×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

How Indie Devs Made an 1,800-Player Action Game Mod In Their Spare Time

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the massively-multiplayer-regular-game dept.

PC Games (Games) 87

An anonymous reader writes "Just Cause 2 Multiplayer has been getting a lot of press lately, but this making-of feature points out how the mod raises serious questions about the games industry: if 1,800-player massively multiplayer action games are possible on one server, why did it take a group of modders to prove it? From the article: 'There’s more chaos to come. That 1,800 player limit isn’t maxing out the server or the software by any means. Foote says that the team, who first met online seven years ago playing the similar Multi Theft Auto GTA mod, are "yet to reach any real barrier or limitation preventing us from reaching an even higher player count than the previous public tests." When it’s ready, the team will release the software for everyone to download and run their own servers, wherever they are in the world.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

87 comments

I did the math, with P2P you can get 50,000 (4, Interesting)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about a year and a half ago | (#41349443)

My math is old, but with P2P where you update everyone around you of your position with 640k upload, you can do about 50,000 players if your attacks are melee only. The key is not updating people far away as frequently, since they can't get in range and get a hit on you, you only have to calculate a full run between you for the time between sending out data. The biggest trick with P2P as everyone knows is dealing with hackers though... Even games like WOW, I would think you might be able to fly with a hack because their central server probably isn't calculating your collision detection.

Re:I did the math, with P2P you can get 50,000 (4, Interesting)

JonySuede (1908576) | about a year and a half ago | (#41349613)

dealing with hackers though

Here is a probably patentable or patented method of dealing with that:
Each node shall crypt then sign its data. One key shall be unique keys per connection, it shall be use for encryption. The other key should be unique per application instances, it shall be use to sign the data. A node shall validate the authenticity of that data with a peer after every an empirically determined threshold of data on a singular connection. If there is a mismatch broadcast it to your peers, except the one use to detect the mismatch, inform central.
On reception of the broadcast the peers shall have the following behavior:
If the node having sent unauthentic data is know to the recipient node. It shall validate the authenticity of the data then it shall inform central. It shall also broadcast it to its peers. If the potentially malicious node is unknown, the recipient shall drop the message.
The central should perform a local rollback of the cheater when it reaches an empirically determined threshold with regard to an empirically determined metric.

Re:I did the math, with P2P you can get 50,000 (2)

dmbasso (1052166) | about a year and a half ago | (#41349675)

The crypto stuff is kinda obvious... see for instance gnunet. For the actual p2p, take a look at this http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1170257 [acm.org]
I know the author, he started doing this more than a decade ago.

Yeah, it's frustrating, you (we) have some good idea, just to find out a lot of people already had it way before. Sometimes centuries ago (for math stuff).
On the other hand, we live in a world of awesome possibilities... ;)

Re:I did the math, with P2P you can get 50,000 (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | about a year and a half ago | (#41349917)

I am not frustrated at all, sorry if my message ascribe such emotion. To my defense, let me confess that I was trying to karma whore by weakly attacking a favorite of here*1 for no particular reasons whatsoever.
1--the US patent system

Re:I did the math, with P2P you can get 50,000 (3, Interesting)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41350021)

If I'm understanding you correctly, I can see two possible problems (at first glance). The first is the overhead introduced by crypto: even at it's fastest, it will always add some latency to the data transmission (simply because the data has to be processed on both ends before it can be received or sent), and it requires additional processor time to manage the encryption. I'm not sure how much, but it could be a fair bit if you are transmitting several dozen times a second (which multiplayer games customarily do). This isn't a problem in BitTorrent where latency and computational overhead are not terribly important. It is a potentially very large problem in a multiplayer action game where the CPU may already be taxed and low latency is absolutely vital.

Secondly, a large number of malicious nodes could probably poison the system, or at least a part of it. This also could also be a problem: cheaters and trolls sometimes run in packs.

Re:I did the math, with P2P you can get 50,000 (4, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | about a year and a half ago | (#41350285)

cheaters and trolls sometimes run in packs.

Sometimes?

Have you ever seen just one Orc?

Re:I did the math, with P2P you can get 50,000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41350453)

Of course. All orcs must die, but there's always one left for last...

Re:I did the math, with P2P you can get 50,000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41354483)

Which is fine. Presumably you'd still have a central login server. If you have a standard Serial number / CD Key check, you can unilaterally ban clients once they are found to be malicious -- just like what most consoles, most MMOs, Steam, and most multiplayer online games are doing now.

D/Encrypting small packets shouldn't add too much to latency, probably just a ms or two with reasonably fast computers. Remember, typical ping times are between 50-200 ms which means that each client is only updated between 5 and 20 times a second. Predictive movement takes care of the gaps.

