Announce a brand new project before your last one has completely succeeded in delivering on its initial promises and said shiny, new game is going to draw a huge amount of ire from the fans of your work. That’s the reasoning behind some of the negative responses that EA and DICE received last week when they announced Battlefield Hardline despite some issues plaguing the current game in the series, Battlefield 4. Did we mention that multiple DLC packs and microtransactions have released throughout this time?
Even with the information that Dead Space developer Visceral Games would be taking the lead on Battlefield Hardline, an ambitious cops vs robbers themed series entry, Karl Magnus Troedsson, DICE VP & Group GM, also announced via blog post that the majority of the team at DICE would be working on fixing existing Battlefield 4 problems.
Announced in another blog post from the Battlefield 4 team, an update to the game’s ‘Netcode’ is set to be rolled out as promised in Troedsson’s aforementioned statement. The netcode is the server side aspect of the game that is responsible for network communication, and netcode issues can result in lag as well as the game’s now notorious ‘Rubber Banding bug.’
The netcode update was developed using the Community Testing Environment (CTE) on PC and is, according to DICE, “the first update being deployed using [players’] gameplay feedback.” DICE also cites “direct constructive feedback” and “telemetry data” which results in a high frequency network update, a server upgrade and a small change in physics based features such as character collision detection.
The first of these — the high frequency network update — allows the game to update the client on the fly, according to what is happening in the game. A “High Frequency Bubble” can be detected and within a certain radius around the player the client can be updated at a higher rate from the server. The Battlefield 4 team further explained this by using the video below and stating that “What this essentially means is that the server will update the client on what is happening more often than before. This normally results in a smoother, more “correct” player experience.”
High frequency bubbles are switched off by default and so if you think your download and upload speeds are fast enough (DICE has included LOW, MEDIUM and HIGH settings that you can choose depending on your bandwidth) players can enable it in the settings. Unfortunately, this high frequency smoothness will only be available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One meaning that those on last-gen miss out.
What will also be music to to PC, PS4 and Xbox One players’ ears is that unlike some other aspects of the update, this high frequency improvement will be rolled out immediately, at first to all of the 48 player servers and to “a small set” of 64 player servers which will likely boost the performance of the high performance servers that DICE recently included to fix the 64 player match only Rubber Banding bug that plagued those platforms. DICE also explains that “If all goes well, all servers will be supporting the high frequency update after 24 hours or rollout and testing” so with that all potentially fixed then, there might even be potential for those 128 and 256 player matches to take place as was suggested a while ago.
While it may seem as though the PC, PS4 and the Xbox One got the brunt of the improvements with the new Battlefield 4 update, there are plenty of solution morsels and patch notes for BF4 players on last-gen platforms to salivate over. Some highlights include: improved/reduced explosion induced camera shake, Rent A Server bug fixes and character collision improvements.
With the time required for key patches for BF4 – in an annualized, overly monetized series – there are concerns for DICE’s upcoming triple-A projects including Star Wars: Battlefront and Mirror’s Edge 2 – the former of which is undoubtedly going to be release date driven (timed with the release of Star Wars: Episode VII) like the studio’s core Battlefield installments. Will it be ready (like, actually ready) for launch in terms of features and polish when it debuts next year?
The link to read the full patch notes for the new Battlefield 4 update is below and it’s available on PS3 and Xbox 360 now, while it will be available for PC, PS4 and Xbox One later in the week.
Source: Battlefield Blog