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The Modem Lives On

Hemos posted more than 13 years ago | from the and-the-beat-goes-on dept.

Games 260

Ant writes: "There's an interesting editorial currently running on 3dactionplanet which I agree with. Game developers and companies need to think about us people who can't get broadband connections! Yes, I am a part of the analog modemers. I can't play Q3A, HL, games, etc. very nicely due to my 28800 connections (even with 56K). No cable and DSL services here. Other options are just too expensive or won't work (i.e. satellite for online gaming?)"

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Need for better ISPs (1)

KioNeo (310821) | more than 13 years ago | (#405104)

I think part of the problem may be the ISPs. I have 56K and my ISP is seemingly very overloaded with users and of course all of our bandwidth suffers. If I connect early in the morning (3 am) then I can get some decent pings. But trying to play during peak hours is horrible.

I think the ISPs need to increase their backbone or route traffice more effiently. I'm sure there are some really great ISPs out there, but I sure don't have one.

- KioNeo

It's time to look forward (1)

qpt (319020) | more than 13 years ago | (#405105)

Modems served their purpose, but the gaming industry needs to do its part to encourage even wider availibility of broadband.

As long as people don't feel that they need a broadband connection, there will be areas serviced only by dialup. There is no practical reason that the entire country can't have cheap broadband - the providers just need a little encouragement.

The most responsible thing for developers to do is to completely ignore modems. Once we all do that, they'll go away like a bad dream.

- qpt

Re:darmok (1)

DoorFrame (22108) | more than 13 years ago | (#405106)

Remarkable. I was about the make reference to that episode of the STTNG when I saw the name of your post, not realizing that you were ACTUALLY refrencing it.

That's one weird troll.

Good episode though.


Broadband won't be utilised in games for years. (2)

Heidi Wall (317302) | more than 13 years ago | (#405107)

Computer games are made for a global market, not for the american market. The European Union now has a bigger economy than the USA by a third, many other countries are developing substantial middle classes (such as India) and the Far East has a huge economic engine.

All these countries share one characteristic: their telecoms infrastructure is years behind that of the USA. This means that computer games will continue to be developed with the old V90 technology as its primary communications engine for some time to come, regardless of broadband developments here in the USA. The USA is only a small part of the global economic picture, and all games that are developed will reflect this. Already they are made with the European and Far Eastern markets as a primary aim - this will ensure that broadband does not get a look in.

Its a shame in a way, but it is true.
Clarity does not require the absence of impurities,

geographic digital divide (3)

perdida (251676) | more than 13 years ago | (#405108)

Forget the computers. It's the net that makes the difference in the digital divide.

Giving computers to kids doesn't help them get information. And as Ant points out, the digital divide is regionally based. You need broadband to get games, as well as being able to get information to the degree that it makes a differenece.

Broadband-obsession on the Net, plus lack of broadband in places, equals disenfranchisement for many people.

Also, it's just as bad when there is only one broadband company. If that company doesnt like your piracy or your napster use and cutd you off, there you are, disenfranchised,unable to reach much of the data and art and culture online.

Governments should assume a more controlling role in the development of highspeed internet technologies; the laying of cable is a vital part of the economic interest of each country. This is an area that calls for more regulation, not less. With proper intervention by legitimately elected policymakers, highspeed internet investments won't go to Silicon Alley anymore, but to Utah, Alaska, Montana- places where industry and agriculture are struggling and where, more than ever, young people need the Internet as a way out.

not only gamers (1)

slashdoter (151641) | more than 13 years ago | (#405109)

Basic web dev has forgot the modem too. And i'm not just talking about the Pr0n. Some pages take a good min to load.


56k isn't that bad (1)

JEI (74025) | more than 13 years ago | (#405110)

... if it is working right, i seem to have a pretty good phone line. I average about 300 to 400 ping playing tfc, not too bad. I think my subdivion should rent a big pipe or something and set up a really big network. Bell south refuses offer DSL because "we live too far from their offices in downtown area" I wonder what an oc3 and big fiber lan would cost :)

Lag (2)

yamla (136560) | more than 13 years ago | (#405111)

The major problem is that, for action games at least, modems will simply _always_ be too slow. I mean, if you can get 150 ms ping to your ISP, you are doing better than average. And the 'science' of user interface says that, for something to be perceived as instant, it must happen in less than 100 ms.

Modems will never be able to provide that kind of response. There are tricks you can do to attempt to minimise this perceived lag, particularly with prediction algorithms, but by definition, they will never be perfect.

If you are stuck on a modem, you should really forget about playing action games online. There are still plenty of other good games you can play.


DSL and Q3 don't seem to work very well for me (1)

Calle Ballz (238584) | more than 13 years ago | (#405112)

I have 768/384 ADSL, and I download like a champ. My latency is usually less than 50ms. I can play all sorts of online games, but games that run off the Q3 engine I just don't seem to do real well. What is funny, on a 33.6 modem, I played Q2 without a problem. DSL is really nice for Q2 now and i probably couldn't return to a modem, but it still worked and gameplay was still fun.

The only luck that i have with Q3 online is when there are 5 or less players in the arena, which can be alright, but it's cool to be able to support at least 10 players in one huge arena. I've never had a problem with Quake 2, in fact, one night at a lan party with 4 computer being routed through one computer running a proxy with NAT, and there was absolutely no lag. Like i said, Q3 is just way too bloated & impractical.

I agree (1)

pimpinmonk (238443) | more than 13 years ago | (#405113)

I too have a 56k, although i luckily connect at 45.2 and get around 5kbyte/sec downloads sustained. However, I get dropped randomly all the time, which isn't so bad in the land of download managers, but is incredibly annoying for gaming. I play counter-strike, and my ping doesn't stop me from doing well, but I think it does put me at a great disadvantage in "shoot first" scenarios. I think that the need for bandwidth in online gaming should be decreasing as technology increases. I remember when QuakeWorld revolutionized the Quake scene because it used the CPU to predict trajectories and help smooth out gameplay. That was five years ago. I'm now playing with twice the bandwidth but with no perceivable improvement in gameplay. Agreed that some games, like Tribes 2, require more bandwidth because they are complex online games. As to broadband, I think those of us who can't get it now are up the creek without a paddle. Telcos are losing money and closing down CO's, forget opening them. Not to mention that I'm about 4000 feet outside the range for ADSL, meaning there is not a high chance of me getting another CO built nearby (I'm in suburbia). Cable? I'm under the monopoly of CableVision, but OptimumTV isn't going to get rolled out for 2 more years yet. Wireless? I have big New England pines surrounding me. What does that leave? I don't think the future looks bright... sigh...
_________________________________________ _________

example : idt drops dial-up service (1)

lou2112 (265869) | more than 13 years ago | (#405114)

a good example of society's attempts to hinder modem usage is idt [] 's choice to drop all dial-up service [] . this, of course, was done without telling all dial-up customers. that's one way to get people to switch to broadband, i suppose.

I could care less... (1)

piser (122882) | more than 13 years ago | (#405115)

Honestly, I don't really care about modem gamers anymore. Enough people have quality connections that I'd rather have the games be designed and optimized for them. It just isn't possible to get the same level of quality on low end connections, no matter how optimizations are done. I have my cable modem, and I want fast games!

Not thinking of broadband (1)

duncan (16437) | more than 13 years ago | (#405116)

That is the problem I face with "internet ready" devices. I have a home lan with broadband access. But yet for my "internet ready" devices that connect out for things, they all want a phone line. Would it be so difficult to put on a ethernet port?

Hemos is stuck at 28.8? (1)

ryanr (30917) | more than 13 years ago | (#405117)

You poor bastard.

Sure, but... (1)

James Foster (226728) | more than 13 years ago | (#405118)

Sure, the games verge on not being playable on a regular modem. But the game developers ARE thinking of you, the problem being that it isn't as simple as waving a magic wand in order to make all bandwidth and latency issues disappear. Game developers (usually) do optimise their net code to the best of their ability, the problem lies within the modem.

