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Guides  /  22 Jul 2014, 09:04
How to use qwfwd to improve your ping
One of the best advancements to come to QuakeWorld in modern times, which no one seems to know how to use, is ezQuake+qwfwd's best-route functionality. In the last month I have had to explain to about 10 people how to use it and it seems that many people don't use it or don't know how to use it which needs to change as its potential is endless even for Europeans connecting to European servers. Everyone should be using this when connecting to every server.

It has been well known for a very long time, since Qizmo's heyday, that connecting via a proxy to a server can lower your ping if that particular proxy has a better route to the server you are trying to connect to. Now in modern times we have qwfwd's which peform the same function of changing your route but typically people are still doing this manually which you don't need to. The best-route functionality of ezQuake+qwfwd will actually connect you to a server, automatically, through (i've seen) up to 4 qwfwd's back to back to lower your ping... you just need to know how.

Read the full article below!
How does it work?
Once you have everything enabled, ezQuake's server browser will refresh all of the servers on the internet and give you your ping for each server. In the background it will also query each of the qwfwd's to see what their ping to each server is and what each qwfwd's ping is to other qwfwd's which essentially creates a 'ping tree'. When you then connect to a server via the server browser, or by using the /connectbr command (instead of /connect) it will connect you via the best path. Even if you are in Sweden and connecting to a server in Sweden, the best route may be via a qwfwd. The more qwfwd's around the world, the more refined your pings can be.

How much will it help?
From the Netherlands when I want to connect to servers in Miami, my ping (in-game) is 140ms however if I play via the qwfwd it is lower AND if I connect to qwfwd via qwfwd it is even lower. With best-route functionality enabled ezQuake will automatically connect to the proxies back-to-back for me giving me the best possible route. It does this for every server I play on, all automatically. Here is how my ping is improved over a few locations. All pings are in-game pings:
Direct > = 142ms
Best-route > via 3 qwfwd > = 116ms
26ms improvement

Direct > = 115ms
Best-route > via 2 qwfwd > = 90ms
25ms improvement

Direct > = 38ms
Best-route > via 1 qwfwd > = 28ms
10ms improvement

Direct > = 66ms
Best-route > via 3 qwfwd > = 52ms
14ms improvement

Some servers I will get 40ms improvement, some I will get 4ms improvement and others it will simply connect me directly because that is the best way to connect to that server. Either way there is no downside. Last night while testing this with carapace, he saw a 50ms improvement to one server he tested.

Ok Ok we get it, we've been stupid and need to start using this now!

What do you need?
  • ezQuake 2.2 Stable or newer
  • Updated ezQuake Master Server sources.txt (which should contain the following, but I only use QuakeServers and FodQuake):
    url "QuakeServers URL"
    master "QuakeServers"
    master "FodQuake"
    master "Ocrana"
  • A few additional commands in your ezQuake CFG
    sb_findroutes 1 //Enable best-route lookup via server browser
    sb_listcache 1 //Save ping tree to disk
    sb_sourcemark "QuakeServers" //Use this Master Server
    sb_sourcemark "FodQuake" //Use this Master Server
  • Other commands you need to know and start using
    sb_refresh //this refreshes the ping tree. do this at least once per day.
    connectbr //use this instead of connect from now on
    cl_proxyaddr "" //clear qwfwd you currently have set to use

How to make it work?
  • First make sure your ezQuake server browser has updated the master servers and has a full server list of servers. Go in to the Server Browser, go to the SOURCES tab and make sure you have at least the QuakeServers and FodQuake sources selected and now press SPACE which will refresh the server list.
  • Now go to SERVERS tab. You should have around 240 servers listed. Press SPACE to refresh the server status.
  • Go back to the console and type /sb_refresh to refresh your ping tree (wait until it says it is complete).
  • Connect to a few servers using the server browser or manually using /connectbr <serverip> and watch the console which should say something like "Connecting using 2 proxies with best ping of 44ms" or something similar.
  • You are done!

  • Q - I am not getting a full server list or best route isn't working like normal?
    A - Close ezQuake and reopen it fresh and run /sb_refresh and wait for it to complete before refreshing your server browser. This seems to happen from time to time with ezQuake
  • Q - Sometimes the routing helps and sometimes it doesn't... what gives?
    A - Pingtimes between you and servers/qwfwd can often fluctuate and even a few milliseconds difference can make the difference between a new route being taken or not. Refreshing the server browser and ping tree often can help this. It also seems that the ping tree is per server and not per IP Address so it is possible during times of congestion (like on my cable at home) that one port gives me a better route on a server and another doesn't so this is a good time to refresh.

