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Gaiiden

Online Persistence

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Hey all, I was just wondering. One day when writing up a design sketch of a possible MMOG, I was struck by the phrase online persistence . Now I dunno whether or not I pulled this term out of thin air or read it somewhere and just plain forgot where. So can anyone explain to me what online persistence is? I know what it is but I want to see if you all can guess its meaning so I can decide if this is an original term or not. I'll tell you what it means if it is original. Thanks. ============================== "Need more eeenput..." - #5, "Short Circuit" ============================== Edited by - Gaiiden on June 23, 2001 12:20:25 AM

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Erm... your character, progress, and all other vital game state information remain (in continuity)? Said to distinguish between short-term multiplayer games, that, while they may be massive, do not allow for any progress or continuity.

I''ve heard terms like "persistent online worlds" used quite frequently over the years. At a GDC I went to years ago there were a number of conferences on "persistent online" this and that.

On the bright side, though, if your definition doesn''t mean this at all, you get to coin a new one!

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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The term is a bit mislead I admit. It sort of has a reverse meaning, to help you out. By the way, Wavinator, a good guess but wrong Who knows, maybe it is a new term. That''s what I''m trying to find out.

==============================
"Need more eeenput..."
- #5, "Short Circuit"
==============================

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A persistent world is a world that lives even when you''re not logged in.

Most of those games require an AI to perform task for you while you''re offline, also their''s often a share option to let you allies use and manager your assets.

It is persistent because it always run, and you cannot remove your character from it.

-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-

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Well, I heard the word ''persisten'' used quite often when coding databases using C++. The idea was to make it possible for C++ classes to be saved on file between uses.
Similarly, when talking of games the word is used to denote the quality of ''something'' to not reset its state between uses. For instance, a game could have persistent levels, the levels keeping track of the state they were in when the user leave them...
With multiplayer games, the truth is that since there is always someone connected, it''s not really persistent per se. For instance, Artifact could not qualify, because truly, the game world is reset everytime someone wins. Although it''s true that there is no need for anyone to be connected, and it''s true that your assets in the game world keep evolving when you''re offline.

What do you apply the term to anyway ?
If it''s to talk of a character, I would see ''online persistence'' as the quality of a character to keep ''living'' while the user is not connected.

Not user of where you are going to, but hey, let us know when you are there !

youpla :-P

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quote:
Original post by Gaiiden
The term is a bit mislead I admit. It sort of has a reverse meaning, to help you out. By the way, Wavinator, a good guess but wrong Who knows, maybe it is a new term. That''s what I''m trying to find out.



Well tell us what your definition is, already! That way we can say "oh yes, that''s a new thing" or "oh no, that''s actually called ''orthanomology''" (or something)...



War Worlds - A 3D Real-Time Strategy game in development.

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quote:
Original post by ahw
What do you apply the term to anyway ?
If it''s to talk of a character, I would see ''online persistence'' as the quality of a character to keep ''living'' while the user is not connected.


And the prize goes to ahw for his incredible insight! Okay, there isn''t prize but it just sounds good.

Yeah, I use the term online persistence to describe the player living while not in the game. Good job, ahw - I was just about to clarify that I was referring to the player. I''m writing an article on online persistence and how it effects gameplay for a book and I wanted to see how the term held up to all you people. Basically you have to realize that the player will never be online all the time, or is less persistent. Different genres are effected differently as well. RPGs are the least effected due to the fact that community interaction isn''t usually required to advance in the game. Action games (like Tribes 2 or Allegiance) can just squeak by if they have scalable objectives, meaning teams if different sizes (depending on whose online) can still take on missions (say, raiding a small convoy next to taking over an asteroid base). Strategy games are the worst, since you have to continuously fight another player or many players and when logged off certain measures have to be taken to ensure the user is not overrun while away. That''s just a small example of what will be in the article. I can''t give too much away (for obvious reasons) but there will also be talk about how online persistence can limit a story (note that Allegiance and Tribes 2 could have good backstories or storylines, but they don''t) and how online persistence may be obsolete (think portable devices). Anyways thanks to all who guessed and if you have any additional comments feel free to post them, I''m open to feedback to make this article good.


==============================
"Need more eeenput..."
- #5, "Short Circuit"
==============================

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Actually, "Persistent" simply means "does not disappear when you turn the thing off". Persistent data storage = saving a file to disk. A persistent world in an online game is one that will still be there when you login next. It might have evolved due to actions by other players while you were away, or events, but it's still derived from the same world that you started playing in.

People might not remember what you said, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
Mad Keith the V.

