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Authoritative Server-side Input


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#1 Tonyyyyyyy   Members   -  Reputation: 110

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 10:09 PM

After hours of googling and countless re-reads of Valve's networking documentation, I simply can't get it to work. Posted Image
I implement prediction in my game as follows (I'm probably doing something extremely stupid):

struct InputPacket
{
    private byte _id = 0;
    bool forward; // > 0
    bool forward_zero; // == 0
    bool right; // > 0
    bool right_zero; // == 0
    float pitch;
    float yaw;
    public InputPacket(byte id, int forward, int strafe, float pitch, float yaw, bool jumpDown)
    {
  _id = id;
	    this.forward = forward > 0;
	    this.forward_zero = forward == 0;
	    this.right = strafe > 0;
	    this.right_zero = strafe == 0;
	    this.jumping = jumpDown;
	    this.pitch = pitch;
	    this.yaw = yaw;
}
public Packet CreatePacket()
{
  // creates a packet...
}
}
vector3 pastpositions[256];
mainLoop() // 60 FPS
{
if(shouldUpdate) // input is sampled at 30 FPS
{
  input.sample();
  int forward = 0;
  int right = 0;
  if(input.forward.down)
   forward++;
  if(input.back.down)
   forward--;
  if(input.strafe_right.down)
   strafe++;
  if(input.strafe_left.down)
   strafe--;
 
  // set player input
  playerObj.Forward = forward;
  playerObj.Strafe = right;
  // set player direction
  playerObj.Yaw = camera.yaw;
  playerObj.Pitch = camera.pitch;
  playerObj.ForwardMove = camera.forwardmove;
  playerObj.RightMove = camera.rightmove;
}
// goes before because some values may be changed
if(shouldUpdate)
  sendMessage(new InputPacket(...).CreatePacket());
// exact same code as the server
playerObj.Update(elapsedTime);
if(shouldUpdate)
{
  pastpositions[counter++] = playerObj.Position;
}
}
receivePos(byte id, Vector3 pos)
{
if(pastpositions[id] != pos)
{
  // client will interpolate position to match this
  playerObj.ServerPos = pos;
}
}

This works pretty well, except every single time, the prediction is off from 0 to at most, 1 (units). The error increases with ping, and I get around 0.3 units off at 50ms.

After reading the Valve documentation though, it seems that they have it right most of the time. I strongly suspect that what's causing the error for me is that the timing on the server/client may be different.

For example, say the client starts moving at time t = 0, and stops moving at time t = 1. The client thinks it has moved for 1t, and advances the position as it should. However, due to network latency, the first packet may arrive at t=1, and the packet that says "I stopped moving" may arrive at t = 2.25. In the server's eyes, the client moved 1.25 seconds, and thus an error has been produced.

I noticed that Valve includes a duration in their packet, but wouldn't this make the prediction off if the FPS is variable? Seeing as many players don't have a constant FPS, it boggles my mind as to how they rarely get prediction errors.

Even if I were to use the time of the last frame (as Valve states they do), how could I split that time between the player updates? As you can see, my update is sampled at 30 FPS, and my player is updated at 60 FPS, and therefore, I have to somehow intelligently split the time between the extra frames. I guess what worries me the most is that a changing FPS will royally screw over all my guesswork.

Thanks in advance!

Edited by Tonyyyyyyy, 31 October 2012 - 08:17 PM.


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#2 KnolanCross   Members   -  Reputation: 1369

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 09:56 AM

Hmm, I am sorry but I am not really getting your implementation.
Are you receiving the position from the client and assuming it is right?
Also, how are you calculating the position? Are you calculating the position assuming the client has a set FPS?

I believe you should be using a time difference approach, this way the FPS would not affect the math at all. I always use something like this:

nextX = currentPos.fX + (cos(angle) * moveSpeed * timeElapsed);
nextY = currentPos.fY + (sin(angle) * moveSpeed * timeElapsed);

This way, assuming the latency is nearly constant, the amount of time you move should nearly the same and you will be in about the same position (a small error is OK).

Edited by KnolanCross, 30 October 2012 - 09:57 AM.

Currently working on a scene editor for ORX (http://orx-project.org), using kivy (http://kivy.org).


#3 Tonyyyyyyy   Members   -  Reputation: 110

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 02:21 PM

Hmm, I am sorry but I am not really getting your implementation.
Are you receiving the position from the client and assuming it is right?
Also, how are you calculating the position? Are you calculating the position assuming the client has a set FPS?

I believe you should be using a time difference approach, this way the FPS would not affect the math at all. I always use something like this:

nextX = currentPos.fX + (cos(angle) * moveSpeed * timeElapsed);
nextY = currentPos.fY + (sin(angle) * moveSpeed * timeElapsed);

This way, assuming the latency is nearly constant, the amount of time you move should nearly the same and you will be in about the same position (a small error is OK).


Hi, Knolan, thanks for the reply!

