Depch

Gens & settings affecting netplay response

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I've been supposed to make this thread a while already, but been just too lazy to do it. I've had some public discussion about it already some time ago.

In Finnish leagues we had a "belief" that the gens settings can affect the response rate of your online play. We had a gentlemans rule to have the sound levels adjusted to lowest level to make this happen for both. One can never know was it really followed trough. The problem with it is that while your response rate gets a notch better by decreasing the audiovisual settings, so does the opponents and if opponent has higher settings then you are not receiving the same advantage that your opponent gets aka it affects your opponent a bit better than yourself.

But the response rate is not everything that goes along with it I think. I have a strong sensation that it also affects the "AI initiative". Your team can be on standing feet while the other team just keeps coming and coming at you, you are always one step behind. This is easy to experiment, it can be just in the head, but I think I notice it easily at least myself. This is why I want people to test it themselves as well.

The default audiovisual settings used are:

Screen render: Normal / Double & Sound: On, 22050hz, Stereo

I have played often with Double & Sound On, 11025hz, mono. While this has given me a sensation of a better response, it has benefitted my opponent more who has played with default settings. I did not remember this but untill coming back from my break last year.

I will give more examples. Someone running on default settings vs someone who upgrades the sound to 44100hz will make the game feel a bit more heavy and a small advantage for the player who has upgraded the sound setting.

You guys can clearly test it by both running on heaviest settings double, sound on, 44100hz, stereo a first game and then change render to something like interpolated 25% scanline & sound off. And there should be a clear difference with the response to your controls for both of you. Try it out. This propably has more effect on higher latency, where the difference is easier to see.

Those who play without sound, it would be better for you to have the sound off from volume only, not gens setting as if the other one is using default settings, you are shooting yourself in the leg while improving your own response as well.

The cpu speed might have something to do with this as well as I had a lot of problems vs slow computers with my previous unit which was top notch. I've just very often felt that the response is not 100% even always and multiple things can have a cause for it, now we got 2 possible cases for it.

I just know that I've previously had my share of playing with pylons against guys who just skate around them and that is not about dexterity of fingers. Not saying anyone is deliberatedly using it, but partially me using lower settings for better response and via that a shot in the leg against default users. I can say that this also can make a difference in manual goalie play and I've seen an increase of that in my game as of late, which has been piss poor compared to other A guys.

The problem is that if this problem is just not in my head and making it up, then Gens could be much more responsive in the way it emulates online play.Try and test with an open mind and give feedback back to the thread. If it exists for you as well, then we know there is something that we could improve in Gens to make it much better for everyone. I had a confirmation from JV & J&J at least when I was playing with different settings. The problem is that if it is just done using the settings, then there is always the chance for abuse as you cannot know what settings the other one is using. I think Gens could be edited in a way that it always somehow uses the information like on lowest settings. We know Kega is much smoother, but it also emulates the game worse in making it too slow. This does not apply only for NHL94 only and is applicable for all Gens online games. It could be worthwhile to look for other Gens game communities and have they dealt with this somehow, perhaps someone already has and has the knowledge but just kept to himself.

https://code.google.com/p/gens-rerecording/downloads/list - Download gens11svn.zip

But this is not everything, majority of the players are propably using normal Gens netplaysave, but there is a modified version of Gens above that Smozoma suggested to me when I was having trouble running Gens under Linux. This version of Gens has way more settings than the normal one and is 100% compatible with the normal Gens netplay and also has the same netplaysave included. The thing is this version of Gens has also "latency compensation" under graphics menu. There are 5 different levels of it and it can definately make a difference to yourself in response when I've used it, but I cannot say does it have any effect for the opponent, this should be easy to test out.

This as this is not information that anyone should be holding on to as this can make improvement to the community and the online play in general.

What I would wish for is that if this is confirmed by other players as well. Some of the programmers could check on what is causing it and we get a gens version that has the online response set to like with minimal settings for both, but can use whatever audio & render mode you want. Preferably not done by gens.cfg as it could be modified or then just the other modes scrapped off and not working. Also a check that the gens version checks that the other one is using that as well. Yea, yea, let's just confirm it first. :P

Edited by Depch
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Hey Depch, that is a ton of info to process there.  And I thank you for your interest in improving performance, and creating a level playing field. :)

To be clear, are you asking people to:

1. Using the current Gens, play some games with audio set at lowest level, and
2. Using a newer Gens (version 11 in link) try playing in various settings and see the effects?