My condolences (1)

brad3378 (155304) | more than 13 years ago | (#405119)

I'm sorry to hear that you're still using a modem. I remember those days of agony. Countless hours of downloading instead of 4 minutes to download 90 megs of Star office :)

My dad still goes through Dialup. He actually pays more for his dialup than I pay for my cable modem!

To avoid long distance fees (he lives in a farmtown with no local ISP), he is able to pay an additional $10-15 / month to the phone company so that all calls to the next town are considered "local". Then he has to have a second phone line (add $20-$25 / month), then on top of that, he has to pay for his ISP! ($10-15 / month)

Patience is a virtue
(but it still sucks to wait)

Modem latency (2)

pjrc (134994) | more than 13 years ago | (#405120)

The sad fact is that modems have high latency.

The the risk of sounding like a troll... asking everyone else to accomidate your 150 ms ping time is essentially asking the world to "dumb down" for you.

It's really amazing how well on-line action games work. Game developers have done a pretty amazing job of making the most out of these high latency connections.

Most ppl dont have broadband (1)

timbong (311303) | more than 13 years ago | (#405121)

If you have bad ping to different games it could be because of the physical distance between you and the host/server also most people dont have broadband so if you play with all/mostly dial up people the lag shouldnt be too bad.

Re:Ant.... (1)

Ulic (6715) | more than 13 years ago | (#405122)

yes he is.

High-bandwidth alternatives (1)

Billy the Mountain (225541) | more than 13 years ago | (#405123)

I live in a rural area and DSL and Cable are ruled out. Presently I still am using a modem but am considering using services offered by some of the cell phone companies that can bring in wireless service that supposedly competes with broadband. The company I was looking at charged $50 per month.

The advantage that those offering this type of service claims is that they can more easily add infrastructure than the operators relying on cable/fiber.

Minimum throughput? (1)

SimplyCosmic (15296) | more than 13 years ago | (#405124)

Exactly how much information needs to be traded back and forth in modern games? For some genres, like Real-Time Stragy games, I'd imagine it's well within the modem range of bandwidth.

But when you start getting into the latest FPS's that are coming out now or in the future, that information load begins to push the limits of the average modem, resulting in the amount of lag we get currently.

So, unless broadband suddenly becomes commonplace, what can we expect from future games? Will they rely on trusting clients with more normally hidden in-game information to lower the bandwidth requirements at the cost of security against cheats? Or will there eventually be a seperation between games designed for either LPBs and HPWs?

Satellite Net Acess (1)

Gogl (125883) | more than 13 years ago | (#405125)

Yes, I very much agree with you. I live out where I can't get broadband access either, and due to phone lines my 28.8 connects at an average of 19.2 - ye gods it makes for a laggy game of D2 or Quake 2, or whatever.

On the plus side, satellite net access is getting more realstic. The installation is still horrendous, but the monthly bill is getting lower. I have a list of them somewhere, but the only satellite ISP I can remember off the top of my head is [] .

Anyway, good luck and check out satellite net access.

Re:geographic digital divide (1)

brad3378 (155304) | more than 13 years ago | (#405126)

&gt Governments should assume a more controlling role
&gt in the development of highspeed internet technologies;
&gt the laying of cable is a vital part of the economic interest of each country.

I disagree with this statement.
It may not be in a goverment's best (financial) intrest to pay for wiring it's country.

For instance, what would happen if in two weeks, some company starts selling some miraculous wireless technology that's way fast and dirt cheap? (probably not likely but I think I've gotten my point across)

Get over it (2)

Syberghost (10557) | more than 13 years ago | (#405127)

There was a time when the complaint was that people didn't support computers that only had capital letters. We ignored them and used lowercase.

There was a time when the complaint was that door games didn't work right with monochrome text. We ignored them and used colors.

Now there are some games that only work right multiplayer if you have broadband. Poor baby, get over it; games are not a necessity, and even if they were, multiplayer isn't.

Get broadband. If it's not available where you are, start bugging the telco and/or cable company. If they won't act, move. Don't expect everybody else to make games that suck just so you can be competitive with a modem.

That would be like expecting them to make the games so that you could still be competitive with a 286 with 4MB of RAM.


Speaking of outdated technology... (2)

PhatKat (78180) | more than 13 years ago | (#405128)

Why can't I get quake3 on floppy anymore? Oh yeah, because it would cost too much to ship a box with that many damn disks.

The fact is, I'm kind of glad that these games don't really work well with modem connections because it increases the demand for bandwidth in the home market, something I'm all for. It's obvious that modems aren't going to cut it for even the more mundane functions of the internet soon (if this isn't true already). I'd say it's better to expect more from the bandwidth providers than it is to expect less (read: games that require less information passed around) from the gaming industry.

I know not having a fast connection is frustrating. I spend my summers away from school and wish we had cable. I think this is good though, because I know, despite what anyone says, that kids (oh yeah, and adults) who want computer games to run fast are the people who really drive the hardware end of the home computing market.

Re:Need for better ISPs (1)

Kevbo (3514) | more than 13 years ago | (#405129)

I don't really know, but I would guess that ISPs (especially the smaller ones) don't really have the money for the upgrades to their networking equipment and buy some nice new routers from Juniper Networks.
I would be willing to believe that many of them just aren't seeing the profit margin they'd like to.

The C64 Lives On (1)

tbo (35008) | more than 13 years ago | (#405130)

Game developers and companies need to think about us people who can't get computers faster than 1 MHz! Yes, I am one of the C64 users. I can't play Q3A, HL, games, etc. very nicely due to my 540
KHz CPU, and lack of AGP or PCI graphics. No hard drives or CD-ROMS here. Other options are just too expensive or won't work (i.e. tape drive for RTS gaming?)

Come on people, this is pathetic. We can always cry about being left behind, but it will do no good. If you want games that support your modem/C64/whatever, write them yourself, or stick with old classics. Sheesh.

Well if you have a few modems.. (1)

SirFlakey (237855) | more than 13 years ago | (#405131)

There is always EQL (Advanced Routing How-to [] )) or I suppose you could invest in a WebRamp or similar devices.

.. mind you there is the additional cost of the other dialup(s). I have had cable for a while now, and I rather not look back.

Ironic (1)

MSBob (307239) | more than 13 years ago | (#405132)

Less than 10% of net users have a connection faster than 56kbps yet 90% of all network games are unusable without a few megabits of bandwidth. Truly ironic. And remember than US and Canada are still ways ahead of Europe in this respect where virtually everyone has no choice but to use analog modems or v. expensive ISDN.

Re:Need for better ISPs (1)

sracer9 (126645) | more than 13 years ago | (#405133)

I'm sure it helps to connect at 3am, but speaking as an x-modem user, now dsl user - well, it don't help enough. When I connected using my modem, the best pings I ever saw in q3 were around 200ms. Now, it's not uncommon for me to connect to servers and play with pings in the 50-60ms range max. I agree that game developers need to take into consideration all the users that flat out can't get cable/dsl. I'm not sure what the numbers are, but I'm guessing that broadband users make up a fairly small percentage of actual net usage. There's still a lot of modem users out there, and hey, why shouldn't they be able to play too?

Re:aren't there more important things in life... (1)

ThresholdRPG (310239) | more than 13 years ago | (#405134)

Your post is totally off topic. You knew it, which is why you tried to argue in advance against anyone explaining to you that your post was off topic. Please go find some inbred, retarded mommy organization that whines about violent games. Leave thinking, rational human beings alone.

