Lagolution: Battlefield 4 Patches Netcode

By Alice O'Connor on June 4th, 2014 at 1:00 pm.

Pew pew.

“Lag!” you cry as the bullet zooops down your scope and through your virtual face. “Laaaaaag!” You’re awful and everyone wants you to be quiet, but last week you might have elicited a modicum of sympathy in Battlefield 4 by grumbling about netcode, or at least recognition. Now you’ll get only contempt. Maybe. Assuming a new fix actually works. Developers DICE yesterday rolled out a patch adding a ‘High Frequency Bubble’ option which should take a knife to the visible lag. One of DICE’s test shows this cut in half, though of course things may be different in actual real games.

The bubbles basically work by telling players more often about things happening close to them–the things you’ll notice more and which are more important. Or in DICE’s words: “Within a certain radius of the player, we add the possibility to update the clients at a higher rate from the server. What this essentially means is that the server will update the client on what is happening more often than before. This normally results in a smoother, more ‘correct’ player experience.”

The patch also hit a few other bits which felt laggy, and some other odds and ends. The notes:

  • Improved/reduced explosion induced camera shake
  • Character collision improvements
  • Fix to reduce object damage mismatch between client/server.
  • Fix explosion packs not being able to be shot sometimes
  • Improvements for client side packet loss
  • Client crash fixes
  • AMD Mantle multi-GPU improvements
  • Carrier Assault game mode reports bug fix
  • High Frequency Network update

- Added High frequency “bubble” updating player movement, stance, rotation, damage and projectiles at a separate rate on foot and in vehicles
- Added option to control client side update rate setting

Here’s DICE testing blowing bubbles on an empty server, though do note that they seem to be doing their sums the wrong way round–what they call a “60% improvement” is a 40% change.

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19 Comments »

  1. XhomeB says:

    Soo… the game’s gone gold, then?

  2. Bull0 says:

    As I understand it they’ve raised the client tick rate from 10 to about 30? Which isn’t exactly something to write home about,. No expert.

    • drussard says:

      Compared to competitive FPSs, it’s exceptionally low. However, given map size, player count, and vehicles it’s not realistic to hit the 100+ those games do. Given that this and other coming BF titles are developed for consoles as well, the tickrate is limited.

      I’m happy for the changes, it just seems like this is something that should have come out around December last year. At least it was patched live prior to them dropping support for the game once Hardline comes out, even tho they cut and paste the same promise of continued support they released when BF4 was announced shortly after 3.

      • HadToLogin says:

        Just as a comparison, competitive CSGO is 60. And tons of players are crying it’s way too low.

      • P.Funk says:

        Map size and consoles = mandatory shitty netcode?

        Don’t give me another reason to be blindly cynical of consoles and their negative effects on PC gaming. There’s gotta be a better reason.

  3. BobbyDylan says:

    Finally. We’ve only been begging for a Tick rate increase since BC2.

    • Joshua says:

      They haven’t actually increased the tickrate. The server side and cleint side tickrate is 30hz and that has stayed the same. However, in BF4, the server only sended you updates every 10hz (whilst the client sends the server updates every 30 hz), which can now be altered.

      • Bull0 says:

        For all intents and purposes that’s raising the tickrate, isn’t it.

        • Joshua says:

          Not entirely, as that sendrate from server to you didn’t matter that much (if at all) to the overal gameplay, this way it just feels more responsive – and it’s only one of the many things they have done to change the feel of the game.

  4. Joshua says:

    Lag in BF4 is rather weird though, as it uses client side hit detection. As a result, most of the movement and such is usually in order, but the servers ocasionally took it’s time in telling you that you had already died.

  5. Gwyddelig says:

    My subjective in-game time with this patch is pretty positive. The amount of kill trades, insta-deaths and the ever-annoying deaths-around-corners have tumbled. The overall experience is much fairer and pretty much as described by the devs. Quite why it took eight months to sort this though is one for the ages.

    • grundus says:

      To be fair, before a couple of nights ago I hadn’t played for three months, but yesterday, post-patch, I found absolutely no difference. I still died long after reaching cover, I saw many kill trades (I was in a 3v3 TDM inside an aircraft carrier or something for a while, which was awesome and genuinely tactical on both sides, but there were many confrontations that resulted in all six people dying of shotguns) and, well, that’s all it was really supposed to fix, right?

  6. bosseye says:

    Welcome stuff. The question is what will this update break instead?

    Much as I love BF4 it has been patchy and ropey for far too long.

  7. kevinspell says:

    My distant friends second cousins aunts step sisters granmothers 87 year old little sister, who is dying of cancer, for her last wish asked everyone not to buy anything called Battlefield, anything created by DICE or anything created on Frostbite engine until it is out for at least a week.

    Naturally this message is cursed and if you don’t post her wish to at least 10 more web sites after reading it your feet will smell for eternity.

    • WiggumEsquilax says:

      If you curse me with a malady I already have, do they cancel each other out?

  8. simulant says:

    So does this fix this issue of high ping players adversely affecting the game for everyone else? I was always skeptical of this claim but lately my experience with the game seems to confirm the problem.

  9. Ulaxes says:

    I’m looking forward to pick this game up in about a year or so, when everythings fixed and the gameplay is top notch. Still having way too much fun with BF3, Titan Fall and Strike Vector to invest in early access ;)

  10. makute says:

    “Laaaaaaag!”

    Is that an Avalon reference?