Lag in Halo - how to troubleshoot it and fix it

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Lag in Halo - how to troubleshoot it and fix it

Unread postby PÕQ~Technut » Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:26 pm

Players often talk about lag problems, so I thought I'd start a thread to discuss it and hopefully help some people improve their lag problems.

First off, you'll need to determine what kind of lag you are seeing. Here's an overview of the most common types (I'll get into more detail in later posts).

1) If you need to shoot in front of players (lead them) to hit them, that is pretty normal and is caused by a combination of your Ping times and the Ping times of the player you are shooting at. The Halo software tries (and fails) to compensate for that type of lag, but it can be especially difficult if you or the other player has a Ping time that varies a lot over a short time (eg. 100 to 400 and back) or a very high Ping time (eg. over 400). I'll make another post in this thread to get into detail about what Ping times mean and how to improve them.

2) If you or other players are warping from place to place instead of smoothly running, that's probably from a network problem like packet loss. This is another complex topic so I'll make another post in this thread about packet loss.

3) If movement in the game feels sluggish, like it doesn't respond immediately when you move your mouse and then it catches up to you... kind of like you're playing in gelatin or mud... then that is probably graphics lag and could be caused by using Halo settings that are too detailed for your graphics card to keep up to... try lowering the Halo resolution setting or other quality settings and see if that improves it.

4) If you look around and the whole scene kind of jumps instead of smoothly panning then you probably have a very low frame rate. Again that can be from using Halo settings that are too high quality for what your graphics card can handle (similar to the above problem). I'll make another post with more details about graphics lag issues.
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Re: Lag in Halo - how to troubleshoot it and fix it

Unread postby RyuKen » Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:19 pm

Hmm I have all the above :headbang

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Re: Lag in Halo - how to troubleshoot it and fix it

Unread postby Durandal_1707 » Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:48 pm

I have problems 1 & 2 pretty bad. Living on this island can suck.
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Re: Lag in Halo - how to troubleshoot it and fix it

Unread postby «CE»Fuyuri » Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:03 am

I wouldn't think others having a high ping would affect you, as as far as I know, you get player locations from the server, not the player themselves. Could be wrong.

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Re: Lag in Halo - how to troubleshoot it and fix it

Unread postby BaDLucK » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:42 pm

Furypaw wrote:I wouldn't think others having a high ping would affect you, as as far as I know, you get player locations from the server, not the player themselves. Could be wrong.

yeah unless one of the data packets are corrupted, the server will update the positions. but the server wont send the movements to the other players on the server. the player only moves when the server sends updated positions making the player warp around. but that player can still shoot you because the server accepts the data...
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Re: Lag in Halo - how to troubleshoot it and fix it

Unread postby PÕQ~Technut » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:53 pm

Q: How can I tell if my lag is because of some problem on my computer (eg. graphics) or because of the network or server?

A: One simple way to check is to create a local game on your own computer (nobody else needs to join you).

Open Halo and go to Multiplayer, Create Game, LAN. Pick the map you are seeing lag on (the gametype you pick isn't as important). If you still see the same kinds of lag when you are playing the map by yourself, then the problem is on your own computer. If there's no hint of lag then the problem is probably not your computer (though it could still be on your home network or your connection to the Internet).
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Re: Lag in Halo - how to troubleshoot it and fix it

Unread postby PÕQ~Thunder » Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:35 am

I warp sometimes, but that's all the problems I know of that I have.
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Re: Lag in Halo - how to troubleshoot it and fix it

Unread postby SHOCKER » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:44 pm

Any recommendations on good networking tools that can measure the quality of the connection between my laptop and the game server hosts?

Thanks

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Re: Lag in Halo - how to troubleshoot it and fix it

Unread postby PÕQ~Technut » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:39 am

Checking and monitoring the network and/or server...

When you are in a Halo game your PC is sending updates to the Halo server and the Halo server is sending updates to you. These are sent as data packets over the Internet (using UDP). Each packet travels over many network segments and through many routers (hops).

The Ping time is the time it takes for a packet to get from your PC to the server and back to you. An overload or error anywhere along the way can cause a data packet to get delayed or dropped.

There are tools that can help you monitor your ping times and packet loss. I recommend HLSW (it's free).

You can download HLSW here: HLSW site
(get the latest version)

HSLW will encourage you to sign up for an ID but you don't need to unless you want to use it as chat software. For our purposes you can use it "Offline" with no ID.

After you've installed it you'll see an HLSW icon in your Programs list:
HLSWicons.png
HLSWicons.png (4.09 KiB) Viewed 1485 times

Click on the "HLSW Trace Route" icon. Depending on your version of Windows you may get prompted to allow the program to make changes... say Yes (it uses low-level routines to send packets).

Type in the IP address or name of the server you will be playing in or want to check (eg. pc1.poqclan.com) and click Start. You should see a list of hops and a graph after each hop, like this:
HLSWgraph.png
HLSWgraph.png (85.32 KiB) Viewed 1485 times

The area that is circled in that graph is an example of some delayed packets. As we can see from the graphs, the delay didn't start at the last hop (the server), it actually started much earlier on the Internet connection. I'll go into more details on how to read these graphs in another post.

If you suspect a network or server problem is causing your lag, I recommend that while you play you leave this program minimized to monitor the server you're playing in. Then if you experience lag in the game, check the graph at the time of the lag to see if there are any red blips in the bottom graph.
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Re: Lag in Halo - how to troubleshoot it and fix it

Unread postby Echo » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:27 am

Great suggestion Tech. I will download that tool as soon as the site is back online.

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