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Persistent Entity Streaming – A Massive Milestone For Star Citizen

Star Citizen boasts a whole host of technology… and on the road to Server Meshing allowing 100 players per server to be potentially 1000s seamlessly on the same mega server we have Persistent Entity Streaming as a necessary milestone BUT what do PES… when are we getting it, how will it affect your gameplay experience in real terms… Here are the highlights and a summary of what CI have said.

What Exactly is PES (Persistent Entity Streaming)?

It allows for the Game World to persist, be saved and restored. Allowing for more meaningful changes and progression as well as better crash redundancy. It saves and tracks ships, items and entities positions and locational data allowing the world (server data) to persist potentially forever.

What Will Players Get From This?

When you return to a server you were on the state will be the same as you left it or at least evolved from it rather than being reset.

This means items that you leave an item, ship, piece of gear somewhere it will stay there until moved.

They give the example of if you blow up a door or make entry into an area that damage will persist.

Simulation and Replication is basically decoupled with PES and allows for Server Meshing (at least eventually).

They are not 100% sure how persistence at this stage will affect the game. What happens when you allow a load of players to change the state of the server over a long period of time? They do have cleanup and life cycle systems for some items in place otherwise there would be server degradation.

Could you fill a valley full of picos or spacewhals… well actually yes you could…

There is a new improved login flow to get players into the game, trying to get you into your server, connecting to the database.

Will All Items Persist?

No some are covered under life cycle management, trash will be “cleaned” up, bullet casing might persist for a while but eventually decay. There might actually be janitors in the future that are part of removing trash and unwanted items.

They are even looking at ways to get players to want to clean up, with missions or incentives for throwing away rubbish.

Where Is PES Now?

Over the last 3 or so months CI have been pushing on with PES to get it into their Game Dev Branch, so that it’s now used by all the devs and tied into the main core of the game. They’ve done a lot of integration polish and bug fixing already and they are trying to stabilise it further. Deployment teams are getting PES ready for use on the Cloud and PTU making sure it scales appropriately, databases work and load fast enough etc…

CI are expecting lots more bug hunting when they expose PES to a wider audience and range of systems.

There fortunately hasn’t been any additional work or side effects incurred with larger server counts from 50 – 100+ with PES.

What’s Next?

They want to get it in Players Hands For Alpha 3.18 Evocati Testing. They just need to make sure it scales and deploys to the cloud properly. If they get a load more players do they have enough server power. They are able to log and track data much better now, so they want to optimise PES as much as possible. They want as few errors and problems as possible.

They can now do Character Repairs rather than resets which is a more targeted less apocalyptic way of solving character and inventory issues.

3.18 / PES When?

They have it running in the cloud and dev branch now and are in the home stretch. They want it to be in a place that it’s useful and relevant to have Evocati test it… not just overly broken when they already know what they have to fix. CI have roughly said that they want to have 3.18 out to evocati for PES testing for the end of September… BUT they are in meetings this week to more thoroughly work out timelines for the patch and it’s testing.

Alpha 3.18 is coming with a full wipe, will it be the last for a while?

There will still be database wipes coming BUT they might happen less often. PES means data is saved and safer from corruption. Once refined we should see a more stable game too.

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Boom that’s it for your PES Update… I am keenly awaiting Alpha 3.18 to go into testing.