-Michael (Aristotle@Threshold RPG)
Online Roleplaying at its Finest

Broadband enabled internet play (1)

iomud (241310) | more than 13 years ago | (#405135)

Playing most new games over modems just isnt worth playing at all. I'm currently a dialup customer but I've had cable service in the past and have found that games like half-life (when the milestone netcode was introduced around counter-strike 5.2) make the broadband experience WORSE because the page refreshes on the netcode cant support dialup users without hindering the broadband gamer, part of that is engine and part of it is netcode.

Either way I think server side options should put in place to allow/support of broadband only gaming where 2/4 Kbps would be used normally the ammound of constant transfer could be upped to say 8/10 Kbps which would probably would make a big difference. Those of you who played HL pre netcode fix know that the prediction schemes only hinder game play to support the modem crowd. Modem users have a lot of great games to choose from and I dont want to shut them out either. I just think the option for a broadband enabled server might be a good thing.

Re:Dial up is yesterdays technology (1)

KioNeo (310821) | more than 13 years ago | (#405136)

I agree that the telecoms need to realize that we need broadband, and we need it now.

Unfortunately, the telecoms in my aren't doing shit to help us get DSL or any kind of high speed connection. We do have cable modem, but the company sucks and I'm sure they must have a 75% uptime at best. I'd almost rather stay of 56K with a 99% uptime than to be down almost two whole days a week. And a sat link is just too darn expensive for the performance you get.

Until broadband becomes cheep and widely available, we're always going to have modem users.

I'm just glad I'll have a T1+ at college.

Game Developers ARE optimizing for Modems (5)

The Optimizer (14168) | more than 13 years ago | (#405137)

As a programmer directly involved with a very popular online game, the Age of Empires series, I can tell you online gameplay with a modem connection is taken very, very seriously.

If fact... Two of our very brilliant communcations programmers, Mark Terrano and Paul Bettner are giving a presentation on this very subject at the international Game Developer's Conference next month in San Jose, CA. (Go to [] and check out their presentation "1600 Archers on a 28.8 modem" (Actually, I just checked the site and they don't appear to have the full schedule posted yet, and the author search just goes off into la-la land)

Anyway, the things we at Ensemble do to insure good modem play include:

* Having our 8-player dedicated testing area not only include a LAN connection, but modems on each computer. Modem based playtests are conducted using up to 8 different dial-up ISP's.

* Periodically auditing network communcations bandwidth usage over the course of an entire game to determine peak bandwidth requirments. Network packets are optimized for minimal size even before they are compressed. Our performance target is for comm usage not to ever exceed about 24K BPS of bandwidth in both directions.

* In our new 16-station playtest facility that is currently under construction, we will have a fancy phone line simulator device that allows for controlled degration of line conditions.

* Tuning the communications code to account for the types of pings geographically diverse modem users are likely to encounter. (our games can dynamically adjust the communications turn length to adapt to shifting pings).

* Showing each user, while they are playing the game, an indication of the communcation link performance to every other player. This allows people to quickly determine who is the person whose connection has just gone to crap.

* And we added in Age of Kings, the ability to save and restore a multiplayer game when someone gets disconnected or crashes.

I could go on, but I just wanted to get across that we do spend real effort on all applicable fronts to make as good an experience as possible for modem-users.

Now this is no indication of what other developers do, and other types of game may be more sensitive to ping than bandwidth.. etc.. etc.. As allways, Your mileage may vary.


Re:Hemos is stuck at 28.8? (1)

Beowulf_Boy (239340) | more than 13 years ago | (#405138)

Actually, the Whole Slashdot Compound is stuck on ISDN, as they can't get Cable or DSL in Holland, Michigan yet.

Re:geographic digital divide (5)

rabtech (223758) | more than 13 years ago | (#405139)

Actually, if the US government would axe the monopoly they have granted to today's communication companies, broadband would be much better off.

Out in front of my workplace runs a bunch of dark fibre. Southwestern Bell runs that fibre at about 10% capacity or less. We have another location across town. We would like to lease one of those dark fibre lines to connect us together. Will they let us? Nope. SWB won't let ANYONE, no matter how much money they offer, onto their fibre lines w/o going through their ancient frame-relay network, and they charge you an arm and a leg for it.

I know a guy who was working for a Houston company that is actually going to run new fibre lines on the telephone poles into EVERY home in that area. He worked measuring the distance between the poles so they would know how much cable to buy and plan for the installation.
The telcos and cable companies fought them TOOTH AND NAIL the ENTIRE WAY to stop this. Why? Because suddenly their government-granted monopoly went out the window.

There is another company in Dallas, featured here on slashdot a little while back, that is installing 100mbps links to various buildings around Dallas for like $1k per month, using fibre lines that they have laid underground.

It is high time compulsory sales of fibre lines is forced upon the telcos. If they won't bother to move, we should make them move. They are the problem. Bandwidth isn't scarce. There is no shortage of fibre or etherswitches. It is all an artificial constraint placed upon us because certain corporations are more concerned with an extra two cents per share than human progress. Same deal as oil companies: can they still make an insane profit if gas sells for $.80 per gallon? ABSOLUTELY. Why don't they? Because the CEO wants to line his pockets with another few million that he won't ever get to spend in his lifetime anyhow. That's why.

Capitalism isn't failing; our government has just herded us into a corporatist economy.
The IHA Forums []

Re:Dial up is yesterdays technology (2)

348 (124012) | more than 13 years ago | (#405140)

I dunno, I've got cable service in a rather remote area and we've never been down in the 6 months I've had it. No real degredation either, save for a little around 3:00 or so in the afternoon when all the school kids get home and start the daily porn surfing before mom or dad get's home.

To answer your question.... (3)

whanau (315267) | more than 13 years ago | (#405141)

Satellite for web gaming is possibly worse than your current 28.8k modem.

The key with online gaming is not bandwidth but latency. The packets you are sending are not particularly big, but they need to go fast. Take this example- Say you are playing a game with good net code (eg Tribes) on a 56k modem in the US on a server in Europe. If you then switch to a T1 line, your latency would not improve significantly-the signal still has to travel physically around the world. (Light circles the earth in 200ms, so in transmission the lowest ping to europe would be 100ms. Then we have to include latency around the computer, and the "last mile."

Satellite, while having good bandwidth, will probably have such bad latency that you can forget upbout any online games (including cards at msn gaming). The signal first has to travel up to the sat from your house. Given atmospheric signals, some of it will be lost and will be have to sent again. It then has to travel down to a microwave dish in europe, again with more signal losses. From there it has to route itself around various diseperate telecoms networks. The round trip in simple distance is probably greater than your 28.2k modem,and hence latency is greater.
If you need any more discouragement to get satellite internet- the bird is probably owned by microsoft.
Probably the best way to improve your latency would be to buy a 56k modem and find a very local isp who hosts a server of your favourite game. My Isp is in my suburb and has this arrangement.

This is incorrect (3)

Auckerman (223266) | more than 13 years ago | (#405142)

Look, it todays world, if you want it you can get high speed access almost anywhere. Cable, DSL, Dish, etc.. Asking the gaming community to write code that is backwardly compatible to dial up connectivity is just a waste of time

Not everyone on the planet live in a dorm where one can get free 100MB ethernet. Infact, over 50% of americans still connect with "yesterdays" technology. It just makes good business sense to make a game playable over 56K. You know, that idea called profit, which is something every company should be interested in.

Being one who does research in a Uni, I am bessed with access to a fast connection and can play UT in the off hours in my lab. At home, I have 56K...why because getting broadband here is priced only for businesses and even if it weren't I can only get DSL, which the owners of my apt building wouldn't be too keen for them to hook up. Most of the US, and even less the World, can't get high speed internet, and if they can they are lucky to get it for a reasonable price.

Consider yourself lucky.


