Behind the scenes of a MMO
Plaguelands has a summary up of the recent MMO roundtable hosted by IBM. Game Developers participating included Geoff Heath, CEO, NCsoft Europe & Steven Reid, NCsoft Europe; Raph Koster, Sony; and Patty Fry, Global Executive, Online Games & DCC.
We’ll ignore the others and focus on some very, very interesting things Mr. Koster mentioned, I highly recommend you jump the link and just read his section.
A bit on pathfinding:
On the tech aspect, something I didn’t know Koster mentions is that 40% of the cpu processing is utilized on pathfinding. Yes, fuckin’ pathfinding. A fuckin’ decade, and almost half of the potential processing powers developers are allocated is used to fuckin’ pathfinding. And you know what? Pathfinding is a joke, it could use a lot of work.
Koster also delves into some details about mmos and their databases. The runtime database and the static game database and explaining their differences and how and what needs to be done so developers will have the hardware that allows for more dynamisms, more impact, making that world a virtual living breathing world in itself that players can impact and not just some static sandbox. It’s funny when Raph talks about players having an impact on the world and how we are seeing somewhat of a reversal instead of progressing. Notice how games like WoW do not allow players to drop items on the ground? While this may save a lot of CS headaches, this is the type of simple impact on the persistent world.
Who thinks about these things? Everyone wants to be a developer or a producer, and never thinks about what the programmers have to go through. Fascinating.