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Author Topic: Video/game settings and you.
Blakhart
Juggernaught
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30: September 15, 2011, 11:31:37 AM »
A word on DHCP and DNS:

Leases are messy. If you are old enough to know or have a lease you know they can be messy. When your system boots up, one of the things it does, if you use DHCP and DNS to obtain an ip address from your network, is request an ip address and DNS server info from the DHCP server online, and it does this by "leasing" the ip. Keep in mind the part about leases being messy and so on, for your ip address is leased from whatever device grants it to you, and it has an expiration date of hours, days, weeks, etc. This is not bad as it saves work and simplifies administration. Imagine having to set an individual ip by hand on a few hundred systems. And what aboyt DNS services? Gatta have those to communicate on teh innernets unless you know exactly what ip address you want to connect to. DHCP/DNS are obtained upon request and when the lease is up that ip may be issued to another system, and as you might have noticed, the same system on a lan may get the same ip addy all the time from the DHCP server, as the DHCP server notices the unique mac address of each DHCP requesting system. Well, DHCP takes care of all that xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx and DNS stuff for us, but at a small price. Now if all you have is one system connected directly to a cable or dsl or fibre modem, unless your isp issues you a static ip you will have to continue using DHCP and DNS. DHCP is also needed for wireless devices, where DHCP makes life much easier.

Why would one want to stop using a perfectly good DHCP and DNS? Well, if your power company is as good as mine and you get several brownouts or even power drops per month, this often glitches networking devices such as rooters and switches, modems and all else, not to mention your poor system. The more devices you have in your lan (firewall, rooter, modem, switch, print server, etc) the more glitches you'll encounter. You can stop the effects of a lot of these issues with a UPS, Uninterruptible Power Supply that feeds ac to each device networked. The UPS kicks in when it senses low voltage or no voltage from your power company. At least that is how they are advertised. And this UPS thingy is the real cure to the glitch issue, other than moving to a place that has stable power.

Another aspect to DHCP and DNS is the length of time it takes for your system and DHCP server to negotiate an IP and DNS servers. You can eliminate this delay by setting your ip manually at your system. I usualy just look at the interface properties at the time, write down the ip address, the dns servers, and then apply them as static figures in the NIC properties sheet. That way you have an ip much sooner, usualy, and another benefit is you can then disable the DHCP server in your system, as well as DNS. Once again, these services are in your control panel, with all the other services. Going to a static ip and dns setup won't reduce lag other than reducing the amount of time after bootup to be able to use the net, but it certainly is geeky.

Here is how to go about it:
http://blog.mclaughlinsoftware.com/2009/11/26/windows-7-static-ip/

All these tuning paradigms amount to efforts at minuteia, the infinitesmal, but we all know how much difference a millisecond can make.
Blakhart
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31: September 15, 2011, 11:33:02 AM »
A word on in-game network settings:

If you haven't already done so, in the game, open the options menu and select networking. If you have a form of broadband as an innerweb connection, select cable/t1 rate and set the packet size to 450 and rate to 32 or whatever the max is. If you are on a slow form of dsl or even dialup, you can still play well at dialup rates. Just set the packet size to 256 and the rate to 16, If you see lag spikes in game, set the rate to 14 but leave the size at 256 as that is more or less close to the least usefull size for decent play.

What these settings control is the rate of packets and their size, to and from the server. The rate sets the move packets per second you send to the server and gamestate updates back to your client. Higher rates reduce latency. The server will adjust the size of the packets sent to you and the rate at wich they are sent automatically. The packet size should not be set lower than 240 or so in T2, but Tribes plays fine with a size of 200. This variable netcode ability is how the server deals with guys who who are on broadband and those who are on dialup playing in the same match. The original Tribes was written to play excellently on dialup, and it does. T2 plays almost but not quite as excellently on dialup as the netcode was overhauled and some apparent latency was added, my guess is in the security features of the T2 netcode that Tribes lacks.

A word on updates:

The thinkers amongst us may be saying to themselves: So if I only get 32 packets per second from a server, 32 new update frames drawn on my screen about what is happening in the game.... where do the frames come from for the rest of the second? Well, your client is a server too and keeps track of gamestate but as a client your gamestate is not authoratative, it can interpolate some frames as needed but it can be overridden by the server as the server is all seeing, all knowing, and decides who shot first.

Say you are running at 100FPS on screen and 32pps update rate. What is being shown on your screen for the rest of those frames between the 32 updates you get? Your client as a server does a neat trick called interpolation. It applies physics to each projectile and moving object such as players and vehicles and steps them frame by frame according to their velocity and direction of travel and the ruleset of the server untill updates are received. Ruleset is the fancy name for mod. This clientside interpolation ensures a smooth game when you run more frames per second than you get updates from the server. If all you ran was 32fps you would not need interpolation, but interpolation is a safety net and a game smoother and is why players warp sometimes when your connection lags or is broken. The server sends the next update that finally gets through to your client and your client, being obedient to the server, snaps the players and vehicles and projectiles to their actual server-certified position and condition. And now you know!

