Posted

Scaling The Universe Of DUST 514

devblog_starmap

This is CCP Lin, and I am a Server Architect on DUST 514. 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 take to handle 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!

devblog_clustering

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!

21 Comments
3 Author replies

Keep it up! ;)

Looking forward to this title.

Very interested in seeing how this project pans out. From all I’ve seen it seems incredibly ambitious, and I hope it succeeds.

Very excited about this game, and as a sys ad, I found this article very interesting.
Will there be a beta we can take part in at some point?

James Gallagher 28 October, 2011 @ 16:24
3.1

Hey there, check out this interview I held with Brandon from CCP. It details some of the very interesting plans they have for their Private Trials (the DUST 514 take on a beta): http://bit.ly/n9uHPg

Hi everyone. I’m James Egan (aka CCP Shadow), the Community Manager for DUST 514. As always, I’ll be checking in on your comments and questions here, and I’ll answer what I’m able to speak to. For the more technical questions, I’ll need to gather those for CCP Lin and get his responses to you.

European_Gamer 28 October, 2011 @ 16:50
5

I have a follow-up question about the BETA.

The article states that it’s a private beta for a few PSN users.
Does that mean that it’s only the official SCEE beta testers from the PS forum or are the beta testers selected via a CCP site or are you using another method to select them?

When are we going to hear more about the PSV version?

6.1

Hi kivi95. Realistically, it’s going to be a while before we talk about DUST 514 and Vita. Seriously, my boss would shoot me if I said anything about this. And no one wants that. Well, *I* don’t want that.

What I can say is that it’d be less of a “Vita version” than it is aspects of DUST 514 that we extend to PS Vita.

So it’s mainly team PvP against other Dust players? Sigh, I was hoping for something more along the lines of the co-op missions from Resistance 2. :(

Brandon Laurino 29 October, 2011 @ 14:56
7.1

Hi – This is Brandon, Executive Producer of DUST 514. There will be all kinds of game modes, we’re just not revealing anything yet :-) . This article is just talking about how a user in EVE Online on PC will be able to create battles for users in DUST 514, from a backend tech point of view. Users in DUST 514 will also be create battles, run and participate in Corporations, as well as partake in many other activities. Stay tuned for many more details to come! – B

8

This games gona rule :D How do i get it now? XD

Hell-Raiser-85 28 October, 2011 @ 18:02
9

So if i buy for PS3 do i get it for PSV for free or do we need to buy it for both?

You talk about a huge universe but as a player I have the feeling I´m just playing a little part and don´t see or feel it beeing part of something big, just like MAG. That game was huge but it never felt it. You was there on your part of the map and who cares there are a 100+ other guys on there you don´t see?
Also isn´t the Unreal engine not the one that the PS3 always gives a disadventage in any multi platform game?

AutomaticSnake 28 October, 2011 @ 18:50
11

I have 2 questions i hope they get answered here. Many Killzone fans including my self are in search for a new FPS to play on PS3. BF3 and MW3 just don’t do it for us. We are looking for something that takes skill and with no camping! So, will DUST be heavy on camping? Will it be a game that takes skill to play, but at the same time not too complicated to get into?

12

Still kind of baffled as to why this is ps3 only.. Considering the game that it’s supposed to be.. An extension of..? Is Eve online; a pc mmo (and probably the best mmo of them all IMO). I could see doing a pc version with a ps3 port (or vice versa).. I’m disappointed frankly. I realize I’m not the only one with this opinion but being a long time eve player, just seems like complete nonsense. Seems like ccp is more interested in joining the console train than making something that could have WAY more potential on pc. Don’t get me wrong, I love my ps3 and I’m very interested to see how this turns out. Just my 2 cents

maddogarchie64 29 October, 2011 @ 00:46
13

there still seems to be a striking resemblance to this and halo but still is gonna be a buy on release day for me

LOL at 11, you seriously think Battlefield DOESN’T require skill? you’ve obviously never played it.

15

@James Egan, hello again.

PSV support could be nice, i saw you API, there are tons of Android and
iThing apps, they do lots of usefull stuff in EVE world;) and for Vita it could be only nice and usefull begining… :)

How about keyboard and mouse support from our last chat here? ;)

chrisandsheva 30 October, 2011 @ 14:09
16

post 14…. think that it is the campers that have ruined the xp for post 11.. not trying to start/get involved etc..
on topic,.. ok This blog has me baffled, absolutely no idea what a PvP or aci or any other of the terms used mean, ye i know dinosaur etc,.. but what i would like to know is could Eve online (or certain others..WoW,) be able to run on a mid range pc,?.. i know for new disc games you need good graphic cards, amongst other components,.. yet i allways think that if a game is on a online ‘world’ will i still need a higher end pc, (laptop, in my case) to play it, i’m most probably ‘shooting myself in the foot’ asking such things, but i admit i’m more into building stuff than technical work.. also i mean mid range price, but apparently lower end components,, ie last years inperon 1545, not even hd but still £439..lol.

17

@ AutomaticSnake

Seriously??

I think Killzone 3 is one of the greatest shooters out there, but to say there are no campers is beyond me!

Every FPS title that i’ve played has had a Camper, some more than others! Also it requires more skill to dominate in BF3, than it does in KZ3.

Looking forward to KZ4 though ;)

AutomaticSnake 31 October, 2011 @ 12:29
18

@Catkiller1

I said there are no campers in KZ3? KZ3 was a really bad multiplayer game compared to the almighty KZ2. And yes there was camping, lots of camping, specially with the Marksman. KZ2 in the other hand had no camping whats so ever.

TehPhilosopher 31 October, 2011 @ 13:12
19

Thanks for a looksee at the tech side of things. One thing I’d like to note, that you can do all the server-side optimization you want, ping makes or breaks the game – and that is (almost) purely driven by physical distance to the server. I’d say anything above 100ms would be considered unplayable these days, and 20-50ms being the norm. Latency is MUCH more important than in an MMO. So the core FPS communication should go to a server very close to the players, while the MMO interaction, server browser etc. can be hosted in Iceland or China or wherever. You probably knew all this already…

TehPhilosopher 31 October, 2011 @ 13:12
20

continued…

As others have said, another key to the success and differentiation of DUST is that the players feel they can make a difference, that they are part of something bigger than being at the top of a scoreboard or having a 1.2:1 K/D ratio. It doesn’t have to be that each player can destroy a POS, but merely that they were PART of the mercenary group who destroyed that POS which eventually led to the disbanding of the Corporation which owned it. If you can pull that off, it will be a powerful narrative which the players themselves write with their gameplay.

As for camping, it is a valid tactic, and will not and should not be eradicated. Besides, there’s not much more satisfying than stabbing a camper in the back :)

TehPhilosopher 31 October, 2011 @ 13:13
21

As others have said, another key to the success and differentiation of DUST is that the players feel they can make a difference, that they are part of something bigger than being at the top of a scoreboard or having a 1.2:1 K/D ratio. It doesn’t have to be that each player can destroy a POS, but merely that they were PART of the mercenary group who destroyed that POS which eventually led to the disbanding of the Corporation which owned it. If you can pull that off, it will be a powerful narrative which the players themselves write with their gameplay.

As for camping, it is a valid tactic, and will not and should not be eradicated. Besides, there’s not much more satisfying than stabbing a camper in the back :)

We close the comments for posts after 30 days.

Edit history