Publication: Characterizing and Modeling the Effects of Local Latency on Game Performance and Experience

Studies have shown that local latency - delays between an input action and the resulting change to the display - can negatively affect gameplay. However, these studies report several different thresholds (from 50 to 500ms) where local latency causes problems, and there is still little understanding of the relationship between the temporal requirements of a game and the effects of local latency. To help designers determine how lag will affect their games, we designed two studies that focus on specific atoms of interaction in simple games, and characterize both gameplay performance and experience under increasing local latency. We use the data from the first study to develop a simple predictive model of performance based on the amount of lag and the speed of the game. We used the model to predict performance in the second study, and our predictions were accurate, particularly for faster games and higher levels of lag. Our work provides a new analysis of how local latency affects games, which explains why some game atoms will be sensitive to latency, and which can allow predictive modeling of when playability will suffer due to lag, even without extensive playtesting.

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Participants

Michael Long Carl Gutwin
University of Saskatchewan

Citation

Long, M., Gutwin, C. 2018. Characterizing and Modeling the Effects of Local Latency on Game Performance and Experience. In Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI Play 2018), Melbourne, VC, Australia. 13. DOI=10.1145/3242671.3242678.

BibTeX

@inproceedings {526-Long2018-ModelingEffectsOfLocalLatency,
author= {Michael Long and Carl Gutwin},
title= {Characterizing and Modeling the Effects of Local Latency on Game Performance and Experience},
booktitle= {Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI Play 2018)},
year= {2018},
address= {Melbourne, VC, Australia},
pages= {13}
}