[NTHW] have splashed the cash. Our BF4 servers now operate at a 60Hz tickrate. Initial testing shows that this should reduce many of the complaints players have raised, generically referred to as "netcode".
The recent Battlefield 4 patch from DICE, along with changes by our Game Server Provider, Fragnet
, enabled the operation of higher tickrate servers. Previously, the default speed of 30Hz had been used by everyone.
Tickrate is essentially the number of times a server (and client) sends and receives information. Think of the speed of a bullet and the slightest movement of a player. Any delay in the speed of the updates appearing on your computer, decreases the accuracy of the game and determining where objects might be and attributing a hit or miss. At 30Hz there were 30 updates a second (that was equivalent to a delay of 33ms + added time for your ping / latency and screen refresh). At 60Hz there are 60 updates a second (delay reduced to 16.6ms + ping and screen refresh). NTHW believes that the 60Hz servers will be the new default preference.
The original Frostbite game engine that BF4 used tried to address the delay in server - client updates with predictions. But many players did observe problems. Some of the limitations of the initial server tickrates were related to hardware demands on both server and client, but also the bandwidth needed. Remember BF was designed for up to 64 players, plus a further 2 commander and 4 spectator slots, and is now two years old. Hardware has changed a lot. Even so, whilst servers at up to 144Hz tickrates have been made available, the costs per slot are very significant, and demands on hardware such that these really fast servers can only accommodate 20 players.
There are some issues for players to consider. New warning icons are displayed in game (see attachment)
- Hopefully you won't get the server load warnings from us.
- Packet loss is probably a common thing, simply due to the way the internet works. Data will probably get to and from the server / client eventually, but possibly not in the sequence or time required. When many are using other stuff on their PCs including TeamSpeak there may be some mix ups. Many of us saw these icons on our standard server so it's not a problem of the upgrade.
- Latency, in DICE's terms, also relates to Pings. If latency / ping is too high the updates to and from the server take too long and decrease the accuracy benefits that the faster tickrate offered. Variation of the latency/ping will also introduce unpredictability. Variation warnings may indicate you have something else running on your own network?
- FPS (fames per second) relates to your graphics output. With the "normal" 30Hz tickrate, the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit - the graphics card) should have been refreshing faster than the updates. At 60Hz some older GPUs may not keep up especially if the video detail settings are set to give you too high a level of detail in the game. If 60Hz is your monitor's maximum refresh rate, your GPU may be able to go higher, but if you have vertical sync on the card will be limited to the monitor, even if it could go faster, and any little glitches would bring up the warning. You can check your framerate in game by entering the console command "perfoverlay.drawfps 1".
We hope you enjoy the new BF4 experience. It really is a game changer.