We’ve received some questions about what we will be doing with the Netplay for Shattered. We’d like to give you guys some insight into to plans concerning online play.

Fighting games are one of the most unforgiving genres of games when it comes to online play. Even the slightest delay in your inputs can be detrimental to landing your combos and reacting in time to an opponents attack. This means there’s technically only one solution, and that is rollback netplay.

Rollback netplay ensures that there is zero delay for both players. Both players send their inputs simultaneously, and once your receive the input of the player several frames later, the move that was supposed to come out is retroactively placed into your game.

As there is no way to completely get rid of delay, this means that once the game state is corrected the move will have already begun, and you’ll miss the visual cue of some frames of the start up of a move. This is usually not a problem, when the delay is fairly low between two players, but it can, sometimes lead to the dreaded ‘rollbacks’. If you press a move that hits before the opponent received the data that says you pressed the button, it is possible that you see your move hit, and a few frames later suddenly find the opponent magically blocking it.

Some players find these rollbacks incredibly annoying, and for this reason prefer delay-based netplay over rollback netplay. But the magic of rollback netplay is that it can be both!  Rollback netplay can also let you choose to manually set an amount of frames of delay, to whatever number of frames that you still consider playable. This gives the netplay more time to figure out what is happening, and therefore increases the visual fidelity.

We have not decided on whether we will license a third party rollback netplay, or whether we will implement our own netplay. If the latter is the case, we luckily have access to excellent technical articles by Ponder (the creator of GGPO) and Mauve (the creator of Rollcaster) detailing the issues and technicalities of rollback netplay.

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