Re:I did the math, with P2P you can get 50,000 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41350065)

Won't work. It's all about trust. Which clients can you trust? Hackers will get multiple clients working together to cheat. Need 3 other clients to verify input? Hackers will get 4. They will also report people who aren't cheating as cheaters, and you will end up banning the good players. You can attempt to create your own fake client honeypots to weed out hackers (until they figure out how to spot them), but that will only help if they can't just go make another account for free. But if its pay to play, then you can just pay for centralized servers, and not have all these problems.

You could solve this by randomizing which clients get to verify which other clients, but not without significant service degradation (whoops your verifier is playing from Africa on dial-up, welcome to lag). Try to improve ping with an algorithm to reduce lag between the client and validation instead of true randomness, and hackers will beat you again.

Re:I did the math, with P2P you can get 50,000 (3, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | about a year and a half ago | (#41350303)

I was just thinking why don't we just say fuck it and make a wonderfully complicated game where the point was hacking and cheating.

A virtual world where the leader boards are filled with those who have the greatest skill and resources at hacking the code, abusing other players, spreading misinformation, hijacking networks, and generally being as shitty to everyone in the virtual world as possible.

Then I realized we don't have to create this game. That's how the real world works and is why we can't have nice things.

I did the math, and well, two. Or something. (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | about a year and a half ago | (#41350825)

That's how the real world works and is why we can't have nice things.

Very True. But that is only if you are insisting on anonymity. If you are willing to lock down a real, permanent identity before allowing someone on your network, then punishing misbehavior becomes trivial. Sometimes is to beneficial to have a network where you know who everyone is.

Re:I did the math, with P2P you can get 50,000 (1)

stephanep (1182839) | about a year and a half ago | (#41350093)

I assume you validate not only the authenticity but also the feasibility of each command. A single cheater could run 10 nodes to blend reality in his favor or report as cheater some innocent players. Then you have to handle data persistence, taking in account that any node can have connection problem at any time. Client/server(s) model for any robust real time action game has still a bright future in the current decade. (they will put the "cloud" tag on it to be trendy tho)

Re:I did the math, with P2P you can get 50,000 (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#41350773)

The problem isn't something crypto can solve. It comes down to an untrusted client. When a client reports 'My player just stabbed this other player' how can the other clients be sure this is what really happened, and the player isn't really using a hacked client to achieve superhuman precision in aiming or hit people from across the level? There are some techniques that can be used to make software much trickier to alter but, as long experience with copy-protection on games has shown, if the software is running locally then it can be modified somehow.

Re:I did the math, with P2P you can get 50,000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41349679)

This can be handled quite succinctly by modifying each client runtime to enumerize all players with the same code and perform position and attack updates using their own code. Any potentially broadcasted cheat packets are going to get ignored by the rest of the clients. The only remaining possibiles are moving too fast and refusing to take damage, both a product of lag and commonly utilized by so called cable modem cheats which involve inducing controlled lag. This is how sauerbraten handles it.
The position and health is calculated on the server and if thresholds are exceeded the client is dropped, or banned,

Re:I did the math, with P2P you can get 50,000 (1)

jhoegl (638955) | about a year and a half ago | (#41349805)

This isnt all it is cracked up to be.
The only way to kill anyone is with an explosive, so they havent really added any of the CPU intensive stuff that is required for Multiplayer.

Re:I did the math, with P2P you can get 50,000 (1)

ZosX (517789) | about a year and a half ago | (#41351435)

It doesn't sound like it. Still could you build this in your spare time? :)

Re:I did the math, with P2P you can get 50,000 (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#41350767)

But the problem is gonna be, as we saw in the video, that while it LOOKS cool as hell this thing is gonna end up being a griefer's paradise.

Show of hands, how many here have played JCII? Well I own and love this game and I can tell you picture being Spiderman with access to the most INSANE amount of firepower you can possibly imagine. We are talking Mach 2+ combat aircraft, choppers, tanks, the amount of pure firepower in this game goes beyond crazy and gets into complete batshit.

But JCII as a massively MP game? With as much fricking firepower that you have on hand unless the mod put you in some random place FAR away from people your ass is gonna be blown up before you get 20 feet thanks to all the rockets flying and bombs going on. And has anybody listed what the system reqs is for this thing? Because I can tell you that the SP game can pimp slap the shit out of your CPU and GPU thanks to all the explosions, and that's the ones YOU are causing! With this there will probably a hundred explosions per second in any even slightly populated area, just because huge weapons are so plentiful. hell you can get a truk truk with a fricking tank gun mounted on it from the black market dropped at your feet!

