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How does ping affect the game exactly?

asmith

Noob
Hello,

I've been playing hundreds of matches with all sort of pings. From 40ms to 250ms. Yet I'm not sure how ping negatively impacts the game. There are scenarios like poke wars which SEEMS to be affected by ping. For example I've played Geras players who abused d1: Even on block they would d1 again and again similar to MKX's Jason. But that is also possible offline with his 6 frame d1 and -4 on block.

So many players uses ping as an excuse to blame their bad readings. For example this streamer goes for throw and eats an uppercut KB and immediately blames it on the ping. Watching their matches everything is making sense frame data wise.

In MKX, some animations used to get shorter to catchup. For example Leather Face's unblockable move animation on 150ms ping would turn out shorter, thus harder to react. In Mk11, there seems to be a similar pattern. Sub-Zero's Overhead into slide is very harder to react on pings over 150ms while in offline, the same move seems slower.

Does anyone know how EXACTLY ping is affecting the online experience? (by that I don't mean personal experience, but from a technical point of view)
 

Dreamcatcher

TYM League Coordinator (MK11)
Royal Contributor
Well if what you're asking is just what is ping, it's the overall connection. The higher the ping, the worse the connection. (indicated by the bars) Hopefully I'm understanding what you're saying.

Bad connections and high ping can sometimes result in frames dropping/skipping, which can legitimately have an effect on the game. As far as the other players, unless the connection really is dog shit... a lot of bad sports will blame lag if they lose sometimes.
 

asmith

Noob
Ping is the amount of time a data packet travels to the destination AND comes back. The question is more about how MK11 netcode is dealing ping. I think it is doing a very good job.

Ping specifies the general "delay" in an online match. It is different from lagging. You can have smooth matches with 250ms ping without any lags and you can have lags on a 30ms match. Lag is basically those tiny pauses in the game.

The question is, when you see high ping, what parts of the online experience you should be expecting to act funny/differently?
 

LawAbidingCitizen

MD| Soberless FGC
Ping is like lag but constant.

It absolutely has an impact on the game. Online vs offline can be worlds apart. This can translate into Visual or Input delay. If your connection is 100ms that translates to 6 frames of delay. Visual delay in this situation would cause you to see everything 6f late while Input delay would cause your buttons to cone out 6f late either way delaying your moves.
Things like counterpoking go out the window in that type of connection for example geras D1 is 6f startup and -4 on block your opponent blocks his first D1 making his next D1 come out 10f offline. Let's say you where also Geras and you counter poked on reaction to visual your 6f poke would come out 6 frames late making it only connect on frame 12 assuming you did everything perfect. So online even in solid connections both wired there is definitely aspects if the game that is changed like Counter poking, reactions, Anti Airs, Flawless Blocking, 5f links in combos, jailing from pokes(baraka will be fine), basically almost everything at high level is not present or completely different online vs offline.
I can consistently counterpoke Geras or any players poke when blocked offline but I don't think the same is true for anyone online. That alone is monumental to have just one very important part of the meta changed let alone all the others.

BTW every character can counterpoke his D1 on block if thief pokes don't have hotbox issues (I think kotal and anyone who has slower than 10 frames)
 

Juggs

Lose without excuses
Lead Moderator
The higher the ping, the more frames of delay you have. For those that don’t know, that means how many frames of delay between when you press a button, and it actually registers.

Not sure how many frames of delay corresponds with the ping for MK11. Anything above 120ms feels really delayed, like 6+ added frames of delay. But again, not too sure.
 

GLoRToR

Have fun mashing d1, liars and hypocrites.
Stable ping is not something you have to worry about. If you fight someone whose ping jumps between 25 and 250 you can quitality and never play that person again. You'll spare yourself a lot of annoyance.
 

Immortal

Blind justice....
This is a subject on which you can write a master thesis and even then it wouldn't be complete, coz it's very complex. There are 2 wildly used methods of handling latency in fighting games online mode. Delay based, older one used till MK X and GGPO of which prime example would be Killer Instinct and later on Mortal Kombat XL. There were other games which use GGPO like Skullgirls and several other ones, smaller.

