Lag and You: An Amuse-Bouche


With GGPO down for a few weeks, I tried Supercade, which is a great program, but its considered by some to be silver medalist to GGPO’s gold.

My experiences with the program were pretty good, but there was a noticeable increase in input delay compared to GGPO. Input delay, for the unaware, is a form of online lag in which the game plays at more or less normal speed, but there is a brief period before what you actually enter on your joystick/controller/keyboard etc actually happens on screen. This is measured in milliseconds and not fulls seconds, of course, because a full second of lag is somewhat beyond the pale when talking about these two programs.

To be fair, there have been complaints about about the new version of GGPO having more input lag than the old ones for some reason and other new problems, but I happen to be specifically discussing Supercade matches right now.

I’ve been thinking about writing something on the psychology of online/input lag, but it will have to wait.

The short version being: I was not always on the losing end of lag in these matches, and also that it essentially lowers the level of execution for all players, because things you react to visually/audibly have already happened a few milliseconds earlier, as far as the game is concerned. This discourages reaction and encourages predictive actions (ie. random sweeps), and things which are dangerous (jumping attacks vs characters with otherwise-reliable anti-air) become safer because they’re harder to react to.

Please keep in mind the lag during these games wasn’t terrible by online gaming standards, but was simply not ideal. I am Player 2 in all matches.

TL;DR
Recorded some matches, because I was bored.

To avoid opening new window, click on the Play icon in the bottom corner of the video, instead of clicking on the video itself.

SFA3:
V-Cody, A-Ken, V-Akuma
vs
A-Gen, V-Rose, V-Honda, V-Ryu, A-Bison, A-Charlie, V-Akuma, V-Sagat, A-Rose
(01:33:25)- first 26 minutes is all Cody vs Gen

SFA2:
Ryu, Ken, Chun, Zangief
vs
Sagat, Rose, Gen
(35:07)

MvC1:
CapCom, Spider-Man, Ryu, War Machine, Venom, Hulk, Megaman, Wolverine, Gambit
vs
Venom, War Machine, Strider, Ryu
(39:00)

I should point out that the MvC1 player is totally better than me, but he seems to be having a problem with his shortcuts- getting fireball moves instead of fireball supers, etc (see: Strider/WM duo). But, that’s the sort of thing you run into when you use shortcuts.

To see the match replays in their native format, search for my username (TS-) here.

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