So while this looks fun as hell in theory in real life I wanna see how this thing does with actual players instead of beta testers and see how bad the lag is with all that shit blowing up constantly. that said if you haven't picked it up yet BUY THIS GAME as its the most fun I've had in years in a game, it makes every action movie look like Driving Miss Daisy by comparison.

Re:I did the math, with P2P you can get 50,000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41355919)

Some ideas for MMP in an FPS:
Nerf the overly big weapons by limiting the amount available and requiring some of them to actual teamwork involved in operating them to become a true wrecking ball on the battlefield. (More people manning different positions on a ship, faster guns reload, things like that.) This would also make some vehicles near useless to try running solo.

More than one leaderboard for various roles. This would appeal to a broader base than many current FPSs, not everyone is the run-and-gun guy. Some guys might play awesomely as a medic or engineer/support but continuously get pegged at the bottom end of a leaderboard because of low kill or objective count. Yet the team they're on would suck without them because they keep the other players alive and well armed. Leaderboards that show team-play value in other ways would remedy that. Some new stats to show less obvious supporting roles might also help. Perhaps something like "control points captured or kills by people being transported in a vehicle" would be cool as good drivers that bother to help would be rewarded too. Good stats on some leaderboards might also give a boost in successive rounds. (A good engineer might repair faster, making him even more useful, stuff like that.)

Cut down on repair pads, ammo crates, and healing lockers (or whatever). Then some people would actually have to play as medic or support/engineer. Playing Rambo-style by knowing a map would be less effective if you couldn't just re-arm or heal yourself when alone. You'll need another player to cover your back to more effectively get ahead.

Implement a stamina mechanic. When on foot, running at full speed for too long would slow you down, make your aim sloppier, and not being able to jump reliably. Having limited attribute stat points for a player when starting and making some weapons weigh you down would also play into this. You've got to stop and use cover to recharge yourself. Want to be faster with stamina to run and jump a lot, play as a skinny guy and go light on weapons. Tradeoff is you injure more easily, and picking up some big weapon will slow you down a lot. Want to be heavily loaded out and strong enough to carry big weapons? Might not be able to jump that fence so easily and making use of cover would be more important because you can't continuously run like a spaz before tiring and becoming a much easier target. Having this kind of balance issue would cater to many more playing styles than just twitch reflexes, not everyone would go for the convenient rocket launcher if it's like a lead anchor, and this variety would also require more teamwork.

Make some things limited resources or requiring logistics. Rockets and explosives don't grow on trees anymore. Vehicles might be plentiful at the start, but take a long time to respawn. The ammo crate laying there can run out or be destroyed. Maybe somebody will have to drive a truck or helicopter back to base, load up from there, and drop new ammo crates where the fight is. Again yet another thing that requires teamwork. But when you have over 100 people on a server, somebody can do these jobs. Suddenly that plane or truck with no guns isn't just something to simply joyride to the next control point, but something to preserved and protected so other players aren't left sitting ducks until it respawns.

Objectives that are not easy or impossible to do alone. Make some control points require control of territory. Instead of everybody dogpiling in one spot to quickly capture a flag, your team has to hold down and occupy something like seven buildings at the same time.

Basically when you have the number of people required to make more game mechanics feasible, you can add much more strategy to an FPS to cut down on the chaos factor. However some people like chaos or an absolute FFA, so these features should be some things that are added and may be adjusted by server operators to balance things regarding how they like to play the game. Some of us would actually think some degree of realism in game mechanics not accounted for in most current FPS would be more fun, provided that the option was actually available.

Re:I did the math, with P2P you can get 50,000 (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#41357699)

Uhhh...what does ANY of that have to do with Just Cause II? What you just described already exists, its called Team Fortress 2 and has jack squat to do with the game we are speaking about.

All of that crap might be fine (already done to death, but whatever) on some theoretical future game, but with a mod you have to follow the laws already hard coded into the game engine. And anybody who has played JCII knows that the amount of weaponry in that game is totally batshit. It is the ONLY game that i know of where you can literally be at 30k feet, jump out of a plane, hijack ANOTHER plane while freefalling, use that plane to attack a base and then when the plane is shot all to hell ride the thing like a surfboard right into a base and hop off at the last second and not only survive but actually kick major ass!

Now do you honestly think a game with THAT amount of snooker loopy batshit nuts shitting going on in SP is gonna be better by putting a couple of thousand people loose in the thing? And again we are talking about a game that can pimpslap a decent machine just playing SP, when I had a quad and 2 HD4850s in CF it would STILL drop to damned near 30FPS with the pretty turned up and a lot of explosions. Now that I'm only running a single HD4850 and a hexacore medium high is the best I can go for, can you imagine what having a couple of thousand guys setting off DirectX 10 fireballs every 2 seconds all over the huge cities is gonna do for framerates? If you spend less than $2k on GPUs I seriously doubt you'll get anything but a sideshow in the major cities!

