What is LAG, and Why am I Experiencing it?
Many Gamers refer to any performance problem in an online game as “lag.”
But if your computer’s frame rate is low, that isn’t the same thing as lag – Lag is not to be confused with Latency- which is the time it takes to send a packet to and receive a response packet from a server along a network. Generally termed as low FPS or PING), Lag is impaired computer functionality (slow application responses or reduced/choppy frame rates) resulting from high latency, packet loss, or low-performance (generally video) hardware".
Lag vs Latency
Lag shows up very differently from Latency (low FPS). If your game is lagging heavily, your FPS may still be very high. Actions you take in an online game may happen noticeably later – latency is the time it takes for your computer to communicate with the server. If you understand the difference between Lag and Latency(Low FPS), you can identify problems and have a better shot at fixing them.
Latency or Low frames per second (FPS)
Latency is a term used for the time it takes for a packet of data to be sent by an application, travel to and be received by another application. Higher latency means longer time taken, meaning more delay of the requested action. Latency (FPS) will appear as your entire game behaving slowly. If your frame rate is low enough, playing the game may feel like watching a slideshow as only a few different frames appear on your screen per second. In less extreme cases, the game will feel jerky and slow – just the opposite of smooth.
Frame rate issues aren’t caused by network problems. If you have a low frame rate, that’s not the game experiencing lag – that’s your computer failing to keep up with the game. In other words, Latency (low FPS) is a problem with the game’s performance on your computer. It doesn’t have anything to do with your network connection.
If you’re experiencing Latency (low FPS), your computer’s hardware just can’t keep up (or you have too much junk software running in the background) and you can fix it by upgrading your computer’s hardware. Or using some simple tricks and tips to enhance your game play (perhaps reducing the game’s graphical settings, or doing other minor optimizations).
Latency (Low FPS) and Lag sometimes show up at the same time, complicating things.
For example, if you’re playing a massively multiplayer online RPG (MMORPG) and your character is standing in a major city with hundreds of other characters running around on your screen, you may experience both latency and lag. The lag occurs because the server is struggling to keep up and slowing down with so much happening in one place at once, while the latency is a result of your computer struggling to draw all those characters on your screen at once.
Lag often refers to the delay caused by consistently high latency (also referred to as high pings), but you can also experience “lag spikes” where everyone else in the game appears to pause in place, followed by their characters teleporting or racing to new locations as the game receives updates.
Lag isn’t a result of a problem with your computer; it’s a result of a problem with your network.
How LAG really works.
Now this is where everyone gets really stupid. (No offense is meant here. Really.) Most people seem to think there's some magical connection between the port on their computer, and the port directly attached to the server. This Is Wrong. Your data takes several stops between your PC and the server. Each stop is a cause for latency in the signal.
So, each step your data takes has a chance to slow it down. And it's not just your data either, if it's a regional router hub, it's handling the data for many millions of people. So let's break this down into a pathway.
The FULL PATHWAY - - Your Router, Your Gateway, Your ISP, Regional Gateway (sometimes this takes two to six pings for the gateway to respond), The Servers ISP, The Servers router, The Server. You're not actually hitting the server itself, this is just a load-balancing firewall. The actual server consists of an array of blades. Each one is an individual set of instances. But I digress…
Now, each of those stops is a point of failure. The larger the number is, the higher the latency (PINGS). This means that there is a possibility that somewhere along the line there was info. packets dropped. However it could just as easily be because the latency is so high, that the tool stopped waiting for a response. When that occurs, you will typically see much higher numbers on the other side of it. Can the blame be put on your network connection or ISP? Nope it's neither!. It's completely outside of anyone's control.
Some Simple LAG issues and Fixes.
Here we have a list of the possible causes of a high ping to the server and disconnects. Each of these items has actually happened at least once to someone I've helped.
- You don't have the .exe files for the client set to run as administrator.
- You don't have the game directory set as an exception in your antivirus/security software.
- Your network adapter driver is out of date and needs to be refreshed.
- Your local area network settings are improperly configured.
- You have more than one firewall and don't realize it. (Common with some modems.)
- Your firewall settings are too strict. (VERY common with Norton360, ZoneAlarm, and Comodo firewall.)
- Your router is configured improperly. (Or it's just a cheap router that can't handle the traffic you're putting on it.)
