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How would you make an SE Megaserver work?

Discussion in 'General' started by Kephyr, Oct 27, 2015.

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This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. Kephyr Apprentice Engineer

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    Hey look, another thread on SE being turned into an MMO.

    I am hesitant to say "SE MMO" because some members here have an unhealthy reaction for this phrase. So, for the lack of a better name I'm going to say an "SE Megaserver".

    An "SE Megaserver" is a massive multiplayer server with a persistent universe, with hundreds or thousands of players, ether run for KSH or private means, separate from the actual SE game as it stands right now.

    Please also note that this is purely a theoretical discussion for those who would love to see an SE open world universe.

    For the purposes of discussion, let's assume that we live in a world five or so years in the future where it is possible to run this kid of massive world with hundreds of thousands of grids, moving solar systems, generated/spawned asteroids and some form of AI for PvE. Please do not comment that at the current stage this is impossible. We know. However, suggestions as to how to make this plausible are welcome (A galaxy divided into solar system that are processed individually, or any other option.)

    So, to get to the meat and potatoes:
    What makes Space Engineers so great is that it, unlike EvE, Elite Dangerous, Star Citizen, or any other sandbox MMO (they just happen to be space sims) is an true sandbox game, where literary everything that affects the players (save the environment), is gathered by players, processed, assembled and built by players, and, most importantly, designed by players. Note how in all other MMOs the ships are designed and tuned by developers. Sure, you can "customize" and "fit" the ships to your preference, allowing for a wide range of playstyles, but this pales in comparison to the freedom you get in Space Engineers.

    However, this comes at a cost. A lot of balancing needs to be done to the game, and a lot of new features need to be added to smoothen the massive multiplayer experience and fight abuse of game mechanics, like griefing, to make it work.

    How would you make the SE Megaserver work?

    PS: Previous threads on this topic stop dead in a ciclic argument of whether this is possible or not, or whether it is a good idea or not. I would like to reiterate that this is purely a theoretical discussion for those who would love to see an SE open world universe. Don't like the idea? Maybe this thread is not for you. Please don't flood it with unconstructive naysaying. You're not into this stuff, we get it.
     
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  2. Scorpion00021 Senior Engineer

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    First you would need a LOT of seed money. Then, I would look into something like Amazon's EC2 cloud if you dont have the hardware. I think in its current state, the limiting factor will be the game engine.
     
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  3. Lrj52 Apprentice Engineer

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    To be honest, I still believe the server jump gate idea would work better >for now<, mainly because it is something that could happen any time Keen decides they want it to happen, and it is easily possible with today's tech without spending a penny (as dedicated servers already exist in huge amount). :)
    Servers with too many players, which by the time the new netcode comes out would possibly be around 50 players, could be blocked off the jumpdrive list, preventing lag while also allowing people who play on different servers to meet in one place, battle in one place, trade in secret or openly in one place ect. While this would have the player limit per server, I think the big thing is the ability to meet WAY more then just 50 players, due to the amount of dedicated servers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2015
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  4. Tony Hughes Junior Engineer

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    Then why not post it in the multi-player section of the forum, rather than here.
     
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  5. Gillgamesh Apprentice Engineer

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    +1 on this, as the engine improves raise the bar on the player limit. Would have to figure out mechanics of what to do in certain situations, like if someone logs out and tries to log back in to a server that's now full. Preference to players that have existing bases,(that meet certain requirements other than 1 light armor block and a solar panel)?... maybe? Probably other issues.
    Also would add that I would prefer jump points to physical jump gates. The points being as large as possible but not to big to prevent an organised blockade. But not small enough to allow a easy time of blockading a system off. 20-50 KM radius sphere?
     
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  6. Aracus Senior Engineer

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    Because unless I'm mistaken that section is for discussing the current multiplayer not the theoretical spin-off/later completely optional expansion to a finished game. Which since its not current MP, not a suggestion but a completely theoretical discussion should put it right at home in general discussion.
     
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  7. Tony Hughes Junior Engineer

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    How about 'Off-Topic' then, along with all of the other theoretical discussions that aren't related to the current game?
     
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  8. TehGM Apprentice Engineer

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    It's rather unlikely to be even in 5 years.
    But well, as this is purely theoretical thread...
    I'd make it as it is. Except big servers would be hosted on some Tranqilities (EVE Online's server). This way there would be huge servers, and small ones. I don't see a need for change for SE.
     
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  9. KalTauri Trainee Engineer

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    either using the jumpgate system that exists(easiest to implement and loadbalance, or develop another system for "seamless" loading zones(as you pass into a shared seam, you start loading another server and exist partially on the other until it transitions you over fully)
     
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  10. Lrj52 Apprentice Engineer

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    Sounds good. Not sure how well this would work, but in the situation that you listed (logging back onto a full server) or if a server gets shutdown, it might be possible to keep track of the last server you were located on and transfer you and your ship back to it.
     
