FIFA 20

Inconsistent FUT gameplay isn’t related to the servers or your latency, but to the entire netcode and inconsistent mechanics

On my main account in FIFA, I have received Closed Beta codes for a couple of years.

I have been researching FIFA's gameplay for 5 instalments. Rarely, I had good gameplay, in any of these iterations, and I have been playing online with under 24ms for this whole time. However, I have never had such bad gameplay like in FIFA21.

In FIFA21, I had 2 squad battles with responsive gameplay during the EA Play, and that included everything (e.g. passing, switching, etc.). After these two matches, I went on twitter and said that I was surprised that they, actually, addressed issues highlighted during the Beta. After this tweet everything went downhill. Both Squad Battles and Online became unplayable.

At this point in time, I was suspecting some code lines conflicting and there was no other explanation for everything to change so quickly. At a later date, I read something on Twitter, that changing RS switching to "ball relative" will make switching a lot better. I tried this setting and I was, luckily, recording in OBS. I was playing Squad Battles and my gameplay became the most responsive gameplay I have ever had in 5 years of FIFA. All my defenders were ending up with the ball after tackles and I played a high rated/100 chemistry team that I, literally, dismantled (Legendary). They scored against me though, but I wasn't even mad, as it was MY MISTAKE, as I was able to control my players for the entire match! I was playing these matches on a Saturday afternoon when, arguably, "tHe SerVers ArE OverLoAdeD". I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I can blame myself for mistakes in this game.

One more point I want to make, in relation to my experience: IT DID NOT MATTER WHEN I PLAYED MY ONLINE MATCHES (e.g. 3 AM, 9PM, 4PM), the gameplay has always been disgusting.

Last year, there were a couple of posts, around FIFA FORUMS and reddit, talking about lag compensation and how this influences the gameplay based on latency. Those posts, barely, scratched the surface of the things I found out.

As mentioned before, I have done extensive research in relation to the gameplay and the fact my gameplay responsiveness did not change, regardless of the hour I played at, I can tell you, for a fact, that servers' load has nothing to do with the gameplay you experience. I WAS ABLE TO SIMULATE SPEED UP LAG, AND SPEED UP LAG IS THE RESULT OF THE SAME ISSUES THAT MAKE THE NO LOSS GLITCHES A FOREVER PROBLEM: UDP PACKETS USING RESENDING COMMANDS. The first time I read about UDP resends on the PITCH NOTES of FIFA19 (this is not something I came up with) I was baffled (update #15). How can you have resends on UDP? The UDP's nature is to be susceptible to packet loss. This happens because EA are control freaks.

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There are two facets of inconsistent gameplay: network related issues and physics/game engine coding.

Physics and engine coding issues include all the mechanics in the game being inconsistent: tackling, passing, shooting, etc. For as long as these mechanics won't be consistent this game will not be a game based on skill (no one can argue PROs "gEt oVeR thEse InconVeniEncEs"; PROs do not have these issues; at this point, I have a far-fetched feeling they even have a different version of the game, no one knows how they don't get these issues).

The lack of a controller overlay has been, partially, the only thing holding me back from streaming/making videos on these issues (gameplay mechanics). But with the addition of the overlay, EA have, literally, given us the tools to bring them down. Best example is shooting: I have been experiencing, very often, me shooting to a specific post and the ball going to the other one since FIFA 20. The first time it happened, in FIFA 20, is the most vivid memory I have of FIFA. I was aiming, with baby Raul, to the near post, on his left foot, but the game decides to shoot far post (this was a WL goal). He scores, I win the game with that goal. How can that be skill? However, never had it on video, until last week when started recording some Squad Battles from the beginning and I had the overlay on. Any untrained mind would have said "yoU'vE ChaNgeD DiRectIon On The LasT MomEnT!". The overlay, clearly, shows I never did. I was shooting far post but the game changes the arrow and my shot to the middle of the net!

Network related stuff in gaming has been named Netcode by the gamers community.

Netcode issues are as following and no one seems to talk about these, blaming everything, only on the servers:

– servers run at 30hz update rate, the only improvement EA could do is to up these rates to 60hz (old consoles won't be able to keep up on higher rates; not sure about new gen); THIS WILL NOT CHANGE THE FEELING OF THE GAME, as some people don't experience any issues at 30hz; however, for an eSports, 30hz is pretty pathetic; Fortnite and Rocket League use 60hz;

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– the UDP packet they use is GVSP over UDP, which was, initially, created for security cameras (nothing wrong with that); the problem with this type of packets is that – IT USES RESENDING COMMANDS for blocks/packets; this means if the information contained in one specific packet is lost, the console/server sends a command to get that info back; in security cameras that is mandatory, so the camera can record in real time; ohh, and btw, EA wrote about packets resends in their pitch notes; this could be down to different factors (e.g. internet connection, internet adapters, ethernet cables, etc.);

Shouldn't that be the same in video gaming? NO! And this point will correlate how ANIMATIONS are displayed. If someone, for example, has 1% PL and his opponent has 0%, the guy with 0% will have his, for example, passing delayed, until the server gets the same timestamped info the other guy has sent, but lost, whether is cutting the passing lanes, tackling, etc..

– animations do not work as in other games; they are, solely, based on input delay; just like the old P2P fighting games;

– the above example was based only on packet loss, but now, add a difference in 20ms in latency and I am, pretty, sure you can imagine the s***show you're going to get, or even better add 20ms average latency and a range of 20 ms jitter;

– high interpolation buffers; which make animations be delayed even more; essentially, interpolation is "the smoothness" of animations aka the trick used to lie to you that you do not have any lag; this is another topic EA talked about in the same Pitch Notes for Update #15; essentially, the game buys more time to come up with an animation for your inputs.

Now, combine all these things with the horrendous mechanics above and it's a clusterf***! I love it when EA comes up with a Pitch Notes and all they say is some vague s*** without actual NUMBERS: "The second change is focused on reducing the amount of maximum buffer between when gameplay information is received by the game and when it is visually rendered on the screen". Where are the numbers? SHOW ME THE F*****G NUMBERS?

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This year I only played 15-20 matches online and I decided not to waste my time on grinding an unrewarding game. Last year, I built a PC and started playing Valorant. This is how RIOT Games delivers patch notes, and this is for Agent Yoru in Patch 2.06:

"Blindside (Q)

– Flash activation time decreased 0.8>>> 0.6 seconds

– Flash duration increased from 1.1>>>1.5"

I gave feedback on most issues that we've had in FIFA21 (networking wise) since the BETA and most of them have not been addressed. Most important one: "tHe ViSuAl eRrOr" displaying half of your latency to the server making you believe there were new closer servers to where you lived. Addressed this on 27/10/2021 patch, after people made their decision whether to buy the game or not! Hilarious!

If you've made it so far, I would like to thank you for reading all these.

PS: I made this post on FIFA forums, earlier, and it was deleted after less than 1 minute!

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