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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:47 pm 
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I don't actually think it will work either. By default, if someone talks about "the cloud" then it's a pretty safe bet they're going to fail.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:13 pm 
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D'Lanor wrote:
Pavitra wrote:
Presumably the theory is that more of the processing is done server-side, lightening the load and thus requirements on the client.

Ok, I see. But does that actually work? It sounds like a hype to me. Wouldn't that just replace the client-side lag with "classic" internet connection lag if the server cloud has to send all that rendered data to the clients?

The OnLive service (http://www.onlive.com) would be an extreme example of games executed and rendered completely server side so the simplest client can get a feed and interactive keyboard controls - basically computer games on TV with no console. It's not hype, but it's not a panacea either with limitations imposed by certain business and implementation realities and the physics of speed of light distance (latency) versus reaction time.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:22 pm 
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There seems to be more than a little hype associated with OnLive, which is one of the platforms that Blue Mars seems to be looking at. I see the term "Low Lag" being thrown about but rather than being a outcome of the OnLive product it actually seems to be a requirement for the client. In the IEEE Spectrum article on OnLive last year, Setve Perlman made it clear that they weren't talking about the general cloud computing solutions but a specialized arrangement where they were tuning the connections to a handful of microseconds, and playing close consideration to the route between the player and the server. Now that's difficult to control, as is traffic shaping by ISP which Perlman also acknowledges. Distance also plays a part, and from OnLive's own information the practical limit is 1500 miles between player and server, with a preference to keep it below 1000 miles. That means regional gaming, certainly not international.

As JWPlatt notes, the speed of light is a limiting factor that you just can't work round (unless you're Doc Emett Brown).

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:18 pm 
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Instancing: I hate it, it makes many things more simple, I think it should stay.
However, I can't describe how disgusted I am with the fact the Cleft, a real place on planet Earth, is instanced. In fact, to make matters worse it's always been instanced and even Yeesha says that there's nobody else there. >.<

IMO, the Cleft would be the very best place to meet people for the first time. Think of being able to get help like Zandi gives, but from live human beings (or at least we hope most MOULa players are both of these things, alive and human :P ).

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:45 am 
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Yeah, that's really messed up.

I think that, canonically, the only way to get home (to the Surface, on Earth, in the same instance as you left) would be to make the long journey up the Great Shaft from the main Cavern instance... and I had to stop and think about it to come up with that. That's... pretty upsetting. (In character, I mean. I understand Cyan's decision, even though I disagree with it. I do not approve of Yeesha's decision.)

I wonder if the Called are a side effect of instancing Earth? Are we from a "nearby" instance, such as one where D'ni only exists within the fiction of the Cyan games, and are instinctively trying to get back to our "home" instance?

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:13 pm 
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Pavitra wrote:
Reverend Vader wrote:
Marten wrote:
"Yeesha's book linking cloth can take you to the same spot relative to a spinning building in Gahreesen, but Yeesha's book linking cloth takes you to an absolute position in the Age of Ahnonay."


That particular example may not make sense, per se... but at least it is consistent... unlike book/stone/link sharing as it is at the moment.


How exactly is that consistent?


The hand cloth and shell cloth behaviors are different from each other, yes, but consistent with themselves.

(Hmm. Not sure that even sounds like it makes sense.)

Once someone is able to establish that the hand cloths will bring a person in the process of linking to their actual location regardless of whether or not they are moving and that the shell cloths actually bring the linker to a marked point in space regardless of the actual cloth's location, then that knowledge can be used to the explorers advantage.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:38 pm 
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It seems like we need the child instance of the city, and the sub instance to use the multiplayer puzzles with ease. I find the child city peaceful and use that for exploring whenever I can, but I somehow wish that the kadish tolesa gallery link allways ended up in the city proper. I Feel it must have been meant to, but was changed because explorers coiuld then flood the city during an event or episode. This has caused the inconsistency mentioned.
To weed out the occurences of ending up in different places using the same book (except the child city) would suffice for me.
But surely there is a server side to the coin?
Why would the small server MOULa runs on be set to 50 ppl while the larger server had 100 if obly the client system was the bottleneck?
is it not the server that uses its (maybe old school) calculations to guess where others are walking and stuff?
If there are many ppl around and from USA, Europe and Australia at the same time I allways experience a lot of these oddities with people running by twice to different locations etc., but my movement remains unlaggy. Is not the server responsible for this?