Final verdict, sure it looks cool to watch on YouTube but I want to see actual performance on actual machines with actual people, not beta testers. I have a feeling that any GPU that costs less than a grand will look like a slideshow. Remember we are talking a DX10 game with full physics modeling being given to 2000 guys ALL carrying insane amounts of firepower.

Re:I did the math, with P2P you can get 50,000 (4, Funny)

cellocgw (617879) | about a year and a half ago | (#41351833)

Yeah, but 64k players should be enough for anyone.
(well, someone had to post this :-( )

Re:I did the math, with P2P you can get 50,000 (2)

kenp2002 (545495) | about a year and a half ago | (#41353093)

The problem is none of the mods are doing any transaction logging needed for catching cheaters. You can easily handles 200k players in 1 location when there are no checks against movement speeds, positional coherence, etc. This is a non-story at best.

Re:I did the math, with P2P you can get 50,000 (1)

guruevi (827432) | about a year ago | (#41355193)

That's easy to do too. The server can just send the data of players to a random group of clients for collision detection and probability calculations (what's the probability of a guy going from height 0 to 10 at that location). If a certain number of clients tells you the results are erroneous, mark them as hackers and kick them or ban them or move them to a cheater's server.

MMO Joust (3, Interesting)

jomama717 (779243) | about a year and a half ago | (#41349453)

This revives in me an idea a buddy of mine and I had about creating a massively multiplayer online version of joust, after playing it for several hours on xbox live one night in the early 2000's, the game is so simple it should be easy to pile on thousands of players, and would be a fucking blast...unlimited board, unlimited players, would be great. Of course, like any cool idea I wouldn't be surprised if this has already been done by someone.

Re:MMO Joust (5, Interesting)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about a year and a half ago | (#41349491)

MMO Pong: Everyone gets a side of an nsided polygon where N is the number of players. There is n-1 balls in play. MMO ET: Everyone gets thrown into a pit, and you need to jump on top of other people's heads to jump out of the pit. I would think this would have to be a minigame inside an actually fun game, otherwise how would you get people to play it :P

Re:MMO Joust (2)

jomama717 (779243) | about a year and a half ago | (#41349517)

Love it. The possibilities are endless. The rebirth of relevance for 80's arcade games by way of MMO-ization.

Re:MMO Joust (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#41349659)

MMO Pong: Everyone gets a side of an nsided polygon where N is the number of players.

MMO Warlords would work well too.

MMO ET: Everyone gets thrown into a pit, and you need to jump on top of other people's heads to jump out of the pit.

That's not E.T.; that's New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

I would think this would have to be a minigame inside an actually fun game, otherwise how would you get people to play it :P

Make it a minigame collection, where the scores for each minigame contribute to the final score for a match. Sort of like Mario Party or WarioWare.

Re:MMO Joust (2)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | about a year and a half ago | (#41350587)

MMO ET: Everyone gets thrown into a pit, and you need to jump on top of other people's heads to jump out of the pit.

That's not E.T.; that's New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

That's The Dark Knight Rises, too.

Re:MMO Joust (1)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | about a year and a half ago | (#41350777)

Or make it a 3D game where each player has to protect a face of a polyhedron. When players exit their face of the polyhedron is removed. Maybe even put another polyhedron inside the polyhedron and have players bounce the balls between the polyhedrons.

Re:MMO Joust (1)

Twisted64 (837490) | about a year and a half ago | (#41371865)

MMO ET: Everyone gets thrown into a pit, and you need to jump on top of other people's heads to jump out of the pit.

I take it you haven't tried Transformice? I like a description I read which claimed the enemy was "the human condition." Very true.

Re:MMO Joust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41349575)

Just FYI, I believe they pulled Joust on XBLA for purchase. If you have the license you can always get it but new purchases are unavailable.

Re:MMO Joust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41350195)

This revives in me an idea a buddy of mine and I had about creating a massively multiplayer online version of joust

You mean BirdAss?

Re:MMO Joust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41357585)

Was this at FSU? The timing is right for this to have been me saying it. If so, this is Frog.

There's possible, and then there's supportable... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41349471)

Game developers set their limits based on what they can reasonably show to be a supported, stable level for the majority of their expected customer base.

Even though the code could potentially handle more, explicitly supporting it requires additional development resources, additional QA resources to validate that it works, etc., for potentially little to no gain.

