Melee’s New Rollback Netcode And Matchmaking System Is A Game Changer


In a time where multiple Super Smash Bros. Ultimate online tournaments are leaving players disenfranchised due to its poor netcode, one man has single-handedly changed the game for the much older title in the series: Super Smash Bros. Melee.

Fizzi, the creator of Project Slippi, has worked full-time for the last seven months to completely change Melee netplay with some major new updates. The announcement of these updates went viral, and is a further testament to the enduring popularity of Super Smash Bros. Melee.

Melee: Rollback Netcode And Matchmaking

Fizzi has created a fully-functional rollback system for Melee emulation; rollback netcode is the process of the game predicting what inputs will come out on the next frame, and if the game’s prediction doesn’t match the actual input, the game will “roll back” to the most recent correct state of the game, and then reflect all the accurate inputs up the current frame the game is on. The idea is that a game with rollback netcode will be accurate most of the time with minimal changes needed, leading to a much smoother experience than games relying on dedicated servers.

For a technically demanding game with high APM such as Melee, this is huge for two reasons: for one, it will make for a smoother experience when playing online (assuming people have good connections to begin with) and it also allows players to play against people from all over the globe. Before, it was only advisable to play against people close to your location, as the quality of the game was entirely based around PvP and the distance between them. With rollback netcode, players can now seamlessly play each other from anywhere in the world.

The other major addition with the Project Slippi update is an integrated matchmaking system. For years, the only way to connect with people for Melee netplay was through Discord groups or Anther’s Ladder. The new matchmaking system in Slippi allows people to queue up and connect with opponents as fast, if not faster, than any major multiplayer matchmaking system. It’s easier than ever to hop online, find some people and play competitive Melee.

This will have huge benefits for the competitive scene; with events being postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, having a solid netcode system along with simple and effective matchmaking allows the Melee scene to continue to develop the meta, while also being very appealing for new players to finally give the game a try.

There’s no telling what major development will hit the scene next, and this Slippi update is yet another sign that competitive Melee isn’t going anywhere soon.

Be sure to follow Fizzi on Twitter for more updates!