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SOE has alot to learn from Eve (amazing 3,000+ player battle)

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  • SOE has alot to learn from Eve (amazing 3,000+ player battle)

    Story I just saw from /., SOE has ALOT to learn from them. By mistake a HUGE battle started that involved over 3,000 players and the server didn't crap out, and players didn't enmass CTD. Yes it is possible to scale that large if you have a talented team not steered by marketing execs.
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    Space MMORPG EVE Online is best known for its amazing stories, and on Sunday it added a new epic tale. The leader of a huge coalition, preparing for a moderately sized assault, mis-clicked and accidentally warped himself into enemy territory without his support fleet, endangering his massive ship worth an estimated $3,500. Realizing the danger, he called upon every ally he could, and the enemy fleet rallied in turn, leading to an incredible 3,000-player battle. What's also impressive is that the EVE servers stayed up for the whole fight, when most MMOs struggle with even a few hundred players at the same time. The Penny Arcade report spoke with CCP Games for some information on how they managed that:
    "Itís hard to wrap your head around, but they sometimes move the in-game space itself. 'We move other solar systems on the node away from the fight. This disconnects anyone in those systems temporarily, but spares them from the ongoing symptoms of being on an overloaded server,' Veritas explained. 'It helps the fight system a little bit as well, especially if a reinforcement fleet is traveling through those other systems. This was done for the fight over the weekend, but is rare.' ... They do have a built-in mechanism for dealing with massive battles, however: They slow down time itself. ... Once server load reaches a certain point, the game automatically slows down time by certain increments to deal with the strain. Time was running at 10% speed during this 3,000-person battle, which is the maximum amount of time dilation possible."

  • #2
    Re: SOE has alot to learn from Eve (amazing 3,000+ player battle)

    There is a general incompatibility of the way EvE operates on a technical standpoint and PS2 does. Genre differences aside there is a level of segmentation that CCP has accomplished with its EvE universe that simply isn't possible now. For example EvE-verse is made of many nodes and many servers, sort of like PS2's continents, the difference here is that most nodes/servers experience little activity and are not meant for constant battle. Conversely the goal of PS2 is to create a never ending war on as many continents as they can support.

    What could possibly be learned though is that when they introduce more continents and have continent locks they could, perhaps, shift the processing powers of the locked continent to the continent that is experiencing a 600v300v300 battle at The Bastion. Undoubtedly this would probably require a different architecture... A big issue with that battle though had to do with the physics properties as well something that EvE does not need to address.

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    • #3
      Re: SOE has alot to learn from Eve (amazing 3,000+ player battle)

      No, there still is a lot to learn (from my game engine days). Many things to consider... PS2 large battles, auto scale back the terrain/structure rendering for armor/infantry that is beyond the current hex. Then render distances for the enemy infantry/armor doesn't have to scale down to ~=20m. The second a dev thinks they have nothing to learn is the first nail in their coffin.

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      • #4
        Re: SOE has alot to learn from Eve (amazing 3,000+ player battle)

        Originally posted by Mach10 View Post
        over 3,000 players and the server didn't crap out, and players didn't enmass CTD. Yes it is possible to scale that large if you have a talented team not steered by marketing execs.
        I... what? Firstly, there are massive differences between the way Eve and Planetside work. Combat in Eve takes place entirely by selecting a weapon (e.g. railgun), locking a target (usually from a drop-down menu as clicking to lock directly can be tricky with fast targets), and hitting fire. Then you sit and watch your weapon cycle until something explodes. Hardly the same as in PS2 where you have to be aiming at the target, and fire each individual round. Secondly, you quoted the bit that mentions the time and space dilation that they use to counter lag. Can you imagine what would happen if they tried that in Planetside? You can't stretch terrain like you can with empty space would break apart, and the game would be all but unplayable at 10% speed.
        |TG-Irr| westyfield

        Sig pic by Sonic, avatar by Chalcas. Thanks!
        Irregular since 2007.

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        • #5
          Re: SOE has alot to learn from Eve (amazing 3,000+ player battle)

          Well I never said they can't learn, and they are with the 1/30 release being step 1, I just said that there are some incompatibilities with the solutions EvE found and those that PS2 is finding.

          Render distance in EvE is not a crucial thing as it is in PS2. When talking astronomical scales and comparing it to even kilometers you might see the point where the solutions might need to be different. Also consider that navigation in EvE is actually very bare bones. WASD do nothing and spontaneous movement doesn't exist reducing complexity. Do not get me wrong there is a core issue when the theoretical maximum battle is reached or even broached. They need to fix it.

          How though? This might be an issue that the player base might need to circumvent by avoidance until solved.

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          • #6
            Re: SOE has alot to learn from Eve (amazing 3,000+ player battle)

            Yes, I know the engines, server shards and fps projectile nature is different.. however SOE still needs to pay attention.

            An completely unrelated examples... but I feel relevant.
            Battlefield 2 ships with no CTF mode. After examination we were unable to attach a destructible object that is a child of the player object (inheriting the parents physics/angle/vector) without killing the player. So we created 2 CTF flags, one with and one without physics and swapped them out based on proximity triggers. Thus suddenly BF2 could support CTF.

            Battlefield 2 had no spotting mechanics for artillery fire like BF1. After determining that it was impossible to recreate the camera system and link it as a secondary camera that could cycle a list of cameras. We also couldn't create a camera that could be targeted to a remote location from the initiating player. So we created a dummy firearm that shot a tagged projectile that when destroyed on impact we could catch the destruction event and get the position, and store in an array. Then switch the primary camera in the artillery to the new locations.