Anything over 64 players is going to bump it into the real where it's considered "massively multiplayer" by most suits as well.

Re:There's possible, and then there's supportable. (1)

citizenr (871508) | about a year and a half ago | (#41350793)

Nah, EVE Online will let >2000 people on one node, it will slow down to a 10% real time tho :/

Who wants to work for a game studio. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41349521)

The pay sucks, the hours suck, the management sucks. The industry is risk averse, and is a consumer of research - not a creator. Only moron brogrammers end up stuck in cubicles at game studios. Totally unsurprised that true innovation comes from outside the industry.

Re:Who wants to work for a game studio. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41358133)

Why is this modded Troll? He's right. I went into a trade because after doing the research in High School I decided I will never work in the game industry. There hasn't been a decent game in ages. Every big release in the last few years has been a radical and outrageous disappointment. I still play video games, but they're all from 3+ Years ago. The last game I bought was Mirror's Edge. Only because it was a well presented, innovative and unique game.

The real problem with the industry is the fact that It's a business. Profit margins are the only concern of the developer's now. It's far easier to make a cookie-cutter shooter or an over-hyped sequel to a franchise that actually succeeded. You know which games I'm talking about and which people are at fault. If you don't then you have no right to be involved. Too many damn suits already.

The only thing we can hope for at this point is the death of the Tyrants at their own hands. Until then I'll just go outside, maybe build a shelf.

slashdotted (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41349543)

Test Cancelled

Published september 15, 2012, 01:29:19 pm

An hour or so after we started the test, we were hit by a DDoS attack that ended shortly after; roughly 2 hours later we were hit by an even stronger attack, leaving us with no choice but to call off the test.

It is a shame for the beta to end just 3 hours after it started, though we did verify that the server performance fixes most definitely worked.

what time did this article get posted?

Re:slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41350119)

It wasnt slashdot...

It was an actual DDoS from some douchebags who are pissy the multiplayer doesnt work with the pirate version of just cause 2.

Re:slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41350467)

Oh, you mean Anonymous.

Re:slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41356951)

Why does everything have to be about Anonymous? For anything I can see the "chans" love this shit. They lap it up every test. Why would they of all people bring it down? Some douche bag with enough power flopping it out on the table just 'cause.

Re:slashdotted (1)

joshuaf (551531) | about a year and a half ago | (#41364357)

They ended up still doing a test this weekend. I played for 4-5 hours Yesterday. It's VERY fun.

Not ground breaking (-1, Troll)

Asmor (775910) | about a year and a half ago | (#41349601)

How Indie Devs Made an 1,800-Player Action Game Mod In Their Spare Time

Wow, indie devs making mods in their spare time? Holy crap! That would be revolutionary two decades ago!

Sit around, kids, and let me tell you a story about when PC games were expected to be modded, had rich and diverse communities devoted to all the mods, and all of this with the approval and support of the people that made the game!

Of course, back then, there was no concept of "DLC", and an FPS intended for online play with only a handful of maps was dead before it even got started. Games shipped with lots of content, and the game developers would churn out and release new content, for free, in addition to all the stuff the hobbyists made.

Games today, with entirely too few exceptions, are shitty console ports designed to be closed ecosystems so the publishers can charge you for piddly bits of content and you need to be a god damn hacker to even install mods, never mind make them.

Re:Not ground breaking (1)

_Shorty-dammit (555739) | about a year and a half ago | (#41349661)

Way to miss the point.

Re:Not ground breaking (0)

Asmor (775910) | about a year and a half ago | (#41349683)

The point? I assume you're talking about the fact that there were a large number of players in the server concurrently?

That may be the point, but it's only half the headline. The rest of the headline emphasizes that the devs are independent (you know, as opposed to professional), and they did this in their spare time (so they aren't getting paid for it).

Remove those elements from the headline, and I have no problem. But as it is, the headline is emphasizing them as if it's some amazing, unheard of feat that PC gamers would create a mod for a game. And I'm calling bullshit on that.

Re:Not ground breaking (1)

Fwipp (1473271) | about a year and a half ago | (#41349751)

The point is obviously that indie devs were able to do what professional devs have not. (An 1800-player action game).

Re:Not ground breaking (1)

locopuyo (1433631) | about a year and a half ago | (#41349769)

What about planetside 2?

Re:Not ground breaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41350491)

What about planetside 1? What about Eve Online, with what, 30-60K users in one game-world.

Actually, what about Planetside 2? Why haven't anyone done a real MMOFPS since the first one? It was THE best FPS I have ever played until they royally fucked up the game balance and alienated most of their playerbase, leading to massive and rapid loss of key players in the community.

