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PlayStation (Games)

Warhawk PS3 Server Clusters 66

News for nerds writes "The official Sony Playstation blog posted the game server details of the upcoming online shooter game Warhawk. Interestingly the game's Ranked Dedicated servers, available in addition to user-hosted PS3 servers, are hosted in rack-mounted PS3 clusters."
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Warhawk PS3 Server Clusters

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  • by Dancindan84 ( 1056246 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @03:40PM (#20215693)
    "Imagine a Beowulf clust... oh wait."
  • Hmmm, not a bad idea in all honesty, I wonder what the cost trade-off is? Worse case they shut them down and sell the clusters to medical research or power computing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I think the article summary/article itself is a little misleading - my understanding is that these machines aren't necessarily creating a distributed network of nodes in one server as we would think of it. Instead it's just a bunch of PS3s running their own dedicated Warhawk servers individually. They're put in racks and spread around the globe to provide low latency connections to many different dedicated servers so that no matter where you are, you have access to at least a few dedicated servers that ar
  • Can anyone not behind a retarded proxy post any specs on why PS3 clusters, besides geek value? I'd be interested in knowing more about heat issue, what type of actual performance, etc. Game consoles are one thing I honestly never expected to see a cluster of done outside of a basement.
    • If one thinks about it a bit, it's not that bad of a proposition. PS3 has a powerful main processor and a GigE network link. If they make a version with a regular CD or DVD drive for clustering uses, then they can probably have an infrastructure of very compact, inexpensive, yet potent server systems.
      • Replacing the Blu-ray drive with a regular CD (or no drive at all) would make it cheaper to build but wouldn't reduce the end-user cost. Part of the reason Sony can sell the PS3 at a loss is because they see it as an investment in the HD-media war (Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD, iTunes video vs. Sony, etc.).

        There are already Cell Based Servers [] on the market. But, given that you have to ask for a price quote, I expect they cost more than $600 (and don't come with "Motostorm" ;)).

      • by donaldm ( 919619 )
        The PS3 can read CD and DVD disks as well as Blu-ray disks (I am amazed people don't know this). You can install Linux from DVD or CD if you wish. In addition you can play PS2 (DVD/CD) or PS1 (CD) games, not to mention playing PS3 games on Blu-ray. You can even play DVD movies and it will upscale them as well.

        The only thing the PS3 drive cannot do is burn disks but put on Linux and plug in a BD/DVD/CD burner via USB and it should work (I have not tried this though). I am not sure about HD-DVD but if you h
        • by G Fab ( 1142219 )
          You didn't understand the parent. He didn't claim the PS3 can't read dvds or cds. And frankly, it's not that impressive that the PS3 can do so. Yes, USB peripherals, be them HD DVD players or dvd burners, do work fine.

          The parent thinks that skipping the components in the PS3 not related to this game would save money. IE, no need for the optical audio output or the flash card readers or any optical disc reader. Makes sense, but it may be cheaper not to go through the customization trouble since Sony has
    • ... PS2 clusters have been used for calculations by the NCSA []. And supooosedly (insert grain of salt) Saddam Hussein was buying up PS2's to get around those pesky export restrictions to build a computing cluster for a weapons program.

      But it makes sense. There are a lot of parallels between scientific and game/graphics computing, intense mathematical operations namely. So it would make sense that a processor optimized for gaming would be good for scientific research. Look at the folding at home project, for
      • by nuzak ( 959558 )
        And supooosedly (insert grain of salt) Saddam Hussein was buying up PS2's to get around those pesky export restrictions to build a computing cluster for a weapons program.

        Erm, despite all the other whoppers we were told, that one actually was a hoax. Of the joke kind. Of the hah-hah could anyone possibly take it seriously kind. Um, lemme think some more and try again.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by faloi ( 738831 )
      The best reason is that there are plenty of PS3's sitting around collecting dust on store shelves. Should get some use out of them, anyway :)
    • Warhawk comes with the server code built into the game (so that users can host a game if they want). My guess is the developer saves time and money by not having to write and test a seperate server application to run on a different architecture (most likely a bunch of x86 servers). So it makes sense to just use the server code already built into the game and just host dedicated servers using a bunch of Playstation 3s.

      Also, Sony has lots of extra Playstations laying around that they can turn into dedicated s
      • Well ... the other benefit of the included server is that it allows more flexibility to the end user.

        - Have a Clan and enough bandwidth and want to host a server for your clan? No problem (you can host a game and play on it at the same time).
        - The number of servers should (theoretically) scale with the number of users, since any user can host an "official game" (locked parameters).
        - There is little(to no) danger of someone shutting off the servers (such as was done recently), since even if all the official
        • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
          - There is little(to no) danger of someone shutting off the servers (such as was done recently), since even if all the official servers went away, there would still be the unofficial ones.

          Only true if it uses a P2P sructure or player-run masterservers to tell people about the servers that run, otherwise once the masterserver goes down all your player servers won't do anything because the client cannot connect to them (directly entering the IP of the server might be supported but don't count on it).
          • You're absolutely correct. If there is a master server to list then you are right. The cost required to operate/maintain a master server though is probably quite a bit less than maintaining dedicated servers, which should provide less incentive for a company to "pull support".

            The game itself supports LAN play so I would assume that directly entering the IP of the server should work though.
            • Warhawk uses a master server for authentication and matchmaking services. The game uses a client server architecture for in-game play. PS3 systems can be run as a server, or dedicated server. The number of players allowed on a server depends on the machines bandwidth. They do not allow entering an IP address directly. LAN play uses a broadcasst so all machines in a lan game have to be on the same LAN segment.
              • They've been ways around things like this for a long time.

                Take a look at things like Kali [].

                It might take setting up some sort of routing software on a local PC for each person involved in the game, but it should be very doable to make the PS3 think its playing locally against people from across the country/globe. Wether the LAN game can support the response times and how bandwidth requirements will be impacted is a different question.
    • by Ixpath ( 50784 )
      The thing to understand here is that cell blades are difficult to get a hold of and cost $18k. Even the
      linux on cell group at IBM (where I currently work) uses ps3s for their development as a result. I know
      IBM is developing cell big iron to market as mmporg host. I wouldnt be surprised if this was part
      of that effort. Performance per watt and reliability I was told was quite favorable when compared to
      traditional x86 clusters.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They had to do something with all the PS3's that no one's buying.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I was wondering how Sony were selling as many PS3s as they are!
    • Err... I don't think it counts when they sell them to themselves because... nothing actually changes hands, so it's not legally* a transaction...

      * - IANAL

      • In accounting terms, it might actually be a sale, depending on the laws and how the company is set up. I don't know how Japanese accounting works, but in the US, I don't think one subsidiary can just "give" its products to another subsidiary, it has to count as a sale and the accounting must show that money was taken from the accounts of one subsidiary to another. It's still empty paper work in this case.
        • by ivan256 ( 17499 )
          There are 180 PS3s in that picture (15 per rack side/30 per rack. 6 racks). If they build one of these "clusters" for each region, or even a few per region, you're still talking less than 1000 PS3s. That's hardly a blip in the sales numbers either way.
  • Warhawk was a great shooter on the C64.

    Surely this game represents prior art and the trademark and so on is the property of the company/individual that originally developed it?

    Or is Sony pulling a Disney or something?

    I thought companies like Sony were supposed to respect copyright.

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake