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MMO-Like Quake Is Possible

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the frag-for-xp dept.

Quake 50

An anonymous reader writes "OptimalGrid is a self-contained middleware designed for developers to create grid-enabled parallel applications without themselves becoming experts in grid or high-performance computing (article). The Linux compatible middleware now includes automatic distribution and provisioning on to Grid nodes. See how the first release of Quake II was made massively multi-player [pdf] by running on a Grid. Get modified Quake II from Sourceforge to run with OptimalGrid and let the massive Grid games begin." Update: 09/19 16:12 GMT by Z : Marked the pdf as such.

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50 comments

mmm Quake 2. (2, Interesting)

GoNINzo (32266) | more than 8 years ago | (#13596438)

I love the concept! Back in the day, we tested a couple 64 player matches, and WOW was it insane. What was kind of neat is that we made 'no fire' zones, so people could just go and chill.

Now, to find my quake 2 install directory.. hrm.. (You need Quake 2 to play this, obviously) (And yes, same GoNINzo from GameSpy. heh)

Re:mmm Quake 2. (1)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 8 years ago | (#13602384)

Didn't you use to go into #quake on Id Software's irc server?

Re:mmm Quake 2. (1)

GoNINzo (32266) | more than 8 years ago | (#13605323)

Yeah, I ran the gamespy irc server that was part of 3dnet. We actually had the biggest node on that system. heh The world is entirely too small.

Awesome (1)

Idealius (688975) | more than 8 years ago | (#13596492)

An action-packed MMO that actually requires honed reflexes to replace MMO's major weakness (the boring click-n-level) along with possible story/quest potential to replace FPS's major weakness (obituary editors writing storylines.)

MMO's and FPS are the two most popular game genres.

With their powers combined IT IS CAPTAIN FPMMOS, the first-person massively-multiplayer online shooter. (or FPSMMO/MMOFPS, but i like mine betta ;)

Seriously, when we get a good combination of the two I will SO buy it. And I'm sure everyone else will too. Can you say MMOGTA? or MMONFS with licensed vehicles?

Re:Awesome (2, Insightful)

Scuff (59882) | more than 8 years ago | (#13596759)

Planetside has already been running as a MMOFPS for what, two years now? I think all they've demonstrated is that noone wants to pay a monthly fee for an FPS

Re:Awesome (2, Insightful)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 8 years ago | (#13596886)

Ehh? I thought Halo proved the exact opposite.

Re:Awesome (2, Insightful)

Scuff (59882) | more than 8 years ago | (#13597488)

halo is neither massively multiplayer nor does it require a monthly fee, so i'm not sure what you're talking about.

Re:Awesome (1, Informative)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 8 years ago | (#13597694)

Post I was replying to stated, and I quote:

I think all they've demonstrated is that noone wants to pay a monthly fee for an FPS


And for my other post, sure, you don't _have_ to pay for xbox live to play halo, but as was my point, people _do_ pay for xbox live to play halo.

I'm quite sure of what I'm talking about. I think the better question is are you listening?

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13597901)

The parent didn't mention FPSes or XBoxes, he just said that Quake isn't massively multiplayer so it makes a bad example of how anyone would be willing to pay $50 a month for some crappy Dreamcast port.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13598806)

You mean Halo 2. Halo wasn't an Xbox Live game.

Re:Awesome (1)

Idealius (688975) | more than 8 years ago | (#13596958)

Meanwhile thousands of FPS game servers are being maintained by people who pay a monthly fee for (you guessed it) a First-person-shooter. You think FPS servers grow on tree BOI!

Planetside is one of the few (only?) proof-of concepts. It's 2 and a half years old, and it got crappy reviews when it released. Planetside only proves 'getting it right the first time' is a hard thing to do.

Just because the ONLY example sucks doesn't mean the genre will.

Re:Awesome (1)

Ayaress (662020) | more than 8 years ago | (#13597159)

Planetside has a lot of issues. It's only about 50% that people won't pay the monthly fee for it. The other 50% is are those issues. I'm not going to rehash it yet again, but there have been outright bugs in the game for its entire run which the developers have passed off as intentional and inflexible design, or even as trivial and not worth fixing, and in one case very bad and difficult to fix, so they'd fix minor things first. Which they often said weren't worth fixing.

Honestly, Planetside's an excellent concept, but it's also a prime example of how NOT to run an MMOG, comparable with the abysmal job Nexon has been doing with Shattered Galaxy (which is an MMORTS).

