Maybe this latest update will fix Battlefield 4’s online experience

By Brenna Hillier, Wednesday, 4 June 2014 00:28 GMT

Battlefield 4 is great, but let’s face it – it launched kind of broken, and despite loads of worthy updates the online experience is still kind of spotty. Maybe this latest patch will finally bring it up to speed?


According to DICE, today’s patch isn’t a bandaid solution but introduces a whole new netcode to PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, with PS4 and Xbox One versions rolling out later this week.

The new netcode has a number of improved features. On PC, PS4 and Xbox One, it includes something called the “high frequency bubble”, which allows the client to receive more frequent updates from the server. What that means for you as the user is that your PC or console knows what’s happening on everyone else’s a little bit faster, which should result in less lag.

You know when you shoot a guy and the game is like “sorry, he wasn’t actually standing there but an inch to one side, so you missed”? Yeah. Less of that. This feature is switched off by default because its bandwidth intensive, but you can enable it via the settings menu. DICE suggest 1MB upload and download for the highest setting.

Here’s a video of the feature being tested on two games a once. Note that it was filmed at 60FPS but YouTube still downgrades everything to 30FPS, so you’re not seeing it in real-time.

Of course, that’s not all the update does, and DICE certainly isn’t finished optimising BF4’s netcode. The developer seems determined to get the game as close to perfect as it can, and has certainly made enormous strides since launch thanks to continuous support.

By the way, the new net code was tested in the Community Test Environment (a public beta server for Battlefield Premium members) on PC, and as such, it’s the first update DICE has released after live testing among the community.

“The number of changes possible in this update would be difficult to pull off without the continued support from our community, both through direct constructive feedback and telemetry data gathered on the CTE,” the developer said.

That’s kind of cool. Obviously we’d like to see all games be perfect, bug-free experiences, but since that will never, ever happen, the trend of developers being more open about testing and development means improvements should happen faster, and be of better quality. Now, if we can just find some way to do this kind of thing before launch, without having gamers be put off by the lower quality of beta tests.

Unlike Goat Simulator’s hilarious patch notes, the Battlefield 4 update makes for dull reading if you’re not super keen on the nitty-gritties. If that sounds like you – and I respect your dedication, sir, ma’am or other title – then you can get your fill over on Battlelog.

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