Edited by - MadKeithV on June 26, 2001 5:44:50 AM

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Right, MadKeith, however you are refferring to online persistence and the game world, when I''m refferring to online persistence and the player. Like I said, it''s kind of a reverse-meaning. When I say online persistence I''m talking about the player''s ability to stay active in the game world all the time, whether through AI avatars when logged off or through the use of future portable devices that carry a small portion of the game with them (like a client) that let''s the user control his or her avatar in a limited fashion.

==============================
"Need more eeenput..."
- #5, "Short Circuit"
==============================

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Methinks you need to coin your own term for this one. Maybe one that''s more specific to avatars, such as "Automated Player" or something like that? (Since the majority of replies seem to have a different emphasis).

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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You should check out the up and coming first ever mmofps Planetside (www.verant.com). It has tons of implications on both persistent worlds, and persistent characters. You should probably call you term "persistent online character". In planetside, your fps character can die, and respawn however it will keep a persistent set of certain attributes, and the player can go back to their old dead body and get thier old stuff ala everquest (made also by verant) Anyway, check it out (if you already have not)

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You are referring to a players statistics, skills, experience, etc. I''m referring to a player''s continued existence in the game world. Persistent statistics are nothing new. If PlanetSide creates an AI avatar of the player when he/she is offline, or offers some similar support, then i''ll be interested.

==============================
"Need more eeenput..."
- #5, "Short Circuit"
==============================

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Guest Anonymous Poster
There are possibly millions of player accounts for any given current major MMORPG. Constantly handling them would cost big time in terms of bandwidth. It would probably clog the gameworld more than anything.

Ben
http://therabbithole.redback.inficad.com

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It will cost more bandwidth for those who are connected. It would also require much more processor power and memory to handle all the characters. Server side and client side. For my own game it takes 950MB to handle 12,288 characters server side. For one million that would take 77GB of memory. I don''t really have that kind of money. That would require a dedicated HD to be used for virtual memory.

Then you have to figure in how many the client can handle at once. 768 is what I currently have the client locked at. Any more than that it starts to not run. 768 128x128x24bit textures takes quite a bit of memory. 36megs. I did a test and found a 56k modem can handle about 200 on the screen at one time.

Then you have to account for floor space. Where are these millions of people going to stand? Eventually it will become too crowded.

Ben
http://therabbithole.redback.inficad.com

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Even in the most popular MMORPGs, the subscriber base is in the hundreds of thousands, not in the millions. These tend to be spread out over numerous servers. The end result is that the ratio of NPCs to PCs is so high that whether a player is logged on or not is almost inconseqential as far as the numbers go.

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How would the server treat a PC turned NPC? Are the PK fodder or are they immune, just there to make the game look busy?

I''d rather not have NPC AI take over my character I''ve spent months developing and risk it being killed when I log in again or missing some items for whatever reason.

How well would the server emulate the personality of the actual player?

It could be done no problem, but what are the benifits and risks?

Ben
http://therabbithole.redback.inficad.com

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KYLOTAN:

Actually, Lineage supposedly has over 2 million subscribers (with at least over 100.000 player at any one time)

I still think that the best solution to create a persistent ''character'' is to create a logical answer to the question: why is the character not in the virtual world when the player isn''t.

I bet there are numerous answers to find. If you can design your game using that answer you''ll have your persistent character.

(as an example, you design a game where the player plays a player playing a virtual character. When the ''real'' player is not playing, the ''virtual'' player isn''t either, so the ''virtual character'' can''t be playing either. Or, you create a game where players control entities that can only live in the virtual world for certain amounts of time -maybe they can''t physically remain in that virtual world longer than a set time-. Or you create a game with several parallel universes. If your character is not in universe 1, he can return after even a month saying that he''d been in one of the other universes for a while)

If the issue is to give a character the same growing rate as the virtual world (if one day passes in the virtual world, the character should grow one day older, one day maturer, one day more powerful etc)... I''m sure there are answers to be found for that as well, without having to resort to AI controlling the avatar.

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Actually, Lineage doesn''t have anything like that many ''subscribers'', because it uses a totally different payment system to Ultima Online, Asheron''s Call, Everquest etc. The vast majority of Lineage players play from internet cafés, which in turn pay for access to the game.

But yes. we are arguing definitions of a term which isn''t relevant. I should really just have stressed that having a lot of players around isn''t much worse than having NPCs around in terms of bandwidth and CPU if they''re treated properly. And crowding is as much a function of the size of the game world as the number of people in it.

And something I should have mentioned in reply to KalvinB: 77gb of disk space is nothing in real terms. It might be a lot for someone''s desktop PC... but when we''re discussing making MMORPGs, desktop PCs aren''t considered to be the kind of server people will be using. And besides which: "950MB to handle 12,288 characters"... that''s almost 80k per character! There must be a hideous amount of redundancy there, which you could almost certainly easily reduce.

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