from the scalability dept.
Lots of discussion popping up these days regarding massive server scaling, cloud computing, and the future of truly massive gaming.
In 1999, BigWorld had 900 entities (realistic user server load) running around in the same space simultaneously. This was neat, but what we quickly came to realize was that we’d been asking ourselves alot of “if” questions quite easily, but not much “why?” At that point it was clear that it would be incumbent on game designers to conceive of awesome practical use cases for having 1,000 people in the same game space simultaneously.
We thought about truly massive gaming, perhaps something like the huge melee battles of Dynasty Warriors 2, a model that has been adopted by BigWorld licensee Userjoy on their title Kingdom Heroes. We thought about Tribes as far as scale, but the server population never really crept up past 50 or so. It’s challenging to conceive of compelling game design at that scale.
Then, in 2005, large scale tests were carried out at the IBM Deep Computing facility in Poughkeepsie, NY. BigWorld successfully demonstrated the linear scalability of its load balancing technology by dynamically balancing 100,000 entities across various cell apps on a single server. Obviously, there are other hardware/fabric issues involved in scaling a gamespace to this population, but we demonstrated that we could conceivably continue to add more and more users without predictable server load.
So, the “if” was proven long ago, but the “why” has yet to be really answered. What are some great game applications for a truly massive co-present gamespace?
- BigWorld Server/IBM whitepaper detailing 100k user concurrency
- IBM press release detailing 100k user concurrency on BigWorld Server