Technical director Chris Butcher goes into detail about the online shooter.
With the recent problems facing multiplayer games, getting a game like Destiny, which allows for a wide open first person shooter that lets players drop in and out of your adventure along with hosting public events, to work smoothly online is certainly going to be a challenge in the coming months. Speaking to Game Informer, Bungie technical director Chris Butcher took the time to explain just how the matchmaking and server technology would work in Destiny. How exactly will they be stuffing in thousands of players at any given time?
Butcher states that, “You have all of these examples of people who are doing big server cluster things like World of Warcraft or something like that.
“But we didn’t really want to do that, because if you think about those kinds of games, you’ve got a centralized server that’s simulating everything in the world, but that can only scale up to some number of players. Maybe it’s 1,000. Maybe it’s 5,000. Maybe it’s 20,000. You compare that to the population of a console game and it’s tiny.
“So what that means is that you have to have dozens or hundreds of these separate servers. So what that means is that you have to have dozens or hundreds of these separate servers. So we started out by thinking, ‘We want to have a single world that everybody can be in.’”
The good news is, that with mesh-based networking, where each area has enough players at any given time, that won’t be very difficult. “When you do a simulation that runs on a single server on a big mainframe type thing, there are two problems that you get. One problem is all of the 5,000 people on your server nobody is playing in Old Russia at the moment so it’s just empty when you go there. Or the other problem is all 5,000 people logged in and tried to go to the same place at the same time and the server crashes or it gets so full up that it’s totally lagged out.
“And if it does get full then there are some of those games that will start having different instances, but typically they don’t handle that very well because it’s not a core part of the game design.
“For us we’ve kind of said we want this game world to be able to work with millions of players online at once. And that means playing to the strengths of the consoles. Being able to use these very powerful machines to run a lot of the simulation.
“Being able to use the servers in a seamless fashion so that as you’re moving from place to place you’re switching networks with all of the different people that are around you. You’ve got a very high quality fast action gameplay experience. If you have all of these calculations taking place in a central server that’s one place in the world you can’t really have a fast action experience.”
Destiny will be releasing on September 9th 2014 worldwide for PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PS3.