Publication: Quantifying and Mitigating the Negative Effects of Local Latencies on Aiming in 3D Shooter Games

Real-time games such as first-person shooters (FPS) are sensitive to even small amounts of lag. The effects of net-work latency have been studied, but less is known about local latency, the lag caused by input devices and displays. While local latency is important to gamers, we do not know how it affects aiming performance and whether we can reduce its negative effects. To explore these issues, we tested local latency in a variety of real-world gaming scenarios and carried out a controlled study focusing on targeting and tracking activities in an FPS game with varying degrees of local latency. In addition, we tested the ability of a lag compensation technique (based on aim assistance) to mitigate the negative effects. Our study found local latencies in the real-world range from 23 to 243 ms which cause significant and substantial degradation in performance (even for latencies as low as 41 ms). The study also showed that our compensation technique worked extremely well, reducing the problems caused by lag in the case of targeting, and removing the problem altogether in the case of tracking. Our work shows that local latency is a real and substantial problem -- but games can mitigate the problem with appropriate compensation methods.

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Participants

Zenja Ivkovic
University of Saskatchewan
Ian Stavness
University of Saskatchewan
Carl Gutwin
University of Saskatchewan
Steve Sutcliffe
University of Saskatchewan

Citation

Ivkovic, Z., Stavness, I., Gutwin, C., Sutcliffe, S.W.T. 2015. Quantifying and Mitigating the Negative Effects of Local Latencies on Aiming in 3D Shooter Games. In CHI'15: Proceedings of the 2015 CHI international conference on Human factors in computing systems, no. 33, 135-144. DOI=10.1145/2702123.2702432.

BibTeX

@inproceedings {359-quantifying-and-mitigating,
author= {Zenja Ivkovic and Ian Stavness and Carl Gutwin and Steve Sutcliffe},
title= {Quantifying and Mitigating the Negative Effects of Local Latencies on Aiming in 3D Shooter Games},
booktitle= {CHI'15: Proceedings of the 2015 CHI international conference on Human factors in computing systems},
year= {2015},
number= {33},
pages= {135-144}
}