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Durakken

is this technologically feasable?

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What I have been thinking about is to create a world roughly the size of the real world without any sort of development on it. Then break it down into cells that represent roughly 3-10ft. Each player when they start are randomly given a starting spot, basic materials for shelter, and weapons. They then have to find material and level up their Avatar's skills and knowledges to construct things on that grid. On this world there is limited resource and the avatar has consumption needs. Technologies aren't all freely learned. Some are a result of learning various skills and putting them together while others are the result of finding objects or guides. The biggest problem I see with making something like this is the sheer size I'm talking about. It would literally be quintillions of cells for each layer and there would have to be more than one layer as there are mountains, underground, sky-city possibilities, and even tree houses ^.^ The other parts of it would be possible I know that, but I have no clue on the actual world part on whether it would be possible or not with today's tech.

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Feasibility depends on a lot of things that you didn't specify, but on a more general not, why would your world have to be roughly the size of the real world?

Without transportation the player will only be able to explore a tiny fraction of that world in a lifetime.

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Quote:
Original post by Durakken
What I have been thinking about is to create a world roughly the size of the real world without any sort of development on it. Then break it down into cells that represent roughly 3-10ft. Each player when they start are randomly given a starting spot, basic materials for shelter, and weapons. They then have to find material and level up their Avatar's skills and knowledges to construct things on that grid.

The biggest problem I see with making something like this is the sheer size I'm talking about. It would literally be quintillions of cells for each layer and there would have to be more than one layer as there are mountains, underground, sky-city possibilities, and even tree houses ^.^

The other parts of it would be possible I know that, but I have no clue on the actual world part on whether it would be possible or not with today's tech.
A quick estimate suggests that to cover the surface area of the Earth, you would need about 170,000,000,000,000 cells. Yes, that is right, 170 trillion cells.

If you laid those cells out in a square, that is 13,000,000 cells to a side, and at an optimistic travel rate of 10 cells/second, that is 15 days of real time to travel from one side to the other.

However, a bigger question in my mind, is whether you actually need so many cells. Optimistically assuming that a single player might build on/consume 1,000 cells, you have the capacity for 170 billion players - or 25 times the population of the Earth.

Last time I heard statistics, WoW had about 11 million players - so even if your game achieved massive popularity, making your world the size of Great Britain would be more than 8x the necessary capacity...

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I'm no expert, but isn't the number of cells somewhat irrelevant. If you plan to make more than about 1000, they need to be generated rather than hand made. If you are generating them, surely then, it makes no difference if it is 500 or 500000000 it just will take slightly longer to generate the world. The problem would only arise if it is constantly online. As both posters have already said, it would take ages to get around the world. Therefore, only a few cells would need to be downloaded at a time.

Having said that, the previous two posters are 100% right, why would you ever need that much space? It probably wouldn't be very hard to expand at a later date if you had to. However, make it too big and it would be years (potentially) before any of the players interacted with each other, by which point they may have left.

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The reason I foresee a problem with this is because of this...

1 mile = ~5000 feet
1 cell = 3-10feet
1 mile = ~500-1500 cells

That's just on a straight line. If we take it as a square mile as one should it become 1mi^2 = ~250,000-2,250,000.

Now assume that we take height into account as well, even conservatively, one would need to factor in 1/2 mile up and down, for mountains and mines and whatever else which means the number of cells in a mile become 1mi^3 = ~125,000,000-3,375,000,000 cells.

granted we can break that down via a coordinate system, for easier accessing, but if I recall correctly databases only hold something like 3-4GB, at least commonly used ones... and even representing the cells as only single digits in a file would that's quickly exceed capacity? Or could you just not use a database like MySQL when making this for a server?

Maybe I'm just over thinking it?

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Original post by Durakken
Now assume that we take height into account as well, even conservatively, one would need to factor in 1/2 mile up and down, for mountains and mines and whatever else which means the number of cells in a mile become 1mi^3 = ~125,000,000-3,375,000,000 cells.
This is precisely why nobody uses true voxel worlds - the storage requirements are enormous. Rather than working with a volumetric world, consider using 3 layers stacked on top of each other. This transforms your world from mile^3 to mile^2 * 3, which is far more manageable.

Also, in reference to my previous post about world size, here is a post you might find interesting.

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I have to agree with the others, the whole earth is far to large. Even if it is technically doable, it wont be any fun if you start the game with several thousand users and your "neighbour" resides several hours away. Assuming everyone travells around you could still dont meet anyone for days of realtime (!)

But if you scale it down to something like great briton or even whole western europe it becomes fun. You could create locations in your world with higher spawn propability for new players to encourage forming of "kingdoms" or some other forms of rule. (If you finde I nice system for that) And areas of wilderness where strong monsters spawn if left alone for some time.

But after some time thinking about it, I think it is unrealistic to create something like that at the moment. Even if you dont have any technology issues (like size) I dont think any designer came close to specifying a working ruleset for such a free enviroment. I mean it is already hard to create a system that gives some players power over others (I mean like ruling them) and politics is even far more difficult to create. The best models for those things are browsergames at the moment and the step from a simple brothergame up to something like that is quiet long. - But maybe I am too perfectionistic, perhaps you can simplify it enough to do it....

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It rather depends. How much data does it take to represent a Cell? At as a previous poster mentioned 170 trillion Cells for the world with a Cell taking 10 bytes you are talking about a petabyte of storage. Doable sure, I remember reading somewhere that flickr has multiple petabytes of photos. On a home system? Nope.

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Petabyte? Is that 1000 Terabytes? Just wondering. A home user right now can get a 6 TB RAID set up if they want to spend the money. I work in a IT warehouse, and have packed a few for shipment.

At any rate, what you want can be done. However, as others have pointed out, it would far too large even for a game of the popularity of World of Warcraft. You could have players wander for months and never see another player. Plus populating that world with non-player inhabitants, goals and whatnot, would be a nightmare. Again some players may never find anything.

You might be better making several maps about the size of a county in the US, with travel points between them. Even then, you'll be likely to have just one with any significan population at any given time.

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I agree with the other posters that it's not a good idea, and much more than is needed and would be full of headaches.

However, playing the devil's advocate.... (:

If you were to do something like this, you shoudl seriously consider making the world procedurally generated.

That way you wouldn't actually have to create all that content. Nor would you actually have to store it on disk anywhere.

You'd just have to store the algorithm you used to create the world and it's seed (maybe it takes the X and Y coordinates of the tile as a seed?)

It would get around the storage problems.

For players, and player created content you could store that seperately. There is bound to be a lot less player created content than the size of your world and should be a lot more manageable.

There is a guy right now working on a procedurally generated MMO called "Love".

You should check it out if you are interested

http://www.quelsolaar.com/love/index.html

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