Riot explains the issues with Hit Registration in Valorant
Since its beta, a problem particularly annoys the Valorant community and doesn't seem to find a solution. This is the detection of shots (or hit-registration). Players regularly report, with video support, that shots doesn't deal normal damage. In a long post on his official website, Kevin Lee, Valorant developer, responds to criticism and explain Riot Games' point of view on these hit-registration issues.
In order to summarise the situation clearly, without going into detail, Riot's conclusions are as follows: there's no problem with the hit-registration, but there are visual problems giving the impression that the shots are not detected correctly.
Concretely, for each shot carried out in a game of Valorant, two simulations are made. One by the player's PC and one by the server. Of course, depending on the connection latency of a player, the PC and the server make their simulations out of sync.
The simulation operated by the player's PC immediately shows the player the path of their shots and potentially their impacts. This is a calculation that is made while waiting for the server to give a verdict on that shot. The aim is not to create too much visual delay for the player between the moment they click to shoot and the moment they see their bullet go.
However, what the PC decides to show the player is onlya visual trick. Only the result of the server simulation is valid. The servers records all the movements of all players. When a shot is fired, the server is only aware of it a few milliseconds after the shot. It then performs a simulation, that meansit rewinds the game to place the shot in the context in which it was made. He then combines players positioning he recorded milliseconds ago, and adds the fact that one player shot another. If the server judges that the shot has hit, it sends the result to all the players and the damage is done.
What the players sees displayed on their screen is therefore in no way representative of reality. Even in the best-case scenario, regardless of the server, there is a difference of one image (the image, as a unit of time) between a shot and the shot displayed on screen. The server, who has a little more time to do its calculation, replaces the shot when the player clicks, not when the visual effect is displayed for the player.
Which means that a click made at that moment...
... will do damage, while a shot made at that moment...
... will not, although the player will see the opposite result if they rely on the light effects.
From this lag, accentuated by the latency of everyone's internet connections, gives rise to the feeling that the hit-registrations are not precise. Most of the videos that show seemingly blatant examples of head shots that were not taken into account are not valid, especially in movement. What you need to take into account is the position of the crosshair the frame before the shooting animation.
With all this explained, Riot Games recognises that the current system is far from ideal. It's not so much the hit-registration that should be reviewed, but the various visual effects linked to these shots (light effects, damage animation, impact, etc.). The challenge is to create a visual representation that is true to what is really happening on the server side, without hampering the dynamism and satisfaction of the weapons.
If you see shots failing when they clearly go into a player's head, try to keep these explanations in mind so that you understand the real situation.
For more detailed explanations, we recommend you to read the complete article of Riot Games on the subject.