[MUD-Dev] TECH: Flash Crowds and overflow control

Justin Rogers justin at mlstoday.com
Mon Apr 16 22:24:02 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

<EdNote: Quote fixed>

[on behalf of Gavin]

> The story then explores means of control for such sudden events, and
> the powers that be ultimately construct huge "flash crowd" holding
> cells for people attempting to teleport into scenes of
> chaos. Perhaps there are useful metaphors that others can find in
> this story -- AC, for example, has the "Portal Storm" concept.

Whereas AC has the Portal Storm concept you have to realize the
limitations of this system as well.  For instance in game you have to
be able to explain why someone was magically teleported.  AC doesn't
really explain this in any meaningful manner.  They also choose an
extremely loose algorithm for determining where the user gets placed,
amounting to a vector being chosen and all users exiting at the end of
the vector.  This has left many to fall to death down a mountain.  Or
get trapped in a location that normally can't be traversed.

This flash crowd holding cells implemented by the powers that be sound
rather interesting.  However, are they mass cells wherein people are
introduced?  Would these cells themselves not become places of riot?
If they are individual cells then what about capacity, enough of these
cells to house individuals would have to be available.  In a game
environment this wouldn't be too difficult as you can create as many
cells as you desire.  Also, what are the time constraints on these
cells?  For how long do the players stay in an unmovable limbo?

Placing emphasis on AC again, whomever is in a location for the
longest is most likely to get portal stormed out first.  This means
that a huge influx of players pushes current players out of the way
moving newer players in.  All of these concepts are great, but they
tend to place more emphasis on the protection of the server or the
game, and not on the implications to the player.  I just hope that if
a good quarantine scenario can be produced that it will take into
account the needs of the player base along with the needs of the game
and the equipment running the server.

Justin Rogers

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