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:43 am 
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I'm certain someone will correct me if I am mistaken (and I won't mind being corrected), but I do believe the major limiting factor is in the client program, not on the server.

PhysX has somewhat of an exponentially difficult time managing the physics of all of the distinct objects in an Age as you add additional people or objects. Beyond a certain point, even the sturdiest of hardware will begin to suffer.

This is also why cones were removed from the city for MOUL.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:00 pm 
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Poking around for a solution, and I have something I like. This proposed concept would serve two purposes: A) to let explorers know exactly what kind of instance a given book will take them to, and B) in some cases, allow them to choose to which instance they want to travel.

I've got two examples of my concept, one for "DRC books" (like those found throughout the city and neighbourhoods) and one for "Yeesha books" (like those found in Relto, and probably also Bahro stones). Both examples use Gahreesen.

[spoiler=DRC Books]Image[/spoiler]

On the right-hand side, directly under the linking window, we see a representation of the Neighbourhood. This signifies the "active" instance. On the upper-left is a symbol representing several individuals, a "global" instance. At the lower-left is a single individual, representing a private instance. Clicking on either of the left-hand symbols will switch that symbol with the active instance symbol on the right, allowing the explorer to enter a different instance.

Note the faded (inactive) "share" symbol under the private instance symbol. When this instance is selected, the share symbol will become active, allowing explorers to invite others to their instances.

For certain instances which are otherwise unavailable, those instances are the only symbols which will appear. For example, Eder Tsogal is 'hood only, so only the neighbourhood instance symbol will be displayed, the left-hand side remaining blank.

[spoiler=Yeesha books]Image[/spoiler]

This second example is a Yeesha book, likely in the user's Relto bookshelf, or in one of the four pedestals. The active instance is the private instance, with the Share option available to be used. Hotspots remain the same between the DRC and Yeesha versions.

The left-hand side depicts a bunch of explorers gathered around the neighbourhood fountain (crappy work, I know, but perhaps Cyan has something better) and an illustration of the D'ni cavern (global). There are many examples of the cavern in existing bahroglyphs, so this shouldn't be too difficult.

Again, only available instances are to be shown; the Nexus would display the private instance symbol only, with no option to share. As with many other aspects of Relto, the Relto owner is the only one able to change the active instance.

Thoughts?

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 9:26 pm 
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Do the DRC books differ from the Yeesha books functionally, or is it just a reskin? If the latter, I'd recommend using the Yeesha skin on all books, since only Yeesha has the ability to really control instancing, and the DRC probably can't handle Writing at all.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 9:55 pm 
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Pavitra wrote:
Do the DRC books differ from the Yeesha books functionally, or is it just a reskin? If the latter, I'd recommend using the Yeesha skin on all books, since only Yeesha has the ability to really control instancing, and the DRC probably can't handle Writing at all.


Just a reskin.

I thought I'd do things that way because we already have a red DRC stamp on publicly-accessible books to show that the DRC has approved them safe.

If explorers are able to Write (q.v. the Guild of Writers set up by the DRC), I think the DRC has some of the basics, at the least. You're right that they probably have no control over instancing, but I figured those images would serve IC as a similar "seal of approval" stamp: "we've tested this book/this Age and it seems to be instanced per neighbourhood."

But yes, things could easily be worked to just use one skin or the other. The idea was to stimulate conversation more than anything else.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 2:17 am 
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I still prefer the concept of adding party/group mechanics to Uru, because it is so common to other MMOs. This is something I discussed in more detail on OpenUru quite some time ago.

On the face of it, it's pretty simple:
* If you're not in a party, you end up in a private instance most of the time.
* If you're in a party, the party leader's instances are used for all members of the party. As long as you remain in the party, linking from Age to Age (such as Kemo to Gira) would keep you in the party leader's instances. (Some people didn't like the idea of not being able to return to one's own private instances while still in a party... so I conceded that point, although I think it adds unnecessary complexity).
* There would be a public version of each Age as well. The ability to visit the public Age might be locked until you have completed the Age personally.

The two different forms of neighborhood instances (which are perhaps the most confusing thing about instancing introduced in MOUL) would not need to exist.
* If you wanted to run the Tsogal or Delin door, all you would need is a party leader. Anyone linking through the appropriate garden book, while in your party, would land in the desired Age and would be able to participate. You could prevent yourself from having too many people in the Age, and invite others to the Age easily.
* Greeters could invite a party of new players to Gahreesen and help them get their KIs. No need for the special 'hood based Gahreesen, which wasn't as helpful as it could be because new players weren't members of the Greeters' hood so when linking through, new players and Greeters would not land in the same instance.