- You have a bad network cable.
- You're using a wireless network connection. (Which leads to another huge list of possible issues.)
- You have a lot of traffic on your local network that is bogging your router/modem down. (All that streaming media eats up bandwidth ya know.)
- There's a fault in your router.
- There's a fault in your modem.
- You have a bad phone cord plugged into your modem.
- There's an issue with your house wiring.
- There's an issue with your outside wiring.
- A squirrel chewed on your phone/cable line at the pole and it's raining.
- A switch/router at the CO for your ISP is having an issue.
- One of the many hubs between you and Your Server Host is having an issue. (Most common)
- There is heavy sunspot activity. (Has happened within the past three years)
- There's a regional router outage. (This has happened more than a few times. More often occurs with trunk lines crossing large bodies of water)
That's just a few. Here are some solutions:
- Power off both your modem and router for at least 30 seconds
- Plug in the router first
- Plug in the modem next (some modems must have a valid connection to initialize while booting)
- Restart your computer and try your Game again
- Right click the Ethernet/Wi-Fi icon on the bottom right of your screen (or click the up arrow if you hid it) and go to troubleshoot problems
- Go through the steps in the wizard (no problems will likely be detected, but several networking troubleshooting tasks will be performed)
- Try your game once again
- Temporarily disable your antivirus and/or third party firewall
- Try your game once more - if successful, add an exception to Steam.exe and ShooterGame.exe
Otherwise, see Advanced Network Troubleshooting below
Advanced Network Troubleshooting
- Open an elevated command prompt (Start > Cmd > Right click > Run as administrator)
- Enter "netsh winsock reset" without quotes
- Restart your computer and try your Game again
- Update your network adapter drivers from the manufacturer's website (i.e. Intel, Realtek, Killer)
- Restart your computer and try your Gameonce again
- Open your router's web interface and port forward 25147 (TCP & UDP) in addition to Steam's ports
- (Optional) You can also temporarily DMZ your computer through your router to rule out a port forwarding problem
- In order for the port forward to persist, make sure your local IP address is static through the DHCP settings in your router (preferred) or through your adapter settings
- Restart your computer and try your Game again
- Open Network Adapter Settings in Control Panel (Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Change Adapter Settings)
- Right click > Properties of your active connection (Ethernet/Wi-Fi)
- Click on "Internet Protocol Version 4" and click "Properties"
- Click the radio button "Use the following DNS server addresses" and enter an alternative DNS such as Google DNS
Some Simple Latency Issues and Fixes.
To set your Launch options to optimize your game play. Follow these instructions: Right Click on your Game in the Steam Library list, scroll down to the bottom and left click properties. This will open a second box called Conan Properties. In the middle of that box is a button called "Set Launch Options" click on that. In the box that opens cut and paste this line of code:
ARK Launch Options:
-USEALLAVAILABLECORES -sm4 -d3d10 -nomansky -lowmemory -high
Conan Launch Options:
-USEALLAVAILABLECORES -lowmemory -window -high (Note: the -window, will make your game start in windowed mode. This can slow your fps rate down on some Pc's.) It is not required and you may remove it.
Dark and Light Launch Options:
-USEALLAVAILABLECORES -sm4 -d3d10 -nomansky -lowmemory -high
Atlas Launch Options:
-USEALLAVAILABLECORES -high -lowmemory -window (Note: the -window, will make your game start in windowed mode. This can slow your fps rate down on some Pc's.) It is not required and you may remove it.
List of all useful launch options with descriptions:
-USEALLAVAILABLECORES - (the game will use all your CPU cores) -sm4 and -d3d10 - (runs game with DirectX 10) -nomansky (removes clouds and some sky effects) -lowmemory (the game will use only 4gb of your RAM) -w 640 -h 480 - (runs game in 640x480 resolution) -full - (fullscreen mode) -window - (windowed mode with borders) -noborder - (windowed mode without borders) -low - (runs ARK as a low-priority process) -high - (runs ARK as a high-priority process) -noaafonts - (removes fonts anitalising) -autoconfig - (return default settings) -novid (turns off some cinematics)
Setting your Graphics card for optimal performance for your computer setup.