Re:Awesome (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 8 years ago | (#13603106)

Just like Neocron. Neocron is a MMORPG with a combat model that comes quite close to a shooter. Great concept, great atmosphere (despite the somewhat dated graphics), but it suffers from lag and bugs that have existed for ages.

I'm still playing, but I'm also looking for other games that will pick up the concept and do it better.

Re:Awesome (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | more than 8 years ago | (#13597618)

Yea but have you ever played planet side? Me and my brother (who is a hardcore MMO player) both had accounts and needless to say we did not keep them very long. Concept was good but nothing to keep you coming back plus the "lag" was terrible even on cable. Nothing more fun then taking a base then loosing it within the next few hours. pointless.

Re:Awesome (1)

PoPRawkZ (694140) | more than 8 years ago | (#13605015)

I currently have a subscription to Planetside and a majority of the problems discussed have been long solved. I experience zero lag, and rarely ever find a bug (I've fallen through the terrain once in 3 months). Back when I was a beta tester for the game, things were a different story. I chose not to buy the game when it went retail becaused IMO they were selling people a beta.

The problem with Planetside is two fold. Small playerbase has caused a majority of the game world to be abandoned for most of the time. The core combat expansion created new content and new areas to explore, but did not provide an increased playerbase to populate those areas. The second problem is SOE has not attempted to promote the game to keep an influx of new players coming in.

Rumor has it that SOE is going to offer Planetside through Steam, and if even 10% of Steam users try Planetside, and half of those users subscribe to Planetside, it will double to triple the current playerbase. Quite possibly revitalizing the Planetside community.

Re: MMO's and FPS are the two most popular... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13596768)

Really? I thought sports and casual games were. Or did you mean they were your two most favorite genres?

Also, no apostrophe in "MMO's" - apostrophes are used for possession and contraction, never plurality.

Re: MMO's and FPS are the two most popular... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13597127)

I think he meant most popular PC genres, which appears to be true. Other more popular genres tend to be consoles

Re:Awesome (3, Interesting)

LoRdTAW (99712) | more than 8 years ago | (#13597736)

I agree. One this about half life 2 that pissed me off was that the game play was totally linear when it could have been dynamic and fit the story better. What would be friggen awesome was if highway 17 bought you to different areas with different and multiple goals to complete. Like goto the coast and retrieve a special key that will unlock a door back in town where you started off. and have the damn areas change! More interaction with NPC's would be a big plus not just some random cannon fodder. perhaps the first time you roll into town you fight a little and achieve your goal. then you have to come back later only to find yourself in the middle of a combine raid. Maybe even trains could get you around the city too. I want dynamic game play not this continuous path to keep charging through. City 17 should be one big ass map not 100 maps stringed together.

And didn't some company try to make an RPG type shooter with the doom engine called strife?

Re:Awesome (1)

Hast (24833) | more than 8 years ago | (#13604366)

Freedom Fighters has gameplay kind of like that. It's a 3rd person shooter though... But it's really good and I'd recommend you to try it.

Hey, Rob et. al. (5, Insightful)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 8 years ago | (#13596493)

Hey /crew - how about having Slash automatically put a [PDF] after a PDF link - so we know we are about to download a huge PDF rather than going to a link?

Re:Hey, Rob et. al. (2, Insightful)

metamatic (202216) | more than 8 years ago | (#13596694)

How about learning to look at the URL in your browser before clicking on it, if it bothers you? Or installing a Firefox plugin to flag PDFs [mozilla.org] ? And then quitting whining about PDF?

While you're at it... (1)

Lendrick (314723) | more than 8 years ago | (#13597197)

Why not just code up your own custom browser from scratch?

Re:While you're at it... (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 8 years ago | (#13600816)

That's over the top. All you need to do is click on an XPI link to install the browser plugin? (See the parent's link. I wouldn't ask you to trust a direct XPI link found on Slashdot.)

Re:Hey, Rob et. al. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13599834)

How about a size warning (for ANY file, for that matter), like "bla bla bla [PDF, 1.4MB]".

Re:Hey, Rob et. al. (3, Informative)

trendyhendy (471691) | more than 8 years ago | (#13600084)

I just have the following bit of code in browser's userContent.css

a[href$=".pdf"]:after {
                font-size: smaller;
                content: " [pdf]";
}

added lag (5, Insightful)

FadedTimes (581715) | more than 8 years ago | (#13596529)

70ms of added lag between servers, I wonder how much that effects twitch reaction and firing accuracy.

Re:added lag (1)

embobo (1520) | more than 8 years ago | (#13598354)

In my experience the added lag of 70ms may make the game
unplayable. My connection latency (on DSL) is about 100ms. Anything
above 150ms is too much lag for me.