Extra Links
2014-07-22, 10:58
nice work!
2014-07-22, 12:21
Worked well for me. Lowered my ping with quite a bit to international servers. Thanks dirtbox for all your help.
2014-07-22, 12:36
Doesn't really work here, using as example: server browser says 35ms using 2 proxy's but when I connect it's more like 49ms. God how I miss my 10ms
2014-07-22, 13:13
gore - server browser shows "real ping" and scoreboard shows "in-game" ping. If you want to see them both side by side to compare then enable the ping hud element (show ping, i think) and then you can see both. Try comparing both with and without using best routes because perhaps your real ping goes down by 2-3ms but the in-game ping doesn't change because of the way in-game ping steps up in increments 12/25/38 etc.

Also try somewhere a little further away like the servers which has a heap of qwfwd's between you and the server and you should start noticing a much larger difference.
2014-07-22, 14:36
Yeah I know that much, I'd need 37ms or less to get 38 in-game (think Renzo posted that ages ago) guess I don't. Doesn't matter much anyway
2014-07-22, 14:49
Well that's interesting, if I download nQuake and connect to foppa I get 39ms ingame guess my config/setup is b0rked
2014-07-22, 21:54
Wonder when someone implements this in fodquake..
2014-07-23, 07:39
2014-07-23, 08:52
raket - from what I understand there is no support of this kind in FodQuake unfortunately. This is quite a shame because I had begun porting my ezQuake CFG over to FodQuake to give it a go but stopped once i found out it didn't have this functionality.

With Fod you can still manually connect via a chain of qwfwd's I believe? You could use ezQuake to discover the best route to servers and then create an alias in your FodQuake CFG that uses that chain. I am not sure of the FodQuake syntax but it would be something like:

alias newyorkqwfwd "setinfo prx"
2014-07-23, 23:36
Just tried it. Serverbrowser says 25ms to and 25 to some .fr server
i guess i'm on the edge of having 25ms on these servers
2014-07-24, 07:19
What would you normally get to those locations?
2014-07-24, 15:37
i believe that the ping that appears on ezquake's server browser AFTER "ping tree is created" is printed on the console are the best pings you can get (using qwfwd).
2014-07-24, 16:02
dirtbox, well i have 33ms to and 31 to
had some other isp and routing was so good i had 27ms in game on
2014-07-25, 08:34
Cheers, got this working correct, but doesn't lower my ping to oz servers (direct route is best)
2014-07-25, 11:41
phelon - test to a few servers overseas like Tokyo and Los Angeles and see if it changes then...
2014-07-25, 15:10
phelon the beauty about this is that new QWfwd appear every week, and you just have to keep using /connectbr (or using the sb) . If a new, better route is available in the future, you will automatically use it.
2014-07-27, 17:52
"Proxies are not permitted on this server" - when trying to connect to xs4all ffa.
How could one work around this?
2014-07-28, 07:41
bps - you have to connect directly to xs4all as they require the ability to ban bots etc
2014-08-13, 13:30
here are instructions on how to use qwfwd on Quake 3:
2014-08-25, 19:03

- this shit has started happening each time I enter a server nowadays, after haxxing with all these server settings and stuff as mentioned in your guide. Any clues or tips?
2014-08-25, 20:30
On that note, might be on time to clean up my humongous qw dir:
2014-08-27, 14:28
Yeah this setting is:

sb_listcache 1

Which saves the cache of the ping tree so you can immediately open QW and type /connectbr and it will use the previously cached ping tree you looked up. Every time you refresh it will give you this. You can disable it and you probably won't get this message.
2014-09-22, 17:16
20000 unique files? time to clean
2016-05-14, 11:34
Thank you guys!

Because of you I can play on swedish servers from singapore with 200 ms ping.

Keep up the good work >8)
2019-03-27, 02:16
hmm I dont see to have much luck with connectbr every single server I have connected to it tells that the direct route is best after it queries my localhost with a result of 0ms ?
2019-03-27, 05:41
Did you do "sb_findroutes 1" in console first, and then "sb_refresh", and only after it says "ping tree created" try connectbr?

If so, it's possible there are no proxies around you that give you a better connection than just going directly.
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