Blakhart
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32: September 17, 2011, 01:25:29 PM »
A word on consumer grade routers:

Rooters are everywhere. They run teh interwebz. And you might even use one at home. If you do and that rooter runs the Linux 2.4 kernel in its os you can reduce latency a bit by employing a rooter that runs the Linux 2.6 kernel. The 2.4 kernel is not preemptive whereas the 2.6 kernel is. Whatever the 2.4 kernel is doing before you fired that shot, it keeps on doing till it is done with whatever it was doing before it says to your fire packet "ok, now what where you saying? or at least one supposes that is how it goes. The 2.6 kernel, however, will drop whatever it was doing and perform the task requested, interrupting what it had been doing to obey your command. The diff, as usual, is not night and day but a good player will immediately notice on going from a 2.4 to a 2.6 rooter that they are much more "almost like being inside the server" than with rooters that use 2.4 or other non preemptive kernels. I usualy use DDWRT as an upgrade over any rooter that can accept it, DDWRT offers a lot of options and configurations that the normal oem os do not offer. And conveniently enough, the DDWRT site will show you what firmware is available to your rooter, and will tell you what kernel to use. Most of the N rooters I have seen are already 2.6 kernel boxes, so you are probably living well already, but if you feel like trying your hand at a different rooter os, give DDWRT or one of the others a try. If you have an older rooter that only speaks B or G you likely have a 2.4 kernel os inside. It would do you well to get a newer rooter that uses the 2.6 kernel, if you want the least response time possible in gaming. The hitch is that you can't just drop a 2.6 kernel into a 2.4 piece of hardware, at least as far as the embedded systems like rooters go. If you run a pc as a rooter and it runs Linux you should easily be able to employ a 2.6 kernel, as it is not a embedded hardware system. Embedded hardware limits what it can and can't accept as far as what code it runs, unlike a typical AMD or Intel cpu meant for use in a standard pc. Some hardware with the 2.4 kernel can be flashed to run 2.6, but these are quite rare. Besides, if you have a 2.4 rooter, this is the perfect reason to upgrade to a new rooter.

You can find out about DDWRT here:
http://www.dd-wrt.com/site/index

Now you all know how I am all about doing stuff that can fooch a system, and this one is one of them and this is your warning.If you've no experience installing firmware you might want to avoid this.  If you do not follow the instructions to the letter in how to install firmware you will likely turn your hardware into a brick. And what's a brick good for? You can hold doors open with one, throw it at someone, make a house out of them, you get the idea. But just as surely all computer and electronic devices run on smoke, if you brick your rooter it will then be as usefull as a brick. Don't think electronics run on smoke? Let the smoke out of any electronic device of your choice and see if it will run afterwards. Have fun trying to get the smoke back into your device, by the way.
Blakhart
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33: September 26, 2011, 11:42:46 AM »
A word on mice and ports:

Most of us run a usb kb and mouse, right? Well, sometimes running a mouse on the ps2 port, if your system has one, will reduce latency a bit. Many mice come as usb natively but have a ps2 adapter in the box as well, if you lack a ps2 adapter go find one.  Once again, this is not a night and day thing as far as response differences go, but is something one can easily try for themselves and see how the game plays on each input. I find that ps2 is far more accurate and responsive than usb, and I presume that added inertia when running usb is due to the usb driver. Be that as it may, try it and see what you think, you may find a better game.
Blakhart
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34: October 23, 2011, 11:37:40 AM »
A word on Readyboost and Superfetch
And that word, or words, is USE THEM.
These are services found in Vista and 7, and all furture M$ os will use likely them. Their roots are in XP's prefetch service, but they are much more advanced, to the point of even knowing the usual times you fire up a certain app. Use them.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/windows-vista-superfetch-and-readyboostanalyzed,1532.html

They are to your advantage.
Blakhart
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35: November 04, 2011, 07:40:59 AM »
A word on game pc and game server home builds is in the works.
Stay tuned.
Heat Killer
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36: November 16, 2011, 11:29:43 AM »
A word on game pc and game server home builds is in the works.
Stay tuned.
You need to write a book.

OldeWolfe
Nugget³

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37: November 17, 2011, 07:52:04 AM »
Blakhart, I just re-read this entire thread for the second time and am impressed once again with the time and effort you have put into this 'body of work'.

I have implemented a few of the changes you recommended, and I'm hoping they will prolong the gaming life of my old machine. 

Thank you very much. Cheesy

Blakhart
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38: November 17, 2011, 01:57:57 PM »
I'm about done with the home build writeup, just a few more tidbits and it should be ready. Will have to make it an attachement as it's kinda lengthy, just as you expected. None of the game specific tips are in it as are in this thread so far, just pc build ideas. I have been specialising in keeping older systems usefull for a long time now and have it pretty much down pat. The writeup for new builds also applies to rebuilds/refreshes of older gear so I hope everyone who reads it gets something out of it. Thanks for the encouragement by the way, I appreciate it. If it wasn't for the hardcore t2 players I wouldn't have anyone with wich to share my arcane pc hobby.
Blakhart
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39: November 20, 2011, 01:44:57 PM »
A word on game pc building/rebuilding

http://www.mediafire.com/?8qocii48ih1oxqg
« Last Edit: November 29, 2011, 03:23:46 PM by Blakhart »
Blakhart
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40: December 01, 2011, 04:47:13 PM »
Some words on mem timing

"Hi

"What is tRAS and why is it backwards and important at the same time?

