The human factors of consistency maintenance in multiplayer computer games
Consistency maintenance (CM) techniques are a crucial part of many distributed systems, and are particularly important in networked games. In this paper we describe a framework of the human factors of CM, to help designers of networked games make better decisions about its use. The framework shows that there is wide variance in the CM requirements of different game situations, identifies the types of requirements that can be considered, and analyses the effects of several consistency schemes on user experience factors. To further explore these issues, we carried out a simulation study that compared four CM algorithms. The experiment confirms many of the predictions of the framework, and reveals additional subtleties of the algorithms. Our work is the first to look comprehensively at the tradeoffs and costs of CM, and our results are a strong starting point that will help designers improve on the user's quality of experience in distributed shared environments.