Multiplayer games have always existed, but the advent of online games was a watershed moment for gaming. There are now many blockbuster titles that are mostly or entirely focused around online play.
However, there are a number of issues gamers face that can seriously impede performance and affect the gaming experience.
For instance, a lag occurs when the connection between the player and the game’s host server can’t maintain the necessary speed, causing frame skips and slowdowns. PC gamers must also contend with various issues regarding hardware conflicts and a general lack of power, potentially making games unplayable. And then there’s the growing problem of targeted distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against game servers and even developers themselves.
Fortunately, these issues can be mitigated by taking a few simple measures.
Use Ethernet Instead of Wi-Fi
Regardless of how fast your internet connection is, or how good your wireless router is, a wired Ethernet connection will always be faster. If you regularly experience lag and slowdowns or notice a higher ping than you are used to, switching from a Wi-Fi connection to Ethernet can make all the difference.
Note that lag is different from a framerate drop, although they both cause the game to slow down and become difficult to play. Framerate drops are mostly caused by hardware that is either incompatible or outdated, whereas lag results from a slow connection to the game server.
Close Background Programs
It’s easy to forget about the programs you have running in the background on your computer, especially if it’s been on for a while. In fact, gamers commonly minimize their games temporarily, then open another without thinking twice. Such background processes, especially if they’re resource-intensive, can reduce both the available hardware power and your connection speed.
The simplest solution is to make sure that you shut down your games and other apps entirely when you aren’t using them, rather than minimizing them. Similarly, when you want to launch a new game, check to see if you have any already running.
Smart Close is a handy piece of software that will close all non-essential system processes. By running it before your gaming session, you can be certain that you will have all the resources your system has at its disposal.
Optimize Game Settings for Smooth Performance
It’s easy to understand the temptation to max out your game settings so you could appreciate it in all its glory, with maximum graphical fidelity and all that. Even with a decent system at your disposal, you are still at the mercy of game developers. A poorly optimized title will require much more power to achieve the same results as a well-optimized title running on a lower spec rig.
If you are noticing that the game runs slowly, or you experience regular framerate dips, try to reduce your graphics settings. If you have a high-resolution monitor, you can bring the anti-aliasing down without suffering a significant decline in quality. Most games give you a lot of control over your graphics settings.
You can think of drivers as being the instruction manuals for your computer. The drivers for your mouse and keyboard tell your computer and its OS how to interact with these devices. The drivers for your graphics card serve the same function, but whereas you can install default drivers for your keyboard and mouse and never look back, your graphics drivers will need regular updating.
DirectX refers to a bundle of APIs that are vital to handling multimedia, in particular, game programming and graphics. DirectX is regularly updated, and these updates often coincide with updates to graphics card drivers. Both Nvidia and AMD offer tools for managing your graphics card and automatically updating drivers.
Use a VPN
Given the renewed focus on privacy, mainly concerning our personal data and online browsing habits, everyone should be looking to use a VPN. A VPN will encrypt your internet traffic, disguise your location. Also, many of VPN services come with built-in security features to further improve your online safety.
There is a widespread misconception that a VPN is antithetical to online gaming. Many people are under the impression that a VPN needs to be switched off when gaming online. However, in reality, many VPN providers offer services tailored for gaming or include a gaming mode in their applications. Often, you can find specific servers designed for online gaming, which can exponentially improve your overall gaming experience.
Nowadays, the myth of VPNs slowing down your connection speed is a thing of the past.
Maintaining stellar performance when gaming online isn’t difficult. All you need to do is follow these simple steps outlined above, and you can enjoy a solid performance at all times.