little encouragement.

    The most responsible thing for developers to do is to completely ignore modems. Once we all do that, they'll go away like a bad dream.

    - qpt
  • Remarkable. I was about the make reference to that episode of the STTNG when I saw the name of your post, not realizing that you were ACTUALLY refrencing it.

    That's one weird troll.

    Good episode though.


  • Computer games are made for a global market, not for the american market. The European Union now has a bigger economy than the USA by a third, many other countries are developing substantial middle classes (such as India) and the Far East has a huge economic engine.

    All these countries share one characteristic: their telecoms infrastructure is years behind that of the USA. This means that computer games will continue to be developed with the old V90 technology as its primary communications engine for some time to come, regardless of broadband developments here in the USA. The USA is only a small part of the global economic picture, and all games that are developed will reflect this. Already they are made with the European and Far Eastern markets as a primary aim - this will ensure that broadband does not get a look in.

    Its a shame in a way, but it is true.
    Clarity does not require the absence of impurities,

  • Forget the computers. It's the net that makes the difference in the digital divide.

    Giving computers to kids doesn't help them get information. And as Ant points out, the digital divide is regionally based. You need broadband to get games, as well as being able to get information to the degree that it makes a differenece.

    Broadband-obsession on the Net, plus lack of broadband in places, equals disenfranchisement for many people.

    Also, it's just as bad when there is only one broadband company. If that company doesnt like your piracy or your napster use and cutd you off, there you are, disenfranchised,unable to reach much of the data and art and culture online.

    Governments should assume a more controlling role in the development of highspeed internet technologies; the laying of cable is a vital part of the economic interest of each country. This is an area that calls for more regulation, not less. With proper intervention by legitimately elected policymakers, highspeed internet investments won't go to Silicon Alley anymore, but to Utah, Alaska, Montana- places where industry and agriculture are struggling and where, more than ever, young people need the Internet as a way out.

  • Basic web dev has forgot the modem too. And i'm not just talking about the Pr0n. Some pages take a good min to load.


  • ... if it is working right, i seem to have a pretty good phone line. I average about 300 to 400 ping playing tfc, not too bad. I think my subdivion should rent a big pipe or something and set up a really big network. Bell south refuses offer DSL because "we live too far from their offices in downtown area" I wonder what an oc3 and big fiber lan would cost :)
  • by yamla ( 136560 )
    The major problem is that, for action games at least, modems will simply _always_ be too slow. I mean, if you can get 150 ms ping to your ISP, you are doing better than average. And the 'science' of user interface says that, for something to be perceived as instant, it must happen in less than 100 ms.

    Modems will never be able to provide that kind of response. There are tricks you can do to attempt to minimise this perceived lag, particularly with prediction algorithms, but by definition, they will never be perfect.

    If you are stuck on a modem, you should really forget about playing action games online. There are still plenty of other good games you can play.


  • I have 768/384 ADSL, and I download like a champ. My latency is usually less than 50ms. I can play all sorts of online games, but games that run off the Q3 engine I just don't seem to do real well. What is funny, on a 33.6 modem, I played Q2 without a problem. DSL is really nice for Q2 now and i probably couldn't return to a modem, but it still worked and gameplay was still fun.

    The only luck that i have with Q3 online is when there are 5 or less players in the arena, which can be alright, but it's cool to be able to support at least 10 players in one huge arena. I've never had a problem with Quake 2, in fact, one night at a lan party with 4 computer being routed through one computer running a proxy with NAT, and there was absolutely no lag. Like i said, Q3 is just way too bloated & impractical.

  • I too have a 56k, although i luckily connect at 45.2 and get around 5kbyte/sec downloads sustained. However, I get dropped randomly all the time, which isn't so bad in the land of download managers, but is incredibly annoying for gaming. I play counter-strike, and my ping doesn't stop me from doing well, but I think it does put me at a great disadvantage in "shoot first" scenarios. I think that the need for bandwidth in online gaming should be decreasing as technology increases. I remember when QuakeWorld revolutionized the Quake scene because it used the CPU to predict trajectories and help smooth out gameplay. That was five years ago. I'm now playing with twice the bandwidth but with no perceivable improvement in gameplay. Agreed that some games, like Tribes 2, require more bandwidth because they are complex online games. As to broadband, I think those of us who can't get it now are up the creek without a paddle. Telcos are losing money and closing down CO's, forget opening them. Not to mention that I'm about 4000 feet outside the range for ADSL, meaning there is not a high chance of me getting another CO built nearby (I'm in suburbia). Cable? I'm under the monopoly of CableVision, but OptimumTV isn't going to get rolled out for 2 more years yet. Wireless? I have big New England pines surrounding me. What does that leave? I don't think the future looks bright... sigh...
    _________________________________________ _________
  • a good example of society's attempts to hinder modem usage is idt []'s choice to drop all dial-up service []. this, of course, was done without telling all dial-up customers. that's one way to get people to switch to broadband, i suppose.
  • Honestly, I don't really care about modem gamers anymore. Enough people have quality connections that I'd rather have the games be designed and optimized for them. It just isn't possible to get the same level of quality on low end connections, no matter how optimizations are done. I have my cable modem, and I want fast games!
  • That is the problem I face with "internet ready" devices. I have a home lan with broadband access. But yet for my "internet ready" devices that connect out for things, they all want a phone line. Would it be so difficult to put on a ethernet port?
  • You poor bastard.
  • Sure, the games verge on not being playable on a regular modem. But the game developers ARE thinking of you, the problem being that it isn't as simple as waving a magic wand in order to make all bandwidth and latency issues disappear. Game developers (usually) do optimise their net code to the best of their ability, the problem lies within the modem.
  • I'm sorry to hear that you're still using a modem. I remember those days of agony. Countless hours of downloading instead of 4 minutes to download 90 megs of Star office :)

    My dad still goes through Dialup. He actually pays more for his dialup than I pay for my cable modem!

    To avoid long distance fees (he lives in a farmtown with no local ISP), he is able to pay an additional $10-15 / month to the phone company so that all calls to the next town are considered "local". Then he has to have a second phone line (add $20-$25 / month), then on top of that, he has to pay for his ISP! ($10-15 / month)

    Patience is a virtue
    (but it still sucks to wait)
  • The sad fact is that modems have high latency.

    The the risk of sounding like a troll... asking everyone else to accomidate your 150 ms ping time is essentially asking the world to "dumb down" for you.

    It's really amazing how well on-line action games work. Game developers have done a pretty amazing job of making the most out of these high latency connections.

  • If you have bad ping to different games it could be because of the physical distance between you and the host/server also most people dont have broadband so if you play with all/mostly dial up people the lag shouldnt be too bad.
  • yes he is.
  • I live in a rural area and DSL and Cable are ruled out. Presently I still am using a modem but am considering using services offered by some of the cell phone companies that can bring in wireless service that supposedly competes with broadband. The company I was looking at charged $50 per month.

    The advantage that those offering this type of service claims is that they can more easily add infrastructure than the operators relying on cable/fiber.

  • Exactly how much information needs to be traded back and forth in modern games? For some genres, like Real-Time Stragy games, I'd imagine it's well within the modem range of bandwidth.

    But when you start getting into the latest FPS's that are coming out now or in the future, that information load begins to push the limits of the average modem, resulting in the amount of lag we get currently.