There are probably some fine-tuned details I'm not remembering to cover here, but the approach is still much easier to explain to a new person because it matches well known mechanics elsewhere.

EDIT: I forgot to mention a really important point of this design! Any book would be able to take you to any type of instance. Instead of Yeesha's instance-position bookmarks appearing only in your Relto bookshelf, every book in the game would be a public book, and you'd use cloth bookmarks (granted to you by Yeesha, with your Relto book) to access private/party instances.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 3:03 am 
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I agree and I disagree, Marten. I wish that the group dynamic was a much more dominant theme in MOUL. The logistics of it all make it a bit fuzzy and difficult.

I dislike the awkwardness of the "forced" cooperation in certain ages. These situations really only require working with one person for a very brief period of time. I read in another thread today this idea:

vidroth wrote:
If it seems like you're not being given enough information to solve these puzzles, remember that they were written to be insanely hard to crack. The purpose (especially of the large ages) was to be so friggin' difficult that it would take lots and lots of explorers brainstorming for days to logic up the answers, one puzzle at a time.

It is intentional that sometimes there don't seem to be enough clues, and that the ones you see are confusing, because that's how you get several dozen people to spend a lot of time working together, trying to figure the blasted things out. One of those people takes one almost-insufficient, thoroughly confusing clue, and describes it in a clearer way that makes another puzzler say "eureka!", and that process goes on and on till lots of people have had their fingers in it and the puzzle finally gets beaten.


Wouldn't it be great if instancing encouraged this kind of cooperation? Why can't the ABM, To D'ni, and PoTS ages be hood instanced automatically? The exception to the rule could be the private instances of Ae'Gura and these ages, instead of the other way around. This is where I think the logistics make this difficult.

IIRC, when you sign up for MOULa, you are randomly assigned a hood of the DRC(###) variety. Who knows who you may end up with, and the odds are pretty good that you aren't going to find somebody there when you first link in. This may be changing as more and more people come to the Cavern, but it still is a bit difficult to implement.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 6:04 am 
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IanWatson wrote:
Pavitra wrote:
Do the DRC books differ from the Yeesha books functionally, or is it just a reskin? If the latter, I'd recommend using the Yeesha skin on all books, since only Yeesha has the ability to really control instancing, and the DRC probably can't handle Writing at all.


Just a reskin.

I thought I'd do things that way because we already have a red DRC stamp on publicly-accessible books to show that the DRC has approved them safe.


This makes sense if the DRC books are all one-type-only, but I don't think the DRC could add switchable glyphs. Again, that's a Yeesha thing.

IanWatson wrote:
The idea was to stimulate conversation more than anything else.


Regardless of intent, I think what you actually created is a good idea for the final product, and I guess I instinctively responded to it on that level.

-- Speaking of which, it occurs to me that any book with private or neighborhood options should have text saying which instance that option would take you to: your name (presumably) for private instances, and (again, presumably) the name of your hood for hood instances. For consistency it might be worth labeling the global-instance glyph as well. What should that text say?

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 5:12 pm 
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@IanWatson's idea:
I like it! However, the glyphs seem rather awkward on the books (size, arrangement, etc.). I seem to remember a similar idea some time ago that used ribbon bookmarks instead, which might fit better (am I just crazy, or does someone else know what I'm talking about?). Basically, it would have several ribbon bookmarks that you could arrange on the page (same as the glyphs in the example above) to adjust the instance you would go into (probably as a Yeesha/bahro add-on to all the books).

Another possible idea would utilize the multiple page setups we've seen in several books. Just have different link-in panels for each instancing style (with a decorative glyph, like the ones in IanWatson's examples, to indicate which instancing setup each was in). Some books would have multiple panels, and some would have just one (like the Nexus). Each one would just be opened up to whichever one would originally make the most sense (so the ones in Relto would open up to the private instance page, while the neighborhood links would be opened to the neighborhood page).

I would also like to see a group system, perhaps as a KI setup. You'd arrange a group by KI (the basic form would be from the Maintainers needing to be able to form squads for exploring Ages and such) and then everyone in that group would have a chat channel to talk to the group, and would automatically set all books to the private instance of the group leader (maybe the chat and Age permissions would be best separated, so perhaps someone can form a group just for chatting).


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