On the bright side, it looks like the grid nodes are wired to be able
to talk to any other node in two hops (a -> whiteboard -> b) so that
latency isn't proportional to the number of nodes.

Re:added lag (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 8 years ago | (#13598904)

This is what latency correction is designed to solve. Obviously such a system as this would almost require latency correction.

However with latency correction, the added 70ms are trivial, as in they wouldn't affect performance.

In my experience anything over 50ms is too much for me, unless there is latency correction. Then I'm comfortable up to about 200 or 250ms. Not that I couldn't play with more, it's just that when you're on a DSL connection and pinging more than 250ms to a server, chances are you've got high packetloss and other problems.

Re:added lag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13599052)

The problem with most latency correction is it causes either player teleporting or sluggishness.
I think 150 is about the "playable" limit for twitch shooters (even with correction). There are FPS games that have a much slower pace like America's Army where 300ms might be playable, but for the most part, FPS games are VERY sensitive to latency.
Wouldn't want to play Quake on a small level with more than a 100ms ping.

Re:added lag (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 8 years ago | (#13599760)

You misunderstand latency correction. It doesn't affect player movement, it affects hit detection. In a nutshell the server keeps a history of player locations so that when your client tells it you fired, the server sees where your target was when you fired, as opposed to when the server received your packet. That's it, that's all, movement isn't affected.

The idea behind this is that you don't have to lead your shots no matter how much latency there is.

As for teleporting players, there are solutions to this. Half-Life (1 and 2) use interpolation. By default the buffer is 100ms. What it does is puts all data it receives into a 100ms buffer, and then interpolates that for display. While it does mean that what the player sees is delayed by 100ms, in practice this doesn't matter. Latency correction handles the delay for shots, and the interpolation itself ensures other players move smoothly.

In practice what it means is that you can lose or miss packets and the game can just interpolate around them.

Obviously if you're going to be mucking about with netcode to put Quake on a grid, adding such things as client-side interpolation and latency correction are certainly things that need to be considered.

IBM's Quake 2 port is a proof of concept, not a practical implementation.

Bleh, not what we want. (2, Informative)

GoNINzo (32266) | more than 8 years ago | (#13596677)

This is just a way to take a very complex 'flow' program and convert it to a massive group of computers doing it instead of just one. In this case, they took quake and made it so you can spread users across multiple computers, but it's designed for intranet use.

So, an ISP could take a popular multiplayer game, setup some grid servers, and a couple proxy servers, and then get 100 people to join the game. This is not exactly the same as making it massively multiplayer because the world is still the same size, and I'm unsure if the client could handle all the actors being on the screen at the same time. This is more just showing off the load sharing capabilities rather than a true gaming invention.

Ideally, we want something similar to the Unreal 2 idea, where you have people getting passed from server to server to server, and the place is massive. That way, people go to the interesting places and gather. And it would have to run across the internet. This thing only runs on an intranet [ibm.com] (see bottom question). A little disappointing.

Anyway, giving links to some of these applications just further confuses people. I have a ton of friends asking me how to do this, and without a central set of servers already setup, no one can really try it out. Which would have been ideal for IBM to show it off.

Re:Bleh, not what we want. (2, Insightful)

ibullard (312377) | more than 8 years ago | (#13597164)

The "OptimalGrid" technology only runs on an intranet. The game itself can run on the internet via proxy servers and modified game servers.

I know this is Slashdot where you're not supposed to read the article before commenting on it but reading parts of the article and then spreading false information is far, far worse.

Re:Bleh, not what we want. (4, Informative)

thing12 (45050) | more than 8 years ago | (#13597260)

This is not exactly the same as making it massively multiplayer because the world is still the same size, and I'm unsure if the client could handle all the actors being on the screen at the same time.....Ideally, we want something similar to the Unreal 2 idea, where you have people getting passed from server to server to server, and the place is massive.

Just because they didn't make a world that's 100x larger it doesn't mean that it's not possible now. The PDF indicates that the world is partitioned into discrete pieces and server partitioning is done automatically - and players are passed between the servers on demand. IMHO, it seems exactly like what you're saying.

So this is.. (4, Insightful)

Achoi77 (669484) | more than 8 years ago | (#13596990)

took a quick look at the pdf, and it seems like this idea is nothing really more than having a series of localized proxy-type servers that sort of act as middle men that communicate between the servers and the clients.

I don't see how this is anything unique and different from how other mmo's are currently deployed, and there are still the same problems that plague mmos. For example, one of the things they mentioned was the partitioning of the world map into discrete pieces. To help reduce load, sure. But what happens when everbody tries to 'storm the base' all at once?

