NR2003 Latency Meters

CTRL-C when you are a client on a server.

COMMUNICATION METERS

The Internet can be a harrowing medium through which to race. Game play is directly affected by the latency, reliability, and consistency of the connection between you and the game server, so it’s important that the program give you a good sense of these factors. NASCAR® Racing 2003 Season includes a graphical display that allows you to monitor the status of your communications with the server when you are a client. These meters can only be displayed while in the car, and can be toggled on/off by pressing CTRL+C. They can be distracting while driving, so they are turned off by default.

The bar graphs are as follows:

(L) Instantaneous latency from 0.0 seconds (the bar is empty) to 1.0 seconds (the bar is full height). This is the amount of time that it takes for a message to go from the server, to your client, and back to the server.

(Q) Quality from 100% (the bar is empty) to 50% (the bar is full height). The more data that is lost or garbled during transmission from the server to you, the lower the quality of your connection, and the higher this bar will go.

(S) The time skew (difference) between your client and the server. If your current time is behind where you expect the server to be, this bar will be below center. If it is at the bottom, then you believe that you are 1.0 seconds (or more) behind the server. If your current time is ahead of where you expect the server to be, it will be above center. If it is at the top, then you believe that you are 1.0 seconds (or more) ahead of the server. If the bar reaches the top or bottom, then your client will re-synchronize itself with the server (it will smash its clock).

Ideally, no bars should be visible whatsoever. That is, you have 0.0 seconds of latency, 100% of data from the server is getting to you, and your client believes that it is at the same point in time as the server. In practice, this will not happen.

The (L)atency bar will almost always be visible since it is not possible for data to get from the server to you instantaneously. The higher the latency, the longer it takes for data to get from the server to your computer, and so the older it is when it gets there. The older the data is, the more “predicting” your client has to do about the positions of other cars on the track. The more that it has to predict, the more likely that it will predict incorrectly, and the more the other cars will jump around when it realizes its error.

It is not uncommon for the (Q)uality bar to be completely empty (indicating little or no data loss), but it is also not uncommon for a few percent of the data to be lost or garbled during transmission, showing as a small (Q)uality bar. If the bar starts to grow steadily, then something bad has happened on the route through the Internet between you and the server (or the server has crashed). If the route doesn’t clear up quickly, you will soon be disconnected. If it does clear up, there will probably be short period of mayhem as the route settles down, and old data that has been stuck in transit is flushed.

If the latency is varying a bit, it can be difficult for your client to determine what point in time the server is currently at, and a small (S)kew bar is likely to appear. If the (S)kew bar grows continuously until it hits the top or bottom, your client will smash its clock to re-synchronize itself to the server. If it does this, then either the connection between you and the server is very poor, or either your machine or the server machine is extremely overloaded, and your client can no longer stay in step with the server.

Comments
  1. Toby R. says:

    Control +c never brings it up for me….. why?

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