I think at this point the general consensus from the forum is that “we as a whole” have been experiencing issues with Black Ops 3. I happen to really like the game, but can without a shadow of doubt say that I have NOT enjoyed every mystery death, getting turned and dealt with after shooting a player in the back of the head and a litany of other “game play issues”.
The Netduma folks have armed us with some great tools to better assist in getting those sweet lobbies. We can control where we connect, locally or camping a far off dedi as I have done successfully through November/December. We can see real pings, not the false stuff in game, and we have the ability to rate player hosts for P2P games as they mysteriously pop up and then are gone for days at a time (Las Vegas – WTF?!?).
About a thousand or so ideas have come, gone, come around again, and probably have been discarded again around this issue. We want better quality game plays, but are having trouble linking them together, or getting a great one to wipe away the bad taste.
Here on the Duma forum we have a small group of “early and industry knowledgeable adopters” who help test new features that Iain/Fraser and Luke get ready to release. Someone at Netduma hung a tag on us as “Canaries” as we go down into the mine first and allow ourselves to risk bricking our routers and other fun headaches.
But we canaries are also gamers and a ton of us are grinding Black Ops 3.
We have been working on a set of specs that we have been testing and we are getting to the point where we have a lot of good, empirical data to say these WILL make a difference. We have tested them on BO3 on both platforms (PS4 and XB1), and I have personally done testing on Pre-Emptive and Reactive in regards to Black Ops 3. As I have a small case of OCD, you can imagine I have my spreadsheet, with columns and data, so trust me when I say this was a little bit in the making.
First, some caveats:
1. These settings are NOT endorsed, NOR have they been tested/approved or validated, by Netduma.
2. These are forum suggestions that we Canaries took and started playing with them to try and find something we could recommend in the litany of threads being posted about needing help.
3. Use some common sense
a. These settings won’t make you an FPS God
b. These settings won’t get you nuclear medals and unheard of praise or adulation
c. These settings won’t make you a professional player
d. Or a YT star
e. Or make you any money
f. Or get you laid
g. They won’t allow you to rape every lobby
h. They won’t allow you to host every game
i. They don’t give you an unfair or competitive advantage
j. ANYTHING that happens outside of your house, between you and the host, will be COMPLETELY UNAFFECTED by these settings. I.E. – If you have a line with high noise/jitter, or your Ping Plotter graph looks like Ted Bundy’s lie detector results, THESE SETTINGS WILL NOT HELP YOUR SPECIFIC ISSUE!
4. These settings WILL affect your household streaming or high bandwidth needs. If you are sharing the feed, you will impact your housemates.
5. As NO ONE here knows what Treyarch did, or did not do, in regards to Lag Comp and a ton of other variables, these settings are based on wild assumptions with some work done to “prove” a theory sound in enough minds to recommend.
6. THESE SETTINGS ARE NOT PERFECT, NOR ARE THEY FINAL. We recognize each time a new patch comes out, it has the potential to affect how we connect. We are mindful of that fact, as you should be.
This is a slight modification to what some of you are already doing that has been proven to increase game play enjoyment for a group of us. Nothing more, nothing less. This is something that we can showHAS made a difference, not just for one of us, but for multiple #Canaries during our testing.
If these settings don’t work for you, and there will be a follow up thread for more technical users, it merely means that the issue you are dealing with is larger than simple buffer bloat. This does not mean these settings won’t work for you ONCE you get the other issue(s) fixed. We truly believe these settings can make a difference.
BufferBloat 101, also called Zennon’s First Rule of Gaming (No one calls it that but me, but you should. He was the first guy I saw start talking about it and explaining it to the rest of us, so give the man some love J):
Some of you are already checking www.dslreports.com to run your Buffer Bloat diagnosis before you play. This method here is a slightly more advanced version of what you are already doing. There will be step-by-steps at the end of this, but you need to know what you are doing, and why you are doing it, so please read on.
For those that haven’t yet done this (this is a 101 thread after all), here is what the DSL Reports screen looks like when you hit their site.
Image 1: http://i.imgur.com/lOzrnPF.jpg
On the top, you will see various provide types, you choose the one most likely associated with your service provider. Cable = Comcast, Charter, AT&T standard (not fiber), cable TV provided services. DSL is from the phone company and is usually a bit slower in speed. Fiber would be used if you have Fiber to the Curb or Fiber to the Home (FTTC/FTTH) configurations like Google Fiber or FiOS. Satellite is if you live in the middle of BFE and you know you have satellite internet because the weather affects everything you do.
Once you select the appropriate service provider you will load into a new screen that looks like this one:
Image 2: http://i.imgur.com/IxN05O2.jpg
In this image you can see the very beginning of the Bufferbloat testing. You see that gauge that looks like a tachometer or a speedometer? The one that says 1ms below it and it doesn’t have any color in it?
This will now become your all consuming passion for about the next 90 seconds to 2 mins!
Using the sliders on your Congestion Control, you want to move them lower (to the left) to preserve bandwidth specifically for fighting Bufferbloat. This works for either Pre-Emptive or Reactive, and weHIGHLY RECOMMEND you personally try both for this test and for game play testing. *No two internet provider speeds, line quality, or even home configurations are the same. Factor in having professional grade equipment like dedicated servers racked and wired by a collection of cable monkeys and guys who weren’t focused on your gaming experience when they built the place, THE VARIABLES ARE EVERYWHERE.
