Is this possible/feasible?

NOTE: This is not a suggestion, nor a request for, a massively multiplayer EV. It is a hypothetical system to make massively multiplayer networking possible with a low amount of main servers, which would be ideally suited for an EV-ish type game. Don't flame me saying "Net EV'll never happen". Tell me if you think it would be possible from a programming and implementation standpoint.

All this hype about distributed computing has got me thinking. Would it be possible to do a distributed massively multiplayer game? Each client would have to pay a monthly fee of $10 or $15 dollars. Those clients with DSL or Cable lines and above would have the option of downloading a server app, which could be run while they were not at their computer, a lot like the SETI@Home screensaver.

The more hours they let their computer host, the more money they save on the monthly fee. Save more money if you host during peak playing hours, save less if you host at 2:30 AM on New Years (have you ever been on the Net right after the ball drops? It SCREAMS, since everybody is out partying).

Of course, a system such as this would have to be highly segmented, with distinct, nearly autonomous (sp?) sections that each server would have control of, with minimal communication to the main server. That way, slow servers would be able to take over 1 or 2 sections, while fast ones could take 4, 5, or 10. Hosts would be rated based on their processor speed, amount of RAM, disk speed, and especially line speed. As activity in a certain section increased, it could be shuttled to a higher server, or even to the main server, if activity got too high.

Although this is NOT a suggestion to implement a massively multiplayer EV, it would certainly be well suited to that hypothetical environment. EV's systems are just the types of portioned-off areas that could be easily used to divide the universe into sections.

So I ask all you developers and programmers - Is this possible? Could it be done, and could it work successfully? I know very little about the inside workings of networking, and packets and such, so I don't know if there is something I am missing. Please feel free to critique and expand on this idea, whether using MMEV as a hypothetical situation, or just critique in general. But please do NOT add gameplay ideas. I am not trying to invent a specific game, I am just wondering about a possible solution for massively multiplayer games in general, which coincidentally (really, I did think this up independantly of EV, but EV instantly sprang to mind as being a prime application) happens to work well (I think) in a MMEV environment.

"Apple does not recommend allowing an elephant to operate a Mac in any environment."

That's just crazy enough to work! Only kidding.

It's a good idea. The one thing that puzzles me is this:

You would need some main server to keep track of all the semi-server's IP addresses. This main server would also have to route all the clients through to these IP's. If you had all the clients continually going through the main server then getting responces back through that same server, it would probably be the same amount of 'lag' as with just the one server hosting everyone.
With this system though I'd guess the client would connect to the main server then get switched over to the best ping server. This would work and has. Things like network game finders do this. The main server keeps track of all the running servers and you connect to the one you want. Also I think irc works in the same way. Actually it probably works best with this idea.

Even though it has been in use for a while, this is a great idea. I think I might use it.


Where the Hell's my roof?

I actually sent that idea to Ambrosia a while ago.
They thought it was a good chance, but too much.
Sorry man, we tried.

M has spoken!

ev, or anything which allows players to move between areas (rooms, systems, etc.), allows for multiplayer games which are almost independent of a server. the server, which functions more as a router, stores information on where each player is within the game. at this point there are two possibilities: 1) the server sends lists of all players in an area to each player in that area, and each client then sends updates directly to the other players. 2) each client posts updates on the server and retrievs all other posted updates within the given area. the posted updates can either be sent as a bundle, or can be compiled into a single update by the server if the processor time is available. the programming wouldn't be too challenging and in a pinch a game could be established using the first method without creating the need for a server per se (it would be a small enough task to be taken on by the fastest computer in the game)

if tin whistles are made of tin, what's a fog horn made of?

Every time I see something about a net EV I get that anoying feeling where I know that it would be really cool if it worked but it won't. As soon as I graduate from Harvard, become rich, retire at 25, and have lots of time and money to spare, I'll hire a team of programers to make you guys an Net EV. Maybe. 😉


EV Haiku- by Matt Burch

Floating chunks of rock
Space bomb drops too soon- kaboom
time for escape pod

Theorhetical designs are almost as easy as demos; working implementations are hard.

Andrew Welch / el Presidente / Ambrosia Software, Inc.