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 Post subject: Slamz' Law of Density
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:43 pm 
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I just wanted to note this for posterity.

Moore's law states that computer power will double every two years (basically).

Slamz' law states that the player density on physical server hardware will double every two years while game mechanics will stay just as shitty as ever.


That is,

10 years ago: 1000 people per server array with shitty game mechanics
8 years ago: 2000 people per server array with the array running two servers with shitty game mechanics
6 years ago: 4000 people per server array with the array running four servers with shitty game mechanics
4 years ago: 8000 people per server array with the array running eight servers with shitty game mechanics

The servers running Aion are vastly more powerful than the ones running EQ, but the game mechanics are identical and the number of people per "server" (i.e., "Triniel", "Vallon Zek", etc) is roughly the same.


All of the improvements in hardware are being eaten up behind the scenes to lower the cost-per-user to run the game.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 4:16 pm 
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Hah good one.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 4:25 pm 
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08hmqyejCYU

I agree with you Slamz, but at least one game I know of has 40K+ people in one world.... EvE. so CCP must be doing something right. They had 1000 players when I first started playing and the talk of hitting 5000 was a pipe dream but now wow... 40K players when I am online... crazyness

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 4:57 pm 
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I apply it to EVE too.

I'm talking about player density per item of hardware. Just because EVE has "one server" doesn't mean they aren't still following this rule.

EVE's game mechanics are woefully simplistic and haven't improved since the game's inception. In fact, I'd say EVE's combat is even more simplistic than WOW's -- there are no "special moves", nothing (not asteroids, not friendly ships, not even untargeted enemy ships) block missiles in flight, there are no "shield facings", etc.

I would be willing to bet that a study of EVE's server hardware history would reveal that they periodically upgrade hardware so that they can put more people onto less hardware rather than keep the density the same then leverage the extra power to improve game mechanics.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:05 pm 
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Does your law explain why we still can't get more then 20 people in the same area with out creating lag?

10 years of improvements in power since EQ and we still actually don't perform any better then we did when EQ was around.

What is the point of more power if in the end we are still playing the same game?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:13 pm 
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You might say the lag issue is the client side version of the same law (Vllad's Corollary?)

As computing power increases on the client, graphics improve but mechanics and player density stays the same.

So you can still only get 20 people on screen before it lags, but now each one has more polygons, textures and movement in their left hand than an EQ troll had in his entire physical makeup.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:16 pm 
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So the question is can you make a game look good not to turn people off and still retain the pixel density of an EQ?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:41 pm 
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Vllad wrote:
Does your law explain why we still can't get more then 20 people in the same area with out creating lag?

10 years of improvements in power since EQ and we still actually don't perform any better then we did when EQ was around.

What is the point of more power if in the end we are still playing the same game?


Vllad


I hate to sound like an EvE lover because I don't think that game is even close to perfection. I have been amazed at the amount of people that can fight each other. 2002 we had 100 vs 100 battles, 2006 500 vs 700, 2009 the clearing of Band of Brothers alliance they had over 3K people in local with what people claimed as limited lag. Note that you didn't want to jump into that system because your gonna die from that gate camp :-)

I blame Microsoft for all the issues with resources and hardware needs. After all Bill Gates is the devil right?

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:50 pm 
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Crice wrote:
Vllad wrote:
Does your law explain why we still can't get more then 20 people in the same area with out creating lag?

10 years of improvements in power since EQ and we still actually don't perform any better then we did when EQ was around.

What is the point of more power if in the end we are still playing the same game?


Vllad


I hate to sound like an EvE lover because I don't think that game is even close to perfection. I have been amazed at the amount of people that can fight each other. 2002 we had 100 vs 100 battles, 2006 500 vs 700, 2009 the clearing of Band of Brothers alliance they had over 3K people in local with what people claimed as limited lag. Note that you didn't want to jump into that system because your gonna die from that gate camp :-)

I blame Microsoft for all the issues with resources and hardware needs. After all Bill Gates is the devil right?


they still havent mastered the dymantic server loading though. All those big battles they had alot of forewarning and had the nodes prepared

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:33 pm 
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Vllad wrote:
So the question is can you make a game look good not to turn people off and still retain the pixel density of an EQ?

That was basically the WOW formula: create a game that 4 year old computers can run perfectly smoothly. A lot of people complained that it was "too cartoony" but in the end they had 10 million subscribers, so, yeah, Blizzard can pretty well flip off the graphic whores while they wallow in piles of money.

