Zipper: Nothing to stop 256 players on screen at once…

…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?

Readers Comments (28)

  1. lol yeah i imagine that there always will that jackass who will do that just for giggles, heck i would too.

  2. I would rpg a crowd of people!

  3. Nice article. Keep up the good work PS University!

  4. Watch this video with a lot of players in MAG! :D:D

  5. Sev and Justin…PSLifestyle?

  6. I would love to see a video with all 256 players crunched into the smallest space possible. And then all at once they start killing eachother. LoL. The PS3 would explode.

  7. You see that’s why it’s a bit misleading on Zippers part about the 256 players. You’ll rarely ever see it happen and if it does the frame-rate will suffer. So like most Sony games they mask the the tricks they utilize. Whether it’s QTE in Heavy Rain or crummy and lifeless backgrounds in Gran Tiurismo or the linearity aspect of games like Uncharted or keeping the actual gamers apart in M.A.G.

  8. QTE in Heavy Rain? That’s but a small portion of its gameplay. Games are all about compromises in engine to result in an impressive and most importantly fun result. If MAG had 256 players on-screen all the time (which IS possible) it wouldn’t be a fun game…and would get 2/10 scores.

  9. David Macphail February 2, 2010 @ 10:53

    Rocky – that’s a ridiculously idiotic statement to make. Uncharted isn’t half as linear as games like Gears Of War or Halo.

    M.A.G. DOES do 256 players in one place (If you read the article, you’d have realised that they just said it IS possible).

    Heavy Rain QTE??? Have you even SEEN the game?

    As for GT’s backgrounds, i don’t think you even know what GT is. Many of the tracks in GT are modelled after real – life tracks so, much like the cars, they look like they do in real life. If real life to you seems crummy and lifeless then perhaps you need to get out of your house more………..

  10. Typical Sony Fanboy rebuttal, let’s talk about the XBOX 360 instead. David, grab a box of Kleenex and dry your eyes out.

    Theses games are only possible on the PS3 because we say so. That and we hold the rights to them so you’ll never be able to disprove us.

    Can anyone say RRRRIDDDGE RACER!!

  11. “QTE in Heavy Rain? That’s but a small portion of its gameplay. Games are all about compromises in engine to result in an impressive and most importantly fun result. If MAG had 256 players on-screen all the time (which IS possible) it wouldn’t be a fun game…and would get 2/10 scores.”

    What, instead of the 6 and 7’s it’s getting now? Don’t worry, David will buy a few hundred. He wants to help Sony anyone he can.

    M.A.G. will be another failure on Sony’s quest of trying to show everyone how their games are so great and how their platform is so great. Face it Sony, we don’t need to PR crap or the fanboys like David trolling the forums. When you have a game like M.A.G. who’s main attention grabber is the fact it can do 256 players something is off. You don’t sit there and release an online game only and no headset for $60. That spells disaster just like Shadownrun. Is that a good enough example for you MacPhail?

    M.A.G. sounds great in theory but get 256 people like David MacPhail on there and you’re just asking for trouble. They’d be too bust talking about how Live is a rip-off and how the XBOX 360 breaks all the time than actually discussing team strategy. So good luck with M.A.G. where 1 out of every 12 will be using a headset and the others will be fanboys like David MacPhail talking about how Live is a peer to peer service.

  12. Thanks Rocky. It might be nice to add that the PS3 had more highly rated exclusives than any other platform in 2009, by quite a long shot.

    Being an online only game, MAG is sure not to get high praise across the board – it’s also skewed towards the hardcore online gamer, with depth that doesn’t unlock until you’re level 15. This means that many reviewers have failed to even play the game enough. Look out for our review, which won’t necessarily be ecstatic. Sadly we don’t publish review scores for fanboy’s to argue over.