When the pvp patch came out for World of Warcraft, serveral of the largest guilds of my server (Mannoroth) for opposing factions got together to siege/defend a capital city. (I'm trying to be as vague as possible to please bear with me) The problem isn't when you have a full raid party of 40 vs another party of 40, but rather when you have multiple raid parties vs multiple raid parties. We were in Orgrimmar, and we were being stormed by almost 300+ alliance, with almost just as many Horde waiting to defend. The load got so heavy the server crashed several times (nevermind the fact that the sheer number of ppl on the screen caused video cards to choke). The lag got so bad, ppl have given up on massive sieges altogether.

Massive sieges are still the holy grail of online gaming. I don't think it'll happen anytime soon.

Re:So this is.. (1)

Asmor (775910) | more than 8 years ago | (#13597223)

I think there's a simple answer to the client problems, at least.

For everyone except, say, the dozen or so most relevant charaters on screen (relevant being defined by proximity and whether they're directly affecting you), replace all other people with sprites instead of models. They don't even have to be animated, if static sprites would help the load better (don't know enough about this sort of thing to hazard a guess). You still get to see the locations of everyone and the sheer numbers of them, they just don't look all pretty and shiny.

Re:So this is.. (2, Informative)

VincentAdamBurns (916003) | more than 8 years ago | (#13600143)

quake2 is strange in this aspect. the rendering code is so optimized that the main part that slows it down is that the network code needs to run before each frame, resulting in overloaded network buffer.

quake2 can easly handle 1024 (max entities) models of the player model being rendered at the same time.

this is all of course vanilla quake2 and some mods fix these. however i cannot think of any mod that has fixed the rendering/networking code. when i get my files back i will finish fixing it in LiteGL quake2 engine mod.

Re:So this is.. (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 8 years ago | (#13601867)

I think what you're trying to say is that shitty graphics can be a lot easier for a system to render. *grin*

Quake 2 is/was the single worst FPS in gaming history, for my money...it was complete and utter crap. It became popular I'm assuming because

a) It was the first game IIRC that people could make mods for with a genuine programming language, and

b) Because the graphics were so awful comparitively speaking, it was somewhat more hardware efficient than other games which *didn't* make your eyes bleed if you looked at them. ;)

Re:So this is.. (1)

kiddygrinder (605598) | more than 8 years ago | (#13603608)

It became popular because

a) it came out at the right time and had pretty good mechanics and gameplay.

b) Everything looked like ass then, remember this was back in the times when unreal 1 was supposed to be *gorgeous* with it's 15 poly models

Re:So this is.. (1)

Saffaya (702234) | more than 8 years ago | (#13602539)

>Massive sieges are still the holy grail of online gaming. I don't think it'll happen anytime soon.

I take it you haven't played Lineage 2, have you ?
It was designed with massive confrontation in mind, and the number of people fighting you describe fits it well.

There is some lag, yes, but nothing unplayable unless you are on 56k. No player ever said in Lineage 2 that the game can't take massive battles and should stay away from it.

As for choking video cards, that is what the minimum frame option is for, and it works.

Re:So this is.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13604737)

um I dont think large battles is the holy grail of MMOs'

Large battles for the most part kinda suck. From a technical standpoint they can be done, but from a game design standpoint they just dont work well.

take a 500 on 500 battle, what really happens? or what will happen? it will break down into smaller groups battling other smaller groups in various sections of the map.

its took large to organize well, its too large to have any real strategy.

so sure its fun the first time because its a flat out mess. But it would get boring really quickly
especially without some sort of purpose.

planetside could do large scale FPS battles but the game play sucked. no point in getting one spot over another and nothing to prevent zerging.
no good way to really command all the troops either.

lineage and lineage2 have large battles, castle storming (a purpose omg) but the rest of the game really isnt all that much fun.

most mmo game designers can barely make anything thats fun, let alone tackle the problem of huge battles and have it appeal to the masses.

big battles are chaotic at best, and without a good purpose to it, it would be a short lived accomplishment.

Welcome to last week (5, Interesting)

sYn pHrEAk (526867) | more than 8 years ago | (#13597439)

PlanetSide [planetside.com] anyone?

Difference between Quake 2 and Planetside (1)

sglider (648795) | more than 8 years ago | (#13597781)

With this data, any FPS can be made MMO. This is important, because S.O.E. (Sony Online Entertainment) would have you believe that it takes years of development and hundreds of thousands of dollars to accomplish -- and to not even be that good at it, IIRC. Planetside flat out sucked, and it failed to be what they wanted it to be -- but if you take something like Battlefield 2, and extend it across 4 or 5 servers, you then have the propensity for actual battles between hordes of people, something that Planetside only claimed to have, but was never popular enough to actually do.

