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Scaling the Universe of DUST 514

Lin Luo's Avatar + Posted by Lin Luo on Oct 28, 2011 // Server Architect, CCP

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I am a Server Architect on DUST 514 and, in this devblog, I would like to cover at a high level some of the online technical aspects of DUST 514, including the challenges we have met and the approaches we have taken in handling them.

As a server architect on the project, I am responsible for integrating the DUST FPS multiplayer battles into the EVE universe, as well as optimizing the DUST battle servers to perform even better. Unlike normal FPS multiplayer games, DUST 514 has heavy MMO elements. And unlike normal MMO FPS games, DUST has heavy interaction with one of the most successful MMO space games – EVE Online! This imposes challenges on what technologies we should use in order to have this level of interaction with EVE, while keeping FPS gameplay as smooth as possible.

DUST 514 Interview: Changing Console Shooters Forever

While continuing to rely on the Unreal 3 engine for the FPS multiplayer gameplay for DUST, the interaction with the rest of the EVE universe should naturally take advantage of utilizing some existing EVE online technologies. Think about a simplified flow of how a DUST battle might begin:

An EVE corporation issues a battle contract to seize a territory on a given planet that is currently owned by another corporation; a group of DUST mercenaries comes to accept the contract as the attacker for the bounty the contract offers; another group of DUST mercenaries comes to accept the contract as the defender, so they also get a reward if the territory is protected. When the number of each team has reached a pre-determined minimum, the EVE server logic would instruct an appropriate DUST battle cluster to spawn a battle in it. This provides the battle server with all the necessary information regarding the prospective battle upon launching, and the DUST mercenary clients will then be forwarded to join the battle accordingly. After the battle is finished with everyone getting (or losing) their share of the benefits, the battle server process will then be terminated by the EVE universe.

DUST 514 Interview: Changing Console Shooters Forever

So the EVE universe needs to manage the lifetime of DUST battle servers as well as communicating with them when needed, while we also need to make sure that the latency sensitive FPS multiplayer gameplay goes fairly for the participating DUST players. I won’t go into a deep technical discussion about how we solve the challenges involved here, as we are still exploring all the possibilities to find out the best balance point to map physical DUST battles nicely into the EVE universe!

Unlike traditional FPS multiplayer servers, we will host DUST battle servers around the globe. Since the centralized server hardware resources are pretty limited in number, we have to find ways to utilize existing server resources as much as possible. Instead of having a dedicated server machine to host one battle, we aim to have a dedicated multi-core server machine to host as many DUST battle servers as possible!

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We have done a bunch of significant performance optimizations to the FPS engine we are using both on the server side and the client side, so each DUST battle server is now happily hosting a satisfying number of concurrent DUST players. Again, I will not go too much detail on how we achieved that, but rest assured that the DUST battles will be very scalable.

As always, we are continuously making improvements to every aspect of DUST 514, to make DUST an enjoyable experience for all of our future players!

//Add Your Own

63 Comments   6 Replies

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51

+ xVIDAx on October 29th, 2011 at 12:35 pm said:

@ James Egan

Part 1:

I hope you guys are getting solid support from Sony. Specially when it comes to develop on PS3.

The things I am concerned about are the:
Graphics
Social networking and communication
And Lifespan of DUST 514 and amount of players when PS4 comes out.

Graphics and loading times: I hope you guys are getting solid support from Sony to find a way and how to bring a fluid gameplay with beautiful graphics in wide open battlefields at the same time, special techniques to make that happen for a 5 year old machine.

MAG supports 256 Players online, but the graphics are really…it just doesn’t feel a PS3 Game. So I hope you guys don’t kill the graphics.

…..


52

+ xVIDAx on October 29th, 2011 at 12:46 pm said:

@ James Egan

Part 2:

Social Networking and Communication: I don’t know how the interfaces will be implemented with PS3 to PS3 Player or PS3 to PC Player, but focusing in the voice chat feature, if there is a retail version of DUST 514 in the Stores, you guys should make a deal with Sony to make a bundle including an official PS3 Microphone inside the box with the game (like Socom US Confrontation bundle), definitely not only will have more people talking in game for different tasks, but it will get more people to play the game.

Lifespan of DUST 514:
Maybe you will not answer this, but do you guys will expand to PS4? Maybe to upgrade DUST 514 to PS4 Version or something?

Why do you guys didn’t wait to develop the game on PS4? It will have the advantage in every way, specially in the hardware and technology.

Don’t make game too casual like Call of Duty or the typical bar of XP or points or killstreaks, should be a balance for those who prefer Casual and Hardcore Mode. PS Move compatibility sounds interesting.

Thanks for the new Devblog CCP! I will wait for more announcements!

I am waiting DUST 514 since it was announced at E3!


53

+ Grayfox2k8 on October 29th, 2011 at 1:54 pm said:

Is the game going to be boxed or download?


54

+ xVIDAx on October 29th, 2011 at 5:59 pm said:

@ Grayfox2k8

Digital Download.


55

+ Badboyami9 on October 29th, 2011 at 6:23 pm said:

And I thought MAG was large-scale…


56

+ DARKB1KE on October 29th, 2011 at 7:33 pm said:

This better not be subscription based! I’m incredibly un-impressed with EVE’s money-grab system.


57

+ LordRaoh on October 29th, 2011 at 9:06 pm said:

Looking forward to this. My trail of eve online expired before I could get a chance to play it due to working schedule, but I hope to give it a serious go after the new year. 14 day trial is too short for an mmo.

Far as graphics go, I’m not concerned, I prefer a great game with good graphics over a mediocre game with great graphics.

Question:

1. Will I be rewarded in game for playing both sides of the Universe?
This week I play eve online, next week I play dust 514.

For instance playing eve online and jumping into 514 grants me access to weapons and gear early on or not accessible to others. Playing 514 and then jumping into eve online grants me credits, etc.

2. Do you have a game that has been out that you are basing a foundation on for 514?

For instance, if I were making a game I would start with the socom series. It has elements that appeal to me. Does CCP have a game or games in mind that they are pulling ideas from?


58

+ spiderman101999 on October 30th, 2011 at 12:28 am said:

Please sony, keep the online experince for dust 514 free.


59

+ Dudimus24 on October 30th, 2011 at 9:48 am said:

Move support?


60

+ StinkyMoney5 on October 30th, 2011 at 5:05 pm said:

The ambition of the developers of this game is impressive!


61

+ DeefsTeefs on November 2nd, 2011 at 6:35 pm said:

Hey Dudimus, all the Sony products showcased at their press conference at E3 incorporated Move support. So I bought me a Move! I’m still up in the air about it.

You guys who haven’t should check out the trailer from E3 (if you haven’t, yet), and also keep an eye on CCPGames’ YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/CCPGAMES (check out Dust 514 trailer and their “future vision” video).


62

+ Da_Chucky on November 2nd, 2011 at 11:33 pm said:

@Dudimus24

Move support is already confirmed.

@DARKB1KE

It’s already confirmed to not use a subscription. Instead, we get a micro-transaction system.


63

+ Charles_Surge on November 5th, 2011 at 7:00 am said:

Ha, I like how the Battle Cluster image is at an unreadable resolution.


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