Reader Question: Game Lag

Question:

I was wondering if you could perhaps help me. I read your bio and was impressed with your skills and talent. I play DAoC and experience SERIOUS lag in the game. I have a AMD 4.2ghz Dual Core with 1gb ram … An NVidia GeForce 7600GS video card … It has 512gb ram. I am on a 3gb cable modem. When I am in the game for the most part it is playable … But when I go where there are other players the latency is so severe that either I can’t move for minutes at a time or I go link dead and have to quit out and restart the application … I am not an expert on PC’s but I know enough to kill all my background programs before playing … When the really bad lag occurs my HD is hitting solid … The light never goes out … I have a 140gb Western Digital HD and have formatted and re-installed WinXP Pro and ran all the updates and have the newest drivers for my video card. I don’t know if this is enough info for you to help but would sure appreciate any and all help you can give … I thoroughly enjoy playing the game and it is very disheartening to experience this absence of performance on a machine I have spent so much money on … I have other friends that play on lesser machines with not as much resources as I have and while they do experience moderate amounts of it they don’t even come close to my frequency of occurances … I have and run the latest spyware / virus software and don’t use any p2p (bearshare/limewire) software … I don’t know if you can help me but I could sure use any and all advice you can give. !!!

My answer after the jump:

Lag can be caused by lots of things, as you’ve figured out. Does the game give you a network latency measurement? That would be my guess. Network latency is separate from bandwidth; you can have lots of bandwidth and you’ll still have latency. If nothing else, the speed of light limits how fast your packets travel across the Internet, and if the server on the other side of the world, communications back and forth can easily take more than half a second (which is too much for gaming). In the case of multiplayer games, packets have to travel from your computer, to the server, to all the players, back to the server, and then back to you. That’s why they try to match-make multiplayer games and servers within a specific geographic region.

So, check the game instructions to see if there’s a way to measure player-to-player latency.
You can’t control network latency, and it sounds like you’ve pimped your computer otherwise. The only thing you didn’t mention was the disk performance. I’m a little worried about it because 140GB is a fairly small size by modern standards, so it could be very slow. Before you play the game, click start, click run, type Perfmon.msc, and click OK. This opens the Performance Console. Monitoring disk performance is tough, but it’s worth a shot. Here’s an overview of some counters to monitor:
Also, check out this link:
And these Dark Age of Camelot links might help:
Hope that helps.
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About Tony Northrup

Tony Northrup, MVP, MCITP, MCPD, MCSE, MCTS, and CISSP, is a Windows consultant and author living in Waterford, Connecticut, in the United States. Tony started programming before Windows 1.0 was released, but has focused on Windows administration and development for the last fifteen years. He has written more than two dozen books covering Windows development, networking, and security. Among other titles, Tony is coauthor of the Windows 7 Resource Kit, the Windows Vista Resource Kit, and Windows Server 2008 Networking and Network Access Protection (NAP). When he's not writing, Tony enjoys photography, travel, and being awesome. Tony lives with his girlfriend, Chelsea, her daughter, Madelyn, and three dogs. You can learn more about Tony by visiting his personal website at http://www.northrup.org and his photography portfolio at http://northrupphotography.com.

2 thoughts on “Reader Question: Game Lag

  1. I am running on windows vista which came preinstalled on my new computer. i also installed age of empires 3 and when i first installed it i got a message stating that my graphics memory was at zero. i ran dxdiag and it said that my memory was at 330mb or something like thats its a a nvidia 7300gs the game started the next time i tried to run it. but i was getting a pixelized screen flicker every now and then and when moving my mouse through areas on the map that are uncovered it doesnt run smoothly. i messed with the resolution and all the setting effecting performance and nothing helped. i called my friend who also plays this game and he said it ran smooth over the entire map. and my computer has the same graphics ram and better processor than his does and everythings over double the recommended system specs. on the game. The only thing i could think of is im running vista and hes running XP. oh and neither of us are playing it online. i will be looking forward towards your help and also seeing if anyone else hass had the same problems thank you.

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