Graphics cards are unique in how you set them up for the most optimal use for games. The following two sections are for NVIDIA, and AMD graphic settings. These are the most popular two graphic options. Though others can be looked up on the internet. These settings are optimal for mid-grade pcs and will help in most cases to increase the Latency (FPS)
In your taskbar, find the NVIDIA Ge Force Experience icon. Right click and then left click NVIDIA Control Panel.
On the Left side of the window that opens find 3D Settings.
Adjust image settings with preview: In the window that opens, Change these Settings: Set Use my Preference Emphasizing: PERFORMANCE Click Apply. Click Use the advanced 3D image Settings: Click Apply.
Manage 3D Settings: In the window that opens, Change these Settings:
Image Sharpening: Sharpen (set to .50 and the Film Grain to .17 With GPU Checked)
Ambient Occlusion: Performance
Anisotropic filtering: Application-Controlled
Anti-aliasing - FXAA: Off
Anti-aliasing- Gamma correction: On
Anti-aliasing - Mode: Application-Controlled
Anti-aliasing- Setting: Application-Controlled
Anti-aliasing- Transparency: Off
CUDA - GPUs: All
DSR - Factors: Off
DSR- Smoothness: Off
Low Latency Mode: Off
Max Frame Rate: Off (in some cases if you want the best FPS possible match this to your monitors Hertz rate)
Multi-FrameSampled AA (MFAA): Off
OpenGL rendering GPU: Set this to your prefered Video Card
Optimize for Computer Performance: On
Power Management Mode: Prefer maximum performance
Shader Cache: On
Texture Filtering - Anisotropic sample optimization: On
Texture Filtering - Negative LOD bias: Allow
Texture Filtering - Quality: High Performance
Texture Filtering - Trilinear optimization: On
Threaded Optimization: On
Triple buffering: Off Vertical Sync: Off Virtual Reality pre-rendered frames: 1
Configure Surround, PhysX:
In the window that opens, Change these Settings:
Processor: Choose your Graphics Card from the drop down list. Click Apply.
On the Left side of the window that opens find Display.
Change Resolution: Go to your monitor and select it. (If you are on dual or triple Select the Main screen(s) you game on. Be sure to duplicate the settings that you can on the other gaming screens.) Select the highest NATIVE PC Resolution rate for your monitor. Then select the Highest Refresh rate for that setting. Click Apply and then YES. Repeat this for each of your monitors if you are running more than one.
Adjust desktop color settings: 1. Select your monitor. 2. Choose - Use NVIDIA settings. 3. Apply the following enhancements: Digital Vibrance: 80% (Or personal preference)
Adjust desktop size and position: If you previously setup in the 3D settings: These settings will be greyed out. Leave these settings Greyed for the best results. If you want to use one of these options instead, Go back into 3D settings and Turn OFF GPU Scaling to re-enable these settings. Tips: BEST FPS(using native resolution): NO Scaling. BEST FPS and VISUALS: GPU Scaling(IN 3D settings) Play lower res/pixel games: Set Integer Scaling Set your Resolution to Native Your Hertz to what your monitor uses Click apply.
On the Left side of the window that opens find Video:
Adjust video color settings: Select your monitor. Under How do you make color adjustments? Select With the NVIDIA settings. Click Advanced and set the drop down to: Full (0-255) Click apply
To ensure all settings are properly applied, Please restart your PC now!
Below is the Global profile which will provide the best performance/quality ratio across most game titles. Yet, there may be times that you will still be searching for even greater performance (i.e higher frames). When this situation presents itself, there is a primary setting that should always be tested first to see if performance is increased when adjusted via Radeon settings. Everything else would remain the same. Tessellation Mode: Override Application Settings/ None
To access these options, open AMD Radeon Settings by right clicking on your desktop, and select AMD Radeon Settings.
Anti-aliasing Mode: -Use application settings (Off in game) Anti-aliasing Method: -Multisampling (Off in game) Morphological Filtering: -Off Anisotropic Filtering Mode: -Use application settings (Off in game) Texture Filtering Quality: -Performance Surface Format Optimization: -On Wait for Vertical Refresh: -Off, unless application specifies (Off in game, unless your frames are able to be maintained, never dropping below your monitors refresh rate) OpenGL Triple Buffering -Off Shader Cache: -AMD optimized Tessellation Mode: -AMD optimized Frame Rate Target Control: -On [Set to your monitors maximum refresh rate - EX: 60 is using 60Hz, 75 is using 75Hz etc..]