            Where am I going? The team knew one thing that all devs should know... we didn't know everything.

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            • #7
              Re: SOE has alot to learn from Eve (amazing 3,000+ player battle)

              Certainly I agree. Hopefully Higby and Tarmell (?) and bunch are busy crunching it all. I was very pleased with their roadmap and the community design meeting and have a good feeling that they know a lot of the limitations of the engine and just have to work with what they have. As far as I know the engine is brand new and also separate than PS2.

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              • #8
                Re: SOE has alot to learn from Eve (amazing 3,000+ player battle)

                You all do know that the only reason that its possible now is because the server automatically kicks in "time dilation". It slows the game down for the particular system to something like the 10th of normal speed. This allows the server to catch up with all the information flying around. Before that eve clusters routinely crashed every time one of these massive battles hit. That works for eve but not for PS2, no FPS player is going to play a game at 1/10th speed. That being said Tramell recently stated in and interview they have eliminated something like 60 megs of information from active video memory.

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                • #9
                  Re: SOE has alot to learn from Eve (amazing 3,000+ player battle)

                  Reducing video memory will help, but we know that PS2 is still primarily CPU bottlenecked, especially in large battles.

                  Unfortunately the CPU is calculating those things that it's hard to skimp on without damaging the gameplay. Physics, collisions, projectile motion, hit detection, sound processing, sending out data packets and crunching all the data sent in from the server.

                  As you scale up the number of players rendered, the number of vehicles, projectiles, hitboxes, collisions, unique sounds, and player position/action/etc data needs to be processed... You can kind of skimp on sounds, but if you start half-assing those other things when the player numbers go up, you're going to get things like simplified ballistics/hit detection, simplified physics, etc.

                  Last interview I listened to, they were scouring the code for ways they could streamline things. They were talking along the lines of "we don't need to check this value x number of times per second, we can get away with x-10", hunting down and taking out extraneous bits of code, etc, etc. Optimizing. They keep telling us that upping the render distance is one of their priorities.
                  Teamwork and Tactics are OP


                  Strait /strāt/ (Noun) A narrow passage of water connecting two seas or two large areas of water: "the Northumberland Strait".

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                  • #10
                    Re: SOE has alot to learn from Eve (amazing 3,000+ player battle)

                    Strait, yep we hear their plans and its sounds promising. I hope it pans out in the near future. As per the time dilation issue, that was an approach that worked for Eve, but they are many ways that PS2 needs to try and fail at until they find one that works. There are no 'sacred cows' in game dev.

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                    • #11
                      Re: SOE has alot to learn from Eve (amazing 3,000+ player battle)

                      Differences between EvE and PS2 can not be attributed to marketing execs without some evidence to back up such a sweeping claim.

                      On another note . . .

                      Imagine having hundreds or even thousands of dollars 'invested' in a Sunderer or other vehicle.

                      Unique horn sounds, unique (truly one of a kind) camo design, consumer-created camos, name personalization on vehicles (raises the issue of curse words and other obscenities, but solutions are available), user-modified garages for vehicles (rented space), all sorts of pay-to-personalize customizations are overlooked leaving $$$ on the table that Sony could be picking up.

                      Someone with authority needs to open the eyes of the development team to missed revenue opportunities -- they need to open up that small box game designers live in.
                      Last edited by E-Male; 01-30-2013, 04:05 PM.
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                      • #12
                        Re: SOE has alot to learn from Eve (amazing 3,000+ player battle)

                        Originally posted by E-Male View Post
                        Differences between Eve and PS2 can not be attributed to marketing execs without some evidence to back up such a sweeping claim.
                        Additionally; as others have said EvE had SERIOUS issues with medium and large scale battles for years after launch. It took several complete overhauls of their architecture to REALLY fix the issues. It's also unfair to compare a platform that's been out and refined over a DECADE to a title that's only been out in production for a couple months.
                        Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

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                        • #13
                          Re: SOE has alot to learn from Eve (amazing 3,000+ player battle)

                          Originally posted by E-Male View Post
                          Imagine having hundreds or even thousands of dollars 'invested' in a Sunderer or other vehicle.
                          Then accidently drive/fly it into enemy territory without backup... You'd rage quit, if you had to spend the same amount of $$$ to have to rebuild it after it's destroyed.
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                          • #14
                            Re: SOE has alot to learn from Eve (amazing 3,000+ player battle)

                            Originally posted by Apophis View Post
                            Additionally; as others have said EvE had SERIOUS issues with medium and large scale battles for years after launch. It took several complete overhauls of their architecture to REALLY fix the issues. It's also unfair to compare a platform that's been out and refined over a DECADE to a title that's only been out in production for a couple months.
                            Large scale battles, nothing. EVE had difficulty rendering the traffic around it's primary trade systems.

                            Also EVE is full of terrible people and is fundamentally not fun to play.

                            I'm sorry, that was not constructive. Old wounds that didn't heal cleanly.
                            In game handle: Steel Scion
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                            • #15
                              Re: SOE has alot to learn from Eve (amazing 3,000+ player battle)

                              HAHA!

                              I love EvE. People are mean... and I love it! I find it funny that I can play EvE and deal with such terrible Laissez Faire Capitalists and have fun yet can't play a moment of DayZ with terrible people without thinking; man... this is cruel.

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