    So, unless broadband suddenly becomes commonplace, what can we expect from future games? Will they rely on trusting clients with more normally hidden in-game information to lower the bandwidth requirements at the cost of security against cheats? Or will there eventually be a seperation between games designed for either LPBs and HPWs?

  • Yes, I very much agree with you. I live out where I can't get broadband access either, and due to phone lines my 28.8 connects at an average of 19.2 - ye gods it makes for a laggy game of D2 or Quake 2, or whatever.

    On the plus side, satellite net access is getting more realstic. The installation is still horrendous, but the monthly bill is getting lower. I have a list of them somewhere, but the only satellite ISP I can remember off the top of my head is [].

    Anyway, good luck and check out satellite net access.

  • &gt Governments should assume a more controlling role
    &gt in the development of highspeed internet technologies;
    &gt the laying of cable is a vital part of the economic interest of each country.

    I disagree with this statement.
    It may not be in a goverment's best (financial) intrest to pay for wiring it's country.

    For instance, what would happen if in two weeks, some company starts selling some miraculous wireless technology that's way fast and dirt cheap? (probably not likely but I think I've gotten my point across)
  • There was a time when the complaint was that people didn't support computers that only had capital letters. We ignored them and used lowercase.

    There was a time when the complaint was that door games didn't work right with monochrome text. We ignored them and used colors.

    Now there are some games that only work right multiplayer if you have broadband. Poor baby, get over it; games are not a necessity, and even if they were, multiplayer isn't.

    Get broadband. If it's not available where you are, start bugging the telco and/or cable company. If they won't act, move. Don't expect everybody else to make games that suck just so you can be competitive with a modem.

    That would be like expecting them to make the games so that you could still be competitive with a 286 with 4MB of RAM.

  • Why can't I get quake3 on floppy anymore? Oh yeah, because it would cost too much to ship a box with that many damn disks.

    The fact is, I'm kind of glad that these games don't really work well with modem connections because it increases the demand for bandwidth in the home market, something I'm all for. It's obvious that modems aren't going to cut it for even the more mundane functions of the internet soon (if this isn't true already). I'd say it's better to expect more from the bandwidth providers than it is to expect less (read: games that require less information passed around) from the gaming industry.

    I know not having a fast connection is frustrating. I spend my summers away from school and wish we had cable. I think this is good though, because I know, despite what anyone says, that kids (oh yeah, and adults) who want computer games to run fast are the people who really drive the hardware end of the home computing market.
  • I don't really know, but I would guess that ISPs (especially the smaller ones) don't really have the money for the upgrades to their networking equipment and buy some nice new routers from Juniper Networks.
    I would be willing to believe that many of them just aren't seeing the profit margin they'd like to.
  • Game developers and companies need to think about us people who can't get computers faster than 1 MHz! Yes, I am one of the C64 users. I can't play Q3A, HL, games, etc. very nicely due to my 540
    KHz CPU, and lack of AGP or PCI graphics. No hard drives or CD-ROMS here. Other options are just too expensive or won't work (i.e. tape drive for RTS gaming?)

    Come on people, this is pathetic. We can always cry about being left behind, but it will do no good. If you want games that support your modem/C64/whatever, write them yourself, or stick with old classics. Sheesh.

  • There is always EQL (Advanced Routing How-to [])) or I suppose you could invest in a WebRamp or similar devices.

    .. mind you there is the additional cost of the other dialup(s). I have had cable for a while now, and I rather not look back.

  • Less than 10% of net users have a connection faster than 56kbps yet 90% of all network games are unusable without a few megabits of bandwidth. Truly ironic. And remember than US and Canada are still ways ahead of Europe in this respect where virtually everyone has no choice but to use analog modems or v. expensive ISDN.
  • I'm sure it helps to connect at 3am, but speaking as an x-modem user, now dsl user - well, it don't help enough. When I connected using my modem, the best pings I ever saw in q3 were around 200ms. Now, it's not uncommon for me to connect to servers and play with pings in the 50-60ms range max. I agree that game developers need to take into consideration all the users that flat out can't get cable/dsl. I'm not sure what the numbers are, but I'm guessing that broadband users make up a fairly small percentage of actual net usage. There's still a lot of modem users out there, and hey, why shouldn't they be able to play too?
  • Your post is totally off topic. You knew it, which is why you tried to argue in advance against anyone explaining to you that your post was off topic. Please go find some inbred, retarded mommy organization that whines about violent games. Leave thinking, rational human beings alone.

    -Michael (Aristotle@Threshold RPG)
    Online Roleplaying at its Finest
  • by The Optimizer ( 14168 ) on Saturday February 24, 2001 @05:49PM (#405137)
    As a programmer directly involved with a very popular online game, the Age of Empires series, I can tell you online gameplay with a modem connection is taken very, very seriously.

    If fact... Two of our very brilliant communcations programmers, Mark Terrano and Paul Bettner are giving a presentation on this very subject at the international Game Developer's Conference next month in San Jose, CA. (Go to [] and check out their presentation "1600 Archers on a 28.8 modem" (Actually, I just checked the site and they don't appear to have the full schedule posted yet, and the author search just goes off into la-la land)

    Anyway, the things we at Ensemble do to insure good modem play include:

    * Having our 8-player dedicated testing area not only include a LAN connection, but modems on each computer. Modem based playtests are conducted using up to 8 different dial-up ISP's.

    * Periodically auditing network communcations bandwidth usage over the course of an entire game to determine peak bandwidth requirments. Network packets are optimized for minimal size even before they are compressed. Our performance target is for comm usage not to ever exceed about 24K BPS of bandwidth in both directions.

    * In our new 16-station playtest facility that is currently under construction, we will have a fancy phone line simulator device that allows for controlled degration of line conditions.

    * Tuning the communications code to account for the types of pings geographically diverse modem users are likely to encounter. (our games can dynamically adjust the communications turn length to adapt to shifting pings).

    * Showing each user, while they are playing the game, an indication of the communcation link performance to every other player. This allows people to quickly determine who is the person whose connection has just gone to crap.

    * And we added in Age of Kings, the ability to save and restore a multiplayer game when someone gets disconnected or crashes.

    I could go on, but I just wanted to get across that we do spend real effort on all applicable fronts to make as good an experience as possible for modem-users.

    Now this is no indication of what other developers do, and other types of game may be more sensitive to ping than bandwidth.. etc.. etc.. As allways, Your mileage may vary.

  • by rabtech ( 223758 ) on Saturday February 24, 2001 @05:51PM (#405139) Homepage
    Actually, if the US government would axe the monopoly they have granted to today's communication companies, broadband would be much better off.

    Out in front of my workplace runs a bunch of dark fibre. Southwestern Bell runs that fibre at about 10% capacity or less. We have another location across town. We would like to lease one of those dark fibre lines to connect us together. Will they let us? Nope. SWB won't let ANYONE, no matter how much money they offer, onto their fibre lines w/o going through their ancient frame-relay network, and they charge you an arm and a leg for it.

    I know a guy who was working for a Houston company that is actually going to run new fibre lines on the telephone poles into EVERY home in that area. He worked measuring the distance between the poles so they would know how much cable to buy and plan for the installation.
    The telcos and cable companies fought them TOOTH AND NAIL the ENTIRE WAY to stop this. Why? Because suddenly their government-granted monopoly went out the window.

