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PC Games (Games)

How Indie Devs Made an 1,800-Player Action Game Mod In Their Spare Time 87

An anonymous reader writes "Just Cause 2 Multiplayer has been getting a lot of press lately, but this making-of feature points out how the mod raises serious questions about the games industry: if 1,800-player massively multiplayer action games are possible on one server, why did it take a group of modders to prove it? From the article: 'There’s more chaos to come. That 1,800 player limit isn’t maxing out the server or the software by any means. Foote says that the team, who first met online seven years ago playing the similar Multi Theft Auto GTA mod, are "yet to reach any real barrier or limitation preventing us from reaching an even higher player count than the previous public tests." When it’s ready, the team will release the software for everyone to download and run their own servers, wherever they are in the world.'"
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How Indie Devs Made an 1,800-Player Action Game Mod In Their Spare Time

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 15, 2012 @09:49PM (#41349471)

    Game developers set their limits based on what they can reasonably show to be a supported, stable level for the majority of their expected customer base.

    Even though the code could potentially handle more, explicitly supporting it requires additional development resources, additional QA resources to validate that it works, etc., for potentially little to no gain.

    Anything over 64 players is going to bump it into the real where it's considered "massively multiplayer" by most suits as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 16, 2012 @02:19AM (#41350369)

    I don't understand what is so incredible about that either...

    Planetside had somewhere around 500 on one continent(server) at a time and that was almost 10 years ago and multiple thousands if the articles understanding (or definition) of "a server" being one realm or world is used. The article goes on to talk about how this is the first time there's been a Massively Multiplayer shoot-em' up style game and that it was some genius new idea by these two hobby programmers, I mean EUREKA a shooter MMO. Which is just plain incorrect, see planetside (and upcoming planetside2) and there might be other attempts I don't know about. Planetside wasn't hugely successful, at it's peak it had I dunno something like 4-6 north American "servers" and probably around 3000 players on any one of them at a given time. It was successful enough to eventually get a try at a second which is in beta now and I believe is supposed to end up free to play, pay for your digital character's vanity.

    Here's a few problems with them. The Genre, fps/third person shooters, mainly targets 10-25 year old guys...
    so there is a limited market.
    10-16 or 18 year old guys have to talk their parents into paying for subscriptions to something like an MMO...
    which further limits it.
    There's about a billion and one games like that on the market who's only difference is that they aren't MMO...
    so you might not play with 2000 people in one place, but there's plenty of opponents and a community in most the larger shooters, and a lot less of the "hurry up and wait around" aspect that is doing anything organized in MMOs.
    Most shoot-em up style players tend to look down on pay to play or pay to win games, for good reason, when most want you to shell out $50+ for the box/software, then get the privilege of paying another $15 a month.

    Large changes to shooters can drive players away in droves, but for MMO's if you aren't updating you aren't adding new people...
    Take a look at planetside's BFR updates. Add a game breaking new vehicle set, lost a ton of veteran subscribers. Nerf it, tons of people stayed gone. Added so much anti-air you couldn't organize air attacks anymore, or even fight other air players away from the main battles anymore without lock-on autoaim weapons. Lost the organized air outfits (clans/guilds). Kept some of the bad players people that they would farm.
    This is a large problem for MMO's in general now that they are so big (or at least since WoW was) you have a pretty low mean player skill level. Well they and those even worse then the mean need to advance if you want to keep them paying customers. Then you have exceptional hardcore guilds, who find encounters too easy, blow through new content in a month and have nothing to do. That gets magnified in pvp, since you literally pit those two groups against each other. I used to play my dad in quakeworld, it was never especially close, but I ended up getting really good playing online... After a few games at the end of that summer he refused to play me anymore "it's just not fun for me." Which I understood, repeatedly getting beat and not having the ability to do anything about it sucks. That's what would happen in FPS mmos if they didn't dumb it down for the average skill level or below that, they'd hemorrhage the lower end players until there'd be a handful of top players who wouldn't be covering costs...

    So no, it's been done before.

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?