About Planetside (the first MMO FPS) (0)

@madeus (24818) | more than 8 years ago | (#13599122)

I used to play PlanetSide (for nearly two years) there were regularly huge zergs, with 300-500 people on a single map (often with almost all of them zerging a single area). I say 300-500 as they ended up putting a cap to level on to split up the zergs and by capping the percentage of slots a single faction could use on one 'continent' to limit the ability of a team to simply 'zerg' a continent filling up the first few hundred slots up thereby dominating it unopposed it by sheer force of numbers. In the process the overall number of slots was reduced, which also helped better distribute players across the world (and was widely welcomed at the time).

something that Planetside only claimed to have

PlanetSide battles had battles with more than than the '4 or 5' times a large BF2 game offically supports virtually every night for about 2 years, which is not bad going. For the first year, there were typically two large zergs on the go for each faction at peak time (and, for those not familer with it there are three factions in PlanetSide).

The game has definately had it's ups and downs - a very buggy release period for the first 6 months, a very underwhelming and pointless expantion, followed by a good stable period, then it jumped the shark with the arrival of BFR's, and now in game adverts. It was also consistantly poorly manged with high turn over of production and development staff and very poor quality support staff who regularly abused their positions (and still do).

However, IMO, the biggest reason for the struggle for larger success of the game was that the target audience seemed to consist of 13 year old who endlessly bitched about having to pay a monthly fee, when they could play BattleField 1942 or UT2004 on a server someone else was paying for, for free (of course they never really twigged that it still cost money for people to provide hosting for the servers they used). When the free 30 day trials were launched the game saw a big boost in population from people who would just go and generate new 30 day trial keys over and over rather than pay 7 UKP a month. People played for months like that, IRC PS-related channels had lots of users like that (many of whom had been lurking their for ages, unable to play the game due to not having any means to pay for it, and presumably not being able to convince their parents to fork out).

This is perhaps the most likely reason there have been no other MMO pure FPS titles to date (FWIW I don't count World War II Online as it only supports 64 players per map, as such it didn't really break any new ground technically for MMO's), it's apparently not all that financially viable given users can enjoy a very similar experience without a monthly on going fee, and they apparently prefer that model.

Your doing a great disservice to an outstanding technical achivement which (dispite what the abusive, yobbish and amazingly poorly informed forum kids would say about it) dealt very well with some very difficult issues, dispite some dodgy project management (and apparent lack of any form of version control system during development *cough*).

Re:Difference between Quake 2 and Planetside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13600467)

Not to start a flamewar, but it doesn't sound like you actually played PlanetSide, or understand game development.

A single PlanetSide continent routinely reaches its limit of 399 players (133 per empire). Let's put that in BF2 terms: that is over *six times* as many players as their largest battle. BF2's 64 player limit wouldn't even fill half of a single empire.

PlanetSide had a lot of issues at launch that limited its appeal, but it still has a sizable and devoted following, and is hands down the deepest battlefield sim there is, period. BF2 is a fun game, but is basically just a deathmatch compared to PlanetSide's scope.

Also, what takes years of development and *millions* of dollars to accomplish isn't the networking, it's primarily asset creation and developing the engine. I mean, it takes Carmack several years and millions of dollars to create the next id game --it's simply not an easy or cheap thing to create a top-quality game engine and assets.

Already Exists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13602441)

This concept already exists and is wildly popular - it's called Battlegrounds in World of Warcraft.

Not FPS, TPS, but what about a GTAMMO? (1)

Forum Joe (841804) | more than 8 years ago | (#13610405)

I've been a fan of the Grand Theft Auto series since the beginning, loved the style and gameplay of every single game. Watching my mate play World of Warcraft the other day, and I realised how many game mechanics are the same.
I initially noticed it when he entered a new area and it popped up with the "suburb name" and I thought, "Heh, just like in GTA" then I noticed the map, the style, the way people give you quests, and (in San Andreas, anyway) the skill development.
I've played Multi Theft Auto [mtavc.com] and it's damn cool, but I never thought it would be commercially viable because it seems to be lacking something... somthing to make people come back and play it continuously. But what if they added experience points? Levelling? Character classes? Different people play for different gangs? Gangwars? They'd have to cut out cinematics, obviously, but they could still have quests, and jobs. Goddamned, that would be my favourite game ever. And now it looks like it's possible to get a game like that with a usable ping. Hot stuff!
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