If you play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in the UK and have noticed more lag in recent days - or periodically, over time - then there may be a specific reason, with an effective solution, according to an informative exchange on the CS:GO subreddit.
Just want to shoot things? Sample some of the best FPS games on PC.
User Stannaz99 started the thread on the CS:GO subreddit earlier today, suggesting that a particular server in Valve’s network - through which all their UK traffic flows - has a problem, and that this was the reason for the recent lag. “A Google search reveals this server seems to have issues every few months”, says Stannaz99, which could explain why you experience similar lag periodically. If, y’know, you do.
So what’s up? Less than two hours later, Valve software developer Fletcher Dunn gave a detailed reply. “I believe the cause of higher pings is because we are in a transition period to SDR”, he says, referring to CS:GO's new connection protocol, which we discussed a couple of weeks ago.
In brief, SDR should improve pings and protect against DDoS attacks by sending your traffic to the game server through whichever relay optimises your connection, rather than always connecting directly. According to Dunn, Valve has already switched to SDR for all US games, but is still testing it in Europe.
This means your game is using SDR to find a route that improves over the old protocol (UDP), which might cause your game to select a different server to UDP. Since SDR is not yet used for your game traffic, however, you are then connecting to this new server via UDP.
“So you are getting the direct UDP route in game, and that ping should be the same as it was before last week - but the server selection might have changed because of the change in how pings are measured for region selection.”
So if you’ve been having problems, that’s why. Good news is, there’s something you can do about it. Apply the console command “net_client_steamdatagram_enable_override 1” before your game connects to a server, and you’ll opt in early to the SDR connection protocol (see our article to learn how to do this with a text doc). If Dunn is correct, this should fix everything.
Note also that Valve will be moving the whole of Europe over to SDR at some point soon, “so the whole problem could be moot in a few days”, says Dunn. The exact time of the transition will depend on the results of the load test that is currently underway, but Dunn has promised to post again "when we have something worth sharing."