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    jp's GameLog for Team Fortress 2 (PC)

    Tuesday 7 October, 2008

    I'm amazed by how different it is to play this on a (barely?) adequate laptop compared to a (very decent) desktop machine. OMG. It's like playing a completely different game. It LOOKS essentially the same. You probably wouldn't tell the differece from screenshot. However, I am an incredibly more effective player on the desktop. Lightyears difference. (not that I'm that good, but I've gone from always being the last one on my team to being in the middle of the pack)

    I'm not really sure WHY there is such a difference.


    It will be latency, both in-game and on-screen. Back in the day of modems vs LANs the same case was made. If you were great on modems, that meant nothing when it came time for LANs. Your body trains itself to be comfortable with a certain delay between an action and the portrayal of that event in the virtual world. You know that something like a rocket-jump just happens with a certain sequence of moves rather than what the screen displays.

    The same is true for High vs Low frames per second. The general laginess of the screen's reaction to what you do is something that your mind adapts to. Drastically changing the FPS can seriously affect your judgement. This is the main reason why professional gamers look not only at the average FPS gained from a tweak to the display settings, but also the variance in FPS. Ideally you want both to be above screen refresh rate (~100Hz) so that the game feels solid and consistent. This is more critical for LAN play when other lag related issues can also be minimized.

    For general play, try to keep your minimum framerate above 30 FPS and your latency to the server under 30ms. That will mitigate the majority of issues. First drop all your settings to the bare minimum to see what your hardware is capable of, then add features back in starting with the ones you value most (resolution, colour depth, anti-aliasing, etc) until you reach a happy middle ground between solid gameplay and looks. For Latency, definitely don't play over wireless, and choose servers based on their low ping.


    Wednesday 8 October, 2008 by VRBones

    You're absolutely right about those things. I had assumed that for the most part lag mattered at the high end of the scale (ie, weeding the really good from the super really good). I guess that appearances can be deceived as my impressions where that I was playing a relatively smooth game on my laptop. :-)

    Tuesday 21 October, 2008 by jp
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