Characterizing the Effects of Local Latency on Aim Performance in First Person Shooters
Ivkovic, Zenja 1986-
Real-time games such as first-person shooters (FPS) are sensitive to even small amounts of lag. The effects of network latency have been studied, but less is known about local latency -- that is, the lag caused by local sources such as input devices, displays, and the application. 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 systems 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. To motivate the need for these studies, we also examined how aim in FPS differs from pointing in standard 2D tasks, showing significant differences in performance metrics. Our studies found local latencies in the real-world range from 23 to 243~ms that cause significant and substantial degradation in performance (even for latencies as low as 41~ms). The studies also showed that our compensation technique worked 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 game developers can mitigate the problem with appropriate compensation methods.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
SupervisorGutwin, Carl; Stavness, Ian
CommitteeMakaroff, Dwight; Trask, Cathrine; Horsch, Michael
Copyright DateApril 2017
fps, first person shooters, latency, lag, input lag, local latency