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Best way to display player position/rotation when updates arrive at varying intervals

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I've implemented large parts (~90% of the functionality) of the networking techniques described in the now famous paper "The TRIBES Engine Networking Model" ( in my C# networking library.

All in all I have to say that I'm incredibly pleased with the flexibility and performance that this networking scheme offers, but I've run into a bit of a problem. Since one of the features of the way the tribes model works is that the not all objects are updated every time, but rather a prioritization scheme picks which object updates should be written to each packet. What this means in practice is that position/rotation/velocity updates for your networked objects will not be received at a constant pace.

This creates a bit of a problem with displaying objects that move nice and smooth on screen, now even though I am no expert at this subject, the three main ideas behind rendering remote objects on screen are these:
  • Interpolation/"Valve"-style, where you hold back on rendering for update_rate * 2, basically introducing some artificial lag but always (except in case of a lot of packet drop) rendering nice smooth movement on screen.
  • Interpolation and then Extrapolate, basically interpolate from current to next known position as it comes in, and then extrapolate based on velocity from last known position until a new packet comes in, there are a few ways to go about this (linear, cubic splines, etc.).
And, in all honesty - I'm just not sure which model fits best for the type of "Most Recent State Data" model that the tribes networking paper describes. Using interpolation/valve could work, but it could lead to pretty large "delays". And using interpolation/extrapolation, while usable would probably lead to a lot of visible corrections, etc.

Any help on reasoning about this would be most appreciated :) Edited by fjholmstrom

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Both can be used. Pick one, based on what you think works best for your game. If that ends up not working well in practice, try the other.


Btw: I think Tribes itself used the interpolate-then-extrapolate mechanism, similar to the [url=]EPIC network interpolation[/url] library.

Edited by hplus0603

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