  13. David Macphail February 2, 2010 @ 18:17

    Rocky, do you have learning difficulties? LOL….it looks like someone just doesn’t like the truth. You and the rest of the Microsoft cheerleaders can call Uncharted linear until you’re blue in the face but it won’t reverse the decision to name it GOTY. Yup, GOTY, meaning it’s BETTER than anything on the RROD – Box 360, deal with it.

    PS3 exclusives are only possible on the PS3 because the 360 can’t do more than 3 different colours and all it’s games have terrible graphics, that’s a fact. Look at Gears Of War 2 closely, the 3 colours it uses are brown, grey and dark brown. LOL… wonder it was MGS4 that won the “Best Graphics” award that year, Gears 2 was a joke. Too bad Microsoft fanboys still cry over it.

    BTW, i didn’t buy MAG and in your pathetic attempt to insult me you typed “Anyone” instead of “Anyway”. LOL…..what’s the matter, kid? Were your parents too poor to afford to send you to school? You’re so inbred your family tree must only have one branch.

    We don’t need pro – Microsoft trolls like you on a Playstation website. Can’t you read? Nobody cares how you bought 7 360’s because of the RROD or how you do strange things to Aaron Greenberg when the lights go out. Take your crap back to Xbox LIVE with the rest of the screaming 7 year – olds.

    It’s a good thing the Xbox 360 doesn’t have the technology to do 256 players online. If it did you’d get 256 idiots like Rocky who would either be shouting racial abuse at their own teammates or screaming at their mothers to bring them a PB & J sandwich. Good luck with Halo: Reacharound where all 8 players online will be calling each other “Turd – burglars” and then some, like Rocky, will meet up behind a bush later to take the game’s name literally.

    Oh and BTW, in your last paragraph you typed “Bust” instead of “Busy”. Further proof of your mental retardation. You know………now that i think about it you remind me a lot of a Microsoft forum troll who went by the name “Levelhead”. Geez, i know the 360 breaks all the time but i thought you’d at least be playing Mass Defect 2 right now instead of trolling Playstation websites.

  14. Aw, this used to be such a nice article.

  15. This guy is hilarious. Did I say I even owned a XBOX 360? Nope, but leave it to butthurt Sony fanboys to always go there whenever someone says something bad about their precious PS3’s.

    Listen David, you can say all you want about the XBOX 360 because I don’t care about it. I dont own one and probably never will. The PS3 and PC are enough for me. So unlike you I can criticize Sony all I want because what PR they do or whatever PR you do means nothing to me. The sad thing is you don’t even get paid to be a fanboy. I actually enjoy Uncharted 2, it’s a beautiful game but what benefit is there to me to go around calling everyone XBOTS because I say it’s linear?

    Oh and by the way, only losers go around the net pointing out spelling errors but I guess you’re just warming up for all that homework that’s sitting on your desk.

  16. lol at McFail

    “Uncharted isn’t half as linear as games like Gears Of War or Halo.”

    Uncharted 2 is the single most linear game this generation. there is NEVER more than one way to go, and NEVER more than 1 way to get there. its basically a 2D game with 3D graphics. although even most 2D games have more than 1 path, so that comparison is unfair to most 2D games.

  17. STFU Rocky, stop trolling and learn how to spell.

  18. Sony makes great hardware. It’s just too bad they also created a bunch of whining crybabies who act as if Microsoft raped their mothers because they are their closest competitor. They took our Final Fantasy and our Tekken and Devil May Cry and dumbed it down to fit on DVD. Boo-Hoo. That’s ok, we still have Lair and Haze.

    I don’t really give a rats ass about Microsoft and their crappy hardware either. Fanboys need to have their keyboards rammed up their asses and Sony and their PR have created far too many of them with their constant BS.

  19. Ooops, forgot to mention Gamespot just reviewed White Knight Chronicles. It got a 6 out of 10. But hey, according to Sony fanboys the PS3 has nothing but the best exclusives and each one can only be done on the power of the PS3. Oh well, I’m off to play some more Mass Effect 2. In true 1080p too by the way. How many PS3 games are in native 1080p David, about the same as your IQ?

