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  Kyle Milnes

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  Multiplayer - Getting Started

Do you have Half-Life and a modem? Your in business. Why have a taste of 'Deathmatching' today?

  The Basics
  Patched UP?

First things first… go here and get the latest version of Half-Life -

The Basics…

For those of you who don't know what multiplayer is all about in FPS [First Person Shoot 'em ups] read on… if you know all about getting yourself into a server and start fraggin but want to improve your game… go here.

You have a servers and clients. Clients [YOU] being the computers that connect to the server, the server is the machine that hosts the game.

You connect to a server of your choice and you enter the map where other Half-Lifers will be fraggin away.

Half-Life comes equipped with some shit-hot multiplayer maps. Later versions include updates and a couple of new maps.

There is a number of ways to get into a server and start killing…

1. Using Half-Life's Multiplayer Launcher.
2. Using GameSpy [GS].
3. Using the console to manually connect to a server. [What's the console?].

The most common way to DM [Death Match] is using the Half-Life Multiplayer Launcher, although GS is becoming a lot more popular due to its added functionality and 'ease of use'.


1. A PC [no really].
2. A modem in your PC or some other form of connection. [Must be faster that V.90 56K].
4. Half-Life version
5. 1 hour of your time online. [For now!]
6. Willingness to be killed a hell of a lot by experienced players before you learn how to play.

Even if you have completed Half-Life on Hard you will get your assed kicked all over the shop until you learn the skills and styles of play. It also takes time to adjust to latency. Latency… "What's Latency?" I hear you say.

Latency or Lag

Lag, as most of you know it, is the time it takes your computer to pass data to the server, then back and visa-versa.
When you connect to a server there is going to be a certain amount of lag that will affect your gameplay. Lag is made up of certain factors…

1. The speed of your connection
2. The speed of the server you connect to
3. The events in the game
4. ISP [Internet Service Provider]
5. Time of day

If you have a 56K modem and you aren't paying for you ISP i.e. no monthly fee or even worse free calls too, your lag will be sky high due to the traffic of the ISP's network.

I suggest if you really want to DM on Half-Life you pay for a decent service. Other than that, try lots of free ISP's to see who performs best. I suggest Breathe or Virgin. Don't go for a freecall ISP's because you will get disconnected a lot. The amount of people using it will be large so it will always be slow. Free ISP's are better if you have a faster connection than 56K like Cable or ISDN.

When you are in a DM pressing TAB [by default] will display your statistics… Name, Score & Latency. [Latency being the number on the right hand side].

Click for a larger image.

If there is a lot going on at once in one area of a DM you will experience slowdown depending on your connection. This is due to your modem transferring and receiving more data.

In the Half-Life multiplayer launcher you will see a server list with dots by the server depicting the speed of the server. The more green dots the better. I suggest that 56K modem owner's stick to 6+ green dots for a good connection. GameSpy3D however, shows the lag in a numerical format the same as if you were in a game. So you can see what your lag or latency is going to be before joining a game.

The more Lag there is the harder and more annoying gameplay becomes. I will be taking you through tweaking your connection here. [Coming Soon].

You will see what I'm talking about once you get into a game.

I wouldn't recommend Multiplayer Half-Life to anyone with a connection slower than 56K. Gameplay is too choppy and it like watching a slideshow. The less lag the better. You should be aiming for a lag or latency of about 200 odd with a V.90 56K modem. How do you join a game?

© 1999-2000 Design & Graphics to Kyle Milnes.