    There is another company in Dallas, featured here on slashdot a little while back, that is installing 100mbps links to various buildings around Dallas for like $1k per month, using fibre lines that they have laid underground.

    It is high time compulsory sales of fibre lines is forced upon the telcos. If they won't bother to move, we should make them move. They are the problem. Bandwidth isn't scarce. There is no shortage of fibre or etherswitches. It is all an artificial constraint placed upon us because certain corporations are more concerned with an extra two cents per share than human progress. Same deal as oil companies: can they still make an insane profit if gas sells for $.80 per gallon? ABSOLUTELY. Why don't they? Because the CEO wants to line his pockets with another few million that he won't ever get to spend in his lifetime anyhow. That's why.

    Capitalism isn't failing; our government has just herded us into a corporatist economy.
    The IHA Forums []
  • I dunno, I've got cable service in a rather remote area and we've never been down in the 6 months I've had it. No real degredation either, save for a little around 3:00 or so in the afternoon when all the school kids get home and start the daily porn surfing before mom or dad get's home.
  • by whanau ( 315267 ) on Saturday February 24, 2001 @05:51PM (#405141)
    Satellite for web gaming is possibly worse than your current 28.8k modem.

    The key with online gaming is not bandwidth but latency. The packets you are sending are not particularly big, but they need to go fast. Take this example- Say you are playing a game with good net code (eg Tribes) on a 56k modem in the US on a server in Europe. If you then switch to a T1 line, your latency would not improve significantly-the signal still has to travel physically around the world. (Light circles the earth in 200ms, so in transmission the lowest ping to europe would be 100ms. Then we have to include latency around the computer, and the "last mile."

    Satellite, while having good bandwidth, will probably have such bad latency that you can forget upbout any online games (including cards at msn gaming). The signal first has to travel up to the sat from your house. Given atmospheric signals, some of it will be lost and will be have to sent again. It then has to travel down to a microwave dish in europe, again with more signal losses. From there it has to route itself around various diseperate telecoms networks. The round trip in simple distance is probably greater than your 28.2k modem,and hence latency is greater.
    If you need any more discouragement to get satellite internet- the bird is probably owned by microsoft.
    Probably the best way to improve your latency would be to buy a 56k modem and find a very local isp who hosts a server of your favourite game. My Isp is in my suburb and has this arrangement.

  • by Auckerman ( 223266 ) on Saturday February 24, 2001 @05:52PM (#405142)
    Look, it todays world, if you want it you can get high speed access almost anywhere. Cable, DSL, Dish, etc.. Asking the gaming community to write code that is backwardly compatible to dial up connectivity is just a waste of time

    Not everyone on the planet live in a dorm where one can get free 100MB ethernet. Infact, over 50% of americans still connect with "yesterdays" technology. It just makes good business sense to make a game playable over 56K. You know, that idea called profit, which is something every company should be interested in.

    Being one who does research in a Uni, I am bessed with access to a fast connection and can play UT in the off hours in my lab. At home, I have 56K...why because getting broadband here is priced only for businesses and even if it weren't I can only get DSL, which the owners of my apt building wouldn't be too keen for them to hook up. Most of the US, and even less the World, can't get high speed internet, and if they can they are lucky to get it for a reasonable price.

    Consider yourself lucky.

  • interesting how you worked politics into that.

    In my area, unfortunately, which is literally under 500 feet from the TCI headquarters, there is no high speed option of any kind. Not cable modem, not DSL. You can of course get a satellite option but you're still restricted to dial-up for sending data.

    But yeah, I agree about game development. You can make every effort to use network traffic efficiently, but if supporting modem speeds means you have to cut corners on the quality of the game, there's a good reason to just go the high-bandwidth route.
  • Why do you make the assumption that only universities can get high bandwidth? I have cable and I'm not in school. I understand about profit yadda yadda yadda, but I beleive that if the SW sophistication is there, the pipes will follow. Hell, there is already more fiber in the ground in the US than we could ever use. The problem is in the last mile. Telecoms will cave if they feel the heat from the consumer. If games are made to run over slower archaic connections, they will never upgrade.
  • Gee, you think your entire bloody continent can match one country in GDP? Wow, that's impressive.

    Games not taking advantage of broadband? Read the fucking story--the complaint is that many games now require it.

    You're obviously a troll, so you deserve only this response:

  • I think that at 28.8 you shouldn't expect a hell of alot. Your sitting on the very trailing edge there. But even at 56K, I agree, it is hard to do some serious online gaming. Even with those that support it. But the modems and games are the whole probelm. Alot has to do with the ISP. If your ping rate is too low, then you can be fragged in a game before you it.
  • It won't help your ping. You may be able to download somewhat faster but it won't help for games. When you are playing a game you send lots and lots of packets of data. This all adds up. An ethernet connection (which is used to interface to almost all broadband devices) has virtually no latency compared to a modem (I can't remember the numbers).

    "Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto"
    (I am a man: nothing human is alien to me)

  • by DaPimp ( 180387 ) on Saturday February 24, 2001 @06:04PM (#405156)
    There is no practical reason that the entire country can't have cheap broadband - the providers just need a little encouragement.

    The "practical reason" is the cost of deployment. Do you have ANY idea what deployment costs are in rural areas for things like cable and DSL? The simple fact is, there aren't enough paying customers in all areas to justify the enormous expense of deploying broadband. If they priced it based on the number of subscribers they'd have, then citizens in rural areas could be paying as much as a T1 for simple DSL. Thankfully, in some states, such as here in Arizona, the government is getting involved and funding network rollouts in the rural areas. Otherwise, there are many areas here that wouldn't even have decent phone networks, much less any sort of broadband access. The company I work for just did a project recently where we brought a T1 in to one of the reservations for the school district. You would not believe the hurdles and great expense it took to get a T1 dropped in. Dealing with the ancient local telephone company out there, then dealing with US Worst/Qworst in Phoenix.... a total nightmare.

    Until its more profitable, or subsidized by the government, we're just not going to see widespread broadband deployment.
  • WAP will be the future. Look at Hang Kong, Dailin China and the like. They aren't even bothering with putting cable in the ground. It's all wireless.
  • In the audio world, 5ms is considered noticeable ... professional audio hardware usually strives for a latency between 3 - 5ms ... some pro audio cards can do 1ms latency (at the expense of ALOT of cpu power)
  • This editorial was written as a response to Grey Loki's editorial entitled Are We Living In A Broadband World? [].

    For the weary, broadband/

  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Saturday February 24, 2001 @06:23PM (#405163) Journal
    This has been mentioned over the past month or so in exactly this of context. The original story I saw was in the Register [] here [].

    To Recap: The bottom line is that if you have a moderately large gaming club of 25 to 50 members, you can start your own ISP at a cost that compares to some hardware upgrades.

    The town of Laramie, Wyoming, has done just this by setting up []. Residents started the networking business in 1995 in an effort to bring everyone in the area online after various squabbles with the area's telephone company (now Qwest). The initial cost was around $3,000, with many residents donating their own PCs, according to Glass. Relevant equipment was stuck on private land, and copper wire was bought from Qwest for areas that couldn't get wireless.

    The cost of the service is pretty good compared to what it would be otherwise. Individuals get a normal dial-up service for $5 a month, or $20-$30 a month for high speed (10MB/second). It is doing quite well thank you.