ThresholdRPG (310239) | more than 13 years ago | (#405143)

1) Get a broadband connection. Very few people do not have at least one broadband method as an option (cable, dsl, or satellite). 2) Play single player games: Personally, most games you buy at the store are better single player. Multiplayer just ends up being a nice add on. Sadly, gaming companies do not administrate their multiplayer environments, and you spend have the time dealing with assholes. Note: This is not always the case. Some games ROCK multiplayer. 3) Play multiplayer games at If the game designers are going to do anything differently, they should just make sure the single player experience is a good one. In the end, this makes for a better multiplayer game anyway, so the time isn't wasted. I agree that the more games are designed for broadband, the more people will get broadband and the more telecommunications companies will get off their ass and improve their infrastructure.

-Michael (Aristotle@Threshold RPG)
Online Roleplaying at its Finest

And while at it, I want full support for VGA mode (1)

tcc (140386) | more than 13 years ago | (#405144)

You play a multiplayer game with 20 people at the same time, how the HECK are you supposed to crunch the data enough so you can send position/movement/expression/ammos location/chat/yadi yada at at least 10 intervals per second in a 2.0K/sec connection? it's just a physical barrier, compression? extra loads of processing power? c'mon...

It's like saying, I want to be able to have 20 bots in Q3A on my celeron 300A, at some point you can't do anything about it, unless of course you concentrate a shitload of ressource to optimise the code even more, but then again you miss shipping date and you'll probably miss the "low system requirement is unlimited" target too.

I remember when I was on my 300 bauds modem, and I was downloading games on my C64 40 minutes to download something like 200 blocks.. while I could do it tons faster with a 1200 bauds. Of course when I arrived on PC with my 2400 bauds I've learned some protocols were faster than some others (well on C64 you had what, Punter and X-modem? :) ) Point is, even if you'd optimise and crunch and this and that, at some point you'd have to accept the fact that your hardware was limited and you needed UPGRADE.

I'm sure game developpers aren't stupid enough to not try to crunch the most data possible so dialups can enjoy as much as possible. You want to get the most people to buy your game no? Look at Q3A for example, I remember some .plan updates about optimizing the network data even more (motion prediction algorythms)

I don't want to piss people off by saying that, but take for example doom 3, it'll run on a tnt-2 (poorly and slowly) if I recall what John said, and if you want to have the full featured effects and jaw-dropping graphics, you'll need a GF3, same goes for network, you *CAN'T* have broadband playability (i.e. 20 people at the same time) on a non-broadband connection. Live with it, or upgrade, if you can't, well, play with less people, it's still manageable, if you claim you're stucked on 3 players with your 28K8, how about upgrading it to 56K for a start... else you sound like someone complaining that pages load slowly on 14k4... :)

Re:Dial up is yesterdays technology (2)

grappler (14976) | more than 13 years ago | (#405145)

interesting how you worked politics into that.

In my area, unfortunately, which is literally under 500 feet from the TCI headquarters, there is no high speed option of any kind. Not cable modem, not DSL. You can of course get a satellite option but you're still restricted to dial-up for sending data.

But yeah, I agree about game development. You can make every effort to use network traffic efficiently, but if supporting modem speeds means you have to cut corners on the quality of the game, there's a good reason to just go the high-bandwidth route.

Re:geographic digital divide (1)

airyk (222789) | more than 13 years ago | (#405146)

Jeez, that's the last thing we need, the government to get involved. They can't even fix the problems that actaully matter (education, the enviroment, etc.). If the government owed the broadband infrastructure you can bet your ass they'd start introducing lots of legislation to regulate what goes on, and I'm sure most of us here wouldn't like that at all...

Re:This is incorrect (2)

348 (124012) | more than 13 years ago | (#405147)

Why do you make the assumption that only universities can get high bandwidth? I have cable and I'm not in school. I understand about profit yadda yadda yadda, but I beleive that if the SW sophistication is there, the pipes will follow. Hell, there is already more fiber in the ground in the US than we could ever use. The problem is in the last mile. Telecoms will cave if they feel the heat from the consumer. If games are made to run over slower archaic connections, they will never upgrade.

Re:aren't there more important things in life... (1)

Sylvain Tremblay (306896) | more than 13 years ago | (#405148)

Your post is totally off topic. You knew it, which is why you tried to argue in advance against anyone explaining to you that your post was off topic.

There is no forum which is more appropriate for discussing story selection on /. than /. itself.

The reason I post that explanation is because with my post, I'm standing in between the g**ks and their toys, and thus it is predictable that they will scream out "Mommy! He don't want me to play my sim and make believe I murder hundreds of anonymous arabs!"

Thus, they will have to find a way to rationalize their rejection. And they will thus delude themselves into believing: "Hey, this is a story about modems and computer games. Thus, discussion about computer games is offtopic! (-1, Offtopic)."

Please go find some inbred, retarded mommy organization that whines about violent games. Leave thinking, rational human beings alone.

I'm happy you find it within yourself to have some sympathy for others (i.e. "thinking, rational human beings").

Anyway, it is not up to you to decide what is discussed on /.; such an attitude smacks of totalitarianism.


tbo (35008) | more than 13 years ago | (#405149)

Gee, you think your entire bloody continent can match one country in GDP? Wow, that's impressive.

Games not taking advantage of broadband? Read the fucking story--the complaint is that many games now require it.

You're obviously a troll, so you deserve only this response:


Re:Need for better ISPs (1)

Iron (155311) | more than 13 years ago | (#405150)

ISPs... and phone lines. I have a 56k. Always am connected at 26.4k. The ISP does suck, but it is the phone lines that are degrading my bandwidth.

But thats ok, maybe in a couple of year I will have access to a gigantic bandwith connection.

Untill then all of use modem users can run VNC or something like that on a friends computer and run a quake server or something. Thats what I do ;)

Avoid Satellite "Broadband" at all costs! (1)

AFCArchvile (221494) | more than 13 years ago | (#405151)

Have you ever seen a DirecTV picture on a bad day? Right, fuzzy as hell. Do you want the same thing to happen to your connection? Hell no.

What's more, the average ping on a satellite connection is 750ms. That's right, and that's on StarBand, the full-duplex provider.

The other broadband industries are also plagued as well: the baby bells are hindering progress on DSL expansion (just look at this map [] ; green is DSL enabled, red is not). The cable industry has AOLTimeWarner to worry about.

Why wont anyone think of the children!? (1)

NetStatic (86649) | more than 13 years ago | (#405152)

This might be slightly off topic but imagine everyone having some sort of broadband access. The net would crawl if not come to a hault. Remember the time when broadband was rare and you had to use your schools (or whatever) T1 line? Remember the speeds on those things? We don't get close to the speed we used to have because everyone is sitting on broadband (myself included) and sucking up bandwidth. All the ISPs have to upgrade their bandwidth to handle it all. Too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing. No, I'm not saying this to discourage people from getting broadband, I still use a 33.6 at home.

Most of the time... (2)

NoWhere Man (68627) | more than 13 years ago | (#405153)

I think that at 28.8 you shouldn't expect a hell of alot. Your sitting on the very trailing edge there. But even at 56K, I agree, it is hard to do some serious online gaming. Even with those that support it. But the modems and games are the whole probelm. Alot has to do with the ISP. If your ping rate is too low, then you can be fragged in a game before you it.

Re:Well if you have a few modems.. (2)

NonSequor (230139) | more than 13 years ago | (#405154)

It won't help your ping. You may be able to download somewhat faster but it won't help for games. When you are playing a game you send lots and lots of packets of data. This all adds up. An ethernet connection (which is used to interface to almost all broadband devices) has virtually no latency compared to a modem (I can't remember the numbers).

"Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto"
(I am a man: nothing human is alien to me)


NonSequor (230139) | more than 13 years ago | (#405155)

Satellite isn't really an option if you want to play games. The ping is horrendous. It may even be worse than a modem (I could be remembering incorrectly).

"Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto"
(I am a man: nothing human is alien to me)

Re:It's time to look forward (3)

DaPimp (180387) | more than 13 years ago | (#405156)

There is no practical reason that the entire country can't have cheap broadband - the providers just need a little encouragement.

The "practical reason" is the cost of deployment. Do you have ANY idea what deployment costs are in rural areas for things like cable and DSL? The simple fact is, there aren't enough paying customers in all areas to justify the enormous expense of deploying broadband. If they priced it based on the number of subscribers they'd have, then citizens in rural areas could be paying as much as a T1 for simple DSL. Thankfully, in some states, such as here in Arizona, the government is getting involved and funding network rollouts in the rural areas. Otherwise, there are many areas here that wouldn't even have decent phone networks, much less any sort of broadband access. The company I work for just did a project recently where we brought a T1 in to one of the reservations for the school district. You would not believe the hurdles and great expense it took to get a T1 dropped in. Dealing with the ancient local telephone company out there, then dealing with US Worst/Qworst in Phoenix.... a total nightmare.

Until its more profitable, or subsidized by the government, we're just not going to see widespread broadband deployment.

Re:High-bandwidth alternatives (2)

348 (124012) | more than 13 years ago | (#405157)

WAP will be the future. Look at Hang Kong, Dailin China and the like. They aren't even bothering with putting cable in the ground. It's all wireless.

i agree. (1)

Pheersum (243554) | more than 13 years ago | (#405158)

Though I didn't fully read the article, game designers should design their games around being usable on a 56k modem. People aren't made of money. While they're at it, maybe they should run smoothly on any VESA-compatible video card, an 8 bit sound card, and IPX as well as TCP/IP. Make the game that efficient, and you'll have a game that can run efficiently, even in Linux. Even FreeBSD!!

yep (1)

BSOD Bitch (260492) | more than 13 years ago | (#405159)

Damn strait. Im tire of putting up with Bellsouth.
They don't offer services to ANYONE. Not only that but I called them a week ago to fix a problem, they said wed, but those assholes havn't been out here yet. Ive already filed 3 complaints against them.

Re:Lag ... Latency in audio products (2)

OmegaDan (101255) | more than 13 years ago | (#405160)

In the audio world, 5ms is considered noticeable ... professional audio hardware usually strives for a latency between 3 - 5ms ... some pro audio cards can do 1ms latency (at the expense of ALOT of cpu power)

This Editorial Was Actually A Response ... (2)

citizenc (60589) | more than 13 years ago | (#405161)

This editorial was written as a response to Grey Loki's editorial entitled Are We Living In A Broadband World? [] .

For the weary, broadband/


Re:Lag (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 13 years ago | (#405162)

Games do NOT need to be realtime in order for you to do well.

I am not a hardcore gamer by any means, and get a 250-400 ping via my modem, but am usually among the top 4 players in a large (16 player +) tfc game. You just need to learn how to compensate for the delay. It is not very difficult. (Unless you try to be a sniper)

Start Your Own Service! (5)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 13 years ago | (#405163)

This has been mentioned over the past month or so in exactly this of context. The original story I saw was in the Register [] here [] .

To Recap: The bottom line is that if you have a moderately large gaming club of 25 to 50 members, you can start your own ISP at a cost that compares to some hardware upgrades.

The town of Laramie, Wyoming, has done just this by setting up [] . Residents started the networking business in 1995 in an effort to bring everyone in the area online after various squabbles with the area's telephone company (now Qwest). The initial cost was around $3,000, with many residents donating their own PCs, according to Glass. Relevant equipment was stuck on private land, and copper wire was bought from Qwest for areas that couldn't get wireless.

The cost of the service is pretty good compared to what it would be otherwise. Individuals get a normal dial-up service for $5 a month, or $20-$30 a month for high speed (10MB/second). It is doing quite well thank you.

They want to clone this effort around the country, so you can contact them via this page [] . So get you buds together and put together a business plan. You might wind up with something you can have fun with!

Re:Lag (1)

AviN (9933) | more than 13 years ago | (#405164)

Since we're talking about modem lag, here's a tip for Linux users. The command:

setserial -v [modem] low_latency

will lower your latency by about 10ms. (Replace [modem] with your modem device.)

Switching local access numbers or ISPs can very often help.

I generally get a 110ms - 125ms ping to my default gateway, and between 150ms - 200ms ping on nearby Quake 1 servers.

I'm using as my ISP, which is a reseller (and it's $10 a month!).

And my modem is a Lucent WinModem, which work absolutely fantastic, and are available for about $20 including shipping (see

calm folks calm (1)

RestiffBard (110729) | more than 13 years ago | (#405165)

ok lets lose the whole "if you can't get it where you are then fuckin move" thing. um some of us can't move. and for some of us there is no place to move to. where i live (hampton roads VA) Verizon has a small suare mile area in one city wired for DSL. there is no one else to wire this area but verizon. @home is only available from cox. they plan to offer it to my area ,maybe end of Q1. I'm really beginning to consider satellite. but that option isn't much better for gaming at least. just knock off the crap about how i should be doing more to get my bandwidth. this isn't like upgrading a browser. can't just click a button and voila. ps. i just wrote verizon again proclaiming my desire for DSL I'm doing what can be done. there is no competition for verizon so they can take their time. I'm rambling now so I'll stop (applause and the crowd goes wild)

Re:Modems? (2)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 13 years ago | (#405166)

I know, i will hate when i move back home and have to go back to dialup. But the article does have put forth some nice points.

Besides, if games are optimized to be fast on modems, wouldn't they be even faster for the people that don't use modems?

I never get lagged out on my cable modem b/c the game was optimized for modems..

They do! (1)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 13 years ago | (#405167)

The querent is obviously in a state of near-total ignorance when it comes to modem gaming and the work companies do for it.

Quake II and III were both immensly popular, almost entirely because of the networking code. John Carmack and Co. poured many, many hours doing nothing but reworking the game code to compensate for modem latency.

The same goes for many other online games. Starsiege Tribes has incredible code for modem gaming, to the point that a 64 player game can be almost perfectly playable with a modem. The same can be said for Unreal Tournament (Although not for its predecessor.). Quake III and UT also had great AI bots to play against in case a modem player was not in the mood for lag.

And this does not simply apply to shooters. StarCraft has excellent modem code, as does Diablo II. EverQuest has incredible modem compensation, but they cannot add bandwidth to the servers fast enough for all of the customers.

In short, do not complain about the developers. They do all they can, modems just can not do the job. What you really need to do is keep bugging your telco for DSL. Call them every day. Get all of your friends to call. Show them all the money they can make selling to you.

Modemers Are Better Players (2)

Cheshire Cat (105171) | more than 13 years ago | (#405168)

Back when I had my 56k dialup thru [] I was happy when I could get a ping of ~225 playing TFC. Sure I couldn't compete against the LPBs very well, but the game was still fun, and I spent many hours playing it.

When I moved to San Francisco, I got my cable modem. Now I'm the LPB, playing with a ping of 30 or 40 most nights. I noticed right away that my score in it shot up to the top. I thought it was just the ping for a while.

But after talking with friends who converted from dial-up, I realized that it was because we had been modem users that made us so damn good. Being forced to get good with a bad ping made us great when that ping went away. Kinda like a runner who trains with weights on his feet.

I know I'm not the only one who's noticed I?

Aaaah yes, the charming ignorance of Americans... (2)

xnuandax (312638) | more than 13 years ago | (#405169)

Q. Highest penetration of broadband/fibre network in the world? A. China. Q. Country with incumbant telecoms enthusiastically kneecapping broadband providers. A. USA. Plus you can walk from Berlin to Madrid with a GSM mobile phone without dropping a call. In the US the telecoms infrastructure is so fragmented you can barely hold a call walking from your kitchen to the bathroom. No, the US telecoms infrastructure is nothing to be proud of. Kudos for your nuclear arsenal tho ;-) xNuandax

Re:It's time to look forward (2)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 13 years ago | (#405170)

Modems served their purpose, but the gaming industry needs to do its part to encourage even wider availibility of broadband.

