Welcome to some more Star Citizen 2021 is the year we should finally see the backend core tech iCache integrated into the Star Citizen Persistent Universe… it’s talked about a lot BUT what exactly is it AND what does it mean for the game?
What is icache?
ICache replaces the older pCache allowing for efficient storing, querying & updating of items, entities and everything really as data at real time on the server with built in redundancy… so if something crashes or a node goes down the data isn’t lost. You dream of no more server crashes OR being able to recover your cargo ship from a crash… well this is something that should make you excited… as should anyone that want’s Star Citizen to succeed as this is core to the game becoming an MMO.
It allows the game to easily and quickly record and recall the state of any item in the Universe sitting between the main databases (be they location, object, character, mission databases) and gameservers providing a quick response solution. The Game Servers query the iCache for all the info they need about where objects are in the game world and their state.
The example of it’s use is most often for full/global persistence that will make use of icache, could take a coffee cup and leave it in the middle of a forest… and then someone else or you could come back a couple of days later and see it there with any other changes the object had incurred maybe it looks dusty, in fact you could damage it and that would be permanently changed.
Basically it will allow location, state, changes and other attributes to all be tracked efficiently without overburdening the client or servers BUT it requires coding and work to get the game using icache for it’s intended purposes.
What Does icache Allow For?
Cloud Imperium have said that icache opens the flood gates for a lot of the content they have been working on AND plan to put into the game… it is CORE to the Future of Star Citizen.
Icache is a key component for Server Meshing and Full Persistence BUT also a huge amount of other gameplay and content is built with icache in mind and it is required for physicalized components and inventory.
You can expect both this deeper persistence of objects being tracked and not despawning and physical inventory likely very soon after icache is enabled.
However ICache, global persistence, and physical inventory are all massive features being worked on by multiple teams.
Some of the other things that icache may allow for are better stability and performance of servers as this is a more efficient and optimized process than the older pCache and as I understand it there is a lot of core tech waiting to come online soon after icache… that said it is NOT a SILVER BULLET! It’s likely to have some bugs in the matrix when it first comes online and they are still building out the various other systems of the game SO bare that in mind.
Icache is being worked on now, in fact there are some updates towards in the next major star citizen patch 3.13 with them Retargeting all gameplay systems that use the legacy persistent data management system (pCache) to the new iCache interface. This is in support of the wider persistent streaming and server meshing initiatives.
They were roughly planning on having icache in for Q2 2021 however I think it is more likely a Q3 2021 implementation.
The LTP database (which has since been implement) was actually prioritized over icache and made icache ready and this makes sense as people wanted progression to star citizen and I quite like having my funds and ships carry over between patches.
Eventually icache, global persistence etc… will allow stations and bases to be built, modified and damaged… and for those changes to persist and in turn affect the wider universe simulation. There is a cool mixture of butterfly effect vs what will actually trigger new missions and how the economy is actually influenced by players changing things in the world.
We will have to wait and see where icache falls on the Roadmap when we get more updates later in January AND hopefully we will get more information on the plans for Server Meshing as well… tho just the implementation of icache is a giant step towards that.