    They want to clone this effort around the country, so you can contact them via this page []. So get you buds together and put together a business plan. You might wind up with something you can have fun with!

  • I know, i will hate when i move back home and have to go back to dialup. But the article does have put forth some nice points.

    Besides, if games are optimized to be fast on modems, wouldn't they be even faster for the people that don't use modems?

    I never get lagged out on my cable modem b/c the game was optimized for modems..
  • Back when I had my 56k dialup thru [] I was happy when I could get a ping of ~225 playing TFC. Sure I couldn't compete against the LPBs very well, but the game was still fun, and I spent many hours playing it.

    When I moved to San Francisco, I got my cable modem. Now I'm the LPB, playing with a ping of 30 or 40 most nights. I noticed right away that my score in it shot up to the top. I thought it was just the ping for a while.

    But after talking with friends who converted from dial-up, I realized that it was because we had been modem users that made us so damn good. Being forced to get good with a bad ping made us great when that ping went away. Kinda like a runner who trains with weights on his feet.

    I know I'm not the only one who's noticed I?

  • Q. Highest penetration of broadband/fibre network in the world? A. China. Q. Country with incumbant telecoms enthusiastically kneecapping broadband providers. A. USA. Plus you can walk from Berlin to Madrid with a GSM mobile phone without dropping a call. In the US the telecoms infrastructure is so fragmented you can barely hold a call walking from your kitchen to the bathroom. No, the US telecoms infrastructure is nothing to be proud of. Kudos for your nuclear arsenal tho ;-) xNuandax
  • Modems served their purpose, but the gaming industry needs to do its part to encourage even wider availibility of broadband.

    Um, game companies that focused on broadband would do jack shit to help people get DSL/cable. Unfortunatly, some people can't afford it, or, more likely, the phone/cable company hasn't noticed that people want broadband.

    As long as people don't feel that they need a broadband connection, there will be areas serviced only by dialup. There is no practical reason that the entire country can't have cheap broadband - the providers just need a little encouragement

    Ya, i can call all i want, that doesn't mean the phone/cable companies will listen. Some places (rural areas, and even some small suburbs) won't get broadband b/c the phone/cable companies don't think its cost effective to roll it out to these customers. I live in SE PA, but i still can't get cable/DSL...they just won't put it in, and i live in a pretty densly populated area.

    The most responsible thing for developers to do is to completely ignore modems. Once we all do that, they'll go away like a bad dream

    Ya right, what dream world do you live in. The cable/phone companies don't give a shit if the gaming industry ignores them, why would they?
  • Gamers are always the ones who push the envelope. They get the fastest computers and then overclock them. They get the biggest hard disks, and make sure the access time is top-notch. They get the newest, bleeding-edge video cards, and eagerly count fps. So why should we be surprised that there are types of games that push the edge of communication ability?

    There are plenty of games for those who can't get broadband yet. In the meantime, those who do have broadband want cutting edge stuff, as well-heeled gamers have always demanded. This is actually a good thing, for gamers test this cutting edge stuff for the rest of us. By the time the rest of the country gets broadband, there will be some amazing kick-ass games waiting for them, thanks to the early adopters.

    If companies want to take modems into consideration, fine. But don't hold back on the cutting edge just because not everyone is ready for it. That's the way it has always been in the gaming world, and it will continue to be in the future, technology by technology

  • Very few people do not have at least one broadband method as an option (cable, dsl, or satellite).

    I am afraid that satellite is not acceptable for gaming because of the long ping times, and the sad truth of the matter is that cable/DSL is still available to only about 1/3 of the US.

    MOVE 'ZIG'.
  • There is no practical reason that the entire country can't have cheap broadband...

    Hey, this might come across as odd, but the whole planet is not one country. People get connected to the net all around the world. People play games all around the world. Broadband is not accessable all around the planet.

    I guess I can prepare for the oncoming arrogant 'we make up the biggest portion of the net' bullshit argument, and then the following 'we' should not have to support 'you'. However, not all games are developed in the USA, nor are they only sold, marketed and used there. It's not the only market.

    If companies like Nintendo/Sega/Sony took this kind of view of the international market when they were developing software and only made their games work well in Japan, people like you would be the first to bitch that you are not being supported.

    Learn that gaming, and the internet, is an international community, and not just here to service one nation.

  • There are MANY games, both old and new, that work fine on a carrier 28800 dialup. Just because a modem may not hold its own for the newest crop of first person shooters doesn't close the doors to all games. I personally don't even play FPS games for more than probably 35% of my total gaming experience. The "get him in your sights and pull the trigger" fun only lasts so long.

    Probably the same reason my "gaming machine" is a "lowly" PII/450 with a TNT2. I'm in it for the fun, not the pretty graphics or the high-speed action of FPS. Unless you're maybe talking about racing games, which have worked great for me over dialup for one-on-one and group grudge matches.
  • You are extremely mistaken if you think oil companies could charge 80 cents a gallon. Now, OPEC countries might be able to if it felt like, but the oil companies of the world are forced to buy crude at market price. Some oil companies drill for oil in small quantities, but for all practical purposes they have virtually no input into the price of their own product. And don't laugh away the cost of shipping oil from Kuwait to Chicago. By the time the product gets to a gas station, they can only mark it up something like 1.5-2.5 cents a gallon.

    Ever wonder why all gas stations seem to have a mini mart lately? It's their only opportunity to grow their business model in the tight profit margins of the oil business.

    Not that I disagree with your general point, but don't just add on something you feel like saying without knowing what you're talking about.
  • by general_re ( 8883 ) on Saturday February 24, 2001 @06:54PM (#405184) Homepage
    The European Union now has a bigger economy than the USA by a third

    That's funny - according to my handy-dandy CIA World Factbook, in 1999 the aggregate GDP for the 15 member nations of the EU was about $8 trillion. And (drum roll, please), for the US, about $9.3 trillion. Now, we could examine the per capita GDP of both, but, if we note that the US has ~50 million fewer people than the EU, we can clearly see that such an examination would only make you look even worse. But then again, why let some inconvenient facts get in the way of an otherwise ill-considered pontification? ;)
  • With proper intervention by legitimately elected policymakers, highspeed internet investments won't go to Silicon Alley anymore, but to Utah, Alaska, Montana- places where industry and agriculture are struggling and where, more than ever, young people need the Internet as a way out.

    Thanks entirely to the efforts of unregulated private companies Alaska already has a high percentage of broadband access. In Anchorage, where I live, I have the choice of three different broadband techs from several different providers. We have cable, DSL (3 or 4 ISP's I think are offereing it) and ATT wireless broadband, and I believe a couple of local companies are offering their own wireless broadband as well) We have two fibres leading out of the state to Seattle, including a new high capacity one only a few years old built be GCI [] a local telco. Most all of the population centers in the state have a broadband option now, today. All of this funded by private companies w/out government aid.

    Industry and agriculture are not struggeling Alaska, the oil industry is still going strong, older fields are still profitable and the soon to be opened ANWR region is very promising, and a massive natural gas pipeline is in the works to run the same course as the famous oil pipeline.

    Highspeed internet goes to the places where it is best used and at the moment that includes both Alaska and Silicon Alley and plenty of other regions. You may have intended your post to be funny but you should still get your facts straight before spouting off.

