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Technology and Huge Seamless Open Worlds

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  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    Skyrim freezes as you transit borders if your pc is low soec enough.
  • QuirhidQuirhid TamperePosts: 5,969Member Common
    Originally posted by Volkon
    Originally posted by Quirhid
    nvm

    You weren't about to pop me for using "instanced" instead of "zoned" when I first posted, are you? Yeah... I caught that and was momentarily embarassed. 

    I was. image Glad you noticed your mistake.

    I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  • GdemamiGdemami Beau VallonPosts: 7,867Member Uncommon


    Quizzical got it mostly covered but there is still one part missing - besides server and network performance, you also need to consider client. Every player has different configuration and having well scaling gfx options in something like MMO isn't an easy task.

  • GdemamiGdemami Beau VallonPosts: 7,867Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by Quirhid
    I know better than to reply to that.

    Your edited post implies otherwise...

  • LizardEgyptLizardEgypt Yarmouth, NSPosts: 337Member
    Darkfall has pretty good server tech, didn't they do a business deal a while back to sell it to someone? The cluster concept seems to work really well for maintaining a huge world and a lot of action.

    Currently playing - FF14ARR
    Previous games - SWG, World of Warcraft, ShadowBane, Warhammer, Age of Conan, Darkfall, Planetside Asheron's Call, Everquest, Everquest 2, Too many.

  • botrytisbotrytis In Flux, MIPosts: 2,567Member
    Originally posted by Volkon

    Why are people mentioning Eve? Every system in a zone. Yes, they're all on one server, but heavily zoned. How many times have people been parked outside the Jita gates waiting to get in because Jita was full...

     

     

    People have blinders on is all. Many of the games we have played are not that big AND other things besides the world is done - characters, NPC, etc. The servers have a limited amount of time to calculate and make things seem instantaneous. We can model bacterial cells but it takes a large server ( like a new Cray computer) to calculate and to come out with one point. People expect a virtual world NOT to be as complicated?

    image

    "In 50 years, when I talk to my grandchildren about these days, I'll make sure to mention what an accomplished MMO player I was. They are going to be so proud ..."
    by Naqaj - 7/17/2013 MMORPG.com forum

  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    Well Yeh eve is zoned. But its not instanced.
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    PS2 has a open world with long view distance and FPS style pvp. So it can be done.
  • BanaghranBanaghran HuisoPosts: 869Member
    Originally posted by botrytis
    Originally posted by Volkon

    Why are people mentioning Eve? Every system in a zone. Yes, they're all on one server, but heavily zoned. How many times have people been parked outside the Jita gates waiting to get in because Jita was full...

     

     

    People have blinders on is all. Many of the games we have played are not that big AND other things besides the world is done - characters, NPC, etc. The servers have a limited amount of time to calculate and make things seem instantaneous. We can model bacterial cells but it takes a large server ( like a new Cray computer) to calculate and to come out with one point. People expect a virtual world NOT to be as complicated?

    Then other people tend to overcomplicate things, do we really need aoe buffs to check every 200ms with the server? Do we really need that npc position updated every 500ms if we dont see him, and the client can approximate? Do we really need to send whole 60k linearized objects over the internet instead of a simplified communication protocol? Do we really need to remove tabs from the inventory just because we made item definitions huge? (Mandatory d3 jab.)

    Yet games do stuff like that, that is why some games have problems and some havent, a +-2005 game server could run on a athlon 800mhz, with 2k people online, these days 15-30k is not out of ordinary.

    But you have to have good optimized software :)

    Which is unlikely if the company just buys the current fad engine built by people who dont see anything wrong with a 500k exe "Hello world!" example.

    Flame on!

    :)

  • Goatgod76Goatgod76 Stow, OHPosts: 1,214Member
    Originally posted by Quirhid
    Originally posted by Quizzical
    Originally posted by Goatgod76
     

    Vanguard doesn't have loading screens, but when the game completely locks up to make you wait for it to load the next zone, is that really so much better than putting up a loading screen?

    Vanguard also has some very severe hitching problems caused by the game trying to load things faster than hardware can handle as you move around.  You might have fast enough hardware to not see either of those problems; a good SSD would probably fix both.  But putting a good SSD in the minimum system requirements is not a good idea.  Yet.  Though I hope it will be someday.

    I agree. The freeze between zones is essentially the same as a loading screen.