What you are trying to achieve is a full run, of up and download speeds, where that tach doesn’t raise up, spike or change colors from green to ANYTHING ELSE. As it starts to track your buffer bloat, you will see the gauge change and the white numbers down below will represent the Bufferbloat you are fighting. If it gets up to about 10’ o clock on the dial, you will see the green gauge turn a bit yellow, if you got up further into the 12-1’ o clock range, it will turn red. Yellow is bad, red is you dead in FPS games.
While it is possible to get an ‘A’ or even an ‘A+’ rating without having the entire test in the green, you are looking to minimize any unnecessarily high spikes. I routinely see spikes in excess of 300 milliseconds on my line if I have both sliders at 100%. That is about a 1/3rd of second, and that is a lifetime in a CoD gunfight. LOL If you see large spikes of these types, they have the ability to entirely fuck up a gunfight series for you and add to an already frustrating experience. By making these settings right, achieving an A+ rating with no yellow or red in the gauge, you can almost eliminate that entirely as a variable for your game play.
This is just another step in the power of what the NetDuma has brought to you. First it was the knowledge to look for these issues, now this is a first step in using the tool to help combat the problem.
When you have ran the Bufferbloat test AND you have a gauge that was green 100% of the timed test (about 20 seconds), YOU HAVE OPTIMIZED YOUR BUFFERBLOAT SETTINGS FOR YOUR HOUSE, FOR RIGHT NOW!
To replicate the results we have seen, you should do this prior to every gaming session to get optimal effects. If you plan on grinding all day and night, I would highly recommend setting apart 5 minutes every couple of hours (2-4 hours would be reasonable) to check the changes in your interior (housemates) or exterior (the rest of the neighborhood) network.
This is Step One for better games in BO3. You have added a defense that you can control, to minimize the amount of Bufferbloat that can negatively influence your game. This will not fix issues in your exterior line, nor will it mask an issue and give you the ability to “play through it”. If the lines feeding you are bad, you need help from the professionals to fix them accordingly.
1. Console off. (*Personally I also disconnect the Ethernet cable to disconnect me completely from the BO3 servers – this is not required, but it will force a new connection to the matchmaking when you log back in, which is what you want to happen for Part 2 in this series, which will be coming after some more testing and I do the write up.)
2. Check your Network Monitor in the Duma GUI. Make sure you have a rough idea of how much traffic is taking place in your house. If you have 3 other people in the house, surfing the web, downloading/uploading, opening/closing windows, this is going to be a frustrating exercise. Try to have as minimal “other” traffic going on when you are testing this as possible.
3. Congestion Control. Load up this screen on the GUI, then open a new tab and open www.dslreports.com
4. Run Bufferbloat Test. With the sliders at 100% each, run a test with as little running as possible in your house and see what the true buffer and line quality is when you start. DO NOT leave this page (it will stop the test with a note as to why). Do not play with your phone, do not feed the dogs, just watch the gauge and wait for it to start moving and changing colors. If it does change color (from green to yellow or red), you don’t have enough slider set. Hit Cancel and move to the next step.
5. Adjust the Sliders to the Left. Move both the up and down load limiting sliders to the left, or down in value, in small batches and retest. You are looking to achieve as close to “true zero” on the Bufferbloat gauge and as close to an A+ rating (at the same time).
6. Retest. Watch the results, if you get a high rating, but you saw yellow or red in the gauge while the test was running, move the sliders a bit to the left and retest again.
7. Bad Rating or lots of color? You don’t have enough slider protection or you have a serious line issue. You need to move more to the left with your sliders and try the run again, looking for better results.
a. Still bad, and I have used up all the slider I have? You have a serious issue and will require some help, most likely from the service provider.
b. www.pingplotter.com | The next step would be to set up a reoccurring test graph for your line in question and get some useful information you can take to your ISP to get some real help.
8. A+ and no color other than Green? Perfect, you are now ready to start up your game.
a. Leave your sliders alone. Don’t change them, don’t adjust them. They are now optimized for Bufferbloat at this time of day, for this* gaming session. (*Note: This assumes you are going to play for one to three hours. If you are playing all day, plan on running this a couple of times a day just to verify the network IN and OUT of your home)
b. Check your Geo-Filter: Are you set up how you want and where you want?
c. Start Console: Boot up the game and do some work.
This test should be repeated before EVERY session to get the most benefit from it. It is NOT a “one step and done forever” type of fix.
Upon repeating this step, either the same day or at a later date, you are PROBABLY okay just picking up at Step 3. I have personally done these steps before every gaming session during my testing.
In closing I would like to shout out all the hard working #Canaries who helped postulate, form and test this FIRST step of instructions to assist in what has become a difficult game (BO3) to master. Countless hours of game play, and ridiculous hours of discussion have gone into the framework we are sharing here and in the more advanced thread (yet to come).
Good luck and Happy Hunting!
Written by NETDUMA Forum Moderator - Dillinger. Original guide found here.
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