  • by Naum ( 166466 ) on Saturday February 24, 2001 @06:56PM (#405186) Homepage Journal

    That is the percentage of home internet users that have broadband access right now - 12% (see recent survey [] for more details. Two-thirds of the rest "say" they have a 56k connection - they may have a 56k modem but I doubt if many actually get a true 50k+ connection with their ISP - in fact, I venture that many of those who could get 56K have now opted for DSL - since being within a certain radius of the switching station an office hub (or whatever the correct term for it is ...), more than likely had the option of affordable DSL.

    Until the market is represented by at least 75% broadband saturation, I don't think ignoring the modem players is a wise choice for any game producing company. Granted, the figure last December was like 7%, so it almost doubled in a year - maybe next year it will be 25% - at any rate, it will be at least a couple of years ...

    I think the broadband factor is more an issue with the 3D FPS games - if you have a good ISP and get latency of 200-300ms on a dial-up - you can engage in enjoyable multiplayer gaming ... Other factors for RTS games like Age of Empires/Age of Kings are memory and processor speed as all of those AI pathfinding algorithms eat up both - especially when the grand total unit deployment goes into the 1000's. One player with a P-200 and 64 meg can make the game lag as all others will have to wait while his/her box tries to "keep up" with the action and faster computers.

    I don't understand why broadband isn't more available in metropolitan areas at least - here in the Phoenix area, I live in the city but do not have any option (except Sprint broadband which really doesn't count - don't know what piece of the 12% of that survey are represented here either ... the initial latency makes multiplayer gaming for RTS or FPS or anything except turn based games tedious ...) for DSL or cable modems. Cable modems are coming soon, but then they said that last year ... Meanwhile, the giant media conglomerates that are Qwest and Cox are laying people off while there are residents clamoring for high speed internet ... go figure ...

  • by sl3xd ( 111641 ) on Saturday February 24, 2001 @06:59PM (#405189) Journal
    Not to mention that for the longest time, broadband was unavailable in many areas simply because the local telco's wouldn't sell it. They had the equipment, but wouldn't sell it.

    The parent of this thread mentions Utah - the state with the highest rate of home computers per capita in the US. Broadband has only recently became a reality; after the cable company secured a 100% monopoly on cable TV, they offered cable service as a means to squeeze more money from consumers.

    Meanwhile, the telco was resolutely refusing to offer even ISDN - let alone any form of DSL. If you wanted high-speed internet, you had to shell out $800 a month for a 1.5 Mbit DS1. USWest didn't want to let go of the gravy train.

    Suddenly the cable monopoly offers broadband - 500kbit for $60 a month (at first). Only AFTER there was competition did USWest decide to offer broadband. DSL came into the high population density areas only recently.

    And getting DSL is, as everywhere, as much as a sick joke as a service. Call QWest (who bought USWest) for DSL - they'll tell you the phone lines in your home are too old.

    I became extremely cynical of this when QWest told a friend of mine that his home is too old for DSL, and he would have to hire QWest electricians - at prime rates - to re-wire his entire home before he could get DSL.

    His home's construction crews had left the lot a couple of days before. The cement on the driveway wasn't even completely dry yet.

    It has nothing to do with geography. Just the super-wealthy trying to outscore the next-door neighbor's income; a neighbor who happens to live in the next county.
  • I live in Texas, so I know a little bit about it. By "Oil Companies" I meant both the suppliers (exxon, mobil, etc) as well as the producers (opec, etc)

    Gas was near $.80 a gallon here two summers ago... do you really think any of the CEOs were losing money? Do you think anyone in OPEC starved? Not likely.
    The IHA Forums []
  • Are you mentally retarded or something? A majority of people on the internet are connecting to it with modems and a majority of THOSE people aren't even getting 56k connections. Because you are in a potential DSL or Cable service area doesn't mean shit. If there is no one there to provide access you don't get access. If you can't get stable 56k access which a good deal of people don't get you'll not get DSL service either.
  • I will use this phrase out today I swear. Are you retarded or something? Or maybe you're just 13 and don't know any better. I can't just fucking move because my telco won't provide me with DSL access and neither can 99.999% of people in this country. Telcos do not give a shit about anyone except their shareholders and thus will not lay a bunch of new lines because a million copies of a video game are sold, a large percentage of which were not sold in their service area. They make more money per month from a single medium sized business than they make from a residence in six months. Do the math real quick (if you can) and tell me for an average sized city where most of their revenues come from.
  • you clearly know nothing about network programming. sloppy programming is why new games need "broadband".
  • by isdnip ( 49656 ) on Saturday February 24, 2001 @07:49PM (#405214)
    Network games and web sites both need to be designed by people who pay attention to low-rate connections. Besides the fact that the Internet path itself gets rather slow quite often, modem-speed access indeed will remain the norm for some years, as many people have no choice. And there's nothing that the ISPs can do about it, because it's the telecomm carriers and cable companies who have the wires.

    Why some folks just can't get broadband:

    * To get a cable modem, the cable company has to have the upgraded Hybrid Fiber-Coax (HFC) plant, as well as a cable modem terminating system (CMTS) and the rest of the needed gear. This is becoming more common but lots of cable systems aren't there yet; for instance, the old TCI systems were real fixer-uppers.

    * To get DSL, the subscriber must be within 15,000 wire feet or so of the ILEC central office. This rules out a lot of homes, even in cities, because COs are spaced wider than that in all but the densest places.

    * DSL won't work if the subscriber is served by a Digital loop carrier (DLC) system, which is the norm for new installations more than 12,000 feet or so from a CO (and sometimes much closer). Somebody could theoretically put a DSLAM at the DLC location, but the economics and practicality are often poor; it's very very rare at present.

    * DSL won't work if the wire is not in good shape. That's often the case. (Especially in former-NYNEX territory!)

    * There still has to be a DSLAM; this is hard to justify in smaller COs. DSL's basically an urban service.

    * Wireless bandwidth is expensive. Even if you could go faster than 9600 bps on cellular, you wouldn't like the price. Unlicensed wireless is "free" bandwidth, but the range is short, so again most people don't live in range of a provider (wireless ISP). And that requires an antenna location, decent near-line-of-sight path, etc.

    So I have advised my consulting clients to design their web sites using a 9600 bps link! If it's usable at 9600, then it'll be grand for most folks. I really hate sites that are slow to load even on a cable modem or T1 link. And those are too too common -- the developers aren't designing for the real world, but for an indoor demo.
  • Normally I just let all of the America bashing go with a turn of the cheek, but this one is very interesting. You assert the China, the country with the highest population and one of the lowest per-capita incomes of the first world has the highest penetration of broadband/fibre? Where are you getting these figures (please post the URL, I'm sure Slashdot is interested in knowing). Whats most surprising is that Chinese government has generally been very wary of the internet, and now suddenly every mom and pop rice field pesant has a fibre line to the hut?

    Yes, I know China is a great and wealthy nation, I phrased it that way to make a point.

    Down that path lies madness. On the other hand, the road to hell is paved with melting snowballs.
  • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday February 24, 2001 @07:57PM (#405218) Homepage
    Do you have ANY idea what deployment costs are in rural areas for things like cable and DSL

    It's not just rural areas. New York City, economic capital of the world, most populated city in the US, etc., still hasn't gotten full broadband penetration. There are places in the outer boroughs which still don't have DSL; keep in mind these areas have several million people living in a geographically miniscule space; a few square miles.
  • If you think that's bad, you'll LOVE this story...