The word latencies is generally used to describe a delay. However, Merriam-Webster defines the word’s origin as period of dormancy and in technical parlance, latency is often used to describe simply the duration of any event. One example is the PCI latency which describes the time any device has access to the PCI bus before it will be automatically disconnected to allow other devices access to the same resources.

Why are we talking about this? Very simple, the access latencies of any device to the PCI bus are usually eight cycles, but the total latency can be set from 16-256 cycles. This shows that the same word is used to describe two entirely different parameters, the first being the time until any transactions can start, the second referring to the time that is available for transactions (minus the access latencies). As an example, a PCI latency of 32 will carry a penalty (access latency) of 8 cycles which leaves 24 cycles for actual data transfers. Therefore, decreasing this latency will not increase performance, on the contrary.

The exact same is true for tRAS short for the RAS Pulse width. Historically, tRAS was defined as the time needed to establish the necessary potential between a bitline pair within the memory array until it was safe to write back the data to the memory cells of origin after a (destructive) read. Pay attention to the word read here.

Memory, in many ways is like a book, you can only read after opening a book to a certain page and paragraph within that particular page. The RAS Pulse Width is the time until a page can be closed again. Therefore, just by definition, the minimum tRAS must be the RAS-to-CAS delay plus the read latency (CAS delay). That is fine for FPM and EDO memory with their single word data transfers. With SDRAM, memory controllers started to output a chain of four consecutive quadwords on every access. With DDR, that number has increased to eight quadwords that effectively are two consecutive bursts of four.

Now imagine someone closes the book you are reading from in the middle of a sentence. Right in your face! And does it over and again. This is what happens if tRAS is set too short. So here is the really simple calculation: The second burst of four has at least to be initiated and prefetched into the output buffers (like you get a glimpse at the headline in a book) before you can close the page without losing all information. That means that the minimum tRAS would be tRCD+CAS latency + 2 cycles (to output the first burst of four and make way for the second burst in the output buffers).

Any tRAS setting lower tRCD + CAS + 2 cycles will allow the memory controller to close the page “in your face!” over and again and that will cause a performance hit because of a truncated transfer that needs to be repeated. Along with those hassles comes the self-explanatory risk for data corruption. That one is not a real problem as long as the system is kept running but in case it is shut down and the memory content is written back to the hard disk drive, the consequences can be catastrophic. For the drive, that is.

What does this spec mean?

Take for example 2.5-4-4 as the latency rating for a module. Latency is a measure of delay, that means the 2.5 rating in 2.5-4-4 indicates a 2.5 clock cycle delay. And the 4 ratings mean a 4 clock cycle delay. The clock cycle delays that these ratings are measuring is what determine how long it takes your CPU to write or remove data from memory. So the lower these latencies are, the less time your CPU spends idle waiting for data which results in higher performance.

The position of the rating in 2.5-4-4 determines what latency the rating is referring to. The ratings, in order, represent the latency ratings for CAS, tRCD (RAS-to-CAS delay), and tRP (RAS Precharge). It would take a long time to explain what each of these latency ratings means, so to make a long story short the lower the latency the higher the performance of your CPU."

What they're saying is going from 6/2/2/2 to 5/2/2/2 pretty much gaurantees eventual data loss.

Going lower than a tRAS of 6 in this case means trouble. Add the CAS to tRCD (RAS-to-CAS delay), plus 2 cycles to get the most reliable tRAS for your system.

Use memtest86 (or similar) to verify your settings are stable, allowing a few complete passes error free before you call it good."
Blakhart
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41: December 27, 2011, 10:09:39 AM »
The other day there was issue with the master server. Setting servers you play on as faves in the server browser will bypass the issue as long as the ip and port of those servers does not change.
Blakhart
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42: January 10, 2012, 09:36:12 AM »
Some of the clientprefs strings settings described here apply to t2:
http://forums.legionsoverdrive.com/threads/legions-lite-tweaking.25/
Blakhart
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43: February 12, 2012, 08:16:20 AM »
Before I get accused of cheating .... again.
If you turn off the ingame sound and don't have a media player playing or other noise source while you play t2 you can easily hear someone approaching from behind pretty much no matter where you are ..... unless other game sounds are louder. So next time you try to sneak up on someone sniping from behind a mountain peak and they jump before you can lance them or whatever your plan is, they're not cheating, they heard you coming. Also, the cloak pack is pretty noisy and can be hear for a good distance, so you might think you're being sneaky but you really aren't.
SlyUX
Nugget

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44: March 26, 2012, 07:41:28 AM »
I have an intel graphics chipset 128mb in my micro PC sooo....Huh

Howl in submission.
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