Gaming Massively

Monday, October 15, 2007

PotBS stress test notes

The folks over at PotBS have an article up on their stress test from last weekend. It's a pretty interesting run down the fun they had over the 72 hours or so the stress test ran. If you ever needed a reminder of how much more fun playing games is than running the servers that run the games, this is it. From a technical standpoint, it tells you a lot about how they've designed the game to operate.

One thing you'll notice is the discussion of the zone servers. Based on the fact that players wait for these to start, it must be a form of instancing, which is one of the big MMO debates. The trick is, instancing is easy - you can easily load balance servers that are running instances, whereas it's much more difficult to keep things up and running when everyone is in the same place.

I'm kind of of the opinion this represents a failure of the developers to properly leverage the hardware, but that's not really fair of me - there's nothing worse than an armchair programmer. In my head, I imagine massive clusters powering a single, crazy large instance of a game. This is tough if you're going to be located in various sites around the world, though you can speculate that if you could get fiber between your sites you could run the whole thing as one global mass. But that'd be quite a network setup.

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