For input, the server sends only the keyboard state to the server.
On the client, I multiply the movement vector by the time elapsed since the last frame, and do the same on the server.
Unfortunately, this is where I think the error comes in; the timing on the server and the client may not be exact, and therefore this causes a discrepancy.

#4 Angus Hollands   Members   -  Reputation: 722

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 01:45 PM

This may be similar to a problem that I had encountered. I noticed that when remote testing over the internet, local clients were working correctly, however the remote players were experiencing large prediction errors. It became evident that a factor was affecting the simulation. For me, I wasn't easily able to "rewind" physics simulations. For example, prior to becoming aware of the bug, I was simulating inputs in real time as they were received. The problem here is that the upstream latency will shift the inputs on server and client. The client stores them immediately as the current tick, whereas the server may receive and store them several later, resulting in a discrepancy. For me, as I don't have full exposure of the physics system, fixing this involves forward predicting when the inputs will be received by the server, on the client. So that If the upstream latency is 5 game ticks, the client predicts the results of those inputs and stores them on the current tick + latency (5 ticks). For you, as you're working in C++, one can presume that you've more control over the physics steps, you'd send the intended tick number with the input packet, and the server would "rewind" to that state, and simulate for the time step. This would account for any latency.

#5 Tonyyyyyyy   Members   -  Reputation: 110

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 04:59 PM

This may be similar to a problem that I had encountered. I noticed that when remote testing over the internet, local clients were working correctly, however the remote players were experiencing large prediction errors. It became evident that a factor was affecting the simulation. For me, I wasn't easily able to "rewind" physics simulations. For example, prior to becoming aware of the bug, I was simulating inputs in real time as they were received. The problem here is that the upstream latency will shift the inputs on server and client. The client stores them immediately as the current tick, whereas the server may receive and store them several later, resulting in a discrepancy. For me, as I don't have full exposure of the physics system, fixing this involves forward predicting when the inputs will be received by the server, on the client. So that If the upstream latency is 5 game ticks, the client predicts the results of those inputs and stores them on the current tick + latency (5 ticks). For you, as you're working in C++, one can presume that you've more control over the physics steps, you'd send the intended tick number with the input packet, and the server would "rewind" to that state, and simulate for the time step. This would account for any latency.


Sorry for this late reply!
It mostly works now, except I get some floating-point issues. In order to make my server frame-rate agnostic, the client sends the "simulation time", which is basically the time that the client used to multiply the movement velocity (V*t) to the server. The server then subtracts 0.166667 from this value each frame (the server runs at 60 FPS) or the remaining value if it is less that 0.166667. Unfortunately, this causes some small floating point precision errors. Add in packet drops (if packet #2 was dropped, when I receive packet #3 i just process #2 with the information from packet #1 and then process packet #3), and the client will slowly become inaccurate.

Is there something I'm doing wrong here? Is it necessary for the client to also send its predicted position, and have the server decide whether the error is ok, and then reset its position to the client's position? Or should the server just be the absolute decider?

Each of my input packets is currently 10 bytes and 5 bits, and adding the predicted position would cause it to be 22 bytes and 5 bits, effectively doubling the original size.
Just for movement, I'd be sending out 5.4kbits/second.

Thanks!

Edited by Tonyyyyyyy, 21 November 2012 - 02:06 AM.


#6 Angus Hollands   Members   -  Reputation: 722

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 01:04 PM

In some respect, I don't know if i can understand entirely the problem, but let me dump my information at you!
Firstly, because I can't rewind physics, i forward store the prediction locally. You may be able to perform rewind physics, in which case that should be prefferable.
Another thing i noticed was a prediction error that I couldn't find the cause for. Essentially, it came from the fact that the client was running at a lower frame rate. It only sampled input every other tick, so when the events were processed back to back on the server, half the displacement was missing (because it moved the clients at the server displacement per tick, rather than the clients. My solution is the scale the displacement factor by the number of ticks between each client packet. This again is sub optimal, but I am forced to use it for various reasons. You may be able to rewind, which again would allow you to avoid this!

Next point.
I don't use delta time in my simultion. I set a standard of ticks. There are game ticks and network ticks. The game ticks are determined from a uniform frame rate (I use the server framerate for obvious reasons). The client and the server both use these to determine when a state was intended for. The network tick rate runs off this, and is basically the frequency at which an event should be sent.

Edited by Angus Hollands, 21 November 2012 - 01:07 PM.


#7 Tonyyyyyyy   Members   -  Reputation: 110

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 03:44 PM

EDIT: Issue solved! Thanks for all the help!

Edited by Tonyyyyyyy, 22 November 2012 - 10:01 PM.


#8 0BZEN   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2025

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 07:55 PM

Got a small example (under 1000 lines of code).

needs glfw, controls are WSAD, or a X360 controller.

Nothing special, just a client / server app, where the client runs some prediction ahead, the server is authoritative over updates. The server has a small perturbation area that the client is unaware of, thus forcing the client to correct his prediction when receiving server updates in the vicinity of the perturbation.

run the application twice (once for server, once for client).

Attached Files


Everything is better with Metal.





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