In very, very short:

In delay based multiplayer clients (players) very constatly synced with each other to the frame, which meant that if latency between them were like 100 ms they both had game delay (which includes inputs, visuals etc...) of 6 frames. If the latency spiked to liked 300 ms you would feel like playing under water everything feels super slow. That's obviously... not ideal to be polite.

Thats where GGPO comes in. It's a smart way to hide the latency behind visuals. Since the core idea is - youre syncing only game states not the whole games. Clients (players) exchange between each other only inputs and the rest is calculated on the client sides. That way there is (almost) none palpable delay for each player. There is however visual one, since in order to keep everything in sync clients need to skip animation frames so the delay wont wont build up cozing at some point a total desync. In ideal conditions this works really, really well but... if you intruduce spiking latency (for which wifi is the best example) things get complicated. When the latency is steady and pretty low the rollback is constant and visually less annoying / noticeable but if one packet travels in 70 ms and the next one in 250 ms the rollback gets agressive (visually noticeable, annoying), since it has keep the game in sync. Thats why (steady latency) wired connection for FG is a must.

There are other factors here. Since GGPO works in a way that clients only exchange raw data, everything else regarding rollback needs to be done on clients end. This is where hardware limitations come in. It's very expansive to compute and then process the rollback on all layers (segemntation says hello here) of the game (physics, graphics, sound), it takes a lot of CPU power to do it and current generation consoles CPU is pretty weak to begin with (based on old AMD architecture). This is a hard limitations of how much you can actually rollback, you need to have everything (every frame) done in 16,6 ms or it gonna fall apart.

To battle that you do a lot of optimizations and tricks, one of is build in delay no matter what the latency is between players. For MK 11 it was 3 frames (not sure if its still that number), which means no matter what latency players have to each other the game is delayed for 50 ms to smooth out visual rollback. This like everything has its pros and cons but thats for like another discussion. But for referance if youre latency to your oponent is actually below 50 ms (and steady) then the game gonna feel like offline asuming you have delay for offline option turned on. Anything above and the game gonna rollback more, which will be more or less visable in game, higher the latency the more frame eating (skipping) you will see.

That's a very, very short and very, very simplified version on how things work in online FG. Like i said it's a very complex subject which mastering takes at least a year (if you're extremely dedicated and quite talented), usualy longer. It's also way harder to implement GGPO in a game (engine) which wasn't designed with GGPO in mind from the begining then it is build one from scratch around GGPO. Obviously companies like NRS which have their own engine (heavily modified UE 3) wont start from scratch so it took them a lot of time to actually get GGPO working with it. And im getting off the point... So im gonna stop here. :)
 
Last edited:

Juggs

Lose without excuses
Lead Moderator
This a subject you can write a master thesis and even then it wouldn't be complete, coz it's very complex. There are 2 wildly used methods of handling latency in fighting games online mode. Delay based, older one used till MK X and GGPO of which prime example would be Killer Instinct and later on Mortal Kombat XL. There were other games which use GGPO like Skullgirls and several other ones, smaller.

In very, very short:

In delay based multiplayer clients (players) very constatly synced with each other to the frame, which meant that if latency between them were like 100 ms they both had game delay (which includes inputs, visuals etc...) of 6 frames. If the latency spiked to liked 300 ms you would feel like playing under water everything feels super slow. That's obviously... not ideal to be polite.

Thats where GGPO comes in. It's a smart way to hide the latency behind visuals. Since the core idea is - youre syncing only game states not the whole games. Clients (players) exchange between each other only inputs and the rest is calculated on the client sides. That way you there is (almost) none palpable delay for each player. There is however visual one, since in order to keep everything in sync clients need to skip animation frames so the delay wont wont build up cozing at some point a total desync. In ideal conditions this works really, really well but... if you intruduce spiking latency (for which wifi is the best example) things get complicated. When the latency is steady and pretty low the rollback is constant and visually less annoying / noticeable but if one packet travels in 70 ms and the next one in 250 ms the rollback gets agressive (visually noticeable, annoying), since it has keep the game in sync. Thats why (steady latency) wired connection for FG is a must.