Um, game companies that focused on broadband would do jack shit to help people get DSL/cable. Unfortunatly, some people can't afford it, or, more likely, the phone/cable company hasn't noticed that people want broadband.

As long as people don't feel that they need a broadband connection, there will be areas serviced only by dialup. There is no practical reason that the entire country can't have cheap broadband - the providers just need a little encouragement

Ya, i can call all i want, that doesn't mean the phone/cable companies will listen. Some places (rural areas, and even some small suburbs) won't get broadband b/c the phone/cable companies don't think its cost effective to roll it out to these customers. I live in SE PA, but i still can't get cable/DSL...they just won't put it in, and i live in a pretty densly populated area.

The most responsible thing for developers to do is to completely ignore modems. Once we all do that, they'll go away like a bad dream

Ya right, what dream world do you live in. The cable/phone companies don't give a shit if the gaming industry ignores them, why would they?

Re:No game should require Broadband (1)

iMoron (69463) | more than 13 years ago | (#405171)

For basic multi-player (8-16) games no game should be designed such that a modem has insufficient bandwidth. There seems to be a link between the complexity and detail of a games model and the bandwidth required to communicate movement of that model... I think this is just plain bad design. Game designers should striving to use as little bandwidth as possible... because however many players can comfortably run on a 56K modems you could feasably run 10 times as many players using cable... the more players in a game the more fun it is to play....

The problem isn't really the lack of bandwidth, it's the high latency of modems. In many fast-paced games, even a fraction of a second delay can throw you off (especially when sniping or doing anything else that requires split-second timing). It's not bad game design, it's simply a delay between the client and the server that could not be improved much even with the best networking code. It's broadband's lower latency, not its high bandwidth, that makes it better for playing multiplayer games.

/.'ing the same site TWICE (1)

rajivvarma (71946) | more than 13 years ago | (#405172)

Heh, hehe...This link points to a and so does the previous article! Double Slashdotting action!
Rajiv Varma

Gamers always cutting edge (2)

Private Essayist (230922) | more than 13 years ago | (#405173)

Gamers are always the ones who push the envelope. They get the fastest computers and then overclock them. They get the biggest hard disks, and make sure the access time is top-notch. They get the newest, bleeding-edge video cards, and eagerly count fps. So why should we be surprised that there are types of games that push the edge of communication ability?

There are plenty of games for those who can't get broadband yet. In the meantime, those who do have broadband want cutting edge stuff, as well-heeled gamers have always demanded. This is actually a good thing, for gamers test this cutting edge stuff for the rest of us. By the time the rest of the country gets broadband, there will be some amazing kick-ass games waiting for them, thanks to the early adopters.

If companies want to take modems into consideration, fine. But don't hold back on the cutting edge just because not everyone is ready for it. That's the way it has always been in the gaming world, and it will continue to be in the future, technology by technology


the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 13 years ago | (#405174)

Very few people do not have at least one broadband method as an option (cable, dsl, or satellite).

I am afraid that satellite is not acceptable for gaming because of the long ping times, and the sad truth of the matter is that cable/DSL is still available to only about 1/3 of the US.


It is a bad thing to sit back (1)

DragonMagic (170846) | more than 13 years ago | (#405175)

Well, if you think about it, most games have made the push to force computer manufacturers to make better and cheaper hardware so that newer games could be produced. You can get CPUs now for under $200 which will play any game on the market presently, video cards for about $150 that will do the same . . . And it used to be that memory alone would cost you that much, now it's down to under $40 in some markets.

I say game manufacturers should keep pushing the technology and try to make analog modems obsolete. Yeah, so many people can't get high speed access, but in the US you don't really have room to complain, now that there is satellite access, and DSL and Cable access in more than 400 metropolitan areas. Simply move if your Telco or Cable provider wants to wait, and they don't want to hear you complain every day.

As for those who live in other countries, well, again, beg your Telco and Cable providers, or move, if you're that serious about games that you want them to stay stagnate.

I'd rather see Doom III require at least a fractional T-1 Line to play multiplayer. Many will hate me for saying this, but imagine how fast TelCos will lay lines knowing that over 1,000,000 copies of the game will sell on the first day.

This might also be a good time for game manufacturers to start contacting the proper companies to let them know how valuable faster lines would be.

Just a couple cents.

Dragon Magic []

Re:It's time to look forward (2)

Xenex (97062) | more than 13 years ago | (#405176)

There is no practical reason that the entire country can't have cheap broadband...

Hey, this might come across as odd, but the whole planet is not one country. People get connected to the net all around the world. People play games all around the world. Broadband is not accessable all around the planet.

I guess I can prepare for the oncoming arrogant 'we make up the biggest portion of the net' bullshit argument, and then the following 'we' should not have to support 'you'. However, not all games are developed in the USA, nor are they only sold, marketed and used there. It's not the only market.

If companies like Nintendo/Sega/Sony took this kind of view of the international market when they were developing software and only made their games work well in Japan, people like you would be the first to bitch that you are not being supported.

Learn that gaming, and the internet, is an international community, and not just here to service one nation.

Re:I was thinking of (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 13 years ago | (#405177)

Switch to roadrunner?? Are you crazy? Dude, he CAN'T switch to roadrunner! Only people that have TimeWarner cable can get roadrunner. You must as well just tell him to switch his water supplier...

Re:not only gamers (1)

}{avoc (90632) | more than 13 years ago | (#405178)

Excellent point. Current web dev seems to be focused much more on having what would be percieved as a good looking page than what would be a valuable page.

Ask yourself this, would you rather read all those html formatted HOWTOs and man pages (yes I know there are other formats, but let's stick to this) in the current, clean, text-only fashion, or with a big colorful interface like so many websites are using? And would you want to wait for those big fancy interfaces to load on dialup?

The point: Every little thing added to look cool, slick, or fashionable delays the user's time to get to the information they want. The user's satisfaction is your ultimate goal, remember to format anything you produce to accomodate the lowest reasonable equipment.

Bloat is Bad.

"I have a l33t name that uses }{ instead of an H! WOW!"

PS - This IS on topic.. just going off on a tangent.

FPS are not the only games out there (2)

green pizza (159161) | more than 13 years ago | (#405179)

There are MANY games, both old and new, that work fine on a carrier 28800 dialup. Just because a modem may not hold its own for the newest crop of first person shooters doesn't close the doors to all games. I personally don't even play FPS games for more than probably 35% of my total gaming experience. The "get him in your sights and pull the trigger" fun only lasts so long.

Probably the same reason my "gaming machine" is a "lowly" PII/450 with a TNT2. I'm in it for the fun, not the pretty graphics or the high-speed action of FPS. Unless you're maybe talking about racing games, which have worked great for me over dialup for one-on-one and group grudge matches.

Take Alaska Off That List (1)

pnatural (59329) | more than 13 years ago | (#405180)

because alaska has the highest per capita broadband pentration in the world. this company [] owns 75% of the alaskan cable market and has cable modem access on almost all of that. the same company has a network [] for hooking up schools to the internet -- even in the most remote villages.

industry here is not suffering, either. my friends in the construction business are hopping as always, and with GW in the white house, we all expect ANWAR to get opened up Real Soon Now.

and the only real agriculture we have is big cabbages [] and good weed [] .

i don't mean to go off here, but hey, most alaskans get tired of the misconceptions.

Re:Dial up is yesterdays technology (1)

Bodero (136806) | more than 13 years ago | (#405181)

You are at part two of the "Elitism" phase, if you read the article:

There seems to be sort of an elitist view among people who havehigh-speed Internet access. Before they get a cable or DSL connection, they're quick to speak about the evils of "LPBs." I also don't know of a single dialup user who has once complained: "Gee, you know, this game is really fun to play? but maybe it should have been designed for people with access to something I cannot have, just so those people can have less than 0.5 ms of lag!"