And yes, I've played large map battles in many of the most popular FPS games today, and they're not even close - the lack of an open game-world makes the battle much less dynamic and much less like being in a real warzone... and more like being in some sort of CS world where all the teens and bots fight for who can be the coolest individual. Little to no strategic planning, absolutely no large picture whatsoever, because you're just 64 people stuck on this little very specific map with a set win-condition.

Planetside wasn't a war anyone could ever win... And that made it a lot more fun to play, and a lot more about the big picture.

Re:Not ground breaking (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41350369)

I don't understand what is so incredible about that either...

Planetside had somewhere around 500 on one continent(server) at a time and that was almost 10 years ago and multiple thousands if the articles understanding (or definition) of "a server" being one realm or world is used. The article goes on to talk about how this is the first time there's been a Massively Multiplayer shoot-em' up style game and that it was some genius new idea by these two hobby programmers, I mean EUREKA a shooter MMO. Which is just plain incorrect, see planetside (and upcoming planetside2) and there might be other attempts I don't know about. Planetside wasn't hugely successful, at it's peak it had I dunno something like 4-6 north American "servers" and probably around 3000 players on any one of them at a given time. It was successful enough to eventually get a try at a second which is in beta now and I believe is supposed to end up free to play, pay for your digital character's vanity.

Here's a few problems with them. The Genre, fps/third person shooters, mainly targets 10-25 year old guys...
so there is a limited market.
10-16 or 18 year old guys have to talk their parents into paying for subscriptions to something like an MMO...
which further limits it.
There's about a billion and one games like that on the market who's only difference is that they aren't MMO...
so you might not play with 2000 people in one place, but there's plenty of opponents and a community in most the larger shooters, and a lot less of the "hurry up and wait around" aspect that is doing anything organized in MMOs.
Most shoot-em up style players tend to look down on pay to play or pay to win games, for good reason, when most want you to shell out $50+ for the box/software, then get the privilege of paying another $15 a month.

Large changes to shooters can drive players away in droves, but for MMO's if you aren't updating you aren't adding new people...
Take a look at planetside's BFR updates. Add a game breaking new vehicle set, lost a ton of veteran subscribers. Nerf it, tons of people stayed gone. Added so much anti-air you couldn't organize air attacks anymore, or even fight other air players away from the main battles anymore without lock-on autoaim weapons. Lost the organized air outfits (clans/guilds). Kept some of the bad players people that they would farm.
This is a large problem for MMO's in general now that they are so big (or at least since WoW was) you have a pretty low mean player skill level. Well they and those even worse then the mean need to advance if you want to keep them paying customers. Then you have exceptional hardcore guilds, who find encounters too easy, blow through new content in a month and have nothing to do. That gets magnified in pvp, since you literally pit those two groups against each other. I used to play my dad in quakeworld, it was never especially close, but I ended up getting really good playing online... After a few games at the end of that summer he refused to play me anymore "it's just not fun for me." Which I understood, repeatedly getting beat and not having the ability to do anything about it sucks. That's what would happen in FPS mmos if they didn't dumb it down for the average skill level or below that, they'd hemorrhage the lower end players until there'd be a handful of top players who wouldn't be covering costs...

So no, it's been done before.

Re:Not ground breaking (1)

Cylix (55374) | about a year and a half ago | (#41350417)

Planetside lost some of it's original vision after heavily incorporating changes from forum complaints/suggestions. This had the net effect of removing strategic or skill based methods of achieving goals. Interestingly enough, with quick enough hands and some skill a BFR could be brought down from a hot drop mosquito. That of course was nerfed beyond recognition in the name of only equally classed entities should be able to really interact/combat with each other. No sir, your battle monger 5000 can't shoot the peons because the weapons weren't designed for that!

There are a good deal more examples of what drove away their community, but we don't really need to go into that. Sadly, PS2 is going to re-envision all the poor ideas they contrived throughout the first PS. It will be interesting to see if a vanity approach to sales will function with this game. In most cases, the combat isn't necessarily as face to face as other games which have found that route to be viable.

Re:Not ground breaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41356901)

But you need to look at what proffesional devs have compared to indie devs.
This includes resources, time constraints.. oh and a paid job. Shucks the downsides of having money...

Re:Not ground breaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41349763)

The point you failed to connect on is:

Indie developers in their spare time did something that the big game houses have been claiming was impossible for decades. "We can only support 4/8/16/32" has been the mantra of gaming companies for decades.

Now here a group of unpaid modders proves them spectacularly wrong.

The point of the article is half lost without factoring in that the people who accomplished it are not "professional, top tire game developers at the pinnacle of game research and captains of the gaming industry" but rather is 7 friends who decided to just do it.