There are other factors here. Since GGPO works in a way that clients only exchange raw data, everything else regarding rollback needs to be done on clients end. This is were hardware limitations come in. It's very expansive to compute and then process the rollback on all layers (segemntation says hello here) of the game (physics, graphics, sound), it takes a lot of CPU power to do it and current generation consoles CPU is pretty weak to begin with (based on old AMD architecture). This is a hard limitations of how much you can actually rollback, you need to have everything (every frame) done in 16,6 ms all it will fall apart.

To battle that you do a lot of optimizations and tricks, one of it is to build in a delay no matter what the latency is between players. For MK 11 it was 3 frames (not sure if its still that number), which means no matter what latency players have to each other the game is delayed for 50 ms to smooth out visual rollback. This like everything has its pros and cons but thats for like another discussion.

That's a very, very short and very, very simplified version on how things work in online FG. Like i said it's a very complex subject which mastering takes at least a year (if you're extremely dedicated and quite talented), usualy longer. It's also way harder to implement GGPO in a game (engine) which wasn't not design with GGPO in mind from the begining then it is build one from scratch around GGPO. Obviously companies like NRS which have their own engine (heavily modified UE 3) wont start from scratch so it took them a lot of time to actually get GGPO working with it. And im getting off the point... So im gonna stop here. :)
I knew @Immortal was gonna come in here with his fancy “kNoWlEdGe” and “FaCts”. Pffft, shut it nerd

Anyway, as I was saying.... (was gonna copy paste what Immortal said here for comedic effect. But it’s pretty long so nvm).

Good shit Immortal, legitimately informative as always.
 
My inputs are trash with lag.I mean.I see people throw out combos with no problem at all.
I see myself hitting 112 and getting 11 instead.Is everyone just mashing buttons as fast as they can because my game is bad with lag.I cant break throws.
It really affects slow reaction players.MK9 seemed to be way more forgiving.Dash blocking and inputs seemed much less affected by lag.
 

asmith

Noob
@Immortal
Thanks for the detailed answer. So the animation of the moves getting shorter as the ping goes higher is actually GGPO. If the ping goes higher, assuming the connection is stable, it means you're kinda need faster reactions. Well that's oversimplification I guess :)

I'm gonna look more into it. Thanks again!
 

LawAbidingCitizen

MD| Soberless FGC
The higher the ping, the more frames of delay you have. For those that don’t know, that means how many frames of delay between when you press a button, and it actually registers.

Not sure how many frames of delay corresponds with the ping for MK11. Anything above 120ms feels really delayed, like 6+ added frames of delay. But again, not too sure.
1000ms/60fps= 16.66666666ms is equal to 1 Frame of lag.

120ms is 7.2 frames of input delay.

I use this key and have it written down by my Xbox One X on a sticky note to have quick reference when online..

50ms = 3f delay
60ms = 3.6 frames of delay
70ms = 4.2f delay
80ms = 4.8f delay
90ms = 5.4f delay
100ms = 6f delay
150ms = 9f delay
200ms = 12f delay
250ms = 15f delay

This doesn't count equipment delay from TV/Monitor or console lag or controller lag.
  • Controllers have 3-5ms delay (PS4/XB1)
  • Standard TVs have between 40ms and 150ms delay unless you have a gaming Esports monitor like mine with 2ms.
  • Consoles add 3-5ms delay.
  • The game has built in rollback with Static 4f delay always.
Imo Online is worlds apart from Offline in many ways. The biggest problem online is that reactions turn into reads because of the delay But I gotta say MK11 has one of the best netcode I've seen in fighters next to KI both using a form of GGPO Rollback.

Hope this helps