WPI - Computer Science Department, PhD Dissertation Defense , Shengmei Liu " The Impact of Latency on Players in First-person Shooter Games "



Shengmei Liu

PhD Candidate

WPI – Computer Science

Friday, December 16, 2022

Time: 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Zoom link: https://wpi.zoom.us/j/8955545805

Committee Members:

Prof.  Mark Claypool - Computer Science, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Prof.  Carl Gutwin - Computer Science, University of Saskatchewan

Prof.  Lane Harrison - Computer Science, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Doctor Jamie Sherman - Senior Researcher, Atlassian


The first-person shooter game is the most popular genre in esports and among the most affected by latency. In general, the lower the latency, the sooner a player sees the outcome of their actions.  Techniques to study latency and individual games cannot scale to cover all possible first-person shooter games.  Our approach is to study and model the primary actions in first-person shooter games, and use the models as building blocks to simulate first-person shooter scenarios with latency.

 We focus on the two main actions players take in first-person shooter games – navigation (get in position to shoot or avoid being shot), and selection (shoot at a moving or stationary target).

We gather data on each action via user studies and build mathematical models for player performance. By incorporating the models for different actions, we simulate game scenarios by sampling in-sight windows and shots in the windows and varying parameters for different game scenarios.

We validate the simulation results using data from first-person shooter games, finding that our simulation predicts outcomes from a custom FPS game well, but less well on CS:GO data probably due to difference in game modes and built-in latency compensation. Once validated, we simulate first-person shooter games with a broad range of games and game configurations including latency, latency compensation, player skill, room size, firing rate and target size. we find that latency compensation, number of hits required to kill an opponent and player skill have large effects on the performance of players with latency, but map size, effect size and firing rate do not.

DEPARTMENT(S): Computer Science