New player - questions

Questions and comments on tactics and playstyles
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New player - questions

Post by Home Guard » Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:28 pm

Hi All

Discovered BZFlag 2 days ago - brilliant!

I've some questions if you have time?

1. How do you pronounce the name (bee-zed-flag, bee-zee-flag as in like busy-flag), or does it matter?

2. While following someone as an observer, I saw them move sideways; not just rotate, but actually slide sideways. How do you do this?

3. My 'jitter' has been excessive and I was disconnected - what is jitter?

Many thanks
One day, I'll get a positive score....

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Post by khazhyk » Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:40 pm

1) I pronounce it Bee Zee Flag. But since you can't hear people over the internet, i don't really think it matters.

2) By cheating, which is bad. Very bad. Don't do it. Ever. You will regret it for the rest of your life.

There is no "strafe" movement in bzflag, you probably saw someone with a modified client.

As a new person, you probably won't know, but moddifying your client in a way that makes it unfair for other players, like allowing yourself to strafe, etc., is a bannable offence on most servers, and can disallow you from using the server-list.

Or, you could have seen someone on a "slippery" surface, or a "moving sidewalk" or the rather. Which is part of a map.
Last edited by khazhyk on Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New player - questions

Post by Grace F » Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:40 pm

David_UK wrote: 1. How do you pronounce the name (bee-zed-flag, bee-zee-flag as in like busy-flag), or does it matter?
It doesn't really matter :)

However, I pronouce it "Bee-Zee-Flag".
David_UK wrote: 2. While following someone as an observer, I saw them move sideways; not just rotate, but actually slide sideways. How do you do this?
As far as I know, there is no way you can do this unless they had driven over a physics driver. Physics drivers are put into some maps to add something special into the map, they can launch tanks into the air or move them every which way.

However, if this tank you saw did it without driving over one, then, he just may be a cheater. :)


EDIT: Yeah, what me1 said :P
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Post by blast » Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:48 pm

Physics drivers are one way, but I think there might also be some server setting that makes the ground be slippery. Been a while though, so I might just be thinking of a physics driver that covers the entire ground.
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Post by Home Guard » Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:49 pm

Ok, thanks.

Any comments on the jitter? I get it on a lot of servers.
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Post by blast » Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:51 pm

David_UK wrote:Ok, thanks.

Any comments on the jitter? I get it on a lot of servers.
Playing over wifi can add jitter, as can running p2p software (like bittorrent or eMule), or other things that use up bandwidth. You can also try different servers to see if it's just that specific server that you have issues with. I recommend closing down all software that isn't necessary, and see if that helps improve things. I even notice a difference if I leave my browser running.
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Post by Quantum Tank » Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:46 pm

Welcome David UK!

1) I am pretty sure it is pronounced "bee zee flag." It is an acronym for "Battle Zone capture the Flag," so you would just say the letters.

2) This could have been a cheater, but I am pretty sure that is was just a physics driver (physics in Bzflag is when you add a property to an object that makes it affect your tank, e.g. move it sideways, blow it up, bounce it, etc.). Also (although I am no expert on cheating :P), I am not quite sure it is possible to modify your client to make your tank move sideways without turning. Even if it was, why risk getting banned just for that? Why not make yourself invincible or whatnot? But hey, you never know. If you see other people sliding too in the same area, it is a physics driver. If they don't, ask an admin about it (they will have an @ symbol next to their name where you will have a +).

3) Jitter is basically connection problems with the server that will make your tank appear, to other people, that it is "shaking," which can sometimes make you hard to hit. In extreme cases it can even make bullets pass through you or cause you to pass through walls (doing this on purpose is cheating). To check your jitter, type /lagstats (or hit o and then enter). The jitter will be the second number. Anything below 20 ish is acceptable for most public servers, if it is much higher than that (or you get warned/kicked), make sure you aren't running the other things that blast mentioned. If it is still high on all servers, try and get a better connection.

Hope to see you on the battlefield soon!

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Post by joevano » Mon Oct 20, 2008 11:39 pm

Lots of jitter issues can be corrected with newer network/wlan card drivers, and firmware updates to your router
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Post by JeffM » Tue Oct 21, 2008 12:40 am

when observing you don't see the exact input of the tank you are driving with, you simply see there network position updates.

Due to lag and packet loss, it is possible and probable that you can see tank motions that don't "make sense". This mostly happens when some of the update stream is lost, and it is normal if it was a small shift in position (our network update code "guesses" at where the person is in between updates, and often gets it wrong). For larger shifts it could be something else.
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Post by Spazzy McGee » Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:24 am

Bee-zed-flag all the way. I shall defend the british english pronunciation of the letter 'Z' to the death.
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Post by Home Guard » Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:51 pm

Thanks all for your input. It's great to use a forum where the punctuated sentence is still in use!

Blast and Quantum Tank, thanks for the info on jitter. Closing the browser helped.

Spazzy McGee - I like your thinking....

