Written by Mat Kemp

2 min read

The Challenge Of Building A Large-Scale Multiplayer Experience In The Cloud

  • Spatial Simulation
  • Gaming
  • Distributed Computing
  • Partners

Creating compelling multiplayer experiences is one of the trickiest challenges that game developers face today, especially at large scale. The technical complexity in creating online multiplayer, combined with the limited resources available to developers, often results in compromises being made.

The issue comes down that when the scale of a game reaches a critical mass, developers usually need to sacrifice on specific areas whether that be the scale of the game, the graphical fidelity, or finally the quality of the player experience.

EVE Online is famous for achieving epic space battles, including The Siege Of 9-4, a world-record-setting skirmish that involved 6,142 players at its peak. But to push the boundaries of what is possible even further, CCP Games have partnered with Hadean to create a series of large-scale multiplayer demos known as EVE: Aether Wars using the dynamically-scaling cloud engine, Aether Engine.

At GDC 2019, we unveiled our first stress test which ran live with 14,274 connected clients in a single-instanced, multi-region game world. Following this, a seven-person team at CCP Games used the Aether Engine SDK to build EVE Aether Wars: Phase Two in just eight weeks at a 100x bandwidth reduction from our first test at GDC. During Gamescom 2019, a total of 4,369 human players from 88 different countries participated in this heavily-optimised multiplayer battle, with over 1 million missiles fired and over 20,000 ships – all running at a console-standard 30hz tick rate.

We’ve created a case study showcasing the core capabilities and achievements of the engine to-date which you can download now.

Using Aether Engine, CCP Games has been able to discover new ways of building large-scale worlds within the EVE Online universe, all whilst optimising and offering a superior user experience. And there’s still further room for optimisation, as Phase Two was a test on how the gameplay experience would fare without any interpolation or client-side prediction logic. Hadean already has ideas on delivering smooth client-side gameplay and has begun experimenting with different interpolation and prediction algorithms fit for this sort of massive scale.

Through EVE Aether Wars: Phase Two, Hadean has shown with its operating system and Aether Engine that it is possible to create a high-quality, globally distributed gaming experience for a massive amount of players.Download The Case Study: Building A Large-Scale Multiplayer Technical Demo In The Cloud With EVE: Aether Wars