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OMG! LAG! Explained.

AeSix

[SysOp]
Staff member
Owner
#1
Reading this, you will learn about, understand, and know how to correct *some* lag.

There is three kinds of lag. Some you can do nothing about, some you may have the ability to help alleviate, and some is all on you. Not all lag is equal, and not all lag is fixable without throwing money at it (and in some circumstance, we could be talking 10's of thousands!) We will cover each type below.

The three types of lag, or latency, are server-side, network connection, and client side. Anything related to the server is server-side. If it's pertaining to the connection anywhere between the host server computer and the player's computer, it's network connection. And finally, if it's something to do with anything on the player's computer, it's client side. We'll cover these in this order.

Server-side:
There's several possible causes of server-side latency. The server is overloaded - meaning the game requires more resources than the computer has available for it, such as CPU processing, RAM, or even harddisk/storage read/write speeds. This is a new-admin mistake. It can also happen if there's a broken plugin which is using more resources than it should. If too many people are on doing too many too-intensive things (worldedit, slimefun machines, etc), this can also cause this kind of lag.

Network connection:
There's three parts to this; server/datacenter connection, the vastness of the internet, and the player's ISP or home network. If a lot of, or all players are having connection lag, it's in the servers' datacenter. If it's only affecting a few, it's more than likely the route between the client and server through the internet that is messed up - reconnecting may resolve it. If it's just one, or coincidentally two, then it's probably the ISP or that person's home network. Power cycling the modem, router, wifi box, the big ugly "internet box" - what ever you call it - unplug the power (and remove the battery if it has one) for AT LEAST 5 minutes. Why so long? Because "modern" networking equipment takes that long for all of the electricity to dissipate and re-set to a normal working condition (this will not reset it's configuration or break your internet unless it's well past broken in other ways, then you need to get it replaced by your ISP anyways!)

Client-side:
This is where things really start to fall apart. Why? Because of all the different computers, OSs, graphics cards, CPUs, client options, etc.

So, if you're having issues with Minecraft, the first thing you should do is install a new profile of the current version of Minecraft (what ever that version is at the time, but NOT snapshots!), and run it in single player mode. If the issue persists, you know your computer is a potato and you need to upgrade it. (With Minecraft 1.13.2, an nVidia GTX 1050 Ti and Ryzen 7 1700 with 16GBs DDR4 RAM, and all options set to best, I get 15-30 FPS on Minecats - with Optifine installed, much higher) If your computer can't run Minecraft acceptably with default config options in single player, you'll want to limit as much as you can.


To get to this screen, press "Esc", click on "Options" button, then "Video Settings" We'll go over the options one by one:

Fullscreen Resolution: Current (you should not be running Minecraft in full screen if you're having issues!)

Graphics: Fast - uses simple versions of the textures for some things, like leaves. It helps a LOT by itself.
Smooth Lighting: Off - lighting calculations can destroy a CPU's performance, setting this to false limits that
Use VSync: Off - VSync makes the game obey your monitor's vertical refresh rate, and artificially limits your FPS, with it off, you may achieve spurts of high fps. With it on, you will have more consistent FPS (in theory)
GUI Scale: Auto (this just changes the size of the buttons, chat, etc - does not have a performance issue
Brightness: Bright - again, no performance difference between settings, just makes the game brighter/darker
Fullscreen: Off - unless you have a dedicated GPU card, you'll want to play windowed mode.
Mipmap Levels: Only enable this if you have a dedicated GPU, or a Ryzen or newer Intel CPU with build in GPU
Entity Shadows: Off - shadows are nice, but they can add up, especially in mob farms. Lots of GPU processing for meh.

Render Distance: Realistically, this shouldn't ever need to be more than 12 unless you have a lot of GPU memory. Likewise, if you need to go below 5 to make Minecraft play smoothly, you can get a dedicated GPU for under $80 that will greatly improve your PC. I suggest spending $180~ however. nVidia or AMD cards are just as good. Get the best you can afford.
Max Framerate: This is more often used to limit the FPS, artifically, but in a way which does not impact performance - in fact, limiting this down to 25 can greatly help with steady FPS.
View Bobbing: Off - this has no performance hit, but it makes a lot of people seasick (myself included!)
Attack Inficator: Just aesthetics, no performance differences
Clouds: Off - OMG! One of the simplest things to do to increase performance without much notice is to turn off clouds.
Particls: Minimal - some particles are really required for the game to function properly, so turning them off completly isn't allowed without mods. Particles can have a huge affect on your performance, but limiting them removes some of the shine and polish from the game. Play with this to see what suits you best.
Use VBOs: Off - Vertex Buffer Objects - this is a mechanism that can be of great benefit to performance in some cases, and a hit in others - even with the same video card. Setting this to enabled is preferred, and will help with latency if your GPU card supports it properly. Not really good for CPU graphics, maybe the Ryzen and Intel's latest CPUs support it. Worth playing with to see if one setting helps over the other.
Biome Blend: 5x5 - this should be left alone, but if you want to squeeze every bit of performance, you can set this to off, and the biome colorations won't blend at all, leaving a stark difference between swamp and ocean waters, for example.

That's it for in-game options. Most players can fix latency issues with these settings. If you install Optifine, you will be greeted with a much larger array of options. You can find more information about these on their wiki. However, installing Optifine is usually more than enough to increase client performance, at least in the area of graphics.


There is also the same afflictions which cause latency on the server to do so for the client - not enough CPU, RAM, too slow storage and network speeds, and of course ISP/network issues. Some players may benefit from making sure there is no other programs running on their computer before playing Minecraft. This isn't always possible, advisable or desirable however. Such things like virus protections, music players, web browser, Discord, etc may want to be used at the same time. You'll have to figure out the best balance. Or, save up for a better PC, or upgrades.

As Minecraft continues to evolve and update - it's requirements to run it smooth are increasing at an ever expanding rate. Minecraft was once wildly popular because of the range of computers it could run on. Now, however, to run Minecraft, at least newer versions, it needs a real gaming PC, even a low end one - but modern. Even a 1050 Ti, Ryzen 7 and 16 GBs DDR4 RAM isn't enough to give me 100fps without Optifine. Keep that in mind.
 

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