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Two networking techniques will create a level playing field for online gaming

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Imagine this: You and your buddy just joined a Battle Royale Minecraft server for a quick battle. You’ve got time for one more game today. In the end, you know it’s probably going to come down to him and you — 1-on-1. In the meantime, you’re teaming up. First, you hit the airfield in the southernmost part of the map, because that’s where the loot is. But everyone else knows that, too, so others are there waiting. You hit them with a bunch of witch bombs — that witches’ poison is vicious! — and grab the loot which includes a diamond sword. It’s a good thing too, because on your way out you run into a horde of zombies. You attack. You take out the first one, the second, the third and … what? Everything stops. Your screen freezes!

This is the other battle that millions of players experience. You’re not just competing against your opponents; you’re also fighting latency and your intermittent connection.

In gaming, milliseconds matter. These problems are persistent, and they make it extremely difficult to provide a level playing field for competitive gamers. Issues of latency and interruptions can be extremely damaging to both network integrity and user experience.

And beyond the network performance aspect, as games have become more popular and financial rewards have exploded, cheating has become rampant in gaming as well and another challenge for game organizers. For example, in a Dota 2 competition with an $18 million prize pool and 200 million concurrent streams, organizers had to pause the game when one of the teams created a botnet that began attacking other competitors.

In recent years, game organizers have continued to struggle with ever-evolving avenues of attack on the integrity of their competitions. They are spending millions of dollars to buy more powerful hardware and software and to arrange the pieces to make it harder to hack their games, but no one has figured out a solution that will solve these problems in a way that scales as the number of players mounts. As a result, DDoS and other attacks continue to succeed.

Although this sounds daunting, there are things we can do with up-to-date technology to solve both the latency and intermittency problems and the security vulnerabilities. And we can fix these issues without reinventing the wheel.

The most important thing to note is that all of these cloud-based games rely on a multitude of connections enabled by the internet backbone. When you are playing a first-person shooter and click to pull the trigger, before the bullet leaves your gun, the signal travels from your machine through your ISP and hops from node to node across the Internet, likely traversing thousands of miles of physical cables, until it reaches the game servers, Then it has to come back to you. And only then you do you see something happen on your screen. In a popular gaming event, there might be millions of these transmissions between gamers and game servers every minute — each connection a potential weak link.

The problem is that the public internet was not optimized to create the fast, consistent, secure  connections that gaming requires. An effective solution has to operate at the infrastructure level.

To secure against attacks, it is now possible using new technology for an organizer to employ a Discord bot to easily configure a game server that automatically encrypts all connections made within a network with high-performance tunneling. It would be as if each user was using a VPN, but without the manual configuration and slowed performance.

In the absence of encryption, an attacker who has access to a single machine could gain access to all of the other network connections. Universal encryption defangs such attacks even if — as in the Dota 2 example above — attacks come from a machine within the network of gamers connected to the server, because a single compromised connection would not enable to intercept the transmissions from other endpoints. It would also enable organizers to monitor the services within each endpoint, identifying malicious actors in real-time. This would provide them a defense against many of the types of cheating we have seen at these events. No one is doing this yet because until now it’s been an extremely hard problem to solve.

Secondly, in gaming, the difference between winning or losing is often measured in milliseconds, so solving the problems of jittery connections and latency is critical. One solution that we can employ without rebuilding the entire Internet infrastructure from scratch is adding — for organizers and individual gamers — an enhanced routing protocol layer that provides an alternative to the internet’s default Border Gateway Protocol. Instead of routing statically based on the number of network hops, a smart routing protocol will identify the fastest, most efficient route in real time. If the planned route becomes congested, a dynamic router could re-route traffic automatically, ensuring a consistent and equitable experience across all players within a game.

These two steps would get us a long way toward building a gaming experience that is more fun and more fair.

Oh, yeah, back to your Minecraft match. One second later your connection comes back, but it’s one second too late — just in time to watch yourself go from half a heart to dead. Maybe you’re the type who will find some comfort in the fact that your friend actually won the match. Or maybe you just want a better internet.

Jonas Simanavicius is the chief technology officer of Syntropy, a San Francisco-based company that is building a programmable internet that delivers novel technologies that make web interactions faster, more reliable and more secure for businesses and everyday users. 

