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

Marc Fielding fielding at computer.org
Tue Feb 4 17:24:17 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


[ Koster, Raph ]

> Now, since this apparently endless discussion was begun by SWG, I
> should explain that SWG uses an extended character state model
> that attempts to provide the benefits of a world state model. We
> do not persist everything in the game, not by a long shot. In
> fact, there is no dropping of items on the ground (which was
> probably a significant percentage of the world state in UO at any
> given time, at least until the decay times were made more
> aggressive!).

Thanks for the data, Raph. Although the discussion transcended SWG
early on, it's educational to see what the character data storage
architecture of a next-generation MMOG looks like. It's a good
grounding for further discussion.

Most of the character data Raph mentioned is explicitly bounded
(e.g. 25 items per character inventory). However, even the more
exotic variables like:

  - Any items that the player may have placed up for sale on someone
  else's vendor.

and

  - Any items that the player may have placed up for auction on the
  in-game marketplace (it's an in-game auction system similar to
  eBay in some ways).

probably have some large but finite number of entries. This allows
developers to predict the maximum size of a character dataset. Now
we're back where we were earlier: reasonably accurate estimates
about overall storage requirements can be made and sufficient
resources can be purchased to cover expected need plus a wide safety
margin.  Additionally, persistent character-owned entities like
factories, vendors, etc. can be handled in the event loop at low
resolution.

In this scenario, MCS imposes too high a resource cost for SOE. In
this scenario, SCS provides an easy way to lessen that outlay. The
alternative I originally proposed was to charge a nominal monthly
fee per additional character to cover these costs while maintaining
MCS, a popular playstyle.

At some point this issue will be resolved by bigger, cheaper
storage, but it all depends on what grows faster: affordable
disk/database capacities or MMOG resource requirements? =)

-Marc






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