Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from F-J

Fairness in Online Games

players event events network

Definition: Fairness in online games is concerned with the problem of ensuring that players perceive the game evolution in the same moment, despite different network latencies.

Most players dislike being killed in a game, especially if it is not their fault but network latencies have affected their perception of the game evolution, thus giving advantage to their adversaries. Due to the best-effort nature of the Internet, in fact, players can experience erratic game progresses which often prevent them from appropriately responding to the stimuli generated during the game session . This may obviously lead to frustrating gaming experiences to players. While past classic offline multiplayer games offered reliable and safe real-time interactions among players, which connected to the game through the same local PC or game console, the use of the net as a link for players’ game interactions clearly complicates one of the primary game assumptions i.e., each player must have the same chance to win the game.

Focusing on online multiplayer games, the problem above arises regardless of the adopted architectural solutions. When resorting to client/server architectures, for example, as the network delay from the game server to different players is typically different, players may receive the same state update at different times and, similarly, game events generated by players can reach the game server at different times. Thus, if the server processes game events according to the order they arrive, then players that suffer from higher latencies result disadvantaged in the game session. Similar issues arise also in P2P-based or distributed approaches, where links that connect different game nodes may result highly diverse.

Within such context, fairness in online games is concerned with the problem of ensuring that players perceive the game evolution in the same moment, despite different network latencies. In other words, to ensure fairness identical movements of game entities must be performed with the same speed on the different end-systems. Fairness schemes avoid imbalanced game sessions when no mechanisms for mitigating the QoS differences are exploited within the online game system.

To accomplish this task, different solutions may be devised. For instance, one approach consists in resorting to a lockstep scheme which prevents that any player will process any given game event until such an event is received by all the players.

Similarly, bucket synchronization mechanisms are based on the idea of imposing a worst case delay d for the transmission of game events, and ensuring that game participants process each game event only after the timeout identified by d. In other words, once the longest packet transmission time among all the players has been determined, each game event is appropriately delayed in queue before being presented on the screen. This permits to have a simultaneous game evolution for all participants.

Instead, a different approach has been devised in that rests upon the idea of exploiting several proxies, distributed at the edge of the network. In particular, a fair delivery of game events is achieved by resorting to the notion of “reaction time”, which is the time between the reception of a game event at a client and the sending of another game event (at the same client) in response to the first one. This scheme avoids the need for time buckets, thus eliminating the problem of delaying the processing of all events by a fixed amount of time.

Falana, Lola (1942–) [next] [back] Fairfax, Edward (c. 1575–1635) - BIOGRAPHY, MAJOR WORKS AND THEMES, CRITICAL RECEPTION

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or