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Source: https://venturebeat.com/2021/03/11/two-networking-techniques-will-create-a-level-playing-field-for-online-gaming/

Esports

LoL: Blaber Named 2021 LCS Spring Split Honda MVP

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Brandon Sturak

Brandon is a writer and editor for ESTNN with a passion for esports. He writes about League of Legends and esports generally, providing analysis and commentary on both. He is a founding member of Niagara University Esports, while being the previous mid laner and Head Coach for the NU Esports LoL team as well. Twitter @GhandiLoL

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Source: https://estnn.com/lol-blaber-named-2021-lcs-spring-split-honda-mvp/

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LoL: TL’s Santorin Replaced By Armao For LCS MSS Match Against TSM Due To Illness

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Brandon Sturak

Brandon is a writer and editor for ESTNN with a passion for esports. He writes about League of Legends and esports generally, providing analysis and commentary on both. He is a founding member of Niagara University Esports, while being the previous mid laner and Head Coach for the NU Esports LoL team as well. Twitter @GhandiLoL

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Source: https://estnn.com/lol-tls-santorin-replaced-by-armao-for-lcs-mss-match-against-tsm-due-to-illness/

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[ASL11] Ro24 Preview Pt 3:Contenders and Streamers

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The ASL Round of 24 wraps up with our final two groups.

The ASL came in at full speed the last week with whats at least the high level of excitement that comes with a tournament of this caliber if not the quality of all games(I’m looking at you sSak). This week we continue with more “Fan Favorites” in action like Sharp, Mini and Mong and an actual tournament favorite Bisu making a return for another season.

Lets see who Ziggy thinks will advance to the Ro16!

The what do i say about this group group

Sharp has had a bumpy few years. A promising start to the AfreecaTV era with two back-to-back podium runs in the VANT36.5 National Starleague and ASL Season 1 was followed by a two year lull with two top8 finishes before Sharp once again made it to the finals of a premier tour in KSL Season 2 at the end of 2018. What seemed like another shot at glory ended up being a damp squib followed by two more quarterfinal appearances and a dry-spell lasting up until this very day. I struggle to pinpoint the cause of Sharp’s inability to capitalise on his self-evident competitive capabilities. When you watch him play it becomes apparent how much work he’s put into getting where he is right now. He has the micro, the macro, and the game sense necessary to succeed, yet always seems to fall short of meeting expectations. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very fond of Sharp. But there’s no player worse to talk about in previews or predictions of any sort than Sharp.

Bisu has been playing StarCraft professionally for 15 years (minus the time he spent in the army, granted). And yet I can’t shake the feeling he’s lost his competitive drive. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way suggesting he’s looking the worse for wear as a result of his one-and-a-half-decade long tenure in esports – far from it. He’s still a prominent figure on the scene, a permanent fixture in tournaments and the like. But this Bisu doesn’t feel like the three-time MSL champion Bisu. This Bisu feels like a streamer. Maybe that’s why his offline results have been in a steady decline since ~2016-2017, all the way to the point where he got knocked out in the Ro24 of ASL10 at the hands of two Terrans in Leta and JyJ. While I still share the general sentiment he should by and large make it out of this group as a clear favourite, I wouldn’t be too upset if he didn’t, because if he did he’d end up restreaming the rest of the tour. That seems enough to keep a lot of people happy.

PianO is such a polymath. He competes professionally, streams, casts with KCM. I bet he also plays an instrument in his spare time. The recorder or something. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to his ASL11 appearance solely on the grounds that while his online exploits speak for themselves, he hasn’t had as much success in offline tours. His best ASL results to date are two Ro16 finishes in ASL Seasons 1 & 7. While Group E certainly isn’t the easiest, it’s doable at the very least. That also extends to ggaemo and his chances of making it through in second place, even if he has only ever qualified for two ASLs before.

(T)Sharp > (Z)ggaemo
(P)Bisu > (T)PianO
(T)Sharp (P)Bisu
(Z)ggaemo (T)PianO
(T)Sharp > (T)PianO

(P)Bisu and (T)Sharp to advance to the Ro16!

Debut hour

The ambiguity of professionalism and what the term stands for is a clear-cut case of how consensus rules in biased space. Vagueness of definition, paired with interminable attempts to encompass the idea of professionalism in competitive StarCraft have over the years distorted what once stood for professional and amateur. The KeSPA days, however despised by the anti-establishment bunch, were quite straightforward in that regard. You won a courage tour, got a licence, got drafted – bosh! You’re a pro. No fannying about. It used to matter so much that even now professionals refer to themselves as ex-pros, and anyone with no KeSPA-era experience, however skilled or proven in the post-Proleague landscape, is still an amateur. And it needs to change.