And finally, you are suggesting that if better settings are found (in current or newer Gens) that someone with technical skill:

3. "bake in these tweaks" to the official Gens that we will use? (That is, have them build in by default, not modifiable through .cfg overrides.)

Do I have it right?  Am I missing something?  (I am just trying to understand you post completely before jumping in.)

Edited by aqualizard
typo

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58 minutes ago, aqualizard said:

Hey Depch, that is a ton of info to process there.  And I thank you for your interest in improving performance, and creating a level playing field. :)

To be clear, are you asking people to:

1. Using the current Gens, play some games with audio set at lowest level, and
2. Using a newer Gens (version 11 in link) try playing in various settings and see the effects?

And finally, you are suggesting that if better settings are found (in current or newer Gens) that someone with technical skill:

3. "bake in these tweaks" to the official Gens that we will use? (That is, have them build in by default, not modifiable through .cfg overrides.)

Do I have it right?  Am I missing something?  (I am just trying to understand you post completely before jumping in.)

I suggest to move to the gens provided in the link as the graphic settings for latency can at least improve your performance. But this is yet to be tested does it affect the opponent in a negative way. At best it is just to enhance local response.

The thing is the lower the sound & render settings, the better the response for BOTH of you. So you can try to play it with max settings 44100hz, stereo and the other uses lowest settings like mono, 11025hz or even sound off. Then adjust it the other way around for the next game or so. Keep the latency setting in new gens out of that test and try it later, with 4 setting vs 0, does the opponent feel any difference with that holding the audiovisuals at the same etc. Best response should be with something like gfx interpolated scanline (it's ugly, but for test) & sound OFF for both. That should be even with a very good response.

3. Is just a wish that no one could take any advantage over anyone. At best we can figure out why the problem is like it is, but it would require the programmers to study it and that will take time and effort. Also it's not so easy to maybe find so it's merely wishfull thinking.

The most heavy settings for opponent would be double, stereo, 44100hz & lag competency 4 frames and if he/she uses anything below, you should have the advantage over your opponent, you can try this against the lowest settings for example, if my theory is correct your team should run over the opponent team in initiative, but that can only do so much, skill should still prevail over that, but the difference should be seen.

If there are non "believers" on this or there is proof against it, then it's just placebo on my end. Then it's just everyone use what they want, but people should know of all the options available, I know I will adjust from default and I previously have played with lower sound settings. I only recently found the lag compensation setting from the "new" one. Perhaps if that does not affect the opponent at all, then the solution is there for everyone.

Worst case scenario is that it would force everyone to use max settings and full lag compensation, which would result in a bit notch heavier feel for the players if this theory is correct. IT would be sad as it could be much better, but that would level the playing field for everyone and no one can "secretly" take advantage.

ps. Some of the old PC online games had a similar problem, make online play feel more responsive by adjusting some settings. This was in the late 90's to early 2000's, but Gens is very old and it goes back there at that time as well and perhaps it's only been upgraded on and the code for that has still stayed in the background.

pps. My prefered settings would be renderer double (I know I cannot force anyone to use lower, but I've used interpolated scanline 25% sometimes.) & sound on, 11025hz, mono (I would be fine with sound off, as I often play music background nowadays, but this cannot be forced on people so the minimal sound settings should be sufficient). Also if lag compensation has no negative effect on opponent, then use that as will, but it should be tested.

Edited by Depch

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I've always noticed that when the audio is set higher I get more lag, freezes and dropouts but thought it may have been just my setup.  I've been setting to low for a while now, so this is great info!  And it explains why I lose so much! ;)

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47 minutes ago, AtomicRaven said:

I've always noticed that when the audio is set higher I get more lag, freezes and dropouts but thought it may have been just my setup.  I've been setting to low for a while now, so this is great info!  And it explains why I lose so much! ;)

Yes! I'm repeating here so people will understand the case. You are shooting yourself in the leg if others are using high audio or default compared to your low settings even though the response feels better for both if either one is using low (Just a bit worse for you so equal settings should be always prefered but it cannot be administrated in any way as of now).

Try the Gens11svn in the link above and test the graphics setting for latency compensation as well if it will help, maybe start with the middle setting on 2 so you can use default/high audio to not get a disadvantage.

I have not noticed that this causes more dropouts or freezes, just the sluggish response to controls and you can see when it's not equal for both.
 

Edited by Depch

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