  20. While I agree with you about the sony fanboys, Mass Effect 2 is not natively 1080p on the 360.

  21. David Macphail February 3, 2010 @ 03:26

    LOL, oh dear. Joe the retard cheerleader is back with his pro – Microsoft agenda. Gears Of War and Halo are the single most retarded on – rails shooters ever. Which is why Uncharted 2 won GOTY, too bad butthurt 360 crybabys like yourself can’t understand why no 360 exclusive gets rated as high as Uncharted 2 on Metacritic.

    @ Rocky – only losers go around the net trolling and showing how badly they flunked English class. Maybe it’s YOU who should practice on your homework so that, if you try really hard, you might graduate from High School by the time you’re 30.

    Oh yeah and Mass Effect 2 isn’t native 1080p – you must be mentally retarded to think that it is. How many games in general are native 1080p? Shows how ignorant you are about the gaming industry. Hey, how about you go and play Gears Of War 2 in native 1080p too? LOL…….you ignorant fanboys crack me up.

  22. Hi Joe, going to have to disagree with you about Uncharted 2. The reason the game scored so well was just because it wasn’t anywhere near as linear as Uncharted 1. There are a number of routes to go in many of the levels, and quite a few ways for the player to get there – ie. by using stealth or all out action. Trying to play the game stealthfully opens up quite a few different paths you may not have seen your first time through.

  23. OK guys, I’m going to have to warn both of you. Rocky, stop trolling. David, stop falling for his bait. You’re not doing each other any good and your arguments have little to no validity because of it. Can’t we all be friends? Anymore idiocy and you might find yourselves banned.

  24. McFail,

    Mass Effect 2 and its 96 on Metacritic says hi 🙂

    oh and IGN just reviewed White Knight Chronicles…….. 5.1/10. lol. only the best for the PS3 hey?

    Patrick, i disagree about uncharted 2. in my playthrough of the campaign there was never more than 1 way to go. you always had to climb the same wall, make the same jump, etc etc. the only things that change are the shootouts, and sure you can try and take people out stealthily, but its still just killing the enemies and then moving on to the next on-rails platforming section.

  25. oh and mcfail:

    titled: “PS3 Perspective: Mass Effect 2 is Better than Uncharted
    Deal with it, fanboy.”

    “The thing that a lot of people missed, however, is that Mass Effect 2 is indeed a better game than Uncharted 2, and I don’t know how readers can be so blinded by their fanboyism to deny it. “

  26. “Now, let me remind you of who’s writing this. I’m Greg Miller. I’m the guy who writes articles telling you that Trophies are better than Achievements, the guy who is desperate to win IGN’s Great Trophy Whore War, and the guy who bought a PSPgo on day one and doesn’t regret the decision in the least. I’m all those things, and I’m telling you that Mass Effect 2 is better than Uncharted 2.

    I need you to accept this.

    Before I get going on breaking down with Mass Effect 2 is the greatest thing since sliced bread, I need to tell you that I still love Uncharted 2. It’s a great game, it’s totally deserving of IGN’s Game of the Year 2009 Award as well as its 9.5 rating from Chris Roper, and I can’t wait for the third installment. The trouble is that Mass Effect 2 is better. “

  27. Thanks Joe. This isn’t IGN and we don’t take one person’s opinion as gospel. At PSUni we respect all people’s opinions and understand that they are simply subjective. Miller’s opinion that Mass Effect 2 is better than Uncharted 2 is not an objective fact. It is a subjective opinion. It is also an irrelevant subjective opinion that plays to fanboys on both sides of the “war”, used to make you repost it in an irrelevant argument on a website where it has no place, in order to prompt hits and thus revenue.


  28. Zipper has created a great game with their M.A.G. project. The game can handle 256 player battles without lag, which is awesome.

Comments are closed.