Nevertheless, once that same dialup user gets high-speed access, he or she just forgets about the modem gamers and is quick to jump on the "progress" bandwagon and begins to wonder why game developers still bother optimizing online games for modems.

Re:geographic digital divide (2)

bmetz (523) | more than 13 years ago | (#405182)

You are extremely mistaken if you think oil companies could charge 80 cents a gallon. Now, OPEC countries might be able to if it felt like, but the oil companies of the world are forced to buy crude at market price. Some oil companies drill for oil in small quantities, but for all practical purposes they have virtually no input into the price of their own product. And don't laugh away the cost of shipping oil from Kuwait to Chicago. By the time the product gets to a gas station, they can only mark it up something like 1.5-2.5 cents a gallon.

Ever wonder why all gas stations seem to have a mini mart lately? It's their only opportunity to grow their business model in the tight profit margins of the oil business.

Not that I disagree with your general point, but don't just add on something you feel like saying without knowing what you're talking about.

Lack of broadband (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#405183)

I do think games should still be written for modem players. Not everyone can get broadband and to assume the attitude "screw you" to you people using a modem is piss poor. I currently play Unreal Tournament -Instagib CTF (w00t!) but since Ive moved to Dallas Ive been playing on a modem primarily. The part of Dallas I live in is far from rural but I still dont have access to broadband. I have a cable company who is unwilling to provide me with cable modem, my apartment complex is all fiber so I cannot get any kind of DSL. except IDSL. Satallelite or wireless is really out of the question cause of the high latency and even the high montly charges. A big problem has been the economic downturn of a lot of DSL providers recently in addition to the already large time of installs for DSL. I signed up in the first week of June for DSL and I didn't get it installed until the middle of september! Soon there after my ISP was bought out. The month following their purchase was horrible. Technical support was removed, I had outtages all the time. So when I was able to leave the ISP without any charges I did. I signed up for a new ISP in november and Im still waiting for my DSL. When you say people have to broadband to able to play online it would be better if you could get internet providers to a. make the service available and b. do it in a timely manner. Secondly, if anyone watches what is happening in the DSL market you will know that ILECs, like Northpoin, Covad, and Rhythms are having funding problems and are thus PULLING out of centrals offices. The DSL market is now shrinking makeing its availability even scarcer. Until broadband is available to 75% of the population I dont think the ability to play with a modem should be removed. I think game makers would be hurt if people who have only modems would stop buying their games because they dont have broadband.

Re:Broadband won't be utilised in games for years. (5)

general_re (8883) | more than 13 years ago | (#405184)

The European Union now has a bigger economy than the USA by a third

That's funny - according to my handy-dandy CIA World Factbook, in 1999 the aggregate GDP for the 15 member nations of the EU was about $8 trillion. And (drum roll, please), for the US, about $9.3 trillion. Now, we could examine the per capita GDP of both, but, if we note that the US has ~50 million fewer people than the EU, we can clearly see that such an examination would only make you look even worse. But then again, why let some inconvenient facts get in the way of an otherwise ill-considered pontification? ;)

Re:geographic digital divide (2)

jburroug (45317) | more than 13 years ago | (#405185)

With proper intervention by legitimately elected policymakers, highspeed internet investments won't go to Silicon Alley anymore, but to Utah, Alaska, Montana- places where industry and agriculture are struggling and where, more than ever, young people need the Internet as a way out.

Thanks entirely to the efforts of unregulated private companies Alaska already has a high percentage of broadband access. In Anchorage, where I live, I have the choice of three different broadband techs from several different providers. We have cable, DSL (3 or 4 ISP's I think are offereing it) and ATT wireless broadband, and I believe a couple of local companies are offering their own wireless broadband as well) We have two fibres leading out of the state to Seattle, including a new high capacity one only a few years old built be GCI [] a local telco. Most all of the population centers in the state have a broadband option now, today. All of this funded by private companies w/out government aid.

Industry and agriculture are not struggeling Alaska, the oil industry is still going strong, older fields are still profitable and the soon to be opened ANWR region is very promising, and a massive natural gas pipeline is in the works to run the same course as the famous oil pipeline.

Highspeed internet goes to the places where it is best used and at the moment that includes both Alaska and Silicon Alley and plenty of other regions. You may have intended your post to be funny but you should still get your facts straight before spouting off.

12% (3)

Naum (166466) | more than 13 years ago | (#405186)

That is the percentage of home internet users that have broadband access right now - 12% (see recent survey [] for more details. Two-thirds of the rest "say" they have a 56k connection - they may have a 56k modem but I doubt if many actually get a true 50k+ connection with their ISP - in fact, I venture that many of those who could get 56K have now opted for DSL - since being within a certain radius of the switching station an office hub (or whatever the correct term for it is ...), more than likely had the option of affordable DSL.

Until the market is represented by at least 75% broadband saturation, I don't think ignoring the modem players is a wise choice for any game producing company. Granted, the figure last December was like 7%, so it almost doubled in a year - maybe next year it will be 25% - at any rate, it will be at least a couple of years ...

I think the broadband factor is more an issue with the 3D FPS games - if you have a good ISP and get latency of 200-300ms on a dial-up - you can engage in enjoyable multiplayer gaming ... Other factors for RTS games like Age of Empires/Age of Kings are memory and processor speed as all of those AI pathfinding algorithms eat up both - especially when the grand total unit deployment goes into the 1000's. One player with a P-200 and 64 meg can make the game lag as all others will have to wait while his/her box tries to "keep up" with the action and faster computers.

I don't understand why broadband isn't more available in metropolitan areas at least - here in the Phoenix area, I live in the city but do not have any option (except Sprint broadband which really doesn't count - don't know what piece of the 12% of that survey are represented here either ... the initial latency makes multiplayer gaming for RTS or FPS or anything except turn based games tedious ...) for DSL or cable modems. Cable modems are coming soon, but then they said that last year ... Meanwhile, the giant media conglomerates that are Qwest and Cox are laying people off while there are residents clamoring for high speed internet ... go figure ...

Should be easier to get due to demand.. (1)

dj28 (212815) | more than 13 years ago | (#405187)

I live in a very small town in Georgia (Pooler), and we get cable modem. Our cable company (Comcast) is racing to get cable rolled out before DSL. They are speding lots of money in the process. The same thing is happening in Alabama, but with DSL. Things like online gaming is pushing the demand for companies to roll out high-speed access faster than the competitor. Even in small cities like mine, the competition to roll out is high. About 3 years down the road, a lot more people should have highspeed access.

Re:yes, but (1)

Aunt Mable (301965) | more than 13 years ago | (#405188)

PHP produces the cruftiest HTML I have ever seen. The barely commented code is littered with font tags and tables with width=100% - it won't fit into many site designs and drags children away into the cellar. This disgusts me!

-- Eat your greens or I'll hit you!

Re:geographic digital divide (4)

sl3xd (111641) | more than 13 years ago | (#405189)

Not to mention that for the longest time, broadband was unavailable in many areas simply because the local telco's wouldn't sell it. They had the equipment, but wouldn't sell it.

The parent of this thread mentions Utah - the state with the highest rate of home computers per capita in the US. Broadband has only recently became a reality; after the cable company secured a 100% monopoly on cable TV, they offered cable service as a means to squeeze more money from consumers.

Meanwhile, the telco was resolutely refusing to offer even ISDN - let alone any form of DSL. If you wanted high-speed internet, you had to shell out $800 a month for a 1.5 Mbit DS1. USWest didn't want to let go of the gravy train.

Suddenly the cable monopoly offers broadband - 500kbit for $60 a month (at first). Only AFTER there was competition did USWest decide to offer broadband. DSL came into the high population density areas only recently.