    Well I didn't really mean loading screens. I meant instances.  But as far as traveling the continents...it does have chunks...were there is a slight hiccup in loading.

    But as you say...I barely notcie it because I have a decent system and a good SSD drive. But still...VG is far more a open world than most now. At least those I've tried. Barely try most MMO's now as they seem disappointing. SWTOR help my attention a whole 2 hours in beta. It was just dreadful.

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member
    Originally posted by ShakyMo
    Ps2 can handle 6000 players per server (there's a 2000 player cap on each continent)

    Eve can handle much much more.

    No, EvE really can't.

    They are very tricky in that it is "one server" but each system is technically it's own instance.

    When the instances population limit is reached, which happens in JITA all the time, you simply get a message that says the system is full and you should find another route.

    Happened to me just last weekend in peek times.

    EvE would only be a "seemless open world" if you could fly between systems without using gates or jump drives and stop in between stars too.

    Every time i jump to a new system in EvE I'm hopping instances.

    You can WATCH the ships/gates on your screen pop off, then the background change, and the new gate/ships pop in.

    That's on an SSD!

    It happens without too much delay or any loading screen, but the screen does go "black" for a fraction as you switch instances.

    EvE may be one single shard/server, but calling it an open seemless world/galaxy is a blatant lie.

    And the zone limit for a single system in EvE is what... a couple thousand ships?

    When I saw JITA tell me it was "unavailable" I was able to jump in a few minutes later. Can't remember how many players I saw in local - something like 2-3 thousand maybe?

  • XAPKenXAPKen Northwest, INPosts: 4,933Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by BadSpock
     

    Every time i jump to a new system in EvE I'm hopping instances.

     

    Technically, I think that would be hopping zones.  But I knew what you meant. :-)

     


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now turned Amateur Game Developer.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  Realm Lords 2 on MMORPG.com
  • paulythebpaulytheb Wauwatosa, WIPosts: 261Member Uncommon

    WOW !  Thank you all so much for the replies !!!

    I feel like I might have learned something here.

    Of course I was aware of games like UO, Eve and Wurm. Which are all now "older games" even though some have seen massive updating. I still wouldn't call them modern AAA games.

    I was wondering if a game like Skyrim or GW2 quality could be made Huge Seamless Open World  with the much higher volumes of players that exist today (my imagination has tens of thousands of players per server) and the much higher graphical requirements needed to be considered AAA.

    It seems hard drives are the culprit.     :-)

     

    I read that GW2 was having issues with the culling in WvWvW, and the post I read said they had 2 conflicting systems sending too much information and the were trying to reduce the amount of information being transfered. Even though I do not understand exactly what all the technical jargon means, it does come off to me as ... We aren't really quite there yet.

    So I guess some of the wishes for these giant intricate beautiful worlds without walls or tunnels, where you can go anywhere you can see on the horizon are just that, wishes at this point. I do have hope though, because the games just keep getting better even if we are in a bit of a rut right at the moment.

     

    Again thanks so much for the replies and information and opinions. I read every reply and there is some cool stuff in here.

    ( Note to self-Don't say anything bad about Drizzt.)

    An acerbic sense of humor is NOT allowed here.

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member
    Originally posted by XAPGames
    Originally posted by BadSpock
     

    Every time i jump to a new system in EvE I'm hopping instances.

    Technically, I think that would be hopping zones.  But I knew what you meant. :-)

    Tomato tomato to me :)

    My deepest darkest secret wet dream for EvE would be making it a TRULY open universe.

    No more gates and zoning.

    Navigation based entirely on warp and warp speed (like Star Trek is SUPPOSED to be not STO) and gravametric strength being your only limitations.

    Lots of SP in warp skills and smaller mass ship allow you to skirt closer to star allowing you to get from A to B faster and avoid the Interdictor fields and warp sensor fields etc.

    Bye bye gate camps, hello realistic space travel, smuggling, blockade running, defense patrols, advanced and long range scanning technique, etc. etc. etc.

    Maybe one day when SSD and massive RAM storage is the new standard...

  • joshuahallsjoshuahalls Bloomington, ILPosts: 78Member Uncommon

    Many MMOs are broken up into a zone structure and to a degree some systems use a system that is commonly referered to as a cell for offloading processing tasks on the server.  This allows a single area of decent size to handle a lot of players as the players get broken up into cells and logic heavy tasks (such as combat and AI) can be performed in multiple cells.  That is one method while other systems simply daisy chain areas together and there is a process to transition from one to the other seamlessly.  This gets rid of the loading screens, but is a much more complex setup as you have to cleanly move a player from one area "instance" to another area "instance" and many times have a proxy object in a nighbor area to reference so you can do cross area combat and other tasks such as seeing movement from the player/npc.