It is my belief that a clearly defined and generally agreed upon cut-off point for the status of professional is a necessity for a healthy competitive economy to not only emerge but also become self-sustainable in the long run. My reasoning is based on one fundamental aspect of PR / marketing in a wider sports context – competition boils down to who’s better than whom. The whole point of competing (not really, entertainment is obviously subjective, but please play along) is to establish a pecking order within a certain space. And if it’s not there… how do you sell your product to advertisers? It matters, because of one simple question – who, in the context of (e)sports marketing, legitimises whom – does the player legitimise the competition, or does the competition legitimise the player? Is FlaSh good, because he’s won four ASLs, or is the ASL good, because Flash plays such a prominent part in its legacy? Should I ever get good at writing I’ll surely try and explore this subject in more detail than three paragraphs worth of random musings on the matter but for now – you get the point. The scene needs to recognise ASL as both the legitimiser and the legitimisee – you make it into the ASL, you’re a pro. Not an ex-pro, a semi-pro, or amateur. Pro. End of story.

Enter Group F and soso’s TV debut. Do I expect him to make it past the Ro24? Absolutely not. But you can bet your bollocks to a barn dance I’ll be in his corner when he bombs out in last place and (inevitably) has the piss taken out of him on the interwebs. Why? Cause, as far as I’m concerned, you make it to the ASL, you’re mustard. I’d understand not being excited about soso as a player, I get it. It’s his first time, we know nothing about the guy (including his preferred ID for that matter); but not being chuffed there’s a new kid on the block looking to throw hands with the big boys? Unacceptable. That out of the way, I expect the group to be a relatively straightforward affair with Mini and MIsO battling it out for first place and a better seed in the Ro16. As much as I’d like to back my claim with tangible results / stats, sponbbang is down. So… MIsO graced us with a surprisingly out-of-the-ordinary showing in ASTL2 and Mini plays Protoss. Does that work?

(P)Mini > (T)SOSO
(T)Mong (Z)MIsO
(P)Mini > (Z)MIsO
(T)SOSO (T)Mong
(Z)MIsO > (T)Mong

(P)Mini and (Z)MIsO to advance to the Ro16!


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Source: https://tl.net/forum/brood-war/571783-asl11-ro24-preview-pt-3contenders-and-streamers

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ChYuan switches roles to join Fnatic

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Dota 2 Andreea “divushka” Esanu

headline picture courtesy of StarLadder

Former Aster mid lane player Ng Kee “ChYuan” Chyuan replaces Natthaphon “Masaros” Ouanphakdee in Fnatic’s offlane for the second season of Dota Pro Circuit Regional Leagues.

Right after their early exit from ONE Esports Singapore Major, Fnatic moved Masaros to inactive position and began searching for a new member. Their latest addition is the Malaysian midlanner ChYuan, who through the previous season, got to play in the Southeast Asia lower division with the ZeroTwo stack.

Prior to joining ZeroTwo for Season 1 of DPC Leagues, ChYuan played via Chinese region with Team Aster. His three-year stint with Aster came to an end mid-2020, during the pandemic when the travel restrictions made it impossible for him to join his teammates in China.  

Throughout most of his professional career, ChYuan played in the mid lane, except for a brief period with WarriorsGaming.Unity in 2017, when he played in the carry position.

Fnatic will mark the first team where he will approach the game from the offlane and the fans don’t have to wait for too much before all teams return to action. The second season of DPC Leagues is set to begin this coming Tuesday, April 13 and Fnatic will once again fight for a ticket to the Major via SEA Upper Division.

Fnatic roster:

Marc Polo Luis “Raven” Fausto

NaNa “Moon” ♪

Kee Chyuan “ChYuan” Ng

Anucha “Jabz” Jirawong

Djardel “DJ” Mampusti

QuickPoll

Will Fnatic improve their Major result with ChYuan in the offlane?

Yes
Thank you for voting!

No
Thank you for voting!

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Source: https://www.gosugamers.net/dota2/news/54201-chyuan-switches-roles-to-join-fnatic

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