    I live less than 5 minutes from Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada (the same Waterloo with the University of Waterloo). It is considered a Canadian metropolis (btw, people living in the HEART of that city still can't get DSL, never mind my poor story).

    I can't get broadband. But, due to Ontario laws, if the school (which is a 1 minute walk away) wants it, the telco has to provide it (at whatever fee they please, though).

    So, about 7 or 8 years ago I noticed telco fiber tags (the little flags that the companies put up when you want to dig) a 1/2 mile away. So, I've always wondered why I can't get broadband, or faster than 24k connects, but that's a separate issue.

    So this school asks Bell for broadband. Guess how money grabbing Bell is? They ran, I'm told, no joke, 27 km of fiber from God Knows What Town to that school. Why? If you ask me it's because it costs more and, as the Bell worker's union said not so long ago, "Ma Bell is a Cheap Mother".

    I still don't have high speed. Hell, cable TV _has_ to run within a few miles (we are situated in the direct middle of a "tri-city" area) and we don't get that. The _gas_ company took until a couple of years ago to care.

    The fact is Bell is so tight, they just don't care about anything. I'll refer you to their "high-speed" expressvu satellite internet. $50 a month for 60 hours. You want more than 60 hours? TFB, that'll cost you $2 an hour more! That's INSANE! I could employ a sneakernet at those rates! They won't even let you pay for multiple accounts! They just don't care.

    I'll thank God when some other company gets a clue and sez "We could get you DSL for $100 a month, and we can do it now" because that's what I'm willing to pay, even 3x the normal rates...
  • I've got news for you a T3 costs more in the neighborhood of $20,000-$30,000 a month. An actual T1 line (not an ADSL or cable connection) costs $1500 a month.
  • Ok, I live in a lack-of-broadband-bubble on the outskirts of two cities. MediaOne in the next city over doesn't realize I even exist dispite the city's border is less than a mile from my front door (I've measured). Charter cable also does not recognize that my apartment complex even exists. Pacific-Bell's CO is downtown and thus 3 miles farther than ADSL reaches. This obviously leaves me WITH NO BROADBAND ACCESS AT ALL. I am stuck with a 56k dialup that often times does not even approach 50kbps. I get fair ping times for normal HTTP or FTP functions but anything real-time there is a very apparent lag. I think instead of catering to the broadband access world specifically game (or any real-time network app developers) ought look into ways to get better packet throughput into their games.
    For those of you retards suggesting people ought to move because they like me can't get broadband access I don't think any explaination of why I can't move would make sense to your small underpowered brian. Protesting to your local telco or cable company isn't going to help any situation either (in most cases). Telcos make alot of money from commercial accounts and services and do not make alot of money from residential accounts. ISPs likewise make alot of money from providing businesses with internet services and make very little money from providing individual homes with internet access. ISPs therefore oversell their bandwidth and connectivity in order to stay in the green and telcos offer only the services and service that the most people will buy. Since the most people won't buy DSL they are slowgoing in providing coverage for alot of people. ISPs route almost too much traffic through their local gateways which leads to dialup users sporting hefty ping times in peak hours. Right now we're all stuck in the transition. There is no real reason for game developers to cater exclusively to broadband users unless of course they want to limit sales of their game. Optimize packet turnaround and everyone will benefit.
  • First I hope your broadband connection goes down for a long long time and you are forced to play your games at 28.8k.

    Next what you are failing to realize is taht the point that this person was trying to make is that the games that he likes to play are designed for broadband. If you are not totally clueless as some people are when they create these games, then you'd realize that broadband has not just taken off. Not everyone can afford it nor is it available everywhere. What needs to happend is these game developers need to take the lowband into consideration when they design the games so that they do not LOOSE AUDIENCE. I think it is real dumb on their part to think of ONLY the broadband customer, when the reality is that they probably could loose 50% of there sales by ignoring the low band users. It is just bad business to go for a small audience.

    I used to work for a site that catered to broadband. Guess what. They did not have enough traffic to support the site and now it no longer exists.

    While broadband is the 'way of the future' the future is just no here yet for all of us.

    Broadband wil not take off until it is as easy to set up as a modem is today. If I have to order something from a company then wait till they pull there heads out of there ass to sent it to me like so many companies have done to so many people then NO THANKS. I'll spend my $30 and get a 56k. If I have to have a second line or deal with the cable company then no thanks. Cable goes out enough as it is, do I really want my internet connection the same way? NO THANKS. It is simple really companies already make the technology. Telocity is one company, Radio Shack is another. They both sell modems that you install at home and filters for your phones that can hook you up with dsl. The problem is that unlike normal 56k modems you cannot but the modem seperate from the service. You have to get them togeather. This is unattractive. Why is this? Cause DSL and broadband do not have the same standardization that modems do. Until it does it will lag the modem world. That and the price. hmm $10 to 20 a month or even free with ads and a 56k connection or $40+ for dsl and possible connection??? see and see the horror stories about dsl and just about all the known providers are there. I have heard problems from friends of how covad screwed up the installation and forgot to cap a wire and this caused his connection to be 5 times slower than it should and it took them a year to fix.... it is not rocket science here people...

    I don't want a lot, I just want it all!
    Flame away, I have a hose!

  • Question: I buy games I can't play and I can't connect to the Internet faster than a decent fax machine... Answer 1: MOVE Answer 2: Fax your moves Answer 3: buy a deck of cards Answer 4: buy some friends Answer 5: buy more magazines, for the photographs of course because the articles take too long to read.
  • Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2 also plays very well.

    And they have a quick match feature, for times when I just want to play online without entering a chatroom. You listening, Ensemble? :)

  • You can of course get a satellite option but you're still restricted to dial-up for sending data.

    No you aren't. The latest broadband sat systems are two-way. Read up on it.

    - A.P.

    * CmdrTaco is an idiot.

  • People are complaining that companies should stop trying to push the envelope and think about the people who can't get better bandwidth. That's a very selfish statement to make, since more people everyday are getting faster services, or finding the means to get faster services.

    There are cities near here with less than 400 people with cable service because the cable provider is Time/Warner, and they already have the fibre lines down, and these towns are at least an hour or two from any city with a building taller than five stories.

    You'd be surprised how much begging and pleading, and pressure from game manufacturers, will go. But if you're serious enough that you want to halt online gaming's progress because you can't get faster service online, then you should be serious enough about your gaming to move.

    Dragon Magic []
  • That is the percentage of home internet users that have broadband access right now - 12%

    And I bet that even less than 12% have a computer with the horsepower necessary to play Q3A.

  • I have to agree that having broadband is a big help when youre playing q3 or ut. However, a well written engine and a little strategy go a long way towards compensating for running on a 33.6. A lot of games have features that really help even the field for high ping players.

