A significant technical breakthrough was recently achieved in the world of online gaming. A Swedish technology company called MuchDifferent recently created a game prototype. This game prototype allowed one thousand living, breathing, players to fight online in the same digital space.
This is a huge development because, as most First Person Shooter players know, the biggest servers on the current digital battlefield can hold about 64 players. This game was capable of holding well over ten times that many. Games like this could transform shooters from being “battle simulations” to “war simulations”. Imagine digitally fighting over a state or country instead of fighting over a town and you’ll have an idea of why this is such big news.
The game itself was pretty basic, featuring only one gun and a simplistic battle against game developers. Their main plan seemed to be the commands to “move forward” and “shoot randomly”. Nonetheless the fact that a thousand living, breathing players could occupy the same digital space is a big achievement.
Even large scale Massively Multiplayer Online games like World of Warcraft can’t feature more than 150 or 200 players in the same space. Yet this Swedish company that, frankly, no one’s heard of, has surpassed them. World of Warcraft and other MMOs are notorious for their “instancing” – creating several copies of the same digital world, each of which can accommodate a small number of players. This was essential because the technology simply didn’t exist to host the tens of thousands or more players that play the game in the same area.
I am extremely happy to report that this is changing though. I look forward to the day when millions of gamers who play the same games can all look at the same army and digital landscape.
A video of the 1,000 player FPS battle can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNN_J0g5fmQ&feature=player_embedded