    As mentioned EvE even has a restriction on how many can be in their "areas".  There typically is a ceiling no matter what approach you take and if it isn't on the server it is on the client trying to render everyone without slowing down to a crawl.  In general the larger you can make the game world and the more you can spread out the player base the larger population you can have on a single shard or world.  Many MMOs do take the instancing approach to deal with high demand as to allow more players to be crammed into a single server shard than possible in a single "instance" approach where everyone is on the same play instance as everyone else.

    Joshua Halls
    Co Owner-Lead Programmer The Repopulation

  • madazzmadazz A town, ONPosts: 1,564Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by BadSpock
    Originally posted by ShakyMo
    Ps2 can handle 6000 players per server (there's a 2000 player cap on each continent)

    Eve can handle much much more.

    No, EvE really can't.

    They are very tricky in that it is "one server" but each system is technically it's own instance.

    When the instances population limit is reached, which happens in JITA all the time, you simply get a message that says the system is full and you should find another route.

    Happened to me just last weekend in peek times.

    EvE would only be a "seemless open world" if you could fly between systems without using gates or jump drives and stop in between stars too.

    Every time i jump to a new system in EvE I'm hopping instances.

    You can WATCH the ships/gates on your screen pop off, then the background change, and the new gate/ships pop in.

    That's on an SSD!

    It happens without too much delay or any loading screen, but the screen does go "black" for a fraction as you switch instances.

    EvE may be one single shard/server, but calling it an open seemless world/galaxy is a blatant lie.

    And the zone limit for a single system in EvE is what... a couple thousand ships?

    When I saw JITA tell me it was "unavailable" I was able to jump in a few minutes later. Can't remember how many players I saw in local - something like 2-3 thousand maybe?

    I've never had that happen, but I also don't doubt it at all. EvE is the kind of game that does get away with instances due to the way its built I suppose. I would like games where I don't notice it AT ALL though when they aren't EvE. Such as UO and DAOC. I don't recall ever seeing a pause that was too noticeable. Though I do recall in UO when you crossed certain zones there would sometimes be a weird clipping in the graphics. Some people used this as a glitch to skill up while on a boat! lol

  • greenreengreenreen Punchoo, AKPosts: 2,101Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Quizzical
    Originally posted by Goatgod76

    It is possible. Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, has a pretty big open seamless world. You can travel from one end to the other (Of a given continent...it has 3). Even the dungeons you can simply walk into without a loading screen. It does have portals and a need to load between continental travel...but that is it. And not to mention VG's graphics are not too shabby at all. I'd say maybe just under AoC/Rift in looks.

     

    I see no reason it can't be done now.

    Vanguard doesn't have loading screens, but when the game completely locks up to make you wait for it to load the next zone, is that really so much better than putting up a loading screen?

    Vanguard also has some very severe hitching problems caused by the game trying to load things faster than hardware can handle as you move around.  You might have fast enough hardware to not see either of those problems; a good SSD would probably fix both.  But putting a good SSD in the minimum system requirements is not a good idea.  Yet.  Though I hope it will be someday.

    In Vanguard I do remember that, players called it chunking. Also, if a zone hadn't been used in awhile it put itself to sleep and would kick you out when you tried to enter it. It could shove you out 2 or more times before you "woke it up" as they put it. Also, creatures would not cross the line barriers of chunks, if you were near one, you could lose aggro instantly by chunking and moving out of where they could go.

  • AmarantharAmaranthar OhioPosts: 2,430Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by xerves

    Many MMOs are broken up into a zone structure and to a degree some systems use a system that is commonly referered to as a cell for offloading processing tasks on the server.  This allows a single area of decent size to handle a lot of players as the players get broken up into cells and logic heavy tasks (such as combat and AI) can be performed in multiple cells.  That is one method while other systems simply daisy chain areas together and there is a process to transition from one to the other seamlessly.  This gets rid of the loading screens, but is a much more complex setup as you have to cleanly move a player from one area "instance" to another area "instance" and many times have a proxy object in a nighbor area to reference so you can do cross area combat and other tasks such as seeing movement from the player/npc.