    For example, I had a 33.6 for 2 years after I graduated and before I finally got cable. I played Q3, UT and team fort regularly.
    -I found that although I would occaisionally get dropped from my ISP or have a weird crash, I could do pretty well in Q3. I had to "lead" people through the 300-500ms lag when using the railgun, but the client does a pretty good job of predicting, especially with the machine gun and RL. I found that on a server with medium-skill players, I could easily dominate. Sometimes it was unplayable and sometimes i would get 0wnz3d, but thats the price you pay for free internet, I guess
    -In team fort, i found the game pretty unplayable as a sniper but I found that some classes just plain kick ass on a laggy 33.6 connection. For example, playing as an engineer is all about camping and choosing your sentry gun location right, and its fun as hell to EMP people. Also, playing as the spy and heavy weapons fatty are great ideas for hi ping players. They dont require a low ping so much as clever forethought. Besides, the spy is such a riot, especially when the other team is running around shooting each other isntead of invading your base.
    -Unreal is pretty hard to play with high ping, due to the dominance of the sniper gun in a lot of the levels. Also, a lot of weapons like the shock rifle require timing to work to maximum efficiency. Still, the quality of the bots more than makes up for this, I feel.
  • Everyone complains about lag on action games online, and granted playing with 150-350 ping on my 56k modem in Q3A is really pretty handicapping. But think of it this way: If you play the games on a 56k and get relatively decent at the point where you can go out with a generic rocket launcher and nearly hold your own against the guys owning people with railguns and rockets down at 50ping and less, and the change to broadband (as I hopefully soon will) think of the higher skill in gaming you'll have. Not only would you have the ping for click/kill, but the instinct to predict where people are going. In my mind that makes for better players.
  • After pestering my cable company for access *every day* from xmas '97 to xmas '98, they made it available.

    That's why the courts invented the restraining order.

  • Also, it's just as bad when there is only one broadband company. If that company doesnt like your piracy or your napster use and cutd you off, there you are, disenfranchised,unable to reach much of the data and art and culture online.

    That is why the FCC needs to classify them as common carriers. A common carrier can't cut your service or refuse to offer you service because of issues that are not directly related to the provision of the service. The telephone company and other common carriers must provide service to the CPUSA, NAMBLA and all other unpopular groups.

  • The International Telecommunication Union [] has put out a press release [] on the new ITU-T V.92 standard. This should breathe new life into the modem industry and POTS-based telecommunications in general. It's worth a read to get up to speed on what V.92 brings to the table.

  • by freeweed ( 309734 ) on Saturday February 24, 2001 @10:53PM (#405259)
    It astounds me that in what seems to the rest of the world to be a small, backwards country, I can sit back and bask in the joy of a steady 500 kilobyte connection. And I've been doing so for two and a half years now.

    I don't even live in anything close to a bigger Canadian city; Winnipeg is the Kansas of Canada! What's more amazing is that communities as small as a thousand people or so, and several hundred miles away from any major center, are currently being added to our broadband networks!

    Maybe all the Yanks that hopped on the dot-com millionaire bandwagon should have spent a tad more money on infrastructure, and a bit less on beamers....

  • Yeah, Cable/DSL is pretty much an urban/suburban thing. That's life.

    Why is it such a shock that the infrastructure is better in more populated areas? I really don't have much sympathy for people who want to live away from other people, and complain about lack of infrastructure.

    The fact is, it isn't 1996 anymore. A great number of people have broadband now, and they actually want to use it. Why the fuck should we wait for the slow and ignorant?

    Here in Canada the Tel/Cable Co's have to supply broadband, and at least one is available in pretty much all areas that can somewhat plausably claim to be populated. Even my brother, who lives in Prince George, BC (a redneck hive way off in the wilderness) has cable now. If you don't have access to it, it is your fault for not demanding that the appropriate companies supply it (or demand that the government legislates them to do so). Obviously, you did not do this - don't take that out on those that did.

    Rick Kirkland
  • Minimum Product Requirements:

    500MHz Pentium III, or similar
    520MB Free Hard Disk Space
    OpenGL 3D Accelerator
    Broadband Internet Access
    NOTE: If cable or DSL is not available in your area, Mindfuck Software recommends our partners at Century 21 Realestate and to aid in your relocation. This may seem harsh, but it really is better for society for you to move away from your almost-paid-for 2-story house on 3 acres of land, and into a 2-bedroom apartment with crackhead neighbors who throw eachother into the wall at odd hours to the incessant beat of stompin'-loud Kid Rock. You won't regret it, and your LPB gaming peers will thank you.

    We hope you enjoy the game, and wish you well for your adventures in the ghetto.

  • Someone mod this guy up! Well said. Too bad the courts move so slowly.

    (then again, the lethargy with which the American system does anything is also a protective measure... but damn, it can be frustrating.)
  • If you are stuck on a modem, you should really forget about playing action games online.

    Clearly you have never had your ass kicked by some punk with a much higher ping. :) But seriously, a good player can compensate for a lot. And back before I got high speed access, I played a lot of FPS games on the ol' 56k, and I usually did OK. Not that I ever want to go back...
  • There ought to be no correlation between the two.

    This is just wrong. There are two components to latency. The first is the latency involved in going from your first hop to the destination and back. This doesn't change whether you're using a cable modem, DSL, or plain old modem.

    The second is the latency added in sending the message to the first hop, and getting it back over that hop. These are not 0-byte packets. That latency is a few milliseconds for broadband, but tend to push 100ms for a 28.8k modem. This makes a real difference.

    Another real tension is between NAT/masquerading and UDP. UDP is good for modem players, because they tend to have addressable IPs from their ISP. UDP doesn't have the same setup cost as TCP -- it's not reliable, but in real-time games, if it's late, you're dead anyway. On the other hand, TCP is a smidgeon slower, and works over NAT. I think it's good that UDP is effectively dead, outside of Microsoft Games.

    It's tough to see what his real beef is, anyway. Is anyone actually making a game that's unplayable over a modem? I haven't seen any. Does he want LPB's to receive server-generated lag to equalize the players? Modem players will be lagged to death in 32-player counterstrike games. The answer is both simple and obvious. If you're not going to upgrade, stick to smaller games. Technology has always been about understanding and working within its limitations.
  • Same deal as oil companies: can they still make an insane profit if gas sells for $.80 per gallon? ABSOLUTELY.

    Taxes on a gallon of gas are $0.405. That leaves less than 40 cents per gallon to account for what they pay for it, and their profit.

    If you want to see your gas costs go down, stop bitching at the oil company; start bitching at your state government (which is, on average, adding 22.1 cents per gallon) and at the federal government (which is adding 18.4 cents.)

    (All figures are from 1995. Many states have raised their taxes since then. June 2000 average was reported at 43 cents per gallon.)

    BTW, the average is of the 50 states; the most populous states, with the exception of Texas, are all on the very high end, so the vast majority of Americans pay considerably more than the average given here.

    Oh; and these figures don't include sales tax, which some states, such as Indiana, charge on gasoline.

    Figure in the shipping costs (since the Clinton administration outlawed drilling in all the places where the most easily-accessible oil is, such as the ANWR) and you end up with a pretty meager per-gallon profit for the oil companies.

    They get rich because they're selling an awful lot of product, not because they make a huge profit on it.

    Capitalism isn't failing; our government has just herded us into a corporatist economy.

    Capitalism is why you can afford to own a computer and non-metered dialup Internet access. In every county that doesn't have a fundamentally capitalist system, people who earn at your percentage of the income scale (guessing at where you are on the scale here) can't afford that, and can't get it free at their local libraries either because nobody can afford to donate to such institutions.

  • Don't you mean???