Your combativeness towards this headline suggests that you missed the real point of it all.

Re:Not ground breaking (1)

jittles (1613415) | about a year and a half ago | (#41352747)

The point you failed to connect on is:

Indie developers in their spare time did something that the big game houses have been claiming was impossible for decades. "We can only support 4/8/16/32" has been the mantra of gaming companies for decades.

Now here a group of unpaid modders proves them spectacularly wrong.

The point of the article is half lost without factoring in that the people who accomplished it are not "professional, top tire game developers at the pinnacle of game research and captains of the gaming industry" but rather is 7 friends who decided to just do it.

Your combativeness towards this headline suggests that you missed the real point of it all.

Except that the big companies were limiting these games to 4/8/16/32 people not out of server demands, but most likely due to network constraints. Most of these FPS require you to have low latency with all of the other players in order to have fun. It sucks shooting at someone's head only to find out that you are shooting at where the person was and not where they really are. The more people you add to the game, the higher the chance that someone will have a poor experience due to latency. This is exacerbated when the game companies do not run their own servers, but require one of the players to be host, and therefore everyone has to have a good connection to that single player. That causes NAT and other issues as well.

Re:Not ground breaking (2)

sumdumass (711423) | about a year and a half ago | (#41349773)

I think you are looking at it from and upside down viewpoint. It's not just that a large number of players were in the server concurrently, it's also that a group of modders who are not tied to the big game industry, in their spare time demonstrated it was possible.

If this was just about a large number of people in a single server, it probably wouldn't even be news. That happens all the time with other types of servers. Why it is news is because industry dominant forces appear to think it isn't possible or the hardware requirements are too large or something and a group outside the dominant companies proved them wrong by making a game that could do it.

Re:Not ground breaking (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year and a half ago | (#41349801)

No it doesn't. There is no claim that PC gamers creating mods is unheard of.

It is emphasizing that some indie devs pulled off the multi player stuff in their spare time rather than a big budget game company. Which is pretty normal for a headline since part of the article is asking why game companies haven't done this already.

Re:Not ground breaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41349949)

I still don't see what's so special. Dark Age of Camelot topped out around 3000 people per server and a small group of independents recreated their server code from scratch so they could host their own servers. Think it was called Dawn of Light maybe. That was almost a decade ago...

And they built it for... (-1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#41349627)

WINDOWS, not Linux.

When even the geeks pass on Linux for games, is there any hope?

Re:And they built it for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41349743)

They wanted to build a game with 1800 online players, whats the point of building that for Linux and having just 10 players in there.

Re:And they built it for... (1)

Microlith (54737) | about a year and a half ago | (#41349791)

Considering Just Cause 2 doesn't have a Linux port last I checked, this isn't terribly surprising.

Re:And they built it for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41349895)

You're just getting desperate, aren't you?

Re:And they built it for... (4, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41350045)

WINDOWS, not Linux.

When even the geeks pass on Linux for games, is there any hope?

Well, from the FAQ on the linked site:

Will there be a Linux build of the server?

Yes, there are both Win32 and Linux builds of the server

So... yeah, troll elsewhere.

Chaos: The Game. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41349653)

I've seen the trailer. Basically imaging a massive free for all. Fun? I suppose.

Need quim (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41349853)

I need some pussy tonight

Uh ... (3, Interesting)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | about a year and a half ago | (#41350157)

Early 1990s MUD games had telnet connections in the three digits. As in, handling raw character input from the players, not nicely aggregated packets from a client GUI. That was on hardware like Sun boxes that pale in processing power and memory size compared to ... oh, your Jesus mobe, and such.

Re:Uh ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41350299)

heh yea sun boxes in the 90's would be about the same as owning a small datacenter today

Re:Uh ... (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about a year and a half ago | (#41350335)

ahhhh yes brings back memories of playing my half blind dwarf gromit, he could see a distance of 1, if I wasn't in a group I wasn't able to find the other side of a room. From memory I was connecting from a VAX terminal. At the time MUD's stunned me with how powerful and complex a multi player gaming environment could be and was amazed to see so many people in the same game.

How was this done? (1)

grumbel (592662) | about a year and a half ago | (#41350435)

Could anybody give some details on how this was done? How do you hack multiplayer into a closed source game that doesn't have multiplayer support it? Decompile the thing? Find some unused engine hooks that allow multiplayer? Something completely different?

Re:How was this done? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#41350715)

details would be very interesting.

afaik iirc gta mp was memory hacks.

what's crazy about this is that it seems it supports more players online in a single game without bad lag than what max payne 3 supports globally in 100 different games...

