Bill Freist, gameplay programmer for Arenanet, posted some details on the upcoming game optimizations players can expect.
Keep in mind that there are a few very different issues being mixed up here. “Skill Lag” as discussed in the original post here is referring directly to Game Server CPU usage. I want to ensure we are all on the same page, so here’s a little refresher:
- Game Server CPU usage (which is the #1 issue discussed here)
- Let’s be honest, Guild Wars 2 has a lot of moving parts, and the Game Server is pretty much always in the thick of it.
- Player/Client → GameServer bandwidth
- Most cases usually come from players having other heavy traffic going on while playing the game, weak WiFi signals, or their ISP is having difficulties.
- GameServer → Player/Client bandwidth
- This can happen sometimes in our datacenters during peak hours or when hardware is having difficulties, but normally resolves very quickly.
- Client frame-rate
- CPU and/or GPU bound hardware
- Extremely heavy combat, dense populated areas, and/or effect spam (which causes a lot of overdraw, which can cripple even the beefiest hardware )
So how about what you actually want to hear… When are more improvements coming?
Like always, I don’t have a date to toss around (yet), but I do have a couple things that are well on their way, and hopefully will make it in the next few releases (fingers crossed). So, what can you expect?
Another round of Game Server optimizations
With most of the previous improvements to the Game Server, I’ve tried to focus on improving combat responsiveness. Its just not a fun experience when you try to execute a skill and either: A: Nothing happens, or B: It just doesn’t execute in a timely manor (which is arguably worse). The changes coming should make a nice impact on content that has large densities of creatures and/or zergs of players.
Though, not all “Skill Lag” scenarios are a product of the bullet points stated above. There are other causes of input delay, and a good example of this would be Ranger Pets. I’m sure plenty of you agree that their responsiveness has been arguably, well, next to none. I recently spent time working on improving the interaction Rangers have with their Pet using the Command Bar. I’d love to hear your feedback on this once it ships. Issues like this are something I definitely plan to continue improving upon (Necromancer Minions also come to mind).
Another similar issue that has been extremely frustrating in combat is trying to hit objects like Engineer Turrets (I’m still having nightmares of Graveling Burrows). Or, rather, turrets getting hit by attacks that seemingly shouldn’t have hit them, resulting in what seems to be “lag”. This is something that myself and a designer spent some time tuning, and the results are pretty self-explanatory. I believe some of these changes are actually coming as soon as the next release, though this will only affect attackable objects that don’t have navigation-blocking collision (turrets, some siege equipment, etc).
And, of course, there’s more non-performance/optimization related improvements well on the way that’ll increase the general experience and responsiveness of combat. An example would be Mesmer Illusions/Clones/Phantasms that unreliably attack their target – Warden, I’ve got my eye on you!
Lastly, client frame-rate and memory usage is still being actively worked on. I’ll have to follow up on when more improvements will ship, but I know there are some exciting things in the works.