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Experiencing lots of lag while playing? Here’s how to fight it

Lag can be the product of many things, but fortunately there are solutions.

Lag. Just pronounce these three little letters to spread panic among players. Something feared to be the worst enemy of a good performance, and the intolerable weight of an online match. But actually, what is lag exactly? Because there could be many kinds, some you may not even be aware of it.

Native Lag

The first is definitely the native lag. The game needs to receive an input by pressing a button. It calculates the effect inside the match, and then it needs to render and display the result,  creating an output.

To handle this for a 3D game is definitely complex, and even if modern GPU cores can be very fast, the whole process takes more time than that needed for a single frame to be shown into the game – especially if we involve the calculation of hitboxes, interactions with environment, animations and many other things that can occur during a Tekken match.

So, basically, a little bit of native lag is unavoidable.

Tekken 7 uses Unreal Engine 4 for graphics, which is considered a good tool but usually takes around 3-4 frames of delay. Some have complained about this when Tekken 7 came out, but in my opinion, the problem is probably less complex than it seems.

Native lag is a fixed value and it doesn’t change. Every fighting game has a different number of frames of lag due to the processing of the data, but, that value is stable. At a highly competitive and pro level, players take into account the exact number of frames for each move. They can quite easily manage a major or minor native lag, since the exact number of frames are known. For beginners, the whole feeling is less noticeable. Experienced players possess the skills to adapt to it, while for others it’s even harder to recognize sometimes. Among the many types of lag native lag could be one of the less fearful.

Choose Your Screen

The second kind of lag is the input lag due to the monitor or the TV. This is the time needed for the screen to reproduce the result of the input/output process. This value may vary depending on the panel, so basically if you start playing on a different TV, you don’t know the exact value of the input lag. A lot of televisions have a “game mode” that reduces the input lag by deactivating some technical features that are used to enhance the reproduction of movies and blu-rays, but that doesn’t mean that the input will drop significantly. Usually PC monitors have very low input lag values and gamers willing to train for high-level competitions, or aiming for flawless online performances, tend to link their consoles to a PC monitor, while not playing directly on PC.

For console players who don’t want or can’t switch between TV and monitor, the best thing to do is to search for information about the input-lag value of a single model before buying it. Though, this can be more complex than it sounds since some TV manufacturers tend to neglect to give detailed specific input-lag data since it’s a subject ignored even by the majority of gamers. However, it is easy to find some tech websites making serious reviews of TV panels, some even providing a test of the input lag.

How Do You Connect to the Net?

The third kind of lag is the most known and noticeable – online lag. This occurs while playing on the internet with someone else. And even if everyone knows that it is unadvisable to play while downloading or transmitting data, many people still don’t know that there is another way to get lag online. A wi-fi connection indeed can create some lag because the wireless transmission of a signal is not stable as it is while the input is sent by a cable. This can slow the transmission of data packs while downloading.

Weapon of Choice

The last kind of lag is the one due to the controllers. Based on the same principle as before, sending and transmitting an input or data works better with a cable. That’s why every professional tournament stick is wired and pro-players only play this way. Keep in mind that a controller with a wire that serves just for charging the battery isn’t fit for the purpose. This is important to say because those who don’t know this consider wired-only controllers to be “flawed,” when in actuality the wired condition is essential for reliability.

I'm a long time Tekken Player from Italy.


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