NOW, NET GAMESTERS CAN ZAP IN SYNC
WHEN PLAYING COMBAT GAMES OVER THE INTERNET, THE delay of a quarter of a second can mean the difference between victory and death. That's because the way Net games work now, a player throws a punch, and the player's PC sends out individual messages to all the other participants letting them know the move. This, however, can create a lag--and worse, the amount of time it takes each player to receive the message varies, giving some an unfair advantage.
To improve play, Seattle startup RTime Inc. is using software pioneered on SimNet, the interactive combat training network used by the military. RTime allows the player to send one message to a server, and the server then disperses it simultaneously to all the players--no more unfair edge. The software is embedded in both the PC and server, which the game developer or game site runs. This software coordination helps smooth out the wait by keeping the game moving between plays--say, showing your character's arm moving back to prepare for the punch. As that data reaches your opponent, you both see the same thing: a punch in the face. RTime will charge other developers a royalty of 25 cents for every hour of game play.
EDITED BY IRA SAGER
Updated June 15, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1997, Bloomberg L.P.