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Online Spectator Mode

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[color=#1C2837][size=2]I have been wondering about the mechanics that are involved in spectator mode in console games specifically fighters. An interview with producer of marvel vs capcom 3 has just been released and in it he states the reason that a spectator mode for online matches is not possible is because of the fast pace of the game (compared to Super Street Fighter 4) and it would require transfer of too much data. Now my question is why couldn't the spectators just have a delayed view of the matches with the console recreating the inputs from the two players your watching. What really doesnt make sense is how FPS like call of duty and RTS like starcraft 2 have a lot more going on at the same time and have even more spectators with mvc3 having a potential max of 4 spectators and still function without a lag effect. Any insight into the topic will be greatly appreciated.

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[color="#1C2837"]I have been wondering about the mechanics that are involved in spectator mode in console games specifically fighters. An interview with producer of marvel vs capcom 3 has just been released and in it he states the reason that a spectator mode for online matches is not possible is because of the fast pace of the game (compared to Super Street Fighter 4) and it would require transfer of too much data. Now my question is why couldn't the spectators just have a delayed view of the matches with the console recreating the inputs from the two players your watching.

That would work fine. I expect the producer either didn't understand the problem - this is not uncommon with producers! - or he just said that as an excuse.

What really doesnt make sense is how FPS like call of duty and RTS like starcraft 2 have a lot more going on at the same time and have even more spectators with mvc3 having a potential max of 4 spectators and still function without a lag effect. Any insight into the topic will be greatly appreciated.[/quote]
Lag is a bad word, because it covers many interrelated issues. With internet speed you have 2 main but largely interrelated issues - throughput, which is how fast data travels (and thus how much of it you can send in a given time), and latency, which is how quickly data begins to be sent. (Lag also refers to jitter, but that's not very important here.) Games that have a "lot more going on" require a lot of throughput in order to send all their data, but they don't necessarily care much about latency. If you get your RTS data 100ms late, it doesn't really matter, as long as the game is in sync. Top players doing 200 actions per minute on Starcraft 2 are still only acting once every 300ms anyway. Now compare that to a fighter - 100ms is a lot of time and the fist is already well on its way to its destination in that time. It doesn't matter how much data is travelling - if the latency is 100ms, you can't move quicker than that, and that can mean that even simple games with just 2 characters can't be played well over high latency connections.

Still, if the game is playable online in the first place, you could have a spectator mode too. It doesn't usually cost any more to send out extra data when latency is the issue, and delaying it helps to ensure a smooth gameplay experience for the main participants.

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[color="#1c2837"]in it he states the reason that a spectator mode for online matches is not possible is because of the fast pace of the game (compared to Super Street Fighter 4) and it would require transfer of too much data.


It's quite possible that they simply aren't using input-synchronous networking.

It's also possible that they send packets at 60 Hz, which ends up consuming the allowable network bandwidth for an Xbox Live game (64 kilobits) just sending to a single player, so they would lose certification if they added more watchers.

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