It’s actually an ad, but so relevant. Such a familiar experience in online gaming.
Posted on April 30, 2014 3 Comments
For me this video starts off sort of obvious and silly. Yeah, we know this. And, no kidding, you can’t hit a ping pong ball. But as you go through the video the “obvious” becomes more and more compelling.
In SL the sims are split into 6.5 hectare regions and when you walk across a region crossing you’re actually walking across web servers. There can be a bit or a lot of lag there. Interestingly, that lag isn’t really that annoying. But even a little bit of chat lag can be frustrating. It can make you feel less intelligent as you struggle to get your thoughts out and conversations break down.
Ultimately though, I find “lag” in more than just “lag”. More than just the familiar MMORPG artifacts we know so well. The first shot in this video of the ping pong game felt silly to me, so did the dance class. But as the shots built up, realizing that you can’t cook an egg, then back to the dance class to realize you can’t move. Lag isn’t just “inconvenient,” it robs you of the ability to participate in life. And that experience is all over The Internet.
I think “lag” isn’t just about servers and networks. My Pet-Lag-Peeve of the moment is having to watch a 15-second TV commercial before every YouTube video I want to see. I personally hate this for 2 reasons: 1: it’s lag. Whatever you were thinking about, whatever your mental process, you’ve just been given a 15-second time-out where you have to go stand in the corner until you’re allowed to think again. I get that YouTube has to pay for all those servers and network connections somehow. Sidebar ads on Facebook or Google Search don’t bother me at all, they’re not “time-outs,” but YT ads are. 2: I personally also hate YT ads because they’re increasingly becoming the moronic TV ads that I thought I left behind when I “killed my television.” The “lag” of the YT experience segues into the tentacles of Old Media dragging me back in. And throw in some net neutrality ideas too.
PS: I’m pleased to note that I recently (finally) paid for a Vimeo Plus account. I love the model that lets me pay for something better than the “lag” of YouTube if I choose to.
As an Australian, I am a pro at playing with 250ms+ lag. In fact, I would be screwed if I ever tried to play in the US! I’ve been playing so long with it that I’ve adapted accordingly and know when I can start casting the next spell, etc before it’s even finished.
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