    As long as people's telecom companies don't feel that they need a broadband connection

    No, everybody can get Cable/DSL, if it isn't available in your area, move to a place where it is available.
    if you don't upgrade your computer, you can't play the newest games, too bad for you, life ain't fair.
    Bandwidth is just another upgrade.
  • desining games around 28.8 links isn't really going to do anything for you on an FPS. This has been an issue since they days of Quake. I used to dial a friend's house and he used to rock my world w/ a railgun because of the latency issues involved.

    It worked the same way with the servers we used to join up on gamespy. I remember when just about everyone on a server had 250+ ping and the lucky sons-a-bitches were the guys pushing anything less than 100. We were ALL HPB's at that time because Quake wasn't really designed for anything but dialup. But - you remember when you joined that server and were playing against the guy in college with the 20ms ping time? He owned everybody (except for that one dude in the really good clan [ThreeLetterAcronym]-Jesus- or whatever his name was on your server). The point is this: the guy with the fattest pipe wins every time in an FPS because the data that can be pushed is completely dependant on your connection. Even a game designed for a 56k link. The guy on the OC-3 is just going to say to the server "Ok, i got that, now gimme more!"

    The only other "quit your bitchin!" point i want to make is this: MAKE BROADBAND A PRIORITY IF YOU REALLY WANT IT THAT BAD! In every apartment/house/cardboard box that i look at, one of the first questions i ask is "Can i get broadband, and how's the quality?" If the answer to those questions does not seem favorable to my being able to thwap the fsck out of my CS pals on a nightly basis, then i move on to the next place because broadband is a major factor in my decision on where/when to move. If you live in bumfuck, IA. then you seriously need to ask yourself if you value broadband that much. If you do, then by all rights, it's time to move.

    After 16 years, MTV has finally completed its deevolution into the shiny things network
  • Here's a map I found on, which shows DSL-enabled Central Offices in green and non-DSL ones in red. It was put up on February 24 2001 so it's current.

    The map is Here [].

    I know, this only covers DSL and not cable, but it does give a pretty interesting picture nonetheless.
  • Here, here! I totally agree on this one. I don't have broadband in my area and game companies aren't designing games specifically for me. Sure, Quake III included bots so I could enjoy DeatchMatch for the first time, and sure the network code was specifically tweaked to take the best advantage of a modem connection as possible, but what I expect of id Software is that they magically transform my 28.8k modem into a T1. That is what I want and I am the customer! I'm not going to yell at the Telcos for gouging me, or my parents for refusing to ante up their hard-earned money for cable modem. Instead, I'll target someone who has absolutely no control over the speed of my connection!

    And while you're at it, Half-Life runs like ass on my IBM XT, can someone look into it?

  • 56K modems aren't any better than 33.6 when it comes to playing online games.

    All the traffic that matters is upstream. I've graphed it with MRTG.

    x2, Klfex, and V.90 are limited to 33.6K in the upstream direction. (Even though the ISP's end is digital (channelized T1's or ISDN PRIs) the users end is analog.)

    That's why ISDN (even when using only 1 64K B channel) gamers are such LPBs. The extra 11K (64 - 53) they get on the downside doesn't explain the several hundred ms ping advantage they enjoy over HPBs.

    It's the extra 31.4K (64 - 33.6) they get in the upstream.

    I'm blessed/cursed by @Home service now, but my analog handicap wasn't ever that bad really. I had pings in the 200 range, depending on the server. Like has already been mentioned in other comments, the ISP really matters. The biggest factor is compatibilty with their remote dialup equipment. V.90 is great, but 3Com modems still do best with Total Controls, and Rockwell/Lucents still do best with Maxen/Portmasters. (Your own local line conditions certainly matter, as does your ISPs upstream connnection, but I've found it's the equipment that matters most.)

    * The salvation for modem gamers is V.92, which pushes the upstream limit to 48K.

    /. V.92 stories:

    July 4th, 2000 []

    July 21st, 2000 []


  • Major parts of The City of Boston (47 sq. miles, 580k pop.) are out of DSL range. The COs just aren't put close together, so urban neighborhoods (row houses, etc.) are not loop qualified. We're not talking the woods. It's just a crap shoot if you qualify -- the BEST RBOC loop quals are a bit over 50%, while some cities (not woods) are below 20%.

    9600 is not quite real world, but 24k (top speed of a modem on a phone line served by Universal DLC, which is common) is quite real, so if you can work at 9600 at all, then at 24k it's probably decent. Maybe today they should test at 24k. No faster.
  • I live here in Winnipeg as well.. and I am more then pleased with Videon's cable service. Instead of one of the old, black, COOL looking cable modems, I got a new, beige Motorola Surfboard modem with doesn't appear to be capped at all. Combine that with the fact that NOBODY in my area has cable, and you'll discover that I'm playing $40 a month for a T1-like 'net connection.

    Hooray for the west end, babyeeee!

  • I live, apparently, less than 500 feet too far from my CO for DSL service. I'm supposed to pick up and move so I can play Q3? Get real.

    No, you're supposed to not play Q3. I assure you, your life will not end if you can't play one particular game.

    Meanwhile, those of us who do happen to have broadband will enjoy the games that are targetted at us, and those without can go enjoy the games that are targetted at them.

    Which, BTW, are often the same games, in different modes of play.

  • No. The government wastes most of the money intended for road maintainence. To understand why, go watch a road crew some time, if you can happen to catch them when they're actually there. If there's a cloud in the sky three counties over they won't be, but if they do happen to be, you can see them happily asleep in their bulldozers, assured that a combination of byzantine laws and union agreements will make it a multi-month process to fire them.

    Then go watch how long it takes to build an access road inside private property. Those folks work for the customer, not the government, and are subject to not getting paid if they don't do the work.

    Meanwhile, small towns are having a problem buying enough gasoline to fuel their ambulances, and people are dying.

  • Now throw in the fact that if you want earthlink dsl, Covad installs the line to your house, but they are pac bell lines (in my area) and if something goes wrong who's to fix it. Then you call earthlink and they have to call covad and pac bell or in some cases you do, and you have to deal with three people. It is not as easy as install nic and your up and running. In the case of using a modem, anyone can install a modem, and they do have written directions. That is not what I am talking about. I am talking about sighing up for the service and getting the stuff. Why do you think that AOL is so popular?? Cause every modem sold just about comes with there software. You install the card, you install there software and then you register through their service. Easy as 1.. 2.. 3.. . In the case of dsl you have to call the company, they send someone out to hook up the lines and connectivity, and the whole process is made of wait wait wait...

    I don't want a lot, I just want it all!
    Flame away, I have a hose!

  • Seriously, it's a serious post. Had I wanted to troll, I would have mentioned something about bases...

    To the moderator: I'm sorry that I expressed an opinion that was in disagreement with you, but you seem to not grasp the fact that you moderate content, not viewpoints.

    It seems with Slashdot nowdays that you can either post an opinion or post to karma whore. Quite honestly karma doesn't worry me all, what worries me is the fact I get branded as a troll for expressing my opinion.

    All well, rant mode off now... :)

  • Subject: I can only afford an amber monitor, pander to me

    You may have a point there. Games should be accessible to those with color-deficient vision and to those playing on high-quality grayscale monitors (often found in places that do dead-tree publishing). This is why, even though many puzzle games use color to distinguish puzzle pieces, newer ones also use brightness and shape (think Columns, Tetris® Attack, or Dr. Mario on Game Boy and graphing calculators).

    All your hallucinogen [] are belong to us.
  • I believe that this comment will be archived. seriously.

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.