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How does "large scale systems" and "game development" go together?

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(Note: Usually by me, when I think of large scale systems, I always think of servers, backframes, network utilizations, etc. However, I don't have any knowledge on what's labeled as "large scale systems.", nor do I understand what are its uses. Hence, the thread's topic.)


I'm looking for an understanding on what makes both of them important. If you think both of them as objects in a Venn Diagram intersecting each other, I want to see what's inside the overlapping/intersected area of these two.


  • What scenario(es) makes large scale systems important when it comes to developing a game? Is it something especially big, such as SimCity 2013, or World of Warcraft series?
  • Can "large scale systems" be used in small-scaled projects not directly related to game development, as in artistic design, concept story plot design, etc.?
  • Does "large scale systems" work on hardware that only allows single threaded modes?
  • If possible, what are the bad sides of integrating "large scale systems" and "large scale system concepts" in a game, however big or small it may be?

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I'm honestly not sure what you're asking. It sounds eerily like when someone who's never programmed before asks how he should use an MVC pattern. Or homework.

"Large scale systems" is somewhat of a buzz-phrase and generally indicates several separate programs/devices/people/companies that interact with each other, and are each either numerous or complicated enough that someone decided to call them "large scale" (this is subjective).

1. An MMO could probably be considered to be a large scale system.

2. Are you asking whether you can write a story where a large scale system is a plot element? Your question doesn't make any sense to me.

3. I doubt anyone would consider a program running on a single thread to be a large scale system. However, any program can be theoretically rewritten to run on a single thread. It just won't have the same performance characteristics.

4. The bad side would be that you have unnecessarily complicated a small program by trying to use large-scale methodologies where they aren't needed. For example, I could write a "hello world" program by making a REST call through a load balancer which routes the request to a server which then fetches data from a membase cluster and returns it to the first program which just prints "hello world" on the screen. Edited by Nypyren

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>> How does "large scale systems" and "game development" go together?


it doesn't really.   even the biggest online games probably fall short of what the non-game computer industry (IE the real IT world) would describe as a large scale system.   perhaps the entire IT capability of EA or Ubisoft might qualify as a large scale system.  American Airlines SABER reservation system, Bank of America's atms, Google's server system, ExxonMobil's oil company software, the entire DARPA network  - those are large scale systems.  perhaps in the future there will be some sort of persistent online game world in the cloud with hundreds of servers everywhere and lots of different types of users (players, vendors, etc).  something like that might qualify as large scale.



wikipedia ultra large scale systems (think United States Department of Defense integrated IT systems):



MIT paper on architecture of large scale systems. some of the fundamental software engineering principles they mention in the beginning apply to game development - IE using algo's that fit the data. Some concepts transfer - but on a much smaller scale:


Edited by Norman Barrows

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