Center for Human Modeling and Simulation

Document Type

Conference Paper

Date of this Version


Publication Source

Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Applied Perception (SAP 2014)

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SAP 2014, August 8-9, 2014, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Response lag in digital games is known to negatively affect a player’s game experience. Particularly with networked multiplayer games, where lag is typically unavoidable, the impact of delays needs to be well understood so that its effects can be mitigated. In this paper, we investigate two aspects of lag independently: latency (constant delay) and jitter (varying delay). We evaluate how latency and jitter each affect a player’s enjoyment, frustration, performance, and experience as well as the extent to which players can adjust to such delays after a few minutes of gameplay. We focus on a platform game where the player controls a virtual character through a world. We find that delays up to 300ms do not impact the players’ experience as long as they are constant. When jitter was added to a delay of 200ms, however, the lag was noticed by participants more often, hindered players’ ability to improve with practice, increased how often they failed to reach the goal of the game, and reduced the perceived motion quality of the character.

Copyright/Permission Statement

© ACM 2014. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive Version of Record was published in Symposium of Applied Perception,


virtual characters, digital games, responsiveness, controller latency, control lag, jitter



Date Posted: 13 January 2016