And getting DSL is, as everywhere, as much as a sick joke as a service. Call QWest (who bought USWest) for DSL - they'll tell you the phone lines in your home are too old.

I became extremely cynical of this when QWest told a friend of mine that his home is too old for DSL, and he would have to hire QWest electricians - at prime rates - to re-wire his entire home before he could get DSL.

His home's construction crews had left the lot a couple of days before. The cement on the driveway wasn't even completely dry yet.

It has nothing to do with geography. Just the super-wealthy trying to outscore the next-door neighbor's income; a neighbor who happens to live in the next county.

hey tolls and linux zealots (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#405190)

Did you read that? This guy works for Ensemble!!!

Ensemble Studios! The company from whom MICROSOFT has lisenced the Age of Empires series! In effect, THIS GUY WORKS FOR MICROSOFT!!

EAT HIM ALIVE! How dare someone affiliated with MICROSOFT invade SLASHDOT!!!

Sik 'em, boys!

Don't make broadband suck to satisfy modemers! (1)

Athanasius (306480) | more than 13 years ago | (#405191)

I recently took up playing CounterStrike so checked lots of sites for tips on tweaking HL performance. Whilst doing this I came across some info about the netcode in Apparently Valve did in fact make it easier for modems, at the expense of broadband connections. What they did was allow some of the client-side prediction from higher-ping players to over-ride what the server would have thought happened. Thus a broadband player could have gotten a kill denied that he SHOULD have gotten 'cos the prediction on the modemer's client said he got out of the way in time. Likewise a broadband user can get killed by a modemer due to this. IMO this plain sucks. Leave it with things decided purely at the server and if someone wants 'fairer' get a better connection. -Ath

Kahn (1)

scottnews (237707) | more than 13 years ago | (#405192)

Has anyone ever used Kahn? That program rocked. It emulated an IPX network over the net. It used a form of compression. Kahn was usable in '96 and there was almost not lag with 28.8 modems.

I don't think developers have given any thought to developing some sort of compression algorithm for slow connections. They could really reach a large market with something like Q3.

Re:You're not the only one :-( (1)

DaLinuxFreak (252942) | more than 13 years ago | (#405193)

I got a 56k, several of them actually still consistantly the fastest I can connect is 26.4k! though frequently I get 24k this is a disgrace. BOMB THE FCC! Those idoits think they can get away with tyranny... they are limiting my ability for free speech (it don't work at 26.4) T3's to the masses or bust! think about it, a T3 shouldn't cost $700/month. It should cost $50. modems should be at 200-300kbps by now, it's a plot by the Cable companies, but please bomb the fcc anyway

Re:aren't there more important things in life... (1)

STREMF (156983) | more than 13 years ago | (#405194)

i agree with the point about the nationality bias, but you could have made it better.

I would like to see a game where, among the cast of characters, there are neither good guys nor bad guys, just characters.

by definition a game involving any type of competiton entails that there be some "enemy" or "bad guy" over which you can triumph. in chess, its the other player, in Grand Theft Auto, it was the cops.

what i had in mind was that you could use the Blizzard game Starcraft in order to demonstrate a healthy view of conflict from all sides. In Starcraft you can choose to be one of three alien races all involved in the same conflict but with different goals and methods. Its a valuable lesson in disguise, about diversity and the different needs and biases of different groups.

so anyway, yeah, modems. they're slow, but not too slow for starcraft...

(wow that was a stretch, this post really is offtopic)

Re:geographic digital divide (2)

rabtech (223758) | more than 13 years ago | (#405195)

I live in Texas, so I know a little bit about it. By "Oil Companies" I meant both the suppliers (exxon, mobil, etc) as well as the producers (opec, etc)

Gas was near $.80 a gallon here two summers ago... do you really think any of the CEOs were losing money? Do you think anyone in OPEC starved? Not likely.
The IHA Forums []

Re:Awww... (2)

Graymalkin (13732) | more than 13 years ago | (#405196)

Are you mentally retarded or something? A majority of people on the internet are connecting to it with modems and a majority of THOSE people aren't even getting 56k connections. Because you are in a potential DSL or Cable service area doesn't mean shit. If there is no one there to provide access you don't get access. If you can't get stable 56k access which a good deal of people don't get you'll not get DSL service either.

Modems rock! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#405197)

Maybe it's just me but I love everything retro. Remember the good old days of 28.8? *sigh. I like the old technologies ie. modems, 2D games, and a Command Line Interface. Besides... is high-speed internet really any faster? When 28.8's were around, there was a lot less SHIT on the internet. Now it takes me twice as long to find anything(even if the downloads are faster).

Re:calm folks calm (1)

chris_martin (115358) | more than 13 years ago | (#405198)

I live in the same area as you. I had to wait a year for DSL to arrive, COX@Home still isn't here. Verizon DSL's PPPoE sucks, so I'm paying a lot for DSL (though not too bad, VisiNet is more than Verizon, but I'm static IP) Verizon's build out of DSL is pretty expansive, and if you can't get it or cable, you must be in VA Beach :)

Re:aren't there more important things in life... (1)

NetStatic (86649) | more than 13 years ago | (#405199)

i'd hate to bite, but i guess trolls come in many different forms and varieties. read my post and then your post again and tell me if your follow up makes any sense or somehow contributes to anything. what do violent games have to do with anything? and why would you need to explain it to me if i already know? argh, sorry that i bit, but come on, quit being so disgruntled and contribute something useful.

Re:It is a bad thing to sit back (2)

Graymalkin (13732) | more than 13 years ago | (#405200)

I will use this phrase out today I swear. Are you retarded or something? Or maybe you're just 13 and don't know any better. I can't just fucking move because my telco won't provide me with DSL access and neither can 99.999% of people in this country. Telcos do not give a shit about anyone except their shareholders and thus will not lay a bunch of new lines because a million copies of a video game are sold, a large percentage of which were not sold in their service area. They make more money per month from a single medium sized business than they make from a residence in six months. Do the math real quick (if you can) and tell me for an average sized city where most of their revenues come from.

Lazy!!! (1) (142825) | more than 13 years ago | (#405201)

Could it be that programmers are too lazy to program efficiently?

How much data needs to be sent between systems? Any thoughts on compressing the player data streams? Not using standard compression, but only sending data that needs to be updating.

Just get broadband????? (1)

maddman75 (193326) | more than 13 years ago | (#405202)

Cmon folks, if someone is geeky enough to be posting to /., they likely have broadband if available.

The comments about 'Well I want to run Q3 on my C64 why can't I do that' are completely missing the point. you can buy faster hardware, better graphics cards, etc., but unless you are one of the fortunate few who lives in the right place, you can't buy broadband at ANY price

I get on at 28.8, 31.2 if I'm lucky. I play Unreal Tournament, Diablo 2, and Asheron's Call. UT suffers the worst, but it isn't exactly unplayable. Diablo is fine, as long as I don't try with more than 2 or 3 people. AC usually runs great, little lag. Also Mechwarrior 3 seems to be really efficient.

I think the best solution is to control who you're playing with. I remember in Q2 days playing on the zone, people would label servers as either for dial up or broadband. That way, the BB guys don't get bogged down and the modem guys don't get slaughtered.

And yes, gamers will push the technological horizons, as they always have. If it weren't for games, we'd all still be using black and green 13" displays.

Poll Proposal (1)

Garyman_2000 (64209) | more than 13 years ago | (#405203)

I propose that Slashdot run a poll on what kind of internet connection us "Slashdoters" have.

I would also like to take the opportunity to say that trying to download anything connected at 28,800bps (2.6k/sec average) is the most slow and agonizing thing in the world, especially knowin that there are people out there downloading at 200+ k/sec. I've spent as much as 36 hours downloading a movie.
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