Game specific OPTIONS settings
We’ll walk you through every option as many of them can impact FPS or boost/lower overall game performance: Please note that these options will not be the most optimal setup for all computers, but about 80% of them will see a huge increase in FPS from changing these settings. (NOTE Not all games have the same options, but use all of the below that you can find. Some games will require you to make changes in your players Ini file. These you can find on line by Googling your game title and Game specific Options.) Open the Options Screen from your GAMES Lobby Screen. After altering all of these settings, remember to save them!
Resolution – change this depending on your device and CPU/GPU, desktop computers should not have any problems running 1920×1080 but on a Laptop it’s recommended to use the 1280×768 resolution.
Window Mode– ALWAYS have this in full screen, Windowed or WindowedFullscreen will decrease your FPS and cause lag and/or frame tearing. Note full window is NOT compatible with alt tabbing.
Resolution Scale – lowering it down will decrease resolution but increase FPS, only lower this as a last resort if you have lag even with other settings optimized.
World Tile Buffers, View Distance, Anti-Aliasing and Post Processing – set these to medium or low depending on your computer.
General Shadows, Terrain Shadows, Ambient Lightning – configuring these to the lowest setting will provide you with a nice increase to FPS and overall performance.
Sky Quality, Ground Clutter Density, Ground Clutter Distance and Mesh Level of Detail – set these between lowest-middle, these will most certainly lower your overall FPS if you have them on max.
High-Quality Anisotropic Filtering – ON This feature creates smoother looking objects from various points of view.
Motion Blur – OFF An unimportant aesthetic.
Film Grain – OFF Another unimportant feature.
Distance Field Ambient Occlusion – OFF Triggers soft shadows for distant objects.
Screen Space Ambient Occlusion (SSAO) – OFF Triggers soft shadows for nearby objects.
Dynamic Tessellation – OFF
Distance Field Shadowing – OFF Another shadows-related feature.
High-Quality Materials – OFF This option improves textures of in-game materials.
Sub Surface Scattering – ON It affects light behavior and makes foliage more realistic.
High-Quality VFX – OFF It affects all in-game water effects.
Simple Distance Character Movement – ON It relieves CPU from animations of distant characters. High-Quality LODs – ON Improves the level of detail.
Extra Level Streaming Distance – OFF This will make map loading faster while moving fast.
Color Grading – ON Slightly improves colors. It won’t affect FPS.
Light Bloom – Personal Choice. Won’t affect performance. Can cause blinding bright spots.
Light Shafts – Personal Choice. It doesn’t affect performance. Can cause bright Shafts of light.
Mesh Level of Detail (LOD) – Again. you can choose to disable/enable it by your own preferences. It affects GPU VRAM marginally.
Increasing Virtual Memory in Windows 10
Increasing your virtual memory if you are running a machine with 4or 8 gigabytes of ram will help with Latency issues.
- Go to the Start Menu and click on Settings.
- Type performance.
- Choose Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows.
- In the new window, go to the Advanced tab and under the Virtual memory section, click on Change.
- At the bottom of the new window, check what the Recommended value is and how it compares to Currently allocated.
- If the current setting is significantly less than the recommended, uncheck the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives box at the top of the same windows and then click on Custom size.
- Enter the Recommended value in the Initial Size box, and a larger figure in the Maximum size box.
- Click OK to save the new settings. I usually set mine to 3 times the recommended. Usually somewhere around 3 gigs of extra virtural ram. But I use the the memory from one of my slaved storage discs. NOT my SSD.
Increasing Virtual Memory in Linux
When a Linux system is initially set up, a swap partition is created on the hard drive that will be used as virtual memory in Linux, along with other partitions used for data. Unfortunately, partitions on the hard drive cannot be re-sized without the loss of data. However, not all is lost if more swap is needed. If there is remaining space on a file system that can be used as swap, a swap file can be created that is used exclusively as additional virtual memory in Linux.Increase Virtual Memory in Linux
Determine the amount of free space available with the "df" command. Decide upon the size of the swap file based upon the amount of free space.
Create a swap file of the size decided upon earlier with the command "sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/mnt/swapfile bs=1M count=1024" where 1024 is the size of the swap file in megabytes and the full name of the swapfile is /mnt/swapfile.