Re:How was this done? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41350807)

There doesn't appear to be any type of basic lag compensation though and it's entirely possible hit detection is client side (like BF3) so that all the server does is shuffle data between the clients. This is not how most MP games work because it's too easy to cheat. Granted in this game that doesn't matter but in other games where you play MP towards a goal, things like client side hit detection, client side physics, client side lag compensation isn't good enough.

Re:How was this done? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41356863)

Well sorry, Internet Hero, looks like their work just isn't up to your standards.

Re:How was this done? (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year and a half ago | (#41351133)

You simply replace a dll by another one that provides the same interface but a different implementation.

Hasn't this been done already? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41351039)

I took a course in game programming the summer of 2011. There was a guest lecturer who discussed something very much like this.

The idea was to have the playable area of the game divided into zones. Each zone would have a flexible border that could be moved around based on the quantity of the players. I think the idea was that each zone would roughly adjust to have an equal amount of players. Each zone, in turn, was responsible for the players within it. The game was specifically designed to handle FPS games with larger amounts of players. He even discussed some solution to how to handle sniper rifles (as a sniper rifle would have incredible range it might require "accessing" a player who is in an entirely different zone in the game.

I think he said that thousands of players were possible with their solution.

Re:Hasn't this been done already? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41351447)

Oddly enough, I work for a company that's been selling an implementation a lot like that for over a decade now.

The problem has not been "how do we get 1800 players into a single play-space" for a long time now, between peer-to-peer, clustered computing, and dynamic spatial division. Zoning was a game play feature, not a technical requirement, by the time World of Warcraft shipped.

The problem now is "How do we make a single play-space fun for 1800 people at once?"

I haven't seen a good answer to that yet, and since I'm still working my way through JC1, I doubt I'll get a chance to see this one either...

(Posting anonymously to keep any commercial concerns abated)

Re:Hasn't this been done already? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#41351667)

Oddly enough, I work for a company that's been selling an implementation a lot like that for over a decade now.

The problem has not been "how do we get 1800 players into a single play-space" for a long time now, between peer-to-peer, clustered computing, and dynamic spatial division. Zoning was a game play feature, not a technical requirement, by the time World of Warcraft shipped.

The problem now is "How do we make a single play-space fun for 1800 people at once?"

I haven't seen a good answer to that yet, and since I'm still working my way through JC1, I doubt I'll get a chance to see this one either...

(Posting anonymously to keep any commercial concerns abated)

wow, two anon cowards supposedly with solutions for scaling realtime games on consumer connections to thousands of people. YET NO PRODUCT MENTIONED! screw you guys, mention some done things. wow would have been hell of a lot better with your magic tech, instead of the technical scaling limits which ultimately lead to the realms being the size they are(in terms of player amounts, which dictates the designed world size in area so that it wasn't empty or too full).

it is very much a problem how do you make it technically - making it fun is very easy.. just run a simulation of the normandy beaches if you can't think of anything else. but technically the wow servers(and clients) were running to their limits regularly when just 300 people decided to pop up in the same zone. zoning was very much a technical requirement rather than a gameplay requirement, if you think otherwise then you never saw a wow zone get fucked up. it is very much a technical problem how do you get 1800 players connected to each other with low enough latency that it still resembles a realtime game - and to which people can connect with their home connections.

there are some game types for which more is the merrier "automatically". subspace was one of those with 100+ player servers maxing out 15 years ago.

Re:Hasn't this been done already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41353027)

I didn't say I had a solution. I said I heard a solution was already out there.

Networking in games not designed (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year and a half ago | (#41351163)

I'll tell you why networking in video games sucks so much, is so easy to hack and scales so badly: it's simply not designed. The proper approach would be to think what should be the responsibilities of the client and what should be that of the server, then design an adequate protocol and write the server-side algorithms with scalability in mind. For example finding all players within one region is logarithmic in nature, and not sending information to clients that shouldn't have it is common sense, but don't expect any server to do that.

That's just not how networking works in video games. They just write the full system as if it were a single application and use an automatic serialization layer to send over whatever they need. It ends up being inefficient spaghetti. When they need to make it more efficient, they just spend money making their networking layer faster instead of fixing the core of the problem.

project built based on theft (0)

JernejL (1092807) | about a year and a half ago | (#41352289)

He build it by stealing off other projects, most notably by stealing source & ideas from the sa-mp project which eclipses that 1800 players test by numbers going above 40.000 players, daily.

Re:project built based on theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41354129)

Copying. Not stealing.

Re:project built based on theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41356845)

Sounds like someone is a little butthurt on all the attention this is getting compared to SA-MP

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...