See you all in action!
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Post by Tank 52 » Thu Oct 23, 2008 8:13 pm

Spazzy McGee wrote:Bee-zed-flag all the way. I shall defend the british english pronunciation of the letter 'Z' to the death.
Ok,lets see you defend this :)
Battle flager :wink: (bzflag...) was from battle zone,which were both made in America not british english pronounciation..so bee zee flag for the win? or battle flager if you try to make it sound better or just dont want to have your friends say what the heck is bee zee flagger? or just stumble over the terms....
So yeah,and to answer your question on sliding...depends on the map..if it's a map that's like an ice rink,or basketball field or football field then that's allowed i believe,ive seen it many times before,and yes it could be a physic on the map..but...i doubt it's hacks,if it was then WOW,since in the four months and counting with activity decreasing from this virus im removing .....ive only seen two hackers,using god mode and the hack grace mentioned,and i haven't seen them for at least a month so they probably quit a long while back,so there ya go
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Post by toh » Thu Oct 23, 2008 11:27 pm

Jitter is the measured variation in network latency between you and the server. You might be able to lower it by doing some of the following:

- reduce or remove other traffic on your uplink (p2p is the worst culprit -
you generally can't run Bittorrent with any active transfers over the
same link as a real-time game like BZFlag)
- reduce other CPU load on your machine (this or the above is why
quitting your browser helped).
- if you're using a wireless LAN, use a different channel, different security
settings, or different antenna placement (for instance I've found that
WPA-TKIP works badly with my particular WLAN, while WPA-AES works
very well).
- if nothing else helps, use a better network gateway (possibly through a
mere firmware update). You could test for this by temporarily removing
the gateway altogether, with your computer connected directly to your
cable or DSL modem.

Most cheating is obvious unkillability, though sometimes it's more subtle - I've seen one tank that had Quick Turn all the time, which was visible through the extended info available in Observer mode. Cheating is rather more rare than many players seem to think.

And I pronounce the letter "zed" but the name "beezeeflag". :P

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Post by Spazzy McGee » Fri Oct 24, 2008 12:58 pm

Tank 52 wrote:
Spazzy McGee wrote:Bee-zed-flag all the way. I shall defend the british english pronunciation of the letter 'Z' to the death.
Ok,lets see you defend this :)
Battle flager :wink: (bzflag...) was from battle zone,which were both made in America not british english pronounciation..so bee zee flag for the win? or battle flager if you try to make it sound better or just dont want to have your friends say what the heck is bee zee flagger? or just stumble over the terms....
If i'm saying the title of an american movie or TV show - or anything made in america, I don't say it in an american accent. Why should this be any different?
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Post by Home Guard » Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:16 am

toh,
Jitter is the measured variation in network latency between you and the server. You might be able to lower it by doing some of the following:
Thanks for the advice. I think perhaps I have a combo of problems. The game is run on a older rig (athlon 1ghz, 128m agp2 vid, 1g ram, usb wlan) and, to be honest, tends to be slow with AV and Registry protection running in the background.
Closing other apps helped, but I still get jitter warnings. I'll try different channels and perhaps different security if i can get the other users to agree.
I wonder if there are any settings to change in the game? Dropping display quality would presumably lower CPU load but looking at the lag/jitter stats these seem to vary widely irrespective of any changes I make.
Finally, in an effort to squeeze maximum speed from XP, the QoS service was disabled (among others). Anyone know if this is liable to be a factor?

Thanks again for your input.

PS - I know I'm very newbie, but I am exceptionally bad at the game and scores of -50 appear rapidly :cry: . Is my jitter likely to make it harder to hit targets (he says in desparation)?
One day, I'll get a positive score....

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Post by joevano » Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:53 am

In answer to your PS... Yes, technically it could. But I can almost guarantee that isn't it, quickly falling scores are the norm for newbies. :) Don't worry so much about your score, it will take you quite a few weeks of constant playing to hold your own on most servers. Just go out and have fun, the score will follow in time.
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Post by z[h]ero » Sat Oct 25, 2008 9:21 am

David_UK wrote:I think perhaps I have a combo of problems. The game is run on a older rig (athlon 1ghz, 128m agp2 vid, 1g ram, usb wlan)
It looks to me, your usb wlan could be a potential issue! So before wasting time with trying out lots of different settings, I would first simply connect your computer via cable to your router, instead via wlan, and then check your lag/jitter. (And I suggest to unplug your wlan during this test)
David_UK wrote:and, to be honest, tends to be slow with AV
AV makes the system genreally slow at boot-time and while scanning files. I can't imagine AV making your system slow while playing BZ, as it doesn't scan files when you are playing (unless it accomplishes an AV-update). Though it maybe wouldn't be a bad idea to deactivate AV during tests.
David_UK wrote:I wonder if there are any settings to change in the game?
Yes:
Options => Display Settings
But just tell us your fps, if you don't have a low value, then you don't need to worry about changing the game-settings.
David_UK wrote:Finally, in an effort to squeeze maximum speed from XP, the QoS service was disabled (among others). Anyone know if this is liable to be a factor?
Never ever cared about XP-QoS. But it would be a bad service if the activation of this service would add much cpu time, specially on a machine like a 1Ghz Athlon. So I wouldn't worry about it.
Edit: I checked XP and another Windows OS, both have QoS activated by default, it doesn't harm my connection.