    As mentioned EvE even has a restriction on how many can be in their "areas".  There typically is a ceiling no matter what approach you take and if it isn't on the server it is on the client trying to render everyone without slowing down to a crawl.  In general the larger you can make the game world and the more you can spread out the player base the larger population you can have on a single shard or world.  Many MMOs do take the instancing approach to deal with high demand as to allow more players to be crammed into a single server shard than possible in a single "instance" approach where everyone is on the same play instance as everyone else.

    I'd just like to add that once you have this huge world, and the players can be spread out, then you would need to "socially engineer" the players to spread out. You still have the problem of calling up art assets, so I think this is a desirable thing to do. There's ways to do that through guild/city and resource management. Again, this works much better in a "Worldly" setting.

    In my mind, with a huge open world, what you want is for the players to have a largish "settled" area so players aren't too spread out when it comes to the social aspects, and then have a HUGE "wild" area to explore and adventure in. The settled areas I would make in sort of a series of "ink blot" patterns, and connect them with easy travel roadways, rivers, and lake fronts. And the wild areas could be the source of unlimited imagination for adventure and events.

    Once upon a time....

  • NaughtyPNaughtyP Edmonton, ABPosts: 793Member
    Originally posted by Quizzical
    Originally posted by NaughtyP

    I would imagine an open, persistent seamless world that doesn't use any instancing/ will always cost more to maintain than an instanced because in the seamless solution it is (probably) impossible to recoup any server resources that are dedicated to the game world while instancedsolutions would give you the opportunity to recoup resources in certain scenarios (ie. instance destroyed due to being empty).

    Having different instances for each player means you have a lot more instances than if it's just one instance shared by a bunch of players.  The latter might put a little more load on network bandwidth because you have to tell players what other players are doing.  But the former will mean a much higher server load on CPU and system memory because you have far more mobs running around.

    You're probably right! I don't design games, I just know enough to make bad guesses!

    I suppose much of it depends on the implementation and of course, the QoS! I've always felt (as a huge computer nerd) that it is far easier to create and destroy than to persist. Imo, you need a more robust system for a persistent world. If an instance fails and a handful of players get booted, they can always log in and go to another instance that is running normally. If a cluster of servers fails in a persistent world and nobody can get to that area of the world anymore at all... well that's a much bigger problem when there is a giant hole in the middle of the world. Imo, this is one of the greatest reasons we see so much instanced content. There is far less impact on the playerbase as a whole if/when a failure occurs.

    Enter a whole new realm of challenge and adventure.

  • LarsaLarsa NurembergPosts: 990Member
    Originally posted by AlBQuirky

     


    Originally posted by eldaris
    Why no more huge and seamless open worlds ?Maybe because a lot of players are not interested in worlds,they just want instant travel to a dungeon to farm the last tier of gear and even flying on a gryphon for 5m is too much for them.

    This right here.

     

    Indeed. The current playerbase - at least the majority - doesn't want large seemless worlds, thus there's no need for developers to make them.

    I maintain this List of Sandbox MMORPGs. Please post or send PM for corrections and suggestions.

  • darkkblackdarkkblack Lowell, NCPosts: 38Member
    To the op.. I can see your concern. What is the limit of what else can be come up with. It's the same with horror movies. Everything has been done already so nothing scares me because i have seen it all before. Same with a game. We have games with vast content now how are they going to come up with new ways to keep my attention in the future. Very good thread.

    image
  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Talahasee, FLPosts: 2,556Member
    We've had huge giant seamless worlds since the dial up days. The tech has been here for ages. But it takes good developers, which are sorely lacking.
  • Caliburn101Caliburn101 LondonPosts: 636Member
    Originally posted by Volkon
    The problem with the "huge open seamless world" is that it nearly demands static content (mobs, quests, etc.) in order to be feasible. When, for example, you have static quest givers standing there with a "!" over their heads you can load them as a part of the terrain. However, as games shift to a more dynamic content, where the world can be in varying states and NPCs can be on the move, dead, etc. then you have the situation where when a player enters an area he needs the data for everything dynamic happening  around him. You may not see something happening over that hill, but it's there and ongoing so you need to load that information just in case you go over that hill. This is why GW2, for example, had to zone their world... the dynamic event system sends huge amounts of data when compared to static quest dudes.

    That's because nobody as yet (and this beggars belief frankly) has worked out that GIS software can create dynamic data layers which could be used to control/change a persistent world invisibly based on players interraction with key elements.

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