  11. Kephyr Apprentice Engineer

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    I think SE MP as it is, is not very dynamic. It works OK for having 10-15 players on the server, but with larger numbers, there needs to be something else. Right now Territorial Warfare, which is an important gameplay aspect of a sandbox megaserver isn't that necessary because resources are scattered evenly throughout a universe. I think that the resources need to become clustered, and form distinct regions which the factions could claim. An attacker would have to be prepared to take out a whole region, instead of just a part of it, because the defender would have a territorial and resource advantage to recapture the territory. This is why I'm a fan of segmenting the universe into solar systems.
     
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  12. BlackUmbrellas Senior Engineer

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    2,818
    So long as it wasn't a time/money sink for Keen (that is to say, it was an unofficial community project), I imagine there'd be all sorts of ways to approach it.
     
  13. Aracus Senior Engineer

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    I honestly don't see the point of it, I mean, its not exactly a development (except for the stability of the MP code) considering it already exists and AFAIK, is currently active even.

    If that is a problem anytime soon, something is wrong, very wrong, 50 players isn't a lot for a game with any kind of scale, Battlefield 1942 is the first game I noticed to support 64 players simultaneously, that came out in 2002, 50 isn't a megaserver for anything but consoles, 50 is a low average. To be honest I personally don't much like the idea of connecting servers with different "worlds", even if they are supposed to exist together, much at all.

    If it has to be separate but connected worlds, This suggestion for one is better
    And this one is even better than the previous one.

    I wonder how you imagine that blockade, are they physically taking up the volume of the transition area? or are they just projecting "threat" by overwhelming firepower over the area?
    If it's the former, I don't like it, the later sure. Even better, Having a huge ass area where you transition to and from zones, there's bound to be areas that are more commonly used, (closer or safer from navigational hazards) That way you can stalk the common jump point but since space his huge, if you are paranoid you can get by anyways. Unless and if a kind of interdiction system is added as well (oh how I would love that)
     
  14. Kephyr Apprentice Engineer

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    Thanks for joining in. :)
     
  15. Aracus Senior Engineer

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    While I suppose Solar systems would be cool, unless something drastically changes to the jumpsystem (yes I know we're talking theoretical future but still)or speedlimits, one solarsystem will be quite enough....

    Rather something like I wrote in the other thread, make resources mostly very scarce, but have smaller fields where they are very common and lucrative to mine, that will force people into contestation with each other, either to be first to get it and move on,or to hold and fight for.

    Just bringing this over to have it all in the same thread. Same with the quote below.
     
  16. Captaindan Apprentice Engineer

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    Definitely with Jumpgates. Ever world is about maybe 200km maybe it could be nice to handle. And every World has its own CPU, RAM and Internet connection. Worlds have different Skyboxes.
     
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  17. Lrj52 Apprentice Engineer

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    As you said, separate CPU and RAM, along with the player limit, means this could be possible whenever Keen felt like making it a feature. The way it works now is very basic due to it, essentially, being one guys small modification to the source code. But as it is now within the source code itself, Keen already have the basis. They just need to make a few tweaks and add a checkbox to dedicated servers to support it, if Keen wanted it in the game.
     
  18. Kephyr Apprentice Engineer

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    I don't know, I feel like one solar system might get too tight as the player numbers grow. Imagine over a thousand players in one solar system.
    Also I'm not a huge fan of the safe zone idea. I feel like if someone grinds your station from an asteroid and wrecks everything, then maybe you need to rethink your station layout. Perhaps building stations should be a luxury, and not something you'd do right away. Starting factions will have mobile bases that are constantly moving to avoid pirates.
    Stations would have to have an advantage though, as they are immobile, like the blocks would get a bonus health, or only stations will be able to have shields. let's not jump to the shield argument though. I'm just proposing it as a mechanic that would make stations beneficial, because as it stands right now, it's inherently worse to have a station in comparison to a mothership.
     
  19. Aracus Senior Engineer

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    Start with doubling that, unless you meant radius(and even then really), but the way you wrote I assumed diameter. Preferably, add atleast a zero to that suggestion and maybe we're getting somewhere :p you'd want some "believeable" "deep space" so you could at hide in the outskirts of a region or flee some distance/have some distance to give chase on before jumping away.


