Star Citizen’s PU currently lacks any form of meaningful progression, with a reset of items & currency (aUEC) both earned in game, reset with at least every major patch and some minor ones as well. However there has been talk of no more resets and true persistence coming at an undefined time BUT What does this mean? And when are we likely to get more players in a server?
Let’s Start with a Clip of what Chris Roberts Said Recently on aCIG Official Show Pillar Talk:
So what was Chris Roberts talking about ?
Server Side OCS and Full Persistence 2 major parts of the server & networking side of Star Citizen these have been revealed as being reliant on each other and will be released at the same time.
This is because SSOCS stand-by’s areas of a server where there are no players & only activates them when a player is in an appropriate range.
It makes sense that the server needs to know the state of entities it puts in standby and saves them (which is the full persistence part).
Once SSOCS & Full Persistence are working in the LIVE branch then they suggested they can & at least “around that time” stop resetting progress. They refer to this as True Persistence a few times but basically progression will then matter.
It is possible we will see server caps rise when this is added?
We could see a small increase of player caps in servers with optimizations & SSOCS (I am thinking for the potential of 75, 100 or maybe upto 200 best case scenario for testing)
SSOCS & Full Persistence is also a pre-requisite of Server Meshing which will roll out in 2 stages – Static & Dynamic.
Static Server Meshing means that predefined areas of space, cities or planets are run by their own server and players, NPCs can move between servers seamlessly.
Dynamic SM allows for any object container to be run be a server on demand, that can be a single room or ship as well as a whole system based on population.
Both stages should see server player caps rise (significantly), as this is what the features are focused on.
There are many other optimizations for servers that are required to get them in the most efficient state possible for as many players as possible on a single server, that is what CIG are working towards a goal of “getting as many players as possible in a server” a number that they literally don’t know yet, they mentioned 1000s and no longer being part of an island universe once SMing is in tho.
What We Don’t Know
In fact a lot is not known about Server Meshing and how the actual tech will come together in regard to what it will actually afford.
Will there be too much latency across regions, meaning that they require to region lock the game OR at least have individual servers for regions.
How many players will be able to be in a Battle / Room together?
CIG are likely to do a process of, if something doesn’t work how they envision it for the tech then they will use the next best option or evolve something else.
If they can’t have everyone in an area then there could be multiple servers for each area BUT you can’t see everyone & players might migrate to friends and relevant players servers.
In this situation I think the worry is, what if you lose someone your bounty hunting because they migrate server, it’s not ideal, though I suspect the game would know that’s a relevant player to you.
Again they could artificially restrict access to jump points, landing zones and areas of space with warp storms / closing areas with trains were delayed, or using the economy to charge a lot more for landing, refuel and repair / taxing commodities in those areas.
So when might we see this?
Recently from the Monthly Report – Work was completed towards ‘server-side’ object container streaming (OCS). Several bugs discovered during testing were addressed.
They also completed general systems work, which included adding support for authoritative and non-authoritative entity component updates & the first implementation of server-side OCS.
So it appears that SSOCS is in testing at some level in Star Citizen Development Branch.
Chris also said on Pillar talk that they are working on all of this at the moment but it’s a big development effort, there is a lot of code that needs to adjust to work with the new paradigm, they need to have data sensibly saved and classified to be saved OR handed off to another server.
In fact Star Citizen’s Current Gameplay Area is too big really for the current server tech without SSOCS. There is a lot of New Expansive Gameplay area currently planned for Alpha 3.8 & 3.9 with microTech & Crusader and their associated landing zones New Baddage and Orison.
It is not then unreasonable to assume that there are either plans for OCS & Full Persistence in or before Alpha 3.8 OR Server Optimizations that allow for this increased area OR a delay in that addition of Gameplay area.
The next step Server meshing both static and the end game for the tech fully dynamic server meshing, it is a big task though & is likely going to take a good few quarters before even it’s early testing.
Will True Persistence really mean NO MORE RESETS?
That’s what Chris said BUT I wouldn’t count on it, not until we are using UEC over aUEC and can see that reflected on the website as well as in game. It might mean they are not going to reset until the change over to UEC though. Also if they need to reset for any reason then they still will, big ones I can see being the change from Alpha to Beta to Release OR if they need to migrate databases to a new system / model.
I am not 100% ruling out that CIG might just say when this is in & working, they are moving over to UEC pretty quick… BUT I am not expecting that to be the case.
In the much Shorter Term with Alpha 3.6 and in the next few Quarters there are various Network Updates that are incredibly important as well:
The Servers are currently Client Authoritative so the server doesn’t know where the player is or what they have done until it’s been sent to the Server, this can have lots of issues with players lagging around, rubber banding, players can be hit when they have moved behind cover as a different client’s view differs from theirs. The Client to Server Actor Networking Rework in 3.6 makes the server authoritative so it is in charge in regard to saying where the player is & what they are doing, if a client is lagging, their experience is degraded rather than everyone’s around them.
There is currently an artificial 250ms delay introduced into the game to allow for smoothness of animations and to get client / server positional data for players and NPCs BUT this is going to be reduced massively to a single frame or two. With the Server to Client Actor Networking Rework currently planned for Alpha 3.9 Q1 2020 further helping to reduce perceived lag and instances of rubber-banding as well as streamlining a lot of the code.
Another Server Optimization in 3.6 we know about is a clean up of the code to better handle infinite loading screens, server crashes, and client crashes & help these issues not happen in the future (known as the Asynchronous Disconnection Refactor).
It’s unlikely that any of those features by themselves will increase server caps BUT they are important steps towards SSOCS, Full Persistence & SM and will at the very least improve players gameplay experience.
I am interested to know your thoughts, when do you think we might see SSOCS & Full Persistence with 3.8 like I think OR later? Do you think we will have massive server cap rises with the static server meshing?