I think it's actually the smart move whereas awesome graphics are actually a dumb move. Not only do low resolution graphics allow you to cram more people together with better performance but they make it so that everyone and their mother can play the game even with old systems. Newer, more awesome graphics engines also seem to run into more driver/hardware issues, as they try and use newer, fancier, less tested features of graphics cards. I forget what game it was some years ago where nVidia had to release a patch just for them. They proclaimed it like a badge of honor but it probably just means you're pushing the technology to the point that most people can't use it.


I think if I had a really sharp, crisp UI, I may be able to forgive a lot when it comes to graphical detail.

I say we take Planetside graphics and lock that in. Stick with those graphics and devote all future hardware improvements to cramming more people on screen rather than cramming the same number of people with more polygons and better textures.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:09 am 
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I'd rather cram more environment into the game than people or character textures. Fighting in a dense forest or trenches is something we haven't seen since EQ.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 11:19 am 
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That too. Less polygons/texture memory spent on making sure your character has a fancy mustache = more polygons/texture memory that can be spent elsewhere, like on trees.


If I were going to develop a game, I'd love to start with the WW2O engine. That game can display a bush from 3km away, as well as the tank that's trying to hide in it and the little tiny infantry dude that's trying to sneak up on it. WW2O also has problems in that when it gets too crowded it starts drawing fewer and fewer of your allies, but if you made a game that didn't need to actually have functional tank duels from 3+km away, you could probably do wonderful stuff with the engine.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 11:32 am 
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Wow didn't look bad really, still is okay. Never got the whining about it. Planetside was just awful looking. But in twitch/manual aiming games getting the FPS is vital I guess.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 12:29 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 12:31 pm 
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Hoofhurr wrote:
I'd rather cram more environment into the game than people or character textures. Fighting in a dense forest or trenches is something we haven't seen since EQ.


I agree with you Hoof.. BUT... people would complain about graphics, and many like to dance naked as a female night elf.

AION I lagged out when in a fight with 50 people, very disappointing.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 12:42 pm 
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I don't think that was wow in highest resolution and certainly not in the cooler looking zones, planetside never looked like that, of course I could never get it to run on my dual core (POS software) so i may have missed out on max settings.

Also planetsided didn't have to handle any unique looking characters, which works in sci fi mythos but is pretty lame in fantasy themed games - (i.e. war was gay since everyone looked the same.. wow was a bit better but eventually, but only a bit)


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 1:12 pm 
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Well we're fucked if we can't even get 5 people to agree on acceptable graphics.

This would make a great poll methinks. Dustie! Any chance you could be motivated to create a poll with images from games representing various stages of MMO graphics over the years? I'd like to see where we fall out on what we would deem to be acceptable assuming that you sacrifice density proportional to the graphics quality. Slamz' started it for you but I would venture that PS and WoW are almost contemporaries.

Maybe this could be done using the 'minimum graphics requirements' instead of images to be more objective.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 1:46 pm 
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Obviously the standard all should be judged on is The Realm:

Attachment:
realm.jpg
realm.jpg [ 276.89 KiB | Viewed 2846 times ]


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 3:08 pm 
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Diggles has screen shots going back to the stone age.

He should be able to post a screen shot from EQ, DAOC, PS, WOW and Warhammer.

Lets put them all next to each other and see just how far we have come.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 3:16 pm 
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This is from our own screenshot section:
Image

Granted it's not showing much terrain, which was one of Planetside's best features.

Image

I mean sure, Planetside wasn't like OMGWTFSUPERREALISTIC but geez, if that's "just awful looking" then you've set the bar pretty high.

WOW:
Image

Nice, but kind of cartoony. I think it's something with Blizzard liking vibrant colors and lighting. I think Planetside's ground textures were more detailed though.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 5:58 pm 
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Jakensama wrote:
Obviously the standard all should be judged on is The Realm:

Attachment:
realm.jpg


Awesome... The pvp must be intense!!!! Where do I sign up??? ROFLS

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 6:03 pm 
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I think the real thing to note in these graphics is the perfectly timed fist raising I had there on that tank (I was Ringo).

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 7:17 pm 
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Vllad wrote:
Diggles has screen shots going back to the stone age.

He should be able to post a screen shot from EQ, DAOC, PS, WOW and Warhammer.

Lets put them all next to each other and see just how far we have come.


Vllad


HEh, but I rarely run in high detail mode, no matter how powerful my computer is. FPS > detail

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squig_humanity.jpg
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 10:02 pm 
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That quote by Dokupuffs is awesome.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:38 pm 
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Is there really that much difference in the quality of graphics between games in 1999 and 2008?


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