    And again, "gate-based servers" is fine in its way I suppose, But I'd rather have a clustered server to share workload for one single huge-ass world that may or may not contain separate solar systems or just planets that are really far away from each other (as in, not even visible from orbit of one planet, far away from each other)
    "radius up to 1,000,000,000 km, which equals to 6.6 AU"~http://blog.marekrosa.org/2014/12/space-engineers-super-large-worlds_17.html Note that word Radius, so our current infiniteworlds are 13.2 AU across or 2,000,000,000 km across, and its has the same distances in the Y-and Z-plane too, couldn't finda calculator that deals in km for calculating the volume of spheres, but in meters thats a volume of space of 4.190476190476191e+36 for the full 13,2 AU Sphere, which I don't even know what it means, and thats just sun-jupiter one direction, not even to neptune. for say, 3k players I think thats plenty even with significantly boosted range of jumpdrives

    There is that then, but for a megaserver like we're discussing, Unless you want to force people into factions like you hint at below, not having safe or at least, relatively safe, starterzones will make it hell for new players on an established megaserver. That is, unless we actually use completely random spawns, using some kind of formula that puts them at minimum, 10k km away from nearest player, with the option of selecting a group of friends say, a starter "party" of 10

    I really don't think it has anything to do with the layout, location maybe :p

    I really don't think making stations exclusive late-game is the way to go, unless you go the entire way and make them admin only. Either way I think THAT is a bad idea, don't limit the freedom more than absolutely necessary.

    Having starting factions sounds like a great idea, gives a "quick/safe-start" for those that want it, as long as you are not forced into it. Some people really just want to be their own boss*glances at Han Solo, Chewie and the Millenium Falcon as well as Firefly and Serenity <3* And that should be an equally possible solution, but these people also need a way to start safely.
     
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  20. a2457 Senior Engineer

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    some form of currency would be nice.
    surely any material could be used as currency, but space dollars or sumthin like that would be more suitable.
    allso, market needs some balancig via npc stations where things can be bought and sold for a set amount of currency.
    that ensures things to have a price around a pre-set value.
    probably number of grids a player can have, and number of blocks in these grids needs a limit.
     
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  21. GrindyGears Senior Engineer

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    1,787
    Ahh, good old mmo title removed, now I'm happy.

    But really, someone mentioned currency so I'd like to add my two cents (pun intended)

    If we had one, would we want something where values are static? So price of one tonne of X ore is worth Y value? Or something a little more dynamic, say every 3 sun cycles (if enabled) the values get RNG between a max and min price reasonable for the ore, so you could get lucky and strike it rich or be forced to sell it cheaper. I figure the balance being stuck with huge quantities of materials is both costly and can draw rather unwanted pirate attention.

    What do you all think?
     
  22. BlackUmbrellas Senior Engineer

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    Depends.

    If resource distribution was rejiggered a bit so as to promote interaction (as, currently, they're completely evenly spread and no player would ever have to interact with another if they were isolated enough), you might as well go the full mile and just make it a player-based economy.

    Unless there were things added that no player could build themselves, having a purely static NPC currency (or even one that shifted randomly) wouldn't serve much of a purpose.
     
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  23. fourthquantum Senior Engineer

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    1,286
    I think it would be viable now. If they instanced a world then each instance could be a separate server.

    I like the idea of having an MMO world to interact with it makes it more realistic and interesting.
     
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  24. Aracus Senior Engineer

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    I for one really don't like the thought of a common currency, much rather trade in ores, ingots components, ships, favors and or loyalty.

    I mostly like the system you propose, except I'd rather it be based on trading x ore for y ore with the npcs.
    For the discussion on economy, ignore the bits about player spawning, thats an entirely different topic. The safe haven bit can just be different established ports OR random generated ships that spawn some kilometers out that you can approach and start trading with if some kind of hailing system is implemented.

    If there are persistent trading stations the cargo ships can pass by, they don't have to generate random cargo, they could actually carry as much as they would from trading at the last outpost.
     
  25. chemicalscum Apprentice Engineer

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    No idea how it would work technically, but it would make SE the best game ever.
     
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  26. Aracus Senior Engineer

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    The times I can just straight up agree with you are so few and far between that I always have a "pause....Huh." reaction to whenever it happens. So funny, almost so much that I would start considering counting them.

    Also, love the word rejiggered :woot:
     
  27. chrisb Senior Engineer

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    I love SP. But MP would be interesting too.
    .
    So how are we going to do this then ??
     
  28. Clunas Junior Engineer

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    You'd need some way to protect personal property. As it stands, the in-game defenses can only do so much. Imagine that you worked on something for a few weeks, and then your cat got sick and died. Between vet visits/digging a hole, you'd miss a few days. Log on to find your entire project gutted by some rando would be disheartening to say the least
     
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  29. Dwarf-Lord Pangolin Senior Engineer

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    2,597
    TBH, if for the lulz we assume this could be done, I'd leave world size where it is. SE can create a spherical world on a 1:1 scale out beyond the RL orbit of Jupiter. Add in the fact that planets are miniaturized, and you could have multiple solar systems without increasing world size. If you make it too large, players will never find one another.

    The points made about resource distribution are valid, even for vanilla SE. With resources spread out everywhere, there is no real reason to settle in one place over another. Cities IRL grew where they did because those locations offered advantages of one sort or another. So, to prevent players from scattering to the four winds, resources should be rare, and concentrated in fewer areas.

    $0.02
     
  30. BlackUmbrellas Senior Engineer

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    Something that bears consideration IMO is resource depletion.

    What do you do when a region has been completely stripmined?
     
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