…except your own need to kill. That’s what Zipper Interactive told us at M.A.G.’s hands-on event in London.
When asked what was hardest to code for the 256-people online multiplayer game, Seth Luisi, director of development at Sony Computer Entertainment America and working on M.A.G., told PlayStation University:
“Well we knew from the begining that doing 256 players, networking all those players and delivering a high action experience was really going to be the most difficult task. And we front loaded that; the first thing that we worked on with the title was the back-end server and how we can keep all those people playing, how we can keep the action fast, and keep everything running smooth. So we were able to do that and get that done pretty early in the development cycle, which allowed us to build everything on top of that.
“However, a lot of other things came up in that process; just organising all those players; how are we going to organise them? How are we going to guide them? We didn’t just want 256 people to run around in mass chaos, because that wouldn’t be very fun. So we had to do a lot of work on the design, the level design, and then with the renderer, making sure that when you do have a lot of people in close proximity the framerate isn’t really poor.”
There isn’t another video game on consoles that can stretch to 256-player online multiplayer, with the greatest generally being 64. So to the question of whether it would be possible to have all these players on screen at the same time in M.A.G., Luisi responded:
“It is. There’s nothing to stop people, other than their need to shoot somebody else. But if you had a truce, if you got all 256 people who can all stand in the same area, it is possible.
“I don’t think it’ll ever happen, because there’s always that one guy who has to throw a grenade…and once that starts, that’s it. We have done it in our internal tests and everytime somebody has to do that.” Luisi adds, laughing, “It’s been really challenging.”
Truce for a screenshot, anyone?