[MUD-Dev] Star Wars Galaxies: 1 character per server

Marc Fielding fielding at computer.org
Thu Jan 9 00:27:15 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

[C.T. Darklock]

>   1. Assume you can fit 50 characters on a server. (X)

>   2. Assume each player can have 5 characters. (Y)

>   3. Assume the average number of characters per player is 2.4
>   (Z).

>   4. You can fit a maximum of 50 players (X) and a minimum of 10
>   players (X/Y) on one server.

>   5. Since you have 500 players, you will need at least 10 servers
>   (F = P/X).

>   6. Since each player can have 5 characters, you will need at
>   most 50 servers (M = (P / X) * Y).

>   7. Since each player already has 2.4 characters, you will need
>   at least 24 servers (O = (P / X) * Z).

>   8. Since you can't very well throw out existing characters, you
>   have to provide servers for them (S >= O).

This analysis has the additional complexity that a player has a
limited number of characters to scatter across multiple shards. That
seems nonstandard to me. Is this becoming more common? The (more
straightforward) version of MCS that I'm more familiar with allows
up to X characters per server per player.

> Actually, it is. It's not the database license, it's the world's
> capacity.  Each server is only capable of handling a world of
> finite size, and a world of finite size can only handle a finite
> number of characters before you simply cannot have enough
> resources for them. Even if you generate your world dynamically,
> using fractal algorithms to expand the game world every time a new
> character is created, you can still only have so much world --
> mass storage space is finite, system memory is finite, processor
> power is finite, there are innumerable bounds and limitations on
> your server capacity which will simply never be infinite in
> scope. Even if *everything* you develop will *theoretically*
> handle an infinite number of characters, it will never be able to
> do so in practice. There is simply no way around this problem.

Sure there is. The maximum theoretical capacity of a shard should be
well above its functional capacity. In an overloaded shard, the
scarcity of in-game resources (e.g. mobs, quests, buildable land,
etc.) gives the players incentive to move to less crowded servers,
which can be brought online as needed. EQ has had to do this on a
regular basis.

It's just a matter of projecting infrastructure growth and adding a
comfortable margin.


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