In worst case, the issue is your ISP! And then there's nothing else for it but to change your ISP.
David_UK wrote:Is my jitter likely to make it harder to hit targets (he says in desparation)?
It's the other way round. Players will have a hard time to hit you due to your lag/jitter, which is an unfair game for them, that's why some servers kick players with too much lag/jitter.
Wirth's law: "Software is getting slower more rapidly than hardware becomes faster."

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Post by joevano » Sat Oct 25, 2008 10:57 am

And once again, I am going to throw this out there. FIRST, make sure you have the most current drivers for your WLAN card from the manufacturer's web site. I don't know how many times I have talked to players who were having horrible jitter and they were trying all different kinds of things, but the real solution was the network drivers. New drivers will never* hurt, and they can help tremendously.
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Post by Cobra_Fast » Sun Oct 26, 2008 5:03 pm

1) Im from germany and i always pronounced it bee-zed-flag :)
2) yeah cheat or moving surface
3) your internet connection is not fast enough so you are driving in the past for other players. it can make you able to shoot someone without your enemie every saw you.

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Post by Home Guard » Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:23 pm

joevano
FIRST, make sure you have the most current drivers for your WLAN card
Thanks. My drivers and router firmware are up to date.


z[h]ero - thanks for some great info:
connect your computer via cable to your router
Mobo is so old it doesn't have on board NIC! I'll need to source a pci nic and move the pc to test this - I'll report back.
I can't imagine AV making your system slow
Good to know.
tell us your fps, if you don't have a low value, then you don't need to worry about changing the game-settings.
Usually 20-25, dipping occasionally to 16fps. This is on best display settings and motion looks smooth to me - any need to change anything?
XP-QoS
I've re-enabled the service - little time to play just yet so I don't know if it has an impact.
Players will have a hard time to hit you due to your lag/jitter
Oh, it's my skill then.... :( :(


I'll update after more tests. Thanks.
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Post by blast » Mon Oct 27, 2008 12:24 am

Anything less than 30FPS is probably too low, and will cause issues like higher lag and jitter. Basically, our networking code isn't getting enough time to send stuff out because your computer is too busy drawing. I would recommend that you play with the display options and resolution to see if you can get that closer to 30 or 40.

One thing that might help as well is in the GUI Options menu. In there, you can change the radar style. See if the "Fast" setting runs faster for you. I think it was more optimized for hardware acceleration, but might not always work. I've had pretty good luck with it though.
Last edited by blast on Mon Oct 27, 2008 12:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Quantum Tank » Mon Oct 27, 2008 12:25 am

I really would not be worrying about your skill. It took an insanely long time before I got even close to the positives. Just try to watch players at the top of the list and copy what they're doing. Also, if you see a server up that says "public hix", go play there. You probably won't do so good as there are very good players who play there, but it is great for improving dodging/rico/jumping/aiming etc. Even if you don't really feel it at first you are probably getting better. Try it. And if you really like the map, you can join the GU league which is lots of fun.

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Post by Grace F » Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:23 am

Quantum Tank wrote:Also, if you see a server up that says "public hix", go play there. You probably won't do so good as there are very good players who play there, but it is great for improving dodging/rico/jumping/aiming etc. Even if you don't really feel it at first you are probably getting better. Try it. And if you really like the map, you can join the GU league which is lots of fun.
HERE is the link to the GU Website, as a side note.
There are alot of friendly players with alot of experience who will more than happily help out.
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Post by Amoeba » Mon Oct 27, 2008 7:59 pm

Don't feel bad about your skill, I'm still awful and I've been playing all year (I'm a seasoned n00b!).

Your geographical location may affect your jitter too, I know servers in other countries (or the other side of the US) sometimes give me lag and stuff.

And we Yanks call it "Bee Zee Flag", which I assume is correct (naturally). I'm not opposed to the "Bee Zed Flag" pronunciation though, and now that I've learned Brits don't say "Zee", I can impersonate you all better! Whatever you do, however, do NOT meet another BZFlagger and call it "Busy Flag". You probably would never live it down.

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Post by Home Guard » Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:00 pm

"Busy Flag"
Lol! :D

blast:
Anything less than 30FPS is probably too low, and will cause issues like higher lag and jitter.
See if the "Fast" setting runs faster for you.
Ah, ok, I'll play with these- thanks.

toh: thanks -
if you're using a wireless LAN, use a different channel, different security
settings, or different antenna placement (for instance I've found that
WPA-TKIP works badly with my particular WLAN, while WPA-AES works
very well).
Ok, I've tried changing to several other channels, and switched to the other encryption option I have but found no improvement. Signal strength is 86% as I'm directly one floor above router.

Update:
Have now tried hard-wiring to the router-modem, and the jitter issues went away - looks like it's pretty much resolved but unfortunately I am physically remote from the router and can only realistically use wireless.
One day, I'll get a positive score....

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