What if all the AI processing (a substantial element in coop Descent
or other peer2peers like X vs.TIE) was offloaded onto the server as
well? The clients would certainly have more processor time to handle
packets. Many of the lost packets in your average Descent game are
not really lost, but discarded because the processor's swamped with
game rendering, AI, sound mixing, processing earlier packets, etc.
As much as I hate admitting it, I've seen Quakeworld games with 10+
players run as smooth as a Descent 2 game with 8 players, despite its
use of the client-server model (although AI isn't an issue there).
There were lagged players, of course, but it didn't change my game
If Descent was made client-server, then lagged players would only be
punished for high latency rather than all the other players, as seen
in peer to peer games. If you had a nice clear connection to the
server, then you'd be able to wail on him onscreen and know that your
shots were landing because the server is the "authority," not the
lagged user. Not fair to the lagged guy, but better that than to
punish everyone to varying degrees.
Those are my thoughts on it, anyway. BTW, Outrage is doing D3. We're
doing FreeSpace. : )