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Achieving fairness in multiplayer network games through automated latency balancing

Zander, S., Leeder, I. and Armitage, G. (2005) Achieving fairness in multiplayer network games through automated latency balancing. In: 2005 ACM SIGCHI International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology (ACE '05), 15 - 17 June 2005, Valencia, Spain

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Over the past few years, the prominence of multiplayer network gaming has increased dramatically in the Internet. The effect of network delay (lag) on multiplayer network gaming has been studied before. Players with higher delays (whether due to slower connections, congestion or a larger distance to the server) are at a clear disadvantage relative to players with low delay. In this paper we evaluate whether eliminating the delay differences will provide a fairer solution whilst maintaining good gameplay. We have designed and implemented an application that can be used with existing network games to equalize the delay differences. To evaluate the effectiveness of the approach we use a novel method involving computer players (bots) instead of human players. This method provides some advantages over difficult and time-consuming human usability trials. We show that bots experience similar unfairness problems as humans and demonstrate that the application we have developed significantly improves fairness.

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